Banter at Ballymaloe Litfest (133, May 2016)

Banter is going back to the country’s premier food and drink festival. After a successful debut at the Ballymaloe LitFest of Food & Wine in 2015 when we did what we were supposed to and didn’t annoy too many people, the festival team have invited Banter back for another round of conversations, discussions, talks and interviews in the Garden Tent as part of this year’s festival from May 20 to 22. Here’s the a la carte menu for the weekend

The Banter interview: Yotam Ottolenghi (Saturday, 4pm)


Inbetween juggling cookbooks, TV shows, colourful newspaper columns, shops and restuarants, our favourite Middle Eastern cuisine champion takes time to join us at Banter to discuss taste, dishes, vegetables and spices.

The next big trend (Sunday, 11am)

One for the early noshers in the audience. We ask noted food watchers Seamus Sheridan (Sheridans Cheesemongers), Hilary Quinn (Dublin Doughnut Co) and Sally McKenna (John & Sally McKenna’s Guides) what comes next after kale, chorizo and doughnuts.

So you want to open your own restaurant? (Sunday, 2pm)

All you ever wanted to know about the art, business, blood, sweat, tears and occasional cheers of running a restaurant in Ireland in 2016, but didn’t know who to ask. Jess Murphy (Kai, Galway) and John Farrell (Dillingers, The Butchers Grill, Super Miss Sue, Luna, 777 etc, Dublin) The most rock’n’roll discussion you will hear this year about what it really takes to run a successful food gaff.

Fire and smoke (Saturday, 10am)

Forget about the 1916 rising, the real revolution is the one involving copious amounts of fire, smoke and meat. Grilling connoisseurs Fingal Ferguson (farmer, charcutier, cheese maker, butcher and knife maker), Francis Mallmann (1884, Argentina), John Relihan(Duagh BBQ Festival) and Andy Noonan (Big Grill festival) tell us what gets them hot under the collar above slow and low.

Buzzing (Saturday, 1pm)

Do you have a caffeine habit yet? You may well do after this panel. Steve Leighton(Hasbean Coffee, London), Colin Harmon (3FE, Dublin), Joanna Alm (Drop Coffee, Stockholm) and Mark Kingston (Golden Bean, Ballymaloe) discuss the fine art of coffee, the recent innovations, the operators they like and what will be arriving into your cup in the coming years.

The view from Otter Farm (Sunday, 3pm)

A conversation with food writer, photographer and grower Mark Diacono about life, work and Otter Farm, his 17 acre smallholding in Devon with its vineyard, forest garden, orchards and kitchen garden where he grows unusual and forgotten food alongside the more familiar.

Banter will share the Garden Tent space with Joe McNamee’s Rants, Raves and Ruaille BuailleJohn Bowman’s Questions & Answers’ food specialCaroline Hennessy’s Cookbook ChroniclesIrish Food Writers GuildKathy Whyte of Change for HealthApril Danannthe Lalala Choir and a real bread workshop. You’ll find the full schedule for the Garden Tent and the full programme for the LitFest here. Admission to the Garden Tent and all the Fringe Festival events is €5 per day (kids under 12 go free)

The news agenda (132, April 2016)

One of the questions which comes up again and again at different Banter discussions is to do with who sets the news agenda. Be it the general election or Syria, people are curious about why certain stories make the mix, the filters which are used to make those decisions and the stories which don’t make the cut as a result.

Journalists work in the main newsroom area of the new Al Jazeera America television broadcast studio on West 34th Street August 16, 2013 in New York. Al Jazeera America, which will launch on August 20, will have its headquarters in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA

Journalists work in the main newsroom area of the new Al Jazeera America television broadcast studio on West 34th Street August 16, 2013 in New York. Al Jazeera America, which will launch on August 20, will have its headquarters in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA

This Banter discussion brings together a number of editors and producers to talk about their work, the decisions they make, the factors which inform those decisions and other issues around the editorial process. No doubt the question “is this news?” will be asked at least once on the night.

Banter news agenda panelSusan Daly (editor, The Journal), Richie Oakley (editor, The Times Ireland edition) and Vincent Murphy (editor, Morning Ireland, RTE Radio One)

The small print: Banter on the news agenda takes place at Wigwam (Middle Abbey St., Dublin 1) on Wednesday April 27. Doors open at 6pm and the discussion begins at 6.30pm sharp. Tickets can be reserved here.

