Friday 15 December 2017

The Edge: Julie breaks open the bubbly as Hollywood comes calling for her

Cecelia Ahern
Cecelia Ahern
Art: Gemma and Carole at the Hay Gallery. Photo: Colin Ince
Single: Rachel Wyse was in Dublin last week to launch the Fairyhouse Easter Festival.
Western promise: UTV's Jenny Buckley is heading west.
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

If celebrated writer Julie Parsons was on the sofa watching the Oscars last Sunday, she was definitely not sitting on the fence. While the rest of the country was cheering for Room and Brooklyn, Julie only had eyes for The Revenant and Spotlight.

And the reason for this act of treason? The producer of both movies, Steve Golin, has just optioned Julie's best-selling novel, Eager to Please, a dark story of murder, revenge and redemption, with a heroine to melt hearts and chill bones. It's been a great year for Golin and his company Anonymous Content.

Producers of the hit thriller Triple 9 and the TV series True Detective, winner of the Oscar for Best Picture with Spotlight, Golin is, as Julie's Hollywood agent says "on fire" at the moment and "gung-ho" about forging a piece of television gold with Eager to Please.

And a golden future also awaits her latest novel, her seventh, The Therapy House, where contemporary Dublin meets the Dublin of 1916, and the brutal murder of a retired judge is the catalyst for the settling of scores which go back to the turbulent beginnings of the State.

We're all gung-ho about this one. "I never thought I'd have such excitement about the Oscars as we had this year," said Julie, who is too modest to think about writing her own acceptance speech yet. "It's so exciting that Steve won, and I'm looking forward to what comes next."

Boyband heaven on Dawson Street

Zippo lighters in the air! And sway from left to right. It was boy-band heaven on Dawson Street last weekend. On Friday night, ex-Westlife star Kian Egan and his wife Jodi Albert dropped into one of the aforementioned street’s hipper establishments   — The Whiskey Bar in 37.

It was here no less where Kian and Jodi were joined by another one-time  boy-band deity: Keith Duffy, who is currently in  Big Maggie at the Gaiety. Keith was with George McMahon. 

Also in 37 that  night were model-turned-author Alison Canavan —  and separately, model-turned-singer Michele McGrath, and with  model pal Sara Kavanagh, who arrived at around midnight and stayed until late.

On the previous night, Game Of Thrones star Liam Cunningham was in House on Leeson Street with some pals. He arrived at approx 9pm and stayed until 1am in the garden. The garden? That’s part of the club in House, in case you are wondering.

 On the same night, around the corner in the Shelbourne hotel on Stephen’s Green, Cecelia Ahern — whose brother-in-law Nicky Byrne is a former boyband deity too, so we are still on the theme, albeit vaguely — was in for a drink with her hubby David Keoghan.

Your diarist, meanwhile, bumped into Cecelia’s dad Bertie on Talbot Street on Wednesday. You could argue that he was once part of the boy band Fianna Fail, who ran out of hits but recently got their groove back on with Micheal Martin.

Either way, the former Taoiseach told me he is going to the Ireland v Switzerland game on Good Friday at the Aviva. Indeed, the last time I was at the Aviva I met another boyband deity, the aforementioned Mr Nicky Byrne.

Middleton comes out to support her VBF

If it’s Tuesday —  it must be Mayfair. And not least when it is the launch of Kerry artist  Gemma Bellington’s new exhibition Beyond the Beyond at the Hay Hill Gallery last week. Her VBFs Carole and Michael Middleton came to support gorgeous Gemma. Sadly Carole and Michael’s daughter Kate, and her second-in-line to-the-throne hubby Prince William, were unable to make Gemma’s do as they were in Norfolk.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s absence was more than made up for by the presence of Cazza (and Michael) who took Gemma out to the Chelsea Arts Club afterwards for a “relaxed” supper.

