Friday 30 September 2016

Kirsty at Large: RTÉ freebie is the Duff of dreams

Published 05/06/2016 | 02:30

Score: RTÉ 'heads' out in force at the French Ambassador's luxury pad on Ailesbury Road.
Score: RTÉ 'heads' out in force at the French Ambassador's luxury pad on Ailesbury Road.
'Death by Panti': Panti and Cian O'Brien of The Project.

Life lessons I've learnt this week: don't tell footballer Damien Duff he's the spit of Eurovision crash-out Nicky Byrne.

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Especially when he's in the middle of discussing match strategy at the launch of RTÉ's Euro 2016 coverage.

"For Jaysus sake!" Duff responded to my innocent remark. "It's always women who say that.

"Tell Nicky I can sing better than him and all."

A rake of RTÉ 'heads' gathered in the French Ambassador's luxurious gaff on Ailesbury Road this week. They were there to talk about Ireland's upcoming clashes.

Duff will head over to cheer on the Boys in Green when they go up against Belgium. "That's not for work - I'll just be drinking wine and partying. RTÉ aren't paying for that - although I wish they were," he added, glancing over his shoulder.

Ambassador Jean-Pierre Thébault spoke of the warm reception the French nation will bestow on Irish fans. "They will welcome you with open arms," he said. But that wasn't enough to tempt the bould Eamon Dunphy.

"Not this year, baby," he told me. "I'm at home."

Instead, Dunphy will be practising Pilates.

"My nightclub days are behind me," he insisted.

"Weren't you in Lillie's last week?" one reporter asked.

"Yeah," Dunphy replied. "But that was because I lost a bet".

A likely story.

HRH Panti has her cake... then hacks it in half with a power tool

What better way to kick off a birthday party than with a chocolate cake, a drag queen and a rusty old chainsaw. HRH Panti Bliss launched the Project Arts Centre's 50th birthday celebrations by hacking a cake apart with the power tool. "I've never done this before," gasped Panti, who had dressed as a ­German Hausfrau for the occasion. "But there's a first time for everything."

While Panti was a picture of serenity, artistic director Cian O'Brien - the man holding the cake - looked slightly more frazzled.

"Of course I'm not worried," he said dabbing his forehead and laughing manically. "And if she does decapitate me, what a great way to go. Death by Panti!"

Once the cake had been pulverised, and a health-and-safety officer had passed out, we all headed inside, wiping flecks of buttercream and grease from our brows.

Ice-cream cones and cider were dished out and everyone reminisced about their favourite Project show.

The centre is known for its, shall we say, experimental performances.

"I once saw a man emerge from an embryonic sack in the Space Upstairs," one patron said.

"You think that's weird?" another snorted. "You don't know the meaning of the word. I saw a show where a chicken exploded onstage and Jesus ate a hot dog on a crucifix. Now that's theatre!"

Well, it's certainly something you wouldn't catch at the Abbey.

But it's not just a "weird 'n' wacky free for all"; let's remember, this is where Liam Neeson, Gabriel Byrne, Jim Sheridan and U2 all cut their teeth.

After everyone had enjoyed several scoops, Miss Bliss took to the stage again. "When Cian asked me to launch the programme, I was delighted," she said.

"I looked at him and thought, 'You know what, despite that shirt, you've got really good taste'."

Shame on you all... it's time to move on

'Shaming' has become the new 'hating', which, you may recall, was once the new 'telling it like it is'. In other words, phrases people use to cancel out and quell counter arguments or opinions differing to theirs.

There's been a lot of chatter this week about fat/ body/slut/bottle/woman/whatever-you're-having-yourself shaming.

It's basically become a handy get-out-of-jail card for anyone who doesn't agree with you and, in particular, might have a convincing argument to the contrary.

"Stop slut shaming Kim!" people yell when you roll your eyes at the TV star's latest nude photo shoot.

"Stop fat shaming!" others cry if you question the health benefits of eating a Big Mac for breakfast.

Back in 2014, we were all about 'telling it like it is' and, to a lesser extent, 'keeping it real'. Everyone was on their own personal crusade to offer up their unsolicited opinion on anything and everything.

It became clear that 'telling it like it is' really just meant 'telling it how I see it - whether you agree or not'.

Everyone's personal opinion became the only one that mattered. And now 'shaming' has picked up that self-righteous mantle. I think we've all had enough of shame-criers. The phrase has jumped the shark - let's move on.

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