Twitter as an election tool: How the main Irish Political Parties fared on Election Announcement Day – #GE2020


For those who don’t know me, I, @Beanmimo, have been running social media and twitter accounts for businesses in Ireland since 2012 (50+ campaigns).

The following is my analysis on how well the political parties engaged with social media via twitter on the day of the announcement of #GE2020 – January 14th.

There are several keys to a successful social media presence especially in the face of an election: My criteria are: frequency, focus, precision, consistency, and alignment.

The Twitter conversation is dynamic which means that political account messages need to be sharply focused, correct, strongly aligned with the current contexts and carefully tagged/labelled and connected with each party’s brand, values, and other aspects of their campaign.

Here is my rating of how the political parties have fared in those early stages of their election campaigns on January 14th in relation to their ‘original’ tweets (retweets not taken into account):

In first place are Sinn Fein, tweeted throughout the day with the best balance of Election tweets while also keeping the parties’ other activities front and centre. A fully rounded approach. 

Losing points for not having an original announcement text tweet besides their video and failing to add account tags (one) and links (all) for media slots Fianna Fail were the second most organised, well structured and on point throughout the day.

The Labour Party come in a close third, losing out mainly because of no video tweet.

Social Democrats land in fourth place as they hit all the main marks, a written launch post and a video launch – but lost out by not tweeting more frequently and having a typo in one of their tweets.

Fine Gael are in fifth place mainly due to the fact that they should have had a much more prepared and structured approach to the day.

With so much to gain The Green Party should have burst out of the gates but instead they were the last to announce via text tweet shortly followed by a video tweet. This puts them in sixth place. 

People Before Profit bring up the rear with only one election related ‘original’ tweet.

Original Tweets on 14th January

(Parties listed alphabetically – Video tweets dealt with separately below)

Declaration of 2020 Irish General Election 2 pm on the 14th January.

Fianna Fáil

@fiannafailparty 37.7K Followers

FF were the earliest party active on twitter.
7 am A tweet about Seán Fleming on RTE’s Morning Ireland.
9.54 am FF Leader Micheál Martin on Pat Kenny NewsTalk.
11.53 am FF shares information about General Election ticket in Cork North Central being completed.
Followed by a number of Election interview slots.
1.04 pm Lisa Chambers TD on RTE News At One.
4.16 pm Marc MacSharry TD on Ivan Yates NewsTalk.
5.40 pm Stephen Donnelly TD on RTE’s Drive Time.
9.20 pm Lisa Chambers TD on RTE PrimeTime.
10.33 pm Dara Calleary TD on Virgin Media One TV. 
(Points lost for no original Fianna Fail launch tweet besides video discussed below, RTE’s Morning Ireland account not tagged, no links to radio/tv station spots, not using #GE2020 in first few tweets of the day)

Fine Gael

@FineGael 38.5K Followers

1.41 pm Fine Gael chose not to post any actual ‘original’ content but instead shared their party leader – Taoiseach Leo Varadkar‘s tweets.
“The General Election will be held on Saturday February 8th. I hope the Saturday vote will cause less inconvenience to parents than a weekday, and will make it easier for students and people working away from home to vote. Next stop the Áras to see the President ! #LookForward”
Followed by three more retweets (shares) of the Taoiseach’s tweets.

The Green Party

@greenparty_ie 32K Followers

10.05 pm, The Green Party, arguably the party with the most to gain in this election, are the last to pitch in.

“On February 8th, Ireland will decide. Are we going into this decade as leaders or laggards in the fight to protect our planet? The choice is yours.

Vote to make this the #GreenDecade. #VoteGreen”

(Points lost for not using #GE2020 hashtag and for this being their first tweet of only two ‘original’ posts for the day)

The Labour Party

@labour 50.3K Followers

LP shared a Storm Brendan Howlin’ pun from the Sun newspaper followed by an 11.25 am tweet letting their followers know about an upcoming interview with their Dublin South candidate Kevin Humphreys
11.32 am Senator Ivana Bacik is LP Director of elections.
1.09 pm Senator Ivana Bacik to be on RTE News.

