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Derek’s a slow burner that just grows and grows

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TV Watch with Dave O’Connell

Maybe Ricky Gervais was astute enough to know that his next comic creation had to be something other than a parody of himself – but he must have had a hard sell to convince Channel 4 that Derek was the way forward.

On any level, Derek shouldn’t be funny, and it’s not – at least not in the way that The Office or An Idiot Abroad was – but it touches a chord that makes you realise why Gervais says this is his favourite character yet.

Derek Noakes is what we might call a bit simple but he finds a job, a home – and effectively a family – in a nursing home where other birds with broken wings congregate so they can fly together.

The programme schedulers describe it as a bittersweet comedy and that’s what it is, because while there are laughs – and humour occasionally bordering on the distasteful – there is also a strong moral theme and a compassionate commentary on the lives of people who might live on the margins.

The scenario is simple – Derek Noakes works in the nursing home, where his fellow staff are led by Hannah, a woman who manages the centre with ability and empathy, both for her employees and her residents.

The workers are a disparate group; Vicky, a reformed wild child who found a vocation when she did her community service at the home; Dougie, a hapless handyman (Karl Pilkington from An Idiot Abroad), and Kev, a man for whom a can of beer is as vital as fresh air to everyone else.

They’re joined by ex-soldier Jeff, the new guy for this second series, and clearly this is a complex character who will unfold – or unravel – as the series goes on.

And the other new arrival into the nursing home is Derek’s hard-living, hard-swearing, hard-drinking Irish dad, Anthony (acclaimed actor Tony Rohr, who isn’t Irish at all).

It’s a fascinating dynamic between father and son, who were not so much estranged as living in parallel worlds – summed up by the fact that the only picture Anthony had of his son was one of him as a small boy.

The one recognisable characteristic between then and now is Derek’s hair, because he has what might be described as a sort of Sixties style – albeit it one that was only fashionable even then in places that time forgot – combed hard to the scalp and caked in grease.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

CITY TRIBUNE

Reverberate – exploring migration and memories

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Joselle Ntumba of Éireann and I, the collective that is presenting the show at Galway Arts Centre, pictured with her family.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

A new exhibition, Reverberate, by Éireann and I, will open at the city’s Galway Arts Centre this Saturday, December 3, at 2pm, and will run until December 22.

Reverberate is an oral history project developed by Éireann and I, a black migrant community archive, in collaboration with members of Galway’s African diaspora.

The organisers invited Black migrants who have settled in Galway to recount their journeys to Ireland, their relationship with the city and county, and to reflect on whether they have developed a sense of belonging.

The testimonies in Reverberate come from eight people of varying age and from different places. The many subjects they deal with include parenting, politics, the effects of the asylum system on lives and the communities and organisations they have built.

Some of their shared background is immediately obvious, but there are deeper connections too and these demonstrate how all humans are affected by the global and local tensions that cause people to leave their homelands and build new lives elsewhere.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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CITY TRIBUNE

Songs of Celebration at Galway Cathedral

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Composer and clarinettist Emma Johnson will join Vox Orbis.

Galway’s Vox Orbis, a female choral ensemble directed by Mark Keane, is joining forces with internationally renowned clarinettist Emma Johnson to present her Songs of Celebration. The concert will take place in Galway Cathedral next Friday, December 9

Emma Johnson, who won the BBC Young Musician of the Future at the age of 17, has since gone on to become one of the world’s biggest selling classical artists, celebrated for her diverse repertoire. The choir will present two of her compositions as well as her Variations on We wish you a merry Christmas with Annalisa Monticelli, piano.

The programme will also include Benjamin Britten’s A Ceremony of Carols, accompanied by concert harpist Aisling Ennis. Aisling has recently released an album of harp solos, Folly of Melancholy, and will perform a solo on the evening too. Galway based soprano Noreena McDonagh will join the choir for seasonal favourite, O Holy Night, newly arranged by conductor Mark Keane.

Vox Orbis promotes the work of female composers, and the programme will include Snow Angel by the contemporary Canadian composer Sarah Quartel, with Nickie Geddes, cello. They have also commissioned leading Irish composer, Rhona Clarke, to compose a set of carols, Sweet the Song, which will also be premiered on the evening.

Tickets at €20 are available on Eventbrite and at the door on the night. Visit voxorbis.ie for more information.

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CITY TRIBUNE

‘Potato People’ pays homage to victims of Great Famine

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Artist and sculptor Joe McCaul

The Potato People, an exhibition of sculptures based on the Irish Famine of 1845-49, will open in the foyer of Alcantara, one of the new buildings at the city’s Bonham Quay, this weekend.

It’s the work of artist and sculptor Joe McCaul, who lives in Ballinderreen.

These ceramic figures, fired in clay, “tell the harrowing stories of the lives and deaths of our ancestors during the Great Hunger”, he explains.

The exhibition has already had an eight-week run in Kinvara where it was very well-received, Joe adds.

Joe became fascinated by the Great Famine in recent times and with the many different accounts of those tragic years.

This fascination began in earnest when he read The Truth Behind the Irish Famine, by Kerryman Jerry Mulvihill.

“I began to feel a strong affinity with the people in these stories, their tragedy and the horrendous suffering they endured. I felt compelled to find a way to honour the millions who died of hunger and disease – and emigration; the countless stories forgotten in the Famine graveyards all over this country.”

Joe used his knowledge of working with paper clay to express this need. The process was intuitive and experimental, he says, as he worked without pre-planning or pre-drawing.

The resulting figures, which were formed by draping paper clay over armatures of chicken wire and steel bars, “just emerged from my fingertips. I sculpted feverishly for many months, one horrific figure leading to the next – so many stories to be told”.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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