His honesty is heavy at times, but necessary. He filled Notes on a Nervous Planet with words of wisdom that are bound to change the way you view the world.
I simply couldn’t put the book down, it was practically glued to my hands for 24 hours.
As someone who struggles with mental health issues, I found Matt Haig’s honesty reassuring and comforting. His words made me, and many others, realise that you are not alone in your battle.
One of the most thought-provoking parts of the book is the chapter in which Matt discusses the pressure we put on ourselves to do everything. He advises readers to change the way they think about what we can do in life.
We often worry about the things we’ll never get to do, but he urged us to focus on what we can achieve and what we can enjoy.
“To enjoy life, we might have to stop thinking about what we will never be able to read and watch and say and do, and start to think of how to enjoy the world within our boundaries.”
We need to cut ourselves some slack. Sure there are millions of movies to watch and books to read and places to visit. Realistically, we’ll never be able to visit every single place or tune into every single movie, but what we can do is revel in the ones we do have time for.
What better way to kick off the new year than with a belly-laughing night out and 'A Holy Show' will definitely do the trick.
Presented by Verdant Productions, 'A Holy Show' is going on tour across Ireland in January, February and March 2020, as well as performing two dates in the Irish Cultural Centre, Paris following on from the critical success of the Edinburgh Fringe and Dublin Fringe.
Written & Directed by Janet Moran, the cast stars Roseanna Purcell (Copper Face Jacks: The Musical, Red Rock, Fair City) and Mark Fitzgerald (Copper Face Jacks: The Musical, Alone It Stands, Foxy).
A nostalgic comedy based on a very Irish hijacking of the 1981 Aer Lingus plane by an ex-Trappist monk with a bottle of water as his weapon, the Pope as his nemesis, and a burning desire to know The Third Secret of Fatima. ‘A Holy Show’ takes us back to 1981 and brings us on board the ill-fated Aer Lingus flight EI 164 from Dublin to London. The show follows the passengers and crew as this most Irish of hijackings unfolds.
This production is high energy and takes audiences on a whirlwind of a comic journey with both actors playing multiple characters at breakneck speed. The sharp, insightful script delivers a laugh a minute alongside a revealing and probing understanding of faith in Ireland, both in the 80s and today.
From 23 January 2020 ‘A Holy Show’ is going on a full nationwide tour, with dates announced for Galway, Limerick, Laois, Wicklow, Cavan, Carlow, Cork, Longford, Clare, Belfast and Tipperary as well as a host of Dublin dates and two dates in Paris. Early booking is advised to avoid disappointment, with tickets on sale now.
The rain is pouring and our bank accounts are empty so our weekend is going to be very, very quiet.
Once we step in the door after work, we’re putting our pjs on, ordering pizza and curling up on the sofa for the foreseeable future.
Instead of scrolling through Netflix for hours and hours we’ll be tuning into one of our favourite Jennifer Aniston movies tonight.
Get the tissues at the ready because Marley and Me is on RTÉ2 at 21.30.
The movie follows journalists John and Jenny Grogan as they move to South Florida and start a new chapter of their lives.
After the couple tie the knot, John decides to buy his wife Jenny a dog- a Labrador named Marley.
The four-legged fur ball becomes a part of their family and is there for some of the highest and lowest moments of their lives. He swiftly turns into the loyal companion the couple can turn to during upsetting days and trying times.
The comedy-drama is based on the memoir of the same name by John Grogan.
Marley and Me stars Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Kathleen Turner and Alan Arkin
The four-piece band have an undeniably dedicated fanbase, clearly responding to lyrics lamenting youth and everything else that comes along with it.
The group is comprised of Fitzgerald, Matthew Murtagh on guitar, Stephen Murtagh playing bass and Dean Gavin on the drumkit, and they are all in their early twenties.
Tales From The Backseat is a hugely impressive debut, and features some of the catchiest songs around right now.
Choosing tracks for the anticipated first album appears to have been a careful affair, the boys recorded most of it in North Hollywood with music veteran Tim Pagnotta.
It's no surprise that the musical offering flew to the top of the charts on home soil.
WE ARE NUMBER ONE!
We just got the news that our debut album 'Tales From The Backseat' is NUMBER ONE in the official album charts!!! Thank you to every single person who picked up a copy. It's an absolute dream come true for us.
