Thursday 18 January 2018

MOD on Monday: 'You can hardly tell the difference' was not best choice of words for Amanda

Amanda Brunker and Michael O'Doherty
Amanda Brunker and Michael O'Doherty
Hector O hEochagain
Liam Neeson

After 14 years of studiously avoiding being photographed at the Peter Mark VIP Style Awards, it's not exactly how I imagined my first appearance.

Because there I was on page three of Saturday's Herald, scraping seagull poo out of Amanda Brunker's hair.

The contrast between the unpleasantness of this task and the magnificence on display just out of picture could not have been more pronounced, and but for the loudness of Amanda's presence, this hair malfunction might have passed unnoticed.

But Brunker being Brunker insisted on approaching me on the red carpet, blaring out one of the most memorable quotes in Style Awards history: "A seagull just s**t in my hair!"

There was, sadly, little I could do with a paper napkin and what I can only describe as a considerable deposit.

It may be a small blessing, but the colour of the seagull's bomb actually complemented her hair perfectly, which resulted in my answering Amanda's desperate plea as to how bad it looked with the words: "Don't worry, you can hardly tell the difference."

In hindsight, that probably came out wrong, but at least it wasn't as cruel as a text I received from a friend the next day who, not impressed by Amanda's hysterics, wrote: "I owe that seagull a pint."

It takes more than one avian malfunction to ruin the Style Awards, however. The glamour on display was spectacular, with many of Ireland's most fashionable taking risks and eschewing the standard ballgowns in favour of more daring and, most impressively of all, Irish creations.

Although they seemed to divide opinion among the so-called media experts, Roz Purcell's self-designed outfit and Daniella Moyles' glittery two-piece by Catriona Hanly won numerous admiring glances.

But the outfit by Dubliner Sean Byrne for Aoibhin Garrihy was perhaps the most popular, a daring, two-part creation that perfectly matched Aoibhin's transformation into a femme fatale.

There was just as much love for Jennifer Maguire, who gave birth to baby Florence only three-and-a-half weeks previously but turned up in a stunning top and skirt by Marion Murphy Cooney, with ne'er a trace of post-baby bump.

Poor Jennifer - her first night out in five months led her to fade much faster than normal and sadly miss what is for many the highlight of the night - the after-show party in Coppers.

No party in Coppers would be complete without Marty Morrissey, who once again stole the show from a male perspective as he had to deal all night long with a not-so-orderly queue of women waiting to have their photos taken with him.

His patience is extraordinary, as at 3am he was as accommodating as ever to the endless request for selfies, a sure sign that he, like everyone else, had a good night.

A seagull may have pooed on Amanda's head, but the gods shone on the Peter Mark VIP Style Awards.


Hell hath no fury like a Hector scorned - time to stop whinging about RTE

There has always been something a bit tiresome about Hector O hEochagain's "up for th

While his "I'm mad for it" schtick has no doubt endeared him to his loyal followers, it was perhaps his one-dimensional appeal that made RTE bosses decide to axe his 2fm show, having taken it as a far as it could go - ie, Navan, with no hope of going farther east.

While there was a quiet, reflective side of Hector on the Saturday Night Show when he talked movingly about the sudden loss of his mother in January, how unfortunate it was that he had to show signs of bitterness when asked about his departure from 2fm.

"They pulled the rug from underneath us there," he said. "It was flying, we had a large audience, it was doing very well."

Hector O hEochagain

 Hector O hEochagain

Hector is obviously not short of self-belief, and happily talked up his career post-2fm, revealing that he's working on a show for an independent broadcaster, and "it's the most exciting TV show idea that I've come up with since Only Fools Buy Horses, which I sold to 25 countries".

Sadly, he still feels compelled to wheel out his zany, up-for-the-craic act by making a small-minded, disparaging comment about what's on RTE since they stopped airing his shows: "You're either bloody Miriam O'Callaghan talking s***e or another one trying to imitate Miriam O'Callaghan."

When Hector asked Brendan O'Connor about his own future, trying to draw similarities between the treatment each has received from RTE, Brendan refused to slag off his employers, dead-batting with: "I'm very excited about the future and I'm glad to be going out on a high."

Diplomacy like that points to the reason that Brendan will, indeed, have a long and bright future on RTE while Hector on the other hand probably won't.e craic" act, his obsessive fondness for rural patois and his almost stage Oirishness when it comes to describing just about everything.


Drop the dross, Liam, and just act

There has been speculation that Liam Neeson's declared intention to retire from movies in two years is a prelude to a career in politics.

Liam revealed last week that roles in Taken, Non-Stop, Run All Night and other such action-based dross that he's become synonymous with in recent times have taken their toll on his body.

Liam Neeson

Liam Neeson

"Maybe two more years, if God spares me, and I'm healthy," he said. "But after that, I'll stop the action movies, I think."

Given the unseemly stuff that Liam has featured in for the past decade, however, here's an alternative suggestion for when the time comes to give up his movie career.

He could always go back to acting.


Luxury train trip goes back in time

Ireland has come a long way in recent years in casting off its twee, slightly backward image in the eyes of tourists.

So how refreshing it is to learn than an Irish version of the Orient Express has just been launched, with the rail journeys aimed at giving an authentic experience of modern, vibrant Ireland.

The Grand Hibernian train will not only give its guests the chance to kiss the Blarney Stone - there's more.

The press release also promises such non-stereotypical attractions as "fiddles and flutes that will get toes tapping in a traditional pub to the fabulous folklore tales of mischievous faerie folk, flame-haired pirates and ghostly banshees".

Welcome to 21st Century Ireland, ye merry travellers.

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