Archive for March, 2010

Trust me, I’m the Doctor

Posted in Music, Radio on March 30, 2010 by Johnnie

On Saturday, I was ‘crowned’ The Kiosk’s “Dr Beat” for the month of March, at the expense of my fab colleagues Nadine O’Regan and February’s title holder Derek Byrne.  Our latest ‘patient’, the very lovely Aveen Holland, selected my track, St Vincent’s Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood, as her personal favourite from the specially-compiled 18-track mix CD we made for her (see track listing after the “jump”).

An especially magnanimous Derek has already promised to reclaim his crown in April but Nadine, as yet without a win, is more determined than ever to get off the mark next time.  I may use the title “Dr Beat” in all correspondence for the next month.  This is only the third time I have won anything in my life – I won tickets to see an open air showing of Errol Flynn’s Robin Hood at Crystal Palace in 1990 and recently won a Daily Mail caption competition.  So, yes, I’m a wee bit chuffed. Continue reading

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So, this is what’s “Cúl4Kidz”, nowadays..?

Posted in Favourite Publications, Grave News on March 11, 2010 by Johnnie

OK, so what do we have here?  A nice colour-it-in picture from The Irish Times’s Cúl4Kidz supplement – it depicts two burly hurlers in action, a nice bedroom wall or fridge adornement for little culchie children to colour in, while protecting themselves from the elements of rural Ireland, while they sit with their tumbler of Mi Wadi and tasty Kilmeaden and Denny sandwich.  All is nice, sweet and ruddy-cheeked with the world.

But wait… look at the burly hurler on the left.  What the fuck is that trying to escape from his shorts?  Continue reading

The Sound of the Underwhelmed

Posted in Music, Travel on March 11, 2010 by Johnnie

Because I’m a parent, people, with the very best of intentions, always feel the need to recommend Trabolgan Holiday Village to me, as if I look like the sort of dad who needs to have a disc inserted where my imagination should be.  I mean, yes, we are all aware of the difficulties in coping with the stupidly short attention span most modern children seem to have, and how it’s actually quite nice for parents to occasionally hand over the responsibility for entertaining them to jolly creche staff, terrifying clowns or social inadequates dressed as purple dinosaurs.  In fact, it’s essential, otherwise life ends up being a succession of daydreams about downing a bottle of wine between putting them to bed and the start of Newsnight.

However, I really do draw the line at holiday camp entertainment.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m as nostalgic for Hi De Hi as the next decrepit old couch potato, but the notion of trapping kids in a twilight zone of half-arsed amusements and tragic day-release grotesques is beyond terrifying.  How any parent can consider punishing their children for simply being children by forcing them to witness the stubborn, baked-on dregs of the entertainment industry is a matter that has me seriously considering a call to Childline. Continue reading

It’s not rocket science

Posted in Pointless Nostalgia, TV, Unwanted Comebacks on March 9, 2010 by Johnnie

Bless, bless, bless the 12-year-old work experience kid who was asked to find a photo of “the man who presents The Krypton Factor” for today’s Irish Times’ TV page; didn’t said 12-year-old then duly come up trumps with the smiling fizog of its original presenter, the mild-mannered-as-an-art-form, Gordon Burns.

Personally, I prefer not to see this as an error, but simply an ‘accidentally-on-purpose’ reminder of ITV’s lost gravitas.   The decision to reactivate The Krypton Factor should have been a positive one, a move towards edifying television; instead, it feels no more challenging than the return of that other 70s & 80s’ staple, Mr & Mrs.  

And then there’s the professionally opaque Ben Shephard himself, a man whose talent for TV presenting really shouldn’t have taken him any further than those near-death insurance or hearing aid adverts you see during the breaks in CountdownContinue reading

Fred Wedlock 1942-2010

Posted in Dearly Departed, Grave News, Music, Pointless Nostalgia on March 5, 2010 by Johnnie

It’s with much sadness that I note the passing of Fred Wedlock, the Bristol teacher-turned- folk singer and humourist.  For me and many other pop pickers of my generation, he’ll always be remembered as the man who made ‘The Oldest Swinger In Town’ famous, taking it to number 6 in the UK charts in 1981.  Although Fred wasn’t the original writer of the song, he rewrote much of it and made it his own – and it would be almost impossible to enjoy without his magnificent Bristol twang. 

He was also responsible for umpteen albums of West Country wit and humour (whether he was an integral part of the scene or not, I just love the term ‘scrumpy & western’), including Frollicks and Out of Wedlock

But ‘The Oldest Swinger In Town’ has made him a legend of my record collection.  It’s a song whose lyrics get more painfully funny with every passing year and a one I’ve quoted from extensively, particularly in an article I wrote for U Magazine about age-gap couples.  God rest you, Fred, I will miss you. Continue reading

A lovely new place to veg out

Posted in Food & Drink, New Stuff on March 3, 2010 by Johnnie

It’s with great delight and no shortage of tummy rumbling that I warmly welcome Adventures In Veg. – a new vegetarian food blog from the incredibly talented journalist and broadcaster Aoife Barry A.K.A. Sweet Oblivion.  There’s already a great number of excellent Irish food blogs out there but, as a vegetarian of some 26 years and a recent vegan convert, they don’t always cater for those of us who shun the meat, fish and dairy industries – which is recent veggie-convert Aoife’s starting point for Adventures In Veg.

I’m particularly excited about what this blog sets out to do – explore the world of vegetarianism and veganism from the viewpoint of a curious, food-loving enthusiast.  It’s always been my contention that vegetarians and vegans don’t have an “industry” to back up the true benefits of their convictions – unlike the meat, dairy and fishery industries who spend millions every year making claims about the health benefits of their products, while neglecting to be honest and transparent about the all-too numerous downsides or environmental impacts of their industries.  Continue reading

New Head Shop opens on Grafton Street

Posted in Grave News on March 2, 2010 by Johnnie

The national scandal – far worse than child-raping priests, profligate bankers or amoral, incompetent fuckwit politicians, all of which continue to be ignored or even tolerated – continues unabated with the opening of Gimme Head on Grafton Street.  Continue reading