Sunday, June 30, 2013

Tour de France 2013

I'm not a great sports fan but I love to watch the Tour de France - not just for the fine looking cyclists but the for the scenery. I love France and it has been our holiday destination for many years now. Being near to a spot where the Tour was passing one year we set off in midday scorching heat to walk for about 1.5k to get to the passing spot nearest to us. Waiting patiently, the forward cars and bikes could be heard approaching, and then the cyclists. Whizz, whizz, whizz, and in 30 seconds it was all over! Of course we cheered them on and clapped our hands sore but the reality of the speed with which it was over and the effort of getting to the place all seemed a bit of an anti-climax. Like several things in life, the realisation came that it was better on telly. There you can follow the peloton for the whole race, see the position of the teams, the yellow jersey and the dramas of bike changes etc.
Besides the excitement of the race, this years race start on Corsica is great. The scenery looks gorgeous and as we look over the bays it really seems to be a beautiful island. There is excellent live online coverage on The Guardian website

Today they have cycled 156k from Bastia to Ajaccio  and the Tour must have been great for increasing tourism to the island as will the television coverage. Day 4 sees the cyclists arrive in Nice for the time trail and then from Cagnes sur Mer to Marseille, Aix-en-Provence to Montpelier and then onto Albi before two days of mountain stages. For lovers of the South of France this is a great chance to see huge swathes of the Cote D'Azure, Provence and onto Languedoc-Roussillon.

For details of the full route go to

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Rod Stewart in Dublin June 2013

Had to share this fab picture of Rod taken last night at Shanahan's on the Green here in Dublin. Looking great as ever I'm sure he will put on a fine show tonight as always- 'Live the Life' at the RDS. Gates at 6pm, show 8pm and I hear limited tickets still available from

Dublin Pride 2013

If you're not on the way into Dublin yet-it's not too late! Events are going on all day. There's no point me repeating all the details here because Pride has a great website
Dublin Pride LGBTQ Festiveal 2013
But basically, the parade leaves The Garden of Remembrance at the top of O'Connell Street at 2pm, people gathering there now. It snakes down O'Connell Street and on to Trinity, down Nassau Street and into Merrion Square where there is to be a right good party from 3pm onwards with music food and generally just a lot of fine people having a good time.

All evening events that are going on are on the website so, have a great day, whether you are in the parade, watching from the street or joining in the fun in the square.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Cut The Guy Some Slack! Neil Young and Crazy Horse at the RDS - Saturday 15 June 2013

I have to start this review with a comment about the number of negative comments and reviews about this gig at the RDS. Reading tweets on the train on the way home we couldn't believe the comments- had these people been to the same concert as us?

Starting the afternoon in Madigan Square Garden, the new beer garden in Horseshow House opposite the RDS, was a great start. The beer was flowing freely (not free!) and the hotplate bbq was dishing out  €5 burgers, sausages and chicken fillet burgers at a fair rate. The atmosphere was good as we all anticipated the great show ahead, buying Neil Young-style hats and crashing the men's loos when the queue for the ladies was too long ("good on ya!", "and why shouldn't ya?!" were among the comments).

Neil Young & Crazy Horse

The atmosphere in the RDS was also great as everyone mingled around buying chips and beers as the support bands warmed up the crowd. Now, before we go any further, this was a Neil Young and Crazy Horse concert, NOT Neil Young. Crazy Horse is Neil Young with Frank "Poncho" Sampedro, Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina.

Crazy Horse is (albums) After the Goldrush, Tonight's the Night, Rust Never Sleeps, Americana and the new Psychedelic Pill among others. From those albums we got;

1. Love and Only Love (from Ragged Glory 1990)
2. Powderfinger (Rust Never Sleeps 1979)
3. Psychedelic Pill (2012)
4. Walk Like a Giant (Psychedelic Pill 2012)
5. Hole in the Sky (new and unreleased)
6. Comes a Time (Comes a Time 1978)
7. Blowin' in the Wind (Bob Dylan cover)
8. Ramada Inn (Psychedelic Pill 2012)
9. Cinnamon Girl (Everybody Knows This is Nowhere 1969)
10. Fuckin' Up ( Ragged Glory 1990)
11. Mr. Soul (Written by Young, recorded by Buffalo Springfield)
12. Hey, Hey, My, My (Into the Black) (Rust Never Sleeps 1979)
13. Cortez the Killer (Zuma 1975)

