Eimear Noone – Culture File


Last April I spoke with video game composer Craig Stuart Garfinkle, about his life and career to date. That interview was just one of a number with composers involved in creating work for Blizzard franchises and the Videogames Live event. Here’s the second, a chat with composer, conductor and game music evangelist Eimear Noone. We talk about video game music, affect in composition and her work establishing Dublin City Concert Orchestra.

Image: Eimear Noone by Rkukiyhuri.

Download: ‘Eimear Noone’

Podcasts You’re Missing

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So podcasts, they’re pretty cool right? With eh, the kids, on their shmart phones or some such? They’re yolks ya listen to, like netflix for the blind I right?

Yes it seems that finally, for reasons no one really understands, probably because phones just about now got cheap enough, and data plans just about now got broadbandish enough, podcasts are kewl. As a withered old sock puppet o’podcasting, I thought I’d take the time to throw up a few recommendations. I’ve been listening to (and spewing out) podcasts since the early naughties. Like a psychic who’s hit the weights, the medium has never been in finer fettle. There are a multitude of delectable ear candies available that far too few folks are noshing on. Presumably because when the RTE Guide or whatever make their ‘best of’ lists, they instruct Joffrey the thirty five year old intern to tell them ‘what the kids are up to’ and poor old Joff faxes them the itunes top ten. Forget what’s popular, what’s actually good? Whatz the illest deep cuts oh podcastin’ yo. Sorry, I’ve Straight out of Inglewood playing in another tab.

Latest & Greatest


I’d never heard of crusty journo-hippy Scott Carrier [RSS] [iTunes], before his recent podcast. But the mans a legend. He’s been a globe trotting wrong writer for decades, and the medium affords him the chance to drip feed us beautifully sautéed slices of grass roots journalism carved from his honey roasted eleven hundred year old ass.

Another aging sweet heart Adam Buxton, [RSS] has just launched a new show, where he interviews fellow lovies, mostly outside. There’s not much there yet, but Buxton has a talent for finding creative ways to use a ‘new’ medium, so watch this space.

Speak cantonese? No? Doesn’t matter. You’ll love Young Love Play [RSS]. This Hong Kong based podcast is produced with such panache and presented with such a musically comedic touch, the language barrier only makes it easier to appreciate the production.

All Time Classics


The Tobolowsky Files [iTunes] [RSS] just keeps getting better. ‘Veteran character actor’ (read old coot who plays mostly bit parts), Stephen ‘Tobo’ Tobolowsky, has worked with just about everyone in Hollywood. In between staring in almost 240 movies (which sounds like a lot until you heart that Oliver Hardy made over 400), Tobo took to diarising his life. Mixed in with the show business anecdotes are the insights gleaned from the Torah, quantum physics, classical music and of course liiiiiiiiiiiife, that make Tobolowsky’s stories so unique. Listening to Stephen Tobolowsky is like falling asleep on a train and being woken up to the voice of the most interesting man in the world, then opening your eyes to find yourself alone, because it’s a podcast and he’s not your friend. He’s a famous.

It’s been one hell of a year for ‘Nicholas V.D. Kolk’. Since joining the Radiotopia stable, long running radio oddment Love & Radio [RSS] has quintupled its listenership. Each episode is unique, but tied together by a refusal to adopt the didactic ‘tell it – show it – explain it – learn from it’ formula tittied out by American public radio, and an unmatched ability to dig up weirdo stories from around the globe. Love & Radio remains both excitingly experimental and stunningly well produced. Seriously, the Joanna Newsom episode is some of the cleverest Jorge Luis Borges shit in podcasting.

Robert Ashley [RSS] is one of those perpetually stoned people who thanks to some freak mutation, don’t actually need drugs to stay in a groovy stupor. Having graduated from two of the greatest and much lamented videogame podcasts of all time [1][2], Ashley moved on to laconically spoon out a show ‘about videogames and the people who love them’. That no sells ‘A Life Well Wasted’s impeccable research, production values and above all music, like superman shower wrestling Andy Dufresne. Ashley creates a wholly original soundtrack for each episode – composed of dreamy acid folk blip pop, and coaxes interviews into meandering sound springs that drip feed a forest of… Fuck that sentence, right in the tutter.

If you’re not listening to 99% invisible [RSS] you’re wasting your ossicles. What started as dry shite show about design, quickly became one of the the most gloriously inventive explorations of history, science, art and culture online.

Epic Listens


The Partially Examined Life is a dense, erudite, an often irredeemably smug discussion of some of the thorniest issues in philosophy. I don’t actually listen to it, but I wanted to look clever by including it on this list.

