Elec­tion se­lec­tion

The Ticket asked elec­tion can­di­dates to name their favourite movies and al­bums, then asked two of our film and mu­sic crit­ics to com­ment on their choices. Read it be­fore you vote

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Cover Story -


Film: One of the most fas­ci­nat­ing and in­ter­est­ing films I saw in the last year was March of the Pen­guins. Watch­ing na­ture films is re­lax­ing, and this was an epic tale that was su­perbly pho­tographed.

Antarc­tica is in­hos­pitable at any time of the year and in win­ter is one of the most dif­fi­cult en­vi­ron­ments on earth. Ev­ery au­tumn the adults leave their feed­ing grounds in the ocean and march in­land to mate and hatch a sin­gle egg. As the win­ter goes on, the wa­ters freeze and each par­ent must take turns to make ever longer treks back to the feed­ing grounds in the ocean to en­sure the sur­vival of the other and the young chick. That jour­ney can be over 100 kilo­me­tres.

Most hu­man be­ings think pen­guins are very at­trac­tive and of­ten com­i­cal char­ac­ters; in re­al­ity their lives are harsh and their strug­gle for sur­vival is epic. By com­par­i­son to what Em­peror Pen­guins go through ev­ery year, an elec­tion ev­ery five years is an eas­ier op­tion when it comes to sur­vival of the species. Album: My favourite LP has to be Neil Di­a­mond’s Great­est Hits. Songs like For­ever in Blue Jeans, I Am. . . I Said and Beau­ti­ful Noise bring me back to the late 1960s and early 1970s. I was in my early 20s and like most peo­ple, I en­joyed those years. I went to see Neil Di­a­mond when he was last in Dublin and I thor­oughly en­joyed it. He is very good in con­cert. Don­ald Clarke writes: Stop the presses! An Taoiseach picks slab of neo-con pro­pa­ganda as his favourite film. Not re­ally. Though nut­tier Amer­ica con­ser­va­tives claimed that Luc Jac­quet’s ami­able doc­u­men­tary, March of the Pen­guins, sup­ported their world­view, the film is guar­an­teed to of­fend ab­so­lutely no­body. Brian Boyd writes: With­out be­ing flip­pant, most peo­ple of your age who look back on the mu­sic they were lis­ten­ing to in their care­free early 20s tend to get all misty-eyed about the likes of Dylan, The Stones or, at a push, Pink Floyd. The fact that you were get­ting on down to Neil Di­a­mond while all around you were turn­ing on, tun­ing on and drop­ping out sug­gests, dare I say it, a bit of a wasted youth.

The other point here is that you should never se­lect a Great­est Hits album as a favourite album – it’s not very dis­cern­ing. Di­a­mond is an un­doubt­edly great song­writer and a con­sum­mate show­man – even if his gigs can some­time feel like glo­ri­fied karaoke ses­sions.


Favourite film? Life is Beau­ti­ful. There is a scene where the guy is a pris­oner in the con­cen­tra­tion camp and gets a job wait­ing ta­bles. He gets a chance to change records on the gramo­phone. He chooses Bar­carolle by Of­fen­bach and turns the speaker to an open win­dow in the di­rec­tion of the women’s camp where his wife is – she hears the mu­sic and knows he is still alive. That scene sticks out in my mind. I still like watch­ing With­nail and I, which is hi­lar­i­ous and about noth­ing in par­tic­u­lar - lots of great quotes and char­ac­ters. Favourite album? Blue Valen­tine by Tom Waits. I first heard it on a cas­sette and liked all the songs on side one par­tic­u­larly Romeo is Bleed­ing and Christ­mas Card from a Hooker. The lyrics are great and the sound is very jazzy which I like. I like all of Tom Waits’s stuff. Last film you saw ? The last DVD was Man­hat­tan with Woody Allen - I sub­scribe to Movi­es­tar.ie and this was on the list, so it just ar­rived one day. I saw it first af­ter do­ing a J1 in New York - it is still cool and very funny. The last cin­ema film was Last King of Scot­land - amaz­ing per­for­mance from For­rest Whi­taker. I have been to Uganda and the place has come a long way with­out be­ing per­fect. What was the last piece of mu­sic you bought? I haven’t bought any mu­sic for a while – I think the last one was Franz Ferdinand’s sec­ond album – not as good as the first one. Don­ald Clarke writes: Barry, scion of a great po­lit­i­cal dy­nasty, re­fuses to bow to elec­toral or­tho­doxy by mak­ing a state­ment to which no voter could ob­ject. Life is Beau­ti­ful, the Mar­mite of mo­tion pic­tures, is, ac­cord­ing to your taste, ei­ther deeply mov­ing or a rep­re­hen­si­ble, dis­gust­ingly ma­nip­u­la­tive perver­sion of the Holo­caust. Clearly a brave politi­cian. Brian Boyd writes: Barry, you’re spot on about Of­fen­bach’s beau­ti­ful Bar­carolle and Of­fen­bach would have made for a more en­gag­ing choice than Tom Waits’s Blue Valen­tine, which isn’t even his best work (Small Change from 1976 is bet­ter). Franz Ferdinand is a dread­fully pre­dictable choice for your last album pur­chased. Do you hon­estly like their po-faced deriva­tive art-rock? Or do you just like their ini­tials?


