Last Wednesday Tomorrow Night (reading)

Wednesday 27th August sees the regular “Last Wednesday” writers open-mic night at Cassidys of Westmorland Street, in Dublin city centre.

The event includes readings from Seven Towers featured writers Donal Moloney, Ross Hattaway, Noel Ó Briain,  Oran Ryan, and myself. Guest readers are very welcome on the night – maximum reading 10 minutes (no minimum).

The Last Wednesday readings attract a diverse spectrum of readings including poetry, short stories and non-fiction. 

Donal Moloney is a Waterford born, Dublin based poet and writer.
Ross Hattaway comes back for his first reading in Dublin in several months – as he has been winging his way around the world and reading in Lithuania and Sydney, Australia. Ross was born in Wellington New Zealand, but has lived in Ireland since 1990. He has had many varied jobs and currently works as a civil servant. His first collection of poetry, The Gentle Art of Rotting was published by Seven Towers in 2006. This will be Ross’ first reading in Dublin, after touring Lithuania as part of the Poetry Spring Festival 2008 and seeing his work translated into Lithuanian.

Noel Ó Briain was born in Tralee in Kerry, grew up in Dublin and now resides in Camolin, Co Wexford. He has worked as an actor, director, producer and designer and was head of drama in RTE for a period up to 1988. His first collection of poetry Scattering Day, 21 Sonnets and Other Poems was published by Seven Towers in 2007.

Oran Ryan is a novelist, poet and playwright from Dublin. He has had poems, short stories and literary critical articles published in various magazines. His first two novels, The Death of Finn and Ten Short Novels by Arthur Kruger were published by Seven Towers in 2006. He is currently working on his fifth novel and had three plays and two screenplays in pre-production. Oran won a 2008 Arts Council Bursary Award.

I will be reading more from my forthcoming book Somewhere Down The Crazy River – Life on the Waves with Radio Caroline.

It’s always a fun evening, so do drop in if you are in the area.


Phantom up in JNLRs

Great news in the latest JNLR audience research -official listenership figures released this afternoon confirm that Phantom 105.2 has increased daily audience by over 13%*

Significantly, Phantom was the only station to increase Weekly Reach* during the survey period and with continued growth the first six months of this year**.

“We are very happy with today’s results” said Ger Roe, Phantom’s CEO, “In July, we unveiled our new breakfast and morning schedule, which were not measured in the current book, and are looking forward to further listenership increases during 2008.”

Phantom 105.2 plays the best in indie and modern rock and is available in Dublin on 105.2FM, DAB Digital Radio, nationwide on UPC Digital channel 935 and online at

* Source: JNLR-July ’07-June ’08 (Published Aug ’08 )
** Source: JNLR- January to June ’08 (Published Aug ’08 )

Naked Ida and Other Unbalanced Songs

Ida Maria’s song I Like You So Much Better When You’re Naked has been around for a few weeks now, and shows no signs of growing stale. I’ve heard a few other tracks from the debut album, and must sit down and listen to the whole thing soon.

The song is catchy, but what I really like is the attention to detail in the lyrics.

Ida’s singing helps reinforce the image of the protagonist of the song as a little flakey, but it’s the unbalanced lyric in the chorus that really seals the deal.

“I like you so much better when you’re naked

I like me so much better when you’re naked”

The line catches you out, because you expect her to follow from the preceeding like by liking herself much better when she herself is naked. The fact it is still about him being naked changes it from a general appreciation of nakedness or fun, to a signal of her discomfort with social as opposed to sexual intercourse – the latter is a situation she can cope with, so his nakedness puts her back in the comfort zone.

Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but I like the lyrical device in any case.

It reminds me of another “unbalanced lyric” in a song by Canadian artist Amanda Marshall, in the song I Believe In You. Marshall sings about how “I Believe In You” and then demands in return that “You Believe In You” when we might have expected the reciprocation to be that “you believe in me“.

It highlights the unselfish nature of the love being offered in the song, and again catches my attention as a great lyrical hook.


Nowhere Else

Someone was asking me this morning how long I’ve been with Phantom now. It’ll be 8 years in November.

8 years! That time has certainly flown by.

