A question of taste: Fiachna Ó Braonáin

Dublin-born Fiachna Ó Braonáin, 53, is a guitarist with Hothouse Flowers.

The band play at Cork Opera House on Monday, December 31, in a gig sponsored by Murphy’s Stout.

Special guests for the night are Clare Sands & Gerald Ahern, plus a DJ set from RedFM’s Colm O’ Sullivan.

Best recent book you’ve read: The Ginger Man by JP Donleavy. I finally got around to reading this on the recent Hothouse Flowers UK tour, lent to me by David Keenan... a mad, rollick of a read!

Best recent film: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, classic Coen Brothers. I loved the murderous singing cowboy and the gold-digging Tom Waits!

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): I love Olivia Chaney’s 2018 album Shelter. It a thing of true beauty. Also, Seafoam Green’s Topanga Mansions is proper lyrical rock ’n roll music that swoops and sways, and moved me in all the right ways.

First ever piece of music or gig that really moved you: The Rolling Stones - Slane Castle 1982… haven’t looked back since! I also saw Bob Dylan in Paris around that same time… both have travelled with me and will continue to do so forever.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!): Kate Bush - Hammersmith Apollo in 2014 when she made her remarkable one-off comeback.

Radio listening and/or podcasts: I listen to John Kelly’s Mystery Train on RTÉ Lyric FM and The John Creedon Show on RTÉ Radio 1, when I get a chance!

You’re curating your dream festival – which three artists are on the bill, living or dead?

Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones, James Brown.

If you could change one thing about the music business, what would it be?

I would multiply streaming revenue rates for artists by 1,000% to allow them make a living from music.

Your best celebrity encounter: Meeting Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones in the China Club in New York City after a Hothouse Flowers gig at the Beacon Theatre in 1988. Beyond exciting for a young music buck like myself at the time!

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event – where and why?

Right here, right now is good for me.

Do you have any interesting ancestors or family?

My paternal grandfather had to move to Dublin on a pony and trap with his three small children after his house was blown up by the British Army in the early 1920s. He became a successful businessman and raised a family of 10.

Unsung hero – individual or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve: Josie O’Brien and Cian de hÓir who recently organised a gig in Glór in Ennis to feed homeless people there. We had the privilege of playing for them and helping the gig be a success.

Josie is a remarkable person, who has surmounted her own extremely difficult past to come to Dublin once a week to protest outside the Dáil. Herself and Cian feed homeless people in Dublin once a week, as well as all the work Josie does in her hometown of Ennis. No fanfare, no high profile campaigns just honest work from the heart for the the love of humankind.

Precious, wonderful people.

You are king for a day – what’s your first decree?

Ban the manufacture of weapons, and eradicate the arms industry from the planet.


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