The CLUAS Archive: 1998 - 2011

Sound Waves


Cllr Rotimi Adebari first came to Ireland with his family in 2000 fleeing religious persecution in Nigeria. After a few weeks the family settled in Portlaoise. Seven years later the people of Portlaoise have elected him mayor. You can read the full story in The Irish Times Online.

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On Friday night, one note popsters Arctic Monkeys played the Pyramid Stage of Glastonbury and were so dull they had to bring on fellow scallywag Dizzee Rascal to liven things up, which he didn't really. On Saturday night, The Killers upped the pace in dullness thanks to a performance by Brandon Flowers who decided to impersonate Damien Rice doing Freddie Mercury at an Elvis convention. The fact that they sounded like they played the same song repeatedly for the entire length of their set didn't help matters. On Sunday night, The Who went all out by being as exciting to watch as a group of labourers mixing cement by the side of the road. Am I missing something ?

Putting aside the obvious humiliation of running around in the rain for three days on farmland awash with mud, why would you then subject yourself to some of the absolute worst music on earth? I don't understand this festival, just as I don't understand the appeal of that dull little prog rocker DJ John Peel who now has a stage named after him at the very same Glastonbury or the music of Mark E. Smith for that matter or why Elvis Costello, who can't sing a note to save his life, keeps on recording jazz records. Nor do I understand why 'Later with Jools Holland' keeps on be talked about in reverential, hushed tones as being at the forefront of music television when they limit soul legend Smokey Robinson to thirty seconds at the piano talking about his life and music then allow Damien Rice free reign to wail his tuneless dirges throughout the same programme, not to mention the fact that Tom Jones seems to have a cut on every 'Later With' DVD that the BBC puts out.

Dont' get me wrong, the BBC makes the best music programmes on Earth. 'Seven Ages of Rock' has been wonderful to watch, 'Jazz Britannia', 'Folk Britannia' and 'Folk Hibernia' were all excellent, their annual coverage of the Cambridge Folk Festival is second to none, 'Never Mind The Buzzcocks' continues to be a laugh and they pulled out all the stops for both LiveAid and Live8 but, man, Glastonbury, what a sad excuse for entertainment. To paraphrase the punky girl in 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', I think it's dull as sh*t.

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COIS FHARRAIGE 2007 Ireland's First Surf & Music Festival

A weekend of live music from the best of Irish and International acts
will be staged in a Kayham Tent, with a capacity of 4,500 each night,
over looking the Atlantic Coast in Kilkee Co. Clare.

Friday September 7th
Fun Lovin' Criminals, The Blizzards, Roisin Murphy, Majella Murphy

Sunday September 8th
Ocean Colour Scene, Republic of Loose, THE ENEMY, 28 Costumes

Sunday September 9th
Kila, Tom Baxter, Buffalo Souljah, Delerontos, THE WOMBATS, Amy MacDonald

Further acts to be announced.

A carnival of watersport activities will kick off across Kilkee bay
over the three day weekend and an official Surfing Event on the
breathtaking Doughmore beach in Doonbeg on Saturday the 8th in
association with the West Coast Surf Club.

Tickets for Cois Fharraige Surf Festival go on sale on Friday June 29th at 9am.
In person: From 99 Ticketmaster outlets Nationwide
24hr hotlines: Tel: ( ROI ) 0818 719 300 / 0818 719 330 ( NI ) 0870
243 4455 Buy online:

Tickets for each individual day 29.50 euro
Early Bird Three day Festival Ticket 69.50 euro
( Available to purchase until August 18th 2007 only )

Three day Festival Ticket 84.50 euro
( Available to purchase from August 19th 2007 )

All tickets include booking fee

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I was having a few quiet beers with one of my mates the other night and the conversation turned to music, and shortly after, to heated argument as we struggled to agree who was and who was not a rock and roll star. It all started when I dissed Gary Lightbody and, for good measure, Chris Martin. My friend reacted badly to this as they are two of his favourite musicians and before we knew it we were citing record sales, critical reviews, respective fanbases, brands of endorsed musical instruments, favoured pastimes and anything else we could think of to attack or defend the general thesis. Finally, I threw my hands up in the air in exasperation and said, "Sweet Jesus, would Chris Martin look good in a black leather jacket ?" at which my mate froze, mouth open, pint in mid air and then exclaimed, "Say that again". "Ok mate, would any of your heroes look good in a black leather jacket?" "That's it, that's the acid test, isn't it?". he responded.