Craig, Matt, Stephen and Dean pic.twitter.com/jS3oQHAD94
The boys make music with big pop choruses and indie lyrics, and if you're hearing their songs for the first time, you'll know every word by the time the track concludes.
The lead vocalist and his bandmates have a clear talent for writing music which garner a youthful audience, but does he feel the fans will grow alongside the group?
"I definitely think so. In the first album, there were songs from when we were young, so it made sense. The songs seemed to resonate with younger people. We would like to mature our sound, and that would hopefully intertwine with the fans getting older."
They've clearly figured out how to find comfort on stage, effortlessly show-casing their extensive touring experience.
Craig describes the special ability of their fans to relate their own adolescence with that of the boys' through his lyrics;
"When we go on tour, we do a lot of meeting the fans, we like to go to the merch table and we like to hear what they thought and we get to say hello," he says.
"A lot of the time what amazes me is that the songs are just stories that were specific to me as a teenager, but it’s amazing how someone can adapt the story to something that they’re going through."
From tales of fake ID's on nights out, to the turbulent relationships and friendships which parallel adolescence, The Academic paint a relatable picture of the unique energy of that time in a person's life.
It's immediately obvious when you see the band play live that they value their fans' enjoyment of music, and nerves are a thing of the past.
The band met while still in school, and began gigging once they secured their drummer Dean.
Roughly five years later, the lads are essentially pros at what they do, but touring outside of Ireland can be a game-changer for any group or musician.
"When we started and we were playing shows, you begin shy and just want to make sure that you get up and play well," the 24-year-old cites about their initial shows.
"We’ve been given so many great opportunities to go on long tours, like month long tours in the States and Europe and the UK, and I think particularly when you support so many bands over the last couple of years we’ve become so comfortable as musicians together," he added.
"Even more so than when we were just in a shed playing together. I definitely think you lose that scared feeling that you had, because you just have to get up in front of people and play."
The band have learned some valuable lessons on the road, from song-writing to making friends in high musical places, to general tips on how to command a stage. They keep one important thing in mind in particular;
"That’s one thing I think we’ve learned in the past year, is that if we’re not afraid, people won’t be afraid, and they’ll have a good time with us. When we toured with The Kooks, we just kind of watched them and loved how they were just having fun on stage and it wasn’t too serious."
"One thing that I always try to do when I go on stage, is to break down the wall and say let’s not be afraid to make a fool of ourselves."
"The whole thing is crazy, like the fact that people are staring at you playing music. They drop their barrier when they see you having fun."
Confirmed; we stared, we dropped our barrier, we had fun. Then we bought the t-shirt…
The lads give a lot of time to their fans, and are both aware and respectful of how powerful a fan's love of music can be;
"We appreciate everyone for all their weird and wacky stuff. Music makes them feel a certain way and we appreciate that no matter what it is or whatever song it was that made them attached to us."
Despite their youthful tracklist, high-energy set and the fact that they've only released their debut album this year, the lads have been penning tunes since they were in their mid-teens.
Craig reminisces on the tricks and tips of the trade which his years of the music industry has taught him;
"I’ve been writings since the age of about 15/16, and a lot of those songs are actually on the first album.I think in the beginning, so it’s five years now of song-writing experience, there’s a naivety and you’re not afraid to do anything. Then you start picking up tricks," he muses.
"The one thing I have learned now that we’ve been a band for so long, is that I always want the music to be catchy. One thing I’ve learned is that if it’s catchy, don’t be afraid of it."
For a band who are considered new to mainstream audiences, they have a level of maturity worth noting, especially when it comes to songwriting;
"That’s what people want to come and see, they want to sing along. You shouldn’t lose your innocence about song-writing, you can still think of crazy things and put them in," the vocalist says.
"The beauty is in the imagination, use it, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. It’s very important."
When we asked Craig where he would be if The Academic was never formed, his answer remains musical, unsurprisingly.
"Maybe I would have finished college. I went to BIMM, so I would probably work in a musician’s field. Probably in the studio, that was nearly just as strong as songwriting for me. I enjoyed playing with bands too much, so I made that decision." Thank God he did, for our sakes at least.
