Culture

Books Culture Latest

Working-class voices

The 32: An Anthology of Irish Working-Class Voices, edited by Paul McVeigh, 2021 (€12.50 / £8.75) Working-class writing is coming to the fore in Ireland. The 32 follows the publication of two anthologies of working people’s writing, The Children of the Nation (Culture Matters, 2019) and From the Plough to the Stars (Culture Matters, 2020). All three […]

Books Culture Latest

How should we read Sally Rooney?

Sally Rooney’s hotly anticipated latest novel, Beautiful World, Where Are You, frames a taut interpersonal drama of interlinked friendships and romance against the wider context of history, class, and labour, exploring the inherent ridiculousness of millennial existence in an increasingly fraught, complicated world. Rooney’s self-avowed Marxist credentials are apparent in this most […]

Culture Latest Music

Respect yourself

Respect (2021) is a biographical musical drama about the life of the African-American singer and civil rights campaigner Aretha Franklin, which features Jennifer Hudson. “Respect,” Aretha’s signature song, was released in April 1967 and reached number 1 in the music charts and was later hailed as a civil rights and feminist […]

Art Culture

Caravaggio and the Reformation

Born 450 years ago, on 29 September 1571, Caravaggio lived during the Counter-Reformation. The art form of that time, with a specific political function, was the Baroque. The development of the new middle class—the bourgeoisie—brought with it the dawn of the modern, capitalist era. The artistic expression of this new […]

Books

Shuggie Bain | Book Review

■ Douglas Stuart, Shuggie Bain (New York: Grove Press, 2020) Douglas Stuart won the 2020 Booker Prize for his debut novel, Shuggie Bain, set in his home town, Glasgow, in the 1980s. Like many working-class writers, Stuart found himself doubting the value of his story. “I used to ask myself, […]

Culture Ireland

Laughing at what we are

In what other country would there be web sites offering the equivalent of “funny Irish place-names”?—which in fact are not Irish at all but corruptions. And the great majority of these are not even corruptions in the usual linguistic sense—i.e. changes made over time by the usage of people (in […]

Books Culture

The innumerable facets of a true story

Colum McCann, Apeirogon (London: Bloomsbury, 2020) In the context of the recent escalation of violence in the Middle East, and Ireland’s condemnation de facto of Israel’s annexation policy, this book by Colum McCann is worth reading more than ever. Unlike a pentagon, an apeirogon has an infinite number of sides, […]

Books Culture

Priests of the Resistance

Revd Fergus Butler-Gallie, Priests de la Resistance! (London: Oneworld Publications, 2019) With a jokey title like that, an equally jokey subtitle (The Loose Canons Who Fought Fascism in the Twentieth Century), and a super-scrupulous attention to his own title (“the Revd Fergus Butler-Gallie”), I should have sensed something fishy, but […]

Culture Current Affairs

James Connolly Festival returns

The annual James Connolly Festival returns for its seventh year on 3–9 May, bringing together working-class arts, culture, and politics. This year’s week-long virtual events, recorded at the New Theatre, will include lectures, panel discussions, round-table talks, debate, and performance, covering a wide variety of contemporary and historical topics and […]

Books History

A valuable contribution

■ Patrick Magee, Where Grieving Begins: Building Bridges after the Brighton Bomb (London: Pluto Press, 2021) Patrick Magee’s memoir is an insight into both his personal history and what was for decades the harsh experience of life for Northern Ireland’s non-unionist community. Although he will forever be identified with the […]