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Anna Nolan: How sad that cocaine will blight Gerry's memory

I was in a cafe in Enfield last week. I was with a cameraman and we were about to take a break from filming and sit down to some sandwiches and tea, when the news came on the radio.

The broadcaster announced that Gerry Ryan had died due to a mixture of cocaine and alcohol.

I looked around to see the reaction from all the locals who were settled in this cosy restaurant, while outside there was snow on the ground and dark clouds above. One table had an old couple.

They put down their cutlery and I could see the woman looking confused. It just hadn't entered her head that Gerry Ryan would have lived a life that involved taking illegal substances.

Another table had a mother with four children. I could see one child, about 10 years of age, ask the mother why she was looking shocked.

The mother snapped out of her moment of disbelief and told the children to hurry up and eat up.

A reputation torn apart in seconds. The biggest tragedy about the news of Gerry Ryan's association with cocaine is that he will never be able to explain to his fans what really went on, why he took the drug, how it made him feel and how perhaps he wanted to stop taking it.


We have seen stars in the past go through the mill with drug addiction. The actor Robert Downey Jr was in and out of the press when he would fall in and out of nightclubs intoxicated.

Like Drew Barrymore before him who also had a life of illegal substances, Downey Jr had the chance to get clean and explain to his public what was going on in his head. He became the darling of Hollywood -- because we all love a fallen hero who climbs back to the top again.

Gerry was the king of spoof. He could make a beautiful mountain out of a molehill.

He could make his radio audience feel that they were the most important people in the world.


He was a top-class broadcaster who could pretend every single day that he was thrilled to be there, that life was fantastic and that all in the world of Gerry Ryan was tip top tastic.

Instead, he was ill. He was stressed. He had to be helped to the shower some days.

He had a signal to leave a party when he was too banjaxed to go on.

Whatever kept him going living life to the full, was what brought him down.

Was it ego, was it financial strain or was it a work ethic that made him feel he just couldn't stop? Possibly all three.

People are angry that Gerry is dead. Melanie is angry. His friends are angry. The public is angry.

Unfortunately, Gerry Ryan will never be able to clear his reputation.

Those people in the cafe in Enfield will always remember that Gerry died because he took cocaine. And that is the biggest shame about this man's death.

Why did cameras shy away from Christina? No one cares if she's fat

How wide can a shot be? How far away from a performer can a camera get? Well, it seems very, very far away.

Did anyone see Christina Aguilera's face on Saturday night's X Factor as she was performing her song from Burlesque? Me neither.

Well that's because the camera was placed a mile or so away from the stage, right up in the corner, possibly in a newly extended section built especially for the American singer. I squinted at the telly to try to focus on the right performer, as Aguilera was squeezed in between 10 other dancers. They shoved their booties in front of the camera, which allowed us to see approximately a 10th of Christina's body.

Add to that the fact that she had long, curly, blonde, extension-filled hair cascading from her scalp to her elbows, it seemed Christina Aguilera was a singing nasal passage. I know why they made this decision. She has put on weight.

Christina is a little bit plump. Her cheeks are a tiny bit chubby and her thighs are like mine just after Christmas -- round and full.


So what! So what that Christina has put on weight. Big deal that she is not the rake we are used to seeing. The girl is Latina, for God's sake, and should have a voluptuous physique. Who made the decision to pull back on the close-ups? Was it the singer herself, or the management?

Well, whoever it was made a stupid move. A woman doesn't have to be a dancing stick to be a great performer. And this woman, who has the voice of a megastar, should have realised that trying to hide her natural body shape is doing herself, and women in general, a disservice. Time for your close-up, Ms Aguilera.

I've got my life back after the end of X Factor

Love it or hate it, X Factor has been the staple for thousands of Irish viewers over the past couple of months. I have been one of those who have rearranged events, nights out in the pub and dinners according to the times of the show on a Saturday and Sunday night.

As much as I complained about the lack of talent, the blatant miming of some acts and the frustration of the format, I was hooked.

And so now I will have to meet people, go back into the world of humans and start living my life again.


The go-slow in the snow brought out best in us all

Okay, I know the slush gets annoying, and the cabin fever gets too much, but in a weird way I think the snow has brought out the best in us all.

It changed the mood and the pace of the country. We all slowed down just for a few days, put our Christmas shopping on hold and had some time out.

I never said hello to as many people, as I did while tiptoeing over the ice. I pushed cars, helped old people cross the road, and thanked the many kind folk who helped me as my back wheels skidded into stagnation.