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Monday 5 December 2016

The Week in Radio: Space rocks and heroes

Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck in Armageddon
Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck in Armageddon
Sean O'Rourke
Sean Moncrieff
Ryan Tubridy

'Coming up next, how asteroids are basically gonna kill us all." Jaysus! What's that you say, Sean Moncrieff? You'll have to excuse us, for it's a blistering hot Tuesday afternoon, and I just damn-near choked on me cool pop.

But then, Tuesday was no ordinary day, was it? For a start, on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, we got an extra second. A leap second, would you believe (true story, look it up). It was also a Tuesday in which Ireland experienced a heatwave (hence, the cool pop) and NASA accidentally filmed a couple of aliens heading back to their home planet after a quick stop-off with the earthlings (true-ish story, look it up). Tuesday was also Asteroid Day, space fans.

Bruce Willis, declared the aforementioned Moncrieff, is getting to an age where he can no longer save us (as he did in Armageddon, where a gang of oil drillers blew up a space rock). But the guitarist from Queen might be able to help. Yep, Dr Brian May co-founded Asteroid Day. Alas, Brian wasn't available for a chat.

Instead, Moncrieff spoke to Clemens Rumpf at the University of Southampton to get the low-down on some very real threats from above. For example, did you know that there are 13,000 space rocks floating amongst the stars? According to Clemens (the expert, remember), "only 500" have a chance of hitting earth. Only 500. Well, that's good to know.

Luckily, Clemens assured listeners that we should be grand. He also informed us that a) there is no real definition of an asteroid (uh, yes there is, dude - 'space rock'), b) we should be able to pinpoint when and where one of those 500 rascals will hit, and c) if things really go south in the next 100 years or so, we can always trust in a handy "space mission" to prevent a mass extinction event.

That's right, we can't even get the shopping off the ground for the lads in the space station, and here we are relying on a real-life Team Bruce Willis to save us from the thing that killed the dinosaurs. We are well and truly f***ed. Best splash the cash while we can. Or, y'know, someone else's.

On Tuesday's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Sean spoke to James Freedman: Man of Steal. James is the world's best pickpocket, apparently. An honest one, though (he's a money-making expert on the art of wallet snatching, basically). The internet calls him a magician, but James actually works with security professionals to save the world from nimble-fingered baddies. Seriously, this is how he makes a living. He also performs stage shows. It's his "life's mission", apparently, and the guy is pretty much a superhero.

In fact, James spoke of a shady mentor (Batman territory), childhood trauma (he was beaten up and mugged), and how he studied the ways of the dark side, using his skills to help others.

He's probably worth a fortune now, too. Yeah, that's Batman all over. Without the cowl and cape.

If there's one piece of advice James could offer listeners, it was to always know the IMEI number on your phone - for obvious reasons. That's when he lost me. Um, don't we have enough to worry about (ie killer space rocks) without adding IMEI numbers to the equation?

Finally, head on over to the 2fm radio player and have a listen to Tubridy's Taylor Swift item from Monday about a fan who missed Tay Tay's gig at Hyde Park because, you know, life.

Depending on what mood you're in, what happened next will either restore your faith in humanity or have you questioning the priorities and concerns of the human race.

In the end, I guess it doesn't matter. Sure, aren't the asteroids basically gonna kill us all? G'luck.

Moncrieff, Newstalk, weekdays

Today with Sean O'Rourke, RTE Radio 1, weekdays

Tubridy, 2fm, weekdays

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