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Michael O'Doherty: Time to renew our Commitments

Twenty years ago, Alan Parker's movie The Commitments heralded a bright new dawn for Ireland. It was, of course, purely by chance that this famously uplifting tale of young Dubliners determined to carve a future for themselves out of the depths of recession that was gripping Ireland, should have coincided with the first signs of an upturn in the country's fortunes.

But standing in the O2 on Saturday night, watching the 20th anniversary concert by the stars of that movie, there was once again magic in the air.

Andrew Strong, left, dazzled, making you wonder where the hell he's been all these years, Angeline Ball and Bronagh Gallagher smouldered to magnificent effect, and the one person who has become a genuine star -- Glen Hansard -- seemed to be having the time of his life as a member of the band.

The energy of the adoring, 12,000-strong audience was matched only by the performers, who seemed heartbroken that the concert had to end.

Here's hoping that Andrew, Glen, Angeline et al have kick-started something more than just a rebirth of The Commitments -- maybe they've heralded, like they did 20 years ago, an end to the bad times.

The Commitments -- they're back, and we're proud.

Yes, you have Michael O'Doherty to thank for Flatley in 3D splendour

MICHAEL Flatley is a rare thing. A talented artiste, he's also a remarkably astute businessman, as can be seen from the fortune he's accumulated in the past 15 years as a dancer, musician, producer and choreographer. And, let's not forget, spectacular self-publicist.

So with a new product to promote -- the cinema release of Lord Of The Dance in 3D -- Flatley has seized on the chance to bang on about the 'mystery illness' he was struck down with in 2006.

Mystery

The 52-year-old hoofer has revealed, once again, the story of a mystery virus that drained all his energy for nearly three years, and caused him to be out of breath when performing the simplest of tasks, like hugging his wife or making a cup of tea, and forced him to take a break from his performing career.

He was cured, in case anyone on the planet still doesn't know, by a 'faith healer' from Co Clare called Michael O'Doherty, after conventional medicine had failed to locate the source of the problem.

Alternative

O'Doherty succeeded by "re-positioning his energy", "re-centering his chi"... the exact term eludes me, but suffice it to say that, in many people's minds, it's at the 'utter bollox' end of alternative medicine.

"I can't explain how the specialist achieved what he did, other than to say he found a way to unblock my energy, to release it again positively within my body," said Flatley.

But why is this new movie so special?

Well, it's not just a movie, according to Flatley -- Lord Of The Dance 3D is a legacy, something for his son to remember him by. "Finally being able to leave it after me on film is incredible," suggests that his debilitating illness forced Michael to consider his own mortality.

All of which sounds rather like an attempt to drum up some column inches.

After all, Flatley curiously seems to forget that Lord Of The Dance is available on DVD -- for the last 12 years. For just $12 (e8.50) from Amazon, Michael Jnr could quite easily have discovered what his dad looks like in a gold cummerbund, red headband, and black bolero jacket worn over an oiled, bare chest.

Perhaps Flatley feels that his memory can only be properly treasured in 3D. Or perhaps he's just desperately trying to flog his new movie.

Slumped

One thing is sure, however. Were it not for MOD The Faith Healer, Flatley would still be slumped in his couch, unable to take his cheesy dance routines around the world or give interviews to fawning journalists.

Which in a way makes me grateful. After all, there's now a Michael O'Doherty in the world that everyone can dislike even more than me...

It's no wonder U2 avoided the Kitchen

Launched back in the 90s as 'U2's nightclub', The Kitchen would regularly see the band in the VIP section, welcoming visiting stars such as Naomi Campbell and Matthew McConaughey.

Re-opening last week after nine years, it now plans to be a club for ordinary punters, which sounds rather like an admission that it doesn't expect to attract the big stars any more, who prefer going to Lillie's, the Pink and Krystle.

This was reflected in the fact that U2 didn't turn up to the opening of the club, which had to settle for Bono's brother Norman and BFF Gavin Friday instead. Commenting on Bono's absence, Gavin said that "he's probably getting a bit old for this".

And at 51 years of age, you're not Gavin?

Miriam, we want to see Pat in the pink

Miriam O'Callaghan has welcomed the influx of new TDs to Dail Eireann.

"I'm really excited about this new look Dail with pink shirts and earrings," she revealed. "I'm so sick of looking at the same old faces for years and years."

Yes, Miriam but look at the people at the TV studio desks -- aside from her good self (and we all love Miriam), there's the grey-suited, middle-aged Richard Crowley, Pat Kenny and Vincent Browne, all around for decades.

Imagine how the politicians must feel?