Banter at Cruinniú na Cásca (160, Apr 2017)

Cruinniú na Cásca is a large-scale free festival of creativity which will be held in Dublin and across the country on Easter Monday (April 17). Organised by RTE in association with Creative Ireland, it aims to “celebrate culture and creativity in contemporary Irish society through a rich variety of live music and dance, coding, theatre, art and music workshops, talks and tastings, readings and screenings, special events and more”.

As part of the event, Banter will be hosting four sessions in The Printworks in Dublin Castle about the great GAA novel, the role of critics, the demon drink and an one-on-one interview with someone we’ve been trying to do an one-on-one interview with for some time. Here are the details of the individual discussions – admission is free, but tickets should be booked in advance using the links below.

Where is the great GAA novel? (11am-noon)

We’ve had reams of factual books on the sports but, apart from the odd reference to togging out for a match or heading to a training session or using the parish pitch as backdrop, Gaelic games rarely turn up in fiction. It’s a rum one, especially given the place which the games have in our national culture. Our senior hurling panel scratch their heads to consider why this is so and dream up just what the great GAA novel might look like. With Michael Moynihan (sportswriter, The Irish Examiner), Rachael English (novelist and presenter of RTE Radio One’s Morning Ireland), Eimear Ryan(writer and co-editor Banshee literary journal) and Kieran Cunningham (chief sportswriter, Irish Daily Star). Tickets can be booked here.

Everyone’s a critic (1-2pm)

The days of a thumbs up or down from a critic to decide the fate of a new work or project are coming to a close. Between publications cutting back on the number of professional reviewers and the ability of everyone to be a critic online and on social media, the critic is quickly becoming a relic of the past. Yet is there still a need for someone to excercise those critical facilities and provide more than just a listicle or a tweeted review? Where do we find these critics in 2017 and how do they get paid? And will arts and culture organisations miss the critic when he or she leaves their free seat for the last time? With Cristín Leach (art critic, Sunday Times Ireland), Ian Maleney (writer and critic for The Wire, The Quietus, The Irish Times and Fallow Media), Graham McLaren (director of the Abbey Theatre) and Nadine O’Regan (arts editor, Sunday Business Post). Tickets can be booked here.

The demon drink (3-4pm)

A discussion on the part which drink plays in Irish culture and what the depiction of alcohol tell is about ourselves. And does the relationship between drink and the arts inform and influence a dependency culture when it comes to sponsorship and funding? With Tara Flynn (actress, comedian and writer), Dave Lordan (writer, poet and dramatist) and Derek O’Connor (RTE.ie Culture editor). Tickets can be booked here.

Fachtna O’Ceallaigh: a life in music (5-6pm)

Fachtna O’Ceallaigh began his career writing about music for The Evening Press, but soon found his way to the other side of the fence. Over his career, the Dubliner has managed Clannadthe Boomtown RatsBananaramathe Bothy BandDonal LunnyMorrissey (for seven eventful weeks), EamonRicky Gervais (when he was in Seona Dancing), Dread Broadcasting Corporation and, currently, Hare Squead. He’s also been a DJ on the national airwaves and looked after U2’s Mother Records for a spell. A Banter conversation at Criunniú with one of the few no-nonsense, straight shooting managers in the game who stil has loads to say and do. Tickets can be booked here.

Banter at Shore Shots (161, Apr 2017)

Now on its fifth outing and a much more action-packed event since it moved from Dublin to Sligo last year,  Shore Shots bills itself as “a weekend of ideas and adventures on the Wild Atlantic Way”. That means a surf festival out west with movies, music, art, surfing (of course), talks, ideas, parties and much more besides in Sligo on April 22 and 23.

Banter probably ticks the “talks” and “much more besides” boxes and we’ll be taking over a room in The Model for a series of conversations with some fascinating people talking about what they do and especially the discoveries they’ve made in the line of their work or activism which may have contributed to a change in their outlook or creative methods. Our cast for Banter at Shore Shots is as follows

Dorothy Cross: one of Ireland’s leading artists (and a woman who has been on our list of ideal guests for ages) whose dramatic sculptures and installations often touch on on the sea.

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Aoibheann O’Brien: co-founder and CEO of FoodCloud, the not-for-profit social enterprise that helps businesses redistribute surplus food to charities. It has secured numerous investments and in 2015 agreed a deal that ensured Tesco’s 146 stores would redistribute surplus food to charities across Ireland.

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Alan Simms: back in 1995, Alan booked the Queen’s University Students Union in Belfast for a club night called Shine. Over 20 years on, the club is still going and Shine now includes a number of venues in the city and Dubliun as well as the Belsonic festival.

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Finn Ní Fhaoláin: the blogger, surfer, chef and author talks about her new book Finn’s World

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Kevin Cavey: the grandfather of Irish surfing on the sport in Ireland in the days before wetsuits or forecasts.

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Olan O’Brien: Olan’s All City record label and shop has been quietly but fiercely pushing the boundaries of hip-hop since 2003

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Justin “JC” Coghlan: the co-founder of Movember, the global organisation campaigning to raise awareness of men’s health issues.

James Earley: Dublin street artist whose distinctive large-scale murals have been commissioned across Ireland by clients like Facebook and the Aviva stadium.

Matt Smith: founder of Backwash Magazine and the Moy Hill Community Garden in Lahinch, Co Clare

More information on what else is happening over the weekend and tickets for all events on the Shore Shots website.

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Online behaviour (159, Mar 2017)

Online interactions and community exchanges were always been robust and full-bodied, but that’s taken a very distinct downturn in recent times. Negative comments, offensive remarks and downright nasty and abusive reactions to what people have to say has become the norm in our social media timelines and online interactions. If you express an opinion online, chances are there is someone who will disagree with your opinion – and have a go at you, your family, your job, your looks, your pet cat and anyone and anything else that comes to mind while they’re at it.

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What are the causes behind this malignant behaviour? Are those hiding behind pseudonyms and alter-egos simply childish trolls doing it for the lolz or are they emboldened by how they can comment so freely en masse and are now moving into real life activity and attacks? For those who have to interact with this behaviour day in and day out, what are the solutions they think should be tried out? And is there any
chance it can get better before it gets worse?

Aoife Barry (The Journal), Ellen Tannam (writer and podcaster HeadStuffRTE etc), Conor Behan (DJ and writer) and Mark Smyth (senior clinical psychologist) join us at Banter this month to see how the heck we got to this point and where it goes from here.

The details: Banter on online behaviour will take place at Wigwam (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Thursday March 30. Doors open at 6pm and the discussion, followed by an audience Q&A, begins at 6.30pm. Tickets can be booked here.