Saturday, 26 July 2008

Murphys new book

The MURPHY brothers, SEAN and KIERAN are busy as always.

It seems only yesterday that the boys made contact to suss-out the SEXTON+ organisational culture and toy with the idea of inviting us to brand and package their delicious product. We've worked closely together since and the studio lights up when Sean bounces into the studio (nothing to do with the fact that he'd be stocking our freezer with ice cream). The guys are true entrepreneurs, dynamic, ferociously hard-working, inspiring - a pure pleasure to work with.

Now they've written a book - THE BOOK OF SWEET THINGS (MERCIER PRESS, €19.99). 'The brothers are American, but visited Ireland often when growing up because their father is from CORK. They loved Dingle so much they decided to find a way to live there giving up lucrative marketing careers with global brands. With the help of the black Kerry cows, the idea of making ice cream for a living was born.

MURPHYS ICE CREAM is distributed nationally to high-end stores, they have stores in KILLARNEY and DINGLE (we branded their building head-to-toe) and, according to GEORGINA CAMPBELL in the IRISH INDEPENDENT, their Dingle store has become a landmark - 'anyone visiting Dingle will know the cheerful blue and white Murphys shop'.

Check these out:

Kierna's blog is here:

Independent article here:

Book for sale by Mercier Press here:

Monday, 14 July 2008

Ramon wins European Design Award

Wonderful news just in from BARCELONA - RAMON PONSATI has won a prestigious ART DIRECTORS' CLUB of EUROPE design award for his contribution to the POWER OF SEVEN project!

Ramon remains an old friend ever since he contacted the SEXTON+ studio a few years back saying he was interested in collaborating for what was initially supposed to be a couple of months. He flew over to show some amazing work and we instantly hit it off. He returned a few months later and settled-in on Georges Street for what extended to an adventure-filled year and the beginning of what will be a life-long friendship.

Ramon is a partner of the prolific indy label BANKROBBER RECORDS (founded 2002) and remains active on the Barcelona scene where he produces club nights and djs. No surprise, then, that he was one of the main driving-forces - and guest dj - for the launch party of our Georges Street studio which, I think it's no exaggeration to say - went down in history! (The night also featured budding-dj FRANCESO who has since gone on to make a name for himself with THE ITALIAN FACTORY.)

Ramon's background in design and entertainment led to him managing many of our album branding projects - he was also senior designer for a mammoth 500 page, beautifully illustrated, art book which we produced for a world-renowned business family (confidential I'm afraid). The publication was a private commission to be presented as Christmas gifts to international heads-of-state including NELSON MANDELLA and the POTUS (President of the United States) etc..

The Power of Seven project was created by studio ESIETE (BARCELONA) as a tribute exhibition to the designers CHARLES & RAY EAMES in recognition of their passion towards design and life. (In 1977 Charles & Ray Eames created MATHEMATICA: A WORLD OF NUMBERS ..AND BEYOND - and the film POWERS OF TEN - for IBM, a research on the relative importance of things, somewhere between science, art and design. . The original Mathematica Exhibition is now owned by and on display at the NEW YORK HALL OF SCIENCES, more info here.)

The result of the Power of Seven exhibition is a collection of silk serigraphs (each 1000 x 700mm) by influential designers of Barcelona’s contemporary scene and their interpretation of el número - the number seven - its symbolisms and beliefs - the magical number.

Congratulations Ramon!

Prints can be purchased at:
Search under artist's name

Friday, 11 July 2008

....SHARK on Exchequer St

A few days ago a 6ft shark was thrown off-course and into a net off the south-west coast of Ireland - it eventually wound-up on Exchequer Street in Dublin city centre.

Thanks to the IRISH AVIATION AUTHORITY I got to share that same shark (or as RONAN KEATING says share-shum-shark) with PAULINE MAGUIRE who was in town on a flying visit from MANCHESTER ART GALLERY.

What's the IAA got to do with shark? Well Pauline and I were suffering from wild schedules and - in a break with tradition - couldn't swing-it to meet face-to-face before her return flight. Then everything changed when the IAA stepped-in to announce their radar system was in melt-down and suddenly, along with thousands of others, Pauline was trapped in Ireland (missing JASON's performance-piece in PROJECT SPACE LEEDS). That left me with the pleasure, once-again, of hosting my old friend. She picked me up at the studio and we sauntered around the corner to FALLON & BYRNE to top-up on treats (both dying to chill with some home-cooking after a hectic start to the week).

This is where the shark (eventually) comes back into the script. Though the IAA are doing a fantastic job (!!!) it would be unfair to give them full credit for our unanticipated evening at home. In fact FALLON & BYRNE - in particular their butcher - played the stellar role. He clearly has his ear-to-the-ground because, within hours of the 'shark-call', he had JAWS spread-out on the block downstairs and had convinced us to take a few steaks home for the pan.

