Sunday 24 March 2019

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Comedian Deirdre O'Kane is gearing herself up for a charity night on March 1. Photo: Marc OSullivan

Deirdre set for Gaza while Holly in Enfield 

Your diarist bumped into Deirdre O'Kane on Grafton Street last week. Was she tangoing? No, merely walking, sadly. The actress, comedian, and one-time star of Dancing With The Stars - hence the bad tango joke - was coming out of Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan at the Gaiety Theatre, with her kids Holly and Daniel. She told me she was gearing up for Paddy's Night in Support of Comic Relief at the 3 Arena on March 17 which Deirdre has organised now for the third year.

Clea Newman daughter of Paul Newman pictured in Dublin. Photo: Mark Condren

Paul Newman and the sundance kid called Clea 

In 1945, Aviation Radioman Third Class Paul Newman, assigned to Pacific-based replacement torpedo squadrons in World War II, was sent to the USS Bunker Hill before the Battle of Okinawa. In a stroke of fate, the Ohio boy's life was saved when his pilot got an ear infection and was unable to fly bomber missions. When the replacements were killed in action in the Battle of Okinawa, Paul Newman was forever left with the belief that life is mostly about luck.

Ozzy Osbourne with wife Sharon, daughter Kelly and son Jack in the original series of The Osbournes

Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne - one of the strangest, most enduring, love affairs in the history of the music industry 

Long before Keeping Up with the Kardashians, there was The Osbournes. Ostensibly, they were an endearingly dysfunctional family from Birmingham who lived in a mansion in Beverly Hills and had lots more money than sense - if they had any sense to begin with. The father was a mumbling deranged rock star who couldn't control himself, let alone his children Kelly and Jack (eldest daughter,...

Father John Misty's 'God's Favorite Customer': a masterpiece of vulnerability

Father John Misty's blood on the tracks 

Someone wise once said that 'beauty of expression is so akin to the voice of the sea'. Growing up in Bray with the waves of the sea perhaps a subconscious soundtrack to their youth, childhood friends Caoimhe Barry, Karen Cowley and Saoirse Duane aka Wyvern Lingo, know all about the beauty of expression on their debut, and self-titled, album. Wyvern Lingo has echoes of early Prince, A Tribe Called Quest, Bjork and Massive Attack while sounding nothing remotely like any of those acts; Wyvern Lingo have something of their own going on. They gave one of the performances of the...

An Taoiseach, a big fan of Christmas decorations, relaxes beside the Christmas tree in his office. Photo: David Conachy

'I'm spending Christmas with Matt's folks in Cork' - Varadkar on festive memories, world leaders and love 

'I met your missus at Kylie." It would be difficult to imagine any Taoiseach other than Leo Varadkar addressing you with such words - delivered from behind his desk in his office in Merrion Sreet. His detractors will use this as a stick to beat him. This is of little consequence to him. He can talk to you as fluently about Lady Gaga, U2 or The Pixies as he can Brexit, Northern Ireland or foreign...

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).