A question of taste with Cian Ó Cíobháin

Cian Ó Cíobháin is originally from west Kerry, but has been living in Galway since his college days. This week, his electronic music show on Raidio na Gaeltachta, An Taobh Tuathail, is marking 17 years on air. It’s broadcast Monday to Friday at 10pm.

Best recent books: Stephen Witt — How Music Got Free; Daniel Taylor — I Believe In Miracles: The Remarkable Story of Brian Clough’s European Cup-winning Team; Ian Kershaw — To Hell & Back: Europe, 1914-1949; and Ed Cesar — Two Hours, and The Quest To Run The Impossible Marathon.

Best recent film: I quite enjoyed Todd Haynes’ Carol. Very graceful and bittersweet. Like I’d imagine how Mad Men would turn out if directed by Krzysztof Kieslowski.

Best recent exhibition/gig you’ve seen: I’m really looking forward to seeing my cousin Áine Ní Chíobháin’s exhibition on Inis Oirr in July. I’ll be DJing at the launch.

What formats do you access music? I’m lucky that I get sent most of my music for free. It used to be the case that I would arrive at work each day to stacks of vinyl and CDs. Now record labels pretty much send all their music digitally. So WAVs and MP3s.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately: ‘Shinzo No Tobira’ by Japanese art pop group Mariah, from 1983.

First ever piece of music or art or film or gig that really moved you: As a child, John Williams’ ‘Cavatina’ from The Deerhunter soundtrack and I recall being completely blown away by the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971).

The best gig you’ve ever seen: Pixies in the Point in the summer of 1991 was pretty special.

Tell us about your TV viewing: Hooked on Better Call Saul. Might it be even better than Breaking Bad? Also regularly watching Hannibal; Vikings; Alan Partridge’s Mid Morning Matters; House Of Cards, and my favourite soap, Match Of The Day’.

Radio listening: Lots of sports shows, Off The Ball on Newstalk in particular; Rónán Mac Aodha Bhuí ar RnaG; Sean Moncrieff on Nova; Blue Of The Night on Lyric FM; An Nóta Gorm ar Radió na Life le Billy Ó Hanluain; An Meangadh Mór le Fiona Gavin; Nialler 9 on TXFM; Ar Mhuin Na Muice le Aoife Nic Canna ar Near FM, and I often catch snippets of John Creedon’s show on Radio 1.

Name three of your music heroes: Aphex Twin; Delia Derbyshire, and Ian Curtis.

Your best/most famous celebrity encounter: There was the night that Woody Harrelson (in drag) and Alicia Silverstone came out to rave at a club I ran with Aran McMahon in Galway called Boogaloo.

Most expensive item of clothing you’ve ever bought: An overcoat for about €300.

Tech habits: Shazam on my iPhone, both to put a tag on hearing music I like and also — more importantly — to ID the stuff that I deplore (certain tracks on commercial radio that filter through into my life). I need to be up-to-speed with what annoys me.

Unsung hero — individual, organisation or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve: EQUATE, which is a children’s rights organisation which advocates equal rights to education for all children regardless of their religious upbringing.

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

Firstly, I would make Ireland a secular state. Then I would bring our licensing laws into line with the rest of the Europe. To have later opening hours for our clubs so that people can dance without the imposition of a a ridiculously early curfew would be hugely beneficial to our tourist economy. It would also take the stress off our country’s emergency wards at 2.30am at weekends, when everybody pours onto the streets at once. This is a long-running recipe for public order disaster that could easily be avoided, if legislators actually listened to people at the coalface.


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