Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me (208, April 2019)

Teddy Pendergrass was one of the giants of soul and r’n’b. After starting out as a drummer, he initially found success as the lead singer of Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. Their hits like “Don’t Leave Me This Way” and “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” showcasing how that strong, emotional baritone of his was the icing on the cake when it came to the outfit’s slow jams.

After becoming frustrated in the band, he hit the solo route. Many of his hits were written by the songwriting and production team of Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, with the Philadelphia International duo providing a smashing backdrop of lush strings and big-band disco for that voice.

On the verge of true superstardom, Pendergrass was left paralysed from the waist down after crashing his Rolls-Royce in Philadelphia in 1982. A year later, he was back singing and onstage again. He worked with people like Whitney Houston and Nile Rodgers and played the Live Aid concert in 1985. He died in 2010 at the age of 59 from colon cancer.

Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me is the story of the rise and fall of the great soul singer. Directed and produced by Olivia Lichtenstein, the film features interviews with Pendergrass’ family and friends, as well as industry legends, including Stevie Wonder, and rarely seen archival footage.

Lichtenstein has produced and directed several award-winning documentaries including the BAFTA-award winning The Silent Twin: Without My Shadow. As former editor of BBC’s television documentary strand, Inside Story, she also directed Tongue-Tied, which won The Grierson Award.  In 2012, she joined as partner of Storyvault Films and projects she has directed include Broadmoor for ITV and Melyvn Bragg: Wigton to Westminster for BBC2.

Join us at The Sugar Club on Wednesday April 2nd for a screening of Teddy Pendergrass: If You Don’t Know Me preceded by a Banter conversation with Olivia Lichtenstein about the making of the film. Doors open at 8pm and tickets for the event are now available here.

Banter at First Fortnight (206, Jan 2019)

For the sixth year in a row, we’re very pleased and proud to be involved in the First Fortnight mental health arts festival. It’s a superb initiative which puts the focus firmly on challenging mental health prejudice through arts and cultural action at the very start of the year.

We’re joined for this event by All-Ireland winning hurler Seamus Hennessy. He will be talking about his life in hurling and his experiences growing up dealing with the traumatic experience of his mother’s suicide.

Seamus has helped to raise awareness around the issue of suicide particularly in relation to helping families cope with the tragedy of suicide and is about to embark on the gruelling challenge of the Antarctic Marathon where he hopes to raise €200,000 for Pieta House and Living Links Tipperary.

This event takes place at The Workman’s Club (Wellington Quay, Dublin 2) on Wednesday January 16th. Doors open at 7pm and tickets are available here.

Review of the Year (205, Dec 2018)

It is time for one of the most treasured rituals of the Banter year. We do this every December and we always have a blast. We did it in 2009 and 2010 and 2011 and 2012 and 2013 and 2014 and 2015 and 2016  and 2017. Every year, before the Christmas madness begins in earnest, we review the previous 12 months.

The format is simple: we invite a panel of news makers and news observers to talk about the stories of the last 12 months which have resonated with them.

As is always the case, we have an action-packed selection of stories to go through with our guests. We go high and we go low, we remember stuff which happened home and away, we remind you of the stories which made us all go “ooooh” (or “uuuuugh”). We also throw in some names who made headlines that everyone has totally forgotten about a few months later.

Our Banter Review of the Year panelists for 2018: Christine Bohan (acting editor The Journal), Conor Behan (GCN columnist, DJ, radio presenter, freelancer writer and pop music enthusiast), Jeanne Sutton (writer) and David Kenny (Professor of Constitutional Law at Trinity College Dublin).

The details: the Banter Review of the Year takes place at The Liquor Rooms (and big thanks to Beibhinn and her team for putting up with us for another year) on Tuesday December 11. Doors open at 6pm and we get the review underway at 6.30pm-ish. Tickets are available here and all proceeds will go to Threshold.


