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Colm's calorie counting is driving me crackers

If you're reading this while enthusiastically wolfing down a giant bowl of chicken chow mein, or even just contemplatively munching on a yummy spring roll, then stop. This instant.

On Tuesday, an incredulous Colm Hayes grappled with the distressing news that an average portion of prawn crackers (apparently) contains over 600 calories. "What?!", he wailed. "I thought they were just like paper! I didn't think there was anything in those!"


Undaunted by such revelations, Damien called in to kick off a take-away debate by claiming that despite eating nothing but chipper food for the past 16 years, he remained in rude health. "You're a walking disaster!" bawled Hayes, somewhat unconvinced, before revealing that Damien was not only a glutton but (gasp!) unemployed. "There's nothing healthy going on in your life at all, is there?"

"Not at the moment," chuckled Damien good-naturedly. "But, sure... I'm still surviving".

"There's Damien. Seven takeaways a week," sighed Hayes as he launched into an itemised breakdown of Damien's daily diet.

"Pizza, chips, burgers... spice burgers. I'm gonna make myself hungry. Deep fat (sic) sausages. Phwoar! All these things". He really did say "Phwoar!", or something pretty damn close to it, suggesting a ravenous (and jealous) broadcaster on the point of a 'foodgasm'. It was all a bit upsetting. I had to 'comfort eat' a bag of prawn crackers to settle myself down.

Safefood's Cliodhna Foley-Nolan was repeating the dire warnings on Monday's The Last Word, urging consumers to "be a bit judicious. Get more vegetable dishes. Share".

Banal enough stuff, apart from the radical suggestion that we share. What fruity socialist madness is this?!

The Tubridy show was Tubridy-less again this week as Ryan danced across the Irish sea to sit in for Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2. A spot of moonlighting that didn't go down particularly well with some of Radio 2's more crotchety listeners (those that like things just so).

My favourite complaint (posted on the show's Facebook page) was this one from listener Karen Blackburn: "Why does Ryan do Thought for the Day five minutes earlier than Chris? I switch on especially to hear it -- and when it's early, I don't hear it". Outrageous! That Tubridy fella has got a maverick streak in him a mile long (well, five minutes long at least).

Warming Tubridy's vacant chair was Des Bishop, who proved an agreeably easy-going replacement and a sympathetic listener. Miraculously, he even seems to have satisfied the regulars on the Boards.ie radio forum, and they hate everything (apart from Ray Foley).

On Wednesday, Bishop conducted an extraordinary interview with Jessica Thom -- author of Welcome to Biscuit Land.

Thom has Tourette's Syndrome and (as the interview demonstrated) involuntarily says the word "biscuit", a lot.


She described Tourette's as causing "explosive, occasionally obscene, verbal ejaculations and gestures" and spoke of the "challenges of living with it", but also celebrated its "witty and playful nature".

Some of her involuntary verbal 'tics' (like "Aim your dog at the moon") were so engagingly surreal that a friend convinced her to do something creative with them.

That led to a book, and the creation of a website called touretteshero.com where she posts her latest 'verbal ejaculations' and invites readers to create pieces of (frequently wonderful) art based on them.

It was a uniquely challenging interview for a rookie, but Bishop, to his credit, sailed through it.