4.41 pm The official election kick off announcement.
“We’re kicking off our General Election campaign – we are ready to build an equal society. 🌹 #GE2020 #AnEqualSociety”
4.44 pm A quote from Leader Brendan Howlin TD’s launch press conference,
Later they let their followers know that LP Leader Brendan Howlin TD would be on RTE Prime Time (will be discussed below).
(Point lost for not taking the frivolous first post down)

People Before Profit

@pb4p 11.9K Followers

10.11 am Pb4P criticise to potential dates for the election.

1.22 pm Announcement their election campaign.
“On Saturday Feb 8th vote to break the cycle of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail.

From housing to health we need sensible left policies that work.

Vote for our future. Take it back from the landlord parties. On Feb 8th vote People Before Profit.

#ge20 #GE2020 #ireland”
(Points lost for not capitalising ‘Ireland’ and posting only one election-related ‘original’ tweet)

Sinn Féin

@sinnfeinireland 99.9K Followers

9.15 am, Declan Kearney welcoming the tackling of sectarianism, but their second 11.09 am was the announcement of Pearse Doherty TD as Director of elections.

11.27 SF start their twitter election campaign.
“#GE2020 is on!

Sinn Féin want to give workers & families a break, deliver for local communities & stand up for ordinary people

For the biggest public house-building programme in the history of the State, for solutions to the health crisis, for Irish Unity: Vótáil Sinn Féin #1🇮🇪”

They followed this with two SF committee appointees tweets and information about an upcoming radio appearance by Pearse Doherty TD.
1.33 pm Karen Mullan welcomes £45m education investment.
3.13 pm An election message “This is the first time there will be a General Election on a Saturday since 1918 We topped the poll that day, let’s do it again! Vótáil Sinn Féin #1 #GE2020”
4.34 pm An election message ‘Sinn Féin will give workers and families a break – @MaryLouMcDonald http://sinnfein.ie/contents/55737 #GE2020’
7.03 pm They tweeted about @PaulMaskeyMP calling for the release of Catalan political prisoners.
7.35 pm They informed us of Pearse Doherty’s upcoming appearance on RTE’s Prime Time.
They finished off the night with a tweet about John Finucane MP meeting US political leaders in Washington and from an Irish Diaspora event in London.

Social Democrats

@SocDems 17.5K Followers

1.13 pm, the SD’s preempt the 2 pm #GE2020 announcement, with the message
“#GE2020 is a chance for people to change the direction in w which Ireland is going.”
3.25 pm A tweet promoting Cian OCallaghan.

4.13 pm The official announcement their election on twitter.
“#GE2020 Don’t be stuck on the sidelines!

http://socialdemocrats.ie/get-involved”
(Points deducted for not spotting or correcting the typo in their first tweet and lack of more frequent ‘original’ tweets)

 

14th January Video #GE2020 Election Day Announcement Tweets

@fiannafailparty
7.30 pm FF leader Micheál Martin TD delivers a polished video broadcast.

@FineGael
Videos on the day retweets (shares) of Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s tweets – ‘owning’ the party’s election campaign launch perhaps?
4.36 FG’s first video is a strategic clip from the earlier #GE2020 announcement which focuses mainly on the deal on Brexit and what needs to be done next to protect Ireland’s economy.
9.07 The Second FG video is The Taoiseach kicking off the campaign trail from earlier in the afternoon.

(FG have coined their own hashtag for the election #LookForward but lose points for only using the #GE2020 hashtag in one of the video tweets and not having any sort of structured strategy for the day)

@greenparty_ie
10.38 pm Green Party Leader Eamon Ryan delivers a casual video broadcast.
(points lost for no text with video)

@labour
10.28 pm With no official video launch The Labour Party, instead, show a clip of Labour Leader Brendan Howlin TD clashing swords with Simon Coveney on RTE’s Prime Time.
(points lost for no official video launch)

@pb4p
no video

@sinnfeinireland
4.48 pm Leader of Sinn Fein, Mary Lou McDonald TD, gives a visceral opening video launch.
10.37 pm They posted a clip from Pearse Doherty TD’s performance on RTE’s Prime Time.

