I'M going to do something unusual, and admit I was wrong. Simon and Christian Stokes, you see, are back in the news for the wrong reasons, but I'm going to learn from my past mistakes. This time, I'm not going to defend them.
In January 2010, I wrote a column in defence of the Stokes twins and their private members club Residence, which had run into difficulty.Gruesome
"There is much we shouldn't miss about the Celtic Tiger years," I said, "but Residence has always been an old-fashioned oasis of calm, style and impeccable good manners in a city otherwise gone mad".
And I concluded -- my toes are now literally curling in embarrassment -- "Owned and run by young, hard-working and dedicated staff, it doesn't deserve to go under. I bemoan their temporary hardship, but wish them a speedy recovery".
When the true extent of Residence's €4m debts were revealed, many of us still felt sorry for them. Yes, they were massively in debt, but no, it wasn't recklessness -- it was the fault of the economy.Revealed
One of them was always in Residence, which convinced people they had been working hard to turn things round. They also let it be known that they were working for a relatively modest salary.
Of course, they could afford to live on that modest salary, because this week it was revealed that they were using the credit card of a different company, which operated Bang restaurant, for their own personal expenses. And the near €150,000 in bills they ran up in 18 months at that company's expense makes for gruesome reading to all those people they've stung -- €2,000 on golf club membership; €2,091 on a holiday in Mexico; €2,421 on a holiday in Barbados; €2,600 in Brown Thomas; €3,825 on a stay in Ashford Castle; €4,288 on a holiday in Denmark; €4,425 in the Gucci Store in New York, €6,494 in their own mother's shop in Dublin, Pia Bang Interiors.
And this is no Celtic Tiger aberration -- a lot of these bills were run up after June 2008, at a time when most people were desperately tightening their belts. And at a time when both Bang and Residence were haemorrhaging money.
The catalogue of debts that the twins have left in their wake is quite breathtaking. The Clarendon pub went bust owing €2.3m. Residence went into examinership owing about €4m. And now we have another €2.4 owed by Bang.
Perhaps Simon and Christian were under immense pressure, and felt the sums they spent were a drop in the ocean in relation to their overall debt, so they might as well 'live a little'.
Perhaps they were living in complete denial, desperately trying to shut their mounting losses out of their minds. Or perhaps they simply didn't care, and had utter contempt for the people their companies owed money to. We'll never know.
One thing is certain, however. I'm done with defending the indefensible. Simon and Christian are still friendly, polite guys, but what they did was inexcusable. I got it wrong when I apologised for the Stokes twins, and I'm willing to eat humble pie.
But it probably won't be in the restaurant they currently work in.
The next episode of Anonymous will find gorgeous Grainne Seoige fooling a variety of people with her cunning disguise -- she's dressed as an inner city Dublin girl with a fondness for wearing pyjamas outdoors.
So convincing is her get-up, apparently, that she even fooled her sister Sile, reeling her in with the line that she was working on a pilot for a show called Dustin's Bogger Boot Camp.Absurd
Many will question quite how someone as smart as Sile could have fallen for a show based on such an absurd concept. Well here's another crazy concept -- a version of the All Ireland Talent Show, but done in Irish so many won't understand it, to be aired on TG4 at exactly the same time that Grainne was presenting AITS, so hardly anyone would tune in to watch it.
Believe it or not, it exists -- it's called Feis & Blood. And its presenter? A certain Sile Seoige...
I gather MTV are in advanced negotiations to buy the rights to Fade Street, which would make international stars of Louise Johnston, Vogue Williams and, of course, yours truly.
The plan is to screen it on MTV UK to begin with, and then roll it out on other MTV channels across Europe.
I can't wait. After all, we'll finally discover the answer to something that's been bugging me for ages.
How do you say "tattooed f**kwits" in Albanian?
I READ that returning Tipperary girl Avril Mulcahy is planning to go on 40 dates in 40 days.
Having experienced the singles scene in south-east Asia, Avril is going to try every method available -- speed dating, the internet, intro agencies -- to find partners, and then report her findings on her blog.
"My aim is to change the image of the word 'singleton' to a new term for those who love being single," says Avril.
Forty different guys? I can think of a new term for that all right. It begins with 'publicity-seeking', and ends with 'twat'.