Though it's wildly popular in many other parts of the world shark is rare around these parts so there's little or no market here. Shark is a juicy, firm-yet-tender meat with a hint of sweetness. We pan-fried on med-to-high and simmered a two-inch-thick steak for 4 mins each side ..reduced to low and left to simmer for another few mins. The flavour is spectacular so keep it simple and don't distract with herbs. At the very most serve with a wedge of lime on the side, maybe serve with sugar-snap peas or raw baby spinach (save the lime for that).

Get yourself to Fallon & Byrne on your way from work this evening, there's very little left and I'm going back for more.

Exchequer Street, Dublin 02
priced at something like €15 per kilo

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

we're off to Brittany (not Britney) festival

This time next week the gang of us will have settled into our away-base at LES VIEILLES CHARRUES music festival in BRITTANY. What began 16 years ago as a 'smidgeeen' of a community project has grown into one of the largest musical events in Europe - certainly the biggest in France. It attracts in excess of 150,000 over the course of the July weekend.

According to French newspaper LE MONDE it has somehow managed to 'preserve the friendly chilled-out atmosphere of its beginnings' despite it's remarkable growth.

This is our maiden-voyage to this particular festival so we're trusting Le Monde and the gang of festival hounds we hooked-up with at the ROCK-EN-SEINE FESTIVAL in PARIS last August. We were taken under the wing of an amazing BRETON posse who extended us the hospitality you'd reserve for long-lost brothers. They raved about the unique atmosphere of their festival and made us sign contracts (in blood!) that we'd re-group there - so we're on our way! (Fre and Gabriel flew over and celebrated KATEANN's birthday with us last Easter at CLOMANTAGH CASTLE in KILKENNY.)

What's more Kateann, RÓNÁN and SÚLÁN - who'll be touring around CZECH-GERMANY-FRANCE-SPAIN this month - are taking a detour to join our crew in Brittany!

The festival boasts three of the biggest stages in Europe and is well-known for its somewhat eclectic mix of performers. It's an event thrown in true Breton style; that Celtic sense of diversity, welcoming with open-arms and absence of pretense appears at the heart of the festival’s success so I know we'll feel very much at home.



Further info, line-up, local travel connections:
Les Vieilles Charrues (Carhaix, Brittany)
3 day ticket incl camping €72
4 day ticket incl camping €95

Book tickets at:
Less expensive at:

Sunday, 6 July 2008

get to that exhibition today

Checked out the 5m2 project yesterday, get yourself up there before it finishes later today. We caught live music performances, a puppet show and drama. It was a really well put-together show, never a dull moment.

I bumped into my old italian teacher, FRANCESCA, from the cultural institute - it turns out she was exhibiting and also one of the show's 3 curators.

We spent hours at the show and then shot across to PIEDESCALSO at the top of the street. We ordered and watched the rain pelt down - a surreal day. SÚLÁN chose the vegetarian pasta with home-made pesto, pine nuts and parmasean cheese which he loved, KATEANN had the veg anti-pasto, EOGHAN ordered home-made ravioli and I opted for an authentic carbonara which exceeded my expectations.

The guys were a bit swamped so service was on the slow side, but we were in no rush and it added to the random, relaxed atmosphere. They serve the best tiramisu in Dublin!

Thursday, 3 July 2008

5m2 Art Project this weekend ONLY

DELLA writes to let us know about an interesting creative event taking place for two days only this Saturday and Sunday (5th & 6th June).

'5m2' is a week-end of exhibitions and performances which will run from 12:00 until late, near CHRIST CHURCH CATHEDRAL in DUBLIN city centre. It's described as a multimedia event of art, music and exhibitions which will encompass approximately fifty artists including musicians from different countries and backgrounds, painters, photographers, writers, actors, poets, comedians, filmakers and dancers. There will also be a space for screening short films.

The title of the project comes from the fact that both visual artists and performers have each been allocated a space of 5 square metres to do their 'thang'.

Keep an eye out for ENDA CAVANAGH who'll be exhibiting over the weekend. Enda just launched his new venture with a website of architectural photography and landscapes. In a couple of weeks it'll be possible to securely-buy original framed prints on-line at I saw in the summer-solstice dawn with Enda, FIDELMA, KATEANN and CONOR down at the SPENCER TUNICK photo shoot at RINGSEND a few weeks back - RONAN modelled, we were the back-stage crew.

5m2 is organized by three Italian artists living in Dublin: ALBERTO GARIGLIO, FRANCESCA LaMORGIA, and SARA RANIERI.

Expect a day sprinkled with all sorts of music and spontaneous performances - why not mosey along and show your support for these newcomers.

LA CATEDRAL STUDIOS are in the BACK LOFT on ST. AUGUSTINE STREET which is off THOMAS STREET near Christ Church Cathedral. It could be a perfect opportunity to check out PIEDESCALSO cafe while you're at it!

Support the sponsors:

5m2 Art Project (Five Square Meters Art Project)
c/o La Catedral Studios
7-11 ST. Augustine St.
Dublin 08

Exhibtion runs for two days only: 5-6 July, 2008

ECB raised interest rates, as expected

As we expected the European Central Bank raised interest rates by a quarter percentage-point today - it brings benchmark rates to 4.25 per cent, the highest since September 2001. The ECB acted because euro-zone inflation rose to 4 per cent last month, while the bank's medium-term goal is just over the 2 per cent mark.

