Sunday 4 December 2016

The Edge: The Lipsett sisters light up the bright lights of LA

Published 20/06/2016 | 02:30

Roz Lipsett, left, and her sister Sarah brought a touch of glamour to Los Angeles.
Roz Lipsett, left, and her sister Sarah brought a touch of glamour to Los Angeles.
Leo Varadkar at last year's Electric Picnic in Stradbally, Co Laois. He is planning a return visit to this year's festival in September.
Geraldine Fitzpatrick, pictured with Marco Pierre White, celebrated her birthday last week, and is now off to Marbs
Norah Casey might not get away Scot-free.
Actress Mary Murray read an extract from ‘Ulysses’.

And now for a moment on the Lipsetts. Roz and her sister Sarah seemed to have spent the last three weeks out on the town. Not just any town, mind you - Los Angeles town. The Lipsett sisters were spotted dining a deux in Nobu on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu last week.

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They were also sighted in The Palm in Beverly Hills and Soho House in West Hollywood. Model Roz, who is based primarily in LA, was showing her legal eagle sib Sarah the sights. And why not? Their other sister Avilia was enjoying a different kind of sights last week - the sights of horses running up and down the turf at Ascot at the famous racecourse in Berkshire.

Other Irish notables at the famous racecourse in Berkshire included the Magniers, the McCoys and Rhona Blake and her other half Charlie Murless, to say nothing of Zara Philips and one or two royals.

Danielle Rocca Devine - darling daughter of Michelle Rocca and John Devine - was at a hen party in Madrid two weeks ago. She was also at a birthday party last Friday in Opium on Camden Street. Danielle's aunt Annette Rocca is expected at the Curragh next Saturday for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby along with her pal - and Shay Givens' estranged wife - Jane, and Celia Holman Lee, just back from Cannes. Who needs Cannes when you have the Curragh in all its pomp on a (hopefully) sunny day? Others expected to pitch up in all their designer finery will, I'm told, include: Kathryn Thomas, Clodagh McKenna, Kathleen Watkins, Rachel Stevens, and, of course Colm McLoughlin, executive vice-chairman of Dubai Duty Free, and his wife Breeda.

In the meantime, Michael Colgan, just off the plane from America, informs me that the great and the good will attend the opening night this Tuesday of Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife at his illustrious theatre.

Deep breath: this A-list roll-call of guests has everyone from Marty Whelan and his wife Maria, to Ingrid Craigie, Nick Dunning, Bosco Hogan and Owen Roe on it. Indeed Colgan has his VBF Michael Gambon over for the weekend. He interviewed Gambon - who stayed in the Westbury - last night at the Dalkey Book Festival.

Maybe Colgan can use his much touted charm to get Gambo to stay on for the launch on Tuesday?

Factor 50 Leo jets to Italy or Croatia

In politics, Napoleon Bonaparte once noted, stupidity is not necessarily a handicap. I can only presume the feted French Emperor from Corsica would have  reinforced his opinion had he lived to meet  Donald Trump.

The feted Irish minister Leo Varadkar, from Castleknock, meanwhile, is at the other end of the intellectual spectrum: the future leader of Fine Gael is both incredibly bright and cool. In my book, any politician who knows a thing or two about modern music, and can name every Blur album - as Leo can - is cool, ok?

How do I know this? Well, because I bumped into the in-touch FG politico (as opposed to touched like a lot of politicos of all parties) at Coppa Cafe on Ely Place last Tuesday lunchtime. It was here that he told me he had no holidays "booked as yet" but he will be taking a well-deserved break abroad "in either Croatia or Italy." Leo added that he "had intended going to Body & Soul" - the music festival in Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath with Santigold, Mbongwana Star and Bleeding Heart Pigeons among others - "this weekend, but got caught with work."

There is a good chance, however, of hipster Varadkar attending The Electric Picnic in Stradbally Hall in Stradbally, Co Laois, at the start of September. "Not sure about the Picnic yet," Leo said. "I have reserved tickets. It's a good gig."

He ought to know. He went last year to see George Ezra, Riptide Movement, Blur and the Mother DJs, among others. Indeed, when I met him at the festival, Leo told me that he particularly enjoyed Rave in the Woods, to say nothing of Grace Jones. I remember asking the minister what he enjoyed most about Ms Jones's performance. "Her costume."

Did he enjoy Grace sufficiently to dance? "Not sufficiently," Leo told me last year in a field in Laois. "I can't dance. I look ridiculous."

Oh - stop it, Leo, you're killing me.

