Thepanch's Blog

Just another weblog

Archive for June 2011


leave a comment »

It’s very seldom you sit down to interview a band and then spend five minutes talking about the plus points of a pepperoni pizzas. But with Thunderstruck I did. The local band consisting of brothers Cian and Stephen, James and drummer Shaun shared said pizza with The Coronas. However, Cian does not like pepperoni. A fact that the other members are quick to jump on and the energy in the room is joyous and infectious. Much like the band themselves.

Fresh off recording a new three track EP, the band are supporting Jedward at this year’s Strawberry Fest, along with Daniel Furlong. This is the band’s second time supporting Jedward, having previously done so at the Dunbrody Festival. However, there will be no Jedward style antics. But Stephen is not so sure, “I could always jump off the stage and smash my face… that would be pretty rock and roll!”

Their influences include Kings of Leon, Blink 182, The Strokes and The Clash. Having seen the guys live, this is evident in their performances which have gotten more edgy and indeed louder over the last few years! The EP consists of three originals, to which Cian added, “We recorded one of them before, but it didn’t work out as we hoped. And South East Radio has been playing it a lot. So, thanks for that, guys!”

The band say they are excited about the upcoming gig and EP, James is quick to point out that he is very excited about “the big screens that will be on the stage, which will be pretty cool!” The quietest member, the drummer Shaun is such a drummer he only says three sentences over the course of the whole interview. He’s clearly a Ringo fan! As we wrap up the interview I ask the guys what fans can expect of the upcoming Strawberry Fest gig. To which Stephen replies, “We are the sonic recreation of the end of the world.” Indeed!

For more information contact: 085-8405788

Thunderstruck play supports the enfant terrible, Jedward on Sunday the 26th of June. Gates 3pm sharp. Tickets available through the link below or White’s For Music, Enniscorthy.


Written by thepanch

June 29, 2011 at 6:53 pm

New Look Rafter Street

leave a comment »

The sun really does bring out the best in people. Spirits seem to be raised and there are smiles and good vibes abounding. This was certainly the case at the street party to coincide with the opening of the new look Rafter Street. The street does actually resemble a small seaside town, possibly in France, with the paving and the shops placing tables outside for the eager locals to taste their wears.

The entertainment was supplied by the human whirlwind that is Superstar DJ Liam Sharkey. Watching this man work will actually tire you out he must have an oxygen tank strapped to his leg. Either way, he is at the top of his game and held the whole street’s attention for nearly four hours! Daniel Furlong sang beautifully and certainly pleased his ever growing fanbase! The young singer posed for photographs and autographs after his set.

Sharkey was joined by Barney, Baby Bop, Buzz Lightyear and Winnie The Pooh. Unfortunately, they were all unavailable for interview, apparently Barney threw a strop over the poor supply of ceramic white swans and room temperature Evian.
Rathnure Pantomime Society proudly debuted a short section of their new show, Fallen Angel.

And the whole of Rafter Street was transported back to the early 1960’s. Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney reunited for the event! The girls looked resplendent in their 60’s get up and the show looks fantastic. The day was rounded off by The Duffry Stompers, who had the whole place swinging under a warm afternoon sun.

Written by thepanch

June 29, 2011 at 6:52 pm

Giggs Shoots, He Misses….

leave a comment »

Believe it or not, I was actually once a sports fan. Yes, that was the sound of your jaw hitting the floor. Pick it up. Ok, you back? Yes, I was a massive soccer fan, my team Man United and my player? Ryan Giggs. Giggsy was the man and nearly every match he laced up his boots, he was either the scorer or an instigator of a crucial goal. The man had golden feet and he even adorned my bedroom wall at some stage. But after a while, he was replaced by Jennifer Aniston and a Batman poster. See, I grew up. Apparently Ryan has not.

He is another one in a long list of footballers behaving like the overly paid, snot nosed, and spoiled brats they are. Give a toddler a lollipop and they will want the one the other toddler across the room has. Rooney, Crouch, Giggsy. I mean, I can see why they would cheat on their attractive loving wives. You can appreciate it as well dear reader. Imagine the hardship of being a professional footballer.

