John Kelly

Happy Birthday Charles Dickens from the following well-named characters ...

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Radio Clash no. 70 playlist

and so here's the playlist for Radio Clash no 70. First broadcast 04/02/12 

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Neil Jordan on movie music. 1999.

Last night on RTE's The Works I interviewed Neil Jordan on the set of his new movie Byzantium. Here’s a piece of nonsense I wrote for a web publication called Muse back in 1999 when Neil had just made a very fine movie called The End of The Affair.

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Happy Birthday Philip Glass. Here’s something he said to me some years ago in an Irish Times interview. We were talking about that cursed gulf people always like to dig between popular music and “serious”concert music.

“Popular music always had a certain appeal to me but I also felt the challenge of concert music. And I had more of an aptitude for it. In a funny way, in my mature... years I was able to meet up with people in the world of popular music and find that it has not been a very hard bridge to cross. Over the past ten years I have written with people like Suzanne Vega, Natalie Merchant, Michael Stipe and Paul Simon and I wouldn’t be doing it if I wasn’t interested in it. I’m especially interested in certain composers like Brian Eno, David Bowie and Zappa. And this is something I’m fond of saying about talent. It’s the most democratic aspect of humanity. It turns up anywhere – without benefit of university degrees, regardless of skin colour, gender or age. Talent is just talent. Whether it’s John Lennon or Paul Simon you can put them up against someone of any genre, whether it’s Strauss or Mahler, and you can’t say who is the better songwriter. And I would be very reluctant to say that the guy with the conservatory degree is the better songwriter. It might not be true.” 

The new arts show The Works kicks off tonight on RTÉ 1 television at 10.45.

Here we come... just like The Monkees.

Follow @RTETheWorks on Twitter. 
The Works at RTÉ.ie

And so here's the playlist for Radio Clash no.69 as broadcast today on 2XM. The repeat is Saturday at 7pm.

  • My Bloody Valentine - Only Shallow
  • The Beatles - Happiness Is A Warm Gun
  • Bob Marley and The Wailers - And I Love Her
  • Alton Ellis - Dance Crasher
  • Toots and the Maytals - Monkey Man
  • Willie Williams - Armagideon Time
  • The Clash - Bankrobber
  • The Rolling Stones - Gimme Shelter
  • Tom Waits - Satisfied
  • Elvis Costello - Licence To Kill
  • Horace Andy - After All
  • Lee Scratch Perry - Dreadlocks in the Moonlight
  • Scientist - Scientist (Stalag 17)
  • Big Audio Dynamite - E=MC2

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

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