Bad Ambassador Playlist – Friday October 21st

Bad Ambassador

The Ting Tings – Great DJ

The Drums – Let’s Go Surfing

The Gossip – Standing In The Way Of Control

Justice – D.A.N.C.E.

Two Door Cinema Club – I Can Dance

Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell ON You

The Rapture – Get Myself Into It

The Raconteurs – Steady As She Goes

Eliza Rickman – Pretty Little Head

A Tribe Called Quest – I Left My Wallet IN El Segundo

Editors – Munich

The White Stripes – The Denial Twist

Wallis Bird – Control

Zero 7 – Somersault

Florence And The Machine – Girl With One Eye

Tom Waits – I Hope That I Don’t Fall In Love With You

The Velvet Underground – Waiting For The Man

Sufjan Stevens – Chicago

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun

Sleigh Bells – Rill Rill

Santigold – Disparate Youth

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows

Republic Of Loose – The Steady Song

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Breaking The Girl

McAlmont / Butler – Yes

The Handsome Family – Far From Any Road

Led Zeppelin – Ramble One

The Go! Team – Ladyflash

Langhorne Slim – The Way We Move

Josh Ritter – Come And Find Me

Arctic Monkeys – When The Sun Goes Down


Catch the show live every Friday or you can listen back anytime here:

The Craft Beers Of Spain


I’m only now just realising I completely forgot to do a thing on all of the Spanish craft beers I tried on holiday during the Summer and the top notch place I found them in…

So, first things first – I was in the hills just above a little town called Frigiliana in Andalucia. A tiny beautiful town just north of a much bigger one on the coast called Nerja.

To be honest I thought the chances of finding anything crafty were slim to none until I Googled the week before I left and found this…






La Domadora Y El Leon used to be in Nerja, now it’s set up on the tiny street you see above with the vast, VAST selection of stuff you see above. Some international, lots of local, they even brew their own award-winning beer and have it on tap if you fancy sitting down…


I bought the stash of stuff you see below, all very decent, some more than others. Pretty much none of which are available back home in Ireland.

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Still, if you’re in that part of Spain next year it’s a beautiful town and worth going out of your way to visit…

Bad Ambassador Playlist – Friday October 14th


Beastie Boys – Body Movin’ (Fatboy Slim Mix)

Queens Of The Stone Age – No-One Knows

Hozier – Arsonist’s Lullabye

Eels – Novocaine For The Soul

Kimya Dawson – Tire Swing

Pearl Jam – Alive

The Academic – Mixtape 2003

Bob Dylan – Shelter From The Storm

Regina Spektor – Bleeding Heart

The Cure – Close To Me

Fruit Bats – Humbug Mountain Song

All Tvvins – Thank You

The Bloodhound Gang – The Ballad Of Chasey Lain

Billy Bragg – No-One Knows Nothing Anymore

Amanda Palmer – No Surprises

Liv – Wings Of Love

Elvis Costello – I Don’t Want To Go To Chelsea

Badly Drawn Boy – Silent Sigh

Eric B. & Rakim – Follow The Leader

Radiohead – Decks Dark

Ben Folds Five – Brick

Green Day – Basket Case

Bon Iver – 8 (Circle)

Fatboy Slim feat. Macy Gray – Demons

Ian Dury & The Blockheads – What A Waste

Lamb – Angelica

Lemon Jelly – His Majesty King Raam

Will Joseph Cook – Sweet Dreamer

Catatonia – Mulder & Scully


Catch the show live every Friday or you can listen back anytime here:

9 Things You Should Come To…

The month rolls on, events get closer and there are a few new bits announced…

Thursday October 13th – Walk In My Shoes Radio:


For one night only, 5-7pm, I’m on their annual pop-up radio station dedicated to promoting positive mental health.

Saturday October 15th – Irish Writers Centre (daytime):



As they say on the site, this is a full day event. “During this highly practical, one-day series of talks Lia Mills (author of Another Alice, Nothing Simple, Fallen), Bert Wright (curator of Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival), and Peter O’Connell (publicist at Peter O’Connell Media) will discuss their own experiences with publicity and offer advice on gaining recognition in the industry. The day will finish with a media panel led by Martin Doyle (Assistant Literary Editor, The Irish Times), who will chat with Rick O’Shea (Rick O’Shea Book Club) and others as they discuss strategies and best practice for approaching and working with the media.”

