Thursday, 20th September 2018
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Mercury Rev Deserter’S Songs

20Th Anniversary Show Theatre Royal, Thursday 19th April

The Theatre Royal hosts a very special gig next Thursday (19 April) when legendary alternative U.S. band Mercury Rev celebrate the 20th Anniversary of their opus 'Deserter's Songs', one of a select number of shows around Europe for this landmark event. Mercury Rev last visited Waterford in 2008 when they played the intimate setting of Electric Avenue, for what many local music fans consider to be one of the best gigs ever held in the city. Now 10 years on, the anticipation for their return is high with 80% of the tickets already sold. Remaining tickets can be purchased online at http://www.theatreroyal.ie, the Theatre Royal box office or at 051 874402, with a limited amount also available at the venue on the night.

When Mercury Rev’s Deserter’s Songs was released in 1998, it kick-started one of the greatest, and most unexpected second acts in music history. They had been known for making indie rock that was chaotic, psychedelic, and bathed in layers of distortion. However, after coming close to breaking up in the wake of 1995’s See You On The Other Side, the band returned with a new mature sound that moved away from rock towards Americana, showing the influence of artists like The Band and Van Dyke Parks. The album was released to huge acclaim merging jazz, folk and 60s rock with Disney soundtrack fantasia. It heralded Mercury Rev’s rebirth as purveyors of a cosmic brand of the popular American songbook. "Deserter’s Songs" was also a hit, generating three Top 40 singles in the form of "Goddess on a Highway", "Holes" and "Opus 40". Still widely considered their best work, Mercury Rev will celebrate Deserter's Songs' 20th anniversary by performing the songs in the fragile "whisper and strum" that they were originally written for what promises to be an extraordinary glimpse into the forces that nearly destroyed a band and the strange events leading toward a most unexpected return.

Extraordinary Hotels

Life Beyond The Lobby

This is the sort of programme that is just set up to annoy people as it features hotels that the overwhelming majority of people would never be able to get inside the front door of let alone stay there for just the one night.

These are extremely expensive hotels and what makes them so is the sheer luxury that they offer their pampered guests. The conceit of the show is that it not only allows it's two presenters to stay in the hotels but makes them join up with the hotel workers behind the scenes to just show the audience what goes into making them five star hotels worthy of their huge prices. The first hotel was set in Oman in the desert area and it truly was spectacular looking as it did over the mountains in the area. The suites in the hotel were all luxurious and set up to accommodate their majority Muslim guests, no alcohol as well as signs pointing the way to Mecca. Just two small touches that showed that everything was thought about when it came to the hotel. The presenters duly went behind the scenes and were shown exactly why the hotel deserved it's five star title. The food was extraordinary and every luxury was accommodated even in the spa in the hotel where there were separate men and women's sections.

The one thing that the hotel couldn't really accommodate however was the sexuality of their guests as homosexuality is outlawed in Oman. Alan Carr, who didn't spend time at this hotel but did holiday in the country has a very funny routine about his stay in Oman and how he had to stay in the closet the whole time he was there, not a particularly easy thing for him to do considering how camp he usually is. So even though you might be staying in a high priced five starred hotel there might be nothing very five star about the country it's located in. The second hotel that the team visited was in South Africa and was very much a destination hotel in Cape Town. The hotel was situated just alongside of the newly inaugurated Museum of Modern Art and one thing that was clear from even the first shots of the hotel itself was that much of it had rubbed off on it. The art on the walls was amazing and the hotel looked all the better for it.

The majority of the art was from up and coming South African artists and the hotel was a great canvas for some wonderful art. The rooms in the hotel were stunning with specially commissioned windows which gave great views but which had to be specially cleaned every two weeks to provide the views. The one thing that was a bit of a downer, and a major one at that, was the amount of crime that exists in the city and which the hotel has to be cognizant of. There are signs up at the worker's entrance and exit to remind them not to bring weapons into the hotel. The hotel is linked to another sister site outside of the city and yet again luxury was the by word of the place. It was styled on a French chateau and each of the rooms was individually styled to ensure that the guests had the best experience. Other than the peacocks coming into the rooms and crapping everywhere this was achieved.

Yet again as with the hotel in Oman the presenters didn't gloss over the downsides of the hotels that they visited and were smart enough to keep their eyes peeled and not to just be dazzled by all the luxury. The third hotel that the team visited and by far the most interesting was Ashford Castle in Ireland.

Many people here will know of the hotel but wouldn't have seen what it is like since it's multi million euro overhaul and now was the chance.

The hotel was sheer heaven and the decoration throughout was impeccable. However when the presenters spoke to guests what the overwhelming majority of them said was that it was the people that they came here for.

The staff rated very highly all around and even the presenters said that there wasn't the same sense of 'misery' amongst the staff that they had experienced elsewhere on their travels. It seems that the Irish spirit is alive and well and the ability to enjoy yourself is a mainstay of the Irish worker no matter where they are and what they are doing.

The rooms in the hotel were amazing as was the food that they gave to their guests. If you were looking for a good time it seems that the overall winner was the Irish.

Beyond the Breakwater: Memories of Home

New memoir describes a young girl moving to the Gaeltacht in the 1970s

Following a doctor’s warning to change his high-pressured job as a manager in Stanley’s Waterford Iron Foundry, Joe Foley, along with his wife, Ena, decided to uproot his family altogether and move from the elegant surroundings of Lower Newtown in Waterford city to the wilds of the Gaeltacht, An Rinn. It may have only been forty miles or so along the coast but, in the minds of the couple’s three children, it may as well have been Tasmania.

Catherine Foley is a child of two worlds: the city of Waterford where she spent the early years of her life and the Gaeltacht of Ring, where she grew up and still lives. Beyond the Breakwater is the story of her life, from the innocence of childhood to the loves and losses of adulthood. It is the tale of a life that has been shaped and honed by the salty landscape of the Ring Peninsula, a place that no matter how far she roams, always draws her back. From a brush with the glamour of Jackie Kennedy in Woodstown, to a ghostly vision in Rome, the author celebrates the memories and experiences that have made her who she is.

'Beyond the Breakwater: Memories of Home’ is beautifully written, highly descriptive and follows Catherine’s life journey, including her time working with RTÉ, The Irish Times and TG4. Published by Mercier Press, Beyond the Breakwater: Memories of Home will be available nationwide from Wednesday 11 April. RRP €14.99,

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