@SocDems
4.29 A retweet (share) of leader Roisin Shortall’s personable video announcement.

Twitter Shares of Announcement and Video Tweet (at time of blog posting).

@fiannafailparty

No announcement tweet
Video
117 Retweets
258 Likes

@FineGael

Announcement
199 Retweets
1.3K Likes
Video
42 Retweets
196 Likes
Video 2
70 Retweets
434 Likes

@greenparty_ie

Announcement
27 Retweets
113 Likes
Video
84 Retweets
321 Likes

@labour

Announcement
13 Retweets
61 Likes
Video
27 Retweets
68 Likes

@pb4p

Announcement
26 Retweets
53 Likes
no video

@sinnfeinireland

Announcement
106 Retweets
292 Likes
Video
230 Retweets
743 Likes
Video 2
516 Retweets
1.8K Likes

@SocDems

Announcement
23 Retweets
31 Likes
Video
55 Retweets
139 Likes

Thanks to Bill Gleeson for letting me know the exact timing of the announcement of the election. 


You can follow me @beanmimo on twitter. 

 

 

‘Isn’t It Romantic’ – Film Review


I’ve been promising myself that I would revive my regular blog posting and then promptly breaking that promise.

Sorry blog, it’s not you, it’s me.

So, I am easing my way back into my blog’s favour with a straightforward film review.

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When I saw the ad for Isn’t it Romantic I was afraid that it would turn out to be a one joke film with only enough laughs to fill a trailer nevertheless I remained intrigued. I was both wrong and right on both counts.

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The trend of parodying well-worn comedy tropes is not a new concept. On television you may have seen it executed in the latter stages of the slick and always funny 30 Rock, more recently (and still being done) in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the genre hopping Community parodied sit-coms and almost every variety of film plot types it could lay it’s hands on, and, to a certain degree, the art of the comedy parody has ‘died and gone to heaven’ in elements of The Good Place.

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But this is the first romantic comedy parody film I have watched.  Natalie (Rebel Wilson), a frustrated, put upon architect and outspoken a romantic comedy cynic, gets a bump on the head and wakes from her humdrum existence finding her life has turned into a Romantic Comedy hell, where with her as the unwilling centre of interest.

Wilson is charmingly brash and carries the lead effortlessly, Adam Devine, (as Josh, Natalie’s best friend) seems to be channeling a Jack Lemon/Jason Bateman crossover, which works perfectly in the parameters of the parody,  Liam Hemsworth and Priyanka Chopra pull off their easy roles as the narcissistic and beautiful vying suitors.

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With heavy references to Pretty Woman and other classics of the genre, the plot demands to be very obvious and because of the nature of the parody this works to a point but does becomes tired before the end.  Nonetheless, for me, the aspect that helps the one joke film from exhausting itself completely is the charming attention to detail the writers and production have put into the transformation not just of the personalities in Natalie’s life but into the sets of her home, her office, her New York suburbs, down to the different styles of direction for the film’s extra actors. This amount of effort put into the makeover of Natalie’s world was just enough to get me to the end and, yet, it still manages to become a parody of itself.

While this film isn’t aimed at a 48 year old single Irish male, still, it was a fun 70 minutes or so and has a nice message about self-worth that my impressionable teenage persona could have done with. One for staunch fans of romantic comedies as you may imagine.

6/10 

Follow me on twitter @Beanmimo

The John Hewitt Society Summer School 2018 – An Unforgettable Cultural Experience!


It was my honour to have been awarded a full Bursary by the John Hewitt Society and my privilege to attend their prestigious Summer School in late July 2018.

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Situated in the Georgian surroundings of picturesque Armagh town, the Summer School takes place in the state-of-the-art venue of The Marketplace Theatre.