Favourite film? The Lion King. It ap­peals to the imag­i­na­tion. Favourite album? No favourite. Last film you saw? The Wind that Shakes the Bar­ley. I thought it showed a more real rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Ir­ish his­tory. Last piece of mu­sic you bought? Can’t re­mem­ber it’s been so long. Don­ald Clarke writes: Niall, one of those Blaneys, would, pre­sum­ably, have been ex­pelled from his clan if he had failed to men­tion The Wind that Shakes the Bar­ley. The Lion King is a more sur­pris­ing in­clu­sion. Mind you, the cir­cle of life is il­lus­trated quite pow­er­fully by the peren­nial ap­pear­ance of dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tions of Blaney in Dáil Éire­ann. Brian Boyd writes: I don't think you’ll be in the run­ning for Min­is­ter for Arts if Fianna Fáil are re-elected. This limp re­sponse reeks of in­dif­fer­ence. While there is no im­per­a­tive to make an ef­fort on the mu­si­cal front, you could try to en­gage more with your cul­tural sur­rounds – par­tic­u­larly as you’re from such a mu­si­cally rich county. If you like The Lion King, you’ll prob­a­bly like the per­son who wrote the mu­sic for it – El­ton John. And you're wel­come to him.


Favourite film? The God­fa­ther. I am a big fan of mafia/gang­ster movies and The God­fa­ther is a true clas­sic. I think the cast with Mar­lon Brando, Diane Keaton and Al Pa­cino is one of the best ever. My favourite scene is the one with the dead horse’s head in Don Cor­leone’s bed – grue­some but great. Favourite album? Leonard Co­hen – Songs of Love and Hate. It’s dif­fi­cult to pick one album by Leonard Co­hen be­cause all of his work is amaz­ing. I love this one be­cause is has a good mix of typ­i­cal Co­hen bal­lads and it in­cludes my favourite song, Fa­mous Blue Rain­coat. Some peo­ple re­gard his mu­sic as de­press­ing, but I find it up­lift­ing. I lis­ten to him all the time. Last film you saw? The last movie I saw on DVD was The His­tory Boys. It was ter­ri­ble. It

was sup­posed to be a clever Bri­tish com­edy with a Dead Po­ets So­ci­ety feel to it. I watched it with friends and we moaned and groaned the whole way through it. Last piece of mu­sic you bought? We Thrive on Big Cities by Di­rec­tor. They are a re­ally good new Dublin band. There are lots com­ing up at the mo­ment which is fan­tas­tic. I like to buy Ir­ish! Don­ald Clarke writes: Lucinda’s con­tri­bu­tion sug­gests that she can be trusted on the broad is­sues, but per­haps needs to pay greater at­ten­tion to the more in­tri­cate de­tails of pol­icy. The God­fa­ther is cer­tainly a clas­sic, but the horse’s head ends up in Jack Woltz’s bed, not Don Cor­leone’s. Brian Boyd writes: Few view Co­hen in the cor­rect light: as an arch hu­morist fre­quently mis­in­ter­preted as a bed­sit mis­er­ab­list. I’m con­cerned that you failed to ap­pre­ci­ate Alan Ben­nett’s The His­tory Boys. This can­cels the bonus points you got for Leonard. “I like to buy Ir­ish” is a daft re­mark, but at least Di­rec­tor (one of the best new Ir­ish bands around) are not con­stituents of yours.


