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25 of the best shows to watch this week, beginning tonight

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The Vasulka Effect
Sunday, BBC Four, 10.15pm
This Arena film portrays the life of video art pioneer Steina Vasulka and her partner, Woody Vasulka. It examines their artistic processes and their profound affect on the 1960s New York art scene, and beyond, through their experiments in the electronic medium of video. Following their story over a 40 years, we explores how the video art movement caught the spirit of the times and, with their unique cross-disciplinary environment The Kitchen, helped to launch the career of many artists who have defined the American avant-garde, including Philip Glass, Jonas Mekas, Brian Eno, Talking Heads, Robert Mapplethorpe, Laurie Anderson and Cindy Sherman.

Diarmuidín
Sunday, TG4, 9.30pm

Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin
Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin

Thirty years ago this week, broadaster and celebrated sean-nós singer Diarmuid Ó Súilleabháin died tragically. For one weekend every year at this time, the community of Cúil Aodha/Baile Mhuirne is given over to his memory with the hugely successful Éigse Diarmuidín. This film was made and first shown by TG4 in Ó Súilleabháin’s memory 10 years ago to mark the 20th anniversary of his death. As well as footage of the great man himself, Diarmuidín features music and heartfelt memories from his siblings Eoiní, Danny and Eilís Maidhcí, as well as fellow musicians and friends.

Cad Faoi na Tuismitheóirí?
Monday, RTÉ One, 7.30pm
How do Irish parents meet the daily challenges of bringing up kids without actually going a bit mad? This new four-part bilingual series tackles some of the big issues facing parents : how to deal with fussy eaters, how to reduce kids’ screen time, how to help an anxious child. Presenters Evelyn O’Rourke and Ronan Mac Niallais, themselves at the coalface of bringing up small children, will meet with other parents caught up in the kidstorm, drawing on their own experiences and enlisting the help of experts in meeting the many challenges that confront parents 24/7. And they’ll be doing all this as gaeilge agus béarla, so don’t underestimate the juggling skills of your average Irish mammy and daddy.

The past two years have seriously disrupted families’ lives, and in this series, O’Rourke and Mac Niallais hope to help families restore a bit of balance in their lives. Each week child psychologist Stella O’Malley will mentor a family over a month as they try to solve a tricky home situation, whether it’s sleeping problems, screen addiction or fitting in at school. In episode one, the Slattery family are trying to stay active, but that Playstation keeps beckoning. Can O’Malley help the family through a digital detox?

The Case I Can’t Forget
Monday, RTÉ One, 9.35pm

Pat Marry in The Case I Can’t Forget
Pat Marry in The Case I Can’t Forget

One of the hazards of being an investigator is that a case you’ve worked may never leave you. The crime has been solved, the perpetrator has been brought to justice, but years later, the case still plays on your mind. In this second season of the true crime series, detectives look back on that one case that continues to haunt them, beginning with the murder of Rachel Callely in 2004 by her husband. Having bludgeoned his wife to death in the bedroom of their house, Joe O’Reilly conducted a public show of innocence, even going on The Late Late Show with his in-laws to appeal to the public for help in finding Rachel’s killer. Rachel’s parents were in no doubt, however, that the killer was sitting brazenly beside them in the RTÉ studio.

Detective Pat Marry talks candidly about his painstaking, three-year investigation into O’Reilly. Rachel’s parents, Jim and Rose, talk about their fraught relationship with their son-in-law, and journalist Jenny Friel recalls a chilling interview she conducted with the killer before he was finally caught and convicted.

Winter Walks
Monday-Thursday,BBC4, 7.30pm
Over the course of four nights, BBC4 viewers can join guest walkers as they explore dramatic landscapes with only a 360-degree camera for company. Our travelling companions for the rest of the series are Alastair Campbell, the Rev Kate Bottley and Nihal Arthanayake, but we begin with Amanda Owen, aka the Yorkshire shepherdess. She’s used to being out in the elements, and she’s also on familiar territory as she crosses hills and fields through Wensleydale and Raydale on her winter walk. Along the way, she meets up with fellow sheep farmers to talk about their shared occupation.

An Lá a Rugadh Mé: Séamus Begley
Tuesday, TG4, 7.30pm
Musician Séamus Begley takes us back to the news and events on the day he was born: August 26th, 1949. Looking through the newspapers, Begley meets up with Olympic champ Ronnie Delany to find out more about world-class athlete JJ Barry from Tipperary. The man known as The “Ballincurry Hare” set the record for the fastest Irish mile. Also that year, Lambay Island was in the papers. The island just off the coast Dublin was home to free-roaming Wallabies and still is today. So Séamus heads to Lambay to try and spot these evasive creatures.

