The new majority (158, Mar 2017)

Since 2015, Imagine has been gathering a fine crew of thinkers and talkers in Belfast for various events aimed at promoting debate and discussion on the big issues of our time. Director Peter O’Neill very kindly extended an invitation to Banter to join this year’s festival and we were happy to take him up on his offer.

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Our contribition to the theme of “prepare for a new tomorrow” is The New Majority, a conversation with the next generation of Northern Ireland voters about what they want from their politics and especially politicians. We’ll be joined by a selection of those who will decide the make-up of elected assemblies in the future about the issues in Belfast and the world which move them in terms of both activism and voting intentions. Are the old reasons for sticking an X on the ballot paper going out with the tide for younger voters or do they still exert an influence?

Banter at Imagine will take place at The Factory at The MAC (Exchange Street) on Saturday March 25 at 2pm with Katie Richardson (Goldie Fawn), Fergal McFerran (president, NUS-USI), Tara Connolly (chairperson, NI Youth Forum) and Callum Curry (entrepreneur and founder of SUSSD). Admission is free, but advance registration is necessary and can be done here.

You can check out the full programme of events for Imagine – including film screenings, workshops, discussions, lectures, talks and an explanation of why you see Elvis in your toast – here.

In Concert (157, Feb 2017)

What’s your best gig you’ve ever seen? That’s a question which stops most music fans in their tracks and sets off some great memories, fierce discussions and occasionally some rowdy disagreements.

It was also the starting point for a new book from Dublin’s punk rock and DIY scene activists Hope Collective. Editors Niall McGuirk and Michael Murphy asked a bunch of people to write about their favourite live shows and the returns were collated into a just published book entitled In Concert: Favourite Gigs of Ireland’s Music Community.

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On Tuesday February 21, Niall, Michael and a number of those who’ve contributed to the book (see below) – plus some special guests – will join us at Banter to talk about the book, the notion of favourite gigs and read their selections as well. Audience contributions welcome too.

The full list of guests is as follows:

Ellie & Louise McNamara (Heathers) on The Mountain Goats, Bloomington 2011
Frances Roe (Jam Jar Jail) on Rocket from the Crypt, Dublin 2001,
Edwina Forkin (Zanzibar Films and ex-TCD Ents Officer) on Sonic Youth/Nirvana and early Therapy?, 1991
Suzanne Rhatigan (singer and promoter) on Grace Jones at Electic Picnic, 2015
Peter Jones (Paranoid Visions) on the Poison Girls at Sean McDermott Street, Dublin, 1983
Peter Devlin (musician, producer and broadcaster) on The Specials/The Beat, Stardust, Dublin, 1981

Banter on In Concert will take place at Wigam (Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1) on Tuesday February 21. Doors open at 6pm and the event will kick off at 6.30pm. Tickets can be booked here and, like the book, all proceeds will go to the Irish Red Cross’ Syria Appeal. More information on the book here and copies will be on sale on the night.