Thursday 22 August 2019

Céad Míle Fáilte? Is Mel back in the fold

Kirsty at large...

Redemption: Mel Gibson signs autographs at the Dublin première of Daddy’s Home 2. Photo: Brian McEvoy
Redemption: Mel Gibson signs autographs at the Dublin première of Daddy’s Home 2. Photo: Brian McEvoy
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Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The Irish première of Daddy's Home 2 this week was, well, weird.

The comedy banked $30m at the US box office in its opening weekend.

This led Vanity Fair to state that, even in a post-Weinstein era, its leading man Mel Gibson is bulletproof.

According to the magazine, we are in the middle of Gibson's "Redemption Tour".

"Hollywood and the public are willing to welcome the actor back into the fold," it said.

The optics of casting Gibson in the family friendly festive bonanza certainly aren't great.

He has, after all, a history of expressing anti-Semitic and homophobic sentiment and he confessed to physically abusing his former girlfriend, Oksana Grigorieva.

But none of this seemed to matter to anyone at the Irish première.

Fans with posters and biros jostled outside the Odeon cinema waiting for Gibson and his co-stars to arrive.

The majority of those present were women.

"Mel is gorgeous!" one lady told TV3's Lucy Kennedy who was hosting the red carpet. "But I wish he'd shave off the beard."

"I like the beard!" another said. "I think it suits him. I skipped a PTA meeting to be here!"

Predictably, things started to get stranger still once Mel arrived. He was jumpy and intense - he started drawing moustaches over his co-star's faces on promotional posters.

When someone asked him what Santa was bringing him for Christmas, he replied: "I never ask Santa for anything - he doesn't put out."

(I'm still trying to figure that out.)

Getting "an Irish angle" is very important at these red carpet events.

That may explain why most A-List stars visiting town are usually asked if they like Tayto crisps, or if they know how to swear as Gaeilge.

So, when Gibson started talking about his long-standing friendship with President Michael D Higgins, everyone was all ears.

"We share the same tailor," he said. "I made sure to get another suit while I was here this time round."

But he was more keen to talk about his role in Daddy's Home 2.

He plays Kurt Mayron, or as one PR person explained, "Dusty's dad, Karen's father-in-law, Dylan and Megan's grandfather, Sara's ex-father-in-law, and Adrianna's step-grandfather".

But conversation started to veer away from the movie, as he worked his way along the media pen.

"You must be proud to be Australian today," a reporter from Melbourne said.

"Why? Oh the football! They won, didn't they?" Gibson replied.

The reporter shook his head. "The Same Sex Marriage referendum went through," he explained. "Did it?" Gibson said. "I wasn't aware. I haven't been keeping up with the news down there - it's all great."

This was followed by a question about 'the darkness' in Hollywood at the moment.

"I think a lot of light is being shined into a lot of dark places right now and rightfully so.

"It's tragic, in a sense, because a lot of the poor victims have to relive it, and that's torturous for them but they are made free by re-examining it," he said.

There was a loaded pause.

A reporter referred to Gibson's own 'hard times' and the manner in which he was currently being 'reincarnated'.

"What is the secret of your ongoing success?" he asked pointedly.

"Just don't stop breathing," Gibson said and then it was back to questions about Braveheart and kilts, and whether or not he liked Aran sweaters. If this is Gibson's redemption tour, and Ireland is the first stop on the European leg, then sadly Vanity Fair's assessment seems to be right.

How to survive the office Xmas Party? Steal drink tokens

Ho ho ho: Forget Secret Santa and stick to the drinks

And so it begins. The season of the Office Christmas Party.

The OCP has always been, and will always be, a professional minefield.

We go because we know it is where we will glean the best office gossip of the year, but the risk is that we ourselves could be the source of it. Getting in and out with as little collateral damage as possible is key. So follow these steps to avoid Christmas calamities.

* Arrive late - nothing interesting ever happens in the first hour of the Christmas party. You may miss out on a few cocktail sausages but I'm afraid that's a sacrifice you are going to have to make. If you arrive early, you'll get drunk early, leave early, and miss the fun.

* Avoid any jokes that have to be qualified with the following statements: "I was only having a laugh"/ "When did everyone get so sensitive?"/ "It's PC gone mad!"

* Tell everyone you have another party to go to. This can be either real or imaginary, and will give you a handy out if there's a closed bar.

* Never suggest a Secret Santa. No one likes a Secret Santa. It takes ages handing out the presents, it's not fun and you'll spend all night trying to discreetly lose a novelty mug Moira in HR gave you.

* Never give interns intense and unsolicited career advice. I know it's an easy conversation filler but recalling the highs and lows of your career while Slade plays in the background is a downer for all involved.

* Don't insist on taking 756 pictures with everyone. No one wants these coming up in their Facebook feed.

* Don't have sex with anyone. Or, at least, don't start wearing the face off anyone in front of your co-workers.

* Most importantly - find the person with all the drink tokens, steal said drink tokens, become the most popular person at the party. Watch the world burn.


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