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I have used words like incredible, transformative, inspiring, engaging and amazing to describe the week’s enticing and immersive cultural timetable but in reality the Summer School is all that and more.

The thoughtfully designed schedule ensures that none of the individual events overlap. Days began at 9.45 am and there were at least five daily hour-long sessions outside of the creative writing workshops and at least one evening event.

In an attempt to give you a flavour of how the week progressed I have summed up most of the lectures, interviews and events that I attended. But some of you may not want to read all of this so I have clearly headed each session which will enable you to

  1. Skim through this and choose to read the ones that interest you.
  2. Read the whole thing (it is long!)
  3. At least scroll down to the paragraph about the Radio Drama Workshop and read on from there,
  4. Leave now and never talk of this again.

 

Opening Address

This year’s Summer School’s opening address was delivered by Dr. Martin Manseragh, former Fianna Fáil T.D. and former Minister for Finance and the Arts. His fascinating talk shedding illumination on the complexities behind ‘simple’ political messages, spanning recent centuries, North and South of the border.

 

Fiction: Patrick Gale

johhewittPatrick-Gale

Next up was an interview with author Patrick Gale who gave us insights into his writing process,
“Writing and reading are part of the same process.”
On character versus plot,
“Plot arises when you bring two characters together”
Answering a question about ‘wasted writing’,
“No creativity is wasted, you go down a path, and even if it is not used, you are enriched by the journey.”
I enjoyed this quote in particular,
“The whole fiction writing process is hugely therapeutic.”
He read and drew from his 2018 novel ‘Take Nothing With You’ during his interview.

 

Fiction and Photography – Travelling in a Strange Land: David Park & Sonya Whitefield

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The evening discussion was with author David Park about his novel ‘Travelling in a Strange Land’ with photographs by Sonya Whitefield who, unfortunately, could not take part in the interview. Throughout the discussion we were given an understanding of the depth and spirituality of David Park, as a person and a writer, when he talked about his views of creativity,
“There is something redemptive and transcendent in art.”
“There are instinctive subconscious things in creativity.”
Also in his memories of the great snowfall of 1966,
“Never before and never after have I felt the weight of the universe.”
On his collaboration with Sonya Whitefield,
“The book is a finished item in itself but the photographs give it a different life.”
“There should be more opportunities for different art-forms to collaborate.”

Park read extracts from ‘Travelling in a Strange Land’

This lecture was followed by an exhibition of Sonya Whitefield’s thoughtfully taken photographs.

 

Poetry

On Monday evening we were treated to beautiful poetry readings by Imtiaz Dharker and Michael Longley.

I woke up on the Tuesday feeling that I had already been there for a week and was ready for more of the same.

 

John Hewitt and the Irish at Coventry

The morning sessions began with Ciaran Davis’ lecture on John Hewitt’s time as Director of the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum in post war Coventry (1957 -1972) and the difference in motivation behind his move (a secure job and a willingness to leave Belfast) in contrast to the many Irish people who were forced to see work in the city.

Hewitt’s vision was to help to regenerate the city and he felt that “A better society could be created by focussing on the local” and he brought in works by Stanley spencer and J.S.L. Lowry. While he was successful at first, ultimately, his vision was not supported by grant giving city officials.

 

Fiction – Liz Nugent

johhewittliz

We were treated to an interview with the always entertaining, generous and modest author Liz Nugent whose third book ‘Skin Deep’ was published earlier in 2018. Nugent answers gave advice to new and emerging writers.
“The first piece I wrote that was broadcast was for Sunday Miscellany about a pair of gloves (15 minutes). You can start out with something small.”
She explained how the characters from her short story ‘Alice’ “…wouldn’t leave me alone…” and evolved into her first book ‘Unravelling Oliver’.
Answering a question about her dislikeable characters she quipped “I aim to disturb.” She followed this by talking about ‘Skin Deep’,
“As a writer I thought it would be interesting to explore a character who doesn’t care at all

 

Politics – Facing Change: The Identity Perspective 

Tuesday’s post workshops session was a talk by Dr. Nabeel Goheer, Assistant Secretary General at the Commonwealth Secretariat, on the current state of flux we are experiencing in the world and what this means to our global Identities.
“All of the cooperations we started building up since the Second World War are now being questioned.”
With 6.5 Million people being displaced by conflict identity has come back on a global level as a topic. He outlined the meaning of a global citizen as anyone who has enough wealth to invest a percentage of it into global issues or globally recognisable individuals who have the best values and can reach a worldwide audience.