You see, you can talk all you like about popularity but when it comes down the wire, the real test, the black leather jacket test, is whether you look good in one and if you do then, regardless of whether you are a musician or even a dolphin trainer, then you are, without question, a rock and roll star. So, take a bow, Bruce Springsteen, Lou Reed, Iggy Pop, Bono and The Ramones, you all look great in the cowhide.

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At the moment, adverts are running on the television for ‘Top Gear Anthems’, the latest BBC album to take advantage of both the popularity of the world’s greatest motoring programme and Jeremy Clarkson’s creaking taste in rock and roll. All the usual Dad Rock compilation favourites are here; Boston, Steppenwolf, Queen, Deep Purple, Sabbath, Hawkwind, ZZ Top, Motorhead and Queen to name just a few along with some more modern bands, Son Rock if you will, such as Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park and Feeder. I gotta say I wouldn’t listen to any of this stuff regardless if I was behind the wheel of a car or not. So, in honour of my misspent early teens, when one of my guilty pleasures was to whiz around Dublin at night on my Raleigh 10 Speed racer listening to ‘Heatseeker’ by AC/DC on my Walkman (its illegal and dangerous to listen to music whilst on your bike kids) I have put together this list of top notch, road tested driving music for your speed orientated listening pleasure, but I urge you to keep an eye on the speedometer if you listen to them, because Sound Waves advocates safe, responsible driving.


Track: New Sensations

Artist: Lou Reed

Album: Perfect Night Live In London

Verdict: I took my GPZ out for a ride / The engine felt good between my thighs”. Lou Reed’s song is a paean to the simple pleasures of his Kawasaki motorcycle as he heads out from New York on a summer’s day for Pennsylvania and ends up in a road side bar. This live version of the song was recorded at the 1997 Meltdown Festival in London and it kicks ass, especially when Lou Reed instructs the band to, “Crack that Mother Fucker open”. Oh yeah


Track: Thunderstruck

Artist: AC/DC

Album: Live

Verdict: This song is like listening to bolt lightening making its way from Angus Young’s guitar to a massive speaker stack. The best example I can find of what I like to call “Live Energy Audience Transfer Dynamics”.


Track: Steve McQueen

Artist: Sheryl Crow

Album: C’mon, C’mon

Verdict: Sheryl was once engaged to the Texan thunderbolt that is Lance Armstrong, a man who began his autobiography with the words, “I do everything at a fast cadence” so she knows a thing or two about speed. In this song, she admits that she wants to be, “Like Steve McQueen / All I need’s a fast machine” before making sly comments about rock stars in the Whitehouse and pop stars who look like porn. I wonder who she is talking about?


Track: You Wreck Me

Artist: Tom Petty

Album: Wildflowers

Verdict: I first heard this on a country music radio station as I was driving down a highway in Kentucky. “Tonight we ride, right or wrong” sings Tom Petty as his band lock together to ride that tune down the road. Its one of his best songs and yet it does not appear on any of his Greatest Hits releases.


Track: Dominion / Mother Russia

Artist: The Sisters of Mercy

Album: Floodland

Verdict:  Anyone who thought that Jim Steinman’s work with Meatloaf was the pinnacle of more is more music production has never heard his work with British Goth rockers The Sisters of Mercy. This song is the opener for their hit album ‘Floodland’ and has it all, a massive drum beat, grandiose lyrics, a killer guitar lick, graveyard vocals, choir and a saxophone solo. If you are ever planning on driving through Death Valley make sure you pack this track.


Track: Cold Metal

Artist: Iggy Pop

Album: Instinct

Verdict: I saw Iggy Pop when he supported Madonna at Slane and he was brilliant, calling the disinterested crowd a bunch of mother fuckers and jumping around the stage like a seven year old that has eaten too much candy. This is my favourite track by the Godfather of Punk and features Glen Matlock and Steve Jones of The Sex Pistols on bass and guitar. Threw my hide in an automobile / Heard a song called drive the wheel”. Sure, it’s a three chord trick but its one which ends with a prescient green message, “Better save a tree”. Trevor Sargent would be proud.


Track: Paper In Fire

Artist: John Mellancamp

Album: The Lonesome Jubilee

Verdict: ‘Jack & Diane’ was arguably John ‘Cougar’ Mellancamp’s biggest hit but this song is by far his best rocker; a lovely mixture of rolling guitar lick, Southern American instrumentation and drum kit fireworks.


