Tuesday 18 September 2018

Anna Nolan: We'll be nervous next week, but it won't be over the old 'douze points'

Molly Sterling
Molly Sterling
Take That (L-R) Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen perform during a secret gig for Magic FM at One Marylebone on April 24, 2015 in London, England.
Brown's Boys film
Tina Fey

The week of May 18 is going to be an interesting one. Yes, the week beginning on May 18 is when the Eurovision Song Contest and the marriage referendum happen. There'll be singing, dancing and voting.

On Thursday, May 21 Molly Sterling will give it her all in front of the Austrian crowd. Well, the Austrian crowd along with thousands of other Europeans in the audience, and millions of people in front of their TVs around Europe.

I don't think she has a very good chance of winning but God loves a trier (which is now the mantra every year for our hopefuls).


There is no doubt she will be a little nervous of her performance that night. She won't be the only one - not because of this competition, but because of the bigger event that will happen the following day.

Both 'Yes' and 'No' sides will be preparing for their big day - the marriage referendum poll - and there will be many having a sleepless night as the nation prepares to go to the polls.

For the week that's in it it's worth charting the history of gay rights in Ireland, alongside the history of our involvement in the Eurovision competition.

Ireland first won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1970 with Dana.

In Ireland, if you were a homosexual in 1970, you were a criminal. In 1980, when Johnny Logan won, David Norris took the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform to the High Court. He lost the case.

We won the Eurovision again in 1987, 1992 and 1993.

During these years, if you were gay, you were seen as evil, a second-class citizen. You hid your true identity and you felt shame.

Thousands of men and women up and down the country lived a secret life. For those who were not part of a 'scene' in the larger cities, life was incredibly difficult. People suffered on many levels - both physical and mental abuse took place.

The Church made sure that gays and lesbians were demonised. The State made sure that they were criminalised.

It was only in 1993, when Niamh Kavanagh won with 'In Your Eyes', that the law was finally reformed and to be gay in Ireland was no longer a crime.

On Friday, May 22 Ireland will take the final step to acknowledging full equality for gay and lesbians in this country.

The bad memories for the men and women who were criminalised by their countrymen [and women] will begin to fade.

On Saturday, May 23, the results will begin to trickle in and by lunchtime, Ireland will know if the referendum has passed.

The evening of May 23 could be the happiest night for a nation - and not because of singing or dancing.

Although Molly might come out on top with 'Playing with Numbers' it is the other count that really matters. Do the right thing - go out and vote 'Yes' on May 22.


Take That relit my fire for gigs - and made me a teary-eyed teen again

DG take that.jpg
Take That (L-R) Howard Donald, Gary Barlow and Mark Owen perform during a secret gig for Magic FM at One Marylebone on April 24, 2015 in London, England.

Take That

I don’t go to many music gigs. I can count on one hand the bands I have seen over the years.

When my sister asked if I wanted to go and see Morrissey a few months ago, I mumbled something along the lines of “work...busy...up to my eyes”. In fact, I balked at the idea of standing in a crowd of Morrissey fans, as they all sang back every one of his songs. 

You see, I’m a shuffle kind of girl. I don’t listen to full albums on my iPhone. I will skip from one genre to the other, moving from tacky Europop to soothing Vivaldi.

Yes, I am an attention deficit muso. This was my concern when I headed into the 3 Arena on Friday night to see Take That. As I, and thousands of other 30-40-something women (and six men), walked into the venue I could already feel myself wanting out. How far would we be from the stage.

Would I be hemmed in? Would Gary see that I was bored? How far away was the bar? My ‘gig-itis’ was kicking in. But within minutes, everything changed.

As the music became louder and the tension built, we were all ready for the three lads to appear.  When they did, my fears disappeared and I was engrossed.

You see, I didn’t realise that I actually knew every single song. I was that uber-fan who mouthed along to each lyric.

I found myself punching the air, waving at Howard as he walked around the stage, shouting “come over here Mark” and screaming as Gary played the beautiful melody on the piano to ‘Come into my life’.

Myself and the gang of girls were on a high when the concert ended – and I can now count on two hands the amount of gigs I have been to.

I might not have the best taste, but taste doesn’t matter if you are air punching, teary-eyed and a teenager all over again.

Elvis is back, and he's quite a show

Congratulations to my pal John Murphy, who has written a very entertaining musical.

Brown's Boys film

'Elvis is my Daddy' stars Eilish O'Carroll, Clelia Murphy and Elaine Hearty. I saw it in the Sugar Club last week and loved every second. It's a sometimes-funny, sometimes-moving stage show that shows Eilish (Agnes from Mrs Browns Boys, inset right), in a whole new light.

I can only tell you to get your tickets for the next performance at the Axis Theatre, Ballymun on June 4. It's a sing-a-long, tap-your-toes extravaganza.


Spanx for tell it like it is, Ms Fey

Tina Fey

Tina Fey

There are some great female comedians about at the moment. I wrote recently about my new comedienne crush – Amy Schumer (inset). Last week I saw Tina Fey (left) do something that was pretty jaw-dropping. It wasn’t necessarily funny but it was brilliant.

While a guest on David Letterman, she took off her dress to show him what goes into a woman getting ready for a big night out. She revealed her spanx pants, her waistline-reducing top and her cleavage-enhancing bra. She said that this was the last time that she was going to put herself through such an exercise. This recent wave of no-nonsense comediennes is refreshing and exactly what we need.

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