CORK CONNECTIONS: Several well-known figures from the arts/ents world passed away this week, including Jonathan Miller, the British theatre director who had an interesting connection to Cork.
His mother was Betty Spiro, the Cork-born daughter of a prominent Jewish family in the city. In Kate Bassett’s biography of Miller, she describes how his grandfather Simon got death threats during the War of Independence, for working as a justice of the peace in the court system.
Incidentally, granda Simon was also a violinist in the orchestra at Cork Opera House, while spirited little Betty grew up to be an author of note.
One of the other big deaths this week was Clive James, and while we haven’t been able to find any Leeside branches in his family tree, some might remember his visit to the Everyman in 2006 as part of a tour around his memoir, North Face of Soho.
GIG WISE: Killarney goes back to the 1980s (insert own “never left” joke here) next weekend when the Forever Young crew join forces with Winterfest for an impressive lineup at the INEC. On Friday and Saturday, the likes of Tony Hadley (Spandau Ballet), Howard Jones and The Christians will play. Retro sounds from the cooler end of the music spectrum are also obviously a winner, with the Pixies’ gig in July in Iveagh Gardens, Dublin, already selling out.
Among several new events unveiled this week was rock festival, Sunstroke, at Punchestown on June 13-14. Faith No More, the Jesus & Mary Chain, and Killing Joke are among numerous acts featuring across the weekend.
In Cork, Cyprus Avenue will abound with the sounds of classic dance music over the next few days. On Saturday, the Sweat/Go Deep birthday party marks an incredible 31 years of quality house in the city; while on Tuesday, Shaun Ryder returns to his former home county for a Happy Mondays gig.
MUSIC NEWS: Coldplay are obviously self-confident enough to play London’s home of the dinosaurs without a hint of irony. Chris Martin (below) and co won plaudits all round for their gig at the Natural History Museum earlier this week, part of the push for their new album Everyday Life.
The Who would be even more of a fit for that west London venue, and the rock veterans are also touring with a new record, imaginatively titled Who.
An interesting interview in Rolling Stone has revealed how the album was recorded without the two main members, Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend, ever spending time in the studio together. Estranged for many years, the piece says all their communication during the project was limited to third parties.
In the interview, done in separate sittings, the closest they came to compliments was such lines from Townshend as, “I like all his eccentricities, his foibles, his self-obsession, and his singer thing.”
FILM TIPS: Ken Loach’s latest film, Sorry We Missed You, finally comes to Cork, courtesy of a run at Triskel from Sunday. The same venue also has Shooting the Mafia, the Irish-produced documentary on Sicilian photojournalist Letizia Battaglia, now 84.
Offerings at mainstream cinemas this weekend include The Two Popes, featuring superb performances from Jonathan Pryce and Anthony Hopkins as the current pontiff and his predecessor, respectively.
Very much painting Pope Francis as the good guy, the film also drops on Netflix on December 20.