Insider Magazine – The One Where I Show You The “That Guy” Game

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This week I have a brand new game for you to play the next time you’re watching telly or a movie. Well, maybe not new, but certainly one only the anal few call their own and one that I’m fairly sure my other half and I play with a passion to put us on the Irish Olympic team if standards ever sufficiently slip to make nonsense like that worthy of the highest accolades in world sport.

Now that I say that, you can win global awards for playing console games, tweeting, and (perish the thought) radio so maybe this old nonsense will have its day sometime in the near future.

It’s the “that guy” game (the term ‘guy’ in this context is like “the lads” or “the gang” in some parts of Ireland and gender nonspecific).

The rules are simple, the scoring non-existent, the rewards merely the internal glow of smug satisfaction at knowing some pointless smidge of pop cultural information that means nothing to almost anyone else (apart from that actor’s family and friends, obviously). This means the game is perfect for me.

To start your training you need to begin noticing the minor players onscreen. Not the stars, not the co-stars, you need to dig much deeper down for a game of this navel-gazing intensity and so full of nit-pickery.

In most movies and episodes of major shows there are appearances by actors who are journeymen. Men and women who are eternally fated to be onscreen for a few minutes or in a fairly minor role and then who disappear off your radar for a few years. Maybe every now and then they’re lucky and get a role over 8 episodes in a middling to big TV series but usually, once you do cave and check out their history, you’ll find a journeyman career of show to show to show to dodgy straight to video flick to the one big thing they were in, to show to show.

Know who Ray Wise is? Victor Garber? Patton Oswalt? How about Kristine Sutherland or Frances Conroy? You probably think you’ve never seen them on TV. IMDB them, you have. They’re the people who play the father, the judge, the quirky fire chief or the patient with the mystery illness that gets 20 lines and a bit of screen time. They’ve all been at one time or another in their lives “that guy”.

Usually, they remain “that guy” for the rest of their careers; once in a while they become “the guy”. The ultimate one in my mind is Samuel L. Jackson. For years before he was Nick Fury, Mace Windu and in every Tarantino movie he lurked around in Mo’ Better Blues, Jungle Fever, Patriot Games, Goodfellas and finally in Jurassic Park (he’s the tech guy with the cigarette dangling from his lips trying to get the park online again, remember?) Pulp Fiction finally made him “the guy”. Kevin Spacey too. He was in The Equalizer, Working Girl, Heartburn, L.A. Law and in the most minor of roles (he’s the office manager) in Glengarry Glen Ross before The Usual Suspects, Se7en and A Time To Kill came out within 18 months of each other and made him “the guy” too.

Few make the crossover in TV though. In recent years there’s been Kate Mara from House of Cards, Clark Gregg from Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the wonderful case of Eric Stonestreet. He’s the brilliant Cameron in America’s most successful comedy series of the 2010s – Modern Family. Scan back though and you’ve probably seen him in one or two episodes each of Bones, Dharma & Greg, Malcolm In The Middle, ER, Nip/Tuck and even The West Wing before he hit the big time.

Back to the rules. The “that guy” game is played usually on Saturday night on your sofa with a beer or glass of wine in hand (helps the thought processes and recall). You stick on a movie or any long running TV series (House, The Good Wife, Criminal Minds, Boston Legal, even any of the 23 CSI shows will do at a pinch) and just wait. First one to spot one says “hey, it’s that guy!” and whoever gets the name right first gets a self-satisfied look on their face and, frankly, little else. You get half a look if you can only remember the name of a previous character they played. The further on in the evening’s imbibement the more entertaining the whole process becomes.

The only real sub-rule in all of this is that you can’t go IMDBing every suspect straight away. If you did you’d never get anything watched in that case and you’d never know the ‘World Cup Final goal scoringness’ of shouting out after 20 minutes of brain hard-drive searching “of course, it’s Denis O’Hare! He was that judge in Boston Legal!” when you’re watching American Horror Story.

Look, I know it’s not for everyone and takes years of being obsessed with the minor performances of certain actors in series you probably didn’t see who were around for a while once in Buffy but when it comes to Olympic sports it’s the closest I’m going to get to a gold. Well, a silver. My wife beats me every time.

(This column originally appeared in Insider Magazine in the Irish Independent)

The Irish Craft Beer Festival 2014

What a genuinely brilliant night.