The art of sponsorship (131, Apr 2016)

When it comes to putting on events and festivals, the hardest issue most organisers will have to deal with has to do with funding. Of course, there are harder questions – coming up with names for your event can be damn tricky, believe me – but getting the cash to put on your event in the first place, especially free events, is something which occupies a lot of time and causes a lot of sleepless nights.

One way of squaring that circle has to do with sponsorship, though this brings another set of questions over everything from who you approach to what do you give the would-be sponsor in return.


As part of EventBrite’s Free: Celebrating Free Events For All photography exhibition, we’ll be hosting a Banter discussion on the ins and outs of sponsorship. Our panelists Colin Hart (founder and creative director of independent ad agency The Public House), Sam Bishop (manager of Happenings and founder of Street Feast and Granby Park) and Aine O’Mahony (marketing and event management consultant) will talk about what works and what doesn’t work, what sponsors are looking for, the importance of integrity, relationship building and how you ensure the sponsor comes back with their chequebook the following year.

The small print: Banter on sponsorship takes place at Teeling Whiskey Distillery (13-17 Newmarket, Dublin 8 ) on Wednesday April 13 at 6pm. Admission is free, but you need to register in advance and you can do so here. Big thanks to Ann Lowney at EventBriteand John Mahon at The Locals for their help with this.

Banter at MusicTown (130, Apr 2016)

There’s a great line-up of events planned for the MusicTown festival in Dublin next month. Promoted by Dublin City Council, the festival will feature over 60 events throughout the city from April 6 to 17 inspired by the capital’s musical heritage and vibrant music scene.

As part of the festival, Banter will be hosting two events. The first takes place at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery, Newmarket, Dublin 8 on Saturday April 9. There will be music and words from Rusangano Family at 1pm with MuRli, God Knows and mynameisjOhn talking about their new album “Let the Dead Bury the Dead”, roots, hip-hop, identity, Ireland and the future – and performing tracks from their new album. The band will also perform in Dublin’s Sugar Club on the same night.


This will be followed by three radioheads discussing how music on the radio can foster, kindle and develop a love affair with music. Kelly-Anne Byrne (Today FM, TXFM), Philip King (RTE Radio One, Other Voices) and Donal Dineen (from Today FM to 2FM) will talk about the power of radio and music selectors.

Tickets are now available at €5 a pop here.

The second Banter event is a meet the family conversation with Neneh Cherry at the Wintergarden in the National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square West, Dublin 2 on Saturday April 16 at 7pm.


Neneh Cherry is the adventurous, pioneering and innovative singer, songwriter and performer who has been producing cool, sassy pop all her life, from “Buffalo Stance” and “7 Seconds” to the recent “Blank Project” album via collaborations with Gorillaz, Michael Stipe, Groove Armada, Pulp, Peter Gabriel, The Slits and Kleerup.

We’re chuffed to have Neneh join us at Banter to talk about her life and work. Later, she will DJ at Wigwam (Middle Abbey Street). Tickets for this Banter event are now on sale at €5.50 each here.

Banter on Syria (129, Mar 2016)

It’s five years since civil war broke out in Syria. During those five years, the country has been torn apart by tragedy and chaos. Hundreds of thousands of Syrian people have been killed and millions more have been displaced in the brutal conflict between Assad and those opposed to his rule – not to mention the emergence of the Islamic State jihadist militants who capitalised on the chaos and took control of large swathes of Syria and Iraq. The brutality of the conflict, the horrific blockades of cities, the deployment of chemical weapons, the evidence of war crimes on all sides and the confusion has destroyed much of this once proud nation.


As the fighting has intensified, the humanitarian crisis has grown and has alerted the world beyond Syria’s borders to what’s happening within. Over five million people are believed to have fled the country since the start of the war, most of them women and children. Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey have struggled to cope with one of the largest refugee exoduses in history and about one in ten Syrian refugees have sought safety in Europe, leading to the tragic scenes over the last year of people drowning on European shores. These are people who five years ago were happily living in Syrian cities like Aleppo, Al-Raqqah and Homs, cities which have now been virtually destroyed in the conflict.

