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.

Totally Irish and Jafaris

Last Sunday the lovely John Barker asked me to be a guest on his show Totally Irish on 98FM. As the name suggests, the show is focussed on Irish music, from up and coming and established artists. Ham Sandwich did a live acoustic set followed by a set from Rocstrong. After that I joined John, together with Martin Byrne from Other Voices, to talk about three tracks from three Irish artists: James Vincent McMorrow, Jafaris, and The Fontaines.

I already knew and loved James Vincent McMorrow, I wasn’t such a huge fan of The Fontaines, and Jafaris was by far my favourite track of the evening. You might recognise Jafaris from his role in the award winning Irish movie Sing Street. As well as being an actor, he’s an accomplished rapper and has just released a four track EP called Velvet Cake available on iTunes. My favourite track from the EP is ‘Keep Your Head High’.

Jafaris is working with Diffusion Lab (who are doing some amazing work with Irish hip hop artists) and they have created a couple of videos for this EP, including this gorgeously shot one for ‘Love Dies’.

If you want to check out the whole podcast of the show, here’s the link.  I’m on in the last half an hour. Hope you enjoy!

Under Pressure – Queen and David Bowie

 

There are some songs that transcend genres, decades, and fashions, and end up being an inspiration for the ages. ‘Under Pressure’ is, as the staff in Whelan’s will tell you, one of my favourite songs to end a DJ set, and one of my favourite songs of all time.

Two geniuses on one track is rare. Freddie Mercury ranks among the superlative singers in any genre of the last century, and Bowie’s style and influence is inimitable; together they created magic. ‘Under Pressure’ is twenty-five years old this year but has the true hallmark of a classic: it sounds just as contemporary as the day it was recorded.

And the lyrics are pretty powerful:

‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word
And love dares you to care for
The people on the edge of the night
And love dares you to change our way of
Caring about ourselves
This is our last dance
This is our last dance
This is ourselves
Under pressure’

This version has been doing the social-media rounds recently, I suppose due to Bowie’s death and a renewed interest in every detail of his career. It’s the vocal track from the song, just Mercury and Bowie, no other instruments, no autotune, no bullshit, just two gifted singers at the top of their game. Do yourself a favour and check it out. It sends shivers up my spine.

 

Hot 8 Brass Band play Dublin

I squealed a bit when I found out that Hot 8 Brass Band are playing in The Sugar Club on October 25th. For those who haven’t heard of them, they’re a brass band formed in 1995 and based in New Orleans. They play a mix of marching music, hip-hop and R&B in a traditional New Orleans style. The band came to wider prominence when they were featured in Spike Lee’s documentary When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. They’ve gigged all over the world and in fact played in Ireland on Paddy’s Day 2013.

For a taste of what you expect, here they are doing one of my favourite tracks. I’d say the gig will be a party and a half! You can buy tickets here.

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

Alexander Wang x H&M

Once again I get the pleasure of working with H&M at the launch of one of their designer collaborations. Last year I DJed at the launch of Isabel Marant pour H&M, and on Thursday morning I’m taking to the decks instore at King Street for the launch of the Alexander Wang collaboration.

The video below shows a preview of what we can expect, and it’s heavily sportswear influenced; leggings, hoodies, crop tops, and technical fabrics. I can’t wait to see the clothes in person!

If you’re in town, come in and say Hi. I’ll be playing from 9am to 12pm.

Dream DJ Gig: Isabel Marant pour H&M launch

Today I finally get to share the exciting news I’ve been sitting on for a couple of months! On Thursday morning I get to play a dream DJ gig: the launch of Isabel Marant pour H&M. Obviously, for a fashion obsessive such as myself, this is one of those gigs one always hopes for!