Propel: An Expert’s Guide to Promoting your Book 

Saturday October 15th – Kildare Readers Festival (evening):


I’ll be talking with two of Ireland’s most talented contemporary authors Sara Baume and Joanna Walsh.

Tuesday October 18th – Galway Science & Technology Festival:


Details to follow…

Saturday October 22nd – Institut Cervantes ISLA Festival:


I’ll be moderating the closing event – four guests on topics such as borders between science and communication, the multicultural aspect of language as a means to create and erase those borders and the advantages given by cultural fusion to reach knowledge.

The contributors to this untraditional round-table discussion are science expert and communicators José Cervera (Spain) and Sarah-Louise Ball (Ireland), professor Carmen Sanjulián (Spain) and author and journalist Paula Varsavsky (Argentina).

Details HERE.

Wednesday October 26th – Down Below The Reservoir launch:


I’m launching Ireland’s first ever horror fiction webcast 🙂

You *have* to check this out –

Thursday November 3rd – Fit Out Awards 2016:


Hosting this – all the details are here:

Wednesday November 9th – Realex Payments eCommerce Awards 2016:


The first time for this one, I’m hosting in the RDS Dublin, and nominations are closed…

More HERE.

Saturday November 12th – Dublin Book Festival:


I’ll be moderating a reading and discussion with contributors (including Colin Barrett, Tara Flynn, Joseph O’Connor and Mary O’Donnell) of Looking At The Stars, a limited edition anthology of Irish writing edited by Kerrie O’ Brien which aims to raise €15,000 for the Rough Sleepers Team of the Dublin Simon Community.

Tickets are free but booking is required HERE.



And more to come in November…

6 Long Overdue Short Reviews!

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Yeah, recently when writing pieces about both for newspapers I realised I hadn’t actually written my reviews for two of the books below. I’m falling more than a little behind here…


Anne Tyler – Vinegar Girl

Sadly, this was the first of the Hogarth Shakespeare series I read and it did absolutely nothing for me. She has updated The Taming Of The Shrew to a modern day story of a Kate who tends house for her eccentric scientist father who hatches a plan to keep his research assistant in the country by marrying him off to his daughter.

What was the done thing in Shakespeare’s time just seems highly implausible played straight like this in the 21st century. Just doesn’t work.

Not a patch on the current one – Margaret Atwood’s Hag-Seed.

Alexandra Olivia – The Last One

This starts out as a very solid concept – 12 contestants are sent out into the woods in a survival-type reality TV show, at some point a biological catastrophe befalls most of America but our narrator knows nothing of this and thinks the abandonment by camera crews and corpse “props” she sees around her are all part of the show…

Loved her descriptions of the nature of the survival itself although they took up a bit too much space for me. She writes decetn character, but I was disappointed with the last section of the book. Not to reveal too much but her denouement is a little too “TV movie of the week” for me and for the genre it’s in.

Still, a nice idea and worth your read just for the new angle on one person surviving in a post-apocalypse reality TV world.

Jessie Burton – The Muse

Her second novel is not quite The Miniaturist (what could be?) but this is a solid, beautifully told in places interweaving of two seemingly different people, times and places.

Half takes place in 1960s London, half in pre-Civil War rural Spain and, as you would expect from her, she seems to be able to get into the mindsets of people of wildly diverse backgrounds, decades and worlds as well as evoking a sense of place beautifully.

Mike McComack – Solar Bones

Only the other day *having written a thousand word piece for the Irish Times about this* did I realise I’d neglected to write my own review here so let me keep this brief.

I didn’t really know what to expect when I came to it, save some good things I’d heard, I only noticed that the entire 200+ page book was a single sentence about 15 pages in and this is one of the most surprising joys of my reading in 2016.

One man, one simple, ordinary life, told in the most extraordinary way possible. I know the author and publishers would like you to read the blurb beforehand, but I suggest don’t. It was like being kicked in the gut when I finished.

Full of craft, humanity and balls, it’s one of my favourite books of the year.

Yuval Noah Harari – Homo Deus

This is the follow up to his brilliant Sapiens (see my review of it from the beginning of the year here) in which he imagines where the future of the species lies, while at the same time admitting that it’s all just informed speculation.

