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Saturday 25 November 2017

Kirsty at large: Jilly eyes up 'mountainous rugger' Paul

Bestselling authors: Riders author Jilly Cooper with Marian Keyes at the Irish Book Awards
Bestselling authors: Riders author Jilly Cooper with Marian Keyes at the Irish Book Awards
New job: Jon Williams takes up RTÉ role
Teddy the cockapoo. Photo: Aaron Duffy/PA Wire
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

'Just look at that mountain of a rugger!" Jilly Cooper exclaimed, eyeing up rugby star Paul O'Connell.

"I'd like him for Christmas, thanks very much."

She's a game old bird is our Jilly. The Queen of the Bonkbuster was in town this week for the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards where she picked up the International Recognition Award.

"It is the most heavenly compliment," she said.

Marian Keyes presented Cooper with the award and reminded us all of the genius of 1985 novel Riders.

"It is a sprawling tale of passion, adultery, more adultery, even more adultery - and show jumping," Marian said.

Having missed his flight, chat-show king Graham Norton arrived just time to pick up the Irish Independent's Popular Fiction Award for his debut novel Holding. "It's just nice to be back in Europe - even for a few hours." What with Brexit, Trexit, and Brangelexit (the Pitt/Jolie split), Graham admitted it was "an odd time to enter the world of fiction when the world is telling us stories we never, ever could have imagined".

Ryan Tubridy was full of chat about his tête-à-tête with RentASnob Katie Hopkins.

Speaking of scraps, Conor McGregor's right-hand man, coach John Kavanagh, was looking slightly bemused at the flashing bulbs.

"I thought it was for just going to be a few book club nerds," he said. "But this is big." Kavanagh missed out on the Sports Writer Award, which went to the apple of Jilly's eye, Paul O'Connell.

Poet John Montague was honoured with the Bob Hughes Lifetime Achievement Award for 2016, following in the footsteps of Maeve Binchy and John Banville.

"Well you can't drink from it," he said as he picked up his award.

Kathleen Watkins was ecstatic to be named winner of the Children's Book for her delightful book Pigín of Howth. "Granny did it!" she said, punching the air.

Kathleen is already working on her next book in which Pigín heads to London. Make no mistake, he is one metropolitan pig.

RTÉ's newsroom change could mean bumpy ride

New job: Jon Williams takes up RTÉ role

New job: Jon Williams takes up RTÉ role

It's time for Dobbo and Sharon to buckle their seat belts - come January, the RTÉ newsroom could be in for a bumpy ride. 

Following the departure of Kevin Bathurst, RTÉ heaped praise on their new MD of News, Jon Williams.

And with good reason - the "proud Scouser" has an extremely impressive CV, he's won an Emmy and has worked with both ABC and the BBC. But his broadcasting expertise is not the only thing that precedes Williams - so does his reputation for having an extremely short fuse.

In his autobiography, BBC presenter John Simpson says Williams wasn't "very popular with people in the news department" due to his "tremendous and titanic rages". Funny that. News anchor Dobson insisted he had heard nothing of the temper tantrums - titanic or otherwise.

"I wasn't aware of that at all," he said. "But I think we all wish Jon very well and look forward to him starting."

Dobbo, ever the pro.

Let them drink Sprite - but pop is  no substitute for booze at weddings

A few years back, one of my relatives floated the idea of having a dry wedding.

There would be no liquor, wine, beer, or hooch behind the bar.

"Buuuuut - you can drink all the Sprite you want!" we were told.

Clearly, they're not big drinkers so didn't really understand why anyone would want to get trashed on their "perfect day".

But the rest of the family was dumbfounded.

Had no one told them free-flowing booze was one of most founding pillars of an Irish wedding?

"There's a reason sober people hate weddings," my dad said. "Novelty photo booths, small talk and speeches are only bearable when you're out-of-your-mind drunk."

We began planning ways to smuggle booze into the venue (a barn in the countryside - far, far away from civilisation/or off-licences).

Naggins stuffed up dresses? Cans of scrumpy jacks in handbags? A snipe concealed in a beehive do?

No, no - this was getting desperate. So, instead we launched a war of attrition and over the course of weeks argued about the pros of having drink at a wedding. (Hello? It's fun.)

Eventually, my cousin conceded and, joy of joy, they agreed to serve up pints and prosecco.

I bring it up because the importance of alcohol at wedding tends to be a moot point.

I get why the happy couple might want to ban booze - it cuts costs and it reduces (but doesn't eliminate) the chances of someone vomiting/getting in a fight/bringing out an acoustic guitar at 2am.

But COME ON. You owe it to your wedding guests to ply them with cocktails.

They drove there, booked a hotel, bought you a gift, got a dress, and spent an inordinate amount of time talking to your insanely dull relatives for your Big Day.

All the while you wandered about like a princess and got your picture taken.

The very least you can do is hand them a bottle of wine and send them on their merry way. And they, in turn, will do the same for you.


Hendrick’s Chambers of the Curious

Hendricks is back with this topsy-turvy Victoriana house of delights. Expect lots of taxidermy and stiff juniper gin drinks.

Teddy the hero dog

Teddy the cockapoo. Photo: Aaron Duffy/PA Wire

Saving a child from a tumbledryer and stealing the hearts of the nation.


Pence prostrating

A la Sligo businessman Roger McCarrick, who invited Republican Mike Pence to visit his ancestral home. “Regardless of policies, he is still an ex-Tubbercurry man as far as we are concerned,” McCarrick said. Thankfully, Sligo County Council has reneged on this stance.

The Brex Pistols

What Team Farage/Trump/ Ukip have taken to calling themselves. 


‘Did it hurt? Of course it hurt. Have you ever had your b**ls squeezed?’

The ever eloquent Brian McFadden discusses the injury Keith Duffy sustained after an overly enthusiastic Boyzlife fan grabbed him by the testicle during a concert.

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