Megan Williams
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Dec, 11

Poetry reading could be arresting

Six people have already responded to Ian Bailey’s request for financial assistance to publish his first book of poetry, contributing €800. Four remained anonymous. The “journalist and academic lawyer” has taken to FundIt in order to raise €3,000 to pay for the printing of The West Cork Way: A Collection of Poems and Ballads.

The minimum donation is €25, for which you will get a signed and dedicated copy and a print of the cover artwork. For €500, the payback includes four “bespoke limited-edition hardbacks” and “the offer of a poetry reading”.

We presume said reading is contingent on Bailey not being extradited to France, where the authorities want to charge him with the unlawful killing of Sophie Toscan du Plantier in west Cork in 1996.

The bard’s lawyers are fighting the extradition application in the High Court.

Artistic conversion
Kicking and catching an oval ball is considered artistic in Ireland. So no surprise to see Paul O’Connell on the revenue’s latest list of those granted the artists’ tax exemption, for his book The Battle. Other rugby “artists” include Drico and Rodge.

Choral chemistry
Something is stirring in the stalls. Chamber Choir Ireland says four of its singers recently got married — two to each other. “Jeffrey Ledwidge (bass) and Sarah Busfield (soprano) tied the knot last month, after singing several feet away from each other for over 10 years,” it says. The choir’s current project is entitled The Great Mystery. Apt. For as the great philosopher Ed Sheeran has noted, people fall in love in mysterious ways.

Sale for art addict who played numbers game
The art collection of Gillian Bowler, the businesswoman who died last year, goes under the hammer at Adam’s auctioneers on May 31.

A former chairwoman of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Bowler had some classics by Yeats and Osborne, but mostly contemporary Irish art by the likes of Basil Blackshaw, Tony O’Malley and Rowan Gillespie. She once told me her collecting was “addictive”, and she had even raised the height of her sitting room to accommodate “a vast monster of a thing”.

She would rub out part of the prices, making a €3,000 painting look like a €300 one, to soothe her husband, Harry Sydner. Though she told him she was buying as an investment, she actually wasn’t, but astute buying meant her collection soared in value anyway.

Abrahamson has criticised RTE for its ‘mediocre’ drama, but his latest directorial project, the US series Chance, has been panned by critics

RTE gets a chance to hit back at Abrahamson
“You would have to search far and wide to find a drama more glum and dismal . . . clunky, overwritten dialogue and an almost complete lack of suspense . . . a painful chore to sit through.”

Lenny Abrahamson on the latest output from RTE Drama? No, Variety’s verdict on Chance, a TV drama he directed last year.

Links to other scathing reviews of Chance, starring Hugh Laurie, were pinging around Montrose last week after Abrahamson’s blistering attack on RTE drama as “depressing” and “mediocre”. Among them was the Guardian’s verdict that it could not imagine “why anyone would want to see more”.

None of which schadenfreude negates his point that RTE Drama hasn’t been giving Irish directors a fair shake.

Abrahamson claims there’s been a “consistent denigration of local talent in favour of mediocre people coming in from abroad”.

Three of RTE’s recent drama series have indeed been helmed by foreigners: Clean Break (Gillies MacKinnon from Glasgow), Rebellion (Aku Louhimies from Finland) and Striking Out (Lisa James Larsson from Germany/England).

Gift aides
An advert filed on eTenders says the electricity company ESB requires the services of a firm to manage “promotional item requirements”. It notes: “Retirement and long-service gifts will be a feature of this contract.” Nice to know that customers’ money will be used to give ESB workers a fitting send-off.

Crowning glory
This week’s Man Whose Name Suits His Job award goes to the new manager at Luttrellstown Castle — one Ivan King. Perfectly natural someone with a royal-sounding title would get top job at a castle, even if it is best known a golf resort.

Siptu issues a dressing down over frock photos
Roll up the red carpet: Siptu has demanded an end to the photographing of female celebrities as they arrive at awards ceremonies.

Following last weekend’s Irish Film and Television Academy Awards, the trade union’s “campaigns and equality organiser” said the media should concentrate on women’s artistic achievements rather than their dresses. “Merely focusing on what is worn to these events feeds into a wider unacceptable culture of objectification which is also increasing the simplistic and diminishing way in which women are portrayed on screen,” thundered Karan O’Loughlin.

A similar approach is not taken to what men wear to such ceremonies, she added. “Perhaps this is because their work is considered to be too important to be overshadowed by fashion.”

Or maybe it’s because they all wear boring tuxedos.

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