Now this great guy is sixty-seven years old and rocking with the best of them out there. He is still writing majorly good music and lyrics as seen by the most recent release of Psychedelic Pill. His set list covered Crazy Horse tracks from 1969 right up to the new material. But what got people rankled was the extended jams between Young and his band (which he loved and the smile on his face was a sight to behold) and also the feedback session. But objectors need only look at the Crazy Horse discography to see 1991 Arc which was "a 35-minute composite of feedback, guitar noise, and vocal fragments". This is Young with Crazy Horse. Get over it. If you wanted Harvest then you came to the wrong show.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lobster at Dublin's Brasserie Sixty6

If you are a lobster fan or have just always fancied trying it then Brasserie Sixty6 on Dublin's South Great George's Street is the place for you this summer. The specially designed 'Lobster Menu' for their Summer Lobster Festival has allowed for all tastes. Prepared five ways, every preference is catered for.

The traditional lobster bisque, which can be boosted with a shot of brandy is there as a starter as is a chilled salad of lobster claws or lobster risotto which comes with a poached lobster tail (hold me back!)

Mains are lobster with tempura claws, thick cut chips and curry aioli (swoon!) and soy glazed pork and lobster claw with lobster mayonnaise.

If that's not enough, the desserts of pecan pie, banana and passion fruit mille-feuille, poached pear, lemon and chocolate Eton mess, chocolate panna cotta, coconut cream pie and New York cheesecake are enough to make this girl run to the cupboard to get baking to satisfy the mouth-watering need for pudding.

Brasserie Sixty6, South Great Georges Street, Dublin 2

Exchequer Wins Best Cocktail at Santa Rita/Life Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards

The place of choice to go for good value 'cocktail of the week', The Exchequer, has won Best Cocktail award.

 Pictured are President of the Restaurant Association of Ireland, Pádraic Óg Gallagher and Brian Motherway, Smirnoff Mojito presenting Best Cocktail Experience Award to Peter Rock, Robert Caldwell and Ian Tucker from The Exchequer at the Santa Rita/ LIFE Magazine Irish Restaurant Awards 2013 at The Burlington Hotel.

 Press release reports: " Award winning gastropub, The Exchequer, has done it again by winning the ‘Best Cocktail Experience’ at the 2013 Santa Rita LIFE Magazine Restaurant Awards. This is the second year running that The Exchequer has won this all-Ireland award. An award for "Engaging with The Gathering" was also presented to The Exchequer at the annual awards ceremony held in Dublin 10th June.

Speaking on their win, owner Ian Tucker said “We are incredibly proud of our food and drink offering here at The Exchequer. Being awarded Best Cocktail Experience for the second year in a row is a testament to the hard work and dedication our team and head mixologist Robert Caldwell have put in to ensuring our customers have a unique cocktail experience that is officially the best in the country”.

Bar Manager and Mixologist Robert Caldwell, originally from Byron Bay in Australia, has honed his craft while bar tending in a host of bars throughout the world. Since joining The Exchequer team, Robert has spent months perfecting his mixes. This year he devised and launched an exciting new cocktail selection including 32 new Aperitifs, Digestifs, Long Drinks and Concoctions called The ‘Ledger of Liquor’.

The ‘Ledger of Liquor’ incorporates classic bar offerings with modern twists using an eclectic selection of Gin, Rum, Vodka, Tequila, Irish and imported whiskeys. Key Cocktails to look out for include: 

The Key Lime Pie Meringue Martini (€9) - a digestive biscuit rimmed glass with a key lime liquid base of Citrus Vodka, Vanilla Vodka, Lemon juice, Sicilian lemonade and lemon pie sugar topped with a floating island of flambéed meringue foam)

The Invisible Iced Tea (€11) - an Exchequer take on the traditional Long Island Iced Tea, but served up completely clear. 

