‘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.

Credits

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

lads-vertical

Behind the scenes photos by Kejt Stachura below.

An History Of Things What Has (not) Happened

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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.

Fatherland

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.

Dear edit my smell cheque is a boken. Please move my mist rake, ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

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Immersive VR Education – Culture File

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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

doingitwrong-itunes

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

Artist Led Archive – Culture File

Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 13.05.41Megs Moorley at IMMA, image copyright Catalyst Arts Gallery.

Meg’s Moorley’s ‘artist led archive‘ is a wonderful storehouse of the wisdom and work of numerous art collectives over the last four decades. The archive, which tours as a series of exhibitions and discussion events, is part of the permanent collection at the National Arts Visual Library at NCAD. I spoke with curator and artist Megs Morley, at the recent Artist Led Archive exhibition at IMMA.

All tracks used in this piece were from CD’s included in the Artist Led Archive (complete list below). Many of these works were included on the incredible ‘The Sound We Are Now‘ release from 2007, featuring some of the most beautiful and evocative sound artists working in the last decade. The Sound We Are Now is available from Farpoint Recordings, the label which curates a panoply of incredible sound artists and experimental musicians.

Download: ‘The Artist Led Archive’


Tracks used

The Sound We Are Now – Anthony Kelly & David Stalling – Powerstation 3
The Sound We Are Now – Thea Herold – Same Same but different
Gary Phelan & Mark McLoughlin – Random Access Soundworks – Kevlar Second Chants
The Sound We Are Now – Johannes S. Sistermanns – to disappear / appear
The Sound We Are Now – Alan Lambert South Shore
David Stalling and Anthony Kelly – Urban Utopias – Ghost Signal
The Sound We Are Now – Jürgen Simpson – Kepler
Alan Lambert – The Man Who Cycled To The Moon – Tiny Tiny

Concrete Cathedral

This weekend Little Gem Records launched the physical release of my documentary series ‘Mad Scientists of Music‘. The series is available now from Little Gem‘s store (located off Parnell Square, just across from the Ambassador Theatre), on their awesome ‘little gem’ mp3 player format. It’s an extremely limited release – so pick up a copy from the shop (or from me in person) while you can.

To celebrate the launch, and as part of the Na Hailtiri series of location specific improvised performance events, a bunch of artists featured in the documentary performed this weekend in an incredible abandoned space on the outskirts of Dublin. Performers included FYED (Fionn Wallace A.K.A. Fyodor and Ed Devane, A.K.A. Withering Zithering), Deathness Injection, Luxury Mollusc, Caoimhe Lavelle and Glotchbot. Thanks a million to everyone who played and came along.


More videos from the event here. Videos courtesy of Sebastian Dooris.

On Podcasting & Irishness

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I was a guest on the Irish Times Off Topic podcast yesterday. We chatted about what separates podcasting from broadcast radio, and the future of podcasting as an industry. It was one of those classic situations which emerge in interviews, whether for a job or in the media, where what you’ve prepared doesn’t quite match up to what you’re expected to talk about. Alas, although I’ve been making podcasts for almost a decade, as I don’t actually listen to any Irish shows I was a particularly poor spokesperson for the medium here. There are many many great short Irish radio series available in podcast or streaming format – the latest being Alan Meaney’s ‘Sound Conversations‘ series. There are also some high quality Irish broadcast radio programmes that make themselves available as podcasts. For example Culture File, the RTE Lyric FM show I’ve been lucky enough to contribute to over the last few months. However when it comes to really great, podcast native, Irish shows, I’m in the dark. If you know of any great ones, please mention them in the comments and I’ll do what I can to promote them in future.

Let me race to point out, this isn’t a failure of Irish podcasting – I’m sure great shows are out there. It’s in part to do with the nature of the medium, which although bound to language is fundamentally international. My own tastes are diverse and eccentric enough that the shows I enjoy tend to be geographically and topically electric. It’s also a natural outcome of my own conflicted relationship to Irishness. I’m from here clearly, but it’s an identity that emerges for me only emerges in contrasts – in moments of unbritishness or unamericaness – rather than as a sense of national pride or felt identity. I don’t watch Irish television, enjoy Irish (or indeed any) sports, speak the Irish language or feel a connection to the myths and legends celebrated by the celtic revival. I don’t read Irish newspapers or (despite working in the industry) listen to broadcast radio here. I’m not passing judgement on these things, or replacing them with the shibboleths of another preferred culture. It’s simply that nationalism, whether it be a felt pride of nationhood or the iconography and ritual accompanying it, have never held an interest for me. Perhaps it’s alienation, or merely a poor cultural fit. Either way, don’t take it personally Ireland, it’s not you, it’s me.

I know what you’re thinking – who does this poltroon think he is going on the radio to talk about Irish podcasting? I’d be the first to agree I’m in no position to talk about it. Alas there was a bit of a misunderstanding all round. Irish Times writer Declan Conlan had seen me speak about podcasting earlier this year at the NUJ freelance forum. That event included a matched pair of talks. I spoke about the history and future of podcasting, while Colm Coyne – whose in depth knowledge of Irish radio and media is unimpeachable – spoke about the podcast scene over here. I’m fascinated by podcasting as a medium, and as a variety of forms of spoken word art and entertainment. But given that there was another guest on Off Topic to talk about podcasting in general – Jason Phipps, head of audio with The Guardian – Colm would doubtless have been more able to answer ‘the Irish question’.

Here’s my talk from earlier this year, at the National Union of Journalist’s ‘Freelance Forum’, where I spoke about the commercial viability and future of podcasting.

Here’s Colm Coyne speaking about the Irish side of the well, coin.