Music

Tuesday evening’s performance was a charming and quirky musical collection by Ulaid and Duke Special.


johnhewittulaid

 

Politics – ‘Cross Border Studies’ 

Wednesday started with an interesting lecture on ‘Cross Border Studies’ with Professor Arthur Aughey, Emeritus Professor of Politics at Ulster University. He used the example of the fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the tangle of borders which were carved in Europe to demonstrate how,
“Frontiers are lines on a map but they are also a force of political ideologies.”
He went on to say that “One of the great objectives of the EU has been to remove the borders and the threats of the invasions of 1914-18 and 1939-45”
Issues in the Northern Ireland conflict was dominated by borders, terrorism and political identity and Professor Aughey recalled us that in 2017 Seamus Heaney suggested that the world had become a big Ulster.

 

Mary O’Donnell

johnhewittmaryodonnell

Mary O’Donnell, novelist, short story writer and poet, was the next author interview I attended. She was so interesting to listen to that I forgot to take many notes but I came away with a couple of gems.
“If something isn’t working in poetry I ask myself if this will work in fiction.”
One of O’Donnell’s general tips about being a writer,
“You need to be in good health and you need to be living a selfish lifestyle to be a writer and that is not possible for everyone.”

Panel – Writing and Refugees 

The guest that stood out for me from the *Writing and Refugees* panel was the multi-talented Annie Waithira, who made the most unforgettable entrance and then served us food for thought with some choice statements.
“If you cannot hear our stories then you will never be able to get to know us.”
“Dear Ireland, why have you forgotten the immigrant?”
To steal from the John Hewitt Society twitter account
“She represents the absent voice in many contemporary debates: the refugee woman.”
Waithira explained that not every immigrant is on the same journey.
“Just because we came on the same boat does not mean we are of the same situation.”

This panel was followed by the opening of an exhibition “Daily Lives: Asylum Seekers in Italy and Ireland” by Mariusz Smiejek.

Music and Dance – Edges of Light

Our evening’s entertainment on Wednesday was “Edges of Light” collaboration between Irish Dance legend Colin Dunne, fiddler Tola Custy, harpist Maeve Gilchrist, and uilleann piper David Power.
An energetic and very entertaining musical and dance interpretation of the time in 1916 when Ireland was 25 minutes and 12 seconds behind the UK and so to coordinate Ireland with GMT the time went back only 35 minutes that October (but not everybody stuck to the rule).

Towards the end of the week I was working on my workshop exercise (more about that later) and so didn’t get to as many of the events as I would have liked.

 

“Challenging the Two Traditions: Women, Memory and Literature.” 

Writer and PhD researcher at Ulster University, Eli Davies, investigated the Northern Ireland conflict through the lens of the women involved and the upheaval paramilitary activities had on marriages and relationships in literature about the period,
“During the conflict the home was politicised.”
“The female figure is portrayed as queen, victim, peacemaker, but often used in service of the bigger male narrative.”
“Nell McCafferty pinpoints the mundane duties that the conflict affected as opposed to the macro issues.”
In Deirdre Madden’s ‘One by One in the Darkness’. Davies points out that  “The house becomes a person or a character in itself.”