Scannal: Priory Hall
Tuesday. RTÉ One, 7pm

Priory Hall resident Katarzyna Bielecka with her daughter Liliana (2 months) in October 2011, after she and the other residents were handed eviction notices due to health and safety violations at the complex. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons
Priory Hall resident Katarzyna Bielecka with her daughter Liliana (2 months) in October 2011, after she and the other residents were handed eviction notices due to health and safety violations at the complex. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Tonight’s episode looks back at the story of Priory Hall, one of the worst examples of the Celtic Tiger Ireland’s building boom. We examine how the case brought the practice of so-called “self-regulation” of building companies to light and the emotional and financial toll moving out took on the homeowners. Ten years ago, some 240 residents were evacuated, by court order, from the controversial Priory Hall complex in Donaghmede over fire safety concerns. Marketed as a modern, desirable development in a prime Dublin location, the apartments were mostly bought by young first-time-buyers. Dublin City Council purchased 26 of the apartments for social housing.

In 2009, the development was found to have a litany of structural defects as well as major fire safety concerns. The council promptly evacuated its tenants, but those who had bought their homes privately were left in limbo, living in an apartment complex they knew to be unsafe. Two years later, in 2011, the court ordered the remaining residents to evacuate the premises. They were given just two days to pack up their belongings and move to temporary hotel accommodation.What followed was a two-year battle by the former residents for justice. A bittersweet resolution was eventually reached, albeit under tragic circumstances.

The death of former Priory Hall resident Fiachra Daly, and his partner Stephanie Meehan’s subsequent appearance on The Late Late Show, was a last desperate cry for help on behalf of the residents. The public anger and outrage that resulted from Stephanie’s emotional plea would lead to enormous pressure being put on taoiseach Enda Kenny, and ultimately, a resolution that allowed the former residents to walk away from their Priory Hall homes and have their mortgages written off.

The show asks why all this was allowed to happen, what has changed, and if it could happen again. Former Priory Hall residents and those who supported them reflect on their traumatic experiences.

Secret Life of the Forest
Tuesday, Channel 5, 7pm
It’s autumn in Kielder Forest and there’s a feeling of change in the air, with wildlife preparing for the colder months ahead. This season of renewal sees some spectacular moments : the forest’s red squirrels are busy hoarding nuts, Atlantic salmon make their incredible journey upstream, and a range of fascinating fungi mysteriously appear within the area. There magical sights above the canopy as well, with controls on light pollution making Kielder one of the best places in the world to see the stars.

Sarah Beeny’s New Life in the Country
Tuesday, Channel 4, 8pm
The property expert, husband Graham Swift and their four boys reflect on their first 2½ years living in Somerset, asking themselves whether they have become country folk yet. But before they can tackle any of the rooms, the house needs a floor. Cement mixers roll in to pump screed throughout the property, but it’s not all plain sailing as rain threatens to derail the process. Once the floor’s in, the fitting out of the interior can begin. The family have set themselves the target of getting the grand hallway ready for their first visitors in six months’ time. For inspiration, they head to Crowcombe Court, a local stately home.

Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby
Tuesday, BBC Two, 9pm
Monica and Giles begin a new series by donning their thermals and visiting the ION Adventure Hotel in Iceland. They get involved in a whole range of adventure activities, from snorkelling in icy water to exploring fresh lava flows and glaciers. Monica visits the hotel’s unlikely neighbour, a geothermal power plant while Giles goes fishing with a local family for the restaurant kitchen. Then, for a heated challenge, both get to work with safety crews to ensure the guests are safe on an erupting volcano.

Attack on Pearl Harbor: Caught by Surprise
Tuesday-Thursday, Channel 5, 9pm

Navy veteran Clark Simmons (80) looks over the rusting hulk of his old ship, the USS Utah, during ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 6th, 2001. Photograph: Ronen Zilberman/AP
Navy veteran Clark Simmons (80) looks over the rusting hulk of his old ship, the USS Utah, during ceremonies marking the 60th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 2001. Photograph: Ronen Zilberman/AP

On December 7th, 1941, Japan staged a surprise attack on the US Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. This three-part documentary gives a detailed account of the raids, with the opening edition revealing the background to the events. Japanese pilots were trained on a replica of Pearl Harbor and went to great lengths to keep the mission a secret. This included using decoy radio operators and not dumping their rubbish at sea in case it was seen by an enemy submarine. But there were missed opportunities that could have helped the Americans avert the disaster. Some of the survivors of that day share their stories. They include a 103-year-old Japanese torpedo bomber and an American sailor who was on the USS Arizona when it was hit by a bomb that ignited its ammunition magazine, killing 1,177 men.

