I first came into contact with Niamh Barry many years ago when we both had jobs in the Crafts Council of Ireland. Working part-time in the shop was my job right the way through school and college (and the longest position I ever held, totalling twelve years!), and Niamh also worked there part-time while simultaneously making her art.

Last year I saw an incredibly beautiful lighting piece on Instagram and when I clicked on the picture, I found out that the artist responsible was Niamh. Niamh now creates custom light sculptures, both for private clients and for businesses (you can see one of her pieces in Optica, on Dawson Street). In addition she has exhibited extensively internationally.

I have a very very high ceiling in my kitchen which I had thought I would fill with an interesting chandelier, but no more! Now I dream of a piece by Niamh and when my budget allows I’ll be contacting her to commission something unique, timeless and beautiful.





I’ve spent the last week painting my bedroom, which makes it sound huge when in actual fact it’s just slightly bigger than a postage stamp but I make a lot of clumsy mistakes necessitating many do-overs and clean-ups. In the process I’ve been listening to way more music than usual, caning much beloved old albums and buying newer stuff.

One of the new tunes on rotation is Kim Gordon’s very first solo single ‘Murdered Out’. It’s droney, discordant, distorted, and I love it! It harkens back to Gordon’s post-punk roots but the crisp production lends it a more modern feel.

Can you believe that it’s Gordon’s first solo release? I couldn’t. She’s a founding member of Sonic Youth, a songwriter, musician and singer, a fashion designer and visual artist. Now sixty-three years old she’s a rock icon and a revered trailblazer, with artists like Roisin Murphy, Karen O, and Kathleen Hanna claiming her as an influence. A solo release seems WAY overdue. Here’s to a lot more.



The world of manufactured pop has been begging for a mockumentary for a long time and in Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping it finally gets the parody it deserves. Conner4Real (Andy Samberg) forms a band called Style Boyz with his childhood friends and they become popular due to their good looks and dance gimmick, the ‘Donkey Roll’. When they inevitably break up under the pressures of fame, Conner goes solo, with bandmate Kid Contact (Jorma Taccone) relegated to hitting play on an iPod under the guise of beat-maker and DJ.

Conner is propelled to superstardom with his catchphrase verse on ‘Turn Up The Beef’ by Claudia Cantrell (Emma Stone), and it seems he can do no wrong until he makes a deal to automatically upload his newest album to household appliances via WIFI (shades of Ireland’s original boyband?) leading to a backlash and Conner’s fall from grace.

Never Stop Never Stopping has its roots in the carefully controlled promotional films of pop stars since the genre began, from The Beatles to Madonna to Katy PerryJustin Beiber‘s ‘Believe’ seems to be a direct inspiration – just check out this trailer which might seem like a parody if you didn’t know any better. Writers Andy Samberg and Akiva Schaffer have hit every recognisable plot point: a mother who gave up her own dreams of stardom and now parties with the kids (Joan Cusack), a faux relationship with a fame hungry singer (Imogen Poots), and a support act in the tradition of ‘All About Eve’. Sarah Silverman as Conner’s publicist delivers some gems in her trademark deadpan: ‘I’d like to get Conner to the point where he’s everywhere, like oxygen or gravity or clinical depression.’

The cameos are a who’s who of the Billboard charts: Ringo Starr, Questlove, Pink, 50 Cent, Carrie Underwood and RZA are among many recognisable faces. Mariah Carey in particular is worth watching out for, brilliantly sending herself up in just a couple of lines of dialogue. And Andy Samberg is perfect as Conner: handsome enough to be believable, a better than decent dancer and singer, and so committed to the role that you can’t help but be on his side even though he’s eye-rollingly stupid.

Never Stop Never Stopping is cleverly written and its Spinal Tap style satire delivers proper laughs. If you haven’t seen it, it’s one to put on your list for an afternoon watch this weekend.

I saw these amazing space-travel posters on a friend of mine’s Facebook feed and knew that I had to spread the word a bit further. They can be found on the NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory website and there are fourteen of them. ‘As you look through these images of imaginative travel destinations, remember that you can be an architect of the future.’

There’s a bit more on the design of each poster available here. The NASA design team took inspiration from the iconic WPA posters from the late 30s and 40s. Despite the retro feel, these posters were created and released earlier this year.

And the best part? They are available to download and print FOR FREE! How generous is that? I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely getting a couple of these printed and framed for my walls. View and download them here.






Last week I DJed for the Louise Kennedy AW16 fashion show in her stunning atelier on Merrion Square. When compiling the playlist I rediscovered some overlooked gems in my music collection and found some new ones on iTunes. ‘Feel Like I Do’ by Disclosure fell into the former category – it was first released in June and I bought it when it came out. It didn’t make the cut for the show but I’ve been playing it at home for the last few days. It’s perfect for the end of our Indian summer; laid back, with a feel-good groove and gorgeous vocals.

The vocal is sampled from an Al Green song, ‘I’m Still In Love With You’. Disclosure asked permission to use it and when Al Green heard the track he gave them the original vocal recordings to use, a stamp of approval if ever there was one!



