Aidan Walsh – Master of the Universe

Director: Shimmy Marcus

Shimmy Marcus’s wonderful documentary provides a sympathetic and at times illuminating portrait of Aidan Walsh, a colourful character who became a cult figure around Dublin’s music scene in the ’80s. He had some success with the album ‘A Life Story of My Life’, which was produced by Gavin Friday and Simon Carmody. In filmed interviews, Friday, Carmody, Gerry Ryan, Dave Fanning and others recount some amusing anecdotes about Aidan’s musical career as well as his other wild endeavours. The latter include Aidan competing in a general election (he got 43 votes) and his mad scheme to build a rock ‘n’ roll hotel on the site now occupied by the Virgin Megastore, complete with an underground tunnel connection to Dublin airport and a nuclear shelter below the Liffey.

A flamboyant and wacky all-purpose performer, Walsh also emerges as an innocent who created a whole mythology around his harmless fantasies of success. In its sensitive handling of Aidan’s tough childhood (abandoned by his family, he ended up in a foster home), the film reveals how its irrepressible hero managed to avoid retreating from society and succeeded in transforming himself into a public figure whose unconventional way of seeing the world endeared him to many. There are those who question the wisdom of the personalities who promoted Aidan’s sometimes daft antics, and the film is honest enough to air these views. Yet such reservations pale beside the film’s often hilarious account of Aidan’s public performances and its moving depiction of his search for family and home.

Ireland, 2000.
Beta SP.
71 mins.

Plus Rory Bresnihan’s very funny Guy’s Dog, a claymation short about ‘a barking mad alcoholic dog who is frustrated by his moronic master.’ (Ireland, 1998. Colour. 11 mins

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