My Bungalow Bliss
Wednesday, RTÉ One, 8.30pm

Hugh Wallace in My Bungalow Bliss
Hugh Wallace in My Bungalow Bliss

Architect Hugh Wallace is back doing what he does best – flying the flag for fine homes – in this new series with a single-storey twist. Wallace is best known as the presenter of Home of the Year and The Great House Revival, but in this four-parter he focuses on that much-maligned dwelling: the bungalow. He meets first-time owners who have purchased a tired, dated old bungalow and pairs them up with innovative architects to help them revamp their properties and turn them into modern-day heavenly homes. In Ireland in the 1970s, it was known as bungalow blitz – a simple, affordable and rather ungainly solution to housing shortage. Soon they came to represent all that was wrong with modern planning, as bungalows dotted the countryside willy-nilly until people saw them not as unobtrusive small homes, but as squat monstrosities.

Can Wallace rehabilitate the humble bungalow with help from some design experts? First up is a bungalow in Galway that’s more like a rabbit warren, thanks to various extensions carelessly tacked on by previous owners over the years. Can new owners Niki and Davin untangle this mess of dank passages to create a bright, open-plan home? Architects Nicola and Grainne from Studio Red will have to use all their considerable imagination to transform this

Paddy and Christine McGuinness: Our Family and Autism
Wednesday, BBC One, 9pm
The Top Gear and Question of Sport presenter and his model wife have three children – twins Penelope and Leo (8) and five-year-old Felicity – all of whom have been diagnosed with autism. The couple share their experience in this moving documentary, during which they also learn more about the condition and what the future may hold by speaking to experts and other parents in similar circumstances. The BBC describes the programme as “intimate, emotional and refreshingly candid, the portrait of a family so many assume they know, but seen here like never before. The film aims to challenge people’s preconceptions and kickstart a national conversation about an increasingly common condition that so few of us really understand.”

Altered State
Thursday, RTÉ One, 10.15pm

Margaret E Ward in Altered State
Margaret E Ward in Altered State

There’s no doubt the pandemic has changed the nation, but is it a change for the better? Over the past two years, Irish people have had to reassess what’s really important as focus turned to our family life, our health and wellbeing, our sense of community and our economic survival. Now four of Ireland’s foremost thinkers and commentators look at how the pandemic might change Ireland in the long term. Will we have a greater sense of compassion and empathy, and will our faith be weakened or strengthened by the challenges we’ve faced.

Irish Times journalist Jennifer O’Connell explores how our young people will deal with the legacy of the pandemic, while financial journalist Margaret E Ward asks if the pandemic has reset our gauge for what constitutes success. Tech entrepreneur Mark Little looks at how Ireland’s social solidarity has become one of our greatest strengths, and writer and IT columnist Michael Harding goes in search of spiritual meaning in a time when our faith has been sorely tested.

These thought-provoking televisual essays will also feature contributions from a range of figures from Irish life, including educationalist Aoibhinn Ní Shúilleabháin, photographer Ruth Medjber, surfer Easkey Britton, influencer Emma Hurley, and psychologist and sports pundit Richie Sadlier.

Cancelled
Thursday, Channel 4, 10pm
Sacked, ostracised, de-platformed or blacklisted – all in the blink of an eye. This is cancel culture. You can be fired for an offensive tweet sent as a teenager; or speak out on a controversial subject, only to find yourself viciously attacked by an online mob. In this Dispatches report, Richard Bacon asks if free speech is under threat and examines how cancel culture is affecting our lives. He meets “the cancelled” to hear first-hand about the impact and consequences of being publicly shunned, and asks what it mean to live in a world where jobs can be lost, lives ruined and reputations destroyed in an instant, simply at the whim of so-called “keyboard warriors”.

Seal le Dáithí
Thursday. TG4, 7.30pm
Eimear Breathnach is Dáithí Ó Sé’s guest this week. When Breathnach was 17 and on holidays in An Cheathrú Rua, she had an accident that would change her life forever: she broke her neck and was left in a wheelchair. But didn’t put a stop to her interest in sport, and she began competing in rugby, athletics and table tennis. Breathnach competed at the Paralympic Games in Beijing and London before retiring from sport. She is currently president of Paralympic Ireland.