Marco Pierre hosts dinner to mark gorgeous business partner Geraldine's birthday

Marco Pierre White's not just a great chef, he is a great host, too. On Thursday night. he threw a little dinner party at his restaurant on Dawson Street for his beautiful business partner, Geraldine Fitzpatrick. The occasion?

Don't be ridiculous; there doesn't need to be an occasion with Marco Pierre White. Actually, this was a particularly special occasion: it was Geraldine's birthday. Marco had flown in earlier that day from London to attend Taste Of Dublin. I suspect the real reason was to wish gorgeous Geraldine many happy returns. So this intimate birthday soiree - Marco, Geraldine, your diarist and two others - was a joyous evening with Marco regaling us with everything from the brilliance of Geraldine to the genius of Eric Cantona to David O'Leary, the former manager of his beloved team, Leeds United.

The host himself left to walk back to his suite at the Shelbourne at 11pm, while the birthday girl took a cab home to Monkstown at 11.45pm. She just missed Avril Bannerton, the boss of Taste Of Dublin, who popped into Marco's Dawson Street restaurant at midnight.

She told me that Taste was completely sold out and yet another roaring success. I would have gone today with Marco but he flew back to his home outside Bath on Friday at 1pm before jetting on to Australia this week.

Geraldine, meanwhile, is off to Marbs.

'I might find a man in a kilt'

It's official. Norah Casey is having a Highland Fling. The mystifyingly single broadcaster, businesswoman and publisher is in Scotland this weekend for a quick holiday. "I might find a man in a kilt - who knows?"

If anyone knows, Norah will, surely.

The former Dragon is baffled by the complexities of first dates. "Mine are more like last dates," she told me with a laugh when she rang from Dublin airport last Thursday. "There's no small talk when he already knows more about me than my mother does, what car you drive and where you are on holiday." (At the risk of doing myself out of a job, maybe lovelorn Nora should stop telling me then.) "I spend all my time searching for sure bets in business but dating is more like backing a 100-to-1 outsider and more often than not discovering he's a non-runner. Still, it's that mad notion there might be someone out there vaguely normal that makes me say yes every now and then."

The last time Norah said yes and was on an actual date was three weeks ago. "It takes a long time to recover," she said. "I always go to the same place, and that's a big secret." Tomorrow, she is meeting up with the nurses she trained with in Loch Lomond when she was in her late teens.

It is perhaps an even bigger secret just how long ago that was.

No shite-and-onions at Bloomsday beano at the Shelbourne hotel

As MC Bryan Dobson put it at the 23rd annual Irish Youth Foundation Bloomsday Cycle & Lunch -  sponsored by Brennans -  at the Shelbourne last Friday, inviting everyone to tuck into the glorious meal: "It is definitely not shite and onions!" (For those of you unaware of a certain book called Ulysses, this was James Joyce's description of the era's food.) So instead of shite 'n' onions, IYF founder Norma Smurfit, Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin, among 300 others,  feasted finely  on Shelbourne Turf Smoked Salmon with Citrus Aioli; Copper Roasted Farmhouse Chicken. 

The event raised over €50,000 for the charity's projects to help disadvantaged children around the country.

Others in attendance included the beautiful Lisa Rocca, Rising Time presenter Shay Byrne, and Nuala Carey who assisted with the raffle. They all got to enjoy one-time Love/Hate actress Mary Murray perform an impassioned piece from the aforesaid Ulysses.

On the Sunday afternoon, I met my neighbour and RTE star Bryan Dobson again at our street party in Portobello for 40 or so of the locals, including RTE's Keelin Shanley and her photographer husband Conor Ferguson who have sold their house in Portobello and are moving to Dun Laoghaire.

Des and Philo to help Rock The Docks

The westh is awake? It will be next weekend. The late Charlie Haughey's good pal Des Peelo and his wife Philo are travelling to Galway.  Dashing Des certainly gets around. I spotted him in Munich airport last month chatting to John Bruton.

As well as an astute business brain, accountant Des also has a keen interest in the arts. Hence why he is attending Gary Monroe's Rock The Docks (in association with Challenge Galway) featuring The Strypes and Riptide Movement next weekend. Gary's VBF Sharon Shannon will be contributing to the general Galway gourmet groove of the festival with her Garden of Vegan food truck. UTV Ireland's Jenny Buckley (left) is also attending, as is Des's daughter Sarah, owner of the hip catering company YUZU. Still on matters foodie, chef Kevin Thornton was in Lillie's Bordello last weekend. Also in the famous Dublin nightclub were comedian Des Bishop with his brother Aidan. Ex-Westlife star Mark Feehily was also in Lillie's. Life is grand, isn't it?.

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