AS THE embers of this topsy-turvy 12 months fade, my enduring moan has to be, well, moaning. We have now entered a point of no comeback in the Age of Preciousness. It is now the inalienable right of everyone with a touch screen and a twitter account to be “offended”. To thumb shrill denunciations when their own personal (keyword) viewpoints are challenged or someone else out in the digital abyss is merely blocking their view. To only have two responses lined up when a new story, quote, opinion is reported on; righteous indignation or silence. We, as a species, now seriously need to get a life.
Helping with this, however, are the arts, music, books and cinema specifically.
From a phoenix-like Death From Above 1979 through to The Gloaming’s spectoral cartwheels, right up to Gaz Coombes and even the stupidly fun Prison Love (and their barbershop quartet alterego The Larkfield Four) just last night in Whelans, it was yet another “best year ever” in what now feels like a lifetime of them.
The same is precisely true of cinema, where directors like Dennis Villenueve, George Miller, Andrew Haigh, Myroslav Slaboshpytskiy, Abderrahmane Sissako, JJ Abrams, Todd Haynes etc burned images into my mind that I will never be able to shake.
Kevin Barry’s Beatlebone reminded us that this kinetic Irish misfit now inhabits a realm all his own, part Joyce, part Waits, part Father Ted. Like U2’s frankly omnipotent demonstration in the 3Arena in Novemeber, Jonathan Franzen proved just too bloody good to throw stones at with his fifth novel, Purity. Unputdownable, in every sense of the word. She’d hate to be mentioned anywhere alongside Franzen but my friend Helen Macdonald raked in the awards and travelled the world this year with her genre-clashing masterpiece, H Is For Hawk. It is simply all this eerily brilliant writer deserves.
Wishes for 2016?
For All Tvvins, Walking On Cars, Bowie and Lenny Abrahamson to actualise the hype and make good on their promise.
For Queens of the Stone Age and PJ Harvey to rediscover danger, economy and, in the case of the former, Greg Ginn riffs.
For Ships to get me moving and for Tool to darkly bamboozle.
For Pugwash to break through properly, and for Neil Hannon to impose his genius deafeningly on the record-buying public.
For the shagging public to buy those records.
For Le Bataclan to re-open with a sold-out carnival of beautiful, eternal, defiant rock ‘n’ roll.
For an end to artists and freelance journalists being underpriced and undervalued.
For Paul O’Connell to lift another European Cup wearing red.
For the stealthy crawl of Celtic-Tiger revivalism to be bludgeoned dead in its tracks.
For 1916 to be reviewed with a clear lense.
For the so-and-sos of Paragraph 1 to grow a set.
And would it kill ye to sort out some summer weather?
First published today on State.ie along with similar contributions from colleagues there. Happy New Year, everyone.