Banter on Syria has invited a number of interested parties along to discuss the lessons of the last five years. International aid organisation GOAL‘s chief executive Barry Andrews,  Médecins Sans Frontières Ireland director Jane-Ann McKenna and author of My Home is Your Home: A Journey round Syria and travel writer Mary Russell will talk about the human and cultural cost of the conflict, the current state of play as they see it, their fears about what’s yet to come and what can be done to bring about some semblance of relief from a conflict which seems both senseless and without end.

The small print: Banter on Syria will take place at MVP (Clanbrassil St., Dublin 8 ) on Wednesday March 9. Doors open at 6pm and the discussion, which
will be followed by an audience Q&A, will commence at 6.30pm. Tickets can be booked here.


Banter’s general election review (128, Feb 2016)

Before the polls open and voting begins, Banter gathers today some interested observers to run the rule over the 2016 general election campaign.


Who have been the men and women of the campaign, the troopers who’ve stood out in the last few weeks for various reasons and why?

For the policy wonks in the audience, did any of the parties produce anything worthwhile or will every single pledge and plan be abandoned before the summer regardless of who wins?

What are the key moments we’ll remember from the campaign? And the key phrases (other than f***** s*****)?

Has the stability versus chaos message which was signaled months ago turned out to be the one that mattered or has some other theme taken up the slack?

How has this election differed from previous ones?

The question of every election season since Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey came along: was this really the first ever social media election?

Was it a good election for the media?

We’ll also put our necks on the line and predict who will be smiling and who will be grimacing when the votes are counted – and if this will be the only election here in 2016

The panelSinead O’Carroll (News Editor,, Hugh Linehan (Culture Editor, The Irish Times) and Jane Suiter (DCU School of Communications and Institute for Future Media and Journalism)

The details: Banter’s general election review will take place at MVP, Clanbrassil St., Dublin on Wednesday February 24. Doors open at 6pm and the action starts at 6.30pm sharp. Tickets are now available here.

Want to learn about managing creativity?

We’ve done many diverse things over the last couple of years with Banter and there’s always room for more. The good folks at the Irish Writers Centre approached us about collaborating on a project and the forthcoming Managing Creativity one-day course is a result of this.


It’s intended to provide guidance, advice and a steer for writers, artists and arts managers for what to do once the actual work is finished and ready for the public. In many ways, finishing the work is just the start of the creative process and it can be just as challenging to distribute your work and ensure it receives the exposure and profile you’d like it to receive.

With the help of guest experts from a range of fields, this seminar will give participants a grounding in some of the key skills they’ll need to know. There will be four panels in total on the day covering topics such as setting up one-off events, getting your work into festivals, marketing, funding, finances and social media.

Managing Creativity will take place at the Irish Writers Centre, Parnell Square, Dublin 1 on Saturday February 27 and there’s more information here.


Howya: the evolution of the Dublin accent (127, Jan 2016)

Just what does Dublin sound sound like? In 2015, there’s a wide range of accents classifiable as the Dublin accent depending on which part of the city or county you happen to be in. We know the ones which are the stuff of caricature and mimic but there’s more to this than just Ross O’Carroll Kelly and Love/Hate.

Over the years, the Dublin accent – as well as the city’s slang, language and lexicon – has changed and morphed numerous times. Be it on the streets, the stage or the screen, what passes for what we hear around us in the the city in 2015 is a lot different to what it was 20 years ago or even in the rare aul’ times.


For this Banter, we’re looking at how these changes happened, the influences on accents, the unique confluence of events which have made Dublin accents turn out the way they have, the effect of various geographical divides on the dialect and just what the city might sound like a few years from now.

The Banter panel: Jenny Keogh (photographer, film-maker and director of Story Bud?), Aoife Dooley (Dublin Hun creator and illustrator) and Derek O’Connor (writer and film-maker)


The small print: Banter on the evolution of the Dublin accent takes place at MVP (Upper Clanbrassil St., Dublin) on Wednesday January 27). Doors open at
6pm and we’ll kick off at 6.30pm. Tickets are available here

Banter meets Willie Thorne (126, Jan 2016)

For the third year in a row, Banter will be starting the new year in the company of First Fortnight. Our events at the mental health creative arts festival have always been about sports and 2016 focuses on one sportsman in particular.