Luxury Christmas for Less
Thursday, Channel 4, 8pm
Christmas was cancelled for many last year, so you may be crying out for luxurious yuletide blowout. Sabrina Grant and Sophie Morgan are on hand with tricks to get top quality for bargain prices. The pair speak to brand insiders who spill the beans on our Christmas favourites and reveal how to indulge on luxury products without breaking the bank. The first of two episodes includes a guide to buying real diamonds at half the price, how to bag designer smelling perfumes that don’t cost a fortune, and where to get this year’s finest tasting smoked salmon and Christmas pudding. And finally, there’s a look at what you get with cheaper gin.

Chucky
Friday, Sky Max & NowTV, 9pm

Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) and Zackary Arthur in Chucky
Chucky (voiced by Brad Dourif) and Zackary Arthur in Chucky

The TV industry is reeling from a serious shortage of imagination, as producers trawl through the vaults in search of long-forgotten ideas to rehash. It was inevitable that someone would come across the Child’s Play horror movie series and decide, hey, this would make a great small screen reboot. And so, whether we like it or not, Chucky’s back, this time terrorising a small town while exposing the townspeople’s own deep secrets and hidden hypocrisies. Don Mancini, who wrote all seven of the original Child’s Play films and directed several, is back on board for this sharply comic series that should have plenty of easter eggs for fans of the franchise. Brad Dourif once again provides the nasty voice of our favourite demon doll, reawakened after being found by a teenager at a yard sale. Along with the murder, mayhem and jump scares, we’ll get that Chucky origin story we’ve never asked for.

Biffy Clyro: A Celebration of Endings
Friday, BBC Four, 7.05pm
In August 2020 the Scottish alternative rockers released their eighth studio album, A Celebration of Endings. It received much acclaim from fans and critics alike, and debuted at No 1 on the UK albums chart, Biffy Clyro’s third consecutive LP to do so. Now there’s a chance to hear it in its entirety, which sees the band perform at the Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow. It promises to be an unusual performance, with each song taking place in a different setting within the iconic venue.

Kirstie’s Handmade Christmas
Friday, Channel 4, 8pm
She may have first become famous as a TV property expert, but these days Kirstie Allsopp is just as well known for her love of crafting. In the past few years her Handmade Christmas show has become a festive C4 tradition, with each episode designed to inspire viewers to give their celebrations a little extra sparkle by making their own decorations, gifts and culinary treats. Now it’s back for a new run, in plenty of time to enable us to whip up our takes on the items demonstrated by a number of experts handpicked by Kirstie herself. Plus, there’ll be the regular challenges and competitions taking place – and the odd celebrity guest.

The Graham Norton Show
Friday, BBC One, 10.35pm
Another impressive line-up of A-listers make their way onto the show tonight. The headliners are undoubtedly Tom Holland and Zendaya, who are keen to whip up interest in their new film, Spider-man: No Way Home. Then it’s Henry Cavill’s turn to wax lyrical; he’s in town to promote the second run of Netflix’s fantasy series The Witcher. And Gugu Mbutha-Raw discusses her role in the forthcoming BBC drama The Girl Before. Music comes from Little Mix.

ON DEMAND

The Summit of the Gods
From Tuesday, Netflix

The Summit of the Gods
The Summit of the Gods

Breathtaking adaptation of the Manga series by renowned artist Jiro Taniguchi and writer Baku Yumemakura is set 70 years after George Mallory and Andrew Irvine reputedly scaled Everest on June 8th, 1924. It follows a young Japanese photojournalist, Fukamachi, who finds a camera that could change the history of mountaineering. The discovery leads him to the mysterious Habu, an outcast climber who was believed missing for years. Fukamachi enters a world of obsessive mountaineers, hungry for impossible conquests on a journey that leads him, step by step, towards the summit of the gods.

