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Jedward don't bless us with spin on Popemobile

"Did you ever wonder," asked John Murray on Monday's John Murray Show, "where the Popemobile that ferried Pope John Paul II around back in 1979, when he was in Ireland... did you ever wonder where it went to?"

"No," I croaked (pleadingly), but it didn't work. He told me anyway. Paddy Dunning (owner of The National Wax Museum) was, it turned out, the "proud possessor" of the revamped Popemobile, and he was on the line to tell us more (whether we wanted to hear or not).

Apparently, when the dead-eyed wax simulacra of various Irish notables were being moved from Granby Row to the Wax Museum's new HQ in Foster Place, the Popemobile was discovered "behind an old dusty curtain". "I couldn't believe it," said Dunning. They're always the last place you look -- those enormous, bullet-proof Popemobiles.


The pimped-up behemoth can now be hired out for stag, hen and debs nights (€300 an hour, if you're interested), but for its relaunch on Tuesday Dunning wanted it to transport Jedward to the Wax Museum for the unveiling of their just-completed waxwork "likenesses". Let me just run through that again. Jedward, aboard the Popemobile, travelling through Dublin, to interact with wax recreations of themselves. I believe an "OMG!" is in order.

If you listened really closely you could hear the distant sound of heads exploding, as local cultural historians struggled to process this mind-blowing potpourri of incongruous elements. Was this to be Irish pop-culture's zenith? Or its nadir? Would Jedward, like zany 1960s Batman supervillains, hijack the Popemobile before embarking on a camp campaign of twintastic terror?

Such questions remained moot, alas, as the scenario never played itself out. The hyper-dynamic duo turned up alright, but they were too busy doing backflips (probably) to be enticed aboard a slow-moving papal vehicle Nevermind, Dunning had other wacky plans. He wanted, he said, to bring it "up the North of Ireland," or to Rome, or on a nationwide tour and rebrand it "the Hopemobile".

Now, call me old Mr Misery Pants, but if I were living in a corner of Ireland crippled by poverty and unemployment and someone came swanning down the dual-carriageway in a rebadged Popemobile looking to turn my frown upside-down and share my story of hope, I think I might justifiably become, well, a tiny bit violent. Not Mehmet Ali Agca violent but violent nonetheless.

Of course, if Jedward were driving it and high-fiving all and sundry, I might be forced to reconsider. They are beings of irresistible charm.


Maybe I just need a hug, or to be on the receiving end of a "random act of kindness".

We heard Henry McKean doling out both (as part of Electric Ireland's Powering Kindness week) on Under the Covers.

He carried a German tourist's suitcases. He told a woman: "You've got lovely earrings... and you've got lovely hair." He hugged strangers, held open doors, picked up discarded cigarettes, bought people coffee and Luas tickets. He left a hilarious phone message for his mother: "I suppose I'm trying to be kind... and I'll give you a ring back later. Thanks, mum".

"It's hard isn't it?" he sighed at one stage. "It's hard to love your neighbour... as Jesus says." Hey, don't beat yourself up about it, man. Jesus never bought anyone a Luas ticket. McKean may not yet be bigger than Jesus (a la The Beatles), but when it comes to complimenting strangers on the loveliness of their hair and earrings he leaves Christ in the ha'penny place.

The thing about this contemporary phenomenon of free hugs, "hopemobiles", and random kindness is that whenever I encounter it I automatically assume it's corporate-driven, or some yet-to-be-revealed viral advertising campaign.

But that's, y'know, only because it usually is. Don't blame me. Blame Coca-Cola, or Vodafone. And remember, if someone (randomly) offers to buy you a muffin, chances are they work for, say, Shell Oil.

Unless that someone is one half of the Jedwardian entity. In that case, eat the muffin. With my blessing.