You finish up your training for your highly paid, massively rewarding job of kicking a round piece of leather around a field. You’ve achieved your dream. That’s not enough. All those summers spent with your friends imitating your favourite player. Now, you’re up there and kids want to be you. That’s not enough. You sign a six figure deal for putting your face on the campaign for shaving foam, which will also pay royalties. That’s not enough.

You go home to your loving wife and family to wind down before or after the big game. The money is in the bank and your wife greets you with a warm embrace. That’s what sends you over the edge. You find yourself reaching for the phone and calling that agency. I take it all back, I just read that paragraph. Yes, that would be a terrible existence. They’re right to want more. Normal people have no idea what it’s like being a stressed footballer. Give a toddler a lollipop………

Viva Las Two-Mile-Borris??

Look. There is little to no money in the country. There’s an emergency meeting in Two-Mile-Borris. And if you’re having trouble meeting your electricity bill this week. You can relax your head. Relax it right back. Because you can bet the house you can’t afford in the recently approved 500-bedroomed casino and racetrack complex in Co. Tipperary. No, that is not a typo or a wacky story this was actually given the green light from the Planning Board.

The project is being backed by Independent TD Michael Lowry. He said it would bring much needed jobs to the area, and was backed by horse breeders. Not to be a negative, cynical, party pooper but I’m going that way anyway. This is a ludicrous development. The chairman of the Gaming Commission of Ireland was on Liveline Tuesday last and he slated the idea. He said that revenue had dropped significantly in casinos all over Ireland, a reduction of 3% over the last three years.

So, the country is effectively broke. Jobs are few and far between, with thousands of our best and brightest leaving to seek fortune elsewhere. But Michael Lowry has the country sorted. Who needs to pay for heating oil or food, let’s blow what we have left on a game of blackjack. Ridiculous.

Written by thepanch

June 29, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Going Underground

leave a comment »

In these recession times, it is more important than ever that we draw up on our rich cultural heritage to try and regain some standing. That heritage of music, songs, poetry and that most revered and sadly slowly fading Irish art of storytelling. And indeed there was a rich amount of it right here in Enniscorthy. So much so that two films were shot here in the 1960’s. The Violent Enemy, which featured St. Aidan’s Cathedral, The Cotton Tree and the long abolished public toilets across from Kelly’s Pharmacy. The other one was The Underground. A film shot entirely in Enniscorthy. A fact I was not aware of until I saw Mr. Donald Cullen advertising it to be shown on Patrick’s Day just gone.

I have subsequently met Donal on several occasions, and luckily he is keeping the tradition of storytelling well and truly alive. A warm, unassuming and gently spoken man, he is a source of knowledge as regards the town and places, characters and places no longer residing in the town. On this particular occasion, I sat down with Donald over tea and biscuits and we discussed The Underground. A film that has a special place in Donal’s heart as most of it was shot in and around Irish Street Stores, where he worked as a teenager. I asked him if he had any particular memories of the film being shot in the town:

Well, I was a teenager working in Irish Street Stores, which was in close proximity to Paddy Bolger’s Insurance and Getting’s Garage. I remember the Cobbler Wilson taught me a lot about films. He was a great man, and he helped me to make my film choices. His favourite turn of phrase was, “Don’t go see that, that’s a dud.” So I got my first film education from the Cobbler.

Were there many local people used in the film?

Oh, yes. Loads. Peter Mullaly of the Milehouse was the chief mourner in the funeral scene. And Feili Connors was also in it; Ned Earle was also cast as a priest in the movie. They just used people from the town, probably because it was cheaper and ultimately handier!

Do you have any particular memories of the filming of the film in the store itself?

Many, many memories yes. My outstanding memory is Robert Goulet. He never used the catering vans on set. He opted to come into the stores instead and always ordered a Ginger Ale, while wearing a very swanky box jacket. We nearly got cleared out of Ginger Ale. Lett’s got a lot of business. The shop was till operational in and around the filming. And one day, I nearly pulverised him with a curtain shutter!

You nearly pulverised Goulet?

