Our regular contributors select their highlights of the year
Top show at the Marquee 2017 had to be Eddie Vedder. Seeing the Pearl Jam frontman trying out a ropey Irish accent while connecting with the front row was, no doubt, down to the influence of his support act Glen Hansard.
The pair make an art of tuneful shouting. And a personal highlight from a great year at Cork Opera House had to be John Prine, still one of the great entertainers.
Christy Moore’s On The Road 24-track live album from tours over the last three years is a gem. All the hits, a great band, Declan Sinnott’s sublime guitar, plus a booklet with a pocket history of each song. A living legend.
Sylvie Simmons’s I’m Your Man is a fascinating biography of Leonard Cohen. Lovely bloke, clearly had a ‘little boy lost’ charm, and the women were queuing up to look after him. And who knew he gave Scientology a fair run? Very comprehensive, Sylvie talks to virtually everyone he knew.
Really enjoyed Baby Driver, saviour of the heist format. Shakespeare it ain’t, but only because the Bard hadn’t the budget for car chases on this self-indulgent scale.
Speaking of big budgets, one-legged lifelong bachelor Hamish, 88, was just one of the stars of Channel 4’s Old People’s Home for 4-Year-Olds. If your faith in humankind is running low, the infectious innocence of this will revive you. In the summer, a bunch of tots breathed new life befriending old folks in a retirement home. Six months later, they all met up again to perform a Christmas carol show.
Old women discarding their crutches, the tots learn big life lessons.
Bonding with four-year-old Millie, Hamish takes a rapid personal journey from potential crank to Gleemeister-in-chief.
When you’re done with the Blue Planet, trawl the online archives for this; an hour of your life you won’t regret.
John Creedon’s RTÉ Radio 1 show from 8pm-10pm week nights is still the best place to hear great music.
Really enjoyed the tributes to mark Tom Petty’s passing. And it was good to hear John Prine, during his Opera House show, pay tribute to ‘Creedo’ for championing his music to his radio listeners.
Dance the night away with Fish Go Deep Radio.
Any other highlights?
Jack O’Rourke breaking through. The sun shining on Cork Midsummer Festival’s Picnic in the Park; even the gods were smiling on the amazing High Hopes Choir. And, of course, Trump’s election, a bigger boost for comedy than any Arts Council grant.
The revival of vinyl. Who needs scratchy music collection that needs reinvesting a fortune in a prehistoric sound system? Far too big a price to discover nostalgia really was better first time around.
Andy Irvine. An all-time great folk musician and a gent to boot, despite him patiently deflecting my every attempt to dig out backstage anecdotes. In hindsight, he’s right that the dust should be allowed to settle on the days of yore.
It’s far more interesting to cast your line into the living current. Fair dues, Andy. Fire that bloke who said you should never meet your idols.
Looking forward to...
Great lineup for Live At The Marquee 2018. Ed Sheeran at newly refurbed Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
And The Young Offenders as a six-part TV series. It’s about time the rest of the world joined in with Cork people laughing at Cork people.
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