Hardcore History [iTunes] is the 800lb gorilla of history podcasts. Irregularly released and sardonically narrated by libertarian curmudgeon Dan Carlin, HH (wait whuuuuut) is a love it or hate it tautology in earworm form. For my money, podcasts don’t get much more entertaining than these multi-hour forays into World War 1, The Mongol Hordes, or quirky historic oddities like the Anabaptist rebellion.

The Secret History of Hollywood [iTunes] is my new jam, and boy is it sticky. The show’s so long it makes hardcore history look bite sized (one episodes clocks in at over seven hours). What makes TSHOH so unique is it’s thrilling storytelling. Whether he’s recounting the childhood horrors that made Alfred Hitchcock such a bewitching filmmaker and such a paradoxically wonderful and terrible person; or walking you though the clammy basement of Universal Studios’ genre defining early 20th Century Horrors, host Adam Roche brings unparalleled erudition and charm to his topic. The research, suspenseful storytelling and expert narration are unparallellogrammed. Listen to this, it’s brill.

Interview Shows


Have you heard the one about the comedian who alienates everyone he’s ever known, blows through a couple of marriages, retreats to his garage and makes the worlds most popular podcast? WTF? [RSS] Yeah, OK, it’s over exposed (he just interviewed Obama AND Keith Richards), and the show lacks the teeth it once did, but Maron is still good for a well researched deep dive into the life and career of a ludicrously wide variety of entertainers.

Pete Holmes [RSS] [itunes] is smug, laughs at his own jokes and wishes he was Marc Maron, but his self effacing zen narcissist routine hits it out of the park when it comes to getting guests to open up. If you miss the kind of interviews Maron used to do – where unhealthy personal revelations from the host would prompt the same in his guests, look no further.

Sex man Dr. Christopher Ryan [RSS] isn’t a real doctor, or even a real academic (they don’t usually put PHD in their URLS). What he is is an outspoken freethinker with a young Dick Cavett like rolodex of writers, scientists and countercultural oddballs. If you wondered where all the champagne socialist American intellectuals who use Europe as an improper verb went, it was to this guys nekkid cocktail parties.

I was there too [RSS] has a simple premise: Bit part players spill the behind the scenes beans. The interviews tend toward the sycophantic, but there’s a fascinating voyeuristic aspect to the bitchy revelations.

Me too shows

It would be wildly modest and pathologically secure of me not to mention my own podcasts. There are over a dozen of them, all pictured on the right, overly varied and infrequently updated. But if I were to recommend just a couple, they’d be Reading Plays [RSS], a dense but irreverent book club for the theatre and The Gareth Stack Show Live, Featuring Gareth Stack [RSS], on which it’s been my infrequent pleasure to chat up the most infuriatingly creative and successful shits of my acquaintance. There’s nothing quite so painful after all, as the success of ones friends.

Death Cafe – Culture File


The ‘Death Cafe‘ movement invites us to discuss death over tea and cakes. For Culture File, I visited the death cafe at The Irish Hospice Foundations’ Forum on End of Life. Chatting with people approaching the end of life, and others working to make its passing less painful, inevitably made death for a moment more difficult to ignore. It’s almost a year since a close friend of mine, a wonderful charismatic, hilarious, talented man, took his own life; and with it a kind of innocence amongst our group in college. A kind of certainty that we were immune from futile injury. My childhood was shaped by the death of the woman closest to me, my nana Kate. Shortly after school I lost two friends, one to a still unsolved murder, and another to a still incurable illness. Death is something I think about often, but rarely discuss. In a sense, whats the point? But perhaps there is a reason to talk about it after all. ‘Think Ahead‘ is a pen and paper form that lets us write down how we’d like our send off, what our wishes are around our treatment at the end of life. While Irish law still criminalises assisted dying, thinking about how we want our lives to be celebrated, and how we want to be taken care of when we cannot express our wishes, can perhaps insure we live our lives a little more, while we still have them.

Voices include Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness and Sarah Murphy of Think Ahead
Download: ‘Death Cafe’

For Heart & Breath – Culture File


Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire fame is bringing a unique piece to the Aula Maxima at UCC this evening. In collaboration with physiologist Professor Ken O’Halloran, and neuroscientist Professor John Cryan, he’ll be performing a piece called ‘For Heart & Breath‘. Released as an album last year, in live performance the piece relies on measures the breath and heartbeats of its performers to create a feedback loop of performance and appreciation. I headed down to UCC to speak with professor Ken O’Halloran about music, physiology and the often surprising links between art and science, breath and brain.