During snooker’s heyday in the 1980s, Willie Thorne was one of the game’s best known and well-liked players. He won 14 major titles and made a record 190 maximum 147 breaks, earning himself the nickname Mr Maximum. But behind the happy-go-lucky smile lurked a dark secret: Thorne was a gambling addict and, by the end of his career, he’d blown £1.5 million at betting shops and casinos. As the money from snooker dried up, Thorne’s destructive addiction showed no sign of abating and his life spiralled out of control. Desperation and depression took hold of him, culminating in a suicide attempt when he came close to ending it all.


Banter’s conversation with Willie Thorne takes place at Dublin’s Sugar Club on Saturday January 9 at 4.30pm. Tickets are now available here.

Check out the full First Fortnight programme here including the Therapy Sessionswith Jenneifer EvansSaint Sister and others, a screening of the excellent Brian Wilson flick Love & Mercy, a discussion around mental health and sports with Kenneth EganJohn Leonard and Breifne Earley and a public debate chaired by John Bowman on where political parties stand on mental health.

Review of the Year (125, Dec 2015)

There are only a couple of weeks left in 2015 so it must be time for the annual Banter Review of the Year. As we’ve done in 20092010201120122013 and 2014, we will be bringing together a number of smart folks to talk about the stories of the last 12 months which have resonated with them.


Some of our panelists have made the news in ’15, some have reported the news in ’15 and some have observed all that has happened with interest from the sidelines. It’s always one of the highlights of the Banter year, chiefly because it’s a night which reminds us of stuff that happened which we’d forgotten all about.

Banter’s Review of the Year panelKathy Sheridan (The Irish Times), Grainne Healy (co-director Yes Equality campaign) and Zoë Comyns (independent radio producer and founder New Normal Culture).

The small print: Banter’s Review of the Year takes place on Wednesday December 9 at MVP, Dublin 8. Doors open 6pm, the rewinding starts at 6.30pm and tickets are available here.

Banter at Other Voices (124, Dec 2015)

The Banter roadshow heads to the Kingdom for Other Voices on Saturday and Sunday December 5 and 6. It’s our fourth year in a row to take over the back of Foxy John’s pub in downtown Dingle for the weekend and we thank them and all at Other Voices for their patience so far. This will, I promise, be the year when we buy a pound of nails. And a new hammer.


As always, we have a great cast of characters for you to meet over the weekend with interviews and discussions about music, politics, photography, war, media, activism and film-making (some more guests to be added too).


Dónal Lunny

The list of acts associated with this master musician reads like a history of Irish music. Since the late 1960s, Dónal has played a pivotal role in the development and evolution of the Irish sound through his time with the likes of Planxty, The Bothy Band, Moving Hearts, Mozaik, LAPD and dozens, probably hundreds, of other collaborations, projects, releases and tours. He continues to be as prolific today as he ever was, both as a solo artist and with groups like Usher’s Island. We think it’s high time to salute the legacy of this great musician and we’re honoured that he has agreed to join us in Dingle.

Una Mullally

Una is no stranger to Banter or Other Voices – indeed, she has appeared on more Banter panels and discussions than anyone else to date – but she’s here this time to talk about herself and an extraordinary year. In 2015, the journalist, broadcaster, activist and author has been centrestage with her excellent history of the movement for marriage equality in Ireland, In the Name of Love, her role in this year’s referendum and her strong, resonant, deeply personal opinion pieces on cancer. We talk to her about all of this and much more.

Eoin Ó Broin

Eoin is a Sinn Féin councillor with South Dublin County Council and a party strategist. Ahead of the 2016 general election, Eoin joins us at Banter to talk about the rise of Sinn Féin as a political force, the party’s strengths and weaknesses, his views on the Irish left movement’s political fortunes, the changing nature of Irish activism and his insights on what will come next for the party.

Jean Curran

Jean is a Waterford-born photographic artist and photojournalist whose From Both Sides collection is a very different take on war photography which saw her take black and white photographic prints of soldiers in Afghanistan that were then painted by hand by an Afghan artist. Jean joins us to talk about what was involved in the project, embedding with the military in Afghanistan and her other projects like Neither Here Nor There, about young middle-class Malawian students moving to Ireland, and The Shoreline Cast, focusing on
Swahili fishermen working from a deserted beach near Kenya’s Jumba la Mtwana

The Banter Review of the Arts Year

Sunday Business Post arts editor and presenter of TXFM’s Songs In the Key of Life show Nadine O’Regan joins us by the fire at Foxy John’s to review the books, films, music and #WakingtheFeminists movement of the last 12 months.