Our Programme Controller Sinister Pete was saying to me the other day that in all that time he has never seen me in a bad mood. (Unless you count than that one time that I was mildly grumpy when I couldn’t get the magic 8-Ball to work properly on The Two Petes . .)

I’m not some sort of a saint who goes round in a perpetual good mood. I’m just usually pretty happy when I’m around Phantom because I enjoy it so much. What’s not to like about being paid to come in and play music that I enjoy, discover new music being played by the others on the station or listed by the Music Director, and get texted or emailed by a whole bunch of people who seem very receptive and happy with what I’m doing?

There is lots of grumpy Steve when I am doing my other job in the IT industry or struggling to meet deadlines for college or journalistic assignments.

But Phantom, no matter what time of day or night, no matter how busy I have been, or how many hours I’ve already worked, is a tonic, and a wake-up. I always leave the studio with a foot-wide smile on my face. No other place could do that for me.

Time really does fly when you’re having fun.


16/17 August weekend

An extra slot for me this weekend on Phantom 105.2.

I’m filling in for Cathal Funge on Saturday morning 0800-1100, and will be on as usual on Sunday evening 1900-2100 with Random Access.

Busy otherwise with edits on the book flying back and forwards to my agent, currently working on the middle third, and the bleak winter of 1987/8.

Spring 88 was better, and gave Kylie to the world, though in those days she was a run-of-the-mill SAW artist, and didn’t look destined for mega-stardom. I’m so deep in the edits, and it’s taking up so much of my spare time, that I’m starting to dream Caroline again . .


No more rusty razor-blades

iPhone owners can now produce DJ mixes straight from the phone, with the latest handy piece of software.

We’ve come a long way from the old days, when the tools of the trade were a set of record decks, and for editing, a couple of reel to reel recorders and a stack of razorblades.

I could never master the blades myself. On the rare occasions when I was called on to edit music – for advert beds, or to cobble together a longer version of a song from truncated snatches grabbed from some chatshow, I always knew exactly what I wanted in terms of what the final edit should sound like. But I never had the dexterity, or the patience, to get it.

Editing was fiddly, lots of cutting and splicing tape. Out on Caroline, we had the added problem that the razorblades would quickly go rusty in the damp salty atmosphere, and it simply wasn’t possible to just pop down the shop to get more.

Peter Philips, who was Programme Controller when I first joined Caroline was a man of many talents – presenter, manager, mast-climber, and master editor. He could and would happily spend hours in the back studio working to get the perfect edit. I recall one occasion when, due to lack of new record supplies, we were resorting to grabbing new material from the ITV Chart Show. Frequently they only played segments of records, and in this particular instance they ran about 1 minute 42 seconds of a new Level 42 song that we needed.

Peter disappeared off into the production studio, and emerged some hours later with a version of the song that ran to just over four and a half minutes. You could not hear the joins, it didn’t seem to repeat itself, and we could never quite work out how he had done it. In fact, so good were his efforts, that when we eventually got the proper vinyl version, it not only turned out to be a full minute shorter, but also not nearly as good as we had thought it would be, and so we kept playing the Caroline version!

Of course, we would have killed for the kind of technology available these days, which allows even impatient and cack-handed people like me to produce decent edits with no tears, and not a razor blade in sight.

With all the best tools in the world though, I still couldn’t make a four and a half minute pop song out of a 90 second clip, so my admiration of Peter’s skills as editor still stands.


Bedrocking again tonight

I’m filling in on Bedrock (2200-0100) on Phantom 105.2 this evening (Mon 4th August 2008).

There’s nothing quite like late night broadcasting. Over the years, on Phantom and Caroline I’ve been in just about every slot at every time of day, but there is nothing that gets my pulse racing quite like the chance to be on around midnight. It’s more personal, the colours drawn by the music more vivid, or at least that’s how it feels to me. And Bedrock is a great show, with new and classic rock up to midnight, and a more atmospheric, intense hour from midnight to one.

You can tune in on 105.2fm in Dublin and surrounding counties, or DAB in the same area, around the country on UPC cable channel 935, or worldwide via

Any other job, any other employer who wanted me to come in and do extra hours up to 1am would not be greeted with the same sense of excitement.

Some people will tell you that part-time, fill in work on radio is a tough and sometimes soul-destroying business. But I just feel lucky.