AdLib: From Cappagh to jail spell for Dublin Tory
Media & Marketing
Published 26/11/2015 | 02:30
"Take the cucumbers, Jonno! It's your only hope of surviving in the nick. Take the bloody cucumbers!" Cucumbers is Cockney slang for numbers and an inmate in Her Majesty's Prison Belmarsh was urging former British Cabinet Minister Jonathan Aitken to embrace Rule 43, entitling new arrivals to be segregated from other prisoners.
The Dublin-born politician, broadcaster and born again Christian was in Ireland as the ambassador for the Cappagh Hospital Foundation (CHF). He spoke about 'Overcoming Adversity' at an IFP Media breakfast aimed at raising awareness about corporate support for CHF's specialist orthopaedic centre. Aitken, 72, was christened in St Patrick's Cathedral.
Guests included family friend Eamon de Valera, who wanted to show that his government and the Catholic Church were not connected at the umbilical cord.
As a child in Cappagh in the 1940s, Aitken was treated for tuberculosis, an incurable disease until antibiotics came on the scene in 1949. The TB spread from his lungs into his bones, so he was high risk. There were serious doubts as to whether he may ever walk - or even survive.
He remembers Cappagh with gratitude and affection and the work of surgeon Henry McAuley. The Little Sisters of Mercy's Sr Mary Finbar was convinced he would leave the hospital a well boy. She taught Aitken how to read by lantern light. He was amused by the sister's muffled cries of "drat it!" and "bother!"
While his experience of Cappagh was "very loving", his grandmother, a staunch Protestant, was worried he would come under the Pope's influence, who she dubbed "Old Red Socks".
John Betjeman was ushered from the British Embassy to ensure the boy was kept safe from Catholicism. He recalls opera singer John McCormack serenading patients.
In 1999, Aitken was sentenced to 18 months at Belmarsh category A men's prison in south London for perverting the course of justice and perjury, having committed what he admits were "supreme acts of folly".
He had sworn on oath that his wife had settled his bill in a Paris hotel before finally conceding he had accepted the hospitality of an Arab friend.
He sued the 'Guardian' and ITV's 'World in Action' for libel as he vowed to "cut out the cancer of bent and twisted journalism". A Eurosceptic who "flirted" with Ukip, Aitken says if Britain leaves the EU it will have little impact and they will return to bilateral trade.
He agrees with recent polls predicting the 'Brexit' vote could be extremely tight. Apart from writing, his prison reform work and fundraising efforts keep him busy.
Q At 1pm tomorrow, 100 musicians will gather in Today FM's studios for an Irish radio first as they perform U2's 'One' to mark the release of the 30-track 'Whole Lotta Live' album compilation of live sessions. Included are recordings from Hozier, The Coronas, Ellie Goulding, Damien Dempsey, Lisa Hannigan and Kodaline.
As a tribute to the late Today FM DJ Tony Fenton, and other cancer victims, all proceeds go to the Irish Cancer Society. Today FM's Shave or Dye campaign has raised over €8m for the society over the last six years. 'Whole Lotta Live' is the brainchild of Today FM's Pamela and Gavin Blake. Pamela produced Fenton's show and her sound engineer husband worked on the album sessions. The tracks featured across various shows, including Louise Duffy's, pictured above.
* Thinkhouse has added two new international accounts. William Grant & Sons has awarded the youth communications agency its global PR for Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey. Thinkhouse's MovieMakers teams in Dublin and London will handle content projects for US smartphone protective cases maker Otterbox in the UK, France, Germany and Sweden.
Listed by UK trade magazine 'Campaign' as one of the world's leading independent agencies, Thinkhouse founder and creative director Jane McDaid says the latest wins show that Irish agencies are a force to be reckoned with and the country is seen as a creative hub. Other Thinkhouse clients include Heineken, Coca-Cola, Unilever and Barry's Tea.
Pictured (above) is a scene from an Otterbox shoot at a Red Bull high diving event in Sweden.
* In a bid to promote best practice when it comes to agency pitches, the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) and the Association of Advertisers in Ireland (AAI) has produced eight short videos with senior clients and pitch doctors - the consultants hired to manage reviews - discussing pertinent issues related to new business presentations.
Kicking off the series are Bord Gáis Energy's Dermot Mulligan, Alina Ui Chaollai, Largo Foods and Lindsey Meehan, Electric Ireland.
* An Post will host a Smart Trends seminar on how power is shifting from the brand to the consumer. Target McConnells' strategic planner Dr Ken McKenzie will be joined by An Post's Linda Ni Chualladh, an expert on business law and data protection, at an executive breakfast in the Westbury Hotel next Wednesday.
Michael Cullen is editor of Marketing.ie: firstname.lastname@example.org