Inside Culture #17 (35 years of MTV, Mozart at Kilkenny Arts Festival & Joyce in Trieste)

This week on Inside Culture presenter Fionn Davenport takes us on a journey across 35 years of MTV. Born on August 1st 1981, its success wasn’t guaranteed and, in fact, it got off to a rocky start. Ad man George Lois rescued the TV station with his ‘I want my MTV’ slogan and its fortune was reversed.

Fionn speaks to Dr. Roddy Flynn, a lecturer in Film and TV Studies in DCU and hears from Steve Barron who directed many of the great music videos from the 1980’s – including Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.

Race, sexuality and politics were issues which both propelled and confounded the music channel over the years but in one area it was ahead of the curve. When ‘The Real World’ was first broadcast in 1992 it ushered in the age of reality television from which we’re only now beginning to emerge.

Another birth, that of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in Salzburg, Austria in 1756, also ushered in a new age. His life and work is being celebrated at Kilkenny Arts Festival this month – one of the largest celebrations of Mozart ever held in Ireland. So says Eugene Downes, Director of the festival and he joins Fionn in studio along with violinist Katherine Hunka and Gerard Murphy who will be giving a talk on Mozart during the festival. They discuss the man and his music and we hear from reporter Kerry Skyring in Salzburg. He visits Mozart’s family home there – now a museum – and learns about Mozart’s relationship with his father, his compositions for churches and his often mischievous sense of humour. And, of course, there’s plenty of music to listen to along the way, from piano sonatas to opera.

We also ‘visit’ Trieste where Joycean scholar John McCourt lives and works. It’s home to the annual Trieste Joyce School – aptly enough, as James Joyce lived there while he was working on Ulysses. McCourt offers a short guide to the city which has suffered – and possibly benefited from – an identity crisis over the centuries. Today it is Italian but for many years it was the port city of the Austro-Hungarian Empire which brought many races, religions and cultures into contact with one another.

Broadcast on 1st August 2016