Bad news: hate speech, social media and mental health (178, Oct 2017)

It’s a question for the times we’re in. From the publication of hate speech and the promotion of hot-air controversialists, to the use of technology and social media to draw us into an addictive diet of endless news consumption, are news organisations actually hurting their readers?

What readers consume – and how they consume it – can have tangible effects on their well-being. This discussion looks at how the media affects readers’ mental health, what responsibility news organisations and journalists need to take for that and what we might need to change.

The panelists: Peter Feeney (Press Ombudsman of Ireland and formerly head of broadcast compliance at RTÉ and editor of current affairs television at RTÉ), Sahar Ali (spoken-word poet and comedian whose recent Dublin Fringe Show, Saharcasm, explored Irishish, Arabism and racism in contemporary Ireland), Diarmaid Mac Aonghusa (managing director of web and app development company Fusio), Paloma Viejo Otero (PhD student at Dublin City University researching hate speech and social media) and Lois Kapila (founder and managing editor of Dublin Inquirer)

The details: this event takes place at DIT, Aungier St., Dublin 2 on Thursday October 19 at 6.30pm Admission is free but spaces are limited and tickets should to be reserved in advance via this link.

This event is presented by Dublin Inquirer and Banter in association with the Centre for Critical Media Literacy at DIT. Early bird tickets were available exclusively for Dublin Inquirer subscribers – you can subscribe and support the best publication about living and working in the capital here.

The wrap is ready to kick some leaves

(1) We may well have come across the tune of the year. Rostam’s gorgeous “Bike Dream” is an absolute peach of a track, something which makes you realise that the former Vampire Weekend lad and accomplice for the likes of Frank Ocean and Solange is one heck of a talent. Check him out on a recent episode of Song Exploder where he talks about how the song came about. His new album “Half-Light” is quite marvellous and colourful so check that out too.


(2) Monday morning blues: why the work-from-home-dream doesn’t actually work. Bonus for those wondering who took their stapler over the weekend: 10 inventions which shaped the modern workplace.

(3) Why the iPhone camera rocks: “what Apple’s doing is using its software to light a photo as a lighting person might and, more broadly, taking away the complexity of how the fancy cameras you’d typically need to do that stuff work.”

(4) So punk rock: Year Zero is a symposium to mark 40 years since The Clash played in Trinity College which takes place in that august venue on October 21. You’ve got readings, screenings, discussions and the first ever performance in Dublin by legendary Clash associate, DJ and film-maker Don Letts. Another 40th year bash is Punk DIY 40 from Hope Collective to mark the 40 years since the release of the Radiators From Space “TV Tube Heart”. This takes place on October 1 at Dublin’s Grand Social.

(5) One of our favourite Banter podcasts of late is this conversation about the future of work, which took place in the Bullitt Hotel in Belfast over the summer. Listen back to Adrienne Hanna from Right Revenue; Kevin Curran, Professor of Cyber Security at the University Of Ulster and Philip Brady from Citibank talking robots, AI, automation and Blockchain.

(6) Long read of the week: an excerpt from Finn Murphy’s The Long Haul: A Trucker’s Tales of Life On the Road. “I can feel the sweat running down my arms, can feel my hands shaking, can taste the bile rising in my throat from the greasy burger I ate at the Idaho Springs Carl’s Jr. (It was the only place with truck parking.) I’ve got 8.6 miles of 6.7 percent downhill grade ahead of me that has taken more trucks and lives than I care to think about. The road surface is a mix of rain, slush, and (probably) ice. I’m one blown air hose away from oblivion, but I’m not ready to peg out in a ball of flame or take out a family in a four-wheeler coming to the Rocky Mountains to see the sights.”

Banter at Culture Night (175, Sep 2017)

As we did last year, Banter will join forces with RTÉ for a very special event as part of this year’s Culture Night on Friday September 22.


Culture & Me will see 10 people from various backgrounds talking about the role of arts and culture in their lives and work. It could be a book, a film, an album, a piece of visual art or all of the above: we want to know about the art which turns them on – and why.

The Culture & Me cast is as follows

Paschal Donohoe – Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure

Emer Reynolds – film-maker, The Farthest

Michael Darragh MacAuley – Dublin GAA footballer

Philly McMahon – theatre-maker, Thisispopbaby, Riot etc

Darach Ó Séaghdha – The Irish For and the Motherfoclóir book and podcast

Ronan Brady – physical artist, performer and former Roscomon footballer

Ellie Kisyombe – Our Table activist

Marty Morrissey – RTÉ reporter, commentator and broadcaster

Sinéad Ní Uallachain – Raidió na Gaeltachta broadcaster

Culture & Me takes place in The Coach House in Dublin Castle between 7 and 9pm. Admission is free and limited tickets can be booked in advance here. Thanks to Rachel Breslin and her team at RTE and Banter producer Jack Gibson for their help with this event.

The talent spotters (176, Sep 2017)

It’s a new start for Banter as we kick off our autumn/winter series. After a run of eight remarkable years with the Bodytonic family in the Twisted Pepper/Wigwam and MVP, we up sticks and move to a new Dublin home. Massive thanks to Bodytonic chief bottle washer Trevor O’Shea for being a sound partner and (occasionally) proper pain in the hoop during this time – we would not have done this without him and his absolutely fantastic team of people.

The new home for Banter’s regular run of shows in the capital will be The Liquor Rooms on Dublin’s Wellington Quay right next door to the Clarence Hotel. We’ll be hosting events there over the next few months and making ourselves at home in a venue where we once spent a lot of time when it was called The Kitchen (the deja-vu is something else).

Our first Banter at the Liquor Rooms will focus on the talent spotters, the people who find and spot new talent when it comes to writers, musicians, actors, theatre-makers and sports people. Just what do these folks look for when they’re assessing and gauging the pack for the individual or individuals who will stand the test of time? What’s the tipping point between hard work and genius? What’s the hardest part of the developmental process? And what about the ones who got away?

Our panel: Sarah Davis-Goff (Tramp Press – Mike McCormack, Sara Baume), Ken Allen (Faction Records, James Vincent McMorrow, Jape etc), Jenny Jennings (Thisispopbaby, Riot etc) and special guests to be announced.


The details: Banter on talent spotters takes place on Wednesday September 27 at The Liquor Rooms, Wellington Quay, Dublin 2. Doors open at 6pm and the event kicks off at 6.30pm-ish. Tickets can be booked here, including a limited number of early bird tickets. Proceeds will go to the Peter McVerry Trust.

Diary dates: other events in Banter’s autumn/winter calendar at The Liquor Rooms will include the constitution at 80 (October 25), imposter syndrome (November 29) and our infamous Review of the Year (December 6). Tickets for all of these will go on sale shortly.