Favourite film? A Man for All Sea­sons. It epit­o­mises courage and loy­alty. Favourite album? The Ris­ing by Bruce Spring­steen. The so­cial com­ment is hugely pow­er­ful and re­ally speaks to me. Last film you saw? The Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line. A bril­liant por­trayal of an ex­tra­or­di­nary time in Amer­i­can mu­si­cal de­vel­op­ment. The two main per­for­mances by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Wither­spoon were sur­pris­ingly pow­er­ful. Last piece of mu­sic you bought? The Seeger Ses­sions, Bruce Spring­steen. Don­ald Clarke writes: Enda, who, de­spite his ap­par­ent taste for Johnny Cash, would never shoot a man just to see him die, might be ac­cused of play­ing to neg­a­tive as­pects of his per­ceived im­age by se­lect­ing a plod­ding, slightly dull pic­ture such as A Man for All Sea­sons. But, in his defence, he is one of only two politi­cians on the list to se­lect a film made be­fore 1970 that is not Casablanca. Rad­i­cal. Brian Boyd writes: Just a quick cor­rec­tion and clar­i­fi­ca­tion here: Favourite film? I like old clas­sics such as Casablanca and I also en­joy films such as the God­fa­ther se­ries. My tastes change all the time de­pend­ing on what film I go to see. Favourite album? Jack John­son’s In Be­tween Dreams album. I like his style of mu­sic. It is up­beat and mel­low at the same time. Last film you saw? Once, star­ring Glen Hansard. The mu­sic was lovely and it was very in­ter­est­ing be­cause it de­picted the chang­ing na­ture of Ir­ish so­ci­ety in a hu­mor­ous and touch­ing way. Last piece of mu­sic you bought? 18, the U2 com­pi­la­tion album. I am big U2 fan, but pre­fer their ear­lier stuff. Don­ald Clarke writes: Did Tom En­right, Ol­wyn’s dad and her pre­de­ces­sor as TD for Laois Of­faly, have as much trou­ble per­suad­ing his off­spring to take over the busi­ness as Don Cor­leone did in The God­fa­ther? What­ever. Fine Gael politi­cians, as prone to form­ing dy­nas­ties as their op­po­nents, do seem dis­turbingly keen on Cop­pola’s gang­ster clas­sic. Oh, and Casablanca again. Brian Boyd writes: The only semi-in­ter­est­ing thing about the surfer turned an­o­dyne mu­si­cian Jack John­son is that he has a fan base far out of pro­por­tion to his mu­si­cal abil­ity. Ap­par­ently this is be­cause of (as a col­league in­forms me) his “rid­abil­ity” fac­tor. Not that this would in­flu­ence a Fine Gael front­bench spokesper­son in any way or form. Spring­steen’s The Ris­ing is not a so­cial com­ment album, it is a ru­mi­na­tive re­flec­tion on the events and af­ter­math of 9/11 – not quite the same thing. While Spring­steen’s Seeger Ses­sions is an en­thralling work, I do won­der what you would make of the fact that Pete Seeger was in­volved with the Amer­i­can Com­mu­nist Party in the 1950s and was known, even to some mem­bers of the Demo­cratic Party, as “Stalin's Song­bird”. If you want to know more about Pete Seeger, I’m sure Pat Rab­bite has a few of his old al­bums.


Favourite film? LA Con­fi­den­tial. Clas­sic Sto­ry­line, strong char­ac­ters, bril­liant set­ting, at­mos­phere, grip­ping stuff. All round great movie. Favourite album? Guy Clarke – The Dark. He is one of my all-time favourite singers. My son gave me a present of this par­tic­u­lar album last year. He is still pro­duc­ing great ma­te­rial. His voice is re­ally spe­cial, as is his gui­tar-play­ing and his story-telling. Last film you saw? On DVD, Lit­tle Miss Sun­shine. Heart-warm­ing story with some amaz­ing char­ac­ters. It’s a feel-good, in­tel­li­gent com­edy. Last piece of mu­sic you bought? OCMS – The Old Crow Medicine Show - Im­pres­sive young blue­grass, coun­try band. Great sound­ing gui­tars, ban­jos and har­monies. Don­ald Clarke writes: When, in LA Con­fi­den­tial, Rus­sell Crowe wants to im­press his will upon a sus­pect, he kicks nine colours of or­dure out of him and dan­gles him from a 10th-floor win­dow. Tom, as out­go­ing Min­is­ter of State at the De­part­ment of the Taoiseach, has been car­ry­ing out the du­ties of Chief Whip. I’d vote the way he says, if I were you. Brian Boyd writes: Quite récher­ché choices, even if the Guy Clark album was given to you by your son – the singer-song­writer David, per­haps? Clark is a con­sis­tently un­der­rated tal­ent. The only thing I know about OCMS is that I don’t like them or their twee Amer­i­cana. Nev­er­the­less, there’s ob­vi­ously mu­si­cal knowl­edge go­ing on here. Maybe Ber­tie should ap­point you mu­si­cal su­per­vi­sor of the Ard-fheisanna. Con­tin­ued overleaf

March of the Pen­guins ap­peals to the leader of the sol­diers of des­tiny

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