Conor Horgan & Katie Holly

Meet the team behind The Queen of Ireland, the documentary film about Rory O’Neill, better known as Panti Bliss, in the lead-up to this year’s referendum on marriage equality. Director Conor and producer Katie join us at Banter in Dingle to talk about the motivation and process behind the critically acclaimed story about one of the stories of the year.

There will be also be music at Banter over the weekend from some fantastic acts namely Saint SisterSlow Moving CloudsHare Squead, Sample Answer and, as has become the tradition at Banter in Dingle, some local trad maestros in the shape of Méabh Ní Bheaglaioch and Matt Griffin whose new album “Cuisle” is out now.

Banter at ECM Weekend (123, Nov 2015)

There’s an intriguing weekend of music and more in store at the ECM Weekend at Triskel Christchurch in Cork this coming Friday to Sunday. There’s a performance by Anna Maria Friman, John Potter, Ariel Abramovich and Jacob Heringman of lute songs written by John Paul Jones, Sting and Tony Banks as well as an appearance from Quercus with June Tabor, Iain Ballamy and Huw Warren.


There will also be screenings (including Sounds and Silence, which follows ECM label founder Manfred Eicher through recording studios, concerts, back rooms and asides while encountering Arvo Pärt, Jan Garbarek, Eleni Karaindrou, Anouar Brahem, Marilyn Mazur and others, and Arrows Into Infinity, Dorothy Darr and Jeffery Morse’s profile of Charles Lloyd) and a festival club.

Banter’s involvement with the weekend takes the form of a discussion about musical communities and connections. When Manfred Eicher set up ECM Records in Munich in the late 1960s, he established a connection between the records which represented his label and a worldwide clan of music fans who gravitated towards those releases. Whether it was the sound or the vision of those striking, idiosyncratic ECM releases, a connection was established and a reputation began to grow.

While much has changed since ECM’s early days, cultural connections, those bonds between those who make and produce and embellish and sell the music and those who fall in love with those creations, remain a invaluable albeit often intangible element. As part of the ECM Weekend, we’re joined by musician John Potter, composer Linda Buckley, Ergodos record label director Benedict Schlepper-Connolly and the Triskel’s artistic director Tony Sheehan to discuss the cultural connections which ensue when someone with a vision decides to act on that.

This discussion will take place at the Triskel Christchurch on Sunday November 29 at 2.30pm and tickets are available here.

An evening with Brand New Retro (122, Nov 2015)

If you’re interested in Irish pop culture, you will already have come across Brand New Retro. Since 2011, the site founded by Brian “Doug” McMahon has curated and digitised thousands of images, articles and adverts from an ever-growing archive of vintage magazines and publications from the pre-internet age. Along the way, it has dusted off a fascinating throve of unlikely nuggets (it doesn’t get more unlikely than a Gay Byrne column in the Sunday World on Stiff Little Fingers) to present sides of Irish life which have never seen the light of a screen or scanner in years.


To co-incide with the publication of a new book featuring the greatest hits from the site and new discoveries, the Brand New Retro team – Brian “Doug” McMahonJoe Collinsand Sinead Kenny – will join us at Banter to talk about the motivation behind the site, the discoveries they have made about the early years of Irish pop culture, the evolution of Irish magazine and advertising design and the changes in how media has covered pop culture over the decades.

Banter’s evening with Brand New Retro takes place at MVP (Upper Clanbrassil St., Dublin 8 ) on Wednesday November 25. Doors open at 6pm and the conversation begins at 6.30pm. Tickets are available here.

The Brand New Retro book is published by Liberties Press and goes on sale in November. Copies of the book will be on sale at Banter on the night.

Banter at The Back Page (121, Nov 2015)

Banter heads to The Back Page in November for two nights of sports talks to celebrate the first year of good times at the Dublin 7 venue.


A conversation with John Leonard will take place on Thursday November 19. Dub-Sub Confidential is John’s vivid, witty and searingly honest story of his life on and off the Gaelic football pitch. He was a talented goalkeeper who had the misfortune to reach his prime at the same time, and in the same county, as Stephen Cluxton. Unless something happened to Cluxton, Leonard was always going to be number two in the pecking order. Of course, it didn’t help that Leonard had a problem with drink and drugs….


A GAA memoir like no other on the book shelf this year, Dub Sub Confidential is about how Gaelic games collide with real life. A tale of what goes on in the dressing-room and on the training pitch when you’re part of the GAA’s biggest circus – and what happens when you come out the other side after partying hard as well as training hard for many years.

Our second Banter at The Back Page is Meet the Ghostwriters on Friday November 20 when Vincent Hogan joins us to talk about the art of sports ghostwriting.


We’ll talk to him about the trials, tribulations and, yes, triumphs of writing someone else’s story from their point of view. What are the difficulties involved in getting inside someone head when they might not actually want you to be there? How easy is it to know when to pull back as well as push forward? What are the gigs these ghosts would love to do – and what are the ones they’d run a million miles from. What’s the secret of building a relationship with your subject? And what happens when the book is published and you’re pushed out of the picture?

Doors open both nights at 6.30pm, each event starts at 7pm and admission is free.

Banter at Savour Kilkenny (119, Oct 2015)

We’re heading back to Savour Kilkenny for the second year in a row. The festival is celebrating its ninth year on the go over the bank holiday weekend with an action-packed programme of cooking demonstrations from folks like Neven MaguireRory O’ConnellThe Happy PearArun Kapil and Mark Moriarty, tastings, interviews and other events in the city. It all kicks off tonight with Bressie talking about mental health and food11990537_10153646573020522_4478654517874726157_n

Banter will be hosting a number panels over the weekend, all in the KLP Marquee on The Parade in the middle of the city. Here’s the line-up for the weekend.

Saturday October 24

Battle of the Bottle: Beer vs Wine (noon)

What goes best with food? Beer and cider aficionados would say local beer and ciders, while Wine pros would argue that wine is the better match. There’s only one way of finding out with tastings of local food, each matched with a particular beer or cider and a wine. Le Caveau’s Colm McCan and Pascal Rossignol talk wine, Sláinte author Caroline Hennessy counters with beer and cider and you decide who is right by voting with your glasses.

What’s in your shopping basket? (2.30pm)

When it comes to knowing where our food comes from, we all talk the talk about provenance and organics, but it’s a much different matter when it comes to what we put in our shopping baskets. The notion of buying local food is all very well until your food budget and the ease of convenience come into the picture. We’ll talk to Sarah Duggan (Little Green Grocer Shop), Keith Bohanna (Bia Beag), Mairead Lavey (Farmers Journal and editor of Irish Country Living) and Ken Ecock (OceanpathDunns Seafare) about what’s on and off the shopping list.

What’s so super about superfoods? (4.30pm)

The world of food likes its fancy names and packaging so it’s no surprise to see a palaver over superfoods. On the one hand, you will have folks who dismiss the whole idea as marketing and hype notions. On the other hand, there are folks who swear that goji berries, kelp, raspberries, spinach, oysters, walnuts and green tea will make you healthier, smarter and more energetic. So what exactly is going on here? Is eating a handful of antioxidant-rich acai berries better for you than an apple? Who’s right and who’s wrong? Our panel are Frances Walsh (The Honest Project), Caroline Seale (Discover Nutrition) and Colin Jephson (Ardkeen Quality Food Store)

Sunday October 25

Yes Chef! (noon)

What really happens when you go beyond the pass in an award-winning, critically acclaimed or commercially savvy kitchen? Why would someone choose the life of a chef as a career? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? What are the talents you need to be a chef in a high-pressure environment? We talk to Declan Furlong, Colin Greensmith (Pallas Foods) and Blathnaid Bergin (The Restaurant Advisor) about life as a chef.

All about coffee with Canteen (2.30pm)

Dalton Greene and Paul Williams from Canteen in Limerick join us for a hyper-caffeinated presentation on coffee, from explaining the process from seed to cup and the art of coffee tasting to matching coffee to food and brewing better coffee at home.