After catching their big break after releasing Different from their first EP, radio stations took notice, and it all took off from there. The rest was indie-pop history, but do the lads ever disagree with each other?
You know us, we live for some drama…
"We’re not on the same page all the time (laughs). We usually are in sync when we know a song is good. If a song is obviously screaming out ‘Hey, I’m a good song’, we’re all on board. If there’s a more moody song or more emotional song, that’s when you can have arguments."
"We’ve always written songs together and made sure that everyone’s happy. We’d never really go ahead with a song if one member wasn’t fully happy." Creating absolute bangers and remaining diplomatic? Fair play boys.
We also wanted to know if there's a band out there that Craig would join, you know, if The Academic didn't exist of course. Which would be tragic.
"That’s a really good question, I’ve never been asked that before. We have a band on tour with us as support called Inhaler."
"The reason I enjoyed that band is that it’s so nice watching them because they’re like us four years ago. I’d love to step back to where they are now, getting support slots, heading out and being brand new again. That would be fun. Or else Fleetwood Mac would be great."
If you're wondering what 2019 will bring for the boys, it's some exciting new shows and a return to the studio to nail down some of the material written on the road.
The band will be making a big return to Iveagh Gardens in July, one year on from their concert at the famous outdoor venue, with some brand new (as yet unrecorded) music.
"What I would say we’re really excited about at the moment, is that we haven’t had any studio time in about a year. We’ve been writing songs on the road but we haven’t gotten to play them at all."
In terms of their landmark moments, their most recent gigs remain their favourites;
"I’d have to say, I think we’re all pretty blown away by the weekend we’ve just had. Two Vicar Street gigs and a headliner in Limerick, it was three in a row and every night was brilliant. It got better every time. We’re all still on a high."
The Academic have made some incredible memories in 2018, but they're just getting started.
While Minaj has been praised and lauded for her ability to remain powerful and confident in an industry which, in general, uses completely misogynic and homophobic lyrics to perpetuate toxic masculinity, there are other cards at play here.
Specifically her consistent collaborations and relationships with violent men.
The internet has descended into chaos on Monday over the Instagram posts which Minaj uploaded of her new boyfriend, Kenneth Petty.
The controversy over her new Instagram-official relationship was predominantly due to his criminal record; TMZ are claiming that Petty is a registered sex offender with at least two convictions under his belt.
Prosecutors claimed that he attempted to force a girl into engaging in intercourse with him using a sharp object in 1995, when he was 15 and the victim was 16.
This led to a first-degree attempted rape conviction and his name stuck on the sex offender list for life, seeing as he is 'moderately' likely to be a repeat-offender. Yeah… that's pretty damn scary.
Minaj's new man served almost four years in a NYC state prison for the attempted rape, and served another seven years for a first-degree manslaughter conviction after he shot a man several times.
On her account, Nicki was forced to disable the comments section after her fans understandably went into absolute meltdown.
Instead of addressing the whole problematic debacle, she captioned the post; "Oh they wanna talk? Let's give them something to talk about." Um, okay, why don't we talk about safety? Like, not dating a criminal?
Sexual violence and domestic assault is still rife in society, with Times Up and the #MeToo movement only showing the tip of Hollywood's iceberg.
The music industry has it's own qualms to tackle regarding violence against women; R Kelly remains the most notorious example of alleged predators who are still being given a platform.
When Chris Brown viciously attacked Rihanna in 2009, his career continued to thrive, despite the outrage and shock which ensued when graphic images of Rihanna went live all over the world.
The reaction to XXXTenacion's death, instead of focusing on the fact that he admitted to stabbing nine people, and was on trial the week of his murder for assaulting his PREGNANT ex-girlfriend, the response was to mourn him as a hero.
The ex-girlfriend Geneva Ayala's harrowing testimony was obtained by Pitchfork, and detailed a pattern of intense psychological, emotional, sexual and physical abuse and assault by XXXTenacion.
Nicki could have criticised such a problematic man in her own industry, or even have kept quiet, but she expressed her sorrow at his passing instead;
“XXXTentacion may not have been the biggest artist, but his murder hurt us like we knew him, or like we were the biggest fan.”
Of course, none of this is Nicki Minaj's fault. That goes without saying, yet her continued support for infamously harmful men such as Tekashi69, Kenneth Petty and XXXTenacion needs focus.
