Not every event in City of Culture has to be presented in glassy-eyed tones of ga-ga enthusiasm. (Yes Radio Foyle, you.) If we don’t acknowledge that some of what’s on offer has fallen short, what weight can be attached to praise heaped on other events?
A bit more critical acuity, please.
How come no dates have been set for the promised Field Day productions? The Primal Scream gig was rubbish. And the point of Quebec composer Martin Messier’s “Sewing Machine Orchestra” at the City Factory last Friday passed me by. The sound was jarring and didn’t come from the serried array of Singer sewing machines anyway, but seemed to me computer-generated.
Still, Rita Duffy’s installation in which the performance was housed is every bit as daring and rather better realised than the Colmcille event, which was hugely impressive in ambition, scale and visual impact but distinctly wobbly when it came to narrative coherence.
The back-stage shenanigans leave much to be desired, too. There’s a conference imminently planned at which council officials will try to take control of “legacy” away from the Culture Company. Given that the CC has been swamped in praise (some of it over the top) at home and abroad, and that its legacy plans are well-advanced, shifting control at this stage makes little sense.
If City of Culture had turned out a damp squib, would there be anybody now trying to elbow their way into position to grab the inheritance?