Banter at Belfast Music Week: Print the Legend (066, Nov 2013)

Next month, Belfast Music Week swings into action again in the city. A week of gigs, events, talks, workshops and much more, there’s over 250 different events happening at 70 different venues all over the city from November 11 to 17.

From the big ‘un – that would be Van Morrison’s do at the Waterfront Hall – to some very interesting ones – for example, this lunchtime freebie featuring More Than Conquerors and Joshua Burnside – there’s a rake of stuff to suit all tastebuds.


Thanks to an invite from Belfast Music Week co-ordinator (and Oh Yeah music centre founder) Stuart Bailie, there will be a Banter panel in the middle of things. Print the Legend takes place on Thursday November 14 at the Group Space in the Ulster Hall (12.30pm-1.30pm, admission free).

In the here and now of Belfast’s musical world, the past still rings loudly. The city has very successfully packaged its legends from the last few decades – from Van to Good Vibrations – but a danger arises when nostalgia and the feel-good moments of the past takes over. The momentum and energy required to keep a contemporary scene going is instead used to lionise and mythologise the past. It’s not a case of “Belfast is dead, long live Belfast”, but more about teasing out if a city which often finds itself living in the past is a good place from where to plan for the future.

Our guests for this discussion on the city’s creativity then and now are Sean O’Hagan (The Observer), Glenn Patterson (author, lecturer and Good Vibrations’ scriptwriter), Katie Richardson (Katie & The Carnival) and Brian Coney (editor, The Thin Air).

More info on Belfast Music Week here

A conversation with Alan McGee (065, Nov 2013)

Alan McGee, the man who co-founded the formidable and peerless Creation Records’ label, publishes his autobiography “Creation Stories: Riots, Raves and Running a Label” in November and he’s coming to Banter to talk about it.

The book is the story of the man with many strings to his bow, from managing the Jesus and Mary Chain to co-founding Creation, the label which introduced the world to My Bloody Valentine, House of Love, Ride, Primal Scream, Oasis and a ton of other bands. Meanwhile, McGee himself became one of the figureheads of Britpop, hung out at 10 Downing Street, started managing the Libertines and, most recently, returned to the record business with new label 359 Music.

Banter’s conversation with Alan McGee takes place at the Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Tuesday November 12. Doors open at 6pm and the conversation gets underway at 6.30pm. Admission is free, but you need to add your name to the list here.

Alan McGee’s “Creation Stories: Riots, Raves and Running a Label” is published by Sidgwick & Jackson on November 7.


Banter in the Burren: farming on the edge (064, Oct 2013)

It’s time to head west to Co Clare for the Burren Winterage Weekend. The good folks at the Burrenbeo Trust have invited us to come along to host a discussion about farming on the edge on Saturday October 26 and we’re delighted to accept.


There are as many definitions of The Burren as there are people who come west to take it all in. Everyone from tourists to botanists, painters to poets, archaeologists to ecologists have come to this wild landscape over the years in search of visions and insights.

But the thoughts, actions and requirements of the men and women who farm in the Burren also need to be taken into account. While the number of farmers who work this land may have dramatically dropped in recent times, the issues around conservation, sustainability and livliehoods still need to be addressed to ensure a harmony between insiders and outsiders.

Banter in the Burren will look at the special issues which surround farming in a peripheral area like this. Are the problems here unique or are they part of a bigger picture involving heritage and making a living? How do farmers here use their collective voice to make their case? Are there other European regions which the Burren farmers should be looking to for pointers?

Our panel for the evening will be Ella McSweeney (RTE TV’s Ear to the Ground, RTE Radio One’s Countrywide and BBC Radio Four), Dr Áine Macken Walsh (Research Officer at Teagasc’s Rural Economy and Development Programme), Michael Davoren (Chair of Burren IFA and member of Burren Life Advisory Committee) and David Meredith (rural economist with Teagasc). There will also be a presentation beforehand by agricultural writer and academic, John Feehan, exploring the future of the farming community in Ireland.

The event takes place in Vaughan’s Barn, Main Street, Kilfenora, Co Clare and gets underway at 7pm. Admission is free and you’ll get more information on the weekend here. Big thanks to Brigid Barry and Brendan Dunford from the Burrenbeo Trust for all their help in putting this together.

Living for the City: the gaffs (063, Oct 2013)

After opening our Banter autumn/winter series on life in the capital city in the 21st century with a lively discussion on bikes and transport, our next Living for the City Banter will look at the issue of housing in the capital

Burt Bacharach and Hal David, the men who penned “A House Is Not A Home”, were obviously never going to be looking for work as estate agents in Dublin. When you talk about living in the capital city, the question of gaffs is never far from the surface. After the ridiculous boom years came the inevitable bust and now come signs of a boom again, as anyone seeking to rent or buy a home in the last few years can tell you. It all sounds very familiar – and very worrying. Here we go again. Will we ever learn? And what exactly is there to learn?


This Banter panel will poke and prod the issue of housing in Dublin. From changes in the rental market to the increase in price for family homes located in certain prime suburbs to the provision of social housing, is housing always going to be a hot button issue for capital city denizens? Is there a will or a way to import ideas about housing from other urban areas? Or is our desire for a semi-detached gaff with green patches front and back going to always trump everything?

Talking about gaffs: Ronan Lyons (economist at and Trinity College Dublin), Colette Browne (Irish Independent columnist), Karl Deeter (adviser and analyst at Irish Mortgage Brokers and and Dr Lorcan Sirr (lecturer in housing studies and urban economics at DIT)

Venue, date and times: Twisted Pepper (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1), Wednesday October 23, doors open at 7.30pm and the Bantering starts at 8pm.

Admission is free, but you need to sign-up first and you’ll find the form here.

A conversation with Fish Go Deep (062, Oct 2013)

Fish Go Deep’s Greg Dowling and Shane Johnson are celebrating 25 years in the house music business this year. That’s 25 years all the way from Sweat in Sir Henry’s to a plethora of quality releases and their currently monthly run at Cork’s Pavilion.


There’s a full weekend of activities planned for the end of November in Cork and the duo will be playing at The Beatyard festival in Dublin on October 19.

As part of their trip to the capital, Banter will be hosting a conversation with Greg and Shane about their quarter-century run. Given the longstanding interest in Sir Henry’s (helped of late by Deep’s run during Dublin Fringe), the pair’s long run of quality productions and pop’s current fondness for the kind of deep house grooves Fish Go Deep were always plugging, this promises to be a fascinating encounter.

A conversation with Fish Go Deep takes place at the Twisted Pepper, Dublin on Saturday October 19. Doors open at 9pm and the Bantering gets underway at 9.30pm. Admission is free, but you need to sign up to the invite list here.