 

Fiction – Sheila Llewellyn

johnhewittsheilallewellyn

The next interview was with author Sheila Llewellyn which centred about her debut novel ‘Walking Wounded’, which deals with how post-traumatic stress disorder was suffered and treated after the Second World War. The book has been praised by, among others, Pat Barker.
Llewellyn mentions that “the generation of writers who came after grew up with the narrative of the second World War.”
On research she said that “It satisfies my inner historian, I love doing the research but I have to hold myself back.”
While researching PTSD she came across recordings of soldiers recounting their experiences “You can hear them struggling to control the memories.”
One of her pre-war book loving characters returns with revulsion of literature because “Books lie because writers write a happy ending and life isn’t like that.”
Llewellyn says that a challenge that writers face is to portray some characters with as much integrity as possible while not liking them. 

 

Northern Ireland Political Collection at Linen Hall Library

johnhewittlinenhall

The next lecture was a visually centred lecture from Belfast’s Linen Hall Library on the topic of the Northern Ireland Political Collection.
The library is most famous for its local and Irish collections.
Sometime in 1969, Jimmy Vitty, then Librarian of the Linen Hall Library, was handed a civil rights leaflet in a Belfast city centre bar. He kept it. Since then the Library has sought to collect all printed material relating to the ‘Troubles’.
The Political Collection is the only one of its kind that began collecting before a conflict was started.
In 1972 the collection almost shut down under the Special Powers Act which banned dealings with any anti-Government literature.
A former librarian of Linen Hall quipped that the Political Collection has “Something to offend everyone.”
The library has various individual collections as well, for example, the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Archive, Northern Ireland Women’s Movement and more. As well as that they hold a Troubled Images Project which comprises of 16 volumes of press clippings from the early 1970s to 1994,
The digitalisation of the Political Collection is currently underway.

 

Fiction – Michael Hughes

johnhewittmichaelhughes

The last event I attended was an interview with author Michael Hughes, whose most recent book “Country” is set during the Northern Irish conflict using the structure of Homer’s ‘Iliad’.  Hughes says said that he chose this approach because
“The Iliad took place among a small group of people who all know each other’s family history. A similar set up here in the Northern Ireland conflict”
He explained another reason for using the Iliad’s structure
“If you are writing about the conflict you will either to fictionalise or dramatise accounts of real people which isn’t fair to them.”

 

Creative Workshops

Throughout the week there was a choice of seven different creative workshops to attend, ‘Getting Started’ with Nessa O’Mahoney,’ Poetry’ with David Wheatley, ‘Poetry’ with Siobhán Campbell, ‘Short Story’ with Mary O’Donnell, ‘Fiction’ with Bernie McGill, ‘Memoir’ with Ferdia McKenna and the workshop that I opted for was ‘Radio Drama’ with Eoin McNamee.

 

Radio Drama Workshop

Eoin McNamee proved to be an excellent facilitator and on our first session he sent us out to the winding streets of Armagh with the quest of returning with a snippet of colloquial conversation. He then guided each of us to expand these snippets gradually into a short radio drama. The feedback he gave to the individual students acted as mini tutorials in the nuances of writing for radio for everybody at the workshop.

 

Creative Showcase

At 4.00 pm on Friday the Creative Writing Showcase took place. At least three people from each workshop read out their work. It was a shared pleasure to listen to the wealth of talent and promise from the bursary students chosen to read.

Thursday and Friday evening’s theatrical performances were a double bill from the remarkably astonishing mind and bodies (so to speak) of Mikel Murfi, “The Man In The Woman’s Shoes” and “I Hear You and Rejoice”. If you haven’t seen Murfi’s one man shows yet I urge you to rectify that. These two presentations were such a perfect way to finish off this culture laden week.

But it was not over yet. We all strolled down to the Armagh Centre for a fun open mic night.

During the week I met an eclectic range of people who fast became a strong foundation on which to grow a new creative family and it was their company that turned the cultural experience into an unforgettable adventure.

I woke up on Saturday morning in the charming and quirky Charlemont Arms Hotel with the feeling that I had been back to the best parts of university for a week – the pleasure of learning without the pressure of exams.

I came away with the feeling that I wanted to work towards something astounding but if I don’t manage that I’m definitely aiming higher than before.

