Bad Ambassador Playlist – Friday June 24th


DJ Shadow – Six Days (remix feat. Mos Def)

OK Go – Here It Goes Again

Young MC – Know How

Django Django – Default

Kings Of Leon – King Of The Rodeo

Alt-J – Left Hand Free

Paolo Nutini – Iron Sky

Aimee Mann – One

The Dead Kennedys – Too Drunk To Fuck

The Streets – Let’s Push Things Forward

Ciarán Lavery – Return To Form

Timo Maas feat Kelis – Help Me

Busta Rhymes – Gimme Some More

David Holmes – Sugarman

Elbow – An Audience With The Pope

Regina Spektor – Machine

Stevie Wonder – Higher Ground

MC Solaar – Nouveau Western

Fatboy Slim – Wonderful Night

Mark Ronson – Ooh Wee (feat. Ghostface Killah & Nate Dogg)

Kasabian – L.S.F.

Modest Mouse – Float On

Johnny Cash – The Man Comes Around

Emm Gryner – Blackwinged Bird

Groove Armada – At The River

Zero 7 – I Have Seen

The Beta Band – Dry The Rain

Muse – Starlight

LCD Soundsystem – Tribulations

Editors – Munich

Lou Reed – Dirty Blvd.


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

Book Review – Lying In Wait by Liz Nugent


Now that I look back I can’t believe the randomness that brought Liz Nugent’s debut novel Unravelling Oliver to my attention (read about it here).

With Lying In Wait, as with the last time, she grabs you by the throat with the first line “My husband did not mean to kill Annie Doyle, but the lying tramp deserved it.’” – I defy you to not want to read on from there. No spoilers, in fact I’m not even going to give you a plot. Just read it.

As much as I adored and pressed the first book into the hands of many in the months after I read it, Lying In Wait is a completely different beast. As I finished the last page I actually stood up and gave a round of applause to my empty sitting room. Seriously. While her first book may have been her calling card in the rapidly expanding and very exciting current world of Irish writing, this baby is the equivalent of beating down the door, walking through the house with muddy boots on and then planting her flag firmly in the middle of the back garden.

She writes compellingly, creates posh Dublin sociopaths like no-one else and, revealing nothing, as with all good authors she doesn’t flinch when the end demands what it demands. I wouldn’t get on the wrong side of her if I were you…

Lying In Wait is a story you genuinely should not miss, one of the best Irish novels of the year so far and, much as I loved Unravelling Oliver, this is a much better book.

Grab it for your holliers, you won’t regret it.

The Bloomsday Interview 2016

This job rarely gets more dull, only more exciting and stranger…

Thus I was given the honour of hosting the 2016 Bloomsday Interview as part of the annual Bloomsday Festival in the O’Reilly Theatre. The guests were the Pulitzer prize-winner Michael Chabon and author, columnist and, handily for their travel arrangements, his wife, Ayelet Waldman.

The interview itself, along with all of the diversions, eddies and sharp left-hand turns we made through Joyce, fandom, gunn control, Oprah and weirder, will be up on their website in the coming weeks. For now, some great shots of the night taken by Ruth Medjber of Ruthless Imagery Photography.

Top stuff…










We were in London recently and how could I not make the trip out to Norf Lahndan to the Beavertown pop-up pub Beerkat?

Spent a very pleasant afternoon there, food was cheap and great, vibe was lovely, the bar is airy and opens out onto the street. Downsides? Prices were hefty and we were a 5 minute walk from the Emirates 😉 Not bad, all in all.

If you’re over, get there soon as it’s only open for 4 weeks. They do, however, seem to have a Siren takeover coming this weekend.

Make the trip.











Loved it 🙂

Quick Book Reviews – June 2016

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Right. There’s been a problem for a while and I need to address it if I’m going to continue to review books here. It’s simple enough.

I’m fairly overwhelmed at the moment with RTE work, other work, running the book club, reading for upcoming interviews I’m doing, writing myself (and just having a normal life outside of all that!) so, as a result, my reviews here have fallen way behind.

Just as an example – I’ve written 18 reviews this year so far but the book I’m reading at the moment is book 36… See my problem? Thus – the solution.