A Banter conversation with Johnny Rogan (204, Dec 2018)

We’re delighted for many reasons to be joining the Young Hearts Run Free crew for this special Banter converation with Johnny Rogan

For a start, it’s a blooming Young Hearts’ joint innit. It’s always a blast to join Siobhán Kane and her crew for one of their events.

For another, it’s part of No Idle Day, their occasional festival. We have fond memories of interviewing Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh at the last festival in 2016 in The Yacht. It was a colourful occasion.

But most of all, this event is one of the ones which marks 10 years of Young Hearts Run Free shenanigans. Banter recently marked 200 events so we know what it takes to stay in the game this long and it ain’t easy. That Siobhán and co have survived and thrived over 10 years of high jinks, gigs, venue hassles, festivals, events, readings, mini-festivals, happenings, escapades and what-have-yous is something to be applauded.  That they’ve raised oodles of cash for SImon Community is also worth mentioning. And, even though she’ll blush, it’s worth saluting that mighty Mayo woman at the heart of it all – she has single-handedly elevated and enriched the capital’s arts and culture landscape with these events.

And so to the matter at hand….this will be a comvesation with the great Johnny Rogan about the art of the biography. He’s the don at this game, the man who has written the definitive word on such acts as The Byrds (“Timeless Flight”), The Smiths (“Morrissey & Marr: The Severed Alliance”), Van Morrison (“No Surrender”), Neil Young (“Zero To Sixty”), Ray Davies (“A Complicated Life”) and many, many more.

A Banter conversation with Johnny Rogan takes place at The Fumbally on Sunday December 9 from 3pm. It’s the first part of Lost In the Library, an event which also includes the first Irish screening of The Library Music Film, an interview with Martin Green and Jonny Trunk and music from The Bonk. Tickets are now available here and all proceeds go to the Simon Community.

Banter at Other Voices (203, Dec 2018)

Hello Dingle! As we’ve done (deep breath) in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, Banter heads to the Kingdom for Other Voices. Hot take: this means we’ve been in Kerry more often than Sam Maguire in the last few years.

Anyway, as always, we’ll take over the back-room of Foxy John’s in downtown Dingle for the weekend. There, we will be joined by a fine cast of talkers, makers, activists, do-ers and players for some conversations and music by the fire. We’ll be open for business from 2pm to 6pm on Saturday December 1st and from 1pm to 6pm on Sunday December 2nd. We’d like to say GRMA to the good people at Foxy’s and all at Other Voices for putting with us over the last few years.


Here’s who we have joining us this year

Tony Connelly – the only man in Europe who knows what the hell is going on with Brexit before it happens. RTÉ’s Europe Editor, author Brexit & Ireland and co-presenter of the Brexit Republic Podcast

Carole Cadwalladr – we’re delighted to welcome The Observer reporter and 2018 Orwell Prize recipient to Banter to tell us about what happened when she decided to do some digging into Vote Leave, the Brexit referendum, Aaron Banks, Nigel Farrage, Cambridge Analytica and other characters.

Annie Mac – raving we’re raving with the BBC Radio One queenpin and Other Voices presenter.

Pat Collins – a conversation about all kinds of things with the film-maker behind such sublime works as Song Of Granite, Silence, Living In A Coded Land and many, many others

Michael Keegan-Dolan – the man from Teac Damsa talks dance, theatre, Swan Lake (Loch na hEala) and everything in-between.

Ellen Coyne – the Times Ireland senior reporter is one of our favourite journalists and winner of the Political Story Of the Year at the 2017 Journalism Awards.

Maeve O’Rourke – a welcome return to Banter for the human rights lawyer, senior research and policy officer for the Irish Council for Civil Liberties and legal adviser to the Justice for Magdalenes Research and the Clann Project

Amy O’Connor – the awesome journalist behind a rake of your favourite stories joins us to review the year in pop culture and everything else

Alison Spittle – the funniest person in Dingle this weekend

Music acts to be added shortly

Please note that venue capacity is limited so get there early if you want to join us