The Young Money artist was in a relationship previously with hip-hop mogul Nas, who had an extremely toxic relationship with R&B legend Kelis. The Milkshake singer recently claimed that Nas abused her during their marriage, and that Rihanna played a part in their divorce.
While these claims haven't been proven, it does appear to be a pattern that Minaj enters relationships with controversial male figures, who seem to embody toxic masculinity.
Her latest collaboration with Tekashi69 is another bone of contention, her defence of a man who is since imprisoned on racketeering charges, possession of firearms and armed robbery.
Tekashi69 legitimately pleaded guilty to being involved in a 2015 sex act with a 13-year-old girl, which he filmed and posted online, so there's no denying his criminal scumbag status.
Yet Nicki Minaj collaborates with him on their hit single FeFe and on another track for his new album, Dummy Boy. The lack of concern is rather alarming, TBH.
"Danny, I love you and am praying for you, your Mother, daughter & her Mom during this time," Minaj said in an Instagram caption dedicated to the rap artist following his arrest.
Many of her fans are presumably young and highly impressionable, who see the rapper as an influence whose actions are worth paying attention to, hence the concern over willingness to align herself with harmful men.
Issues with race and homophobia have also followed Minaj throughout her career, most recently in regards to her latest album Queen.
The rap goddess was accused of homophobia following the release of song lyrics on her new musical offering, with lines consistently using slurs such as 'sissies' and 'f*ggots'.
LGBTQ+ advocates criticised Minaj's choice of words on Twitter;
“I am a gay man who grew up being taunted by words like ‘fag,’ ‘homo,’ ‘sissy,’ and ‘fairy,’” wrote Mark Zustovich.
“These are more than just words that offend and deeply hurt people who identify or who are struggling to identify as LGBTQ — they are designed to make boys and men feel ‘less than’ or feminine, as if having feminine characteristics is something shameful. On the contrary, we as men should be embracing that more.”
She's 35, she's a grown woman and can date whoever she wants, but she must remember the power which she has over her fans.
Her influence is unquestionable- he’s appeared on nearly 100 singles that charted on the Billboard Hot 100, each of her albums have amassed five million sales and she has become a household name, despite working in a world that degrades women constantly.
Not to mention society's obsession with only supporting one female rapper at a time, either Nicki or Cardi B, despite hundreds of male rappers saturating the music industry.
Yet the question has to be asked, is Nicki Minaj contributing to the normalisation of male predators and cultural appropriation?
At the moment, she's the farthest thing from an inspiration to me.
As BBC institutions go, Desert Island Discs is easily one of the most recognisable.
Running since 1942, the radio programme has boasted countless world-famous guests who punctuate their life story with the help of eight musical tracks.
From actors, authors and activists to performers and philanthropists, guests share the songs which they would choose to bring to a desert island, and ultimately provide the listener with a snapshot of their life rarely shown in a regular interviews set-up.
Currently hosted by Kirsty Young, the Sunday morning show is available as a weekly podcast, and here are just 8 reasons why it needs to go to the top of your list.
1. Kirsty's tone of voice
Her soft Scottish brogue is undeniably one of the most appealing aspects of the weekly podcast.
Having replaced Sue Lawley as presenter back in 2006, Kirsty definitely has a way of getting her guests to open up in a manner not possessed by all her predecessors.
2. The discovery of new music
Discovering new music is easily one of the best things about Desert Island Discs, and if you have a particular fondness for a guest it's always interesting to know why a particular track means so much to them.
There are few people who listen to the weekly programme, and don't instantly update their music library afterwards.
3. The memorial moments
Over the course of the last 75 years, the show has had its fair share of memorable moments, confessions and reveals from some of the world's most renowned stars.
Always deftly navigated by Kirsty, the listener is quite regularly privy to remarkable conversations which rarely feel scripted, edited or peppered with soundbites.
4. The chosen book
In addition to choosing eight tracks, each guest is required to choose one book they would like to bring to the island with them.
BBC kindly gift them with the Bible (or Koran or Torah as appropriate) before marooning them, although not all guests are particularly impressed by the suggestion they might ever turn a page in the religious tomes.
