The Adventures of Flannery

A Portrait of Cathal Coughlan
76mins : 2007

This feature documentary was premiered at the 2007 Cork Film festival. The corner-piece of the film is Cathal Coughlan's live performance of his musical theatre piece Flannery's Mounted Head. The film also takes a backward look at the career of one of Ireland's most prolific and original song-writing talents.

Coughlan began his career in eighties’ indie outfit Microdisney, recently the subject of a major retrospective double-CD release. The band's radio-friendly melodies and bitter-sweet harmonies masked Coughlan’s increasingly bitter and vitriolic lyrics. After signing to Virgin Records and achieving a modicum of success,the band split up. Coughlan then formed the volatile and uncompromising Fatima Mansions, also recently the subject of re-releases, who soon became cult favourites in the early nineties. His subsequent work has seen him engage in more inter-disciplinary projects while his solo work has seen him embraced by rock luminaries such as Scott Walker.

Drawing inspiration for Flannery's Mounted Head from his native city’s Victorian ‘madhouse’ and from the equally sprawling ‘Arcades’ project of the German critic and philosopher Walter Benjamin, Coughlan’s song-cycle narrative involved the creation of a marginalised and petrol-sniffing protagonist named Flannery amid the grim backdrop of a fictional 21st-century virtual experience. When the piece begins, Flannery is the night manager of a call-centre. When it ends, ‘he’ is a free-associating disembodied head, in a jar behind the counter of a bar.

The film features the live imaging work of Rob Flint, 3D animation of Jordi Perez Artigues, Donal O'Kelly as Walter Benjamin/ister Bungle, journalist Andrew Mueller and academic Esther Leslie.

The Adventures of Flannery was co-produced by Gary Sheehan for Note Productions and Edited by Colm Hackett for Soupstone Productions, Omagh. Filmed and Directed by Johnny Gogan

See Cathal (Coughlan) deliver the news in song for Johnny Gogan’s debut music video