Wednesday 16 January 2019

Michael O'Doherty: Sneering Shah should know better

I bumped into radio presenter Adrian Kennedy the other night, and having slagged off his show in my column, I was a bit apprehensive when he tapped me on the shoulder in the Olympia bar.

But instead of giving out, he smiled, held out his hand, and offered to buy me a drink.

Why? Because Adrian is smart, and knows Dublin is a small place, too small to make lifelong enemies. He also recognised we are all just doing our jobs and people who react badly to criticism are often showing themselves up to be a bit of a tit.

This lesson seems to have eluded Ray Shah. The former Big Brother star -- it was over seven years ago but, yes, that's how he's still introduced -- jumped into his Twitter account this week, the minute news broke of the Sunday Tribune's troubles.

Having been mildly slagged off by one of its journalists, Una Mullally, some months previously, Ray gloated that "I heard that a receiver has been called in for the Sunday Tribune. Let's hope a certain 'journalist' enjoys her time on the dole! Karma bitch!"

Ray would be advised to be a bit slower in sneering next time. We are all close to losing our jobs, Ray, and as someone who came second in Big Brother years ago, and has since made a living as a part-time DJ slash 'personality', you should know that better than most.

Sexism? Ageism? TV folk get axed all the time. It's the way of the world, Flo

SUDDENLY, you can't do anything without being being sexist or ageist. The latest person to row into the debate is Flo McSweeney, musician, TV presenter turned stage actress.

Flo complained in an interview this week about the circumstances under which she left her job as presenter of No Frontiers back in 2001, to be replaced by Kathryn Thomas.


"Kathryn came along; she was young, energetic, vibrant, didn't have the ties of children," says Flo, "and ageism is a big problem for women," just to re-inforce the point. "Why should we be expected to give up, just accept that we are over the hill, when we are into our 40s?"

Flo is a smart, talented woman, so I wouldn't mind it much, except that she's got form on this subject. In an interview two years ago, she talked about her sudden departure from No Frontiers -- "I was devastated. It ended like that. Thanks very much for the last four years, but we've moved on and Kathryn Thomas will be taking over, blah, blah, blah."


You don't have to read between the lines too much to see what Flo is suggesting. She, a 40-something mother of one young child, with another on the way, was unceremoniously jettisoned in favour of a younger, newer model.

Aside from the obvious fact that there were going to be huge logistical problems in doing a strenuous travel show, involving weeks at a time away from home, for a mother with a new-born child, why were the circumstances of her leaving so surprising to Flo?

One day you've the job, next day you don't -- it's the same for TV presenters and actors the world over, something which Flo, a very experienced presenter herself, bizarrely fails to understand. It's got nothing to do with age or sex -- it's the nature of the business.

And to suggest that ageism is rampant in RTE is grossly unfair. Most of their big stars are over 50, and three of the biggest are women at the top of their game -- Miriam O'Callaghan, Anne Doyle and Mary Kennedy.

Kathryn herself lost her job presenting No Frontiers before Christmas, and greeted the news with utter charm, appreciating that it was time for a change, and 'thanks for all the good times'.


Flo, however, is currently starring in the Gaiety Theatre production of Grumpy Old Women. And she seems to be taking her role very seriously...

Marcus's property site looks a bit 'daft' to me

Marcus Sweeney is back, and his latest business idea seems to be a website that sells property from developers taken over by NAMA. In other words, property that no one wanted to buy the first time round, resulting in the developers going bust.

Criticising other property websites such as daft.ie for being too cumbersome, Marcus says that buyers nowadays want "quick, easy access," and distances his own idea from rival sites, which he describes as being "like big libraries", while his will be more like an internet cafe.

Sorry, Marcus, but a website devoted solely to ghost estate housing doesn't strike me as a surefire hit. Don't be so quick to slag off other highly successful websites, because your idea may not be as far from 'daft' as you think.

Can DJ Breffmeister put women in a spin?

My good friend Breffny 'The Breffmeister' Morgan is, not for the first time, changing career. The businessman/ TV star/celebrity /DJ/novelist/actor is going back to being a DJ, by hitting the decks tonight in The Sycamore Club.

He assures us that he's not a mere novelty DJ, but can mix music properly, and is looking forward to combining his two loves -- music and women.

Breffny promises that he knows exactly what it takes to "get girls moving towards the dancefloor". Indeed you do, Breffny -- you just start chatting them up.

Why did Hot Press get a free advert?

THE RTE documentary about Hot Press magazine, The Write Stuff, was a fascinating insight into the mag's early days, full of witty comments by its publisher, former staff, and Bob Geldof (left) among others.

But at the end of the credits were the words "developed with the assistance of Bord Scannan na hEireann". That's right, the Irish Film Board, the bane of our lives for p***ing away taxpayers' money, paid for what was essentially an advertisement.

What has Hot Press, rather than any other Irish publisher, done to earn the taxpayers' support in this way?

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