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Anna Nolan: My Paddy's Day phobia

I don't know what to do on March 17. I was traumatised by the St Patrick's Day parade when I was younger.

I remember there was a huge float for Abel Alarms, blaring out the sound of a man speaking in a low, menacing voice. I had nightmares for weeks.

I decided several years ago, when I was living in London, to give the Irish pub a go on St Patrick's Day. Rosie O'Grady's in Camden was packed with tough London Irish and there were musicians and Irish dancers. I got quite drunk and shouted to one of the musicians: "Giz a go of your fiddle." He wasn't pleased.

The pub went silent. As I placed the violin under my chin, I realised I had made a mistake. My fingers began to sweat and my arms shake as I played King Of The Fairies. I played every note out of tune and no one clapped along. They just stared.

So, I haven't quite mastered how best to approach this day. Should I walk Glendalough? Should I watch my pal Blathnaid present the parade on RTE1? Should I cook coddle and drink whiskey? Or should I do a bit of shopping and have a cappuccino and croissant? I think the last is most appealing. The least Irish, but most appealing.

Well, Westlife, breaking up is hard to do, but do us all a favour and give it a go, lads

IT'S the best divorce ever, according to Louis Walsh. Westlife have parted company with the most powerful man in music, Simon Cowell, and everyone is as happy as Larry -- or as happy as Louis in this case.

I'd say the happiest man, as well as no doubt one of the richest in the world, is Simon, to finally be shot of the manboy band once and for all. And I'm with Mr Nasty on this one.

Westlife are jaded. Let's be honest. Unless you're a damp pre-teen with Jackie posters on your wall without a bog of what makes good pop, Westlife have never been up to much.


They don't make great music. I might argue that they never did, but the only one who really counts is the talent spotter, the rags-to-riches starmaker that is Simon Cowell and he has decided that the Irish band don't deserve the huge amount of publicity other bands on his label get and his company Syco and the boys have parted ways.


As I see it, Westlife have a couple options. They can keep churning out more tired, crooney Westlife 'choons'. Or they could be shrewd little monkeys, secretly organise a break-up then release a statement in about, ohhh, the next 12 months, to say they are splitting up. They can then sit on their arses for a year, put on weight, do some acting in a UK soap, maybe become addicted to coffee or Pepsi Max, and one or two of them can have an affair.

Four or five years down the line, they can come back older, more handsome, have lived on the edge a little and be a sight more interesting.

As much as they and Louis Walsh are saying the split with Simon Cowell is good, it's not. Louis has said that it's a "great divorce" but no divorce is ever good.

Westlife should call it a day. The boyband need to grow up and face the big bad world without them crooning into each others' ears.

Since 1998, Westlife have bopped and harmonised, changed key throughout their songs and done more covers than the chef at The Trocadero.

The average age of a Westlife fan back in 1998 was 14.

Would that 27-year-old girl be as interested today? I'd say she's either breastfeeding baby number one, or is over the moon that Arcade Fire are playing at Electric Picnic.

Louis Walsh thinks the band has 10 more years. I'd say be bold, lads.

Cut the chord, say goodbye, take a bow and maybe in five years time we will hear a new, sexy, mature, edgy Westlife.

But as the song goes, breaking up is hard to do.

Sheen's headed for institution... or show?

Charlie Sheen, he just keeps giving. And his latest video of his 'Winning Recipes' on YouTube is entertaining, to say the least.

He is doing a mocked-up television cookery show, and is preparing a 'Winning Salad'.

It is shot, I would say, on three cameras and is edited brilliantly. His comedy timing, as usual, is perfect and the whole package is genius.

The man has unbelievable talent and it is difficult to believe that all this mess has happened so quickly. It's not even two weeks since he started his crazy campaign.

Who knows where he will be in two weeks' time, at the rate he is going. It could be a mental institution or a new show. You just never know.

The perfect ending for the oh-so pretty boys

It seems the Stokes twins have come to represent all that was bad about the Celtic Tiger days. Their spending habits are now public knowledge. They lived a beautiful life and they have lost it all.

Yes, they deserve every punishment they get, but do we dislike them more because of how they continue to present themselves -- slick, pretty, wealthy and confident?

I remember when Catherine Nevin went to court each day, she presented herself perfectly. We became obsessed with her look more so than her crime.

And with the Bang boys, you can't help but wonder -- would we be as obsessed if they were fat, ugly, old, balding twins?

Spider-Man needs a miracle to save him

I was in New York last week and mentioned to the barman one night that my partner had been to a preview of the Spider-Man musical and loved it.

My New York friend said that no amount of positive reaction will ever take away from the fact that it is a joke around the city that this production has taken so long to get off the ground. They said that with the accidents and postponements, it has to be the most jinxed show ever to hit Broadway, and it will take a miracle for it to succeed.