Category Archives: Music

What’s the time Mr. Wolf?


Every few months (on a day close to pay day) I will go on a concert ticket buying binge. I will look at the schedule for the coming twelve months; purchase any that look promising – which are not outrageously expensive or sold out; mark the date in my diary and forget about them. Until that handy little reminder pops up a few days in advance to warn of the impending event.

So it was with Patrick Wolf, whom I saw in the Sugar Club last night. I had seen him previously in the Melkweg (Milky Way) in Amsterdam in April 2011. I can remember this date as while at that concert a friend was in the audience (of which I was not aware) took a picture of me from a height, looking very moody and artistic. Having a healthy ego, I have used this picture as a Facebook profile picture, which serves as a precise reminder of when I saw the gig. Continue reading What’s the time Mr. Wolf?


Workers of the world unite: the Mariah Carey edition.

‘All I want for Christmas’ by Mariah Carey ought to have a subtitle. The subtitle would read ‘Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains’.

Not only is it Mariah’s magnum opus – in fact her only good song – it is simultaneously extremely catchy, and a clear criticism of the excesses of festive capitalism. It’s basically the ‘Das Kapital’ of Christmas music. Continue reading Workers of the world unite: the Mariah Carey edition.

All kinds of everything in Helsinki. With the Finnish Al Porter


In 2006 Finland won the Eurovision Song Contest, when the band Lordi romped to victory with ‘Hard Rock Hallelujah’. At the time I was firmly embedded in the Finnish tribe of Amsterdam, so I was aware of the intense celebrations. This was Finland’s first victory. I, being Irish, was much more blasé about the whole thing. Ireland had won it seven and a half times previously (Linda Martin’s second place position in 1984 with timeless classic ‘Terminal 3’, is the half victory – she may not have won the overall contest, but the moral victory was hers).

As is always the case, the following year the winning country hosts the competition. So Helsinki in 2007 was the glamourous location for the Festival.

I would describe myself as a mild Eurovsion fan – perfectly amenable to watching the show, and particularly the results if it is on television, and I am at home.

Naturally I love ABBA – and although they are the very essence of Eurovision, they have sort of transcended the competition – but I would not be a huge fan of the pageant itself. A fair-weather fan maybe?

Not so some of my friends. One such friend from Amsterdam would probably be able to tell you who came 9th in 1997, without thinking about it. He downloads and listens to each country’s entry, months prior to the main event, and can predict with an almost uncanny certainty that song’s  position in the final.

Some old friends from Dublin would have been equally fanatical.

They were all traveling to Helsinki to witness the serious business of cheesy music. I was tagging along – more anxious to see Helsinki and Finland for the first time. We arranged to meet up with the Dublin contingent.

Five young men on a trip. And not a wife or a girlfriend between us – all of us being confirmed bachelors (same sex marriage didn’t exist then). Continue reading All kinds of everything in Helsinki. With the Finnish Al Porter

Steps: the most electrifying night in the history of show-business

‘So I can’t go to the Steps concert next week, do you want my ticket?’


‘I’ll give you a knockdown price for it.’

SOLD! To the cheapskate from Limerick.

I was going to the 3Arena in Dublin, to see 1990s sensations Steps! (proudly supported by classical violin quartet The Vengaboys). Continue reading Steps: the most electrifying night in the history of show-business

Concert: Red Hot Chili Peppers

It has been a long time coming – this Red Hot Chili Peppers concert at the 3Arena. So long  – thirteen months – that I have in fact written blog posts about the gig on two previous occasions.

The first post (which you can read HERE ) describes my excitement last August getting the tickets, my memories of the Chili Peppers covers band who introduced me to Amsterdam in the year 2000, and the impure thoughts I used to have about the lead singer Anthony Kiedis.

The second post (which you can read HERE) details how a mere days before the Christmas gig – the opening night of the world tour –  my Anthony got the flu, and postponed the concert until last night – the closing night of the tour.

I was ready. I had been ready for over a year. I was late leaving work so I didn’t have a chance to go home to dress for a rock gig. I would not be wearing a bandana this evening. I would be eating a big, greasy burrito from ‘Burrito Blues’ in the IFSC, on the way down to the concert though. Continue reading Concert: Red Hot Chili Peppers

Concert review: Pet Shop Boys in Dublin

It was like a convention  of men who maintain a personal skin-care regime, so it was.

What I hear you ask?

Well the Pet Shop Boys – who played a gig in the Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin last night – of course. I had acquired tickets when they had gone on sale some months earlier.

I have always liked the Pet Shop Boys. I’d never been a huge fan of the group though. They were a constant presence in the soundtrack of my youth, emerging in the mid 1980s when I was becoming a pop music obsessive. I was about ten years old when ‘West End Girls’ became a smash hit. I liked the song very much, but at the same time was a little bit intimidated by how sophisticated and arch the band appeared and sounded. How very posh they looked. Continue reading Concert review: Pet Shop Boys in Dublin

Limerick – you’re a langer

Having crossed the country yesterday evening, to spend the weekend in my hometown of Limerick, I was a man on a mission today.

I wanted to explore some more of the city in which I grew up, but knew very little about (we grew up slightly out of town so excluding occasional trips with the parents, we stayed rather local to our own neighbourhood). Continue reading Limerick – you’re a langer

A tribute to George Michael

After my driving lesson yesterday, I was distraught. Why does Attila (my instructor) keep stopping the lesson half way through for a toilet emergency. Once might be understandable, but it’s becoming a habit. Is he sending me a not so subliminal message that my driving skills are less than adequate? Or does he just have a sensitive tummy? I choose to go with the latter option. My motoring skills are progressing – at a snail’s pace maybe. Slowly, steadily wins the race. I’ll get there in the end. I will have a license by June – it might not be next June granted. But by some June in the future. Continue reading A tribute to George Michael