Change is in the air, but watch out for brickbats and meteorites


RADIO REVIEW:IT IS A tireless, thankless job, but it’s better than working in a pork pie factory. President Mary McAleese rolls out the red carpet of Áras an Uachtaráin across the land. She likes to speak (and speak) at events, has admirably tried to use her office to help promote peace in Northern Ireland, and was re-elected unopposed for a second term.

On Monday’s Mooney(RTÉ Radio One, weekdays), after launching a forum last week, Resilience in Tough Times – Civic Society’s Response, she spoke about the voluntary sector in the community. It is a difficult balancing act. On the one hand, she must be above the slings and arrows of politics. On the other, I often feel like I’m being mammied.

The President doesn’t do any favours to this message – which is an honourable one – by indulging in schmaltz and sentiment. Derek Mooney showed due deference to her office but, at times, spoke to the President like she was an Oracle sitting atop the Sugar Loaf. McAleese began by saying, “We are looking after each other from the womb right through until the grave.” She spoke at length about the recent floods, suicide rates among men, unemployment, and those living with negative equity and high debt. “There’s a lot of angst and disappointment out there,” she added. If I wasn’t depressed before this, I was now.

However, when Mooney moved her on to the subject of politics in Northern Ireland, and the prospect of a visit there by the Queen, she abandoned at least some of her purple prose, and showed some steel instead. “Both Governments are committed to such a visit whenever devolution is completed in Northern Ireland,” she said. For the first time in her latest media blitz, the President finally had my attention. “If that visit was to happen it would signify the success of the peacemakers. That’s what my life’s work is all about. It’s about the triumph of the peacemakers, the triumph of good over evil,” she said. “I would love to arrive at a day where that victory is ours.”

It sounded like women were on the verge of something over on Liveline(RTÉ Radio One, weekdays) on Monday and Tuesday. They were upset about the cancellation last Saturday night of Menopause: The Musicalat the Moat Theatre in Naas. From the radio pantomime that followed, we learnt that showbiz sure ain’t glamorous.

The musical’s producer, Robert C Kelly, said the show was cancelled because the sound engineer’s wife went into labour. There was a small army of female ticket holders who were sceptical of this, because both Twink/Adele King (left) and Linda Martin appeared on a TV chat show that evening. (See TV review above)

“Adele cut short her holiday,” Kelly said. “If I ever have met a professional person in my life Adele King is that person, and she would never let a person down.” One woman called Livelineon Tuesday to say she had seen an advert for the TV show in the Evening Herald, with King already pre-booked as a guest. Joe Duffy called it Menopause: the Mystery.

On Monday, Marian and Mary were on the blower. “The momentum is gone now,” one said. “Who wants to go see the Menopausenow after being so disappointed?” Kelly said he would exchange or refund tickets, which seemed fair. “It’s not the money!” said the other. “It’s the upset it caused.”

Kelly said it didn’t help to be shouted at. It didn’t.

Marian and Mary sort of merged into one. Then they started talking to each other. “I saw Niall Quinn down the town and that’s the only thing that’s come of it,” Marian/Mary said. “I’m furious. I really am.” The other said, “I’m not satisfied with the explanation.” Marian/Mary replied, “Either am I, but that’s showbusiness, isn’t it?”

David Moore from Astronomy Ireland was all over the media after Wednesday’s sighting of a large meteorite over Ireland. On McGurk On 4(4FM, weekdays), Moore plugged a timely Astronomy Ireland lecture in Trinity College. Tom McGurk said, “You’ll be sucking diesel!” It was a bad phone line. Moore said, “Sorry, Tom, you broke up there.” That makes McGurk, and the meteorite, then.

On Thursday’s early morning show Tim Kelly(Today FM, weekdays) Moore was back discussing the meteorite. “It’s not as big as the one that destroyed the dinosaurs millions of years ago,” he said. “It’s somewhere between the size of a football and a house.” Still, I think we’re ugly enough and resilient enough to handle it.