Thursday 20 October 2016

Michael O'Doherty: You're proposing in front of a big crowd? Well, she's less likely to say 'no'

Jay Boland of Kodaline proposing to his girlfriend on stage at the Ed Sheeran concert in Croke Park
Jay Boland of Kodaline proposing to his girlfriend on stage at the Ed Sheeran concert in Croke Park
Marriage proposal
The Book of Kells
Ruth Coppinger

It all started, from what I can remember, with a YouTube video of an American wedding proposal.

In what was perhaps the most gruesome example of one-upmanship, a groom-to-be enlisted dozens of friends to take part in an entire, 10-minute-long musical production, to the tune of Bruno Mars' I Wanna Marry You, in proposing to his girlfriend.

When it was posted on YouTube, for the delectation of millions of viewers worldwide, a precedent was born.

Ever since then, it seems that no-one can pop the question without making a song and dance out of it.

In 2013, the boyfriend of a Rose of Tralee contestant felt compelled to ask her to marry him live on stage at the pageant, while nearly a million people watched at home on TV. And despite being mortified she accepted.


Two weeks ago, at the Ed Sheeran concert in Croke Park, a member of the band Kodaline decided that one of the most precious moments of his life needed to be shared with 80,000 people, and had Sheeran himself introduce the moment for maximum effect.

And last week, a video emerged from the closing night of the musical Once, which had been playing at Dublin's Olympia. As the cast took to the stage for a final curtain call, one of its members asked for quiet from the audience, declaring that he had something to say.

When he beckoned his girlfriend, who was in the theatre, to come up and join him on stage... well, you can guess what happened next.

Doing something memorable for the event is nothing new.

As the publisher of VIP, I have read over 1000 stories about how newly-weds proposed to each other - the top of the Empire State Building, the walk along the beach, the ring hidden in the dessert during a candlelit dinner.

Sometimes, it has necessitated the help of complete strangers to make it happen, but even then there was a quiet dignity to the moment, which would only be shared by the spoken word.


Now, however, everyone is a film maker and, smartphone in hand, the moment will inevitably be captured by onlookers and subsequently end up on YouTube.

And in the groom-to-be's decision to publicise the unique brilliance of his proposal lies one immutable, implicit message - 'beat that'.

So what is it that compels people to pop the question in front of thousands of complete strangers, with their bride-to-be faced with an engagement ring and cast of thousands?

Well, it always tells us two things.

Firstly, the groom is a tiny bit fond of attention.

Secondly, the bride-to-be is less likely to say no, pressurised as she is by the likely audience reaction if she turns him down.

All in all though, it's hardly an ideal way to go about popping the big question.



Trinity College eventually have it their way after book battle with burger giant


The custodians of the Book of Kells have finally decided to pimp it out.

From next month on, aficionados of the illuminated manuscript will be able to buy 'BK merchandise' - Book of Kells-themed diaries, notebooks and postcards.

Trinity College, proud holders of one of the world's most famous books, has for many years used its possession of it as a means of drawing tourists onto their property. Last year alone, 650,000 viewed it. which sounds impressive.

Impressive, that is, until you consider that 10 times that amount, 64m, visited a burger restaurant during the past month in the US alone.

The reason for this apparently random comparison is that, in attempting to trademark the Book of Kells brand in the US, TCD faced objections from Burger King, who feared that the similar BK initials might confuse potential customers.


A cynic might argue that it's a sad indictment of Burger King's customers, as the fast food chain perhaps feel that their average burger chomper can't tell the difference between the Book of Kells' friars, and Burger King's fries.

But it will no doubt come as a relief to TCD that its planned trademarking can go ahead.

Perhaps it might now be opportune for Trinity to capitalise on this possible confusion and, in offering 'BK Deals' - a free diary with every admission, along with a special paperback edition of the book called "The Whopper" - it might entice even more Americans through their doors?

And while we're at it, the National Museum could rebrand itself as the "Museum", with a big, yellow M at the front door?

Sometimes, business opportunities present themselves in the strangest of ways...


Do we really need another party?


One would have thought that the last thing Ireland needs is another political party.

With our relatively small electorate already having an absurdly wide range of parties from which to choose, we have recently seen the addition of two new parties - Renua Ireland and the Social Democrats. And now comes news from TD Ruth Coppinger (inset) that the two left-wing political groupings, People Before Profit and the Anti-Austerity Alliance, are considering merging.

Some may consider this a party too far but I think it can only liven up the political landscape in Ireland. After all, who could fail to vote for a party calling themselves the Anti Before Profit Alliance?


Will we see Lucy and Twink on TV?


I'm delighted to see that Adele King, aka Twink is about to make her debut on TV3's Seven O'Clock show, which she will co-present with Lucy Kennedy  later this month.

There is only one snag.

Four years ago, TV3 announced that Adele would have her own show, which never materialised. And last year, TV3 announced that Lucy Kennedy would be fronting an Irish version of Blind Date, only to confess last month that the show had been axed.

So you'll forgive me if I don't hold my breath at the prospect of Twink and Lucy appearing on the same TV3 show. The producers have only left themselves a week to let us down again, but do you know what? I wouldn't put it past them...

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