If you have an interest in encountering culture I advise you to attend in 2019, see you there.

Finally I have to send many, many thanks the John Hewitt Society for awarding me this incredible opportunity and putting together an unforgettable week and to the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs who kindly funded the ROI bursary students.

A late ‘Arrival’ – Film Review


The most notable cinematic aliens to visit Monatana (since the Star Trekkers brought the Borg) have landed there and in eleven other global locations.  Linguist, Dr. Louise Banks, (Amy Adams) and Theoretical Physicist, Ian Donnelly, (Jeremy Renner) are sent to work out what they want. All global locations are on high alert as they try to work together in the race for a breakthrough. The U.S. Military is represented by a benign Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) while intelligence is served by an obtuse Agent Halpern (Michael Stuhlbarg).

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Director Denis Villeneuve delivers the action at a slow and steady rate; his sense of apprehension-building makes the film seem to have more pace than it actually does.  The majority of scenes are interiors; mixed with the apprehension, this gives the film an appropriately claustrophobic and tense quality. The Sci-fi elements are set into a more grounded world to which we can relate. It follows more in the vein of Interstellar, Moon or Contact rather than the spectacles and high ideals of Star Wars and Star Trek. It is refreshingly subdued and contained for the sci fi genre.

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All performances are appropriately understated; Amy Adams gives a subtle, thoughtful and retro-reflective performance as a bereaved mother and we are given a series of somewhat disconnected yet touching memories of her relationship with her daughter as she battles to understand the Alien dialect.  Jeremy Renner does his Jeremy Renner thing, with glasses because he is a mathematician, but does not feel out of place while doing it. Forest Whitaker brings an almost too benign and understanding quality to his Army Colonel and following with the film’s muted tone Stuhlbarg’s spiteful investigator is wonderfully snide rather than brash and loud.

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There is an already contentious feature spliced into the plot which is no more bizarre than Interstellar and already some people are finding silly. While it could have dug deeper into an explanation of a few of these plot devices I still found it to be gentle, cozy and delivered endearingly despite its simplicity. It would sit comfortably beside “A.I.” in a sci-fi collection.

I came away with a warm content monies-worth feeling. Overall it worked for me.

7/10

Arrival on IMDB

Follow me on twitter @Beanmimo

How My Friend Became A Mini-Meme


In September 2016 my friend Michael had to renew his passport. Afterwards, in his own cool, cheeky and inimitable style, he committed the account of the all important photo-taking to Facebook… like this…

“The “Passport Renewal Photo Roulette” game. You make sure you weren’t drinking the night before, you scrub yourself up, shave, slap on some moisturiser, dab a bit of hairwax on the noggin and think “Shit yeah, I look good”…and then you sit down in the photo booth, follow the instructions “not to smile, not to grimace, not to look up, or down, or sideways”….so you spin the wheel and there you are, for some fucking reason the gods have decided “NO….YOU DO NOT LOOK LIKE THAT”….and you are doomed for the next 10 years to look like “Igor Bollockoff, AKA “The Huge Head from Hungary”, wanted in six countries across the Balkans for kitten trafficking and crimes against vegetables”. Another 10 years of laughter from immigration control officers ahead. Great.”
 

Here is his photo.

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Then someone grabbed it and did this…

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This opened the flood gates and over the subsequent hours and days this happened…

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…and this…

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…and this…

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…and these…

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It got weirder…

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..and weirder…

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It got Hungarian…

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It got creepy…

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It went all Netflixy for a moment…

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Then it took a military turn…

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Then it got breakfasty…

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Followed by a short American Gothic Renaissance…

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Before going all Regal…

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Then it had a short avante-garde period…

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…before finally going all religious!! 

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But that doesn’t have to be the end of it!! 

Add your own in the comments!! 

EPIC Ireland – A Journey of A People – A Museum Reviewed


My trip to Ireland’s newest Museum – courtesy of EPIC Ireland.

