Saturday 19 October 2019

Halloween dos and don'ts for getting through the (truly) most magical time of year

Sitting comfortably: Graham Norton at the Mansion Hous. Photo: Andres Poveda
Pat Doherty standing next to a painting by Lucian Freud of himself.
Stephanie Preissner on RTE's Cutting Edge
Go for it, girls: dress as sexily as you want for Halloween.
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The most magical time of year is nearly upon us. No, not Christmas, silly, Halloween.

This year, I am dressing up as Beethoven - the composer, not the dog.

It was a toss-up between him or Skrillex. In the end, my hair was the deciding factor; it went from being just right to far too long within a 15-minute window last weekend.

Right now it's Javier Bardem in No Country for Old Men length.

So, Beethoven it is. Not a Sexy Beethoven, I should hasten to add - just your run-of-the-mill, cravat-loving Ludwig.

While I adore the holiday, I admit getting through Halloween is exhausting.

There are many pitfalls, so here are some helpful Halloween Dos and Don'ts to guide you through the season.

1). Never paint your face to depict another race. You will look racist because it is racist.

2). Don't judge ladies for wearing sexy ensembles. Quite frankly, if you have the chutzpah to walk down Harcourt Street dressed as a 'Sexy Scarecrow' or a 'Sexy Undecided Voter in the Upcoming US Presidential Election' - more power to you.

3). Don't give out about Halloween being too commercialised and too Americanised. It's boring and predictable.

4). Be as specific as possible. Dressing up as a '1980s fitness instructor' is a mediocre idea but dressing up as 'Richard Simmons promoting his 2009 DVD Sweating to the Oldies 5' is a good idea.

6) Don't do half-hearted drag. "People need to go big or go home," Irish drag queen Bunny O'Hare tells me. "You don't want to look like a lost member of a stag party."

7). If a man chats you up while you're dressed as a smurfette, don't go home with him. He probably/ definitely has a weird Smurf fetish and you will probably/ definitely end up hating yourself and your life choices.

Why you'll never see Cher on Love Island

'I must admit," Graham Norton said, glancing around the Round Room. "When they said the Mansion House, I was expecting a bit more wood panelling. There's a whiff of a nightclub in here."

The TV star was in Dublin for the Easons In Conversation series and spoke about his debut novel Holding, a sort of Midsomer Murders-style mystery set in West Cork.

"I thought I would write a smart-alec urbane novel," he said. "But it didn't turn out that way."

Róisín Ingle was on MC duties and conversation ranged from outrageous A-list riders and dodgy gates, to Fr Noel Furlong, and a good glass of white wine.

We were all very interested to hear who had been the most demanding celebrity to appear on his BBC chat show.

"It's never the Madonnas or the Chers," he said. "It's the young ones who don't realise they have to pay for the entourage. Which is why they end up broke and on Love Island."

Norton said the most ridiculous request was when one US celebrity insisted on a separate changing room where they might charge their mobile phone.

"Clearly, we have all been living like animals charging our phones in the rooms we are in," Norton said.

The Bandon man also spoke about his dream guests. "I would love Angelina and Brad but that's not looking too likely. Unless I go all Oprah on it and offer them marriage counselling on stage."

Asked if he would interview Trump, he replied "No".

"The worst thing you can say about Hillary is that she will be a bad president, but Trump is a complete f**kwit."

Norton's love of Ireland was reignited after the death of his father and, in 2013, Bandon opened the Graham Norton River Walkway.

"So now people can think of me while looking at abandoned prams and traffic cones," he joked.

The evening was a fantastic pick-me-up on a chilly Monday and everyone left with their books tucked highly under their arms.

It's no oil painting for Freud-sitter Pat Doherty

Pat Doherty standing next to a painting by Lucian Freud of himself.

I can't imagine anything more intense than getting your portrait painted. Just sat there for hours on end, eyeballing someone while they analyse every imperfection on your mug.

"It's certainly an experience," Donegal man Pat Doherty (above) said at the launch of IMMA's new Lucien Freud Collection. Pat sat for Lucien on three separate occasions. "The first painting took 100 sittings, the second was 85 sittings and the third sketch was 35 sittings," he said. "Each sitting took three hours. So it was a lot of time."

And what did he make of the final product? "Well, they're not pretty. I told Lucien I might grow into them - in 30 years' time."

The exhibition, which opened on Thursday night, is filled with 30 of Freud's paintings - including one of his fashion-designer daughter Bella. Lucien had plenty of ties to Ireland - he was always knocking about with Francis Bacon, and Jack B Yeats and he was married to Guinness heiress Lady Caroline Blackwood.

"He has so many connections," director Sarah Glennie said. "Which is why it's fantastic to have a home for these pieces here."


Stephanie Preissner on RTE's Cutting Edge

The expression on Stefanie Preissner’s face when George Hook told her that he first saw a naked breast at the age of 25 is just priceless. George is the uncrowned King of Oversharing. He once asked radio listeners how he could “crop out” his “nasty bits” in a shower selfie and earlier this year told us he likes parading about in ladies’ knickers. Oh George, we love you, but enough already.


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