Reeling in the years: the many faces of Uncle Gaybo, including, top left, with his portrait in the National Gallery of Ireland in 2000; bottom left, the motorcycling enthusiast; inset left, on The Late Late Show in 1966; centre, presenting his Lyric FM radio show last year; middle right, shaking hands with Charles Haughey at a surprise party at RTÉ in 1998; and bottom right, as chairman of the Road Safety Authority in 2007

At the heart of all great talent, and of all great change, is a mystery. Analysts can dissect the components that went into making a particular per(...)