Based on this borrowers would see their monthly repayments increase: by roughly €15 for every €100,000 borrowed on a 20-year mortgage, and around €16 per €100,000 on a 30-year term.

This presumes that lenders will pass-on the increase, in-full, to mortgage holders. Although this is the most likely scenario a strong case could be made for restraint and imagination by the banks.

A phased-in increase would unquestionably hurt their profit-margins in the short-term but I'd say look at the longer-term, weather this storm and facilitate a speedier return to profitability.

There are already some very stretched borrowers around who need another month or two to grieve for the times they naively thought were rock-solid and to adjust for increased costs with scaled-down lifestyles.

While 0.25% may sound small it will be read in the context of a further 0.25% looming in the wings for next quarter. An unwise move now could prove to be the straw that broke the camel's ailing back - it would be hara-kiri to trigger a wave of repossessions which would serve to tear the value off the thousands of properties the banks, in reality, own.

Not only that but it would the economy's recovery on ice for at least a further 12 months ..and by recovery I mean a return to sustainable levels of borrowing (ie. increased turnover for the banks). However what makes this difficult to balance is that even before today's increase they were already borrowing at much higher levels to service their own debts.

While staggering or passing-on a smaller increase (by narrowing the margin-of profit they add to the ECB base-rate) may appear to counter-act the ECB's action against inflation I'd hedge my bets that that cloud hanging over-head would have the desired effect of slowing spending down ...take note credit-card addicts!!

If I were Brian Cowan that's the argument I'd have put to the bank chiefs last week. I might also have phoned my buddies in IRISH INDEPENDENT NEWPAPERS and told them to keep pushing the 'things are getting bad' line in a further effort to cool-down spending.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Progressive Film Club screenings

Thanks to Manus for the following:

PROGRESSIVE FILM CLUB (in association with ACCESS CINEMA) are a voluntary organisation dedicated to showing progressive films from all over the world. Struggles for people’s rights, for the rights of workers, of immigrants, of women, for national liberation and for social justice are some of the themes of the outstanding films shortlisted, most of them never shown before in Ireland.

Sunday 6 July 2008
7:30 p.m

Directed by ZIAD DOUEIRI
In April 1975 civil war breaks out; BEIRUT is partitioned along a Muslim-Christian line. TAREK is in secondary school, making super-8 films with his friend, OMAR. At first the war is a lark: school has closed, the violence is fascinating, getting from West to East is a game . . . As Tarek comes of age, the war moves inexorably from adventure to tragedy.
In Arabic and French, with English subtitles.

Sunday 13 July 2008
7:30 p.m
WATER (2005)

Directed by DEEPA MEHTA
A compelling film that explores the role of women in traditional Indian society. It is set in the 1930s, when Hindu widows were often condemned to live in an ashram or “widows’ house,” where they led a life of little comfort and little hope. But some rebelled, including eight-year-old CHUYIA, who becomes a widow after the death of her elderly husband.

Screenings: Sunday evenings
East Essex Street (Entrance through Connolly Books.)
Bookings: (01) 670870 ...or arrive early to pay at the door
Further information:

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

proposal to close all nightclubs at 02.30

Nightclubs would close much earlier as part of the Government’s Liquor Licensing Bill 2008. This Bill, expected to be introduced before July 3rd 2008, will close every late night venue, nationwide, at 2.30am everynight, and at the earlier hour of 1am on Sundays. These will be the latest possible opening hours.In response to the proposed changes a public demonstration will take place this Wednesday, July 2nd, from 13:00 - 14:00 in front of DAIL EIREANN gates on KILDARE STREET.

The demonstration is being organised by GIVE US THE NIGHT - an independent group of professionals from the music industry (set-up in 2004) campaigning to bring about changes to the licensing laws in Ireland.

Currently in Dublin, at weekends, pubs stop serving alcohol at 12.30am, late bars stop serving at 2.30am, and Nightclubs and Theatre Bars [operating under Theatre Licenses] stop serving at 3.30am. The pending Bill removes the later hours of trading afforded by the Theatre Licenses, meaning every late bar, every nightclub and every theatre bar will stop serving at 2.30am 6 nights a week and 1am on Sundays. [no exceptions]

Elsewhere in Ireland, in an increasing number of counties, local District and Circuit Courts are imposing blanket early closures on licensed premises, which effectively means they close earlier typically 2am.

There is no research/statistics to support that imposing artificially early closing hours on licensed premises will improve public order. To the contrary, international reports show that Sequential Closing of Licensed premises is a viable tool for reducing public disorder. [UK Institute of Alcohol Studies]

The system of 3.30am closing in Dublin (as it currently stands for nightclubs using theatre licences) has been contributing to sequential closing between late bars and nightclubs, thus having a positive effect on the streets at night, leading to less public disorder and making public transport easier to come by for patrons.

Throughout Wednesday's demonstration some of the Dublin’s most well known DJs will perform - a number of speakers are also scheduled to appear.

Further info from:
Tel: 00353 857128165