From now on I’ll be doing full reviews for books that I think need them (brand new books just out, ones I’m passionate about etc.) and posts like this for the rest where I give simple 2 or 3 line reviews to give you an idea what I thought.

This is the first so it has a lot of catching up to do in it. Apologies for the length.

Becky Chambers – The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet

Adored it. Read it while on holidays in March and flew through what is a fun, smart space opera that would remind you of Firefly in tone. The sequel is out this year, can’t wait.

Aaron James – Assholes: A Theory

An interesting premise and a great start but ultimately a far more serious book than it lets on that gets bogged down in what feels just shy of a thesis in places. I lost interest before the end.

Lia Mills – Fallen

This was 1 City 1 Book this year and I’m glad it was. I’ve been overwhelmed (as so many of us have) with non-fiction, fact-filled histories of Easter Week in 1916 – this story of one woman, her family and those she loves during the week brought the whole thing vividly to life. Highly recommended.

Iain Gately – Rush Hour

See, I love this sort of thing – an entire book on the history of how human beings came to commute and how that has affected us as a species in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries. Ate it up with a spoon.

Various authors – Granta 135

I liked it so much I bought a subscription… Wonderful stories from the likes of Kevin Barry, Donal Ryan, Emma Donohue, Lucy Caldwell, Sally Rooney and some genuinely gorgeous photo essays. A credit to all involved.

Margaret Atwood – Year Of The Flood

I have no idea why I left it so long to read the second part of the Madaddam trilogy after enjoying Oryx And Crake so much. A different book to the first, even though it’s in a peripheral (and intersecting) world. Maybe suffers a smidge from “middle book syndrome”. Still a thousand times better than most can pull off.

Yanis Varoufakis – And The Weak Suffer  What They Must

Much as I love him and his ideas I had to put this aside about a third of the way through as it’s very dense in places and, seemingly, not necessarily written for an audience of non-economists. I will come back to it.

Michael Chabon – The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay

Re-read this 15 years after the first time as I was interviewing him on Bloomsday. I had forgotten just what a thing of beauty it is. The story of two Jewish kids in WWII, one from New York, one having escaped Prague and how they created a comic book empire in an attempt to save a family (I am doing it no favours by parsing it this way!) Perhaps one of my favourite books ever.

Anne Tyler – Vinegar Girl

Part of the Hogarth 400 series where current authors rewrite Shakespeare in contemporary novel form. Being honest it left me fairly cold. It has none of the spark of Taming Of The Shrew (on which it’s based), less of the language I love Shakespeare for (be honest – his plays are a bit cardboard without that!) and left me wondering why Kate was ever playing along with the convoluted series of events. Still, Margaret Atwood is doing The Tempest, Jo Nesbo is doing Macbeth and Gillian Flynn is doing Hamlet. Who knows what is yet to come…?

Remember you can catch up with everything I’m reading, get book discounts, details of public events I’m involved in and just have the general book chat with 3,000 other reader over on my FB book club:

Bad Ambassador Playlist – Friday June 17th

Bad Ambassador

And week one is over 🙂 We sounded like this…


The Beat That My Heart Skipped – Dan Le Sac Vs Scroobius Pip

Do You Karate? – Fight Like Apes

Bad Ambassador – Divine Comedy

No Surprises – Amanda Palmer

Come Back Around – Feeder

Sure Shot – Beastie Boys

Ladyflash – The Go! Team

Train In Vain – The Clash

Sex And Candy – Marcy Playground

Setting Son – The Chemical Brothers

Heart Attack & Vine – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

Planet Telex – Radiohead

Fight Test – Radiohead

Wicked & Weird – Buck 65

Your Missus Is A Nutter – Goldie Lookin’ Chain

Lonesome Street – Blur

Beast Of Burden – The Rolling Stones

Arlandria – Foo Fighters

Red Right Hand – Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Arsonist’s Lullabye – Hozier

Rock Lobster – The B-52s

Fresh Feeling – Eels

England – The National

Disparate Youth – Santigold

Bright Future In Sales – Fountains Of Wayne

E-Pro – Beck

Numb – Portishead

Levi Stubbs Tears – Billy Bragg

First Of The Gang To Die – Morrissey


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