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Michael O'Doherty: I'm now in the iPhone club -- and I loathe it!

I gave in this week and bought an iphone. A few hours later I was in a coffee shop and in walked two thirtysomething geeks with greasy hair, waistcoats, thick-rimmed designer glasses -- ie, full-on hipsters.

They sat beside each other, took out their new iphones, and spent the next hour tapping away in silence, only breaking it to exchange a nerdy FYI.

I was already starting to feel uncomfortable at the society that I'd joined when I discovered that Apple have now introduced something called a 'Friends Bar'.

Unlike most customer service desks where you go to have problems solved, this new service is simply for customers who want to chat at length to an employee about all things Apple.

"Unlike your girlfriend, we're not going to get tired of discussing the wireless capabilities of your operating system," said one Apple 'friend', omitting to mention the fact that any man who visits it never had a girlfriend in the first place. And never will.

Groucho Marx said that he wouldn't want to be a member of any club that would accept him as a member. I've now discovered that I'm a member of one -- the iphone club -- and that I loathe every person in it.

The cynics, those patronising Irish Times-reading old bores turn their nose up at Daithi's Rose. Ultimately, only one opinion matters -- the viewers

Three years ago I spent an afternoon with Daithi O Se at the Derby, co-judging the Best Dressed Lady prize. At the time, he was still relatively low on the TV presenting ladder -- doing the weather for TG4 and filming his first documentary along Route 66 in the US.

At that time, Daithi was better known for his questionable taste in country and western attire, and his habit of giving the 'two thumbs up' gesture every time he was photographed.


But after our few hours together, which involved visiting a succession of champagne bars and hospitality tents, pausing to stare at women's fashion in as unleery a manner as we could, I was a fully signed up member of the Daithi Fan Club.

And I was not alone, as we'd been accosted on countless occasions by a succession of women whose sole aim seemed to be to flirt with Daithi.

For the next two years, he won the Sexiest TV Presenter category in the TVNow Awards, and last March won the Most Stylish Man in Ireland award at the VIP Style Awards. All this, it must be said, when his CV was still a relatively lightweight assortment of once-off gigs, and his image was that of a ladies man first, TV presenter second.

This week, however, Daithi finds himself the presenter of the biggest single show on Irish TV. And with an average figure of 913,000 viewers, the highest in 10 years, Daithi's first year on the show can only be described as an unqualified success.

As always, there are cynics. Patronising, Irish Times-reading old bores who turn their nose up at the Rose for being antiquated and cheesy, wheeling out their favourite comment that it makes the Father Ted parody, the Lovely Girls Contest, seem cool in comparison.

Ooh, my aching ribs... And some will complain about Daithi's Kerry accent, which admittedly takes some getting used to, and his cowboy boots which, yes, have to go.

But for his first big solo gig on TV, Daithi passed with flying colours. He chose his routines carefully, knowing when to coax chat out of a nervous contestant, when to flirt with a gamey one, and when to turn to the audience and charm them with a self-deprecating comment.


There is, ultimately, only one opinion that matters when it comes to the success of a show like the Rose of Tralee, and that is the viewing public's. And not only did they tune into his big debut in record numbers, the vast majority of that audience tuned out on Tuesday night loving Daithi.

Now with his daytime TV debut on RTE's Daily Extra next month, Daithi O Se is the name on everyone's lips. And 10 years after starting on TG4, Daithi wakes up this morning, an overnight success.

Good on 'ya, horse.