Ha, ha. Yes. Well what happened was I was told to go down to the stores and get some curtain shutters to restock the shop, so I started to bring them back up. Unbeknownst to me, they were filming outside the shop and Goulet had to come through it to get to his mark. I came up the stairs, he opened the doors and I met him head on with the shutter, nearly gutting him! He laughed it off and just went to reshoot the scene!

Having been in the town in the 60’s and 70’s, would you say there have been a lot of changes in the town?

The biggest change for me is that monstrosity in the Market Square. The monument should never have been moved. It should have been left well enough alone. In fact, it’s very similar to the Floozy in the Jacuzzi in Dublin. I think the Market Square was fine the way it was. Now it’s just a bunch of concrete. And Abbey Square should have been left alone as well. Is that supposed to be a bird?

There were two films shot in the town. Is there enough culture in the town?

The town could be used still! There are stories here that have been told, and more that could be told! Actually, Steven Spielberg named one of his houses in Boston, Vinegar Hill. So that could come back, there could be a blockbuster about the 1798 rebellion on the way!

Speaking of stories, there are loads of characters in the town. Do you recall any in particular?

Characters? I remember Paddy Bulmers from Ferns. He was the town’s local wino he used to get wasted on cider wine. A drink that was exclusive to Enniscorthy. And we used to wash the bottles with a long wire brush. They cost the grand total of 3 and 6. Paddy would be sitting on the steps opposite Irish Street stores and he’s be waiting for it to open! Then you wouldn’t see him for a few days on end. Then there was Chalks Leacy, who was actually related to me. And he used to travel around singing with May Malone from Wexford. They sang in Tramore during the summer. . Then there was Joss “Heck” Ramsey, he was another great character from in and around the town.

I can strongly recommend The Underground. Don’t expect great story telling or character development. What you will get is a nice little film that was shot in our little town. And if you spot Donald in the street, I’m sure he’d be quite happy to tell you more about his experience on the set and some more stories that could not in good faith go to print!





Written by thepanch

June 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm

Posted in Thoughts

Dead Air

leave a comment »

This paper’s history columnist, Ian Devin and I share a common dream. Yes, readers a simple, common dream. And that is the dream of a zombie outbreak. In these times of the “rapture” and the world supposedly ending, that dream could be further within our grasps. Until then, I can recommend the new television show that began last Monday on Network 2. AMC’s The Walking Dead, (Network 2, Mondays, 9.55pm) in which the lucky inhabitants of a sleepy town are realising our dream….. The absolute swines.

Andrew Lincoln, who you will recognise as Egg from This Life and that teacher from Teachers, plays Sheriff Rick Grimes. He and his partner, Shane Walsh (played by Jon Bernthal) head out a deserted road to bust some bad guys. The arrest ends badly and Grimes receives a shotgun blast which renders him comatose. The series begins with Grimes reawakening in his hospital bed. However, it is not full of patients, nurses or doctors. But he is not alone.

The series follows Grimes and his attempts to track down his wife and son who were caught up in the zombie outbreak. He meets up with more survivors and they form a motley cure that must learn to co exist while all the while dealing with each other’s neurosis, problems and issues. The only way to deal with a zombie outbreak is to fight amongst each other and expose yourselves to the undead hordes…. Right?

I am not saying anymore, as it is as you read this, one week into the eight week run on Network 2. But it was written by Frank Darabont, and is based on the graphic novel series of the same name. Having read the novels, the series does a great job of transferring over well and adding the required layers for real life characters. The show is produced by American TV company AMC, the same company behind the masterful Mad Men. Yet another sublime American import which I can highly recommend.

So if you like zombies, paranoid friends, tense encounters and the beautiful sight of Egg from This Life shooting a weird zombie child in the face, this is the show for you! To catch up on the last week’s and find out what’s going on before next Monday, use our national broadcaster’s fantastic catch up service on their website:

Space Is The Place!!

