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Time to point the finger and fire the Sugarman

Dave O'Connell

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TV Watch with Dave O’Connell

There’s a fundamental problem with the premise behind The Apprentice – why, if you were so successful in your own right beforehand, would you want to dispense with your dignity to fight for the chance to work with a megalomaniac?

And I’ll admit I’m no fan of it – so if it’s your kind of thing, perhaps it’s time to move on and avoid increasing your blood pressure.

But I tuned in last week to see if it was something missing in me that just didn’t get it – and I left secure in the knowledge that the Emperor indeed has no clothes.

For a start, ‘Lord Sugar’ sounds like the name of a Jamaican drug deal instead of a Cockney barrow boy who once hit it lucky with Amstrad, a computer that was to the IT sector what the old East German Trabant was to the motor trade.

His ego was already considerable given that the first three letters of his company – and indeed his personalised car registration – were his own initials, but millionaires may have earned the right to be self-indulgent.

His record in business since then however has been less spectacular – his purchase of Tottenham Hotspur was an unmitigated disaster, largely because he met an even wider barrow boy in Terry Venables – and the mere fact that he can devote so much time to The Apprentice would suggest he isn’t overly busy at the office now either.

The Americans found themselves an even bigger egomaniac in Donald Trump, a man whose hair defies description other than offering the observation that it’s incredible how much of the stuff you can grow on your back – and then comb over your forehead.

TV3 – as is their mission statement ‘to ape the other guys’ – tried to come up with their own Irish version of The Apprentice and found the nearest thing we had to a barrow boy, albeit it one with a Dublin accent.

Bill Cullen was another one-trick pony whose entire business empire was based on him being fast enough out of the blocks to ring-fence the Renault franchise for Ireland.

And being apprenticed to Bill would have been quite a rollercoaster from the outset, although in more recent times that rollercoaster would have been plummeting out of the clouds faster than a stone thrown off a cliff.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Sentinel.

Connacht Tribune

Long-awaited debut album proves well worth the wait

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Bitch Falcon....debut album now released.

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

It’s been a strong decade for Irish bands – a noisy, unfiltered path paved by Girl Band emboldened a series of experimental rock groups, each looking to break away from the folk-pop mould that dominated the 2000s in charts and on radio.  Vibrant local scenes have emerged in the likes of Limerick, Galway and Cork – all individual, all looking to champion identity and eclecticism.

And despite releasing their debut album just earlier this month, Dublin trio Bitch Falcon have overseen almost all of the changes and milestones that have led Irish rock to this point. That is because the band technically formed in 2014.

Several acclaimed EPs and hundreds of storied gigs later, Bitch Falcon, made up of frontwoman Lizzie Fitzpatrick, drummer and Galway native Nigel Kenny from Dunmore, and bass player Barry O’Sullivan, have released their first full-length LP.

Staring at Clocks hit shelves and streaming sites on November 6, full of atmosphere, intensity and, crucially, brand new material. Lizzie’s insistence on avoiding an amalgamation-of-EPs type record has resulted in an impressively cohesive debut. After six years of adjustments to sound, style and line-up, the project has officially matured.

“I think the album really captured what we were saying at that point in time,” Lizzie insists. “We wrote it about a year and a half ago and I think it was the first time we were really excited about what we were writing.

“Before, we were happy with it but not really completely there and I think that aspect of it has improved now. We didn’t want to have any of the old stuff in it at all. We wanted to have it be exactly what we were feeling at that moment rather than a collection of songs to get us through a debut album.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

David offers a fresh take on Percy French’s songs

Judy Murphy

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David's album contains 12 of Percy French's much-loved songs.

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

“He’s the kind of fella you’d love to have met,” says singer David Larkin of the multi-talented Percy French, a songwriter, artist, showman and engineer who bequeathed a vast legacy of songs and paintings to the world when he died in 1920 at the age of 66.

His songs which captured Irish life with a fine dash of humour and a great deal of affection, have been widely recorded through the years, most notably by the late Irish tenor Brendan O’Dowda.

David has now given a new interpretation to 12 of French’s compositions on his album, David Larkin sings Percy French: With a Toot on the Flute and a Twiddle on the Fiddle!!!

“I loved his songs and I’d have known quite a few of them from hearing them on the radio and at sing-songs,” says David who works as a Housing Support Assistant with the Simon Community and presents Larkin About on Galway’s Flirt FM in his spare time. An early memory of hearing one of them is when American folk singer, Don McLean recorded The Mountains of Mourne in 1973.

David’s family moved to Galway City from Athleague in Roscommon when he was six, but “I always consider myself a Roscommon man”, he says with a smile.

He’s been part of the Galway singing scene for decades, co-hosting the I’m Singing in the Crane sessions in the popular city pub since 2013. He’s a regular participant in singing sessions and festivals countrywide, including the Willie Clancy Summer School in Miltown Malbay, County Clare, where he contributes to the daily singing workshops.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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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

Sunday evening concert offers All the Pleasures

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Sunday evening’s concert will be performed by the Resurgam Choir and Irish Baroque Orchestra (pictured), under director Peter Whelan.

Music by George Frederic Handel and Henry Purcell as well as a world premiere by Irish composer Rhona Clarke will feature in Resounding Landscapes, a concert being presented by Music for Galway in association with Galway 2020 this Sunday, November 22. It will be live-streamed from the city’s St Nicholas’ Church, starting at 7pm.

It’s the second concert in the Abendmusik (Evening Music) series of vocal and choral performances, which forms part of Music for Galway’s programme for the European Capital of Culture project.

Sunday’s event will feature Welcome to all the Pleasures by the 17th century composer, Henry Purcell with text by Cristopher Fishburn; the world premiere of Rhona Clarke’s O Vis Aeternitatis – based on writings by the 12th century mystic, Hildegard of Bingen; and Handel’s Dixit Dominus.

The programme will be performed by the Resurgam Choir and Irish Baroque Orchestra (IBO), under director Peter Whelan, who is director of the IBO.

Creator of the Abendmusik Sunday evening concert series, Mark Duley feels that “in our current circumstance, it is good to be reminded by Fishburn in his text that ‘in music, we find relief from sorrow and grief’. And we can salute the venerable building of St Nicholas’ Church where for 700 years music has resounded and prayer has been valid.”

Meanwhile, a scheduled online production of the community opera, Paper Boat, which Music for Galway commissioned to celebrate the 700th anniversary of St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church, has been postponed.

Paper Boat is central to Music for Galway’s programme for Galway 2020 and before Covid-19 restrictions, there had been plans for a major live production of the site-specific composition in St Nicholas’ last June.

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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