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What makes the Eurovision Song Contest so popular? Why do so many people love to hate it? Is the voting fair? Will Ireland ever win again? This book is the Eurovision uncovered. For the first time, one of its insiders reveals the inner workings of the Contest, the controversies and the key players over the last ten years. Julian Vignoles was a member of the Contest's 'board of directors', the Reference Group, for six years. He reveals the debates that led to changes in the rules, and the political disputes behind the bright lights and glitter of Europe's most popular TV show. He analyses in detail the voting patterns, completely de-bunking the 'bloc voting' allegations. Did you know that seven of the last ten Eurovision winners were actually from Western Europe? Julian Vignoles argues that, contrary to popular belief, former communist countries are under represented in the results. And why have both Ireland and the UK failed to win or come close in the televoting era? Inside the Eurovision Song Contest is also a Visual treat. Kyran O'Brien, a veteran press photographer, covered Ireland's involvement in the Eurovision for many years and his eye for the candid shot is evidenced throughout this book. With contributions from Linda Martin, Niamh Kavanagh and Charlie McGettigan, as well as critics, fans and the legendary 'back room man', Executive Supervisor Svante Stockselius, this book is a must read for all those who love - or are deeply sceptical about Eurovision.
A Delicate Wildness - the Life and Loves of David Thomson, 1914-1988, is the first exploration of the contribution - and soul - of a relatively unsung but uniquely talented man. This resonant biography boasts more than 50 unseen photographs. Thomson was a Scotsman who became an honorary Irishman, writer, folklorist and radio producer. His life took a fateful turn when, while a history student at Oxford, Thomson came to County Roscommon in the early 1930s as tutor to an Anglo-Irish family. He fell in love with the daughter of the house, became a farmer and 'went native', caught up in the history and landscape of counties Roscommon and Leitrim. He wrote his first book when he was forty, The People of the Sea, an exploration of seal lore. He went on to write eleven published works including autobiographical fiction, before turning to the genre in which he most excelled - memoir: Woodbrook (1976), about his time in Ireland, is regarded as an Arcadian masterpiece and minor classic. For his final book, Nairn in Darkness and Light, he returned to the north of Scotland to meditate on childhood, and was made Scottish Writer of the Year in 1988. David Thomson had an impish grin, was wary of literati and drank with the London homeless. His friend Seamus Heaney described him as having a 'delicate wildness'.
Rory Gallagher is revered as one of the world's greatest guitarists. He bounded across the stage with the swagger of a rock star, but offstage he was a shy, unassuming man. There were no wild parties, no marriages and divorces. His short life shifted between the bright lights of his success and the darkness of personal struggle. Gallagher was a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, singer and champion of blues music. His career began in an Irish showband, followed by four years as the central talent of Taste, one of the great Irish bands. He went on to even greater fame as a solo artist in the 1970s. Gallagher was dedicated to a steadfast musical vision, one that continues to burn brilliantly in rock history. Drawing on extensive interviews, Julian Vignoles casts new light on the familial, musical and other influences that inspired Gallagher, and on the complex personality that drove his career. He reassesses Gallagher's songwriting, often overlooked because of his dexterity as a guitarist. Crucially, Vignoles shows how many songs speak eloquently - and poignantly - about the person who penned them. Meticulously researched, this portrait is the insightful biography that Rory Gallagher deserves, as revelatory for his legions of loyal fans as for curious rock and blues enthusiasts.
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