This recurring post, Cultural Dispatches, will endeavour to provide you with eclectic recommendations from around the cultural world.
It will be a space where you can come regularly for longreads, audio vitamins, and stories that have piqued my interest over the previous fortnight. The posts will also highlight some Irish – mainly Dublin – based event recommendations over the upcoming week.
Disclaimer: these lists, like any, are subjective, the lens is mine and far from exhaustive, but amongst them I hope you find things that interest you and encourage you to come back for more.
What to go to?
Dublin Flea Market: Friday 11th – Sunday 13th Dec, Point Village.
If a Saturday trip to the teenage crèche, Dundrum Town Centre, isn’t your bag then try the Point Village for your Xmas shopping this weekend.
The Flea is a Dublin 8 institution that takes place on the last Sunday of every month in the hipster fiefdom of Newmarket. This year the bumper Christmas Cracker edition had considerable drama in finding a venue for their 100+ stalls.
Originally set to be held in the John Player Factory on the South Circular Road, permission was withdrawn at last minute and the organisers had to scramble for a new venue, thankfully they found one in the Point Village.
You’ll find craft, handmade, vintage, up-cycled and second hand. It’s for those eager crate diggers and bargain hunters with a penchant for spotting discarded value, and those who like their new wares to be tag-less and possibly in need of a wash.
Lumo #3 w Richie Egan: Saturday 12th, Tengu Bar. €10.
Blogger Nialler9’s monthly club night in Tengu Bar sees Jape front man Richie Egan making a special appearance behind the decks.
Coming straight off the stage from a live Jape show at Vicar Street expect him to strike a beautiful balance between disco and rinsers. This’ll be a party – for a taster of what will be played on the night go here.
Brownbread Mixtape “Happy Holidays”: Sunday 13th, Stag’s Head Pub. €10.
Brownbread Mixtape is a gem on the spoken word scene, truly an eclectic night showcasing music, poetry and comedy talent. Driven by its host Kalle Ryan, who is guaranteed to do a Warner Herzog impression, it’s an electric atmosphere in the small upstairs of the Stag’s Head and the superb John Cummins is on the line-up to boot.
I spotted something on Social Media saying this could be the last BBMT, surely not, but if the rumours are true it’s worth catching it before the lights go out on a stalwart night.
Dante’s Divine Comedy Readings Series – Paradiso: Friday 11th 2:30pm – 8pm, Trinity College Chapel. Free admission.
To celebrate the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth in 1265 there will be a reading of the Paradiso section of his Divine Comedy in the Chapel in Trinity College on Friday the 11th. It will be read in nine languages by 36 different readers.
This third instalment is the final one in the complete reading of the Divine Comedy that has taken place over the last fortnight. Readings of the Inferno section were held in the National Gallery on the 28th of November and Purgatorio was read in the Glucksman Gallery in Cork on the 4th of December.
I can hear the catcalls of pretentiousness as I draft this one, and as such I must admit that I haven’t read the Divine Comedy yet.
Undeniably a cornerstone of Western Literature, what fascinates me is the decision Dante made to write this in vernacular Italian rather than worldly Latin. In doing so he created what we know today as the Italian language.
What to listen to?
An Irishman Abroad Podcast – #115 Hozier
Comedian Jarlath Regan has followed the Marc Maron WTF formula by starting a longform interview podcast show. Both Maron and Regan, stand-up comedians by trade, are bigger names as a result of the success of their podcasts. The reason is the candid, in-depth talks deliver a much greater scope for insight than the PR-dominated interviews found in most media today.
In the introductory spiels to his conversations Regan always seems to say that so and so was “amazing” or the conversation to come was “pretty special”, 116 episodes can’t all be that good but his meticulous preparation pays off more often than not.
Here is his interview with singer-superstar Hozier. If you are looking to dive into a few more episodes I recommend the Una Mullaly, Paul Howard and Tommy Tiernan chats as a good place to start, you’ll find them here.
Serial – Season 2 episode 1
News filtered through today that the record breaking podcast Serial, presented by Sarah Koenig, was back for Season 2. It went live early Thursday morning in the States and by the afternoon the site was crashing from the volume of traffic headed over to see what the next story was going to be.
Season One of Serial, the This American Life spin-off, took the murder of Hae Min Lee from 1999 and spent twelve episodes meticulously parsing all the details of the case which saw Adnan Syed convicted of murder and sentenced to 30 plus years in jail.
The show had such an impact that the case is now reopened and new evidence is being admitted to an appeal court. However, lawyers on the case claim the show had no bearing on this change of events, which seems dubious.
We doubt the second season can possibly live up to that standard but everyone will tune in as Sarah Koenig examines the case of Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier who deserted his post in Afghanistan and was captured by the Taliban. He was a prisoner of war for five years and his story is about to go under the Serial microscope.
What is unusual is that the case is ongoing and Bergdahl could still face a court-martial, so how that plays out over the twelve episodes will be fascinating.
Find the first episode of Season 2 here and the rest of the episodes will be at the same link every Thursday.
This is one to follow avidly.
What to read?
Concourse Editorial on This American Life:
This American Life (TAL) will feature regularly on this blog so here’s a piece wishing TAL a happy 20th birthday and examining the darker side of the show.
New Yorker Fiction – Oktober by Martin Amis:
Martin Amis wrote this piece of short fiction as a response to the refugee crisis while touring Europe.
Read it here #longread
Vanity Fair – The Secret History of One Hundred Years of Solitude
Over 50 years ago magical realism in fiction was born when Gabriel Garcia Marquez dropped off the manuscript for One Hundred Years of Solitude to his publisher. Here Vanity Fair’s Paul Elie interviews Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s agent and sheds light on that momentous time in the South American writer’s life.
Link to the magazine story here #longread
To finish we have the always funny Daily New Yorker Cartoon making a joke out of someone who at this stage is the joke: