Wednesday 13 December 2017

The Fas show

As a Ryanair-setting journalist, The O-Zone always considered that he lived his life in the fast lane. Man, was I wrong! I've just realised that the perks of my job are nothing compared to life in the Fáslane.

The newspaper revelations about the high living enjoyed by Fás director general Rody Molloy and his colleagues were truly astonishing. Five-star hotels, fine foods and wines, flowers ... these people live more like pampered rock stars than public servants. Their transatlantic travel bill over a four-year period alone came to a staggering €642,000!

What's even more astonishing, though, is Molloy's arrogance about the whole thing. Speaking on Today with Pat Kenny, he foolishly maintains that he was "entitled" to travel first class. So much so that he occasionally exchanged his first-class ticket for two business-class seats for himself and his wife. Ignoring, for a moment, the fact that Aer Lingus hasn't offered a first-class service in years (and surely patriotic Fás executives wouldn't fly with any other airline?), why the hell was taxpayers' money being used to fly this man's wife anywhere at all?

As career-destroying interviews go, it was up there with Pee Flynn's infamous Late Late Show appearance. Of course, there's not a chance in hell that he'll resign.

In the evening, to the Roisin Dubh for a Jack L gig. Amazingly for a wet and recessionary Monday night, the Kildare-born crooner has sold out the place. His new album Burn On is composed of Randy Newman covers -- and so is most of tonight's gig. However, Jack's powerfully distinctive voice makes the songs his own.

Well, knock me down with a feather! Despite a glowing review from Spliffo, Rody Molloy resigned this morning! This can't be Ireland! (Oh, hang on! He's walking away with a golden handshake of €500,000 and a generous pension -- it is Ireland after all.)

Heartiest congratulations to Father Ted co-creator Graham Linehan, who won the Best Comedy gong at the Emmy Awards in New York last night for his C4 series, The IT Crowd. If he's looking for a new subject, he could always do The Fás Show.

A benefit night for my good friend Luis Asturias is happening in Galway tomorrow night.

Luis is a well-known and hugely talented Spanish musician, who's been based in the west since the mid-90s. Recently, Luis was diagnosed with a rare disease called amyloidosis, which has affected his heart. His best option is an urgent cardiac transplant. A Spanish cardiologist has agreed to operate on him, but the cost for this procedure is substantial and hence a major concern.

Some of his many friends are coming together for a fundraising event happening tomorrow night in the Roisin Dubh. The line-up includes Carla Merrigan, Lucia Evans, The Lazy Blues Band, Tom Portman, Armada Latina and The Disconauts. Tickets are €10, doors open at 9pm til late.

Alternatively, donations can be made to AIB a/c 07034174.

Fine Gael's calls for Mary Harney to resign are farcical. There are many excellent reasons why Harney should go, but they're to do with health cuts -- not haircuts!

Congratulations to my old mucker Niall Stanage on his just-published book, Redemption Song (Liberties Press).

Having worked in Dublin journalism for some time, Niall relocated to New York a few years ago. He's done incredibly well for himself over there, writing extensively about US politics for the New York Observer and other publications -- and even showing up occasionally as a pundit on Fox News.

He's spent most of this year reporting on the presidential race, concentrating specifically on Obama's campaign, and becoming the only Irish journalist to travel on the candidate's plane.

His book is terrific -- a real insider's account.

What's even more impressive is the quick turnaround without making it read like a rush job. Well done, sir!

To John Donnellan's monthly Comedy Comedy night to see Eleanor Tiernan and Michael Mee perform.

Eleanor is a first cousin of Tommy Tiernan, and comedic genius obviously runs in the family (though she doesn't make any Traveller jokes).

The always entertaining Mee causes a slight controversy when he gets a frog in his throat and calls for a glass of water from the stage. When the barman delivers a pint glass up, he pulls a face and goes, "Erm, not meaning to be rude . . . but is that Galway tap water?"

To a chorus of boos and cheers, a bottle of Ballygowan is soon produced.

F**k! F**k! F**k! I've lost my mobile phone!

Only last week I made a mental note to copy all of my contact numbers. Needless to say, I never got around to it. Too late now. Even worse than losing the numbers are all those irreplaceable images and video clips of my kids. Gone forever!

Still, I suppose it could be worse. Last week, one Philip Sherman of Arkansas launched a $3m lawsuit against McDonald's. He'd left his mobile behind in the restaurant and when he called looking for it employees assured him it was there and promised to secure it until he returned.

Unfortunately, the phone contained some nude images of Sherman's wife, which soon turned up online. The couple are now seeking damages for suffering, embarrassment and the cost of having to move to a new home (presumably in an area without any broadband coverage). Luckily, the only nude images on my lost phone were of me.

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