Track: Tennessee Plates

Artist: John Hiatt

Album: Slow Turning

Verdict: This wonderful, country rock track tells the story of a car thief who steals a Cadillac with the aforementioned plates and takes it for a drive across Memphis with the police in hot pursuit before ending up in Tennessee Prison where he spends his days making, eh, Tennessee plates. If you ever find yourself on the run from the Gardai down the M50 this is the one to play.


Track: Keep The Car Running

Artist: Arcade Fire

Album: Neon Bible

Verdict: “Men are coming to take me away / I don’t know why but I know I can’t stay”. If that’s not a reason to get in a car and drive into the night as fast and as far as you can, then I don’t know what is. Once again, this is a song with a rolling lick and a fast paced beat and its opening echoes Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians’.


Track: Light of Day

Artist: Bruce Springsteen

Album: MTV Plugged

Verdict: No list of motorway music would be complete without the inclusion of a song by that poet of the open road, Bruce ‘The Boss’ Springsteen. This was written as the title song for a Michael J Fox movie and was recorded live for an MTV special where Bruce discarded the acoustic instruments for his trusty Fender. “Been driving five hundred miles / Got five hundred to go / I got Rock & Roll music on the radio”. What else do I need to say? Take it away Bruce...

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Carlsberg don't do surf music but if they did; Here are three versions of that classic surf pop song, "Surfin' Bird".

Firstly, The Ramones in 1978

Secondly, the German band der fall Böse perform it in the back of their VW bus.

Finally, Kermit the Frog gives it a lash.


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"We wanna be free! We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna be free to ride. We wanna be free to ride our machines without being hassled by The Man! ... And we wanna get loaded. And we wanna have a good time. And that's what we are gonna do. We are gonna have a good time... We are gonna have a party." These immortal words, uttered by Peter Fonda in cult biker movie, "The Wild Angels", found a new lease of life when they appeared in an edited form at the start of the Primal Scream track, 'Loaded'. I was reminded of them recently when I read a report in 'Bicycling Magazine' concerning a leisure cycle along America's best road. The article contained a vignette about a group of the cyclists on the trip who spent their evenings watching 'Wild Angels' on DVD, drinking beer and playing their guitars into the early hours of dawn. The overall impression was of cycling as rock & roll, rebellion, freedom, sticking it to The Man, partying and the open road.

So, with a month to go before the start of the 2007 Tour De France it was interesting to do a short trawl of i-Tunes to see that a number of famous musicians have written songs about bicycles. There is, of course, Queen who sang how, "I don't wanna be a candidate for Vietnam or Watergate / Cause all I wanna do is / Bicycle bicycle bicycle". There is Pink Floyd who revealed that, "I've got a bike. You can ride it if you like / It's got a basket, a bell that rings and / Things to make it look good / I'd give it to you if I could, but I borrowed it." There is the elegiac 'Broken Bicycles' by Tom Waits that parallels a broken love affair with, "Broken bicycles / Old busted chains / With busted handle bars / Out in the rain." And there are also hymns to the simple velo by HAL, John Cale and the fragrant Katie Melua. Most importantly, there is Kraftwerk's 'Tour De France'.

If there is one cyclist that embodies all these diverse qualities then it is Lance Armstrong, a genuinely heroic athlete who fought off cancer to come to win Le Tour seven times, has since raised millions of dollars for cancer support and research, was briefly engaged to Sheryl Crow and, being a Texan, has a healthy streak of the rebel yell runing though his veins. So, to finish, I thought I would show you an advert he did for Nike that has a genuine touch of poetry to it and a soundtrack that tugs at your heart strings in the right way. Vive Le Tour, ride free or die.



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Last Tuesday I watched David O'Doherty continue his quietly savage assault on the shibboleths of Post Boom Ireland as he wrote, recorded and released what he termed 'the ultimate power ballad' about a girl who had overdone the fake tan. He had high hopes that this musical masterpiece would go all the way to number 27 in the Irish singles charts. In order to achieve this, David followed a masterplan not unlike that employed by many a boyband Svengali, down to the soft focus promo video shot on a beach and the trademark white suit.

Last Sunday, I watched 'maverick master of the garden' Diarmuid Gavin convince another well to do Irish family to pony up in excess of €25,000.00 for a garden designed by him that they were going to have to build themselves.

It was hard to know which was the most bizarre sight; O'Doherty burning all two hundred copies of his single in four hours on three borrowed laptops on the floor of his flat or a family of wealthy Dubliners stump up the equivalent of the deposit for a house so that they can get into some big time DIY.

