An evening with Brand New Retro (122, Nov 2015)

If you’re interested in Irish pop culture, you will already have come across Brand New Retro. Since 2011, the site founded by Brian “Doug” McMahon has curated and digitised thousands of images, articles and adverts from an ever-growing archive of vintage magazines and publications from the pre-internet age. Along the way, it has dusted off a fascinating throve of unlikely nuggets (it doesn’t get more unlikely than a Gay Byrne column in the Sunday World on Stiff Little Fingers) to present sides of Irish life which have never seen the light of a screen or scanner in years.


To co-incide with the publication of a new book featuring the greatest hits from the site and new discoveries, the Brand New Retro team – Brian “Doug” McMahonJoe Collinsand Sinead Kenny – will join us at Banter to talk about the motivation behind the site, the discoveries they have made about the early years of Irish pop culture, the evolution of Irish magazine and advertising design and the changes in how media has covered pop culture over the decades.

Banter’s evening with Brand New Retro takes place at MVP (Upper Clanbrassil St., Dublin 8 ) on Wednesday November 25. Doors open at 6pm and the conversation begins at 6.30pm. Tickets are available here.

The Brand New Retro book is published by Liberties Press and goes on sale in November. Copies of the book will be on sale at Banter on the night.

Banter at The Back Page (121, Nov 2015)

Banter heads to The Back Page in November for two nights of sports talks to celebrate the first year of good times at the Dublin 7 venue.


A conversation with John Leonard will take place on Thursday November 19. Dub-Sub Confidential is John’s vivid, witty and searingly honest story of his life on and off the Gaelic football pitch. He was a talented goalkeeper who had the misfortune to reach his prime at the same time, and in the same county, as Stephen Cluxton. Unless something happened to Cluxton, Leonard was always going to be number two in the pecking order. Of course, it didn’t help that Leonard had a problem with drink and drugs….


A GAA memoir like no other on the book shelf this year, Dub Sub Confidential is about how Gaelic games collide with real life. A tale of what goes on in the dressing-room and on the training pitch when you’re part of the GAA’s biggest circus – and what happens when you come out the other side after partying hard as well as training hard for many years.

Our second Banter at The Back Page is Meet the Ghostwriters on Friday November 20 when Vincent Hogan joins us to talk about the art of sports ghostwriting.


We’ll talk to him about the trials, tribulations and, yes, triumphs of writing someone else’s story from their point of view. What are the difficulties involved in getting inside someone head when they might not actually want you to be there? How easy is it to know when to pull back as well as push forward? What are the gigs these ghosts would love to do – and what are the ones they’d run a million miles from. What’s the secret of building a relationship with your subject? And what happens when the book is published and you’re pushed out of the picture?

Doors open both nights at 6.30pm, each event starts at 7pm and admission is free.

Banter at Savour Kilkenny (119, Oct 2015)

We’re heading back to Savour Kilkenny for the second year in a row. The festival is celebrating its ninth year on the go over the bank holiday weekend with an action-packed programme of cooking demonstrations from folks like Neven MaguireRory O’ConnellThe Happy PearArun Kapil and Mark Moriarty, tastings, interviews and other events in the city. It all kicks off tonight with Bressie talking about mental health and food11990537_10153646573020522_4478654517874726157_n

Banter will be hosting a number panels over the weekend, all in the KLP Marquee on The Parade in the middle of the city. Here’s the line-up for the weekend.

Saturday October 24

Battle of the Bottle: Beer vs Wine (noon)

What goes best with food? Beer and cider aficionados would say local beer and ciders, while Wine pros would argue that wine is the better match. There’s only one way of finding out with tastings of local food, each matched with a particular beer or cider and a wine. Le Caveau’s Colm McCan and Pascal Rossignol talk wine, Sláinte author Caroline Hennessy counters with beer and cider and you decide who is right by voting with your glasses.

What’s in your shopping basket? (2.30pm)

When it comes to knowing where our food comes from, we all talk the talk about provenance and organics, but it’s a much different matter when it comes to what we put in our shopping baskets. The notion of buying local food is all very well until your food budget and the ease of convenience come into the picture. We’ll talk to Sarah Duggan (Little Green Grocer Shop), Keith Bohanna (Bia Beag), Mairead Lavey (Farmers Journal and editor of Irish Country Living) and Ken Ecock (OceanpathDunns Seafare) about what’s on and off the shopping list.

What’s so super about superfoods? (4.30pm)

The world of food likes its fancy names and packaging so it’s no surprise to see a palaver over superfoods. On the one hand, you will have folks who dismiss the whole idea as marketing and hype notions. On the other hand, there are folks who swear that goji berries, kelp, raspberries, spinach, oysters, walnuts and green tea will make you healthier, smarter and more energetic. So what exactly is going on here? Is eating a handful of antioxidant-rich acai berries better for you than an apple? Who’s right and who’s wrong? Our panel are Frances Walsh (The Honest Project), Caroline Seale (Discover Nutrition) and Colin Jephson (Ardkeen Quality Food Store)

Sunday October 25

Yes Chef! (noon)

What really happens when you go beyond the pass in an award-winning, critically acclaimed or commercially savvy kitchen? Why would someone choose the life of a chef as a career? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? What are the talents you need to be a chef in a high-pressure environment? We talk to Declan Furlong, Colin Greensmith (Pallas Foods) and Blathnaid Bergin (The Restaurant Advisor) about life as a chef.

All about coffee with Canteen (2.30pm)

Dalton Greene and Paul Williams from Canteen in Limerick join us for a hyper-caffeinated presentation on coffee, from explaining the process from seed to cup and the art of coffee tasting to matching coffee to food and brewing better coffee at home.

Sustainability challenges for Irish farmers (4.30pm)

Just what wil Irish farming may look like in the years to come? What are the issues which will be of concern to the farming sector – and what is being done now about these? Will we still be exporting beef and milk to the Chinese? Will sustainable farming have moved from the to-do list? And will the same crops still be growing in the fields around Kilkenny or are there changes ahead in the tillage sector too? Our panel answering some of those questions: Tommy Cooke (farmer, Teagasc board memmber and member of the national council of ICMSA), Rod Calder-Potts (Highbank Organic Orchards & Farm), Patrick Lydon (Camphill Callan) and Mag Kirwan (Goatsbridge Trout Farm).