Scene and Heard

MUSIC NEWS: If you’re not a fan of Olympic boxing, some of the best sporting fun of recent days has been the verbal sparring between Elton John and Madonna.

The British singer renewed the longstanding enmity in an interview with an Australian TV station, stating: “Her career is over. Her tour has been a disaster and it couldn’t happen to a bigger c**t.” John, reportedly unhappy about Madonna’s disparagement of his pal Lady Gaga, also said she looks like a “fairground stripper”. Madonna herself has been quite restrained in her response, with a ‘source’ close to the singer saying she doesn’t care about John’s remarks. “She has nothing to prove to anyone, especially Elton John.”

Meanwhile, at the other end of the bitchosphere, those nice people in The xx have unveiled a new song online. ‘Chained’ is taken from the new album, Coexist, due for release in September. We’ve heard one other track from the album and it’s a dinger. Tom Waits is also on the release trail, though the pulling back the curtain on his superb video for ‘Hell Broke Luce’ was greeted as something of an anti-climax by fans who had been teased by a number of emails hinting that a big announcement was to take place. With dubstep gaining traction in America, Korn singer Jonathan Davis has told Spinner magazine he believes the genre is the “new electronic heavy metal”. Finally, while we can’t imagine Mick Flannery high-kicking on a Broadway stage, an interview with the Blarney singer in Hot Press has revealed tentative plans are afoot to try to turn his debut album Evening Train into a musical.

GIG WISE: The latest free Murphy’s Big Gig at the Beamish & Crawford site in Cork on Aug 25 will be headlined by Peter Hook (right), formerly of Joy Division and New Order. Relations between Hooky and his ex bandmates have been fairly poor in recent years, but promises of a set comprising an entire Joy Division album, plus a selection of hits, will be hard to resist for many fans. Be aware that on the previous event of this nature, Murphys gave out too many of the tickets for the Human League, and entry to the site didn’t mean that you’d get into the area where the band were playing. So if you do get a ticket, be sure to show up early. More details at littlebignightsout.com. With the Electric Picnic fast approaching on Aug 31, final additions to the lineup include techno legend Richie Hawtin and reggae god Lee Scratch Perry, who’ll be joined by Max Romeo. Overall it looks like being the best Picnic lineup in quite a while. Damien Dempsey has a new album on the way in September and he has announced gigs in Dublin at the Button Factory on Oct 4, and Vicar Street on Dec 22. Scullion have recorded their first album in over 20 years and venues for an autumn tour will include Triskel Christchurch in Cork on Sept 27 and the Belltable Arts Centre, Limerick, on Oct 27. Hordes of trad fans will be heading to Bantry from Wednesday for the annual Master of Tradition festival.

FILM TIPS: Drimoleague-born filmmaker Pat Collins will be at Triskel Christchurch on Sunday at 8.30pm for a Q&A session on his first feature, Silence, which is also showing at the venue. Other offerings at Triskel over the next few days include The Hunter, an Australian film starring Willem Dafoe and Sam Neill; and Black Sun, promised as a collection of films from the outer reaches of experimental cinema. At the IFI in Dublin, British director Terence Davies will be present to introduce three of his films on Aug 24-25, and will take part in a Q+A with the screening of The Deep Blue Sea.

VISUAL ART: Patricia Looby’s exhibition of work, created especially for Triskel Christchurch, has just opened at the Cork venue. We’re told that it “develops her interest in medieval ecclesiastical symbolism and re-constituting redundant domestic and agricultural implements by means of aesthetics and inheritance.”

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