Both programmes offer a vision of Ireland that was strangely similar; the person using their own precious time and capital to acquire something that was both visible and yet transitory. At least, O'Doherty slaved away in service to his own vision whereas the home owners chosen by Gavin's producers have to pay for and execute a garden that was not of their design or inspiration.

I am not sure what these programmes are trying to tell us about Ireland but as slices of pop culture they are certainly fascinating to watch.

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Let me ask you a simple question ? Do you think Elvis was a lesser artist because of the cheeseburgers ? Do you think Moby is a greater artist because of the lack of them. There is no link between Hitler's vegetarian and homicidal tendencies yet hardline vegans frequently attempt to link a vegetarian diet with a superior moral or ethical approach to life as outlined by books such as "Vegan: The New Ethics of Eating" by Eric Marcus and the selective use of quotes from a variety of religious texts on websites such as VeganForLife.Org. In popular music Sir Paul McCartney has helped to popularise vegetarianism and a number of well known musicians such as Morrissey, Peter Gabriel, Leonard Cohen, Prince, Martin Gore, Fiona Apple and Meatloaf (no sniggering at the back) have been spotlighted as celebrities who have eschewed meat, fish, chicken and dairy to various degrees.

Don't get me wrong, good diet is an essential part of good health, but when you have to take vitamin supplements as a substitute for the vitamins you are missing out on because of your chosen diet then I wonder whether people are being told the whole story. In fact, I was particularly concerned when one acquaintance of mine kept on insisting that the value of a vegetarian diet was highlighted in Morgan Spurlock's "SuperSize Me". I had seen the documentary a number of times and it was quite clear that Spurlock's ill health stemmed not from his meat intake during that month but because of the amount of sugar, salt, fats and food additives that he ingested on that diet. Although, after filming ended, his vegetarian girlfriend did put him on a diet to lose the weight and help him back to the good health he had previously enjoyed Spurlock never became vegetarian; his subsequent diet was monitored by a doctor and devised by his girlfriend who works as a professional chef and health counsellor. In fact he is quoted as saying, "There’s still nothing better than pork chops, ham and bacon. I just can’t resist the swine.”

I'll put my cards on the table. I am, like any person born in this world, naturally an omnivore and when I say that I mean that my mouth is full of teeth that are able to handle a wide variety of foodstuffs which my stomach is then able to digest. As far as I know, Lions are unable to eat vegetables and cows don't eat meat but mankind is neither solely a herbivore or a carnivore so, as far as I can see, vegetarianism/veganism is primarily an emotional or intellectual choice. There are, of course situations where people are unable to eat certain foods for health reasons but we are not talking about people who are eating under the direction and supervision of a doctor or dietician, we are talking about people who, in the absence of any medical impetus, have made a conscious, personal choice about what they eat, sometimes as a result of reading the opinions of a person such as a famous musician who is not themselves qualified to give dietary advice but yet have taken it upon themselves to tell others what to eat and why and, in the process has attached certain moral or philosophical values to that unqualified advice.

In our modern, post religious society I am amazed that people, who would protest loudly if someone was to quote religious scripture at them in an attempt to direct their sexual behaviour would then meekly accept quotations from the same religious texts when it came to their diet. If you reject what the Bible says about homosexuality or contraception why will you accept what it says about eating meat ? I am perfectly happy to accept Macca's advice on how to write a good song or even what kind of bass guitar to buy but why should I accept what he says about food when he is not a qualified doctor, dietician or chef. How can I be sure that Morrissey is correct when he sings, "And the flesh you so fancifully fry / Is not succulent, tasty or kind"?. Maybe he just doesn't know anyone who can cook. Why should I look to rock musicians for health tips in the first place when so many of them suffer from severe drug or alcohol problems?

As I said at the beginning, there is no link between Hitler's fondness for carrots and his masterminding of the Shoah and so, until there is a proven connection between diet and morality, I would like to remind those campaigning vegetarians out there that its rude to talk with your mouth full, especially when the topic is ethics. Eat what you like, but don't bore others with spurious reasons for why you eat what you do.

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Last night I switched on to RTE and caught the first episode of a documentary series entitled, "The Modest Adventures of David O'Doherty", in which our titular hero attempted to cycle from Dublin to Galway in one day so that he could perform a comedy gig at the Kings Head Pub to a small audience of NUIG students.

