Arts and Culture

George Orwell and the road to 1984

  • 31 December 1983
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In recent weeks the long-awaited Orwell circus has come to town. The Orwell legend has been employed to make political capital by the kind of people Orwell raged against with typewriter and rifle. It has been used to sell horoscopes and to draw conclusions about English soccer. We await the "Orwell Lives!" tee-shirt and the Big Brother Bubblegum. GENE KERRIGAN examines the man 's life and politics.

Seamus Heaney: Naming his nation

About four hundred years ago, on the stage of the Globe Theatre in London, a minor military character in a major English drama of war and peace asked a question which continues to reverberate through the life and literature of this island. When in Henry V, Shakespeare's stage Irishman, Captain Macmorris asked his Welsh compatriot in-arms, Captain Fluellen, "What ish my nation?" he was acknowledging, in his own too easily imitable manner, that a problem existed, that his national identity was in question.

Books - Arming The Protestants

  • 30 November 1983
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MICHAEL FARRELL WILL have two books launched next week. One is his "Magill Book Of Irish Politics" which, because it's produced by ourselves, we will not comment on it or mention it in any way. It would be unfair to other books of politics, it would give this one an unfair advantage and would take up too much space. Anyway if you want to know about it, and see all the many reasons why you should buy it, there's an advertisement for it on page 38.

The Guinness Jazz Festival

The Dean of St Finbarr's Cathedral, the Very Rev J.M.G. Carey, said prayers for jazz musicians and their festival during Sunday Service. Not that the corkers in the Metropole Hotel would have been in a position to notice the extra surge of grace. For them it could have been anyone of the "highs" of the Hallowe'en bank holiday weekend which Cork and Guinness' have transformed into a dithyramb of unparalleled abandon. By Lyn Geldof

Brian Friel and the Three Pamphleteers

In Derry on the evening of sept 20 six bombs exploded in a local fertiliser factory and Field Day launched its fourth dramatic productiuon in the stately Guildhall. In this city, as in most of Northern Ireland, it is impossible to separate politics and culture. Brian Friel and the five other directors of the three-year od Field Day Theatre Company, all writers or arttists from the north, sem subtly aware of this fact. THeir current choice of Boesman and Lena, Athol Fugard's play on the evils of apartheid in South Afriica, is entirely consistent with teir policy of artist commitment.

Druid's Spell

  • 1 October 1983
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On Tour with Druid Theatre in Lisdoonvarna and Inishmaan, by Kevin Dawson

The Derek Hill Collection

If you are driving from Falcarrig or Gortahurk towards Churchill in County Donegal and if you take the road which goes through the Gap of Muckish you pass through what must be one of the most desolate and barren parts of this country. Nothing seems to grow. The only relief from the stark greyness of the place are the coloured bags of turf that dot the landscape every so often. Colm Toibin writes more about Derek Hill's art collection. 

Old Father, Old Artificer

Hugh Leonards play, Da, currently running at the Abbey, opens with an episode which is conducted without words. The central character, Charlie, is burning his father's papers and other rubbish in the cottage in Dalkey, having just come back from the funeral. He botches the job, through indecision, interruption, uncertainty; and out of that emerges the play. But just for those opening moments we witness, in dumb show, one of the cruellest and most painful occasions in life, the reading and the shredding of the evidence in a case that has finally been closed.

Bowie Live

It's a cool and cloudy Friday night as our taxi cruises to a halt outside the Wembley Arena. Hundreds of hopefuls are hanging around in the unlikely chance of getting a ticket at some kind of reasonable price. The ticket touts have them, and they're all over the place asking up to £400 for a £10 ticket. Inside, stall-sellers are flogging every conceivable form of Bowie paraphernalia. Earrings, key-rings, various teeshirts, glossy souvenir programmes. Money changes hands even faster at several bars dispensing pint-size plastic cups of bitter and lager.