Sustainability challenges for Irish farmers (4.30pm)

Just what wil Irish farming may look like in the years to come? What are the issues which will be of concern to the farming sector – and what is being done now about these? Will we still be exporting beef and milk to the Chinese? Will sustainable farming have moved from the to-do list? And will the same crops still be growing in the fields around Kilkenny or are there changes ahead in the tillage sector too? Our panel answering some of those questions: Tommy Cooke (farmer, Teagasc board memmber and member of the national council of ICMSA), Rod Calder-Potts (Highbank Organic Orchards & Farm), Patrick Lydon (Camphill Callan) and Mag Kirwan (Goatsbridge Trout Farm).

A conversation with Neil Strauss (120, Oct 2015)

A decade on from The Game, writer Neil Strauss is back in the writing-about-the-other-sex business, but much has changed in the meantime. His new book The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships is about what happens when a dude who’s all for freedom, sex and opportunity meets a woman he’s prepared to have a long-term life with.


The Truth is about faithfulness, monogamy, sex addiction clinics, harems, alternative relationships and his own mother and family. It’s a case of goodbye Styles, hello the truth

The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships is published by Canongate on October 13

Banter conversation with Neil Strauss takes place at MVP (Clanbrassil St., Dublin 8.) on Tuesday October 27. Doors open at 6pm, the conversation begins at 6.30pm and tickets can be booked here.

A conversation with Jessica Hopper (118, Oct 2015)

Jessica Hopper is coming to town for Hard Working Class Heroes 2015. The Chicago-based music and culture writer is a senior editor at Pitchfork and editor-in-chief of The Pitchfork Review.


Her latest book, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic(Featerproof Books), presents a snapshot of her 20 years to date in the critic business with ace pieces on R Kelly, Lana Del Rey and Hole, ruminations on the visceral excitement of riot grrrl and a poke around the emo movement’s problem with women. In our book, she really is one of the finest writers in the game – and she’s also got a hell of a lot of powerful, passionate good sense to make about sexism in the music business, as this recent hugely acclaimed keynote from the BIGSOUND conference in Brisbane shows.

Aside from her appearance on a panel about music journalism at HWCH Convention on Saturday October 3, Jessica will also be taking part in an one-on-one Banterconversation with myself, as well as reading from her recent book, at the HWCH Box office, Green Party Pop Up Shop, 90 South Great Georges St., Dublin 2 on Sunday October 4. I don’t know about Jessica, but it will definitely be the first interview I’ve done in a former dry cleaners and launderette. Doors for this all-ages event open at 5.30pm and the interview kicks off at 6pm. Admission is free, but is on a strictly first come first served basis.

A journey through Dublin’s gay clubland (117, Oct 2015)

Over the last couple of years at Banter, we’ve returned again and again to a few different themes. One of these regular threads has to do with the past, present and future of Dublin club culture and we’ve had a couple of lively nights out already as we’ve discussed and disected this one.

To co-incide with a screening of the Paris Is Burning documentary next month, we’ll be talking to a couple of scene observers about the changing nature of Dublin’s gay clubland over the last couple of decades and what might come next. Tonie WalshWill St LegerConor Behan and Mimi Rouge will join us for a journey from Flikkers, Sides and Shaft to PowerbubbleHorny Organ TribeGag and Ham and onto Mother and The George with a few diversions along the way.

Apart from the Banter discussion and the screening, there will also be a 1970s and 1980s New York City themed party afterwards with Billy ScurryKelly-Anne ByrneLouis ScullyGreg & Russell and friends spunning the lushest disco records all night long. Brought to you by Discotekken and This Greedy Pig, it’s a night for those who dig disco, drag, fashion, house music, nightlife history, equality, film and design.

Details: the Paris Is Burning/Banter/NYC Disco Party takes place at the Sugar Club on Saturday October 3 from 8pm. Tickets are available here for €12. A special, handmade letterpress Paris Is Burning print will be given to the first 100 people on the night and €1 from every ticket sold will be donated to BelongTo

What’s the story with podcasts? (116, Sep 2015)

It’s becoming something of a new golden age for podcasts. After an initial splash a decade or so ago, podcasts are now attracting a lot more attention from listeners keen to find something new to hear. The fact that anyone with a microphone and internet access can become a podcaster means many new voices and ideas have emerged. Even with traditional radio stations doing their best to dominate the scene and the iTunes charts, there’s still plenty of room for fresh shows


For this Banter discussion, we’ve gathered together four Irish podcasters to discuss why podcasts have suddenly jumped to the top of everyone’s favourites’ list, what it takes to get it right, the future for their own podcasts, the fact that you don’t need to be a broadcaster to create compelling podcasts, the future for podcasting from where they’re sitting and other assorted matters.

