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Posts Tagged ‘ Halloween ’

News in Brief: Scare For Bulmers And A Treat For Trees

Hug a tree this Halloween (image: community.pearljam.com)

Hug a tree this Halloween (image: community.pearljam.com)

 

Are you a fern fan or a pine nut? That’s the question we’ve all been asking this week as the nation’s most ‘loveable’ tree was put to a vote. The National Tree Huggers 2014 contest which aims to crown one of Ireland’s greatest growths and spread awareness about environmental issues closes at midnight tonight so if you want to get in on the action you better get clicking. So far an 81-year-old tree hugger is in the lead, despite not owning a computer or having access to the internet, he’s been petitioning people in the streets, and it’s obviously worked. Maybe Enda might want to try dressing up as an Oak.

A satirical article been doing the rounds this week (NIB wouldn’t know anything about those) as the story of a Mayo postman caused concern. The pinnacle of Irish press that is The Mayo Globe published a piece on a Castlebar postie who was reportedly wandering into people’s homes, eating their food and demanding they let him watch Jeremy Kyle. While some of the more quick-witted amongst us got that it was a joke there was a lot of distress in the comments. One questioned whether he was mentally well while another called for his immediate dismissal. Another in Carnhill got to the big issue though ‘Sure as long as he doesn’t use their water I can’t see what the whole fuss is about’. Continue reading

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News In Brief – Irish Champion Slams Innocent Roma

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Rob Heffernan, the gold medal winning walker from Cork may walk the walk, but he doesn’t tweet the tweet. A recent slip on the social networking site has taken the shine off his World Athletics Championship medal after, in reply to the case of Gardai removing two children from their Roma families on suspicion of abduction, he tweeted: “Unbelievably dirty scumbags. They should be shipped out”. Uh oh. Of course the Roma children were living with their biological parents and Heffernan apologised.

Further proof paying the property tax was a bad idea: their coming after you for next year’s cash this year. If you succumbed to political pressure and threats of fines (that NIB hasn’t heard to materialise) you’ll now pay for it again as the government wants its wages in advance. They’ve Christmas parties to pay for! Continue reading

Going Over To The Dark Side: The Bram Stoker Festival

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Just as we’ve begun to notice that the nights are drawing in, a strange presence has been seen lurking around the darkened streets of Dublin’s fair city. But who and what is it that hides in the shadows? Are you brave enough to discover the secrets of the most famous un-dead literary character of them all? Who needs zombies when there’s the original blood sucker going a prowl?

If you do feel courageous enough to pay Count Dracula a Halloween visit, there’s plenty of opportunities over the course of the Bram Stoker themed weekend coming up. Running from 26-28 October at various venues around Dublin city centre is a veritable Gothic horror treat for Stoker and vampire enthusiasts. The festival is a mixture of readings and talks; music and art; vampires on film and much, much more. Many events are free though requiring advance registration. Check out the contact details that I give below. Continue reading

Late To The Party: Psycho (1960)

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This is my second late to the party review, a column where I will take classic, cult and all round respected films I just haven’t seen yet and cross them off my bucket list whilst giving them my honest thoughts, be they disappointment or remarkable. Now all film is subjective so please leave a comment with your opinion, slander my blasphemy or even suggest my next review. In today’s edition I’m going to be reviewing the prototype for every slasher film from Halloween to Scream 4, Alfred Hitchcock’s career gambling and ultimately career defining Psycho (1960).

Firstly let me begin this by saying there is nothing I like more than a great movie psycho. I’m not referring to Freddy, Jason or any of those ridiculous imposters. It’s the likes of John Doe, Patrick Bateman and Hannibal Lecter which have played a huge part in me becoming so passionate about films. Which is why it was unusual that at age 21, I had not seen Psycho. I had a few chances but I procrastinated for years for several reasons. Well I finally watched it. I was hopeful but also skeptical that it either wouldn’t hold up to the grit of modern psycho stories or my knowledge of the ending would take the intrigue out of it. After having watched it I can honestly say its easily one of the best films I have ever seen.

Continue reading

News In Brief – Asda Causes A Fuss As More Anglo Cash Uncovered

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Another week, another excuse to hit the bottle. Did you raise a glass to Arthur yesterday? If so well done, you are part of the marketing machine that will keep our country attached to the teet of the booze business. Still, nice bit of Guinness though.

That was a rather bitter start (get it? Guinness, bitter?) . NIB will promise to be more positive from now on, once recovered from yesterday’s hangover.

Bono’s had enough of people going on at him for not paying tax in Ireland. Poor Bono. If there’s a spare ticket on Bob Geldof’s spaceship he might want to consider snapping it up, NIB understands tax rates on the moon are non-existent and the views rival Dalkey. On a side note have you seen the picture of Geldof in his suit? Holy mother of Bob. Continue reading

Friday the 13th – A Blatant Rip-off Of A Far More Superior Work?

