Tuesday 22 January 2019

Larging up to Coleman's new woolly character

The radio keeps telling me that Coleman is at large. After weeks of jumping at every noise from the garden, I finally figured out it was an ad for a radio show. Okay, I've always known Coleman at Large was a radio show. In fact, I've reviewed it, but this week I realised how funny the title was. He should have gone the whole hog and called it 'Coleman on the Loose' or 'Aagh, Coleman is Biting Me'.

Presenter Marc Coleman's sets himself up as a no-nonsense scourge of political correctness and woolly liberalism. He has a tendency to say things like, "Anybody who thinks I don't understand people who live that life can take their tax and stick it where the sun don't shine", and "I will challenge anyone! We don't tolerate politically correct intimidation from anyone on this show". It's an approach influenced by late-night American radio.

The problem is he has a likeable tendency to meet people in the middle. On Tuesday, he seemed pretty much on the same side as left-wing priest Father McVerry who argued that those on low incomes should not face wage cuts while those on high wages go on unscathed. He then spoke highly of a piece by King of the Liberals Fintan O'Toole and played an anti-Thatcher folk song by Christy Moore.

He defended David Norris in the wake of Monday's Liveline in which Helen Lucy Burke claimed that Norris had endorsed underage sex and incest in a 2002 interview with her, a claim which Norris vehemently denies, claiming he was quoted out of context. (Coleman stressed that he was defending Norris in the same manner he defended clergymen who have also faced character-damaging attacks.)

In fact, apart from a few grumbles about "the Left" and RTE, it sounded like Marc was turning into a woolly liberal himself. The show will soon be called 'Comrade Coleman Probably Sees your Point'.


Earlier that day, Tom Dunne had interviewed a weight-lifting dwarf and a sword swallower who were participating in the Street Performance Championship in Portlaoise. Tom sounded like he had a lump in his throat as he described their antics, but this was nothing compared to the large sharp metal thing in the sword-swallower's.

Still, the man had a tender side. "She walks on stainless steel swords, swallows razor blades and sticks her tongue in a stainless steel fan blade," he said of his girlfriend, who also tours with him.

"What must the foreplay be like?" wondered Tom.

The studio got even more steamy on Wednesday when George Hook and Philip Molloy gleefully discussed a newly compiled list of cinema's sultriest ladies during The Right Hook's movie segment. The words "oh yeaaah!" were growled enthusiastically, which is usually a cue for Newstalk's management to gather outside George's studio with a net and a tranquiliser gun. The nadir/zenith came when George attempted to explain Jessica Rabbit's appeal with reference to Victorian pornography. I'm serious. This really happened. It wasn't a clip from a Lars Von Trier film.

"Apparently we're making Mick in Drogheda feel ill!" said George reading a text. But George seemed unperturbed. Terrifying stuff.

Coleman at Large, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Newstalk; Liveline, Weekdays, RTE 1; Tom Dunne, Weekdays, Newstalk; The Right Hook, Weekdays, Newstalk

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