As an Irish girl with no interest in sport of any kind I had never heard of OJ Simpson until 1995, but on holiday on the west coast that summer it was a conversation that was impossible to avoid. I watched American Crime Story earlier this year, the dramatisation of the trial starring Sarah Paulson, Courtney B. Vance and Cuba Gooding Junior. While the performances were excellent I found the pace very slow. When I read early reports of the documentary miniseries OJ Simpson: Made In America I knew it was much more up my street.

OJ Simpson: Made In America was broadcast by ESPN in June in five parts totalling eight hours, starting with OJ’s glory years: football in USC in late 60s including what became known as ‘The Run’, a 1967 match against UCLA, his acting career and subsequent fame. Adored by the public and by his friends, he was charismatic, handsome, charming and funny: ‘everybody’s best friend.’

It was in his relationship with Nicole that his dark side surfaced. He met her in a nightclub when she was just eighteen. He was married but they started an affair, then OJ divorced his wife and married Nicole. True to form he continued having affairs yet he was incredibly jealous of Nicole, often becoming violent and verbally abusive. A couple of Nicole’s phone calls to 911 are played and she is clearly in fear of her life as OJ rages in the background.

In tandem with OJ’s story the documentary shows the history of black people in Los Angeles: Watt’s Riots, Rodney King, 1992 Los Angeles Riots, police brutality and racial profiling. It’s impossible to talk about OJ without seeing the murder trial in this wider context.

OJ’s trial became about race and he became a symbol of civil rights injustice, when in fact he had turned his back on the African-American community throughout his life. When he was asked to become an activist he refused, he married a white woman, he socialised with white people and lived in Brentwood, a predominantly white and very affluent suburb of LA. OJ often said, ‘I’m not black, I’m OJ’, believing that his celebrity transcended race.

The interesting thing is that when discussing the verdict both jury members and onlookers viewed his exoneration as payback for how black people were treated in America, ‘for Rodney King’. Almost nobody discusses his guilt or innocence, as if that was such a secondary issue it wasn’t worth mentioning. To this day no-one else has been tried for the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, and OJ has on numerous occasions outright confessed or alluded to his guilt.

The final part of the documentary focusses on OJ’s life after his criminal acquittal and it’s a sleazy and sordid mess, involving drugs, alcohol, sex and bad rap music, culminating in his 2007 arrest for robbery in Las Vegas. Thirteen years to the day after he was acquitted for the double murder he was found guilty of robbery, then sentenced to thirty-three years in jail.

As regular readers of this blog know, I’m a huge fan of documentary filmmaking. OJ: Made in America is one of the best I have ever seen, a meticulously researched and riveting piece of investigative journalism which deserves a huge audience.

De La Soul released their first album in eleven years last Friday, De La Soul and the Anonymous Nobody. The first single from the album dropped in June, a collaboration with Snoop Dogg called ‘Pain’.

There are a lot of guest stars including Jill Scott, Estelle, Little Dragon and Damon Albarn. The album sounds fairly eclectic ranging from straight up R&B (Usher) to gangsta rap (2Chainz) and chilled out 90s throwback vibes (Snoop Dogg). I personally love the new wave collaboration with David Byrne, ‘Snoopies’.

The band also released a half hour long documentary about the album detailing the Kickstarter funding for the project. They had set a goal for themselves of $110,000 but the fans were so excited that just 11,000 people raised $600,000 in a few hours. Not many bands can retain a fan base so rabid that they would fund an album after eleven years of silence but De La Soul have a very special place in hip hop.

McMansion: mass produced mansion; generally used to denote a new, or recent, multi-story house of no clear architectural style, which prizes superficial appearance, and sheer size, over quality.

The McMansion Hell blog is a recent discovery of mine and it has provided me with much amusement. It’s written by an American woman named Kate who grew up in North Carolina and now lives in Baltimore, Maryland. In her own words: ‘I love to hate shitty and bloated houses with a passion. I’m always seeing what monstrosities are for sale all around the US. Bonus points for dated-ness and McMansion architectural faux pas. These are all houses that are currently on the market, rather than just rehashing the same 50 McMansion pics from Google Images.’

What turns a big house into a McMansion? Kate provides a definition here. She finds much to ridicule in current American architecture and she sure as hell knows what she’s talking about. My favourite parts of the blog are the captions she uses in photographs; always edifying, always funny.

Some examples below. Click on the locations to be taken to the original post on the McMansion Hell blog. Enjoy!


Emma Cline is just twenty-seven and already the recipient of a three book deal worth $2 million after a bidding war between twelve publishers. That’s the kind of thing that rarely happens these days, and even when it does it’s no guarantee of quality or originality (I’m looking at you Garth Risk Hallberg, AKA the stark naked emperor). Thankfully in Cline’s case, both the advance and the accompanying hype surrounding her debut novel The Girls are very much deserved.