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I’ll be honest, before I went to my first Irish Craft Beer Festival in the RDS last Saturday night I had a tiny inkling that it might resemble Temple Bar and thus be very, very not for me.

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Nice people, nice chats, music, laughs, loads of decent food and some incredible beers.

Next year again, lads?

I decided to take pics of each beer I sampled, remember each was a 250ml glass :-)

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And then there was White Hag… I was grabbed (in the nicest possible way!) by Bob and asked if I wanted to do a tasting panel. Tried all the below; they are genuinely exceptional beers from the top drawer.

Guys, the Fleadh Red IPA in bottles.

Please.

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I’m such a lightweight that after 2 hours my switch went off in my head and I was gone. My apologies to everyone else I didn’t get around to (including some breweries whose output I love!)

One of the best Saturday nights of the year…

Inside the DLR Lexicon

I live in Dun Laoghaire so I was honoured to be asked did I fancy a scoot around the soon to be opened new public library on the seafront.

To be honest I’ve been gawking at the construction for many, many months walking by and it’s been the subject of controversy locally, much of which I think will evaporate once locals get their hands on what is a gob-smacking building.

As an amateur architecture nut I can safely say it is probably the most incredible indoor public civic space I’ve ever been to in Ireland and rivals anything I’ve ever seen in Europe. Acres of bookshelves, huge areas to sit and read or work, conference rooms for book groups, local businesses and community groups, a café on the ground floor, performance spaces, exhibition galleries, even as you can see further down, 24 hour automated book tellers.

All of this comes with a huge public outdoor open space that is designed to tie the seafront with the much neglected western part of George’s Street.

It is *stunning*. Click on any of the photos for a larger version.

When it opens it’ll be a world-class amenity for anyone who lives in Dublin to come, read, bring the kids, wander round, spend a few hours…

Some of it will be open for this weekend’s Mountains To Sea Festival, the rest soon. When it is, you’ll be gobsmacked.

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Book Sixty Three

Book Sixty Three 2014:

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years Of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

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There are two kinds of readers in the world; those who don’t like Haruki Murakami and those who are wrong. Sort of…

He is a marmite proposition, either you find his gentle wanderings through the slightly surreal, occasionally bordering on the supernatural lives of usually solitary Japanese people and their cooking habits hypnotic or you just think he’s a nonsense merchant.

I’m in the former. This one is by no means as good as the likes of Wind-Up Bird Chronicle or the monster and incredible 1Q84 trilogy but it’s still a thoroughly enjoyable meditation on the nature of  one moment of schism in the lives of a group of incredibly close kids in a provincial Japanese city and where their lives lead as a result.

Might not be a bad place to start if you’ve never read him before.

Craft Beer In California… And A Few Other Things.

Beer?

M’kay.

A couple of things for you to peruse. All of these I only tried in the last few weeks and are lovely…

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And then there was California.

We were over there doing the radio show for a couple of days so naturally I used my spare time to do a little beer tourism too. Both of these are decent and widely available.

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Out of all the places I had recommended, Mikeller’s was the one I heard about most. Luckily it was just down the hill from my hotel…

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Was lovely to see too that Dublin Airport T2 finally has some craft choices for the weary traveller…

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Off to the Craft Beer Fair at the RDS this weekend, there will undoubtedly be pics here next week.

Tweets For Free

Here’s the offer.

If you’re exhibiting at the Craft Beer Festival in the RDS this weekend, tweet me any special offers you have, special brews you’ve made, just what you’re up to in the RDS.

I’ve almost 40,000 followers, I’ll RT all of ‘em.

Why?

Why not?

Simple as.

Go – @rickoshea

EDIT – Make sure you get them to me early – I won’t be online anytime after 4.30 on Friday. I don’t do internetz at the weekend :-)

Book Sixty Two

Book Sixty Two 2014: 

Pure Imagination by Mel Stuart & Josh Young

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To be honest, this probably isn’t one you’re going to stumble across as it’s over 10 years old at this stage and I found it in the book section of Amoeba Records in Haight Ashbury in San Francisco, still…

I’ve had a minor league obsession with the original movie version of Willy Wonka for years and this is a very decent trawl back through the production with the director himself. Nice behind the scenes pics, stories on who was cast and why (they originally spoke to Joel Grey for Wonka and only didn’t cast him because he was too short!), why they filmed it in Germany and how it was almost shot at Guinness in Dublin!

For fans, but then who isn’t?