Monday 20 November 2017

The Edge: Gayle the gift that keeps on giving

A gift: Gayle Killilea
A gift: Gayle Killilea
Blaise O'Donnell: The Edge will be watching her with interest.
Partying: Among the many events which Bono and Ali attended during the year was Adam Clayton's 55th birthday bash in Xanadu.
Watch it: Barry keeps a close eye on Louis and Twink
Split: Ashley Duane and Aisling Quinn went their separate ways during the year. Photo: Brian McEvoy.
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Gayle Killilea is the gift that just keeps on giving, isn't she?

I'm not even going to mention that wedding of weddings on Aristotle Onassis's yacht, the Christina O, for a week of effervescence, and pink Louis Roederer, in July 2004 when she wed property tycoon Sean Dunne. I won't even mention the mind-bending cost - an estimated €1.5m. The main thing is that the guests, like Nationwide Building Society chief executive Michael Fingleton and Irish rugby international legend Ronan O'Gara, Gate Theatre artistic director Michael Colgan, enjoyed themselves, isn't it?

I've always had a soft spot for Gayle (and The Dunner.) The beautiful blonde has always been a good sport, and funny with it. In April last year, when I asked Gayle was there any news, she replied from her Connecticut home, where she lives with her tycoon other-half: "That I'm not in Ukraine begging for money for my safe return?"

Gayle was, of course, referring to the unfortunate incident whereby her email account had been hacked. "My email account was compromised this morning. If you received any unusual emails from me requesting money etc then please ignore them. I am safe and well - and not in the Ukraine." Got you.

Ms O'Donnell will Blaise a trail...

Buy land. They're not making it anymore. Those words are by a fella by the name of Mark Twain - not me.

We were obsessed with land in 2015, weren't we? And I would put my house on it that the obsession will continue this year and for many years to come.

Blaise O'Donnell became, perhaps unwittingly, a kind of poster girl for that property fixation by virtue of the fact she was the young Irish beauty formerly of Gorse Hill mansion in Killiney and that she seemed to like the media attention.

Well - she turned up at the Sunday Independent End Of Summer party on the rooftop of the Marker hotel in Grand Canal Dock in an eye-catching orange dress.

So eye-catching, in fact, that you could perhaps see the guna all the way to Gorse Hill. Blaise's chaperone for the evening was Jerry Beades of the New Land League. He told me that his summer crush was his old sparing partner, Vincent Browne.

I recalled asking Beades would he spend an evening of passion with Mr Browne if it meant that all the poor souls who are in trouble with banks in Ireland were forever freed from their financial problems.

I also recall Beades laughing his well-sized backside off as he answered: "For one night only with Vincent then!"

For more than one night - make that a week or two - last summer, Blaise made us all jealous by travelling on a boat off the Sorrentine Peninsula in Italy, stopping along the way to visit Sorrento, Positano and Capri. There were also trips to London and the like.

I look forward to keeping you informed of her whereabouts this year.

Bono and the Simon Carmody Community bring joy

Partying: Among the many events which Bono and Ali attended during the year was Adam Clayton's 55th birthday bash in Xanadu.

Partying: Among the many events which Bono and Ali attended during the year was Adam Clayton's 55th birthday bash in Xanadu.

Will Bono continue to provide joy to the nation in 2016? Duh. Is the Pope Catholic? Do Irish politicians like the sound of their own voices?  Does Dolly Parton sleep on her  -  oh, you get the picture.

So, of course, the U2 front man will continue to bring a beaming smile to the faces of this country's citizens this year.

The messianic, sometimes pompous, pixie brings almost as much entertainment with his off-stage antics with his trusty Simon Carmody Community as he does with his music or his gigs (U2's show at the 3Arena on November 28 - closely followed by the opening night of U2's world tour in Vancouver on May 14 - was my gig of 2015.)

Bono knows how to put on a show when he goes out on the town, doesn't he? When he ventures down from his palace in the Killiney Hills, the singer tends to sweep all before him when he goes out in nocturnal Dublin - not least when he is bringing his homies to Luna on Drury Street (his new favourite spot) or Bellucci's in Ballsbridge.

From reading what his detractors say about him (The New Yorker grumbled that Bono's lyrics are "treacly platitudes, verging on nonsense") you would expect him to be a painful self-regarding bore, completely up himself. You'd be wrong. Well - mostly wrong.

Who could forget Bono singing a few bars of Do They Know It's Christmas? at an impromptu Christmas hooley in Bellucci's that went on until 3am the year before last? Those lucky enough to hear his performance included Liam Cunningham, Guggi, Dave Kavanagh, Graham Beere, Michael Colgan and, of course, The Simon Carmody Community, without whom it wouldn't be a Bono bash at all. But if Bono was looking for someone who knows how to throw a party, he only needs to look to his left the next time he is on stage - Adam Clayton.

Last March, to mark his 55th birthday, the U2 bassist and his South American art director wife Mariana had a lively lunch at his Xanadu in Rathfarnham. Guests included Bono and Ali Hewson, Larry Mullen and Ann Acheson, Gavin Friday, Guggi, and close friends of the band's extended family - otherwise known as The Stankards (please note: whisper that name in a Bridge Of Spies style.)

