Sunday 23 September 2018

Michael O'Doherty: Who wants to hear ageing radio DJs banging on about the good old days?

John Clarke
John Clarke
Johnny Ronan
Holly Carpenter

A few weeks ago, when the subject of the Slane concerts was being discussed at work, I casually mentioned that the first time I ever went to the venue was to see Bruce Springsteen. To which one of the younger members of staff asked: "who is Bruce Springsteen?"

I mention this because The Boss was also name-checked this weekend by John Clarke, head of 2FM until 2009, and who remained there as a DJ until he resigned last year. "About two years ago," Clarke said, "Bruce Springsteen came to Ireland and sold out five nights, but we couldn't play him on 2FM."

Everyone these days seems to have an opinion about 2FM, and one would have thought that someone ideally positioned to comment wisely on it would be the very man who ran the station for 11 years. Of course, one may be wrong...

Eighteen months ago Clarke announced his departure as a 2FM DJ while on air, making a point about the fact that he was jumping before he got pushed. Quoting a passage from Terry Wogan's autobiography, Clarke said: "Always read the signs. Know when it's time to go, and go out on the top if you can." It's a laudable sentiment, to which one might add the following words of wisdom, given Clarke's comments over the weekend.

Know when to speak ... and know when to shut up.

John's now given a newspaper interview, in which the former presenter of Ireland's Biggest Jukebox on 2FM showed worrying signs of turning into Ireland's Greatest Windbag.

First up, he gave his tuppence worth about that subject that all presenters know will get them a few column inches - Gerry Ryan - more than five years on from the great man's death.

He also added that Ryan Tubridy is "too old" for 2FM and in a thinly-veiled criticism of his former employers, Clarke bemoaned the death of music radio.

The latter's unsurprising, as when he quit he stated that "radio now is all about Kim Kardashian, comedians telling jokes and TV celebrities".

Perhaps it is worth pointing out that, if anything, 2FM is on a roll, with all its main presenters - Ryan Tubridy, Nicky Byrne and Rick O'Shea - performing well.

The march of time is hard for many, but it's hard to understand Clarke's raging against the changing times when, stepping down as head of 2FM in 2009, he declared: "The key to staying at the top means recognising that nothing stands still, certainly not in the world of commercial music radio."

With this mind, why do we need to point out to John that most people nowadays don't need the radio to hear their favourite music when they're on the move, courtesy of the miraculous technology provided by devices known as smart-phones?

There's only one thing more tedious that radio presenters droning on endlessly about celebrity culture. That's ageing DJs banging on about the good old days.


The boom is back, and so are some of those who busted it in the first place

We're back, baby.

Johnny Ronan

All of a sudden, the air is filled with talk of multi-million euro developments rising from the ruins, giving everyone the chance to spend money they don't technically have.

The parcel of land which stood as an icon of Celtic Tiger madness - the Ballsbridge hotels' site - looks like being snapped up by developer Joe O'Reilly who, while still owing NAMA hundreds of millions of euro (which he says he's on course to pay back), no doubt plans a heady mix of residential and office space, with hotels and shops.

This week also heralded the very public return of one Mr Johnny Ronan Esq., who has purchased the former AIB headquarters opposite Dublin's RDS, and plans to develop it as, you'll never guess, a heady mix of residential and office space etc.


The timing of Ronan's return was ironic, coming as it did in a week when two of Ireland's best known stores - Bests and Mothercare - went into examinership. Sure, the reasons for their troubles are multiple, but it's significant that the directors of Mothercare cited sky-high, Celtic Tiger era rents. Landlords, may one suggest, like a certain Mr Johnny Ronan.

The diminutive bearded buccaneer has shown himself to be immovable when it comes to lowering rents, going to the Supreme Court to have a decision overturned which would have allowed Bewley's Grafton Street rent to be halved from a mind-boggling €1.5m-a-year back in 2012.

Ronan controlled the company that owned the building, and the appeal was a contributing factor to Bewleys closing down at the start of this year.

We may be back but, unfortunately, so are many of the people who drove us to the edge of ruin in the first place...

It's time for a real change of  Voice

The winner of the recent Voice of Ireland, Patrick Donoghue, has hit upon the reason why the show hasn't catapulted him to stardom, and strangely enough, it's been staring him in the face all his life.

Patrick Donoghue

 It's his own name. Explaining the reason for the change to Patrick James, he explained: "James is my middle name. I think it's fresher, I think it's younger and it kind of represents me as more of an artist that I want to be." It's easy to be cynical, of course, but one might respectfully suggest that while they're at it, RTE might consider a change of name for the show itself might also work wonders. "Ireland's Got Talent", for example, has a nice ring to it...

Mess with model Holly at your peril

Holly Carpenter

Holly Carpenter has commented on the scandal that has seen the database of website ashleymadison.com hacked. The site is notorious for encouraging married people to cheat on their partners, offering willing, no-strings attached liaisons, and complete privacy.

Well, until now. Raging against the existence of the site, Holly wrote: "If I found my husband (if I had one) on a site like this, he'd have to go into witness protection, but I'd find him!"

It may strike some as being slightly bizarre that Holly should be criticising one evil - infidelity - while championing another - cold-blooded murder, albeit with tongue firmly in cheek. The model is currently single, and looking for love.

Good luck with that, Holly...

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