herald

Wednesday 28 September 2016

Anna Nolan: I've an addictive personality, so I'm lucky that I can stop my gambling

Thunder and Roses
Thunder and Roses
Graham Norton
Madonna
Madonna
Bulmers

Gambling. Lots of us do it. For some, its a cheeky, well-monitored flutter most weeks.

For others, it is an all-consuming feeling, that can move from mild excitement to elation and then to devastation.

I've had a glimpse of all those emotions because I have the potential to be a very, very bad gambler.

When I was a child, my dad would gather all the kids for the English Grand National. We could all choose a horse and put 5p in. The winner would win 50p back. Aged seven, I chose Red Rum. It won and I can remember the feeling.

overboard

It was a very different kind of joy. Getting money from luck, not hard work or kindness, is heavenly. As they say, money won is twice as good as money earned. As a child I could be found in the amusement arcades in Curracloe, placing the 2ps in the machines that pushed the drawers in and out. I realised early on to keep an eye on this desire of mine.

Several years ago when I visited Las Vegas, I had great fun in the casino one night. Again, I didn't go overboard, knowing my limit.

I got attached to the roulette table and the money started flowing in. The waitresses were bringing lots of drink, a small gang had gathered around me and I was on a high. I was also around $200 up.

Within an hour I had lost it all (but still had not gone over my cut-off limit).

I went up to bed soon after. I remember sitting at the side of the bed and staring at the wall. I felt grief stricken. A dark cloud was hanging over me. A cold, empty feeling had replaced the adrenaline and the euphoria.

I remember saying to myself: "All I need to do is go back down to the casino, and win it all back. I'll feel better then".

I didn't go back down and I know if I had, I would have over-stepped that mark.

Last week I placed a few bets. I won on Thunder and Roses in the Irish Grand National (thanks Katie Walsh!), but had lost on eight horses at Chelthenham a few weeks aback. I lost on the English Grand National but did very well at the Masters.

Others I know placed bets on the same events, but they were OK about the results. For me, I was more than disappointed that my pick didn't place first in the Masters.

I thought way too long about the fact that I bet on Many Clouds in Cheltenham and I didn't bet on him in the English Grand National.

As Jordan Speith kept his lead in the golf, I heard myself shouting, "Miss this shot you stupid git!", while pundits were praising the 21-year-old.

I have a slightly addictive personality, but I have the good luck to be able to stop something when it is going too far. I know others don't and that must be a very difficult thing.

So it's time to shut down the betting. The flutters need to stop and a break from the gambling is what I need.

I did well, but that is just luck, and luck, as we all know, always runs out.

 

Why kiss a beard? It feels like pushing your face against a Brillo Pad

I think beards to men are what spray tans are to women.

They can hide a multitude, distract from what is underneath and they are always more attractive to the person who is wearing them.

I haven't kissed a beard in a long time. (I can't think of a joke there but am sure there is one!).

But before my gay days, I do remember that feeling of pushing my face against a Brillo Padded head.

It was rough, unpleasant and left that unattractive rash around the mouth.

So the phenomenon of beards leaves me with mixed feelings. I feel sorry for the ladies and gentlemen of the land who have to rub cheeks with the burly males. But some must like it - otherwise why would they put up with it?

Then I always wonder what makes a man reach a decision to grow one.

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A bearded Graham Norton

I know why Graham Norton grew one. He is in love - with a man with a beard. There is an age old tradition that gay men with beards go out with men with beards. Then they become bears (that's a beard without the 'd').

I'm only kidding, but its true that people in relationships mirror each other.

Who hasn't seen middle-aged couples wearing the same coloured and style of rain jacket as they go for their Sunday walk?

I myself have been known to become drawn to the style of a partner. I once got into wearing a certain type of mountain walking sandal 'cos she wore them.

I know - one of my many regrets in life!

Well Graham is in love and he now has a beard, which actually suits him.

The beauty of a beard is that when someone shaves it off, everyone cries "You look 10 years younger".

Happy days all round for Mr Norton.

 

Your behaviour is getting old Madge

Madonna just can't resist the headlines. She has always tried to be controversial but recently she seems to be getting into the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

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Madonna

We all saw her fall over at the Brits of course. That was a hugely embarrassing moment for the superstar, but we all admired how she jumped up and got on with the show - what a pro!

This week Madonna courted public attention once more when she planted a surprise kiss on rapper Drake's lips, much to his surprise. Unfortunately Drake made a face like he had just sucked a lemon. Oh dear. Ya gotta love Madonna but the Queen of Pop might have to give up the idea of ageing disgracefully.

 

Time for the 'slo mo' to exit ... fast

If I see another ad in slow motion, I will very slowly go over to my television and, in slow motion, lift my right foot and put it through the screen. Tiny pieces of glass will fly at me, in slow motion, and I will punch the air, in slow motion, giving a feeling of heightened emotion. 

For some reason, advertisers think that slow motion is the answer to everything. The Dunnes Stores 'Simply Better' ad on at the moment sees parmesan crumbs cascading down a lump of the cheese - one crumb taking two seconds to fall.  Bulmers cider sees a very slow bubble make its way into a blade of grass. I am completely over the ol' 'slow mo'.  We need to get back to real time, quickly.

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