Lost in Space
From Wednesday, Netflix
The journey is almost over for the Robinson family: the third series of this revamp of the campy 1960s TV series will also be its last. So far it’s been a rollercoaster ride for Judy, Penny, Will and the Robot; their outer space adventure has more ups and downs than they can shake a stick at, particularly after being forced to abandon their original plan of colonising a far-away planet. When we catch up with them again, the kids have to help 97 other young colonists evacuate their current home – but not until after various life-changing revelations are made. Meanwhile, their parents are desperately trying to find them. But the greatest alien threat they’ve ever had to face is looming large on the horizon…

Harlem
From Friday, Amazon Prime
Writer Tracy Oliver, whose previous projects include Girls Trip and the TV series based on First Wives Club, is the brains behind this comedy. It’s a 10-part series focusing on a group of stylish and ambitious best female friends who call the New York borough home. Meagan Good plays Camille, a popular anthropology professor who, despite having in-depth knowledge of dating in various cultures, has a somewhat lacklustre love life. Tye (Jerrie Johnson) runs a successful app. Quinn (Grace Byers) is a hopeless romantic and fashion designer living off a trust fund. And Angie (Shoniqua Shandal) is a singer and actor. Together they’re looking forward to the next stage in their lives and careers.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
From Friday, Disney+

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Author-cartoonist Jeff Kinney’s series of books have been bestsellers around the world, having started life as an online diary. Each tale follows the fortunes of Gregg Heffley, and it came as no surprise when their success led to four film adaptations. Then, in 2019, Disney announced plans to reboot the franchise via an animated movie; this is the result. The screenplay was written by Kinney himself and, once again, Greg is the centre of attention as he tries to navigate the trials and tribulations of school. He dreams of being rich and famous, but achieving either goal seems increasingly unlikely. And while he struggles along, his best friend Rowley seems to coast through life, succeeding at everything without even trying.

Contributing: PA

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Beattie faces long road to redemption after offensive tweets emerge

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In The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson’s Gothic tale, the civilised Jekyll, fascinated by the duality of his personality, manages to embody his evil side in the depraved Hyde, then finds he cannot control the transition between the two. Hyde runs amok. That’s Doug Beattie’s twitter account, firing out messages full of attitudes and prejudices that the Jekyll side of Beattie, the man attempting to modernise the Ulster Unionist Party, claims he never had.

Last Saturday, Beattie was all over the front pages with a beaming photo, the only party leader to get a good rating in the new opinion poll. He was in soaring form. “They couldn’t have picked a smugger picture,” he tweeted, with laugh-till-you-cry emojis. That night, still buoyant, he tweeted the now infamous joke that has led to him being sued by the Democratic Unionist Party’s former leader, Edwin Poots. It involved the wives of unionist party leaders, brothels and bodily odours, and many who read it recoiled, then told him it was awful.

Jekyll Beattie responded: ‘Awful, just awful… I’m ashamed… I can’t justify that… horrendous, horrific… I’ve no excuse…’

Beattie took it down, apologised, said he had not meant to cause offence. But the truffle hunters of twitter had a scent. Soon they had snuffled out a haul of Beattie tweets that paraded every offensive stereotype in the charge book. Most dated back to the years 2011-2014, when he was a British army captain in his 40s.

Most were meant to be funny but could only have amused sexists, racists or those indifferent to people not exactly like them. Some were salacious, though more 1960s Benny Hill creepy than 2018 Belfast rape trial nasty. They featured schoolgirls’ skirts, “hookers”, randy, drunken Gurkhas, and humourless feminists with hairy chins. Other tweets held forth on the inability of women, foreigners and people from minority ethnic groups to do things properly. Leave it to the white man.

The next photos of Beattie to appear were of a man humiliated and almost broken. In a statement, now pinned to his twitter feed, he acknowledged and apologised for misogyny, said he was ashamed and embarrassed, and vowed to do better. He embarked on a series of media interviews. He was alone. No press officers, no advisors. He told BBC Northern Ireland’s Stephen Nolan, “My confidence is gone.” But there was something strange about his penance. He was contrite, though he did keep trying to consign Hyde Beattie to history, even though he had sallied forth just last weekend. Nolan read out the tweets. Jekyll Beattie responded: “Awful, just awful… I’m ashamed… I can’t justify that… horrendous, horrific… I’ve no excuse…” But he also professed bewilderment: “I am not the person who was portrayed in those tweets… it’s not me… even ten years ago it is not who I was.” He was adamant that he was “no racist”.

Offence is not the worst outcome of misogyny and racism. These prejudices inform behaviours that cause real and profound harm

When Nolan offered his distraught interviewee the option of pleading post-traumatic stress given his military postings to war zones in Afghanistan and elsewhere, Beattie allowed that on returning from environments in which there was “toxic testosterone”, “you decompress, you desensitise”. He spoke of using “dark humour” which was not, he said, meant to cause offence. But offence is not the worst outcome of misogyny and racism. These prejudices inform behaviours that cause real and profound harm. A climate is created, and denied. It is disempowering. People have to waste energy fighting it, energy that others use to thrive.

