Journalists

Friday 19 July 2019

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John Grant Photo © Shawn Brackbill

'Trump is so vulgar and vile and foul' - John Grant on Trump, his tough teenage years, the new album and his love of ABBA 

The notion of the 'grower' is one of the clichés of music criticism, but few recent albums fit the bill as neatly as John Grant's latest, Love is Magic. I wasn't the only one who felt decidedly lukewarm about it on its release last autumn, but the songs have crept up on me by stealth, and when Grant says it's the favourite of his albums, you feel that he isn't just saying neat little soundbites for the...

Illusion artists: Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan of Milli Vanilli. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Faking it - the biggest swindles in the history of rock 'n' roll 

It was described as 2018’s great rock ’n’ roll swindle. Threatin, a metal band from Los Angeles, had booked a UK and Ireland tour on the strength of its sizeable online fanbase. But only three paying punters turned up at the 500-capacity Underworld venue in London and, despite claiming that 180 tickets had been purchased in advance for their Bristol show, the audience was made up exclusively of the support band’s guestlist. A date for Belfast was quickly cancelled.

Illusion artists: Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan of Milli Vanilli. Photo: Michael Putland/Getty Images

Music's long and inglorious history of faking it 

It was described as 2018's great rock 'n' roll swindle. Threatin, a metal band from Los Angeles, had booked a UK and Ireland tour on the strength of its sizeable online fanbase. But only three paying punters turned up at the 500-capacity Underworld venue in London and, despite claiming that 180 tickets had been purchased in advance for their Bristol show, the audience was made up exclusively of the support band's guestlist. A date for Belfast was quickly cancelled.

Comedian Eric Idle launches his 'sortabiography'

'It had to be funny - I've no interest in settling scores' - comedian Eric Idle launches his 'sortabiography' 

It is a comparison that has been made time and time again. Monty Python, it's said, is to comedy, what The Beatles are to music. If the Fab Four forever changed the pop and rock landscape, it is surely fair to suggest that television comedy would look very different if a bunch of whip-smart and super-funny young men hadn't appeared on the BBC in 1969 with a show that still generates belly...

Football to the rescue: McMahon is a fitness coach and motivational speaker at Mountjoy Prison. Picture by Frank Mc Grath

Legalising drug use: a tough pill to swallow 

It is a chilly midweek evening in October and Philly McMahon arrives early at Ballymun Kickhams, the GAA club he has served with distinction for the best part of 20 years. The Dublin Gaelic footballer - a six-time All-Ireland winner who will be among the galaxy of stars hunting for an unprecedented five-in-a-row in 2019 - may have one part of his mind on tonight's training session, one of the last of a long season, but another part is thinking about a subject that's long occupied him: drug abuse.

Story of humanity: The cast of Come From Away on Broadway. The show will have its European premiere in Dublin's Abbey Theatre

'We didn't want to tell a 9/11 story' - couple behind Come From Away talk Irish links and the influence of Once 

On that fateful morning of September 11, 2001, young married couple David Hein and Irene Sankoff were living in New York, dreaming of making it as, respectively, a musician and actress. They were sleeping when the first plane hit the World Trade Centre, but were woken by a call from Sankoff's father back home in Toronto telling them that there had been a terrorist attack and to turn on...

Singer and songwriter Ruth-Anne Cunningham. Photograph: ©Fran Veale

RuthAnne Cunningham: Streetwise Irish songstress who has penned songs for Britney Spears and One Direction 

RuthAnne Cunningham talks about the immense satisfaction her career has given her and she is reminded of the gloriously strange path she has taken in the most random of places. She will be in a spin class in London when the Britney Spears' single, Work B**ch, booms from the speakers and she allows herself a secret smile knowing that she part-wrote the smash hit and not a person sweating...