After the jamboree in Rathfarnham, Bono and his assorted apostles continued the celebrations at rooftop restaurant Sophie's in Paddy McKillen Junior's Dean Hotel on Harcourt Street.

Look, Bono, top of the world.

RTE need to give Twink a show

If you asked me who I would have at my dream dinner party, I would have to say  that after Jesus, Nina Simone, Marilyn Monroe, William Butler Yeats, Peter O'Toole, Éamon de Valera, John F Kennedy, Lou Reed,  Bob Dylan, Peter and Maureen Egan, and Gerry Ryan, I would have to have Twink.

She is a force of Irish nature. The late Gerry Ryan once told me that it was one of the biggest shames of national television that RTE never gave Twink a show, and that the powers that be at Montrose were frightened of strong, talented women like her.

She provided Ireland with one of its most entertaining episodes when her dog Teddy was disgracefully stolen from her. Mercifully, she got him back.

Sadly, RTE don't seem to be listening to what the country wants and still haven't given Twink her own show on the national station. In truth, the best show RTE could give the country would be to pair Twink up with that other bastion of colour, Mr Louis Walsh.

I'd pay to watch that car crash.

The mighty Quinn, those hot aunts, and the beautiful people

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Split: Ashley Duane and Aisling Quinn went their separate ways during the year. Photo: Brian McEvoy.

Split: Ashley Duane and Aisling Quinn went their separate ways during the year. Photo: Brian McEvoy.

Was  it - I  gently ask you -  the curse of LIFE Magazine? They appeared together on the cover of the Sunday Independent's internationally esteemed glossy mag as recently as May 24, with the headline - 'Young Love: Irish Modelling's Golden Couple.'

By the end of summer, however, the golden couple were no more. . .

I speak, of course, of Aisling Quinn (top Irish model and daughter of Niall and Gillian Quinn) and her long-term BF Ashley Duane going their separate ways. The nation was in a state of profound shock as the couple - who became an item in June 2013 at the K Club in Kildare when Ashley turned to Aisling and told her, beautifully: 'I have feelings for you' - sadly, and mystifyingly, split up.

It was mystifying because they seemed so inseparable - and full of the joy. I mean, for their first anniversary last year, the golden couple thought big: Ashley got Aisling a big picture of the globe with the precise instructions to scratch off the places she'd been to. "There is so much of the world that we haven't seen together," Aisling told LIFE magazine. Many of us thought that with Aisling 'n' Ashley jetting off on romantic breaks every other weekend to Barcelona (with Niall and Gillian), Berlin and Paris that the glam duo would soon have some big news for the country.

Big news, like, for instance, a wedding date. No one expected this news, however, from them.

"It is amicable. We are still friends. We broke up two and a half months ago," Aisling told me in October.

"We just grew apart." I was sorry to hear it. Your diarist doesn't doubt for one moment that Aisling and her even-more-glamorous mother Gillian - to say nothing of Aisling's super-stylish aunties Valerie Roe, Patricia Roe and Bernie Cafolla - will continue to transport Ireland into a better, more joyful place in 2016.

My apologies if this seems a bit - even for me - over-the-top, but I have had, what they used to call, a good Christmas. Indeed, other members of The Beautiful Young People who I'm sure will be making us smile in 2016 will include: Roz Purcell, Aoife Walsh, Roz Lipsett, Carol Anthony, Maria Walsh, Jade, and Holly Carpenter among many many others.

Johnny Boy and the gang will be good value for craic in 2016

Where would be without him? Badger-coiffured boulevardier of bling, Johnny Ronan is to restraint in Irish life what Roy Keane was to restraint on the pitch during his heyday at Man United.

He once flew on a whim on his private jet to Marrakesh with former Miss World Rosanna Davidson and her pal Sarah Leckie et al, didn't he?

So Johnny - along with Bono - is someone we will expect to bring gaiety to Ireland in 2016. He just doesn't do dull.

Take the lunch he and his coterie of cultured epicures had in Marcel's on Merrion Row one Friday last August. . .

It was a long luncheon that looked like never ending and was like a throw back to the halcyon days of the Celtic Tiger. Remember The Age of Indulgence - before Ireland sank slowly beneath the icy waves of the recession. Remember those times when Johnny and his mates would take over The Unicorn on Friday afternoons? How we could not?

This particular Friday in Marcel's was a feast that started at 3pm and finished at 1am - and featured at various times throughout this legendary lunch that later moved (quelle surprise!) to the bar of the restaurant . .. deep breath now. . . Dylan McGrath, Graham Beere, Michael Colgan. . . Robbie Fox, Liam Cunningham. . . Des McEvaddy, Ronan Barry and others.

Johnny boy - I was reliably informed by one of my many Deep Throats - was one of the last to leave.

That's the spirit.

In September, Johnny was also in party mode at the 70th birthday bash of multi-millionaire tycoon Johnny Byrne at his mansion in North Kerry.

It wasn't just any bash either. There were 350 people at it. And Johnny Ronan, who was in a suit and tie, and looked at the do on the grounds of Byrne's 100 acre farm in Duagh - as my mole put it with no little poignancy - "like a model from Dublin transplanted into a field in Kerry".

Planes flew overhead in homage to the birthday boy after the main courses.

I wonder did Mr Ronan, at that precise moment, look up, rub his beard - and think tenderly of his private jet jolly to Morocco with Rosie, once upon a time?

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