Gillian Welch – ‘The Harrow & the Harvest’

Look, I’m not going to complain about my job. I love being able to a) listen to music all day and b) write for a living. I’m extremely lucky to be able to do so, and remind myself of that as often as I can. Sure, there are downsides, but it’s far from a difficult job. But at the risk of sounding like I’m moaning, there’s a lot of totally shit music out there. And often, I have to listen to it. It wears you down. Then an album like this comes along. And you get to speak to its co-creator. And you think ‘I’d listen to nothing but shit albums for a month if one like this comes along in a blue moon’.

Yes, it’s brilliant. Beautiful, simple, rich and soothing. It’s so obvious that Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings love making music together. It’s been worth the 8-year wait. Looking forward to seeing her in November (date TBA).


Joseph O’Connor – ‘Star of the Sea’

This book comes strongly recommended by someone who claims it as their favourite-ever book by an Irish author. I’m about 50 pages in, and it’s slow to move so far, but I’m enjoying how O’Connor is slowly building each character’s backstory, keeping them all simmering away while switching between them.

I love famine stories and always mean to do more reading on the topic of workhouses, etc. I think it stems from a book I read many times as a kid, but couldn’t find: Marita Conlon-McKenna’s ‘Under the Hawthorn Tree’. I’ve looked for this many times in bookshops and can’t find it! Maybe I imagined it?


Jon Ronson – ‘The Psychopath Test’

Now this, on the other hand, is totally engrossing. It’s a great read, documenting Ronson’s investigation into psychopaths and psychopathic behaviour. I’m a big fan of his writing in general, and this book zips along and is so interesting and humorous, despite its heavy subject matter. I’ve been listening to a few Ronson podcasts recently too – gutted I missed his talk in Dublin back in May.


Nothing. I’m still trying to find a series to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped hole in my life. My interest in The Killing has kind of petered out after the first five episodes or so. I watched the first two episodes of The Shadow Line and thought they were good, but not great. The Apprentice is over (yeah Tom!). I didn’t like Parks & Recreation. I think I’m too hard to please.


Google+…. I’m confused. Circles? +1? I don’t think I could be arsed. I still joined, mind you – but what is this insatiable need we have to find twenty different ways of keeping in touch with the same people over and over again? I’m as guilty as the next person on this count…


Going to see Tim & Eric at the Vodafone Comedy Festival this weekend and I’m both excited and curious. These guys are funny without trying to be – that’s why they’re funny. But how will their show translate live?

A top 5 moment from Awesome Show, Great Job:


Morrissey! Next week! Twice! In my favourite Irish venue!


9 responses to this post.

  1. Oooh…must check out Gillian Welch.

    Have you tried Mad Men yet? I’m about three seasons in and loving it.


  2. Posted by Lauren on July 20, 2011 at 11:26 am

    Hi Elaine – yeah, I devoured Mad Men as soon as it came out, I’m afraid. Have to wait a whole year for the next season!


  3. Poo…

    When I run out of things to watch I usually have re-runs of Freaks and Geeks or My So-Called Life! Freaks and Geeks is especially good (if you like Judd Apatow) and the soundtrack is great.


  4. Posted by Gary G on July 20, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Hey Lauren,

    That O’Connor book has been recommended to me several times. Doubtless he’s very talented but I’ve never been a huge fan of his. Do please give us your opinion when finished though. Currently reading and loving The Satanic Verses. Really reminding me of one of my all time favourites ‘Midnights Children’.

    Had been meaning to get that Welch record. You just reminded me so thanks.

    How I miss Game of Thrones. Loved P&R though. Did you ever watch The Singing Detective – Potters 80’s British series? Very film noire. One of best tv series ever made IMO.

    Really enjoyable post. Ta.

    PS You going to Jeff Mangum?


  5. Posted by Lauren on July 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    Elaine – Yeah, I watched Freaks & Geeks over the course of about three very unproductive days a few years ago, it’s great. Never got into My So-Called Life, though.

    Gary – Cheers! Haven’t got a ticket for Jeff Mangum, but might try to catch one floating around closer to the gig. The Gillian Welch album is superb, so pure and well-constructed. And the book is getting better and better as it goes along, I’m really starting to get into it. I haven’t read any of O’Connor’s other books though.


  6. Don’t give up on the Killing (the Danish version), it gets satisfyingly addictive.


    • Posted by Lauren on July 24, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      Hi Cian – yeah, maybe that’s where I went wrong, starting with the American version! I’ll give it another go.


  7. I’ve only started on Game of Thrones a few weeks ago and I’m enjoying it so far. It took alot of convincing though, mostly because Sky have been promoting it and to me thats like Gadaffi promoting Libyan culture. I’m not big on fantasy either. But anyway, I’m really liking it. I’m about six episodes in and all the plots are in place and its starting to get really interesting.

    That Irish actor though… (he was the mayor in The Wire aswell) I can’t figure out whether I like him. He’s a good actor but he just exudes this pure smugness whenever he’s oncreen, rather than being a villian you love to hate.

    As for more telly, Deadwood passed alot of people by when it first came out. I suppose it was overshadowed by the finalé of Sopranos, so if you haven’t seen that one it’s worth your time.


  8. Posted by Lauren on July 25, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Hi Peter – yeah, I loved Deadwood. Absolutely brilliant series, yet it never gets mentioned amongst the greats. Ian McShane was superb, all memories of Lovejoy thankfully erased…

    Glad you’re liking Game of Thrones, it had that ‘just one more episode before bed’ quality for me, and I’d never usually be into that sort of fantasy stuff, either. The endings to last two episodes are excellent (no spoilers!). I know what you mean about Aidan Gillen – I think he’s a great actor, but he is quite smug in this role. I don’t know whether that’s because that’s what the character from the book is supposed to be like, or not…


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