Musician, author, activist, mental health activist, TV coach and former Westmeath Gaelic footballer and Leinster Rugby player - Niall 'Bressie' Breslin has packed a lot into his 39 years... 

Then there's Niall's phenomenally popular mindfulness podcast series, Where is My Mind? An entertaining and illuminating guide to navigating the (his words) 'manic, always-on, and head-melting world we live in', season two of Where is My Mind? is now available to stream on Spotify.

FILM

Something really weird happened during the lockdown. I have become totally obsessed with horror movies. I have always avoided horror movies like a Nigel Farage monologue so I am not really sure why I couldn’t stop watching them. They make you feel terrible, the spend 90 odd minutes shi**ing yourself and trying to keep down your dinner. I know I should probably be chatting about a film that a little more up the cultural hierarchy but there you go. I watched them all. Hours at a time. The one that got me, though, was The Conjuring.

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I have been home cocooning my parents for 14 weeks and I nearly had to wake them up in the middle of the night for some hot milk after watching the conjuring. I’m glad I am back to my usual Richard Curtis movies mode.

MUSIC

I have fallen into a deep Tom Waits hole in the lockdown. I bought a pair of Air Pods at the start of the Covid-19 mess and I would literally walk around all day listening to every record he ever made. It always feels like you are in the room with him when you listen to him. It's an immensely mindful experience.

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However, in keeping with my horror film obsession, I found myself reverting back to my love of thrash metal. When I was a teenager, I was in a metal band called Ramscar, which stood for Rise Almighty Satan Come And Rule. The Christian brothers in St. Marys Mullingar were not fans, and to be fair either were anyone else. I have started to listen to early Metallica records, and also more contemporary metal like Slipknot. The musicianship and power of these players is incredible. So much music we hear nowadays is so processed and programmed that I miss that human power of a drummer playing at 250 miles an hour while the singer sounds like an angry cat.

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BOOK

I made the decision to read as much as I could over the lockdown. My mum has a bookshelf full of all the old classics, and I wanted to make my way through them. I would have read most of them as a kid and they take on a totally different meaning and context as an adult. Stuff you would have missed hits you straight between the eyes. But overall, I found myself submerged back in the work of John Steinbeck. I just finished East Of Eden and I feel totally empty after it. In a weirdly good way. I feel cheated that I will never get to read that book for the first time again, but also feel really lucky to have had the opportunity to read it. It's controversial in places, as is much of his writing, but his imagery and storytelling ability are like no other writer. I would strongly recommend going back to the classics, and seeing what type of context they take on for you. It’s an interesting experience.

John Steinbeck in Ireland in 1964

TV

You’ll be happy to know I’ve gone down a lighter road on my TV viewing. I’ve fallen in love with Limmy's Show on Netflix. It's bonkers. Just all over the shop. I love it.

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Curb Your Enthusiasm is another key watch for me. My mates call me the Irish Larry David. I have some pretty awkward social quirks, and have been known to say the right thing at the wrong time on quite a few occasions.

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GIG

To be honest, any gig at this stage. It breaks my heart to see my peers and events crews so impacted by this crisis. Gigging doesn’t sit pay the bills for musicians, its also a necessity for them. There is a release you get on stage that becomes an important part of your life. Behind the artist is the crews. These highly skilled and talented people have lost essentially a full year’s income. We can’t lose them to another industry. We need them if we are to get back to what we all love. I would take this opportunity to encourage everyone to get out to live music when we are allowed. Support these artists. Without gigs and live events, it would be a very stale looking culture.

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ART

Joe Caslin over recent years has become my favourite artist. The fact he is one of the kindest, most empathetic people I have ever met helps. I worked with Joe on A Lust for Life which is a charity I founded on a project down in Waterford. That image still stands over the city. It's powerful. It has started so many conversations that perhaps wouldn’t have been started otherwise and essentially highlights art's potential to cut straight to the core of the human experience.

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RADIO/PODCAST

I’ll be honest, radio and podcasting has been my saviour in this lockdown. I adore the intimacy of this medium.

Radio really came into its own during this time. It became crucial to many households.

I am good mates with Dermot and Dave on Today FM, and it felt at the height of it all that they were in the room with me each morning having the chats. That was very comforting. John Creedon has always been an important part of my audio experience. There is no one like him. This form of radio is like meditation. You never know what he could throw at you. I was in London once, and there was a really awkward couple on a first date beside me in the hotel bar and I was listening to John.

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I messaged him to play a request for the awkward couple. He played Ruby's Arms by Tom Waits and went on this amazing monologue of where this awkward couple's love could go. I bravely took off my headphones and said to them, they are talking about you guys on Irish radio. They loved it. Shows you the power of radio. I don’t think they had a second date.

Too many podcasts to mention, but of course you should go listen to Where is my Mind?

TECH

Ha, another obsession coming. I couldn't get off Flight Tracker over the last few months. I kept trying to catch out a cheeky Ryanair flight tipping down to Lanzarote. I was like a Flight Tracker detective. One night I saw there was a DHL plane flying towards Westmeath and I went outside like an excited child to see if could hear it, and I did. That was at the height of my excitement in the lockdown. That and going to Lidl for my parents. It’s been some craic...

THE NEXT BIG THING

Would like to name two artists here...

First is Luz Corrigan. She will be massive. I’ve not heard a voice like it in quite some time. And she's got the songs to match.

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Denise Chaila is also a Zambian-Irish artist that is really exciting. Lyrics are incredible and you can hear every ounce of her personality in her songs. Always important.

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Season 2 of Where Is My Mind? is available now, via Spotify -listen to it here.