DJing at the National Gallery Reopening

On 14th June I did a gig that will be one of the highlights of my career; the re-opening of the National Gallery after over six years of refurbishment. It’s always been one of my favourite places in Dublin, and DJing in the Miltown Wing between a Rubens and a Rembrandt is an experience I’ll never forget.

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When I was booked for the gig, the musical references I was given included Max Richter and Mica Levi; a world away from the usual party playlist requests. And so over the course of two-and-a-half hours I played music that I never usually get the chance to play – Steve Reich and Bernard Hermann and Agnes Obel and Mahler among many others – and it was a lot of fun and a great privilege.

‘Sound & Color’ couldn’t have been a more perfect title for the night in question. The song is soulful and layered, sonically blurry and vivid at the same time.

This haunting mash-up of Blondie’s ‘Heart of Glass’ with Philip Glass’ Violin Concerto II was on my playlist from the get-go.

‘Angelica’ from Lamb’s Between Darkness and Wonder with the unmistakable sample from Debussy’s ‘Clair de Lune’ is stealthily beautiful.

There’s a great documentary available on the RTE Player about the refurbishment of the gallery.

Whether you spend fifteen minutes in the new portrait gallery, or an hour in the gorgeous cafe, or all day marvelling at the paintings and the craftsmanship, just go! It’s one of the most beautiful places in the country.

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Mo Kelly’s exhibition ‘Contrast, Light + Illuminated Dusk’ at The Red Bank

Mo Kelly is currently exhibiting her most recent work in The Red Bank on Dublin’s Duke Street. ‘Contrast, Light + Illuminated Dusk’ marks Mo’s twentieth solo show, a huge milestone. Brava!

Mo’s work is inspired by opera, literature, film, and especially travelling. Her other hugely successful career as a DJ also plays a big part (she’s played at clubs, events, private parties and festivals in Ireland, Europe and Dubai). DJs tend to be night-owls (if anyone knows, I know!) and this influence is clear in her paintings: shadows at dusk and twilight trickery, city nightscapes, pale trees illuminated by silver and gold moons. I went to the exhibition opening and loved her new work, especially the vivid red lanterns suspended in the night sky inspired by her recent trip to Thailand.

The exhibition is running for the next few weeks so pop into The Red Bank and check it out. If you see a painting you like and it’s sold, give Mo a shout as she has other work available outside of the exhibition.

Foil, Arms & Hog

Foil, Arms & Hog are an Irish sketch group comprised of Sean Finegan, Conor McKenna and Sean Flanagan. In an interview the first Sean explained the origin of the name: ‘I’m foil as in the comedic foil…the straight man who sets everyone up for their jokes. Arms is really clumsy. He’s all arms and legs, like a bit of a John Cleese…We called him Arms because he couldn’t do any of the straight roles…We didn’t know what to call Sean Flanagan, until we realised that he tends to hog the sketches…So Foil, Arms and Hog is basically the artsy version of boring, clumsy and selfish.’ (He appears to be prone to self-deprecation.)

They’re from Rathfarnham and met at university where they studied Engineering, Architecture and Genetics respectively. Over the last eight years they have toured in Ireland, the UK, Australia and the US. Their Youtube channel currently has over 75,000 subscribers and they upload a new video every Thursday, the most recent one being Fifteen Habits of the Mega Rich.

Some of my favourites are below but you should subscribe to their Youtube channel for a weekly bite-size dose of craic. I haven’t yet had the pleasure of catching a live show but am keeping an eye on their tour schedule.

Niamh Barry

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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.

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The Velveteen Rabbit, Dublin

The Velveteen Rabbit was one of my favourite books as a child and now it’s also the name of a gorgeous furniture store in Dublin. The shop is the brainchild of Zoe Carney, a fashion and design professional from Dublin, and its first incarnation was a pop-up shop on Baggot Street for a few months last year. Spurred on by its success, Zoe has created a warehouse space in Harold’s Cross and an online shop, showcasing the collection of furniture and decoration for sale, and items available for prop hire.

There are stunning pieces sourced from France, Hungary and Sweden, and Zoe has reconditioned some of the antiques, putting her own distinctive signature on the collection. The shades of blue and green and the aged patina give the pieces lots of character. Zoe also offers a reupholstery service so if you fall in love with a fauteuil but don’t like the colour, you can have it changed to suit.

The Velveteen Rabbit is located at Home Studios in Harold’s Cross and open by appointment from Wednesday to Saturday. Click on the pics to be taken to the items on The Velveteen Rabbit site.

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1930s White Patine Louis XVI Fauteuil
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Green Transylvanian Table
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Vintage Siphon Bottles
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Vintage Dutch Trestle Table
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19th Century Hungarian Printer’s Drawers
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Antique Hungarian Sideboard

Club Thing (RAC Remix) – Yoav

Pic by Lili Forberg

A couple of weekends ago I had the pleasure of DJing at the Dundrum Town Centre Spring/Summer 2015 fashion shows. I’ve been working with the team there for five seasons and it’s always a lot of fun. Plus Colm Corrigan’s impeccable styling generally makes me want to spend my fee there and then!

I love researching tunes for shows, trying to find the perfect songs for the brief and the perfect tempo for the models. Dundrum shows happen on the mall and the audience ranges from two to eighty-two, so the music was fun with a summery vibe.

I usually end up with a shortlist of twenty songs and have to narrow it down to six. This tune was one of the ones that didn’t make it as it gets a bit heavy towards the end but I really like this RAC remix. It’s got an 80s electro feel, plus the ‘beautiful girl’ lyric would have really worked with models stomping the runway!

Dubliners 100

A couple of weeks ago I attended the launch of Thomas Morris’s Dubliners 100 published by Tramp Press. Tramp Press are an independent publishing company set up in Dublin this year by Sarah Davis-Goff and Lisa Coen, and their mission is to find brilliant new literary voices to nurture and publish. Dubliners 100 is their second title; the first was Flight, a debut novel by Oona Frawley. Thomas Morris served as editor of this collection and he invited new and established Irish writers to create ‘cover versions’ of their favourite stories from James Joyce’s Dubliners to commemorate the centenary of the original.

The list of contributors to the book is a testament to the fact that Irish fiction is flourishing in recent times. Included are established writers like Patrick McCabe and John Boyne, debut novelists Oona Frawley and Eimear McBride, and some favourites of mine like Peter Murphy, Paul Murray and Donal Ryan.

I had only read the stories in Joyce’s Dubliners a couple of times and so I decided to read Dubliners 100 in a specific way: reading the original Joyce story and reading the Dubliners 100 version immediately afterwards. It’s been a fascinating process as some writers have chosen to reinterpret the original story in a more obvious way, and others barely allude to the Joycean one at all. So far I have loved John Kelly’s version of A Little Cloud, and Eimear McBride’s version of Ivy Day in the Committee Room showcases again her incredible talent for language.

But don’t worry! Knowledge of Joyce isn’t essential and if you haven’t read the original stories in Dubliners you could certainly enjoy Dubliners 100 on its own merits. Plus it’s a great introduction to fifteen wonderful Irish writers. You can buy it in bookshops or direct from Tramp Press via their website.