Evie Boyd is a middle-aged woman in between jobs who is taking a break and staying in her friend’s house. She seems as if she is on the periphery of life, working as a carer, ‘cultivating a genteel invisibility in sexless clothes, my face blurred with the pleasant ambiguous expression of a lawn ornament.’ Her friend’s teenage son Julian shows up unexpectedly one night together with his girlfriend Sasha, disrupting Evie’s solitude. Julian knows about Evie’s past, her time in a cult in the late 1960s in California, and over the next few days prompted by Julian’s lurid interest, Evie begins to reflect on what happened.

In 1969 Evie is fourteen, alienated and lonely, blossoming sexually, and scarily impressionable. She is captivated by Suzanne, a glamorously cool older girl who lives in a commune with a guru and his band of followers. The commune is a fictionalised version of the Manson Family, and the charismatic leader Russell, with his long hair, buckskin shirt and failed music career, is based on Charles Manson. Evie is gradually drawn deeper into the cult, taking drugs and partying, sleeping with Russell, until she lives full-time at the ranch and is embroiled in increasingly dangerous behaviour, rolling towards the inevitable conclusion (a murder based on the infamous Tate-LaBianca killings).

A cold cynic might say that basing the novel on the Manson murders is a smart commercial move. Manson still holds a certain level of fascination and this handy reference point may have proved irresistible to publishers. However Cline’s writing is what makes this a memorable book. Her ability to conjure up the emotional turmoil and insecurity of a fourteen year old girl is masterful, and at times the perfectly observed detail in her writing creates an intensely visual experience. No wonder the film rights were snapped up before publication.

The Girls is an accomplished debut novel, all the more so given Cline’s young age. In a business where most published writers under the age of thirty are viewed with deep suspicion, she has set herself up for an already lauded and interesting career.


Chances are that even if you’re not a jazz fan you’ll have heard the above song, ‘My Funny Valentine’ as sung by Chet Baker. He’s the subject of a new biopic Born to be Blue starring Ethan Hawke which I saw in The Lighthouse last weekend. I read Deep In A Dream by James Gavin years ago so I was familiar with Baker’s story: a trumpet player who exemplified West Coast cool jazz as opposed to the harder, more experimental East Coast players like Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie, a guy with James Dean good looks that he famously ruined with hard living, and who died when he was just fifty-eight, falling out of a hotel window high on coke and heroin.

The film is factual in some respects. Yes, Baker’s life took a tragic turn at the age of twenty-seven when he discovered heroin. It’s true that his teeth were kicked out in a fight, so he had to learn to play again with dentures, a grisly process depicted in detail in the film. (I went to see this with my Dad who is a sax player and who has had problems with his teeth in the past, so he easily related to Chet. He couldn’t watch the scenes of Chet practising, gums bleeding, obviously in tremendous physical pain, but also desperate to play again.) Yes, Chet was imprisoned for drug use in Italy and America, and he fucked up his romantic relationships due to his addiction, although Jane (played by Carmen Ejogo) is a composite character.

Other elements are clearly fictional. The shots of Baker playing trumpet in the surf, on top of a caravan, resting on the roof of a snow covered shed, in corn fields, on the edge of a cliff, in the bath, struck me as being the kind of romantic notions a director might have about a musician. (What serious trumpet player brings his horn into the sea? Sea salt + brass = disaster!) While the individual shots are beautifully composed, the montage gets a little cheesy.

The film is stylised, with flashbacks in black and white and then returning to colour to show the events of 1966, the year Chet lost his teeth, had to learn to play again and made his comeback playing in Birdland. Ethan Hawke is excellent as Baker, conveying his charm, vulnerability and insecurity. Apparently Hawke was first approached about playing Baker fifteen years ago and he has obviously done his homework since. He learned how to play trumpet for the film and also wore dentures to correctly portray Baker’s mumble.

Fittingly Born to be Blue struck me like a jazz tune, an interpretation of Chet’s life rather than factually rigorous. I thoroughly enjoyed it.


The Multiverse

is a blog from an Irish writer and DJ which takes in a wide range of subject matter as follows: Monday’s blogs are related to literature and writing; Tuesday is fashion, style and beauty; Wednesday is music; Thursday is TV and cinema; and Friday is a miscellany.

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The perfect lil sofa for my wee house, found at the gorgeous pop-up shop on Dawson St from @sevenwoodlifestyle. 'Dear Santa...' DJing today in the RDS for the Saastock Conference. :) #saastock16 Thank you @lancomeofficial for making my holy grail foundation. Pale enough for a ghost like me with SPF 50 to boot! I am a very happy girl. #teintidoleultra DJing at the @1louisekennedy shows today. Clothes, hair, makeup, styling, everything is perfection! @thaliaheffernan and January almost ready to go! #Dublin #DJlife Lovely evening at the Oyster Festival launch. This is the perfect quote on the back of a shuckers tshirt!  #oysterfestival #Dublin  #cliffhouse I guess the kid smoking a bowl on the left is really going to appreciate the Haribo when the munchies kick in. #vintagetin #haribo #munchies


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