Archive for November, 2010


Originally published in The Irish Times, November 5th 2010

NO OFFENCE to any natives out there, but as British cities go, Norwich is about as bog-standard as they come. So when a person like Darwin Smith trundles into a cafe at the bus station on a rainy Monday morning – a tall, gangly, geeky-looking sort of chap, with a hipster moustache, lank curls restrained by a thin headband and NHS specs that would turn Morrissey green with envy – and plonks himself down with a large sandwich and a smoothie, you can’t help but notice him. Continue reading


Another catch-up post. Apologies. I really just want an excuse to prove that I can spell ‘miscellaneous’.

The past few weeks have been a bit crazy for me, but I’ve managed to get to a few gigs and listen to a few albums (behaviour becoming of a music journalist, I’m sure you’ll agree), and even got to the cinema for the first time in months. Continue reading


Originally published in The Irish Times Magazine on Saturday, October 16th 2010

EVER HEARD OF Meiert Avis? Didn’t think so. How about Steve Barron? No? Well, jot those names down for your next pub quiz, because there may just be a question about Irish-born music-video directors. Avis is the man behind U2’s early videos ( I Will Follow, The Unforgettable Fire, With Or Without You ) as well as videos by some of the biggest names in music, Bruce Springsteen and Bob Dylan included. Barron directed two of the most famous music videos of the 1980s – the revolutionary animation/live-action crossover Take On Me , and Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean – as well as videos by The Human League, Whitney Houston and David Bowie.

Yet Avis and Barron aside, there has never really been a tradition of innovative music video-making in Ireland. Now, however, thanks to the internet and the easy availability of high-end equipment, there are a group of young Irish filmmakers starting to make a splash. Continue reading


Settle an argument here, folks (yes, it started in the pub). I maintain that Bill’s ‘luscious’ locks are only partially his own, and that there’s definitely a hairpiece of some sort going on there. I’m sorry, but there’s just no way it looks real. And have you ever seen it look dishevelled or even slightly DIFFERENT? Yet several of my buddies have scoffed at the notion. What’s it to be?


Might get a bit of slagging for this one, but in that case, well…. feck off. Continue reading


Originally published in The Irish Times, October 29th 2010.

THERE’S just no getting around it: Tinie Tempah is what you might call a charmer.

At 21, the UK’s newest urban star is already well versed in schmoozing journos, offering a double-cheeked kiss, a glass of water, and a polite enquiry about how our morning has gone so far. Add to that his impeccable grooming and his dapper dress sense, and he’s the kind of young man that most fans would be only too happy to bring home to mother. Continue reading


Here it is, finally: the last five titles in the unintentionally protracted ‘Albums of the Noughties’ countdown. It can only be anti-climactic after this wait, right? You can see #20 – 15 here, #14 – 11 here, and #10 – 6 here.

Continue reading