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Paschal Quigley – The greatest Irish singer-songwriter of all time?

Paschal Quigley is the greatest singer-songwriter that Ireland has ever produced. He is also a figment of my imagination. For over a decade I have been writing and recording a radio mockumentary about his storied career in the Irish indie music scene. The script for that is almost complete, but I will post more about that in the coming months.

Down the years I have recorded a selection of Paschal’s most vital songs, as he traverses through many musical genres and phases of disillusionment. The song above is his indie smash Damascus that chronicles a moment of blinding realisation about his place in the music industry, while on a road trip to Cork. It might be his best song. 

Throughout Paschal’s story he is a shapeshifter and reinvents himself. At some point in the late 90s Paschal pivots to punk and writes this rage filled reaction to his short-lived stint as an office temp. It also marks the moment he goes “electrical” at the first (and also last) Dungarvan folk festival. Play it LOUD!

Three Men Talking About Things That They Kinda Know About – Limited Edition 10th Anniversary

For anyone new to my website, I just wanted to holler about the recent publication of our award-nominated spoken word play, Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About. A decade ago we staged this show at the Dublin Fringe and subsequently toured it around Europe to huge critical acclaim. It was one of the most fulfilling and important artistic experiences of my life, and you can read more about the genesis and creation of the show here.

As for the book itself, we put incredible thought and care into creating something that was a unique work of art in-and-of-itself, with a cover produced on a letterpress printing press, on high quality handmade paper, which gives it a really unique look and feel. Inside the pages we have lots of gold too, with new forewords from myself and the other authors, archival photos, and essays from our Director, Sarah Brennan, as well as Irish Times journalist Gemma Tipton.

This unique 10th anniversary limited edition book is for sale right now directly from this website, so please consider supporting independent artists by picking up a copy today!

Ways of seeing – A portrait of the artist as a young man

My father painted this portrait of me when I was around 5 or 6 years old. He began painting it when we lived in Sweden, and he finished later when we had moved to Ireland. I know this because I recall posing for it when we lived in our little apartment in Kalmar in the south east of Sweden. I have a softer recollection of the latter phase of the painting but I recognise the house outside the window as our neighbour’s house in Waterford, Ireland, so it was definitely created over a period of years. Seeing it again and studying the painting, it made me think of a few things. Firstly the way another person sees you is always filtered through a certain lens and you cannot control that. In this case I see it as a loving gaze of a father and that shines through in the soft energy of the light. It also feels fitting that I appear to be sitting down to write, which ultimately ended up being my own path as an artist & creative. Secondly I was taken with the idea of the drafts and phases a piece of art goes through, and that the completion often comes long after the initial creation. This gives me comfort knowing that even a painting of this scale (the original painting is 5m x 3m) has a series of iterations and drafts, just like my own work. And finally, the slightly hazy, almost ghostly elements to it feel like it is slightly unfinished, or perhaps it was an artistic choice. I like not knowing that. When is a piece of art done? That is a question every one of us must ponder with everything we create.

NFL Draft Night – Voiceover for Irish NFL Show

The fine folks over at The Irish NFL Show commissioned another voiceover from me for their NFL Draft Night show. Voiceovers are such a fun way to flex my creative and storytelling skills. I’m loving the opportunity to use inflection and intonation as a way of bringing emotion and energy through to the listener & viewer. The end result is a snappy, sharp little promo and I’m really happy with the end result.

Poetry Performance at Pepper Cannister Church

My good friend Stephen James Smith kicked off his UK & Ireland tour last night in the Pepper Cannister church here in Dublin, and he was gracious enough to give me a support slot. We had a quick chat before I performed my Sine Metu poem, followed by my final piece from Three Men Talking About Things They Kinda Know About. It was a gorgeous evening of music and poetry, with a really special vibe. If you can catch the show on its current tour I highly recommend it.

