Sunday 20 August 2017

Ivy Nations shone brightly at the recent Rock Against Homelessness gig

'We've a collective love of big 1980s pop' 

Ivy Nations are much-feted purveyors of a kind of big, bright alternative pop sound that had the likes of Kodaline, The Blizzards and The Strypes ask them to be a support act. Their sound is also writ large all over recent single Live By Design, produced by Phil Magee, famed for his sterling services with The Script, Overhead, and the aforesaid Kodaline. Sitting in the sunshine outside the Bailey pub off Grafton Street, Ivy Nations' talk is the opposite of their sound. Guitarist Darragh Faughey is remembering a dark time...

‘All traditional music is linked up somewhere,’ says Mike Scott, who plays Dublin in October with The Waterboys

Once more into the mystic goes Magic Mike 

At some point in the mid 1980s, Scottish bard Mike Scott had a vision, or at least a revelation, in a period of mystical and musical transition. There were stories that some of the sessions in pubs in little villages in Galway involving The Waterboys - and the merry band of kindred spirits who joined them along the way - would go on until dawn. Rolling Stone magazine in 1985 called him "the new poet laureate of rock 'n' roll" so this was the kind of carry-on expected of him. And he didn't disappoint.

John Crown celebrated his 60th birthday with wife Orla

John's Crowning glory with surprise birthday party 

Laughter is the best medicine. So is a party in a trendy private club. One of Ireland's top doctors John Crown knows a lot about medicine, and a bit about laughter. He walked into Residence on St Stephen's Green last Friday night only to discover that his beautiful wife Orla and his beautiful daughter Mia had thrown a surprise birthday party to celebrate his 60th year. He doesn't look his age, does he? When John first saw his birth cert, he joked to me, he felt it was one of those moments when he thought PwC had given him the wrong envelope. You see - I told you he knew...

'The darkness and the sound of the wind screaming existentially outside gave me the fear about an uncertain future'. Stock photo: PA

In remembrance of things past - like Dobo's delicious mackerel pate 

Doris woke me up in the middle of the night last week. (My wife Aoife didn't notice.) Unable to go back to sleep, I went into my two-year-old daughter's room and checked her in her cot as Doris howled outside her window. The darkness and the sound of the wind screaming existentially outside gave me the fear about an uncertain future. I started to imagine that the little innocent child so agreeably asleep in the cot with her arm around her teddy would have to grow up and go out in the world on her own one day where I would be unable to protect her from the storms that life...

Jason Donovan who is appearing as Sam Phillips in 'The Million Dollar Quartet' at the Bord Gais Theatre. Photo: Tony Gavin

Blizzard of Oz - Jason Donovan rocks into town 

The author Christopher Hitchens once said of Mother Teresa that everything everyone thinks they know about the so-called saintly nun is false. "It must be," he wrote, "the single most successful emotional con job of the twentieth century." That, in terms of iconoclasm, must be on a par with what the world thinks they know of Jason Donovan: forever frozen in our collective consciousness as the saintly airhead with the permed mullet in Neighbours - teen-idol goody two-shoes Scott who marries Charlene, played by Kylie Minogue, in the 1980s, when it received the highest ever...