Put Captain Beattie’s jokes in context. In 2009 a young black man joined the British army. He was awarded best recruit in his year and had high ambitions. But in 2013, after serving four years in Afghanistan, he quit. He had put up with a lot of “dark humour”, he said, but what started as banter had intensified into outright racism. Raising it with a superior officer made matters worse. “If you talked,” he said, “your career was screwed.” He was persuaded not to cite racial discrimination as his reason for leaving, and put down health reasons instead. In 2015 a young woman in the British navy reported a more senior officer for repeatedly groping her. She was ostracised and nothing was done. Another discovered in the course of leadership training that a male armoured commander would not take orders from her on the radio, “because I am a girl”. Women and black and minority ethnic personnel are under-represented in the British forces, and are repeatedly found to have been subjected to more bullying and harassment at work than white men.

On a BBC NI discussion last week the People Before Profit MLA Fiona Ferguson said that misogyny was institutionalised in Northern Ireland. It was rampant and faced by women on a daily basis. She mentioned bodily autonomy – the Ulster Unionist Party’s health minister continues to thwart implementation of the abortion law. She asked why women were consistently responsible for most caring roles, why they received lower pay than men. UUP veteran Chris McGimpsey said she was exaggerating. She accused him of mansplaining.

With 90 per cent of its MLAs men, it is no exaggeration to say the UUP is a male-dominated party. Beattie pointed to the work he has done to bring in progressive young women. In truth, he needs them to grow his party among those unionists who reject the hopelessly sexist and homophobic fundamentalism of the DUP. These women stood by him last week with more than the grim, stoical smiles of wives of public men who have done them wrong and been found out. But Beattie’s commitment to equality is also undermined on another front. He claims he supports the Belfast Agreement but refuses to declare whether or not he would work in an executive with a Sinn Féin first minister. Dr Jekyll has a lot of work to do.


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Latina singers: From flamenco to Spanglish: Why Rosalía’s latest album is causing a stir | USA

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When Spanish singer Rosalía appeared live on Spain’s Cadena SER radio network to present her album El mal querer in November 2018, everyone wanted to see what she had to say. Even the crew of the radio program La Ventana were eagerly awaiting the interview, something that, according to radio presenter Carles Francino, had never happened before, not even with such distinguished guests as Spanish prime ministers, Nobel prize winners or the actor Richard Gere. Rosalía was 25 years old at the time and had two albums to her name. Her responses captivated the interviewers who praised her in hyperbolic terms, comparing the Barcelona-born artist to legendary Spanish copla singer Miguel de Molina. Francino said she had triumphed because she was “very good and very different” – paraphrasing the iconic Spanish poet Jaime Gil de Biedma.

And Francino wasn’t the only one to sing Rosalía’s praises. In a pre-recording, Martín Guerrero, the managing director of Casa Patas, a seminal flamenco venue in Madrid, said that Rosalía was “electrifying, thrilling and unique.” The comments section below the YouTube video of the interview, which has more than 500,000 views, is also filled with messages extolling the singer. “From her vocabulary and her way of thinking, I thought she was a very poised woman, who knows what she is saying when it comes to music and music history and knowledge. She is not your average girl. She is a genius,” one YouTube user wrote.

Francino, perhaps sensing what was about to happen to the pop star, brought the interview to an end with a request: “We are just asking you one thing, Rosalía: don’t change.” He could not have asked anything more difficult of her.

A little over three years later, the public is eagerly awaiting her third album, Motomami, which will be released sometime in 2022. Rosalía has given a preview of what’s to come, sharing snippets of songs such as Candy and Saoko on social media. But the single that has caught the most attention is Hentai, a slow ballad accompanied by piano whose lyrics have triggered bafflement and disbelief. The sexually explicit nature of the song and Rosalía’s use of Spanglish quickly became fodder for internet memes and jokes. In the 20-second clip of the track, Rosalía sings “Te quiero ride como a mi bike” or “I want to ride you like my bike.” The educated and cultured singer, who used to cite centuries-old poetry, sounded like someone completely different.

Rosalia during a concert with Raul Refree in Madrid in 2017.
Rosalia during a concert with Raul Refree in Madrid in 2017.Getty Images

“It’s as if the person who does the songs for [children’s band] CantaJuegos had come home drunk and horny and had opened a notepad,” wrote one Twitter user. “Rosalía is now making music by taking random words from the dictionary,” read another message. The backlash was so great that, a few hours later, Rosalía herself even tweeted about it. “The people who are upset about the lyrics in Hentai, are you okay?”

