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The OZone: An unreal accolade for Biffo

- Monday As a firm believer in the notion that (other) people should take responsibility for their actions, OZone doesn't have any time for our fantasist Taoiseach Brian Cowen -- who's still blaming the Lehman Brothers collapse, rather than his own myriad of mistakes, for the meltdown of the once-envied Irish economy.

I'm certainly not in a journalistic minority there, but the Fianna Fail press officers must be peeing their grey slacks with delight at the latest issue of Newsweak. Sorry -- Newsweek.

In a feature headlined 'Go to the top of the class', the US weekly has listed Biffo as one of the world's top 10 leaders, alongside the likes of King Abdullah, Nicolas Sarkozy and David Cameron.

The article, by reporter Christopher Dickey (snigger!), maintains that Biffo has "pushed through austerity packages drastic enough to win the admiration of the international community, raised taxes, and slashed some public salaries by more than 10pc."

The journalist sneeringly notes that "the Irish aren't showing much gratitude" as Cowen's popularity rating has "plunged to a mere 18pc." Methinks Dickey-bird should've done some more research.

Isn't he aware that Cowen is largely responsible for causing the mess he's now failing to mop up?

Incidentally, earlier this month, financially troubled Newsweek was sold for the princely sum of $1.

No wonder they admire him so much.

- Tuesday I see that Tony Blair is trying to salve his guilty conscience by donating all profits from his forthcoming novel (alright, 'memoirs') to a new sports centre for troops injured in the wars his lies helped cause.

The former British PM -- who converted to Catholicism in 2007 --will hand over the reported £4.6m advance he received for the book, A Journey, as well as any future royalties.

Given the way the beleaguered military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan are currently going, there'll be no shortage of maimed troops needing to avail of the centre.

Blair will reportedly be visiting Ireland next month to promote the book. The Galway Alliance Against War has announced that it will attempt to arrest him for war crimes if he does.

They haven't a snowflake's chance in Kabul of success, but best of luck to them anyway.

- Wednesday The Leaving Cert results are out today, meaning the Leaving Certs will be out tonight. Disliking the prospect of splashed vomit on my shoes, I decide to stay in.

- Thursday For various reasons, OZone hasn't actually left Galway in about a month. So it's with quite some relief that I board this morning's train to Dublin. I feel like Bill Murray at the end of Groundhog Day.

In the International Bar, I bump into a stressed looking Peter Reid, founder of acclaimed theatre group AC Productions.

He's covered in paint, sand and dust, and incoherently mumbling some lines from Beckett into his cider: "I can't go on . . . I must go on . . . I'll go on."

Peter explains that, having recently finished touring Pinter's The Birthday Party in Hong Kong and Prague, he's now directing his wife, Alex Cusack, in Beckett's Happy Days (as well as helping to construct the set).

Ironically, it seems the production is leading to unhappy nights. "It's much easier to direct actors who you don't have to go home with after rehearsals," he sighs.

The play is running at 8pm nightly in Players Theatre in Trinity until September 4 (admission €15). You can't go . . . you must go . . . you'll go.

Afterwards, to the Central Hotel to interview Today FM's Ian Dempsey.

He's just as affable, relaxed and self-deprecating in person as he comes across on the radio.

We're meeting on an interesting radio day. Following Gerry Ryan's untimely death, 2fm have just drastically reshuffled their schedule -- resulting in the departures of Nikki Hayes and Jim-Jim Nugent.

"I don't really know either of them very well," Ian admits. "I've said hello. But I believe Jim-Jim Nugent should stop using the name twice now at this stage. Just be Jim Nugent.

"But I think he's a very talented guy, I believe he's a really nice guy, and also quite funny -- and maybe this is going to be the beginning of the start of his brilliant career.

"Nikki, I feel a little bit sad about. I feel sorry for her because she didn't really get an opportunity to say goodbye to her listeners, and she seems to be the sort of person that needs to be able to say goodbye to her listeners.

"She seems to be quite emotionally charged, but she does a good job."

- Friday Shocking news about a suicide at a Swell Season gig in a California winery. An audience member leapt to his death from the roof above the stage, crash-landing just a few feet from horrified singer Glen Hansard. The jumper was a troubled San Jose man with a violent past, out on bail after threatening to kill his girlfriend and himself.

In the afternoon I'm chatting with the delightful Imelda May -- whose superb sophomore album Mayhem is just out -- and tell her about it. She's horrified but, as a performer, not particularly sympathetic to the suicide victim.

"It's not fair on the audience, it's not fair on the band, and not fair on the family either -- making a spectacle of it," she says. "That's really unfair. That was a nasty thing to do. You couldn't be a nice person and do that. That's wanting to be noticed at all costs, isn't it?"

- Saturday Having come across one of my older, filthier columns online, an aggrieved ex-girlfriend rings to demand her white silk panties back.

OZone assures her that they've only been used to "dust my laptop".

- Sunday Disgraced Ivor Callely is back in the headlines over fresh fraudulent expenses allegations. Amazingly, he still hasn't resigned.

Only in Ireland would resignation even be an option. In any properly run nation, he'd at least have been arrested by now.

Newsweak will probably give him the cover.


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