When I told a few friends I was planning a visit to the Irish Diaspora museum

EPIC Ireland – A Journey of A People

I got some typical Irish begrudging reactions. “That’s just for American tourists” and similar views.

Well begrudgers, you can eat that begrudgery followed by  humble pie. EPIC Ireland doesn’t just live up to its name but redefines the whole museum experience. It delivers history through deft use of 21st Century technology while mixing sparse and thoughtful design in the CHQ building which has a cool history all of its own.

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When you descend into EPIC you are greeted with a charming ‘passport’ to the Irish Diaspora Museum. I see this being embraced by the generations of schoolchildren who will pass though the museum. We are told to stamp our passport (which doubles as a handy map) in each room.

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At the entrance you are greeted with columns of dazzling colour and a video of an incoming tide splashed up against the 200 year old walls of the CHQ building’s lower level. The lights are low and this creates a fittingly eerie atmosphere.

entrance

When I think of the Irish diaspora two time periods spring to mind; the mid to late 1800s and the 1960s – 80s. But EPIC, (living up to its name) charts many of the reasons, some of the journeys and many of the kinds of people who left throughout the history of our country from 500 A.D. to our present century.

ships

Within the ancient walls the designers have considerately fashioned a theme for each room that suits the information being relayed. The first three rooms chart the journey from Ireland to the various countries that my ancestors found refuge. It then proceeds to focus on the descendants of those people who left and the impact they had on those countries.

characters

EPIC untangles hundreds of their stories at the touch of multiple screens and audio experiences. There are stories of bravery, of hope, despair, creativity, achievement in many spheres, infamy, deception, even cross-dressing and much more. These stories are from both the Irish who first arrived on the shores of their new worlds and in subsequent room the stories of their descendants.

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EPIC delivers a refreshing balance as we hear the positive aspects of our Irish History standing shoulder to shoulder with the negative ones.

influence

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There are also a number of amusing quizzes to take which proves that EPIC is not without a sense of humour.

war

One of the many highlights of the tour was reading the scanned letters that Irish immigrants had sent home.  Seeing a digital image of the original letters and reading the words of these ordinary people brought me closer to the struggles of the original Irish Diaspora.

letters

I could go on but I don’t want to spoil the experience any further. I spent three and a half hours there and could have spent the same amount of time again and still not taken in everything it has to offer.

sports

One more thing, don’t forget to look at the floors.

floor1

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This Museum goes to Eleven.

room

hallway

Dublin Restaurants as recommended by Twitter – May 2016


I don’t usually eat out. When the opportunity arose, with two friends who have lived out of Dublin for more than a few years, I went to twitter for help.

This was my tweet…

‘Dublin twitter foodies. I’m looking for a suggestion for a reasonably priced restaurant in the city centre. @Tweetinggoddess @darraghdoyle‘

Before I list every recommendation I will tell you (briefly) why I chose Avenue.

avenue

A) Avenue was recommended by Darragh Doyle and they instantly responded from their twitter account with their menu!

B) I had actually been there once before for lunch.

I am not suddenly going to turn into a food blogger and demand free meals from anyone in return for words on the internet but I did visit Avenue with my friends and had a lovely early bird meal. I recommend the Pressed Pork for starter and the Onglet I had for my main course.

Thanks to Alanna Feeney for her twitter interaction and the hosting on the night and to Nick Munier for the food!

Thanks to

@darraghdoyle @tweetinggoddess @GinandGriddle @PrettyPPD  and ‏@MargaritaRibotV

for replying to my tweet with the following recommendations.

@catch22dublin

catch22

@Carluccios_ie

carluccios

@BeeftroDublin

beeftro

@featherblade

featherblade

 

@brasseriesixty6  

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@imonellidublin

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@CaffeItaliano1

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@CocuKitchen

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@Sproutfoodco

sproutandco

@HAIRYLEMON1

thehairylemon

Flanagans on O Connell St

flanagans

And @YamamoriDublin which appeared in two separate recommendations.

yamamori

Enjoy your meals!