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Sitdown Sunday: The Wild Mountain Thyme director on 'not making this movie for the Irish'

Settle back in a comfy chair and sit back with some of the week’s best longreads.

Image: IMDB

IT’S A DAY of rest, and you may be in the mood for a quiet corner and a comfy chair.

We’ve hand-picked the week’s best reads for you to savour.

1. Wild Mountain Thyme

The director of one of the most talked-about films of the year is interviewed – and asked about the Irish reaction to his work.

(Variety, approx 6 mins reading time)

I told Emily when we first talked about this project, ‘I’m not making this movie for the Irish. If you try to get the Irish to love you, no good will come of it. I’m making this movie for everybody else and all the people who want to go to Ireland.’ The Irish reaction to things written about Ireland has been tumultuous from the time of John Millington Synge when they disrupted “Playboy of the Western World” because they thought that it was pornographic. Frank McCourt was a friend of mine and he took a lot of guff for ‘Angela’s Ashes.’ You bring up ‘The Quiet Man’ to people there and it’s like Jesus Christ, it’s an abomination. That’s about as much as I can say about it.

2. Ice cubes

Inside the big business of packaged ice.

(The Guardian, approx 24 mins reading time)

And so, as much as the Ice Co’s success is a result of technological innovation, and of shrewdly moving in step with evolving tastes, it is also a story of near-constant struggle, as generations of icemen and icewomen have sought out ways to sell people something that has only ever been, and will only ever be, frozen water. That The Ice Co has done it on such a large scale is doubly remarkable: ice is not just featureless, it is also evanescent. How do you build an empire out of something born to melt?

3. An oral history of Corrie

Inside the story Coronation St, which has been running since 1960.

(The Guardian, approx 18 mins reading time)

Alison Sinclair (press officer 1993-present): There was a huge interest in the cast’s private lives, but one of the biggest challenges was the leaks. We recorded Raquel and Curly’s wedding off-site with a tiny crew, but on the day of the episode the script appeared in its entirety in the Mirror. Paul Abbott (script editor/writer 1985-1996): I remember at one point I was getting the blame for all these leaks so I wrote different versions of letters with fake information and left them in the booking table where all the actors got their dates. In one letter it said we were going to film in Barbados and it was in the Manchester Evening News by 5pm. I’d got the greedy little shit!

4. I’ve had skin cancer removed time and time and time and time again

Lauren Crothers, who is Irish-Australian and grew up in Hong Kong, writes about her journey with basal cell carcinoma – how it has led to multiple surgeries, and also how it taught her how to advocate for herself when it came to her treatment.

(Chatelaine, 10 mins reading time)

But it’s remarkable how the skin can bounce back without any real trace of what was there before, and it’s probably because it seemed so easy to get rid of them that I became too relaxed about following up properly as other suspicious patches appeared over time. I recently found out the hard way that given enough time, BCCs can recur, grow considerably and require significant surgical intervention to remove and reconstruct the area.

5. The man who found the treasure

After a decade-long hunt, one man found the Forrest Fenn treasure. He only went public after legal proceedings threatened his anonymity.

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(Outside, approx 17 mins reading time)

A decade ago, Fenn hid his treasure chest, containing gold and other valuables estimated to be worth at least a million dollars, somewhere in the Rocky Mountains. Not long after, he published a memoir called The Thrill of the Chase, which included a mysterious 24-line poem that, if solved, would lead searchers to the treasure. Fenn had suggested that the loot was secreted away at the place where he had envisioned lying down to die, back when he’d believed a 1988 cancer diagnosis was terminal. Since the hunt began in 2010, many thousands of searchers had gone out in pursuit—at least five of them losing their lives in the process—and the chase became an international story. 

6. Out of jail

Dorina and Ron became famous after breaking out of jail in a hijacked helicopter.

(Esquire, approx 30 mins reading time)

Dorinda was one half of the most romantic jailbreak in American history, and for a long time no one in her life but Lisa and Abby knew it. But then, this spring, Dorinda’s telephone rang, and she answered it. The man who broke her out, Ronald J. McIntosh, looked increasingly likely to get out of prison himself. Now that the story might finally have an ending, she was ready to tell it from the beginning. “I bet you’re gonna ask me a lot of questions no one’s ever asked me before,” she said to me before launching into her tall tale. Dorinda knew one thing for sure: “Being with Ron was the best ten days of my life.”


In 2014, Christopher Goddard wrote about ‘Dirty John’, a con artist.

(LA Times, approx mins reading time)

It was October 2014. They had found each other on an over-50 dating site, and she thought his profile — Christian, divorced, physician — seemed safe. She had been on three other recent dates, but the men were less handsome than their profile photos, and the talk was dull. John was different. He showed keen interest in the details of her life and business. He didn’t want to talk just about himself, even though his stories were riveting. He told her all about being an anesthesiologist in Iraq, where he’d just spent a year with Doctors Without Borders.

More: The best reads from every previous Sitdown Sunday>

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