A question of taste: Joe O’Leary

Joe O’Leary, formerly of the band Fred, runs Levis Corner House in Ballydehob, Co Cork. On Friday, the pub hosts two shows by Steve Poltz as part of the Culture Night celebrations.

Best recent book you’ve read: Screenplay of Float Like a Butterfly written by Carmel Winters.

Best recent film: Last time I was at the cinema was for The Young Offenders.

Best recent show or gig you’ve seen: In Levis, when Mongoose, a young all female all talented indie pop group with Ballydehob connections, played a storm. It’s amazing seeing young bands develop and rise up.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): Mama Kin — Australian songstress and general goddess.

First ever piece of music or art: ET in the Phoenix cinema in Dingle was the first ever movie. U2 doing their Zoo TV tour playing in Páirc Uí Chaoimh was my first big
outdoor concert.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!): The National playing in Belfast circa 2007, I think on Halloween night. The band were just on the cusp of greater things in Ireland and worldwide but to see them with 200 other folk in a smaller venue in

Belfast was amazing, and the band were slightly bemused and confused by the fact that half the audience was in fancy dress for the occasion.

Radio listening and/or podcasts: Anything on RTÉ’s doc on 1 — simply superbly produced stories from the most credible department in RTÉ... no disrespect to the weather people!

You’re curating your dream festival — which three artists are on the bill? Patti Smith and Nick Cave together; Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits together, and The National and the Flaming Lips.

Your best celebrity encounter: Bumping into James Brown at a roadside garage in Wales. Long story short... On the way home from Glastonbury when we stopped off at a service station for a cuppa and a bite. Next thing some one said ‘Look over there’, and who was it but Christy Moore and Donal Lunny. A few of the gang went over to say hi to them and I headed outside for a breath of fresh air. On the way out I saw two lads coming towards me, one dressed and groomed fairly flamboyantly and as I drew closer I thought to myself “Who does your man think he is, flippin’ James Brown or what?” As I drew level with them I realised it actually was James Brown and his minder so I smiled and said ‘hi’, got a ‘hey’ back, and we all strolled on our merry little way. It turned out he had no sterling with him, only dollars, so Jerry Fish ended up buying him a happy meal in the burger shack.

Do you have any interesting ancestors or family? Well the story of how the Levis
(pronounced ‘Leave us’) ended up in West Cork is a bit funny.They were seven Levis brothers from eastern France running from the guillotine who set sail for Ireland to escape religious persecution, proceeded to reach Ireland but then got shipwrecked in Roaring Water Bay, survived and came ashore and never really left the area.

Unsung heroes: Community drivers, inspirers and leaders in sport, art, business and culture who spend their lives battling against permanent political pussyfooting, in order to keep their home, rural Ireland, alive and thriving. In doing so, they keep a massive part of what is
Ireland alive.

You are king for a day — what’s your first decree? An enforced week off from work to play music, sing, draw, paint, write poems, climb mountains, tell stories, talk to each other, and just hang out. As king I was kind of getting tired of this country being defined by how ‘well” its economy was doing.


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