Zombie (€11) - an intense mix of 7 liquors, including 4 Rums, an orange tequila, marachino liqueur and absinthe with fruit juices and light dusting of cinnamon and nutmeg finished off with a floating lime half filled with fire.

The Exchequer Gastropub. 3-5 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2, T: 01-670 6787 or see or @TheExchequer


Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Who Plays Quadrophenia at Dublin's O2

Last night at the O2 in Dublin the Mods came to pay homage to Roger Daltry and Pete Townshend. The playing of the complete album Quadrophenia was the draw that brought all the old Mods out of the woodwork, and many from the accents had travelled over from the UK.

As the crowd gathered near the O2 at Harry's Bar outside in the sunshine and upstairs in The Gibson Hotel Bar all evidence could be seen that old Mods never die and that for them this was 'a way of life'.
As a new word was created for a collective, a "Perry of Mods", I was told that never had more Fred Perry's been seen in one place outside Arnott's menswear section. Also in evidence were a fine selection of Weller style hairdos, a token number of Parkas (it was a bright sunny day so come on!), Many pairs of Desert Boots plus token representation of two-tone trousers, button-down collar shirts, target images and three button jackets. It was a joy to see and not a bit unlike turning up at a fancy dress party.

Moving into the O2 the tension was building. Despite tickets still being available on the day from Ticketmaster the stadium was over 90% full and the reception for Roger and Pete when they came on stage was electric. Playing through the whole Quadrophenia album from start to finish was an experience that will not be forgotten. Roger Daltry gave his all, starting the show in a loose jacket, shedding this for a white shirt underneath which ended up open to the waist as he belted out the songs for all he was worth. Pete Townshend was amazing- the man is a monster on stage, still windmilling like a crazed thing and bashing away at his guitar with a fierce energy. The opening sounds of the sea breaking in I Am The Sea was the signal that the show was to begin, the lights came up and Roger belted out "Can you see the real me? Can ya, can ya?" and the show had begun. Following the album we had The Real Me, Quadrophenia, Cut My Hair, The Punk and the Godfather and I'm One. The images and film on the stage screens were making this real theatre; 60s images, stills from the movie, early photos of the band- all added to the atmosphere.   


Simon Townshend, Pete's brother, sang The Dirty Jobs followed by Helpless Dancer, Is It In My Head, I've Had Enough and on to the amazing track that is 5.15. The brass section came into their own and beefed up the backing with their great refrain and Roger was "Out of my brain on the 5.15". Also  known to be the song where John Entwhistle was given his chance to solo, true to their acknowledgement of past members the large screen showed John playing his solo turn and was wildly rewarded by the audience. Sea and Sand and Drowned led into Bellboy. The question of who would voice Keith Moon's lyrics was answered when the film footage of Moon the Loon himself came up over the stage from the original recording; the audience went wild and applauded in appreciation. Roger turned to the film images acknowledging Keith and John and the whole audience was satisfied- no-one could have taken their places.

Dr Jimmy and The Rock were followed by the final refrains of Love Reign O'er Me, and as we heard this we knew the magic of seeing the staging of Quadrophenia was coming to a close.


But the audience was still to be rewarded with a few old hits. The band was introduced and we were told "It's been too long". Following the mammoth effort that these old geezers had exerted with the Quadrophenia performance they lashed into part two with gusto to perform Who Are You? (Who, who- who who!), Behind Blue Eyes, Pinball Wizard, Baba O'Riley and  Won't Get Fooled Again. The crowd was on its feet, the stadium was hopping and the energy radiating off the stage was infectious.

The band was clapped and all left except the ole gits, the magic chemistry over all these years that is the voice of Roger Daltry plus the guitar and lyrics that is Pete Townshend. It was a privilege to have seen them and the closing song of Tea and Theatre from their 2006 album Endless Wire, with its great lyrics and a perfect vehicle for appreciating the true strength of Daltry's voice and the poignant line of  "We played them as one we're older now" was a great moment. The evening was over, the Mods went home and we all felt better for having seen great legends at work. As Roger said "We're just glad to still be standing".