Des O’Driscoll's arts highlights of 2016

Our regular arts/ents writers select their personal highlights of the year

TV

My Netflix binges were two brilliant shows I’d missed on terrestrial TV: Line of Duty and Fargo II. The Walking Dead both thrilled and infuriated through the year. Otherwise, I’m with everyone on Planet Earth II and the Battle of the Bastards episode of Game of Thrones.

Music

My two favourite tracks of the year came from the electronic world: ‘Daze’ by Till Von Sein, and Rhauder’s ‘No More’, both heard via Fish Go Deep. I had the new live version of Kate Bush’s ‘Dream of Sheep’ on slightly obsessional rotation for a few weeks.

Album-wise, Malibu from Anderson Paak hit the mark on the intersection of soul, funk, and hip-hop. It was also nice to see Cork singers Deady and Jack O’Rourke breaking through.

Gigs

Simply Red at the Marquee in Cork. Not least for the amount of people who scoffed at the very thought of it, and missed a brilliant gig that mixed quality music with catchy pop classics. Even some of the schmaltzy stuff I’d switch off the radio worked so well in a live setting. Also, the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival hit a good balance between quality acts for us beardstrokers, and the more commercial artists who help pay for it all.

Radio

The Sunday troika on Newstalk of TED, Talking History and Talking Books is a fine evening’s listening. Also, Brett Westwood did some great nature documentaries for BBC 4, particularly one on tigers mixing natural history, culture, human history, etc, all wrapped in a highly entertaining package.

Film

Unashamedly parochial in that I was blown away by Room — Lenny Abrahamson really is world class.

The buzz around The Young Offenders was great, and it really did a good job of nailing the Cork thing without lapsing into ‘langer/dowcha boy’ clichés.

Podcast

My two weekly music listens are Fish Go Deep for all things house; and Gilles Peterson for the bits in between.

Reading

I hit a few fiction duds this year, but the most affecting reads were two very different factual magazine pieces: Kevin Barry’s essay on Cork for Granta that also got a run in this newspaper; and Christina Lamb’s piece in The Sunday Times on Islamic State’s treatment of the Yazidis in Iraq.

Lowlights

Licensing laws, insurance costs, venue issues, and the reluctance of punters to pay for some really good events have all helped ensure that the club and gig scene in Cork is probably at its lowest ebb for decades. Hopefully those who’ve been bravely battling this will get a few breaks in 2017.

I could also gripe about people who think it’s ok to chat away during a quiet live set, film, play, etc. I’ve put a Taser on my Santa list.

Celebrity encounters

I actually touched two gods this year: Lee Perry and David Gilmour. Haven’t washed my hand since.

Looking forward to

Big things expected of the upcoming Corcadorca/Enda Walsh collaboration, and Kevin Barry’s Autumn Royal. Kraftwerk in Dublin. And it’s already feeling like a long wait for the summer run of Game of Thrones.

READ MORE: Colette Sheridan’s arts highlights of 2016

READ MORE: Ed Power’s arts highlights of 2016


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