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The ultimate pop culture preview for winter 2014

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Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan star in TV thriller The Fall

Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan star in TV thriller The Fall

BBC/The Fall 2 Limited/Helen Slo

Birdman

Birdman

Lionel Richie

Lionel Richie

Marian Keyes

Marian Keyes

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Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan star in TV thriller The Fall

Whether you plan on hibernating or making hay while the rain rains, this is your guide to the hottest stuff coming up during the cold weather months.

THE COMEBACK: MICHAEL KEATON

Before Christian Bale was Batman, Keaton donned the cape in Tim Burton's iconic 1989 riff on the caped crusader. Now, after an extended stint in supporting roles he's back with a bang, in suitably meta fashion, playing an actor trying to shake off a superhero role in hot Oscar ticket Birdman, out in early January.

TV: THE FALL

Love/Hate disappears from our screens this Sunday after another nail-biting season, but don't fret! Belfast-set serial killer drama The Fall is back. Since season one finished, Jamie Dornan's star has ascended following his casting in that sexy film, based on the book (you know the one). Is he still the most fanciable murderer on TV? Is Gillian Anderson's character Stella still the coolest woman ever? Tune in to RTE2 on Sunday at 10.30pm to find out.

COMEDY: LORDS OF STRUT

This hysterical Cork-based acrobatic comedy duo won the World Street Performance championship in 2013, while rocking audiences from Edinburgh to Brisbane; more recently, they moved indoors with Chaos, an acclaimed show that packed out the Dublin Fringe. Somebody put them on the TV fast.

YOUTUBE CHANNEL: MANNY MAN

Donegal writer and actor John Ruddy is a bit of a Renaissance man; when not treading the boards, he's been creating a series of DIY animated history lessons featuring his cartoon creation Manny Man, striking viral gold with World War 1 In Six Minutes. Watch it at www.youtube.com/user/RudtheSpud

COMEDIAN: CHRISTIANE O'MAHONY

Her Twitter moniker says it all: @funnyharpgirl. The best-kept secret in Irish comedy is also an acclaimed actress with Druid, and her own one-woman play, The Art Of Lady Like. Anybody who's seen her rocking the comedy stage (she's toured extensively with Des Bishop) on the harp, knows that homegrown musical comedy is alive and highly-strung.

RECORD: SOME BLUE MORNING

Over six haunting albums, including the Choice Music Prize-winning Season Of The Sparks, Adrian Crowley has matured into one of the finest musical talents we have. Ryan Adams once memorably described Crowley to Rolling Stone as "the best songwriter that nobody's ever heard of". His new album (released November 7) might finally be the one that changes that forever.

BIOGRAPHY: WHERE DO WE BEGIN?

From Panti's tell-all to BOD's memoirs, Graham Norton's recollections and Keano's musings, it seems famous Irish people are queueing up to share their memories. Very un-Irish, no? If you fancy a slice of non-fiction before the festive season, this is where it's at.

SOCIAL NETWORK: ELLO

Like everybody and their mother -whom we're refusing to friend - we're so over Facebook. Brace yourself, then, for a new wave of boutique alternatives, spearheaded by this stylish, invite-only (and ad-free) newbie, launched in March and rapidly gaining viral traction. Unlike FB, it is also completely cool with NSFW (not suitable for work) content, so expect things to get filthy fast.

WEB STAR: PAUL F TOMPKINS

This American actor and comic has been performing a monthly show from iconic L.A. club Largo (run by Belfast native, Mark Flanagan) for over a decade. In recent years, he's been a fixture of any number of comedy podcast gems, notably Thrilling Adventure Hour and Dead Authors Podcast, while fronting online chat show Speakeasy. He's also a very dapper gent indeed.