The Banter podcastersKen Early (Second Captains), Lisa Farrelly (Abbey Talks), Andrew Mangan (Castaway Media) and Roisin Ingle (The Irish Times)

Programme notes: Banter on podcasts will take place at MVP (Clanbrassil St., Dublin) on Thursday September 24. Doors open at 6pm, the Bantering starts at 6.30pm and there will be an audience Q&A afterwards. Tickets can be booked here.

Banter at The Big Grill (115, Aug 2015)

The Big Grill debuted in Herbert Park in Dublin 4 last year and welcomed a lot of BBQ and craft beer fans to the leafy suburbs with a feast of meat, a bunch of ale and a lot of smoke. The festival returns to Ballsbridge this month with a lot of extras and one of these is Banter. After a summer where we’ve done our thing at various festivals up and down the country, the well travelled and highly seasoned series of public talks, conversations and interviews will be live in a tent in Herbert Park for the weekend


On the menu: four days of prime-time discussions, heated conversations and entertaining panels featuring grilling experts and opinionated folks to talk about a whole bunch of issues.

Thursday Aug 13

7.15pm: The opening shout

We set the scene for the weekend with DJ BBQ (BBQ evangalist and broadcaster), Andre de Luca (the main man at Boss BBQ, Sao Paulo), Catherine Cleary (resturant reviewer at The Irish Times), Aoife McElwain (Forkful) and guests talking turkey (and beef, pork and chicken) about food, drink and everything else.

Friday Aug 13

7.15pm: A round with Tyson

Tyson Ho is the proprietor and pitmaster at the Arrogant Swine, an American beer hall specializing in old-school North Carolina whole hog BBQ located in Bushwick, Brooklyn. We find out more about the man who swapped careers in fine dining and finance to become the pastor at the church of pork.

Saturday Aug 14

2pm: The History of BBQ

DJ BBQ rewinds the tapes to tell the story of how BBQ became so darn popular

3.30pm: The rise and rise of fast casual

It’s the new sweet spot, that point between fast food and full table service which is gathering all the plaudits and, more importantly, punters at present. We talk to Tom Gleeson (Bunsen Burger), Kellie Hasbury (Grillstock) and Barry McNerney (JuniorsPaulie’s PizzaThe Old SpotLotts & Co) about the unstoppable rise of the fast casual gaffs.

5.00pm: The drinks revolution

We’ve had the craft beer movement – and the crafty beer reaction from the big breweries – we’ve had the signature whiskey buzz, we’ve had the cocktail revival and we’ve got prosecco and cava bubbles everywhere. So what’s next? We kick back and talk to new school drinks connoisseurs Cameron Wallace (Eight Degrees), Caroline Hennessy (journalist, broadcaster and co-author of “Sláinte – The Complete Guide to Irish Craft Beer and Cider”), Kevin Hurley (global ambassador Teeling Whiskey) and Dave Morrissey (The PortherhouseDingle Whiskey) about what they see on the horizon.

Sunday Aug 15

2pm: The business of BBQ

Can I give up my job in the morning and start smoking? Advice about the big jump from DJ BBQ, John Relihan (Duagh BBQ Festival), Oliver Byrne (Bison and Group Executive Chef Press Up Entertainment Group), Matt Williams (Oxford Charcoal Company) and Donal Cahill (My Meat Wagon)

3.30pm: How food festivals became the new rock’n’roll

The Big Grill is just one of a plethora of food festivals which are taking place in Ireland in 2015 and that’s before we look at all the the fests which have food as one of the chief attractions. Just what is behind this trend? We look at the growth, the motivations behind them, the patterns and the future of food festivals with Rebecca Cronin (Ballymaloe Litfest), Ger Mullally (Savour Kilkenny), Ketty Elizabeth (French Foodie In Dublin) and Samuel Bishop (Street Feast Ireland)

4.30pm: Food & music

We close our weekend at The Big Grill with a dive into the Venn diagram between food and music with Levi RootsBilly Scurry and DJ Yoda talking about their love affair with food and why so many musicians have a blast when it comes to grub

Full information on The Big Grill’s other attractions here.