5. The oh-so-important luxury
And in an effort to make decades alone seem more appealing, the good folk behind the programme also allow the guest to choose a luxury item which might make their time on the island a bit more bearable.
George Michael chose a car (despite at the time being banned from driving) Lily Allen chose her daughter's blankie, Ricky Gervais chose a vat of Novacaine while Simon Cowell, unsurprisingly, chose a mirror.
6. The tearful moments
There is something particularly refreshing about an interview which doesn't attempt to sidestep the subject's more difficult periods.
From Kylie Minogue recalling her relationship with the late Michael Hutchence to Jo Malone recalling her husband's battle with a life-threatening illness, the candid nature of the programme does much to set it apart.
7. The question you didn't know you wanted answered.
When it comes to Desert Island Discs, you always know you're in for an in-depth, no-holds-barred conversation, but often times the guest is thrown a curve ball and asked to reflect on a particular period in their life which you didn't realise you were so fascinated by.
And whether it's Kirsty's engaging manner or other extenuating factors, guests will almost always spill the deets.
8. The theme song
By The Sleepy Lagoon is like clutching a hot mug of tea or stepping into a warm bath – comforting, reassuring and utterly calming.
And if you don't believe us, have a listen for yourself…
The cinema event of the century is scheduled to take place on August 31 from 6pm to 9pm, and we're contemplating booking our flights now, before Brexit goes and ruins everything for us.
Film fanatics will be able to strip and dip into relaxing hot water while enjoying whatever classic is playing on the big screen, with a cheeky bevvy. No skippy dipping allowed, sorry to disappoint you.
Tub Life wrote on the event page on Facebook: "Tub Life is coming to London and we’re bringing our hot tubs with us! Expect performers, hosts, BBQs, round-the-clock tub service and the biggest portable screen in the UK."
"Note: the scheduled date is preliminary as we’re currently finalising the few remaining details to this event. Click ‘Interested’ to be notified with more information," they concluded.
They'll confirm the exact location for London at a later date, and will also be visiting Maidstone, Liverpool, Chester, Brimingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Newcastle.
Who knows, they might even pop up in Dublin this summer if the demand is high enough, which it totally will be. Start the petition today lads, shall we?
I think most of us agree that Joe Goldberg's character in Netflix' surprise hit stalker series You is one of the creepiest protagonists EVER.
The wildly popular psycho-thriller show follows Goldberg, a bookstore manager, as he obsesses over Guinevere Beck, a poetry major.
Things grow increasingly insane as he becomes further embroiled with his love for her, and Penn Badgley's acting skills plus the script giving us Joe's inner monologue allows some of his actions to be veiled as justified.
Viewers become so enraptured by what's going on inside Joe's stalker-brain that it's too easy to forget his actions, and get wrapped up in his thoughts instead.
Penn Badgley even had to tweet to the show's fans about the dangers of falling for a man like Joe, who is inherently psychopathic and abusive, yet women are sucked into his mind.
Netflix uploaded a two-minute clip to their official YouTube channel on Tuesday to highlight just how creepy he is without his internal monologue narration and the result is CHILLING AF.
The clips shows an awkward scene between Beck and Joe in bed together, as well as a scene of the couple reading books, in total silence. If Joe was so consumed with his relationship, why was he so damn silent all the time?
The video also shows a minor interaction with Peach Salinger, Becks BFF and the only one who sees Joe for exactly what he is.
You season two will see Joe find a new love interest, Love Quinn (weird name…). The next series is set to premiere on Netflix sometime this autumn, so take some time to get sufficiently repulsed by Silent Joe before then.
Grammy-nominated singer Bebe Rexha has just SHAKEN our rage cages by revealed designers are turning down the opportunity to dress her for the Grammy Awards.
Why? Well, because she's a (stunning) size eight.
The 29-year-old is nominated in the Best New Artist and Best Country Duo/Group Performance categories at the upcoming awards show, and claims she's having trouble finding the perfect gown because of designers and their weight expectations.
The star uploaded an Instagram video detailing her frustration, saying;
"So I finally get nominated at the Grammys and it’s like the coolest thing ever,"
"And a lot of times artists will go and talk to designers and they’ll make them custom dresses to walk the red carpet, right? Like you go to any big designer. So I had my team hit out a lot of designers and a lot of them do not want to dress me because I’m too big," she added.