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New political satire show is no laughing matter

Dave O'Connell

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Ten minutes into the first instalment of the new series of the political satire show on RTÉ 1 and enough was enough. It was time to flick the switch on this unfortunate programme.

The first series of Irish Pictorial Weekly was not funny, and neither is this, which begs the question about why it was even embarked upon. It is actually embarrassingly bad.

It is a pity because the writing team behind this series have given us Apres Match and Ross O’Carroll-Kelly – both classics – but tragically this is simply not working.

Yes, they do characters like Angela Merkel, Enda Kenny, Michael Noonan, Anne Doyle, Gerry Adams along with civil servant committee that meet in the bowels of Dáil Éireann, but the spark or the imagination is not there.

There are times when political satire works better on radio than it does on the telly. The Mario Rosenstock Show is a typical example of this. What goes on radio should really stay on radio.

Rosenstock, and indeed Oliver Callan, are brilliant on radio but when it comes to reprising these characters for the bigger screen, it is an unmitigated disaster.

This show is trying desperately to give Hall’s Pictorial Weekly a 21st century look but back in the day that was a very unique series and was novel at the time. It was the first show on RTÉ to do a proper send up of politicians but also part of its success was the presenter Frank Hall who possessed a wry type of wit.

Irish Pictorial Weekly is simply a poor copy of this, and proves the old saying about what’s not broken shouldn’t be fixed.

Take, for example, the sketch involving Michael Noonan. He was being portrayed quizzically as Alfred Hitchcock with the appropriate music in the background and then when it came to the dialogue, it was desperately unfunny. Maybe the writers are trying too hard to break new ground that the comedy element has been lost in the process.

After the aforementioned 10 minutes, it seemed as if they had just copied and pasted the last series into this one as there was absolutely nothing new for the audience. It is my express hope that there will never be another series of this comedy nightmare but I suppose in the best traditions of RTE it will take years before they realise that this is an unmitigated disaster.

I give you The Late Late Show and Brendan O’Connor’s Saturday Night Show as prime examples of this.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Connacht Tribune

Love Buzz fill big shoes in Cork’s musical story

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The Love Buzz...new single released.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Cork’s musical reputation is long established and well-earned; from the cult status of Cathal Coughlan (Microdisney and the Fatima Mansions), to Simple Kid’s nods to folk, electronica, rock and everything else, the cartoon punk and madness of Sultans of Ping F.C., the Frank and Walters, and – if not for bringing him into the world – the raising and moulding of Rory Gallagher.

It’s a scene full of life, innovation and identity – a perfect balance of passion, ability and not taking yourself too seriously. And all of those ideals are epitomised by the county’s most exciting contemporary three-piece – The Love Buzz.

Having burst into life with last year’s Candy Flip EP, the group’s latest single builds on the energy and enthusiasm of their first release – bouncing around your head until you go back for another listen.

Harp is a punch in the gut for anyone missing live music. Twenty seconds in, as Henry Love’s thunderous drum fill signals the honey-sweet intro’s end, you can close your eyes and convince yourself you’re swarmed in a sweatbox of a venue – likely Cyprus Avenue or Fred Zeppelin’s – attending a gig that could be talked about for years.

“Overall, not being able to gig has given us a unique opportunity to get our heads stuck into writing,” bass player Aidan Lynch insists.

“We’ve worked on a few songs that we’re happy with and we’re very excited to get them out there… Harp being the first of them and we’re delighted with the reception… I think we learned to broaden our style.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

POST bringing patients beyond hospital walls

Judy Murphy

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Artist Deirdre O'Mahony and sound recordist John Brennan in the Burren. PHOTO: TOM FLANAGAN.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“Going into hospital, you can be stripped of so many things and it’s important to see the whole person. Healthcare is recognising that,” says the Arts Director of Saolta Arts Margaret Flannery.

Margaret is in charge of the arts programme at the Saolta University Healthcare Group, which runs hospitals in Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo and Donegal.

She’s been promoting the importance of arts in healthcare since 2003, when the Master’s Graduate in Arts Practice and Policy was appointed Outreach Officer with Galway Arts Centre. A large part of her job there involved liaising with UHG and Merlin Park Hospital.

“I was known as the arts lady,” she recalls with a laugh.

Margaret’s belief in the value of arts in a hospital environment and her tireless work to demonstrate that, resulted in growing HSE support and she’s now employed by the Saolta group, in charge of its arts programme.

Over the years, she’s organised artist-in-residency schemes in Saolta hospitals, she has worked with Cúirt Literature Festival, with the Tulca Festival of Visual Arts and with the Arts Festival, as well as holding exhibitions and events throughout the region – at UHG, Merlin Park and Portiuncula here in Galway.

Saolta Arts also teamed up with Galway 2020, European Capital of Culture to present a year-long arts and health programme, designed to bring nature and familiar landscapes into hospital spaces.

This began in February, before lockdown, with Viriditas, a commission created by singer and artist Ceara Conway, which explored the healing power of music and the link between nature and health.

Another Saolta commission for 2020, POST, was launched in November.

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.

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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CITY TRIBUNE

Sharon goes global for lockdown album The Reckoning

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Sharon's new album will be available from this Friday.

Despite Covid-19 travel restrictions, Sharon Shannon has gone global for her latest studio album, The Reckoning, which is being released this Friday, November 27.

The Reckoning, which was composed, written and recorded during lockdown, features more than dozen remote collaborations from locations across the world.

All the twelve tracks have been co-written by Sharon and band members and various guest collaborators.

The full-on method in which it was recorded marks a new departure for the Clare-born musician who lives in Galway City, she says.

“Normally when we work on an album, we do one track at a time,” Sharon explains. “But with this, it seems to be an avalanche when you’re working on 13 or 14 tracks every day. It’s like a minefield!”

One of the key tracks, The Jolly Roger, resulted from a challenge which rugby player Robbie Henshaw presented to Sharon during the first Covid lockdown. Issued via Facebook, her task was to learn a new skill. And she did. After five days of intense practice, she created The Jolly Roger Facebook video . That clip of Sharon and her electric guitar has attracted more than 289,000 views since it was uploaded earlier this year.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

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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