There are a number of things to be said about this programme set up. O'Doherty is unique among Irish comedians in that he makes himself the butt of the audience's laughter with a somewhat Beckettian, idiot savant stage personality and a line in quirky, one chord songs that he bashes out on a small, Casio keyboard. Whereas comics like Tommy Tiernan, Dara O'Briain and Des Bishop have made a name for themselves with their smug, desperately unfunny, too clever by half harrangues, inviting the audience to laugh at some dumb target or other outside of themselves, O'Doherty makes himself the target in much the same way that the American comedian Emo Philips had done previously. O'Doherty was true to form in this programme in that his chosen attire was a set of ladies' gym attire, old sneakers and a cycling helmet that was far too small for his noggin. Not only that but his chosen steed was not a full carbon road bike with cleat pedals but a battered old commuter bike with dodgy wheels and a back carrier onto which he lashed his keyboard, wrapped in a white, plastic, shopping bag. No one in their right mind would have confused this hapless loser with Sean Kelly.

The reason he chose to cycle the route in the first place was to emulate his hero, Tour de France winner, Stephen Roche and he figured that with enough drive and desire he could cover the 219 kilometres within one day. The average distance of a stage of the Tour De France, using the 2006 route as a guide, is 172km and I know amateur cycle enthusiasts who train relentlessly all year so that they can travel over to France to complete just one stage of the Tour, so O'Doherty certainly didn't set his sights low regarding the challenge he set himself, and that is not even factoring in Ireland's notoriously windy, rainy weather which decided to make an appearance in the show with a day long storm that provided unrelenting wind and rain coming from the Atlantic to challenge him even more.

O'Doherty had no team back up for his cycle, unthinkable for anyone attempting such a long route, he forbade the film crew to help him and his only food intake for the day consisted of some soggy sandwiches and a banana. After nine hours on the road and 100km from his goal, O'Doherty's legs gave way; what cyclists call 'the knock' or 'the bonk' and stopped working, requiring him to be transported by his sympathetic crew to the gig in Galway where he appeared far from happy on stage and performed a song detailing what he called his, "mild super powers". The programme narration duly put his failure to complete the route as being down to him being unprepared for the challenge, declared that it was the end of his dreams of getting fit and pointed out that he had wasted two hours on the side of the road attempting to fix a puncture; so I am unsure exactly how long he was cycling for but I put his average speed at somewhere between 13km and 17km an hour.

I am a life long leisure cyclist and I can assure you that doing 119km in one day on a bike is, far from being a failure, a bona fide athletic achievement. Most one day charity cycles in Ireland, include the Peter McVerry challenge, average around 100 - 130km and staged cycles average 100km per day with rest days built in. The people who participate in them usually have to undergo extensive training to ensure that they are fit enough to both take part and complete the route in a certain time and, when they do, they are fully backed up with medics, special sports diets and mechanics.

I watched O'Doherty on his trek with both admiration and, it must be said, much mirth. His deadpan expression as each indignity of the road was meted out was priceless but I was surprised that he chose, unlike his frequently self satisfied comedic peers, to portray his achievement as an umitigated failure. Subsequently, it occured to me that his position was artistic. Here is a guy choosing to show triumph as failure, to go against the grain of the 'what a great little nation we are' and instead to suggest that the Irish can fail and fail big. Furthermore, his choice of cycling is interesting in that it harks back to an Ireland mired in poverty and failure. Tim Hilton, in his book on cycling entitled "One More Kilometre and We're in the Showers" opined that one of the reasons why Ireland produced such great cyclists as Roche and Kelly was precisely because of the country's reduced circumstances at the time of their development as athletes. O'Doherty's comedy is in answer to the back slapping of the Riverdance generation and it may well be an augur of things to come, given the OECD's stark warnings for our economy and their view that there is no such thing as a 'soft landing'.

One more thing, if O'Doherty wants to show that he has mild super powers then I would encourage him to get back on his bike and sign up for one of the many worthy charity cycles that are held in Ireland such as the Joe Loughman Randonnée, the Tony Griffin Foundation Cycle or the Welcome Home Wexford Cycle. He could certainly complete the course on his present form and with his media profile he could easily raise the much needed funds required by so many charitable organisations in this country. Now, thats the work of a real superhero, however mild.

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Nuggets from our archive

1999 - 'The eMusic Market', written by Gordon McConnell it focuses on how the internet could change the music industry. Boy was he on the money, years before any of us had heard of an iPod or of Napster.