Parts of it involve slight repetition of themes from the first book (fair enough if you haven’t read it) and the real world picking apart of ideas long-since used in speculative fiction. Where are we going? What happens if/when we abolish death? Will out mastery of technology merely be for the benefit of the ultra-rich? Will humans of the future look back on us as we do on primitive Homo Sapiens…..?

Sections are utterly fascinating but, sadly, it’s not a life-changing as its predecessor.

Donal Ryan – All We Shall Know

In this is the greatest omission from my reviews of books I’ve read in the last few months (particularly given that I had an advance copy of this long before it went on sale!) So…

If you loved the universes of Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart, The Thing About December and his criminally overlooked recent book of short stories A Slanting Of The Sun then you won’t be disappointed here. This time he gives us Melody, her husband Pat and Martin, the underage traveller boy who we learn in the first pages is the father of the child she’s expecting. It’s a story of marital infidelity, hidden scandal and a repulsive lead character you still end up hoping the best for in the end.

All We Shall Know pulls up the stones in the small town front garden rockery and shows us the poor choices adults make against their own better interests and the savagery that two people still in love can inflict on each other.

I’m glad to say again what I’ve said in previous reviews – I believe that in decades to come we’ll look back on Donal’s work as the most authentic stories and voices from contemporary small-town Ireland in the early 21st century.

All We Shall Know only goes to further reinforce that belief.

For more reviews from me and lots of other book lovers, come join us in The Rick O’Shea Book Club.

Bad Ambassador Playlist – Friday October 7th


The Prodigy – The Way It Is

Andrew W.K. – Party Hard

Wallis Bird – Control

The Chemical Brothers – Galvanize

Divine Comedy – Songs Of Love

Fiona Apple – Criminal

Leonard Cohen – You Want It Dark

Propellerheads – History Repeating

OK Go – Here It Goes Again

The Heavy – Since You’ve Been Gone

Pixies – Wave Of Mutilation

Randy Newman – Sail Away

Johnny Cash – Ain’t No Grave

Marcy Playground – Sex And Candy

Lisa Hannigan – Knots

The Libertines – What Became Of The Likely Lads

She & Him – God Only Knows

Paul McCartney & Wings – Let Me Roll It

Blur – Lonesome Street

Hole – Celebrity Skin

Biffy Clyro – Howl

Django Django – Default

Talking Heads – Once In A Lifetime

Weezer – Pork & Beans

Rufus Wainwright – Oh What A World

Natalie Merchant – Kind & Generous

Reef – Place Your Hands

The Temptations – Psychedelic Shack

Dixie Chicks – Not Ready To Make Nice

Jeff Buckley – Lover, You Should Have Come Over

Bright Eyes – First Day Of My Life

Primal Scream – Rocks



Catch the show live every Friday or you can listen back anytime here:

Bad Ambassador Playlist – Friday September 30th

Bad Ambassador

The Fratellis – Creepin’ Up The Backstairs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Heads Will Roll

Leonard Cohen – You Want IT Darker

Richard Hawley – Tonight The Streets Are Ours

Lou Reed – New Sensations

Franz Ferdinand – Take Me Out

The Duckworth Lewis Method – The Age Of Revolution

Tom Waits – Jockey Full Of Burboun

Aimee Mann – One

Paolo Nutini – Iron Sky

Bruce Springsteen – Growin’ Up

U2 – All I Want Is You

Two Door Cinema Club – Bad Decisions

Beck – Jack-Ass

Them – It’s All Over Now Baby Blue

Johnny Cash – The Man Comes Around

Hard-Fi – Hard To Beat

Sugarhill Gang – Rapper’s Delight

Dr. Dre – The Next Episode

Oasis – Hello

Kings Of Leon – Waste A Moment

Bob Dylan – Simple Twist Of Fate

Jimmy Eat World – The Middle

Damon Albarn – Everyday Robots

KRS One – Sound Of Da Police

Weezer – I Love The USA

Youn Sun Nah – Jockey Full Of Burboun

Jimi Hendrix – ALl ALong The Watchtower

Queens Of The Stone Age – No-one Knows

John Lennon – Watching The Wheels


Catch the show live every Friday or you can listen back anytime here: