The Simon Stephens Interview

Bonkers, just bonkers.

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Thank you to everyone who came up to Dubray Books to watch me interview Simon Stephens about adapting The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-time for stage all those years ago.

He’s still so passionate about it and about is work in general and it helped that he’s a bit of a rock star, great at holding a crowd and charismatic to boot. Perfect for an interviewer in a situation like that.

The event was done in association with my Book Club over on FB and around 50 of us went for a few beers and a blind book swap after. SO many lovely people who all met online and all seemed to get on like a house on fire (bit like the early days of my blogging life all those years ago).

The play itself is beautiful, gripping in places, heartbreaking in others, staged wonderfully and a must see in terms of travelling productions to come to the BGET in recent years. Just go…

Yes there are pics from the other night…

Dubray Books and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, in association with The National Theatre of Great Britain, held  a very special event with Rick O’Shea and playwright Simon Stephens (right). The Rick O’Shea Book Club event celebrated the highly anticipated arrival of the award winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which comes to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from 6-10 October as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.   Picture:Brian McEvoy No Repro fee for one use

Dubray Books and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, in association with The National Theatre of Great Britain, held  a very special event with Rick O’Shea and playwright Simon Stephens (right). The Rick O’Shea Book Club event celebrated the highly anticipated arrival of the award winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which comes to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from 6-10 October as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.   Picture:Brian McEvoy No Repro fee for one use

Dubray Books and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, in association with The National Theatre of Great Britain, held  a very special event with Rick O’Shea and playwright Simon Stephens. The Rick O’Shea Book Club event celebrated the highly anticipated arrival of the award winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which comes to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from 6-10 October as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.   Picture:Brian McEvoy No Repro fee for one use

Dubray Books and the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, in association with The National Theatre of Great Britain, held  a very special event with Rick O’Shea and playwright Simon Stephens. The Rick O’Shea Book Club event celebrated the highly anticipated arrival of the award winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which comes to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from 6-10 October as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.  Picture:Brian McEvoy No repro fee for one use

And some taken by people in the crowd too:

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My own shot of the swap table before everyone dug in:

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And yes, there are few things more intimidating than your giant mug in the window of a bookstore…

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(The Curious Incident is part of this year’s Dublin Theatre Festival and tickets for the run in the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre are on sale now).

Free Tweets 3

It’s that time again.

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The last two craft beers festivals in Dublin I’ve offered free RTs to attending brewers if they tweet me details of beers they’re bringing and what they’re doing, simple as.

Why? I like to think I’m part of that world now and I have a little social media heft I can offer small Irish companies I like.

What do I want in return? Nada.

Tweet me – @rickoshea

Book Review – Young God by Katherine Faw Morris

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I’m not sure I could ever use the word “enjoy” to describe Young God. It’s remarkably akin to being hit sharply across the head with a box set of the first series of True Detective.

Nikki is 13 when her mother falls from a cliff and she goes to find her absent father in his remote trailer and continue her family’s drug trade in the redneck Appalachians. She’s abused by her dead mother’s boyfriend, takes drugs copiously and participates in cutting up a body with an axe. Amongst other things.

This one is hard to quantify for me. I came away beaten, ragged and sort of brutalised by what I’d just read, but to me that’s such a rare event in literature it’s something to be embraced in itself. Do not, however, because of the age of the chief protagonist mistake this for YA no more than you would do the same for A Clockwork Orange. It’s very much not.

It’s a swift (only just over 200 pages), savage, dark, dizzyingly prosaic in spots, nasty, vivid and, at times, dazzling distastefully icky tale. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t read it – I recommend it, but be aware that it will be way too graphic and amoral for some.

New Things On A Saturday

Just before I went away recently I decided we’d take a Saturday out and head into town to go for a wonder around some of the craft beer spots I’ve never been to (interspersed with one of two I had!)

First stop was J.W. Sweetman’s on the quays. I hadn’t been in there for over 10 years since it was Messrs. Maguire and even them only briefly. Nice vibe, great staff, very decent in-house beers too.

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Next a quick pit stop in Beer Market (let’s be honest, very trip I have over that part of town involves a trip there). Had some wonderful Beavertown Gamma Ray for the first time… Crisps too.

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I’ve wanted to go up to 57 The Headline for ages but it’s very out of the way for me (despite me ma having been born only 500 yards up the road). Am hugely glad I did. The food was great, tons on the taps, nice ambience, quiet when I was there. Lovely stuff. You should go.

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Trailed up in the direction of Wexford Street and stopped in for one at the Camden Exchange. Decent beers but a bit too cool and tiny bit sterile for my liking. Great decor in the jacks, though…

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Finished up having one, or two, or three Goodbye Blue Mondays in Against The Grain.

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Best spot of the day and could have stayed there for much longer if the sun hadn’t gone down and home hadn’t called…

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What does that teach me? Trust your instincts when it comes to bars and stop shopping around all the time!

BTW, if you’re knocking around the upcoming Irish Craft Beer Festival (and if not, why not??) I’m glad to be sitting on a panel Hot Press are running. I’ll be discussing all things craft beery with some of the guys from White Gypsy, 8 Degrees and Kinnegar.

I may even sample some wares whilst doing so…

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Events I’m Doing From August On…

Did one of these posts a while back, now I can expand and add a few things.

Would love to see you show your face at one of these…

August 25th – Public Interview  with Simon Stephens / Book Club Night Out – Dubray Books, Grafton Street:

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I’ve written a post about all this already too – I’m interviewing playwright Simon Stephens about adapting The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time for stage and it’s in association with my FB Book Club so we’re having our first beers and book swap after!

The event in Dubray is just turn up, no tickets but do sign up to the book club if you’re coming to the afters!

 

August 27th – Craft Beer Panel – Irish Craft Beer Festival, RDS:

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This is just one I’m glad to be sitting on – Hot Press are running it. I’ll be discussing all things craft beery with some of the guys from White Gypsy, 8 Degrees and Kinnegar. I may even sample some wares whilst doing so…

 

August 30th – Public Interview with M. Night Shyamalan – Lighthouse Cinema:

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Yup. He’s in Dublin with his new movie, I’m chatting to him after it. Tickets are on sale HERE.

 

September 2nd – Launching Louise O’Neill’s “Asking For It” – Eason, O’Connell Street:

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This is another “just turn up” event. I am genuinely honoured to have been asked to launch Louise’s second book (following her award-winning Only Ever Yours). It’s one that will generate enormous talk around the subject and should be pressed into the hands of every teenager in the country.

 

September 11th – Public Interview with Anthony Horowitz – DLR Lexicon:

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I’ll be talking to the legendary Anthony Horowitz about his new James Bond Book written from original Ian Fleming notes – Trigger Mortis.

 

October 13th – Radio 2.0 Conference – Paris:

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Unlikely you’ll be interested in this but I’ll be delivering a keynote speech at this radio conference in Paris all about the effective use of social media in radio.

 

October 15th – Web Awards – RDS:

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You know what this is all about…

More to follow over the next few weeks as I’m allowed announce them.

Want to hire me for your event? Sure…

Details HERE.

Dublin Theatre Festival 2015

Every year I knock together a little something about what I most want to see at the Dublin Theatre Festival, this year has some succulent fruit hanging from the branches…

As I always say, these are just the things that have caught my eye and are the ones I’m going to try to get tickets for. You can click on each title for more details about the production:

 

The Night Alive (Dublin Theatre Festival and Lyric Theatre Belfast): Sept 22 – Oct 4, Gaiety Theatre

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The Train (Rough Magic): 6 – 11 Oct, Project Arts Centre

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Corps Diplomatique (Halory Goerger, France): Oct 1 – 3, Project Arts Centre

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The Last Hotel (Landmark Productions and Wide Open Opera):
27 Sept – 3 Oct, O’Reilly Theatre

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Oedipus : 24 Sept – 10 Oct, Abbey Theatre

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Shibboleth: Oct 2 – 10, Abbey Theatre

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The True Story of Hansel and Gretel (Theatre Lovett): 4 – 11 Oct, Smock Alley Theatre

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The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (National Theatre of Great Britain): Oct 6 – 10, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

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Which is, of course, connected peripherally to my public interview with the playwright Simon Stephens in Dubray Books in August.

I’ll end up seeing maybe 4 or 5 of these but whatever I do see it’s always one of my favourite times of the year for theatre going and even the stuff that drives me bonkers and that I end up hating (I’m looking at you The Rehearsal, Playing The Dane!) is always worth it for the conversations afterwards.

What tickles your fancy?

The Curious Incident Of The Rick In The Bookshop

Finally the word is out!!!

