On My Radar

Broad­caster and book lover Rick O’Shea

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - NEWS - RICK O’SHEA

Cur­rent favourite book

I read about 80 books each year, but this week, the one I re­ally want to read is The Es­capists. It’s a graphic novel based on the main char­ac­ter in Michael Chabon’s The Amaz­ing

Ad­ven­tures of Kava­lier & Clay, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001. My daugh­ter came home with it. It sur­prised me that she was read­ing a graphic novel, and that it was based on a book that I love, so I’ve asked for a loan when she’s fin­ished.


On spe­cial oc­ca­sions, my wife and I love go­ing to Luna, man­aged by De­clan Maxwell, who was for­merly in Chap­ter One. It’s in Drury Street car park, one of the ugli­est build­ings in Dublin – I like bru­tal­ist ar­chi­tec­ture but that’s an eye­sore – but you go to the base­ment and all of a sud­den, you’re in 1950s New York. The staff are dressed like they’re in The Shin­ing but the food is the best I’ve ever had in Dublin. They serve mod­ern Euro­pean, they do a great meat board, but their dessert comes in a dessert trol­ley as if it’s the 1950s. It’s very the­atri­cal.


I went to see Julius Cae­sar at The Bridge Theatre in Lon­don ear­lier this year with David Mor­ris­sey and Ben Whishaw. It was one of those im­mer­sive pro­duc­tions where you have seats around the theatre but you can stand in the mid­dle and you’re part of the ac­tion. I spent the night be­ing bat­tered around in the mid­dle of bat­tles, with things ex­plod­ing over my head. David Mor­ris­sey put his hand on my shoul­der at one point, I felt fan­tas­tic when that hap­pened, I love David Mor­ris­sey. I go to the theatre a lot. I’m go­ing to New York in Jan­uary and I’ve four shows booked al­ready.


That’s easy: Fran­cis Bacon. For some­one who was born in Ire­land, there are very few of Fran­cis Bacon’s great paint­ings here be­cause they’re ei­ther in the big­gest gal­leries in the world, or they’re in ex­pen­sive pri­vate col­lec­tions. When they opened up his stu­dio at the Dublin City Gallery 17 years ago, they brought to­gether some of the best-known Bacon paint­ings in one exhibition. I came out feel­ing like I’d been hit with a sack of door­knobs – it’s one of the more ex­treme ex­pe­ri­ences I’ve had in an art gallery. His paint­ings were so phys­i­cal and dark and nasty.


I love Cate Blanchett, I can watch her in any­thing. She’s been in a few stinkers, like the last In­di­ana Jones movie, but she man­ages to make her char­ac­ters in­tensely watch­able. Then you put her in some­thing like Blue Jas­mine, for which she won the Os­car, and she eats up the screen. .


The only pod­cast I lis­ten to ev­ery week, for the last five or six years, is Ker­mode and Mayo’s Film Re­view on BBC Five Live. It airs on Fri­days but I lis­ten to the pod­cast af­ter­wards. There’s al­ways about 10 min­utes at the be­gin­ning and end that isn’t on air, in which they wit­ter about any­thing vaguely to do with pop cul­ture. They’re both about 10 years older than me, but we seem to share the same cul­tural touch­stones, and I like their sense of hu­mour.

So­cial me­dia pro­file

Sinéad Burke’s In­sta­gram feed is great. Since I first met her years ago, I’ve seen her be­come more in­tel­lec­tual and closer to the fash­ion world that she’s al­ways loved, and I ad­mire that. Her In­sta­gram feed has pic­tures of her with peo­ple like Riz Ahmed and Stella McCart­ney, and she’s writ­ing for Vogue these days. The last time I saw her, I’d just seen a pic­ture of her and Cate Blanchett and I had to tell her we couldn’t be friends any­more be­cause she’d be­come far too influential.

TV show

I’m watch­ing the fi­nal se­ries of House of Cards and it’s just not do­ing it for me, but I’m stick­ing with it be­cause I know there’s only four more episodes left and then I’m done. The only things I watch ev­ery week are on a Mon­day night on BBC Two: Only Con­nect and Univer­sity

Chal­lenge. I’m a quiz show nerd.


I have a grá for When Harry Met Sally. It’s one of the movies I’ve seen most, and these days I watch it once a year. It’s a com­bi­na­tion of Billy Crys­tal be­ing warm and won­der­ful, Meg Ryan be­ing in the sweet spot of her ca­reer, but mostly it was Nora Ephron’s script. It’s hard to get the bal­ance be­tween ro­mance and com­edy, but she man­aged it per­fectly. I will defy any­one who says it’s not the great­est movie ever made, and in fact I will fight them.


■ The Rick O’Shea Book Club Christ­mas ap­peal con­tin­ues in aid of the Peter McVerry Trust. Do­nate on­line at bit.ly/rick­oshea. Lis­ten to Rick on RTÉ Gold, week­days from 10am to 1pm.

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