category: Media » Video

Jan 2012

Happy Birthday Mr. Bowie

David BowieAs a quick glimpse at my artist chart demonstrates, I’m a bit of a Bowie fan. So, on the occasion of his 65th birthday (just imagine Bowie’s bus pass! I bet it’s a specially designed one made out of that crazy folding metal stuff that they got off the UFO that crashed at Roswell), I was going to write something about how important his music has been to me down through the years. How he sound-tracked some of the defining moments of my teens and twenties and lit up the darkness right when I needed it most. I was maybe going to throw some brief reviews of some of my favourite Bowie albums (in no particular order… Low, “Heroes”, Lodger, Diamond Dogs, Heathen, Ziggy Stardust, Station to Station, Scary Monsters, 1.Outside, Earthling, The Man Who Sold The World, Hours, The Buddha of Suburbia… er, pretty much all of them really with the possible exception of the 80s stuff, but even then the singles were great; Loving The Alien, anyone? Let’s Dance? China Girl?) I might have related the tale of the epic cross-country hitch with my mate Justin, to see Bowie play in Exeter during the 1.Outside tour… easily one of the weirdest weekends of my life (and that’s saying something… I had a lot of weird weekends during my twenties). Perhaps I’d even describe the recurring nightmare I had for much of the 90s and into the early noughties in which I wandered through an eerily deserted London city until I reached the Tate Gallery within which I discovered a deranged David Bowie slashing his own wrists while whispering the lyrics to some of his songs; after which diseased and disfigured angels began to fall dead from the sky. Yeah… bit of a screwed-up dream that, but pretty appropriate for where my head was, at the time.

But in the end, all of that would just be a roundabout way of saying that David Bowie has had a far greater impact on my life than is strictly sensible for someone I’ve never met personally. And though he’ll never read this, I’d like to thank him for his wonderful contribution to my world, and wish him a very happy birthday, and many many happy returns.

Ultimately it makes more sense to share some Bowie, than just share some thoughts about him…



or look, just go to YouTube and type in David Bowie. You’re guaranteed a great time.

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Feb 2011

On This Deity: 26th February 1994

Head on over to On This Deity for my latest piece.

26th February 1994: The Death of Bill Hicks.

To those of us who got him, Hicks was far more than just a stand-up comedian. He was an inspirational figure; a voice of truth and sanity in an increasingly false and insane world. He spoke truth to power like almost nobody else of our generation. Militant yet deeply compassionate, when Bill Hicks took to the stage he transcended the safe and empty art form that comedy had descended to by the late 80s and early 90s.

read the rest…

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Feb 2011

Something for the (election) weekend

In honour of the most important election in recent Irish history…

… stealing all our dreams…

Found out this morning
There’s a circus coming to town
They drive in Cadillacs
Using walkie-talkies, and the Secret Service

Their big top: Imitation of life
And all the flags and microphones
They have to cover our eyes

We play the sideshows
And we like the tunnel of love
And when we ride the ferris wheel
We’re little children again

And when they’re asking for volunteers
We’ll be the first ones aboard
And when the ringmaster calls our names
We’ll be the first ones to go… to sleep

Stealing all our dreams
Dreams for sale
They sell ’em back to you

On with the show
Start the parade
We sang along
Sweep us away

It’s political party time
Going down, going down
And the celebrities all come out
Coming down, coming down, coming…

The sun is going down
And the dogs are starting to howl
We stay out after dark
Eating cotton candy
And the music’s playing…

How we all laughed!
We split our sides
The cameras flashed
We almost died!

The rain’s gonna pour on down, falling out of the sky
Coming down, coming down
And the celebrities all run out, and the rain’s
Coming down, coming down

Gonna rain,
Gonna rain, gonna rain
Gonna rain, gonna rain,
Rain, rain
Rain, rain

And now I wonder who’s boss
And who he’s leavin’ behind?

Talking Heads: The Democratic Circus

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Nov 2010

Eno interview with Dick Flash of Pork Magazine

A couple of days ago, Brian Eno released a new album, Small Craft on a Milk Sea. I’ve not actually heard it yet, but the three preview tracks available on his website are excellent and the reviews I’ve read have been very favourable indeed. I’ve got pretty much everything he’s released, including the various mail-order-only stuff, and he’s never really disappointed. So when people start talking about this being his “best album in years”, it’s obviously quite exciting.

To coincide with the album’s release, Eno agreed to an interview with Dick Flash of ‘Pork’ magazine. It’s well worth a watch…

Amazing limp…

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Aug 2010

… and the Tree of Nothing

I’m terribly busy at the moment, and I won’t be around very much over the next three weeks. I’m off down to Cork for a few days (my sister is getting married) and then I’m heading over to Serbia for a couple of weeks.

Anyways, while I’ll try to pop in here now and then and post something during my travels, they’ll most likely be flying visits. Links to interesting stuff, or the inevitable embedded YouTube vid.