It has not been a sudden change. Since her debut album Los ángeles, in which the singer made reference to flamenco singers La Niña de los Peines and Enrique Morente, as well as the poet Federico García Lorca, to the explicit and visceral Hentai, five years have passed. In that period, Rosalía has gone from being 24 to 28 years old, and she has experienced a global pandemic that kept her in Miami and away from her family for the first time. She has traveled across Latin America and rubbed elbows with the leading figures of the international music scene. A few months ago, she released a collaboration called Linda with the Dominican rapper Tokischa. The lyrics of the feminist tune – “nos besamos pero somos homies” or “we kiss but we’re homies” – surprised her fans for its simplistic nature. “It’s true that there wasn’t a bad rhyme in her first two albums, her lyrics were excellent. In contrast, in her latest songs there are terrible rhymes,” says Jorge Carrión, the coordinator of the book La Rosalía, ensayos sobre el buen querer (or, Rosalía, essays on ‘el buen querer’).

Rosalía during a Madrid concert to close her tour for ‘El mal querer.’
Rosalía during a Madrid concert to close her tour for ‘El mal querer.’ Ricardo Rubio / Europa Press (Europa Press via Getty Images)

It’s impossible to separate Rosalía’s new music from her travels across the Americas, which she herself has documented in great detail. Like many other stars of today, she has opted to overshare on social media, where she uploads posts on every step she takes without any apparent communication strategy. Her surprising friendship with US personality Kylie Jenner and the rest of the Kardashian family, which appears to be very close, was one of the first shocks. We have seen her surrounded by entrepreneurs such as Dave Grutman and Jonathan Cheban, living an opulent lifestyle (Spain’s far-right Vox party accused her of being a millionaire and having a private plane) and alongside celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, Drake, Naomi Campbell and Hunter Schafer from the US hit series Euphoria.

Living in Miami, Rosalía has started to express herself like other Spanish singers who emigrated to the US before her, such as Julio Iglesias and Alejandro Sanz. The Argentinian newspaper Clarín described her accent as “indecipherable, a mix of Spanish, Catalan, Andalusian and Caribbean, riddled with words in English.” In an interview with a Dominican newspaper, Rosalía explained that her friendship with the Kardashians began when she started to hang out with Kendall in Los Angeles, which she named using the English acronym LA instead of the city’s full name as you do in Spanish.

Rosalía’s constant use of social media clashes with her previous image as an avant-garde artist who had released two albums exploring issues such as grief and gender violence. In her Instagram and TikTok accounts we see a cheerful, exhibitionist and sexual young woman, who often shares photos of herself half-naked and is seen with impossibly long fake nails and heavy makeup. She is obsessed with her pet chihuahua and loves cars and motorbikes – to such a degree that she bought a €60,000 pink-upholstered Ford Ranger Raptor with “La Rosalía” embossed in the headrests. Sometimes she takes on a certain childish attitude as if she were a character of one of the anime series she loves. On TikTok, she shared a photo with the message: “POV: When you steal Raul’s phone and it has FaceID.” The message, written in Spanish and containing spelling mistakes, was difficult to make sense of for those unaware of her relationship with singer Rauw Alejandro, which became public at the end of 2021.

This free-spirited image has left its mark on her music, both in her collaborations and what has been heard of Motomami. Even the name of the album appears to announce a new era that is lighter and fresher. In the video to announce the album launch, Rosalía can be seen covered in red glitter in a jeweled bikini, motorbike helmet and stilettos. The music in the clip is more reminiscent of other contemporary pop artists such as Charli XCX, SOPHIE, Arca or Grimes than of the flamenco which launched her career.

The debate around Rosalía’s transformation is not new. The jump from Los ángeles to El mal querer had already raised questions about whether the move from music that paid homage to traditional flamenco to music that was an explosive mix of genres with global reach was part of a sincere and organic transformation, or whether it hid a premeditated and commercial strategy. Rosalía has behind her a team of women, including her sister Pili, who is the artist’s stylist, her mother Pilar, the administrator of the company Motomami S.L., which manages the financial side of her career, and her manager Rebeca León, who is a superstar herself within the Latin music industry. But Rosalía has always defined herself as a controlling and detail-oriented artist who devises far-reaching projects. She even studied sound engineering in order to have greater control over the creative process. “I’m not doing it for mere strategic reasons, but rather taking into account the reason why I make music: to share it. The priority is to be connected to each moment that I am living and for this to be a means of communication, not a monologue,” she said in an interview with Spanish magazine MondoSonoro in 2018.