The Typewriter – Culture File

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Perhaps you’ve seen it. One of those instantly recognisable meme images, that neatly confirm our prejudices with a concise and tweet ready bon mot. The image shows a young man, trendily emaciated and nebbish, Brooklyn casual in navy and white stripped boaters, below his aquamarine shorts and Warby Parker goggles. He sits on a park bench, oblivious to his anachronism, pecking away at an analogue typewriter. ‘You’re not a real hipster’, the text smugly asserts, ‘until you take your typewriter to the park’.

Quoth another readily shared bon mot, ‘Christ what an asshole’.

As with so many pieces of received wisdom, this one is a primary source only about the beliefs of those who spread it. Look we say, as we reblog, tweet and post it to Facebook, ‘I spurn the ironic adoption of outmoded technologies, for I am unpretentious’. Unhappily for the hipster cliche, it turns out that our sartorially stereotyped analogue aficionado is in reality a writer ‘The Roving Typist’, making what must be an agonisingly modest living selling custom hand typed short stories, written one at a time.

I came of age, just as the typewriter was becoming obsolete. Say what you will about the destructive impact on concentration, artistry and erudition the computer hath wrought. For me, the spellchecker made writing possible. I remember the sinking feeling, just before my junior cert, on being instructed by a particularly pernicious crone, only ever to use words that I could spell. Well thats it, I thought. I’ll be handing up a blank English paper. I’m not actually dyslexic, the technical term is subclinical auditory working memory difficulties. But without the smooth forgiving inline recommendations of autocorrect, I’d be at sea with two es.

But that doesn’t make me immune to the allure of ageing technology – the pleasing hum of a vinyl record enticing you to listen all the way through. The pen gliding over paper, devoid of the distractions of the internet. Working with clay, or paint, in a tactile medium, making things that exist even when the power goes out.

The typewriter is something different, a tool that attained a mythology inseparable from it’s use. The iconic silhouette and the clammer of it’s chattering teeth are endlessly evocative – inseparable from the toiling writer, the sweating journalist, the bun mopped ladies of the secretarial pool. It is at once feminine and brutish. A tool which cracked open the workplace for women as it subjugated them into mere transcribers. As Friedrich Kittler, in his meditation on technological media ‘Gramophone Film Typewriter’, called the typewriter a ‘discursive machine gun’, ‘Typescript’ he wrote ‘amounts to the desexualization of writing, sacrificing its metaphysics and turning it into word processing.’

The permanence of typing, the ink spilled like blood, the trees felled and boiled to make the paper – has the quality of murder. Typing prose is a kind of creative destruction – connected to our colonisation of nature. The writer as a one man printing press, a wild egoist making permanent his thoughts. How strange that this machine, with it’s digital keys, engineered to bureaucratise and mechanise the act of writing, seems romantic to us. Will future generations eulogise the laptop, collecting battery heavy early models, propping them up on park benches to pay homage? I doubt it. There is something unique about mechanical machinery – something at once unearthly and comforting. The typewriter a beast that comes to life, only at our touch – magnifying our strength and dexterity. It is vulnerable to injury – clogging with paper, teeth knotting together. It hungers for ribbon.

It is not purely analogue. Florian Cramer in his essay ‘What is Post digital’ argues that the type writer, with it’s keys chopping information into ‘discrete units’ can be considered digital. And yet, each tap bears the mark of our fingers varying pressure. As a child I used to practice typing without ink. The slalom of my dancing fingers, marking the paper like footprints in snow. Hidden messages that could be uncovered like grave rubbings.

For some writers this physical connection, the hypnotic rhythm of words on paper, is a self conscious escape from the ferocious intangible. Words become real, only when spoken or written. And it’s here that the digital realm is a deadly peril. The computer lets us to reedit at a moments notice. The internet leaks endless accelerating accretions of material – reference and competition, distraction and response. So many voices, drowning out our own. So many screaming certainties, making certainty suspicious. The world becoming software dissolves our words.

The typewriter is a cathect, a storehouse for our feelings about the past. If the act of writing changes what is said, then writing on a machine purpose built and laden with history cannot help but shape our words. Taking the trouble to type, mastering the mechanical spider, binds our ideas in paper. A single vulnerable edition, peppered with human mistakes. A naturalised piece of the world, ready to blow away in a slapstick breeze. Perhaps it’s this image, the loose leaves of a novels single copy escaping it’s author, colliding comically with a street full of machinery, that captures something of the draw of the typewriter today. For a writer, the maelstrom of words which pours from the screens around us, can be overwhelming. A break is needed, a discontinuity, writing as retrograde amnesia. One word at a time.

Download: ‘Typewriter’


Tracks used

Eric Satie – Parade – Performed by Griffyn Ensemble
Leroy Anderson – The Typewriter
Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle – Typewriter Tip Tip Tip
Liars – They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top – The Garden Was Crowded and Outside
Billy Fury – Gonna Type a Letter
Alicia Keys – Typewriter
Type of Music (featuring a typewriter) – Jon Brooks

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  • Sightless Cinema – Culture File

    cinema-pic

    White Cane Audio Theatre is a group of blind and visually impaired participants (aged 20’s to 80’s) led by theatre director Ciarán Taylor of Carpet Theatre with radio programme maker and composer Rachel Ni Chuinn (The Shape of Sounds to Come –Lyric Fm), and facilitated by the National Council for the Blind in Ireland with the support of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council Arts Office. The group has been meeting for nine months exploring audio as a means of shared expression. Sightless Cinema is a presentation of some of the work generated during the project.’

    I spoke to the group last week as they were finishing up recordings for the soap opera episodes based on their real life experiences, that serve as part of the project.

    Sightless cinema, a live event showcasing the groups work, takes place this Thursday at UCD’s student centre cinema at 6.30PM. Contact: carpettheatre@gmail.com for ticket details.

    Download: ‘Sightless Cinema’