Category Archives: funny funny funny

Last tour of the year

imageI’m on a plane from Boston to Washington DC, where we play the first gig of this tour tomorrow. It’s a relatively short run, just two weeks, and in that time we’ll do eight shows: Washington DC, New York, Minneapolis, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

I’m excited — our tour of Europe in October went really well — and also nervous. It’s cool to be going back to cities we played earlier in the year, this time to slightly larger venues. There’s a sense of growth and development that’s satisfying and gratifying. I’m looking forward to visiting Portland for the first time, too.

On the flight to Boston, Adrian and I watched the very funny ’22 Jump Street’ and then I watched some episodes of ‘Girls’, ‘Hello Ladies’, and ‘True Detective’. Cue much accent mimicking on my part in Boston airport…sorry guys!

On this flight, I started reading Amy Poehler’s ‘Yes Please’ (which is already funny and charming and wise) and listened to a wonderful recording of Shostakovich’s 2nd piano concerto, played by Elisabeth Leonskaja with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra (it’s on Spotify — check it out).

There are kids in this airport with ‘Class of 2020’ shirts on! On that note…here’s to a brilliant tour!

Bad Ambassador

This is one of my favourite Neil Hannon songs, from the ‘Regeneration’ album. I hadn’t seen the video until this morning, when I got to it in rather a roundabout way. I was watching Portlandia, season 2, the episode where Kirsten Wiig plays the groupie/stalker/kidnapper. Amber Tamblyn does a turn as an intern in the feminist bookstore, too. And there’s another guest, Miranda July, who plays someone who’s had a bunch of jobs but, happily (and to a musical number) “she’s making jewellery now”.

Miranda July is a Portland-based artist, married to artist Mike Mills who directed the ‘Bad Ambassador’ video. There’s a connection, too, via the roller-skating theme, to the video Emma J Doyle and Cory Philpott shot in San Francisco for James Vincent McMorrow’s song, ‘Gold’…

…which we’ll be performing a special version of at Electric Picnic this weekend!

The Rocky Road To Dublin

Jen and I went to see the new Sherlock Holmes film the other night in our newly reopened local Swan Cinema in Rathmines. I really enjoyed the film and we cheerfully chatted about it as we strolled home, me wearing my new deerstalker hat. That particular part of the traditional Holmes garb was left out of the film but I appreciated l’homage myself…

The cinema are going to be showing live opera from The Met apparently, which should be interesting to go and see.

Guy Ritchie, who directed the Sherlock Holmes film, creates a wonderful world for his Sherlock reboot. London looks great and is alive with possibility: Tower Bridge is being built, Britain is at the height of her power, scientific advance and enquiry strain at the leash. And Holmes, of course, embodies that searching spirit. I felt the same admiration for the character that I felt about House in the first few seasons (before they explored his nastiness) – the thrill of watching a great mind pursuing truth and appearing totally in control.

[I think I may have copped on why American programmes are now referred to as ‘seasons’: what is the plural of ‘series’? Yes, it’s ‘series’. Not confusing at all. I found a wonderfully narky entry in Wiktionary, too, under ‘programme’:

Funny.]

Anyway…one of the most delightful things about the film was the use of The Dubliners’ recording of ‘The Rocky Road To Dublin’ as the music over the closing credits. I usually sit to the end of the credits in films because the music info (what songs were used, the composer, musicians etc.) is always right at the end. Sometimes, though – like with Avatar recently – the credits go on for about a day! And the music wasn’t great anyway. This, however, was a real treat. Luke Kelly’s masterful vocal rolling and tumbling the words of this slip jig (three triplets in the bar) with barely a pause for breath. Have a listen. No, have two listens…first time read the words, too…

Now with the band…

PS No sooner had I posted this but I remembered that House is, of course, based on Sherlock Holmes! Holmes, House, Watson, Wilson, House lives at 221B, takes drugs, plays music, etc. etc.

We’re going on a bear hunt

Yesterday I was teaching classes in Our Lady of Victories Infant School in Ballymun. We had been doing all kinds of stories and music about bears over the past few weeks. Goldilocks, a campfire song called ‘The other day I met a bear’ and – my favourite – Michael Rosen’s wonderful action-story ‘We’re going on a bear hunt’. His sing-song delivery is perfect for young children to copy.

If you are a teacher or a crèche worker and would like a music visit please get in touch 🙂

Gerry and the Peace Process

Last night was a special showcase performance of the musical I’ve been involved in, ‘Gerry and the Peace Process’, written and directed by Liam Hourican and David Crann. The hope is that some of the production and directing types invited will help us take the musical on to reach a wider audience; the show went really well and everyone played their hearts out so, all being well, that process will be smoother than the political one on which the show is based.

Martin (Sean Duggan) and Gerry (Liam Hourican)

I’ve been with the show, playing keyboard, since its well-received debut in the Dublin Fringe Festival last September. Since then, it’s done another run in the Samuel Beckett theatre (at Christmas time, which I wasn’t available for) and we took it to the Out To Lunch festival in Belfast in January. Having grown up in the north enjoying the humour that the assorted political figures of ‘the Troubles’ afforded us – funny accents, mostly, as I recall – I felt that it would go down a storm. Sure enough, we packed the venue twice on our visit to Belfast which was an important milestone of encouragement for the team as they saw the very real potential of the show’s success.

I don’t have any examples of the live music from the show itself – provided by Big Swing – but I do have one of the video clips interspersed throughout the 75-minute production, “…the Taosieach, Bertie Ahern, made a statement flanked by the Minister for Justice but it wasn’t quite clear what he was talking about…”.

Bertie Ahern (Liam Hourican) and Michael McDowell (Jim Roche). Mozart’s ‘Queen of the night’ aria from ‘The Magic Flute’; I’m on piano.