WHENEVER someone starts with the words "I don't want to sound demeaning or mean-spirited..." - you know what happens next.
Witness Roddy Doyle's small-minded sniping at The Commitments reunion tour...
Revealing himself to be baffled as to why they're reforming -- "they were never a band, that was just acting" -- it's ironic that a book which trumpets the notion of going for it, and ignoring the famous Irish spirit of begrudgery, should find its author indulging in a spot of the same.
For a man who has stayed true to his Dublin roots for so long, it's bizarre that Doyle should forget one simple fact -- it's not so much the book, as Alan Parker's superb movie treatment of it, and the combined talents of Andrew Strong, Angeline Ball, Colm Meaney et al, that have made him the household name he is.
Let the guys have their moment, Roddy, and stop being such a old moan.
Newspapers are running photographs of five middle-aged Irish people in suits, arms folded and pouting at the camera to show they 'mean business', which can only mean one thing -- Dragons' Den is back.
And while advance publicity for the show would have you believe that it's more relevant than ever, giving much-needed funds to entrepreneurs who are unable to secure it from a bank, it strikes me that the exact opposite is true. Dragons' Den, you see, is not about the contestants -- it's about the Dragons.
The cheesy way they introduce themselves to the participants -- "Hi Anne, my name's Sean..." -- is designed to seem that they're humble servants, while you know they're thinking to themselves, "Of course, you already know my name, after all I'm a rich and famous entrepreneur/ media mogul/ mentor and motivational speaker..."
The relentless way they plug their own businesses, reminding you of their "areas of expertise" or "portfolios of investments".
The impossibly patronising way they deal with contestants, breaking off to bitch or smile knowingly among themselves, forcing the poor soul who's begging them for money to sit and wait while they finish their play-acting.
The smug look on their faces when they unleash an apparently spontaneous put-down, which in reality they've rehearsed a dozen times in their head. "Is this a Mars Bar, a Kit- Kat or a Curly-Wurly?" asked Gavin Duffy with a self-satisfied smirk, believing he'd just come out with a catchphrase to rank with 'Greed is Good", rather than having trotted out the kind of banal, meaningless pile of shite that crass, loud-shirted businessmen used to lob at each other over swanky lunches in Guilbaud's at the height of the Celtic Tiger.
Then we had Bobby Kerr comparing one unfortunate applicant as being "like the guy slicing cucumbers at a trade fair"... Look guys, we all get it that this is a TV show, and it needs to entertain.
But it's not the X Factor, where pathetically deluded wannabes are fair game to be ritually humiliated.
And the manner in which Marian Moloney and her porcelain dolls were included in the show last week, seemingly so that the Dragons could sneer at her, was totally unacceptable.
And it shows up the lie in their lofty claims that the show is something vital intoday's collapsed economy.
Far from being more relevant than ever, Dragons' Den is just a slick showcase for smug, middle-aged bores to rub people's noses in ttheir own massively over-hyped success.
And in 2011, that's not just vulgar and patronising -- it's downright offensive.