Despite his reservations, book coordinator Carrión is still interested in Rosalía’s latest project, which he describes as daring. “I sense that she has both discovered so many new popular genres in Latin America and what it means to be a global artist. She has begun to collaborate with the leading figures in reggaeton, trap and other urban music genres and that has led to a fusion [of styles],” he says. He agrees with Sara García, a comedian and the creator of the stand-up show Riot Comedy, who has been closely following Rosalía, her music and her relationship with Madrid-born singer C. Tangana for years. “She has pulled a ‘Miley Cyrus’ and is making songs that have nothing to do with the aesthetic, rhythms or soul of El mal querer. She is sending us signals that Motomami is not going to have anything to do with what we have seen before.”

Rosalia and Rauw Alejandro at the 40 Music Awards 2021 in Palma de Mallorca.
Rosalia and Rauw Alejandro at the 40 Music Awards 2021 in Palma de Mallorca.Europa Press News (Europa Press via Getty Images)

These signs were always there. Rosalía may be multifaceted and unable to be pigeon-holed, but if there is something that defines her it is the way she incorporates everything she knows into her music. Her first album was marked by her studies in flamenco, while the second mixed this knowledge with personal elements such as the R&B music she listened to as a teen and the sound of motorbikes, which her parents have always owned. When she reached success, she wrote Milionària in her native language, Catalan, and now she is writing about the volatility of fame and sexual pleasure with her partner. She also speaks of her own chameleon-like nature in Saoko (”A butterfly, I transform / Drag queen make-up, I transform”).

It’s likely that the reservations about her public image on social media, the people around her and the lyrics of her new songs are no more than a manifestation of prejudices, a generational gap and a certain amount of sexism. We are simply not used to seeing a genius being happy, naïve, sexual and exhibitionist and blowing kisses in photos next to Kylie Jenner. Rosalía’s greatest talent is in breaking the mold.

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Plan to cut hospital waiting lists as Covid eases being finalised by HSE

Voice Of EU

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The Health Service Executive is finalising a multi-annual plan to cut hospital waiting lists, as Covid-19 pressures ease.

Chief executive Paul Reid said the plan will build on previous work done within the Slaintecare process and be ready “within weeks”.

The lifting of most restrictions earlier this month had given a great lift to health staff and the situation in hospitals and other services was now much better, Mr Reid told a media briefing on Thursday.

There were 711 patients with Covid-19 in hospital on Thursday, including 74 in ICU.

Some 53 per cent of patients with the virus were there because of Covid, while 47 per cent had been admitted for a different illness but were subsequently diagnosed with Covid, he said.

While this group is asymptomatic, the patients are also infectious, Mr Reid pointed out, and so require infection control measures.

About 4,800 HSE staff are off work due to Covid-19 infection or being a close contact, down 3,000 on two weeks ago.

Chief operating officer Anne O’Connor said hospitals are very busy, with attendances up 41 per cent last week on the same week last year, and 14 per cent on two years ago.

The use of surge capacity has increased and there were 571 delayed transfers of care last week.

Mr Reid enumerated the “learnings” made by the HSE over the period of the pandemic, which can now be built on for the future of the health service. There is greater integration between different services in acute public hospitals, the community and among GPs, pharmacies and private hospitals, he said.

In addition, the key role of public health teams came to the fore during the pandemic. Much had also been learned through the agility demonstrated by the health service during the pandemic, and there is now greater clarity on the role of the centre within the HSE as well as greater access for GPs to diagnostics.

Mr Reid said his priorities for the future were to build capability within the pandemic workforce and to prioritise waiting lists.

The multi-annual plan to improve access to care and reduce waiting lists will go to Government and the HSE board shortly, he said.

Other priorities include the further enhancement of community health networks, the consolidation of a single health service that includes the private sector as waiting lists are being addressed, and improved cybersecurity.

More than 200,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccine have expired as demand dropped and many people were unable to receive them due to recent infection, the briefing heard.

Asked whether he thought the pandemic was at an end, Mr Reid said no-one in healthcare was saying it was over. Yet the need for people to get back to normality was recognised, and there was never a more appropriate time for this than now.

Covid-19 might yet force a “recalibration” in the future but for now there was every reason to celebrate the lifting of restrictions.

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