Of which this is one. It’s a YouTube vid of a stand-up comedy clip. Makes a change from a music video, I suppose.

By and large very few stand-up comedians interest me. For me, Bill Hicks set the bar so high that most stand-up just sounds hollow and lifeless now. There are exceptions of course, and of those, Stewart Lee is probably the finest. He treads that line between social commentary and funny weirdness that’s so very hard to sustain. And it’s to his great credit that he manages it.

This is a clip from the first episode of his most recent TV show (Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle) wherein he expresses his position on the Harry Potter books. The final line, and the way it’s delivered, made me laugh out loud.

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Aug 2010

Something for the weekend

Can’t go wrong with a bit of Christy Moore. Ireland’s finest folk singer (which is saying something). Always righteous, always passionate. This particular song was written by Shane McGowan and while I love The Pogues, I think the simple voice and guitar treatment suits Aisling better than their full band version. Enjoy.

Christy Moore

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Aug 2010

First as Tragedy, Then as Farce

I have a lot of time for Slavoj Žižek. Which isn’t to say I agree with everything he’s ever said or written, but by and large I feel he is possessed of a rare wisdom and insight, coupled with a wicked sense of humour. Aside from anything else, I don’t think I’d have made it through Lacan’s Écrits if I hadn’t paved the way with a couple of Žižek books (Looking Awry and his excellent primer, How to read Lacan). I’d also highly recommend Žižek’s epic A Pervert’s Guide to Cinema, a three hour documentary that functions both as an analysis of the medium of film and an introduction to psychoanalytic theory.

Anyhoo, I recently stumbled upon this short animation (from the excellent RSAnimate) which condenses a recent lecture he gave on the dangers of so-called “ethical consumerism”. The original lecture can be viewed here (and is well worth a half hour of your time). But I’ll just embed the condensed version for those of you with shorter attention spans (the pretty pictures will help hold your interest 😉

UPDATE: Incidentally, if you watch the original, is it just me or does Žižek give the impression of having just taken a massive hit of cocaine?

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Aug 2010

Something for the weekend

When I’m out walking with my mp3 player on, I often put it on shuffle and let it choose the vibe for me. Usually after three or four songs it’ll have found an album that I want to listen to and I’ll take it off shuffle. A few days ago it randomly hit upon What a Day That Was from the early David Byrne solo album, The Catherine Wheel. It’s not an album I listen to as much as some of his other work, but it’s been a joy to revisit. A mixture of songs and instrumentals, including several collaborations with Brian Eno, it was recorded as a soundtrack album for a dance company.

Now dance, as a spectacle, has never been something I’ve been interested in. I enjoy dancing, but not watching it happen. Whether it’s ballet or more contemporary stuff, it’s just not — as they say — the bag I’m into. Nonetheless, a few years back I tracked down an old VHS copy of a performance of The Catherine Wheel, partly out of curiosity and partly out of that weird completist compulsion that I still have for David Byrne’s work. Sadly, it failed to convert me and I never watched more than half of it.

Nonetheless, as an album, The Catherine Wheel is still a great listen. And that well-known Talking Heads concert film has a wonderful version of the song that drew me back to it. Enjoy…

What a Day That Was – Talking Heads
From the concert film, Stop Making Sense

Note: it was only after I published this that I realised I’m a full day early for “the weekend”. It’s just midnight and I’ve spent the entirety of Thursday convinced it was Friday. Isn’t it weird when that happens?

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Aug 2010

It Says Here

Imagine switching on the TV at quarter to nine some Tuesday morning and seeing this.

I thought I’d share an odd slice of the 80s with my one remaining reader. The song and the performance are classic Billy Bragg. Strident, no-nonsense social commentary that remains as relevant now as it ever was (more so, in fact). But the context is just so bizarre. BBC Breakfast Time television… a cultural vacuum designed to do nothing more than fill air-time between news bulletins. Possibly the most conservative (small ‘c’) broadcasting environment outside US televangelism; certainly not a place you’d expect to hear a hard-hitting assault on tabloid media culture and conservative (small ‘c’ and capital ‘C’) politics.

Introduced by Selina Scott in a positively restrained hair-do (bearing in mind the year) holding an album in a manner which suggests she’s never seen one before. And followed by Mike Smith (Princess Diana’s favourite DJ, let us not forget) looking bewildered; no doubt trying to work out how to segue between a song telling us that “politics mix / with bingo and tits / in a money and numbers game” into Russell Grant’s astrology segment.

Anyhoo, enjoy the song. It’s a bit of a belter.

It Says Here — Billy Bragg
Live on BBC Breakfast Time, 1984

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Apr 2010

Drunk History

A few days ago, Gyrus emailed me a link to “Drunk History: Nikola Tesla” on YouTube. It’s very funny indeed, and happily, is part of a fairly long-running series. I’ve watched a couple more since then and both were of a similarly high quality. Check them out if you get a chance.

Drunk History: Nikola Tesla

And my personal favourite (if only for the hicupping)…

Drunk History: Oney Judge

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