Hailed as one of the most iconic horror films ever made, and being the zygote that spawned the iconic hockey mask wearing Jason Voorhees, “Friday the 13th” (1980) is possibly one of the worst horror films that I’ve seen. Not only is it a blatant rip-off of John Carpenter’s “Halloween” (I think the script writer himself admitted that he wrote this to cash in on the Michael Myer’s craze) it also has aged very badly and is extremely dull and unbelievably boring. It doesn’t come anywhere near to matching the knuckle-biting, chair-gripping suspense of “Halloween”, and nor does it have anything on the crazy, nihilistic atmosphere as “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. And also, it lacks the style and horror of the later film from Wes Craven, “A Nightmare on Elm Street”. I could go on, but I won’t. The films I just mentioned there are other considered classics; “Friday the 13th” is not of their calibre. It has as much the right as being ranked up there with them horror greats as “Gremlins” does. Directed by Sean Cunningham who had before this helped produce Wes Craven’s controversial debut “The Last House on the Left”; I thought that after having experience working on such a nasty and violent film like that, that Cunningham would have done the same with his own slasher. But instead what he did was kept the violence at a minimum and just spent the whole film watching the teenagers from the killers perspective as it roams around the forest stalking them. Nice idea Sean, but it had been done already in “Halloween” no more than three years before you! There are some nice gory and violent killings at the beginning, thanks to some smart editing, but as the film progresses, it rapidly runs out of steam because the murders get less and less violent.

I think everyone knows the plot at this stage. Camp Crystal Lake has been closed for years, but it’s having a re-opening during the summer and the camps counsellors are working hard to have the place in good condition for the summer months. They’ve been warned by the town looney from down the road that they are all going to die because the place is cursed. But as usual, the guy is crazy, so why heed his warning? What these teenagers weren’t told is that back in the late 50’s, a young boy named Jason drowned in the lake because the counsellors were too busy having sex to notice and help him. The events in the film take place over one night, as an unknown assailant stalks and murders each one of the counsellors…

Well, I don’t want to spoil this movie so I’ll refrain from saying what it is I want to say, the thing that disappointed me the most – and I think anyone who has the seen the film will know what I’m talking about as it has something to do with the killer… or for lack of a better phrase, who ‘isn’t’ doing the killings. I’ve probably said too much there, but ah well. When poor little Victor Miller wrote the script for this film, he had no idea that Cunningham would get carried away and turn the film into the mad franchise that it is today – it’s even bigger than the Freddy Krueger and the “Halloween” franchises with a grand total of nine sequels (For a while there I thought that “Saw” was gunning to either match or over-jump this record). Add that with a cross-over with Freddy in 2003, and of course, an inevitable remake. A very young Kevin Bacon from “Footloose” stars in one of his very first roles. The acting is atrocious, but I don’t blame the actors for their lousy dialogue and whatever, because the script was just horrendous from Miller. It shows no merit, no innovation, and most of all, it shows no ‘talent’ whatsoever and this could have easily just passed off as some amateur’s low-grade feature. Had it not spawned such a huge franchise, I may have looked upon this film differently but you can’t help going into it with high expectations when it has generated the reputation that it has had over the years. The ending, I have to say, is very frightening, but apart from that, I hated everything about the film; from its ridiculous opening credits with the logo crashing through class, right down to the twists and turns and the despicable characters. To say that the only interesting parts in the film are when someone gets brained with an axe or their throat cut makes me sound psychotic, but also just goes to show how dull the film really is.

Joe Callan

Jack White Makes Flying Visit To UCD Before Halloween Gig At The O2

The door opens at the top of the stairs in the Astra Hall in U.C.D.  Photographers stream past me down the steps, looking back towards the door all we can see are students dressed beyond their station.   They filter through into the hall leaving in the doorway Jack White.  Like his entourage he is dapper but sui generis – he wears a feathered grey felt hat from which his trademark scraggly hair flops out at the sides.  His face is that distinctive pale that we know from the posters – but it is imbued with a freshness and vigour – he strides past me down the steps slapping outstretched hands as the crowds’ cheers grow louder.  The private business of the Literary & Historical (L & H) society has quickly been forsaken; we’re on a rock & roll schedule now.

White is in Ireland to play the O2 for Halloween; that’s fitting for this macabre figure.  He is nearing the end of his tour to promote his first solo album ‘Blunderbuss’.  Tonight he is the guest of the L & H who have managed to entice him to the college to receive the prestigious James Joyce Award in recognition of his career in music; this is quite a coup for L & H auditor Daisy Onubogu.  He is clearly on a tight schedule and the format is a quick questions and answers session.