International Women’s Day

Happy International Women’s Day to all of the brilliant, thoughtful, fierce and courageous women who make the world go round. #IWD has always been a significant moment on the calendar in our household. My mother was a social justice and equality warrior, and she instilled those values in myself and my sister. She was always driving the cause of women forward and at the forefront of the women’s movement in Waterford, Ireland. This poster, designed by Sheila Naughton, is from the first Waterford #IWD celebration. Brings back great memories and a reminder that there is so much yet to do.

The Definitive View with Sneachta Ní Mhurchú

After many years of honing my craft as a sketch writer and performer at The Brownbread Mixtape, I pieced together the body of work into a full-length play. After an initial sold out run at the 2016 Dublin Fringe festival, we reassembled as a cast and did a weeklong run at the legendary Project Arts Centre in 2017. The show was a parody of those “week in review” type shows where the host looks back at the best bits on the radio station from that week, which gave us a lovely framing device to switch between sketches and have a central through line with the self-absorbed host Sneachta Ni Mhurchu. Eva Bartley did a masterful job in the lead role with her dizzy, brilliant characterisation. Myself, Gus McDonagh and Sean McDonagh played all of the other parts (upwards of 80 characters) in the original run, and then when we moved to the Project Theatre unfortunately Sean had to drop out due to issues with his vocal cords, so Gus and I rejigged it slightly and took on all of the additional roles. It was such a delight to switch and flit between the weird and wonderful variety of characters, from lofty pompous Government figureheads (The Minister for Mackerel and Knitwear) to acclaimed film director Werner Herzog, with many more besides. In between we sprinkled ridiculous fake commercials for ludicrous products like Guinness Sport and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s BBQ sauce. Accompanying the entire endeavour were world class musicians Orla McDonagh (piano) and Ailbhe McDonagh (cello) who provided original jingles, ambient soundtracks and so much more. Our good friend John Morton (critically acclaimed writer of the Dead Still tv series) offered thoughtful and vital direction to the piece. Overall, it was one of the most enjoyable and funniest things I have ever worked on, and the audience responded in kind with a sold out performance every single night. I will post up the recording at some point, although it doesn’t do true justice to the show. For now, I’ll let you savour the brilliant sets of posters and promotional images designed by Lorenzo Tonti and photographed by my wife Jessica at the RTE Radio studios.

Kalle Ryan: The voice of the Super Bowl

My friends over at The Irish NFL Show asked me to do the voiceover for their big Super Bowl intro. As a lifelong American Football fan, this was such a pleasure to do. The final result is a stirring, spinetingling little film that I’m very proud of. Take a look and let me know what you think!

Sine Metu: Fear a little less, live a little more (poem)

Back in 2016 I was commissioned by the friendly folks at Jameson Whiskey to write a piece of  performance poetry centred around the latin phrase Sine Metu. Sine Metu is the Jameson Family motto and appears on all of their bottles. It means “Without Fear” and at the time, their advertising campaigns were using Sine Metu prominently, with the tagline “Fear a little less, live a little more”. So, my brief was to write a poem with that as my guiding light. Personally I love these kind of gigs, because you are hired with an implicit trust and appreciation of your craft & artform, and I often find that the slightly restrictive thematic guide rails force me to think more creatively about unlocking the poem. I also want to write an excellent poem that I can really stand over and not just phone it in. So I worked hard on the commisioned piece, and the end result was the poem above, which I was very proud of. The folks at Jameson clearly loved it too and the poem took me on an epic journey. I was asked to perform it live at the annual Pernod Ricard conference on an island off the coast of France, as well as a series of other high profile Jameson events back in Ireland over the following months. Then finally, it was captured for posterity at the old Bow Street Distillery a day before major renovations began. As I watch it back, it takes on fresh meaning in that setting. I love how poetry can do that sometimes. Now, this is not my absolute best performance of the poem (there’s even an obvious mistake, see if you can spot it) but that doesn’t matter, it’s still a decent rendition. And I’m so glad to have a document of this creative milestone. I still like the poem a lot. Hope you like it too.