Download: ‘For Heart & Breath’

‘LADS’, a film about men

Ever wondered what men get up to when there aren’t any women around to ruin things? Lads is a film about two perfectly ordinary fellas, doing the things that fellas do, together. The timid Bill has just been dumped, luckily his charismatic best friend and housemate Ted, is on hand to cheer him up.

This is our second short, but the first one ‘Spaghetti Dick’ has yet to find a distributor. The film was recorded over one day in Dublin, on a budget of zero euro. And features the talents of Shane Conneely, James O’Connor, Kejt Stachura, Patrick O’Brien, Danii Byrne and James Van De Waal.


Writer / Director / Bill – Gareth Stack
Ted – James O’Connor
Dream Woman – Danii Byrne
Sound – Patrick O’Brien & James van del Waal
Director of photography – Shane Connelly
Grip – Kejt Stachura


Behind the scenes photos by Kejt Stachura below.

An History Of Things What Has (not) Happened


This piece was published in the latest issue of ‘The Runt‘, a Dublin comic literary zine. The theme of the issues was ‘alternate history’.

There is many of the things in the past better than todays. Oh yes. Some are evil worse too (✈__✈ █ █ ▄ ). It is starting to look as this is the beginning of history. Imagine, far future there will still be moar to come. But some have not happened that could have happened, and it is those which i wrote. This is what we call alternut history. An imagination of the way things could have be if but for a few other differences in the past. For example Hitler was Julian Seasalt or imagine if the dinosaurs live at the same time as for example films are set.

Some things haven’t happened.

1 What if we make the moon? What then.

2 Imagine for a minute Ronald Regan, but he is Seth Rogan

3 Never Land

4 Characters come to live from books

Fife. Whether or not you believe it – a magic energy inside all people, and plants, the same. It’s name is Juice. Can’t in plate that four minutes.

There are stories men have write, and yes women! In these stories contain dreams, events, places, people, lives, incredible events, animals that never were as if they been. I explain some of these books in briefs.

The Man in the High Castle

The tail of a greatest king of Charlie Maine. Once a night, he ends up more than a man, but almost less than a dragon. In this version, he a taxi driver but still dreams of his past to come.

In the Presence of Mine Enemies

This book is my favourites. So many differents from today. One man has the phenomena agility to see invisible. When a clock commits a crime, she’s arrested in the nick of time. But in many case people seem to have less of time because they are so so busy. An ill wind blows no good to any when things become just all over the place in this post-apoplectic soz I ate e.


An offensive book about Men, sexist harassmen if I may take a quick joke. But serious in this book they have the hole country and it is not good let me tell you. They make a hams fist of the whole meal. Tell won woman makes them do things right, she is play by Helen Mirren. Thus is simpler to Ma Gorratwood.

Years of Salt and Rice

This wons not god.

So you’re welcome for that short strip in through long shelf that is alternatives to what weave gott. Some seam likely. Most can’t be unpicked. Knit not all! I dare say that we will surprise in future by coincidence when made up things happen. Marked by words, just sea.

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Immersive VR Education – Culture File


A few months ago, Irish company Immersive VR education ran a successful kickstarter to create a virtual reality simulation of the Apollo 11 journey to the moon. Put like that it sound kind unbelievable – we actually built a craft that travelled to the moon! Sure, we haven’t gone back in forty three years, but it’s damned impressive all the same.

If you’re lucky enough to own one of the oculus rift developer kits (consumer versions still haven’t hit the market), you can download a demo of the experience at Immersive VR’s site.

I sat down with Immersive’s founder David Whelan to try out this epic voyage, all from the comfort of a swivel chair in his Waterford based home office.

Download: ‘Immersive VR Education’

Kino D – Culture File


Kino is an international filmmaking movement that’s been running in cities around the world since 1999. The concept is simple – aspiring filmmakers of all levels of experience, meet over a weekend; write, direct, edit and screen films all in a two day blitz. Over time the movement has expanded to included week long ‘international kabaret’ events. The next of these is planned from July 12th – 19th in Dublin. I’ve participated in two Kino events, doing everything from writing / directing to sound, acting and even craft services. What’s unique about the event is the openness to filmmakers of all levels of experience and none. Camera people who work professionally in the industry, rub shoulders with first time actors and vice versa. It’s a full immersion introduction to the minimum viable product of a film. If you’re interested in taking part, you’ll find all the info you need at Kino’s facebook page. Back in March I attended one of the Dublin Kino D weekends, and spoke to Kino D founder George Hooker, as well as a bunch of enthusiastic attendees. Take a listen.

Download: ‘Kino D’

Tracks used

Xiu Xiu – Clowne Town
Jason Shaw – Thingamajig