“I always call Carole my Irish friend in England,” Gemma told me on the night.“We laugh about this because she is more Irish in her fun-loving, music-loving demeanour. She is friends with the waitress, the barman, the farmer, the Irish lady down the road, the titled, the young jockey.  My nephew lives with me here and she is like a mamma to him too,” says Gemma, who hails from Killorglin, Co Kerry, but lives in Bucklebury in Berkshire, where the Middleton seniors also call home. “I have known Carole and Michael and their children for it seems like a lifetime,” Gemma added. “Our children were at pre-school together. They move on; we move on, ie to different schools, but we have always kept in touch — meeting for tennis, walking, parties, dancing. She doesn’t hold back in telling me off sometimes.”

Not holding back or not, Cazza clearly has a deep affection for our Gemma, as was attested by her attendance at the soiree on Baker Street last Tuesday (Donovan’s wife Linda and her sister Carol also pitched up, as did Hughie Morrison, renowned race horse trainer, “who trains for us”.)

Pippa could not attend as she was “otherwise committed” but Gemma told me she believes the younger sister of the Duchess of Cambridge plans to “come and have a look before the show closes on April 3.”

“Carole was thrilled to see that I had gone back to my Kerry paintings,” Gemma said of the exhibition, “and we smiled about the fact that Catherine choose one of this style five years ago for their wedding present.”

Your diarist shows his commoner ignorance by asking Gemma if by Catherine she means Kate. “Oh, yes,” replied Gemma, who is having a major exhibition in Dublin this summer. “I call her Catherine — sometimes Kate — but mostly Catherine. She is called both names by us around here.”

Around here, dahling?

“Here meaning Bucklebury.”


Martha takes her hat off to India as Rachel is still single

It's one of the great mysteries of our time. Sky Sports's Irish star Rachel Wyse is still - mystifyingly - single. The blonde beauty, who is based in London, was in Dublin last Wednesday to launch the Fairyhouse Easter Festival in House. To be clear: while House does get some damn fine fillies through its doors, the Fairyhouse Easter Festival is not in House but in, well. . . Fairyhouse.

PR princess Avila Lipsett and interior designer Louise Lynn were also in attendance at the Leeson Street emporium (as was Ruby Walsh et al.) Louise's milliner sister Martha was not able to attend the horsey do, as she and her dad, Dr Michael Lynn, are in India at the moment doing charity work for the Hope Foundation.

Martha and her sis, and indeed Avila, are all going to Royal Ascot in June, doubtless where they will be sporting some suitably spectacular and stylish hats designed by you-know-who.

Someone who is always well turned out is queen of style herself Lisa Fitzpatrick. My Cork Deep Throat told me she was in the real capital of Ireland yesterday; the night before she hosted a style event at Muckross Park Hotel & Spa in Killarney. Lisa will also be at the LauraLynn charity Ball on May 28 in the Mansion House, along with Darren Kennedy and Miriam O'Callaghan. The latter is the MC on this night of nights for Ireland's Children's Hospice.

Des remembers his pal Charlie Haughey, over dinner in Galway

If it's Sunday, it must be Galway. Mustn't it? Bill Cullen and Jackie Lavin were spotted there last week.

Meanwhile, my favourite accountant, Des Peelo, and his lovely wife Philo were in the very swish Kirwan's Lane for dinner last weekend. One of Charles J Haughey's oldest confidants was overheard recounting how Charlie will be gone 10 years in June and he misses him. How do I know this? Because he told me.

Des is one of the nation's more colourful characters, and get him going on his old pal Haughey and the colour becomes especially vivid. Dashing Des once told me the lively tale of CJ on the election trail in November, 1982, when his apparatchiks had staged a walk down Moore Street with lots of FF-faces planted along the route. . .

"Nice to meet you, Charlie!"

"You're a great man, Charlie!"

Then, off-message, the air turned blue: "You're nothing but a fucking bollix, Haughey!"

Haughey turned and replied matter-of-factly - "Go fuck yourself."

Des and Philo were in the west to meet up with their pals, top psychologist Suzanne McClean and husband Gary Monroe, who were celebrating Gary's hip Galway hotspot Monroe's Live scooping the IMRO Award for Connacht Best Live Music Venue at the IMRO Awards.

UTV Ireland's new star Jenny Buckley is also to go west to help Suzanne and Gary celebrate their good news. Well - Jenny is married to Suzanne's brother Gareth.

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