I previewed this collaboration, and talked about previous H&M collaborations, on the blog when it was announced. Since then I’ve been scouring the internet regularly for lookbook images. (You can see the entire lookbook with prices here.) While it would be all too easy to blow my entire fee before I’ve even finished playing, I’m going to be sensible! Below are my three favourite items  and I’d say the jumper is the one I’ll buy; perfect for the freezingness of winter about to hit us. Luckily enough I’ll get a sneak peek on Wednesday in-store as I’d say the demand will be so huge, it’ll all be gone by 10am!

I’m playing from 9am-12pm in the H&M store on South King Street. I’m sure I’ll see a few familiar faces there so come and say Hi if you spot me!

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White crochet top
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Black and white jumper
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Printed peasant blouse

Lazy late-summer listening.

80% of the time in my professional life I play party tunes. When I’m DJing, I’m there because people want to dance so I play upbeat rock and alternative songs. Therefore when I’m at home I tend to listen to entirely different music: a lot of jazz and hip-hop, and chilled-out stuff so my ears can have a break.

So today I decided to put together some tunes I listen to at home. This is a chilled-out playlist – stuff to listen to in your car, or while you’re sunbathing, or when you’re having a glass of wine after work. Nothing too hectic, nothing that requires glowsticks, or lighters in the air, or any effort on your part at all really!

There are some oldies like Drinking in L.A. by Bran Van 3000 which reminds me of the summer of 1999, and Make it Wit Chu (2007) which is one of the sexiest songs ever (or maybe that’s just because I fancy Josh Homme). And of course there are some newer tunes, like Father John Misty’s (which I adooooore!) and Fairytale Lullaby which sounds like either music for a hippie love-in or a very sweet children’s lullaby (I’m opting for the latter).

Hope this fills a gap in your summer listening!

Dual careers: DJ slash writer.

My Dad asked me recently if I would still DJ when (I love his positivity) I get a publishing deal. Having thought about it, the answer is definitely yes for a number of reasons. Firstly, I would probably have to still DJ! Advances these days are usually small and certainly not enough to live on, therefore writers must supplement their income by way of reviewing, writing magazine articles, or any other opportunities that arise.

Secondly, writing is a very solitary job. Unlike people who work in an office and can interact with actual human beings every day, a writer spends their day alone, in front of a computer, often talking to themselves, and inventing lives for imaginary people. When it gets to early evening and I’ve spent a day writing, I often crave human company. I also live alone which doesn’t help matters! DJing is the perfect job for me as it gets me out of the house, I get to have chats and laughs with lots of people and get paid!

Thirdly, you see a lot from behind the decks and that can inform my writing. I’ll often come home after a gig and jot down incidents I’ve seen on the dancefloor, characters that fascinate me or comments that I’ve overheard. It can be a useful resource for my imagination.

The ever interesting Robert McCrum wrote an article on this subject last year in the Guardian which details some of the jobs writers have had in tandem with their writing careers. Fascinating stuff.

Happy New Year!

In the run-up to Christmas I was a bad bad blogger! I was DJing a lot, writing and then getting my house ready for its housewarming. Apparently my housewarming should have carried a health warning as no less than four people, including me, were struck down by the Norovirus (AKA Winter Vomiting Bug or worst twenty four hours of my recent life). Next time I invite the under threes to a party I may make them wear biohazard suits. Misleadingly cute lil feckers. Anyway I apologise for the blogging silence but things will be back to their regular schedule in 2013.

I’ve been thinking about the blog recently as it’s now over three years old and in need of an update. I’d like to dream up new content ideas and hunt down collaborators for the coming year to keep things challenging and fresh. While I will keep the same format with plenty of film and book reviews, and plenty of fashion stories, there will be new elements this year so keep your eyes peeled!

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year’s Eve tonight and a great year in 2013. I shall be DJing tonight in the First Floor Bar and Restaurant at Harvey Nichols where there is a Gatsby themed party. It promises to be both glamour and fun filled! I’ll be back to blogging on January 2nd.

Lastly if I was DJing at your New Year’s Eve party this would be my first song after the countdown. Happy dancing!