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I even made a video with the late John Gielgud over my shoulder to announce it (CLICK HERE TO HAVE A LOOK).

On August 25th we’ll be in Dubray Books for my first ever Rick O’Shea Book Club event in association with the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre and The National Theatre of Great Britain. On the night I’ll be interviewing the impossibly talented playwright Simon Stephens, the man responsible for bringing Mark Haddon’s book from page to stage.

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The event is ahead of the arrival of the award winning play, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which comes to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre from 6-10 October as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival.

So, to mark in your diary, come down on Tuesday 25th August at 6.30pm at Dubray Books on Grafton Street and I’ll be conducting a discussion on how the book moved from page to stage, a Q&A with Simon Stephens himself and we’ll have competitions and discounted tickets for the show.

There is no booking required, just turn up on the night! The chats about the event will continue over on my FB Book Club HERE.

As for the show itself…

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Book Review – Armada by Ernest Cline

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There are few things more disappointing as a reader than to have a much anticipated second novel fall short of your high hopes. And here we are.

Armada is the second novel from professional fanboy and screenwriter Ernie Cline and tells the story of Zack Lightman – an obsessive gamer finishing high school who works part time in a video games store. His dad was killed at the age of 19 in an explosion in a sewage factory (seriously!).

We open with Zack staring out the window in class and them witnessing a spaceship buzzing his school. Not just any spaceship, it’s one from a series of alien invasion videogames he and the world are obsessed with – Terra Firma and Armada.

He starts digging around in his late father’s conspiracy theory journals and uncovers that his dad believed the entire computer game and science fiction movie industry to be influenced by shadowy forces with an agenda.

Fairly quickly in the story Zack finds out that Armada is more than a game – it’s a simulator designed to train the human race to defend itself from an impending alien invasion and that everything that goes on within it is actually happening in the real world.

Problem one – the book is so awash in sci-fi and gaming references that if you don’t start getting them very quickly you’ll find yourself feeling on the outside of quite an exclusive tent. I got a huge amount of them and even then there were times when I felt that he was having a wink at someone else over my shoulder. The book seems to be written for a very specific subset of gaming geeks and if that’s all you’re aiming at, fair enough. It just excludes pretty much everyone else.

It’s not just simple “may the force be with you” stuff. Ask yourself if the references “I find your lack of faith disturbing”, the name Moonbase Alpha, the phrase “by the hammer of Grabthar” or hundreds of others like it mean anything to you? Nope? You’ll be lost here…

You’d forgive all this if the story was compelling and original – it’s not. It’s full of standard tropes we’ve seen before and other stuff that’s just plain silly (at one stage a Global Council made up of Stephen Hawking, Michio Kaku and Neil deGrasse Tyson amongst other conducts a video conference call during an alien invasion).

Writing convincing action sequences in books like this is hard, here he hamstrings himself because most of the action occurs when the main characters are playing simulations and remotely controlling drones who are fighting the actual battles. Although I understand there’s a huge industry on Youtube of watching people playing console games I find it incredibly dull. Even duller than that is watching someone write about watching someone play a console game (even if the fate of the human race is at stake).

If you ever saw movies like Tron and The Last Starfighter in the 80s or even Galaxy Quest at the end of the 90s then where this goes will be familiar. Zack even says at the very beginning “Implausible crap like that only happened in cheesy ‘80s movies like Tron or WarGames or The Last Starfighter”. But then that’s exactly what Ernie Cline he goes on to write…

Unfortunately it’s one of the least original books I’ve read in a long, long time. There are very few sparks of the unexpected anywhere within its pages. Sci-fi and speculative fiction at its best is an arena of ideas, a mirror of who we are now and sometimes just mind-blowing. This is none of those. What’s so frustrating is that there is a compelling, dark, interesting “join the dots vast conspiracy” story in here somewhere, he just chooses to go the other way.

Sadly the book isn’t a patch on his first novel Ready Player One – a dystopian future book set in a dirty, ugly, resource-shy 2044 where the human race mostly lives plugged in to a vast utopian internet called the Oasis. Its creator and owner dies and then sets an elaborate game based on obscure 80s computer games to decide who gets control of his estate. It had wit, adventure and was a genuinely interesting take on the genre – Steven Spielberg announced last month that he’s to direct the upcoming movie.

There are so many more better SF books around at the moment – Armada is one best left on the shelf.