Sunday 27 May 2018

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."

Colin Farrell says that when he ditched drugs and alcohol, he took up running to let off steam

Colin Farrell in his most honest interview ever: 'When I came out of rehab that was the best sleep my mother had in 15 years' 

Some movie stars, when their multi-million dollar budget film comes out, have a glass of Chardonnay and enjoy the moment. In 2004, when Oliver Stone's epic Alexander was released, Colin Farrell received such a critical mauling for his performance in the title role that he got drunk out of his mind and vanished on a plane to Lake Tahoe. More than that, the young Brando from Castleknock...

The Empire State Building and New York City's skyline. Photo: Matej Kastelic

A fright on the tiles and a lost weekend hitting the water bottle in NY 

I have had two bad experiences recently. Two weekends ago, I was bringing breakfast up to the wife and daughter when I slipped on the tiles in the kitchen and went flying. I landed on my head, concussed myself and sprained my hand. I was on my hands and knees on the floor amid the broken breakfast plates when my wife came down to check whether I was dead or not. Later that evening I had to fly to London for work. I felt ill in bed that night and the following day had the worst headache in the history of headaches.

Billy Joel performs at Madison Square Garden on September 30, 2017 in New York City

Billy Joel - The Beethoven of Oyster Bay 

In Blade Runner, the dying replicant Roy Batty makes his dramatic final speech: "I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhauser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain." I can now, happily, add to my list of unbelievable things seen: last weekend in Long Island, Billy Joel riding his motorbike up the main street in Oyster Bay, Long Island, at some pelt in his leather jacket, and getting off at his vintage motorbike shop, where yours truly is waiting to meet the...

Van Morrison... still rocking and rolling at 72

Have I told you lately about Van's genius? 

Sod Sgt. Pepper. Van Morrison's 1968 album Astral Weeks is a finer album than The Beatles' piece de resistance from 1967. That was The Guardian's assessment in 2008. However contentious that view was, there is a certain sense to labelling Astral Weeks possibly one of the greatest, most seminal, albums of all time. Here Van is, the sacred wanderer, the spiritual seeker, the wise-man full of improvisational transcendence, seeking out some sort of mystic deliverance.

Mike Scott... 'possibly the happiest he's ever been in his life'. Photo: Tony Gavin

Mike Scott: 'I saw her off at the subway, we kissed' 

First, you see the cowboy hat in the distance. And from beneath it, skinny stargazer, bohemian wanderer and poetic rock star Mike Scott seems to be propelled by an invisible force, up St Anne's Street, and down Drury Street, before finally settling in a bar on Fade Street. The smile is wide and the form is good. There are, of course, substantial reasons for this. Mike has a new wife (internationally acclaimed Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi), a new baby (a seven-month-old son) and a new album, Out Of All This Blue, the best Waterboys album in decades, if not ever (it's...

Vivienne Connolly: 'Time is the most valuable thing you have. Spend it with the people you love.' Photo: David Conachy

Vivienne Connolly: 'I'm a strong person but very soft underneath' 

The bitch is back. Strong woman- cum-manipulative man-eater Ingrid Gleeson is about to return to Fair City after a five-year absence. The long-running RTE soap rang Vivienne Connolly in April to ask about her availability and interest in revising the role. The phone call came on the day of her son Ben Junior's Confirmation - his grandfather is Ben Dunne. "And it was funny because Katie," Vivienne says referring to her other child by ex-husband, supermarket heir Mark Dunne, "had only said a couple of weeks before that she'd love it if I was back on Fair City as she was so young the last...