Tuesday 25 October 2016

Anna Nolan: My advice to school kids - cover your copybooks and eat your sandwiches

A school lunch
Tila Tequila
The Dublin team at Croke Park
Stephen Cluxton

I was recently asked to speak at my secondary school and present awards to the students who did well in the Junior Cert and Leaving Cert.

I am genuinely delighted that Loreto College Crumlin would consider inviting Anna 'Banana' Nolan - a girl who was once called "incorrigible" - to stand up on the stage and speak to the school.

No doubt I will have my recurring Leaving Cert dream between now and then. The one in which I am sitting my English exam and I am wearing my school shirt and tie on top and just my knickers and cheap towelling socks under the desk. (What is it with all these half dressed Leaving Cert dreams people have?)

Back to school is in the air at the moment. I can see the ads on television advertising cost-effective uniforms.

It's also all over social media. The committed and proud mothers of Ireland are posting cute photos of the apples of their eyes, all standing proud, and possibly petrified, as they step into a new class.

I was one of those strange children who counted the days to returning to primary school the way other normal kids counted the days to Christmas. The excitement would build for weeks and there would be a calendar with Xs appearing as I crossed off the days.

My poor parents would be sick of me and my anticipation. For two weeks leading up to the day, I would try on my uniform every morning, come down the stairs and ask "how do I look?" If there was a parent in the sitting room, I'd get a "you look terrific". If there was a sibling, I'd get a thump.

Then there was the covering of the books. Dear God, the smell of that fresh paper on the copy books was magic. An older sibling would have gone to Wigoders in the Crumlin Shopping Centre to pick up some wallpaper, so you wouldn't know what colour the books would end up.

We would all sit around the kitchen table and piles of newly-covered books would grow.

I loved going back to school for many reasons. Time to play with my friends. Time to learn more stuff that I liked, like maths and music. And of course, getting the packed lunch each day in my bag.

I was atrocious with my packed lunches. They were so irresistible, I would have them eaten at the 10.30 break. I would try and try to keep my hand away from the ham sandwich in the morning, but I knew that Brennans bread and Gleesons freshly-cut ham (with HP brown sauce) was screaming my name from my school bag and that no amount of strength could stop me from munching it.

I don't know if any of these stories are fit to be told to the Leaving Cert and Junior Cert students that I will be speaking to next month. I'm sure I will need to bring in some inspirational motivation speak, and tell them how they are all fabulous.

Or maybe they just need to know that if their ham sandwiches, covering copy books and friendships were the best things about school, they can still do OK in life.


Most sordid things are acceptable on reality TV, but Hitler's a bridge too far

Tila Tequila

If you fancy appearing on any television show in the near future, be warned. 

You will have your social media profile scrutinised. The producers will probably get a psychologist to talk to you. And, in the case of some hopefuls, there will be a check on your life history (in particular any sordid elements of it).

So when I read that Tila Tequila (someone who I had never heard of) had been booted out of Big Brother because of her insane support for the Nazis and Hitler, I was confused.

Not because she seemed like a dim-witted loser. But because the producers of Big Brother, and Channel 5, denied any knowledge of the photos of her saluting Hitler, while standing in front of an image of Auschwitz. And they also denied being aware of her blogpost from 2013 that stated that Adolf Hitler was "a man of compassion".


Celebrity Big Brother brings outrageous, controversial figures into the household. People who are often 10 times loopier than the usual loopers who head into the house.

From Dennis Rodman (who went on to befriend that charming leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un) to Jim Davison (who won the show last year yet is well known for jokes that have offended every person who isn't white and male), celebrity Big Brother sets out to court controversy.

Every year they want to create big headlines. And they have achieved that most years.

I would say that this time they simply underestimated how offended people would be by Tila Tequila's previous comments.

Tequila was simply a step too far for a show that welcomes unlikeable, unattractive characters.

I doubt she will return to the show, despite reports that she is planning to re-enter the house this week.

Anti-semitic behaviour is just a bridge too far, even for Big Brother.


Watching Dublin at 35,000 feet


I missed the Dublin-Mayo match last Sunday because I was up in the air, flying back to Ireland from America. 

But God bless technology and planes now fitted with Wi-Fi - I was able to keep up with events from 35,000ft. I believe it was a terrible game up until the last 10 minutes but who cares? Dublin managed to get a draw. And I get a chance to see the re-match on home turf.

Now I cannot wait for next Saturday's match, when captain Cluxton (left) and the lads will get a second crack at getting into the final. Hopefully there will be less red and yellow cards and a clear win for Dublin. Up the Dubs!


I'm fully behind this jackass in cuffs


Remember Steve-O? That silly guy from that silly series Jackass? Well I like him a lot more now. 

Last year I watched a documentary called Blackfish. It documented the treatment of orcas - specifically an orca called Tilikum - at SeaWorld in Florida. It was heartbreaking to see how these magnificent animals were kept in such small spaces and how that effected their behaviour. I vowed never to put a foot inside such a place.

Steve-O (right) obviously feels the same, as he recently was arrested for climbing a crane in Hollywood to protest at the treatment of the orcas. He's less of a Jackass to me now...

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