sat 23/10/2021

Northern Ireland

Album: Van Morrison - Latest Record Project Volume 1

If you want to understand the psychic harm that prolonged lockdown can do to a man, then take a listen to Van Morrison's new 28-song set. Actually, you don't need to listen, the song titles say enough: “Where Have All the Rebels Gone?”; “Stop...

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Bloodlands, BBC One review - ghosts of the Troubles return to poison the present

Belfast-based thriller Bloodlands comes from the pen of first-time TV writer Chris Brandon, though he may find some of his thunder being stolen by the show’s producer, Line of Duty supremo Jed Mercurio. Line of Duty is filmed in Belfast too, though...

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Album: Django Django - Glowing in the Dark

It’s odd that there’s still no name for the wave of genre-agnostic British bands of the '00s. Not manic enough to be nu rave, way too interesting for the retro-guitar nu rock revolution / landfill indie tsunami, the likes of Hot Chip, Metronomy,...

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Marcella, Series 3, ITV review - Anna Friel returns as the defective detective

Anna Friel’s unstable detective Marcella Backland has been on the brink of existential burn-out ever since her first appearance on ITV in 2016, but it seems audiences have a perverse desire to see what psychological black holes she might plummet...

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Album: Bicep - Isles

Bicep's second album fufills the promise of the first, released in 2017 to wide acclaim. Andrew Ferguson and Matthew McBriar, friends since childhood from the city of Belfast, draw inspiration from Chicago house, Detroit techno, Italo disco and...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Shellshock Rock

The feather in this particular cap is a DVD of director John T. Davis’ 1979 film Shellshock Rock. Filmed from October 1978 to April 1979, its 50 minutes thrillingly catch the Troubles-era Ulster getting to grips with punk rock. Vox pops from...

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Cyprus Avenue, Royal Court Theatre online review - a mind in mesmerising meltdown

One of the most blistering stage performances in recent memory gets a renewed lease on life with the streaming of the 2019 screen version, aired last autumn on BBC Four, of Cyprus Avenue, the David Ireland play in which Stephen Rea unravels to...

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theartsdesk Q&A: musician Rick McMurray

With them having famously been just teenagers when they released their debut single in 1994 it seems fitting – and not a little tongue in cheek – that the indie rock trio chose Teenage Wildlife for the title of their 25th anniversary compilation....

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Ordinary Love review - small but (almost) perfectly formed

Amidst the deluge of high-profile year-end releases, it would be a shame if the collective Oscar-bait noise drowned out Ordinary Love, as quietly extraordinary a film as has been seen in some time. Telling of a couple whose marriage is...

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The Day Mountbatten Died, BBC Two review - the IRA's audacious strike at the heart of the British Establishment

It was a lovely summer’s day in southern England, much as it was in County Sligo. I was with my parents, driving to visit a very elderly relative. We arrived not long after the news of Lord Mountbatten’s death was announced and my great aunt was...

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CD: Foy Vance - From Muscle Shoals

Endlessly gigging Northern Irish performer Foy Vance's profile first rocketed after touring with fellow singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran. The pair became pals, Vance went onto support the likes of Elton John, and signed to Sheeran’s Gingerbread Man...

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Derry Girls, Series Two, Channel 4 review - welcome back, gang

When Derry Girls premiered on Channel 4 in early 2018, there was little fanfare. But it’s been a whirlwind year for the four girls from Derry (and the wee English lad), capturing British hearts before conquering the US through Netflix...

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