 I couldn’t let this issue go without mentioning the late, great Macho Man Randy Savage. The man, who for most guys my age was, along with Hulk Hogan was pro wrestling in the mid 80’s and 90’s. He died on Friday the 20th of April when his jeep veered off of a Florida road and he was killed instantly. I received the news just before a gig, and I went home to watch his match with Ric Flair at Wrestlemania VIII. Savage was fantastic; the man still makes me laugh when I watch his promos. He will be sadly missed by wrestling fans, and indeed fans of popular culture. I’ll leave you with my favourite Macho Man promo:

“180 degrees!!! 360 degrees! I’m a chameleon, yea! The beat goes on, the beat goes on, yea! Sugar is sweet, and so is The Macho Man. Ohhh, yeeaa!!! Space is the place!! Goin’ down that highway Mean Gene. But don’t be hypnotised, no! Reincarnation doesn’t have to be, you can concentrate! But the beat goes on. Let me tell ya somethin right now… Yea. The Honky Tonk Man is outta line, yea! Cos I am the greatest Intercontinental Champion that ever lived. And I am the greatest professional wrestling champion that ever lived! And I’m livin’ now, yea!! Uh-huh!! Well he says I can’t sing and I can’t dance. But I can make romance!! Ooooh yeeaa!! Reached that fork in the road. I said go right, Elizabeth said go left. I went right. And then, then I understand what the situation is. When I crossed that bridge, I discovered I was on the right side, and I said Elizabeth follow me!! Yeaaa!!! Because I’m going straight to the top. To the stars, yea the stars!! There’s one star shining brighter, I’m talkin’ light years ahead!! Macho Madness yea! Macho Madness rollin’. You thought so, well I know so!! And Macho Madness is coming straight at you Honky Tonk Man!! Cos I’m on a roll, and I ain’t stopping!! Elizabeth!! Go right, I’m goin’ left………… No more questions!!!

 R.I.P. Macho Man Randy Savage. Dig it!!!!!!!!!!

Written by thepanch

June 11, 2011 at 6:35 pm

Posted in TV, Wrestling Musings

The Hangover 2

leave a comment »

The Hangover was a very funny film, a very funny film indeed. So much so that when I watched it with a few friends and a take away, I very nearly choked on my tikka masala. It was that rare breed of film that was best seen with a bunch of people, like in a cinema. Its success surprised everyone, none more so than the cast, from which we are now most aware is Bradley Cooper and to a less female, more indie audience, Zach Galifianakis. Oh, and Stu, the Jewish dentist who was the one getting married. And as anyone knows, to a movie studio success equals sequel. So here we are, The Hangover 2 and the boys are back.

Stu (Ed Helms) is fixing to marry Lauren (Jamie Chung). After the disaster that was his first bachelor party, Stu insists on not having one this time around, much to the chagrin of Phil (Cooper), and the instigator of the last fiasco Alan (Galifianakis). The boys or Wolf Pack agree to fly out to Bangkok to celebrate their friend’s upcoming nuptials. After the pre-wedding meal, the boys go to the beach for “one beer.” You can see where this is going.

One beer turns into a seedy hotel room in inner Bangkok. Phil is face first down on the floor, Alan falls from the top bunk of bunk beds, completely bald and carrying a monkey on his shoulder. Stu is in the foetal position in the bath, sporting a tattoo not unlike Mike Tyson’s. But alas they have misplaced Lauren’s younger brother Teddy (Mason Lee). And the fun begins.

Cue a quite funny second half, but personally speaking I found the set ups quite ridiculous. The first film had a certain recklessness attached to it, and was supported by a likeable foursome in the lead roles. This time around there is too much time spent building up relationships between characters and subplot. Not that type of film, I would have preferred to get stuck into the aftermath of the drunken shenanigans.

That being said, the film is harmless enough.

And there are genuinely laugh out loud moments. My personal favourite being the look of shock on Stu’s face when his latest conquest does a 360. There are funny set pieces littered around the last hour, which save the film from being a tad smug. The cast look to be having a great time, with Galifianakis being the stand out star again, blessed with the best one liners and a face made for comedy timing. A good way to spend two hours, but please don’t start a Facebook page for The Hangover 3. That would be one vodka and white too far.


2.5 / 5

Written by thepanch

June 11, 2011 at 6:33 pm

Posted in Film Reviews

Tagged with , , , ,