Monday 10 December 2018

Robbie Fox with his wife Martina. Photo: David Conachy.

Will Robbie do Fox trot in his natural habitat again? 

The Fox trot, anyone? The Fantastic Mr Fox could be returning. Robbie Fox - for it is he - told me that he would not rule out a return to his natural habitat - nightclubs - next year perhaps. Robbie, of course, ran the Pink Elephant nightclub from 1980 to 1987 and then Renards in the same venue in South Fredrick Street in Dublin from 1990 to 2009. Both clubs were, of course, a second home to the likes of Bono et al. Bellucci's, Robbie's hugely popular restaurant on Merrion Road, has been a second kitchen to the likes of Bono et al since it opened in 2011.

Sinead O'Connor's vocals feature on a new EP, as do Cillian Murphy's

Poppyrock around the clock with Sinead 

Bertrand Russell said, 'war does not determine who is right - only who is left'. Welsh scientist Sir Chris Evans OBE read over thousands of letters written by World War I soldiers in the trenches. The sad and often heartbreaking contents - young soldiers' letters to their mothers and the replies they received until the day the soldiers were killed in the muddy bloodbath of Flanders - inspired Evans to pen four original songs using the soldiers' words and phrases to tell their stories. (Four years ago Evans set up the Evamore project after he read letters from cancer patients.) To commemorate...

Matt and Leo are reunited again after 12 months apart, but Leo won't spill the beans on the 'private stuff' about their relationship

Leo's ready to welcome Matt back from America 

Football's not coming home. But An Taoiseach's other half Dr Matt Barrett is. "He's home [from his job in America] next week," Leo told me. (Who else is he going to tell? Some stone-faced drip of a pol corr?) Your diarist then asked the youngest An T ever, will he and Matt be moving in together? Will Matt be accompanying An T to events? "I will pass on that. Private stuff. You can say that I am just glad to have him back. In some ways the year apart was OK as it allowed me to focus on the new job but I am looking forward now to having someone to confide in again." (I thought that...

PIC: Roisin Murphy

'Ireland is a great place to be odd' - pop star Roisin Murphy 

Roisin Murphy's childhood, like the outfits she wears on stage at her sold-out concerts around the world, was often surreal, rarely dull. One of the greatest artists ever to emerge out of these islands, she can recall her father Michael waking her up to "come downstairs and see what's in the car". Roisin went down to find that her dad had "brought a pony home in the back of the car, on its side. My mother was standing in the street crying, 'What are we going to do with this f**king pony?' He must have bought it in the pub. The madness she had to put up with. But looking...

Sharon Shannon can smile again after years of anguish as her soul mate Jimmy fought to stay alive. Photo: Kip Carroll

Irish musician Sharon Shannon shares harrowing picture of her partner Jimmy's brush with death to raise awareness of his illness 

Sharon Shannon plays beautiful music that is loved universally. She has played with the likes of Bono, Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne; and for presidents galore - Clinton at the White House and Obama in Dublin, the two Marys (Robinson and McAleese) in Poland and Australia, and Michael D Higgins in China. But for the past eight years, no music, however beautiful, could hope to block out the...

Pat Shortt. Photo: Gerry Mooney

'We were all brought in to give her a hug' - Pat Shortt on losing his mother at 7, his own family, and breaking new ground in his career 

There is a pleasing absence of contemporary celebrity psychological maladjustment - of neurosis masquerading as winking self-promotion anyway - with Pat Shortt. That said, Pat Shortt is also a bit of an oddity, a bit of a freak (in a good way), in the modern world of entertainment. "For someone who is living in the public eye," he says, "I'm actually very private."

Julian Okines and Amanda Byram arriving on the red carpet for the IFTA

Hozier joins bro's bash in party week to remember 

What a week. And not just for the weather. Hozier helped his brother John celebrate his birthday in House last weekend. The great singer looked cool in a grey T-shirt and black jeans. Robbie Henshaw and girlfriend Sophie Marren were in Host Restaurant in Ranelagh on Tuesday night. Millie Mackintosh was in the Marker that day. Keith Duffy was at the launch of Blow in Henry Street's Dunnes on Wednesday night. Pippa O'Connor and Brian Ormond were in the Intercontinental after the IFTAs (they stayed the night, as did Amanda Bryam and husband Julian Okines).

Florence Welch feels songs are subconscious warnings and messages

The return of ethereal ginger genius 

When Alexa Chung said that "No one says the word 'quirky' much in England - I guess because people are more naturally eccentric", she could, of course, have been talking about ethereal ginger genius Ms Florence Welch. She is to quirky eccentricity what Ms Chung is to a good eye for the edgy guna. Florence told The Telegraph that at seven she was the Welch family's "go-to performer" for "mainly funerals". As a kid she used to believe she could breathe underwater ("I think it was a dream, but when you're a kid it's hard to separate dreams from reality").

Paloma Faith's new album, The Architect, is about 'drawing attention to the importance of compassion'

'Because I lack pretension, people assume I'm stupid' - Paloma Faith talks childhood, therapy, trolls, and love 

Paloma Faith walks shoe-less into the hotel lounge area her management has reserved. Her socks - bright pink with purple polka dots - are as colourful and vivacious as her personality. The 36-year-old sits up on the chair and tucks her feet up under her in a yogic pose. Yoga-like, I soon realise, is the last phrase anyone would use to describe Paloma Faith. She is about as Zen-calm as a long-tailed cat.

Dinner date... Valentine's couple John McColgan and Moya Doherty will be dining at home in their sumptuous pad in Howth

Moya has beau John with a fine Chianti 

It's all happening in Cork. TV uber-chef Rachel Allen and husband Isaac will be marking Valentine's Day with dinner at their restaurant Rachel's. They have a special menu on for Valentine's night at the restaurant. And special Flirtini cocktails, created by Rachel. "We might have a few of those," Isaac told me. "We are married 19 years and we are stuck with each other, and we have no plans to change," he joked. "I am mad about her and she is mad about me. And we are mad about each other."