John Kelly

I've been playing Matthew Bourne's new release on Lyric for the past few weeks. It's called Matthew Bourne presents The Montauk Variations.

Here's some video. Check out Charlie Chaplin's Smile:


Hello and welcome to my new site. Some of you may know that I've been tweeting for some time now about many of the things which preoccupy me – some have been work-related and some not...

And so we had the idea of setting up a site which would pull together of all of my interests, both on and off air, and which will direct you to the various projects I’m involved in.

So yes, here you’ll get news of all my radio and television activities, but also the latest on whatever else is going on.  It might be a link to an event in which I’m taking part, it might be a suggestion, a recommendation, or indeed it might be anything at all which I think may be of interest.

I’ll also be digging into my own archive to throw up some of the many press articles or interviews I have written over the years.

Anyway, it’s all here, all my info and all the links and I hope you find it useful.  I look forward to hearing from you on here, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Just to say that I’m very excited about presenting the new RTE television arts show The Works. The previous programme The View ran for some 12 years and we were all agreed that this would be a very good time to make a change.

The View was a review programme and while that had its strengths, it also had inbuilt limitations. The new programme is a magazine show and is, therefore, considerably more flexible – the format freeing us up to do much, much more.

Another welcome feature in The Works will be regular contributions from three people for whom I have a lot of time. Sinead Gleeson, Nadine O’Regan and Kevin Gildea. They’ll be out and about with camera crews, as will I, reporting from here, there and everywhere.

They’re all very smart, clued-in people and they know their onions. In fact knowing about onions was a key element in the selection process. C.T Onions. “Mine eyes smell onions; I shall weep anon.” etc.

The Works

Back in the studio in Donnybrook, with a brand new set, there’ll be interview, review and, of course, performance. Obviously I’m especially looking forward to the musical aspect and we’re already lining people up for the weeks ahead. As I write this the Steinway is being polished up for Neil Hannon.

It’s always a pretty stressful time getting a new show up and running but the team making The Works is the very same team which made The View and I couldn’t be happier about that. As a presenter I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of people.

So here’s to The Works and before anybody else says it, yes, I’m the spanner.

The Works goes out at 10.45pm on Thursday nights on RTE1, starting on Thu 26th Jan.  Follow The Works on Twitter

A short extract from an interview I did with David Bowie in 1999. We were talking about how his generation of performers were all hitting the half century. And now the great man is 65. Happy Birthday David Bowie.

“I think it's going to produce an interesting kind of dilemma. There’s going to be a kind of a selfishness on the part of the younger audience because they’re not going to want to give up what they believe is rightfully theirs – and only theirs. But the feeling on the older side will be hey, it’s not just your music – we bloody invented it! So there’s going be a psychological conflict – an outbreak of ageism! I really do see that happening – but I hope it doesn’t become a schism!

One should realise that the reason rhythm and blues got to a place where it was perfectly acceptable for an audience to go and see Muddy Waters when he was seventy five years old, is that the music had been created and formed back in the twenties. By the time you got to Muddy Waters’ generation, there had been a natural progression - the artists were getting progressively older as the younger ones joined in. It had levelled itself out by then and this is precisely because the music was formulated many decades before. I would like to think that what we’re doing will formulate itself in the same way black rhythm and blues did. Where there really was no division between the ages.”

David Bowie. Interview with John Kelly. The Irish Times. 1999

Congratulations to Neil Hannon on winning Mastermind. Have to say that I'm not one bit surprised.

Here's one from the archives. The View Presents Neil & Duke.

I'll be one of the contributors to Dave Heffernan's Philip Lynott programme on RTE television tonight.

Watch The Philip Lynott Archive at RTÉ.ie →

Just thinking about that Philip Lynott show tonight and I found this:


On November 3rd, I'll be at the National Gallery of Ireland. I'm honoured to have been asked to deliver a lecture entitled – “Image of a Star: le Brocquy’s Bono”.

The event begins with a glass of wine at 6.30pm – the lecture starts at 7pm and is followed by discussion. Tickets  are available in advance from The National Gallery.

It’s a 40 minute talk and taking alot of time to prepare. We're not sure Bono will be there in person but I’ve promised to send him a copy if he can’t make it.  I’m a great fan of both Louis and Bono so hope to see you there on 3rd.  Please don’t ask me any hard questions!

Update: The National Gallery have added a video of the talk to their YouTube channel


Really looking forward to seeing Elvis Costello at the Sligo Live Festival on 29th October.

We had a lot of good times when he lived in Dublin – we presented many shows together on Radio Ireland, Today FM and RTE - which you can find here.


The JKE Sessions - Kate Ellis (Crash Ensemble, Ensemble ICC and Yurodny) performs Sondas by Niall Vallely

Kate Ellis - cellist, member of the Crash Ensemble, Ensemble ICC and Yurodny. Kate is also one of the curators behind the highly successful monthly musical salon Kaleidoscope which showcases Ireland's most exceptional talent by taking classical music out of concert halls and into late night clubs.

Here she performs 'Sondas' by Niall Vallely.

RTÉ Lyric Fm on Youtube.

Why Mahler? How One Man and Ten Symphonies Changed the World by Norman Lebrecht.

Why Mahler? by Norman Lebrecht is published by Faber & Faber.
Book review published in The Sunday Business Post in 2010.

Where to begin with a colossus like Gustav Mahler? According to Norman Lebrecht the best approach is to address him in the present continuous, as a man of our own time. Mahler, he argues, is a composer for today and his music is perfectly pitched for a world constantly adjusting to high-speed developments, many of which are carriers of threat, confusion and fear.  The music works in such a climate because it can mean several things at once, and yet it cannot equivocate. “It comes at you from afar,” says Lebrecht, “like the light at the end of a tunnel, an irresistible destination.” In short, Lebrecht is saying that Mahler speaks to us like no other composer, and his music is good for what ails you. Name your crisis and he’ll proscribe you a symphony.

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