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Saturday 3 December 2016

Michael O'Doherty: Why Des Bishop has made a tit out of himself

Des Bishop
Des Bishop
Jack O'Connor's walk off
Jack O'Connor
Sinead O'Connor

At first I thought Des Bishop had made an absolute tit of himself.

Speaking last week to the London -based newspaper The Irish Post, Des bemoaned the fact that his fame was making his life in Ireland a living hell, to such an extent that he was considering moving to the US full-time.

"I'm well-known in Ireland, and with that comes the stress of being recognised everywhere," he said.

"Every time you walk into a restaurant you think maybe people are looking at you. They may not even be, but regardless, fame makes you conditioned to be paranoid. You spend your time walking a little faster than you normally would, trying to find a table that isn't in the middle."

Not only does the sheer magnetism of Des' presence cause him to be ultra-careful about restaurants, it also makes him think twice about going out at all, as every nightspot is a potential scene for a flashpoint.

"At night when people are drunk you are extra worried because you think if someone sees me it could be an incident," he continued. All of which prompts the following, well-intentioned observation.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but Bono, no mean achiever in the celebrity stakes himself (though perhaps not having reached the exalted heights of Mr Bishop), has no problem going out and about in Dublin, without resorting to an armed escort or insisting on a segregated room away from mere mortals.

So is it not a tiny bit precious of Des to claim he attracts so much attention that he is being forced to consider moving abroad?

Then, of course, the penny dropped. This was an elaborate April Fool's joke and Des was being hilariously self-deprecating. But I read the date on the interview - March 26.

So sorry Des, but you have made a tit of yourself.

Booze is killing us, so why do we let pubs open for 363 days of the year?

The arrival of Good Friday last week brought the inevitable acres of media coverage, and online indignation, about the fact that pubs are forbidden to serve alcohol on the day.

There is perhaps no sadder evidence of our unhealthy, if not bizarre, obsession with pouring booze down our throats than the stream of complaints that surfaces because, for one of only two in the year, you can't get alcohol in a public bar.

And so we hear the usual heart-wrenching stories about tourists coming to Ireland, obviously for the sole reason of getting hammered, only to find that they are denied that human right for a full 24 hours.

 

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And we have the usual complaints from publicans who, not content with ever-lengthening opening hours, are asked to close their doors two days a year, as many other businesses in Ireland do for two days a week.

We also had the inevitable whine from the Restaurants Association of Ireland, talking about an archaic law that prevents people from enjoying alcohol with their meal, all the while seemingly oblivious to the obvious question: Why do we need to be drinking alcohol to be able to eat?

As the figures continue to grow in relation to alcohol-fuelled violence, crime and domestic abuse, not to mention the huge cost to the health service of dealing with alcohol abuse, perhaps we're missing the point.

Maybe the problem with Ireland isn't that drinking is forbidden on Good Friday. The problem is that drinking is allowed for far too many hours on far too many days.

So it was with impeccable timing that a small bar in Rathmullan, Co Donegal, hit the headlines last week after the man who ran it placed a sarcastic ad in the local newspaper following his decision to close down.

"I would like to take this time and personally thank the people of Rathmullan for supporting me in this venture over the last 18 months NOT!"

The businessman, William Flood, obviously felt the locals owed him a living by frequenting his bar.

He has now revealed himself to be strangely unaware of the rights of people to make their own choices, and the business realities of supply and demand.

Ultimately, of course, it is perhaps a good sign that, in at least one small outpost of the country, the residents are saying no to alcohol, despite the inevitable consequences that such a stand will have on at least one local business.

Given this decision on the part of Rathmullan's good folk to lead a healthier lifestyle, it is hard to feel too much sympathy for Mr Flood, especially when one considers the headline of his particular advertisement. "Big Paddy's Bar has closed it's doors" - which features the blatant misappropriation of an apostrophe in "it's".

We may forgive William for being small-minded and bitter and feeling he's owed a living by his fellow townsmen.

But we certainly won't forgive him for being unable to spell.

TV walk-off drew attention to Jack

I have only one observation to make about Siptu boss Jack O'Connor's high-profile walkout on Vincent Browne's TV3 show last week.

One would have thought that Jack  should be taking advantage of every second of publicity he's afforded in order to get his message across, and thereby serve his union members, instead of doing what came across as a carefully planned TV publicity stunt that served only to draw attention to Jack himself.

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I trust that, in order to contradict my accusation of his being an attention-seeker, Jack will respond in the now customary manner.

He'll pen an open letter to me and post it on Twitter.

Scribe Sinead has a very short story

Sinead O'Connor has revealed she's writing her autobiography but, to the undoubted disappointment of her many fans, it will not feature any discussion about her private life.

"There will be the odd personal thing but I'm not writing about my family, or my boyfriends, there'll be none of that," she said.

This comes in the week that, yet again, Sinead is in the news because of her personal life, this time her online wooing of David McSavage (inset), who she quaintly described as "a ride and a half".

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Sadly, her very public private life is about the only thing that Sinead has been known for in the past 15 years. She reportedly hasn't come up with a name for her tome yet, so I'll offer my own suggestion: The Shortest Book Ever Written.

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