Death Cafe – Culture File

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The ‘Death Cafe‘ movement invites us to discuss death over tea and cakes. For Culture File, I visited the death cafe at The Irish Hospice Foundations’ Forum on End of Life. Chatting with people approaching the end of life, and others working to make its passing less painful, inevitably made death for a moment more difficult to ignore. It’s almost a year since a close friend of mine, a wonderful charismatic, hilarious, talented man, took his own life; and with it a kind of innocence amongst our group in college. A kind of certainty that we were immune from futile injury. My childhood was shaped by the death of the woman closest to me, my nana Kate. Shortly after school I lost two friends, one to a still unsolved murder, and another to a still incurable illness. Death is something I think about often, but rarely discuss. In a sense, whats the point? But perhaps there is a reason to talk about it after all. ‘Think Ahead‘ is a pen and paper form that lets us write down how we’d like our send off, what our wishes are around our treatment at the end of life. While Irish law still criminalises assisted dying, thinking about how we want our lives to be celebrated, and how we want to be taken care of when we cannot express our wishes, can perhaps insure we live our lives a little more, while we still have them.

Voices include Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness and Sarah Murphy of Think Ahead
Download: ‘Death Cafe’

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For Heart & Breath – Culture File

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Richard Reed Parry of Arcade Fire fame is bringing a unique piece to the Aula Maxima at UCC this evening. In collaboration with physiologist Professor Ken O’Halloran, and neuroscientist Professor John Cryan, he’ll be performing a piece called ‘For Heart & Breath‘. Released as an album last year, in live performance the piece relies on measures the breath and heartbeats of its performers to create a feedback loop of performance and appreciation. I headed down to UCC to speak with professor Ken O’Halloran about music, physiology and the often surprising links between art and science, breath and brain.

Download: ‘For Heart & Breath’

Immersive VR Education – Culture File

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A few months ago, Irish company Immersive VR education ran a successful kickstarter to create a virtual reality simulation of the Apollo 11 journey to the moon. Put like that it sound kind unbelievable – we actually built a craft that travelled to the moon! Sure, we haven’t gone back in forty three years, but it’s damned impressive all the same.

If you’re lucky enough to own one of the oculus rift developer kits (consumer versions still haven’t hit the market), you can download a demo of the experience at Immersive VR’s site.

I sat down with Immersive’s founder David Whelan to try out this epic voyage, all from the comfort of a swivel chair in his Waterford based home office.

Download: ‘Immersive VR Education’

The Life & Work of Roger Gregg – Mad Scientists Bonus Episode

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Roger Gregg is a dramatist, poet, musician, actor and performer. Over a long career on radio and theatre, he’s had dozens of plays performed all over the world, and written and recorded numerous radio dramas as ‘Crazy Dog Audio Theatre‘.

Today Roger continues to record and perform, with his ‘Bee Loud Glade Cabaret’. Bee Loud shows fuse poetry and music, giving new life to verse, mythology and storytelling.

Roger appeared in episode one of Mad Scientists of Music, and this episode continues our discussion. Roger talks about everything from his radio influences, to his career in Irish theatre, to the inimitable power of sound.

Download: Mad Scientists of Music – Bonus Episode – Roger Gregg

Tracks Used

Crazy Dog Audio Theatre – Studio Cuts
Crazy Dog Audio Theatre – Time Out For Bill Lizard
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Up Yours (featuring the words of Gerry Murphy)
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Too Lovely for words (featuring the words of Gerry Murphy)
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – The Boney (featuring the words of Iggy McGovern)
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Helen’s Kiss
Crazy Dog Audio Theatre – Infidel
Roger Gregg – We’re number one
Bee Loud Glade Cabaret – Night Start
Roger Gregg – The Hollow Men (featuring the words of T.S Elliot)

This recording is released under a non-commercial, no-derivatives Creative Commons Licence.

2014 A Year in Review – You’re Doing It Wrong (EP2)

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A look back on what I’ve been up to in 2014.

This is the year I wrote my first stage plays, finished an award winning documentary series ‘Mad Scientists of Music‘, and released my latest radio sitcom ‘Choices‘.

I’ve also been lucky enough to make a bunch of podcasts with super smart rising talent James Van De Waal, for Radiomade.

This is the year I started making reports for RTE Lyric FM’s Culture File. Through Culture File I got to meet inspiring artists like Kevin Barry and Amanda Coogan, and had life changing experiences at the Happy Days Beckett Festival in Enniskillen.

This was the year I joined the A4 Arts Collective. The year of the inaugural Hearsay Audio Festival in Kilfinane, and the year I told a story at the legendary Moth!

I talk a little about some projects hitting early in the new year. My first short film Spaghetti Dick, and two radio art pieces created for Bluebottle Collective’s ‘Hibernation Radio‘ project.

Finally, I remember two people closed to me who passed away this year. My uncle Frank Stack, and college friend Trevor Murtagh.

Download: Episode 2

American Gothic S01E02 – Acquired Taste – Episode 2

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What is it?

A new podcast, in the style of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 or RiffTrax. James Van De Waal and Gareth Stack sit down and riff (in the style of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 or RiffTrax) over sucky television.

How it works

Each episode we watch an episode of an old TV show, and insult it in real time. If you’d like to play along with this weeks show, google ‘American Gothic S01E02’, find a stream of the first episode of this lost ‘classic’, fire up the podcast and hit play when we tell you to. Be warned, this is outrageously NSFW.


Download:
Episode 2

American Gothic S01E01 – Acquired Taste – Episode 1

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This is a new show, an experiment if you like. James Van De Waal and Gareth Stack sit down and riff (in the style of Mystery Science Theatre 3000 or RiffTrax) over sucky television.

Here’s how it works: Each episode we watch an episode of an old TV show, and insult it in real time. If you’d like to play along with this weeks show, google ‘American Gothic S01E01’, find a stream of the first episode of this lost ‘classic’, fire up the podcast and hit play when we tell you to. Be warned, this is outrageously NSFW.



Download:
Episode 1