White has been in various bands over his career most notably the White Stripes but also the Raconteurs and the Dead Weathers.  He is asked about his first solo venture and how that has differed from working collaboratively.  He bemoans the new role he has to adopt in the studio saying that in a band you don’t have to dictate, “In a band you’re like a little army.  Each person has a valued role and input in the studio and they don’t have to be told whereas on your own projects you have hired musicians who come in to play instruments and need to be told how you want them to play.  That makes it extremely difficult.  Telling people what to do can put you in an egotistical place.  You must beware of getting a buzz off that.  It must remain about the music and getting the best out of the musicians at your disposal in order to let the song grow itself.”

Throughout the session White is hilarious juggling his responses so they’re perfectly in tune with a college audience.  Each question is met first with humour then based on the question’s merit he excavates his musical knowledge to an appropriate level.  Insightful answers are given when deserved and trivia from the crowd is batted away with a sharp witty put-down – the audience’s callow brashness is not going to rattle this superstar.

White is asked how he got into music and whether he made a conscious decision to be a musician.   With music he never felt a vocational pull.  He was doing an apprenticeship in an upholstery shop and beyond that his ambition stretched to one day owning his own shop, which he did.   Music for him at the time was an aside.  He played drums in a band and they got the odd gig around town.  White is maybe not known for his drumming but he still played the drums as well as vocals in the Dead Weathers up until he went solo recently.

Blues has always been an integral thread in his music and he talks of how this genre opened up the music world for him at a young age.  Ironically he was attracted to British Blues first.  Bands such as British supergroup Cream shined a light on the American blues tradition and this interest prompted White to investigate it himself.  He listened avidly to various acts such as Howlin’ Wolf, Blind Willy McTell and Muddy Waters.  These guys gave him the idea that you could write music for yourself because that’s what they were doing.  But this was in no way an epiphany for White.  Even after The White Stripes’ eponymous first album in 1999 he was convinced that music would remain a second job.  Maybe they’d sell a few records and be able to play spots around Detroit on the weekend but droves of people would never listen to this quirky couple/sibling act.  Jack and Meg were always rumoured to be brother and sister but in fact they were married (they were said to have mischievously stoked some of these rumours themselves) and subsequently divorced.  The confusion arose because Jack decided to adopt his wife’s second name as his own, dropping Gillis – this was unconventional but astute as White.  Jack’s guitar riffs formed the foundation for the explosion of this garage-blues band.  Tracks such as ‘Hardest Button to Button’ and ‘Seven Nation Army’ were radio station favourites throughout the noughties.

White was asked how he learned to play the guitar.  He said that he did so by fiddling around with his brother’s guitar which was lying about the house.  He says that his method is ‘incorrect’ according to textbooks as he doesn’t use the second and third finger correctly on chords.  Once White met Pete Townsend from The Who and Townsend asked him if he knew how to play one of The Who’s songs.  He replied that he did but he played it incorrectly due to his finger positioning and he demonstrated this to him.  Townsend corrected him saying that he played the song that way himself and that in fact the manuals had it wrong.

What led to Third Man Records and producing in his own studio?  “Well I needed a place to store my gear in Nashville.  I just had so much equipment.  The building I got had an old studio wall.  And it snowballed from there.  I wanted to re-release my old vinyl’s that were out of print.  I never thought any vinyls should be out of print no matter what genre.  So I opened the shop and like I say it has just snowballed.  Now it’s the only studio in the world where you can record a live show straight on to vinyl.  It’s amazing.  Things are happening daily there, so much so that I just don’t want to leave the place.”

On this tour White has used both an all male and an all female backing group.  The rationale for this he quips, “Well the two bands thing was just a way for me to meet girls. (laughs)  No, when making a record – or anything creative for that matter – you’re trying on different hats.  Trying to see how things will react to a different environment or dynamic.  What I’m trying to do is allow the song to have its own life and personality and in order to do that you must let it have some freedom.  It’s difficult I admit but you can’t impose restrictions on a song by saying well we’re a folk band so that’s what the song has to be.  I wait for the song to tell me what to do, to direct me.  I did that on this record by playing the same song with the all-guy band one day and the all-girl band the next.  The idea was to challenge the song with two different styles and see what would happen.  The two different bands change the whole vibe in the studio.  So I wanted to see where the songs would go and I ended up taking both bands on tour with me to play the stuff live.”

White is one of the best guitarists of his generation.  His new album shows a lyrical development that threatens to match his already established legacy as a musician.  He is also the head of his own record label Third Man Records and has produced music and collaborated with the newest, most established and brightest lights in his industry.  He doesn’t seek them out they come to him in his Nashville studio.  Only 36, White has the musical experience that whole genres couldn’t boast of.  The callow crowd he faces tonight see a man wearing his extraordinary talent so lightly and wonders if he ever had the time to be young, unsure or an apprentice as he talked of in this flying visit?  Merely forty minutes after he arrived he leaves out the door at the back of the hall.  In his wake another crowd is left spell-bound.  Jack White has done everything at lightening speed in his career to date but here’s to hoping that this maestro takes his sweet little time on some of those guitar riffs in the O2 tonight.

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