GIG: LIONEL RICHIE

All the 1980s revivalists who went crazy for that Hall And Oates gig during the summer are already dancing on the ceiling at prospect of Irish shows from Mr Easy himself, bringing his All The Hits All Night Long tour to Dublin and Belfast next March. Lionel is now officially cool, having headlined the hipper-than-hip Bonnaroo Festival in the US - we could have told you that years ago.

IRISH ACTOR: EVE HEWSON

Bono and Ali's daughter (aka Memphis Eve Sunny Day Hewson) made her movie debut in underrated Sean Penn oddity This Must Be The Place, before holding her own alongside the late James Gandolfini in Enough Said. Her real breakthrough arrives with Steven Soderbergh's phenomenal TV series The Knack; now she's filming the new Spielberg film with Tom Hanks.

TECH REVOLUTION: BIT TORRENT RETAIL

Poor old U2: days after they pissed off a gazillion Apple users by giving them a free album, Radiohead's Thom Yorke nonchalantly broke new ground once again by dropping an album unannounced, only available to purchase via a P2P file-sharing protocol previously best known for enabling illegal downloads. He promptly shifted 400,000 copies over a weekend.

FOOD: KELP

First kale was reinvented as the fashionable vegetable superfood of choice (landing on the menu at hipster eateries everywhere), now seaweed is officially where it's at. Fact: 100 grams of kelp contains 1.7 grams of protein; it also has vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K, is rich in folic acid, and contains fatty acids like omega-3. We recommend the kelp noodles.

MUSIC: RAINY BOY SLEEP

Lifford man and indie rock legend in training Stevie Martin (you'll never get anywhere in showbiz with a name like that) has been making quite the racket, rocking Glastonbury and touring with everybody from James Morrison to Cyndi Lauper. All pop hooks and crunchy riffs, his debut single 'Ambulance' is an ear worm that big fan Gary Lightbody would be proud of. Big things await.

THEATRE: THE WALWORTH FARCE

This revival of Enda Walsh's surreal comedy doesn't land in Dublin until next February: we're giving you the heads up so that you can get tickets now, as it might already be sold out by the time you read this. The reason why? The production stars Brendan Gleeson, alongside his sons Brian and Domhnall.

NOSTALGIA: 1980s IRISH BANDS

Following the triumphant return of The Blades, a concert in aid of suicide charity Pieta House at Dublin's Olympia Theatre this November features (deep breath) In Tua Nua, Blink, Cry Before Dawn, The Fat Lady Sings, Those Nervous Animals, The Fountainhead, The Flying Benzini Brothers and Cactus World News. What - no Ghost Of An American Airman?

VENUE: ACADEMY DUBLIN

It's already had several incarnations (Irish Rock N' Roll Hall Of Fame, anyone?), and now, this Abbey Street venue has been acquired by Belfast-based Shine Productions. The crew behind the Belsonic Festival are rumoured to have spent around €1 million upgrading the place. Hopefully they'll use the programming savvy they bring to Belfast's Limelight, another Shine venue.

MUSICAL: ELF

That's right, they turned the classic Will Ferrell movie into an all-singing, all-dancing theatrical spectacular, holding court at Dublin's Bord Gais Energy Theatre for the Christmas season. The cast includes Aoibhinn McGinnity, aka Trish from Love/Hate. What about Nidge On Ice for next Christmas?

TRENDSETTER: NIAMH BUSHNELL

Dublin's newly appointed start-up commissioner - the first of her kind in Ireland - is a Cork-born bundle of energy, landed direct from NYC, where she trail-blazed for Irish businesses as tech-savvy entrepreneur, mentor and angel investor on the cutting edge of the nu-tech frontier. She's here to serve as connector general for the capital's booming start-up scene.

BOOK: MARIAN KEYES

If it's a novel you fancy to curl up with during the rainy, cold evenings, you can't go far wrong with our beloved Marian. The Woman Who Stole My Life is based in the world of popular literature, self-help and the instant fame this era is known for, and you'll fall in love with protagonist Stella in a heartbeat.

Irish Independent