A Cabaret of Conversations with Panti Bliss
#Pantisocracy – Panti Bliss hosts a cabaret of conversations with, and about, contemporary Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1
In this series the Queen of Ireland Panti Bliss invites a diverse gathering of intriguing, high profile and articulate guests into her parlour to chat about their life’s journey and share stories. From singers to scientists, athletes to actors, writers to rebels – all are citizens of the Pantisocracy where Panti herself holds court in a wry and incisive programme combining talk, song and performance. A cabaret for the times we live in. Pantisocracy is a society of equals.
S4 E1 – The Writing on the Wall
Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 July 16th 2019
S4 E2 – The Past is Not Dead, It’s Not Even Past
Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 July 23rd 2019
In this episode of the ‘cabaret of conversations’ host Panti Bliss is joined by Belfast writer Wendy Erskine, author of an acclaimed new collection of stories from a fractured post ‘peace’ Northern Ireland and a young filmmaker Sinead O’Shea whose documentary ‘A Mother Brings her Son to Be Shot’ highlights some of those fractures in the underbelly of Derry suburbs.
With them is Dean Van Nguyen, an emerging voice on Irish culture, whose father came to Ireland as a Vietnamese refugee in the 1970s and David Joyce, a lawyer and Irish traveller activist, whose father reluctantly ‘settled’ when David was in his late teens. Offering music and insight is the singer and performer Lux Alma whose new work takes a female focus on Irish mythology. This episode was recorded before the tragic shooting of Lyra McKee.
S4 E3 Title – Sex and the Irish: Sex Talks
Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 July 30th 2019
So we Irish are not known for our openness about sex and sexuality so in this season of Pantisocracy we’re bringing a little spotlight to sex and the Irish or everything you ever wanted to know about sex and the Irish but were afraid to ask! In this episode of Pantisocracy host Panti Bliss is talking birds & bees, sex education and how we learn about sex and sexuality, consent and coercion, desire and intimacy. As the child of a rural vet Panti got the basic biology lesson early on but everything else was a bit of a discovery.
With her in the parlour is Taryn De Vere, who describes herself as a ‘joy-bringer’ and a ‘sex positive parent’ as well as sports commentator and psychotherapist Richie Sadlier, who co-runs consent classes with transition year schoolboys. Joining them is Shawna Scott who runs Sex Siopa, a female friendly online sex shop, and Dr. Paul Ryan, who researches sex and the Irish, from the pages of agony aunt Angela McNamara in the 60s and 70s to sex workers and digital dating today. Performing in the parlour are Maria Walsh and Carole Nelson from the music duo Zrazy who became national treasures themselves when they wrote the legend ‘Ooh Aah Paul McGrath’. A show that happily brings together drag, sex and sport.
S4 E4 – Home from Home
Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 August 6th 2019
The Irish are all over the world, ‘the diaspora’ as Mary Robinson named it, and often creating waves where ever they go. In this episode of Pantisocracy host Panti Bliss is inviting folk who have a foot in two places like acclaimed sean nós singer Iarla Ó Lionáird, of the group The Gloaming, who spends his life now between Princeton University, in the United States and his home and family in Inistioge, County Kilkenny.
With him is comedy writer (8 out of 10 Cats) and actor Brona C. Titley, who has settled in London and fellow London exile, cabaret artist Xnthony aka Anthony Keigher whose stage shows are both funny and queer like the one he calls ‘Sodom & Begorrah’. Joining them is social justice activist Caoimhe Butterly who grew up in Ireland, Canada and Africa and who, through her on-going work with refugees, is back and forth from Dublin to Lebanon and Greece.
S4 E5 – Belonging
Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 August 13th 2019
There are performances by all four guests in this show with Erin Fornoff sharing her spoken word piece ‘HOME’ while Tolu Makay performs her song ‘Goodbye’, and Declan O’Rourke sings his autobiographical song ‘Stars Over Kinvara’. Síobhra Quinlan is joined by concert harpist Maebh McKenna and they perform a contemporary classical piece Quinlan wrote called ‘Flux’.
S4 E6 – The Caged Bird Sings
Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 August 20th 2019
In this episode of the ‘cabaret of conversations’ host Panti Bliss is joined by artists who have found freedom in their art and work and those who have a sense of understanding Maya Angelou’s meaning ‘I Know why the caged bird sings’. Meet visual artist Mary Duffy who is a thalidomide survivor and paints, and gardens, with her feet. Her work is beautiful, evocative and life-affirming, capturing the colours and the coastal landscape of where she lives.
With her in studio is Steo Wall a man who has known the confines of a cage and has found his voice through music and song. Steo sings his song ‘Borstal Boy’ which draws on his own life story. Mary and Steo are joined by Afro-Irish singer and musician Caleb Kunle and traveller activist, advocate and academic Dr Sindy Joyce.
S4 E7 – Sisters Are Doing It (for themselves)
Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 August 27th 2019
It’s a conversation of sisterhood and three generations of feminism In this episode of Pantisocracy with host Panti Bliss. Panti is joined by the acclaimed Galway poet Elaine Feeney, who is now working with the oral history project around the Tuam Babies story. With them in the parlour are two outstanding performers, Emma Garnett aka Fehdah, an afro-Irish singer who mixes her passion for music with astro-physics, and Nina Hynes, a Dubliner living in Berlin for over a decade now, who mixes her own music-making with teaching children to find joy in making sounds themselves.
Completing our quartet is writer and first wave Irish feminist Rosita Sweetman who challenged Ireland in the early seventies with her book about women, sexuality and the Catholic Church called ‘On Our Knees’ and who now combines her commitment to women’s rights with activism on the environment.
S4 E8 – Sex in the Digital City
Broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 September 3rd 2019
Today just about everything in our daily lives, from banking to dating, from getting a pizza to watching porn, has shifted online, and often happens in our always on smart phone. So how is it changing us? In this episode of Pantisocracy Panti Bliss is joined by the American-Syrian podcaster/philosopher Conner Habib, who gave up academia to become a gay porn actor, but who has now moved to Ireland to complete a PhD on things like fairy lore and ghosts. With them in the parlour is Dubliner Caroline West who has just finished her doctorate on sex, sexuality and porn and the award winner Galway based writer Lisa McInerney.
Lisa’s final chapter in her gritty, dark trilogy of novels, that started with ‘The Glorious Heresies’, is out next year. Making music with the conversation is singer-songwriter Leanne Harte, who now works in digital media. Leanne shares her story of coming out gay. Adding to the blissful and sexy gaiety of the house is Cian Kinsella, one half of the acrobatic comedy duo Lords of Strut who performs with Panti Bliss in the stage show RIOT.
Season 3: Episode 1, Episode 2, Episode 3, Episode 4, Episode 5, Episode 6, Episode 7, Episode 8, Episode 9, Episode 10