Christmas with . . .

Rory Cowan, actor

Rory Cowan: “I don’t bother cooking a Christmas dinner because there’s only me. God, this sounds like the little boy that Santa Claus forgot!” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Rory Cowan: “I don’t bother cooking a Christmas dinner because there’s only me. God, this sounds like the little boy that Santa Claus forgot!” Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

 

Who do you spend Christmas with?

Normally it was my father, mother and brother, and then my sister and her husband and their four children would join us in the afternoon. But my dad died 10 years ago and my mother has been suffering from dementia for a number of years so I don’t actually spend Christmas with anybody. I go up to visit my mother, but she doesn’t realise it’s Christmas. I visit her for a couple of hours on Christmas morning and then I go home. I don’t bother cooking a Christmas dinner because there’s only me. God, this sounds like the little boy that Santa Claus forgot!

Name your fantasy Christmas dinner guests

John Lennon, Marc Bolan, Whoopi Goldberg, Paul O’Grady, AC Grayling, my mother before her dementia took hold, my father, for just one more Christmas, so I could tell him how much I appreciate everything he did for me. And of course, my best friends, Avri, Robert, Ken, Annette, Sean, Derek, Alan and Karl.

What gives you that Christmasy feeling?

Hearing Christmas songs by Slade, John Lennon, Elton John, Queen, Wham etc because I remember them when they were released first at Christmases going back over 40 years. Every time I hear them I remember exactly where I was at Christmas, when I heard them first. John Lennon’s Happy Xmas (War is Over) brings me back to the school bus in Limerick. Slade’s Merry Xmas Everybody reminds me of my first Christmas in Dundrum. One of my biggest thrills was meeting and getting to know Noddy Holder over the last five or six years. Every time I meet him I have to force myself to not shout, “It’s Christmaaaasssss!!”

Do you enjoy the lead-up to Christmas or does it stress you out?

I appeared in the panto in the Olympia last year and I’ll be appearing again this year, so that makes the Christmas season extra busy, which really suits me. I don’t get stressed out about Christmas because I have a routine and it works well. People who get stressed out in the lead-up to Christmas get stressed because they haven’t a routine. They run about like headless chickens and then they start to panic.

Do you have a Christmas tradition that must be observed without fail every year?

Every Christmas Eve, I watch an old black-and-white film, A Christmas Carol, starring Alastair Sim. That film brings me back to Christmas Eves in Ballyfermot when I was a child. I never got tired of watching it. I now have my own copy, and every Christmas Eve I sit back with a few drinks and some nibbles and watch it again.

Rory Cowan stars in the Olympia panto, Polly and the Magic Lamp, from December 21st to January 6th, along with Jake Carter, Erin McGregor and Ryan Andrews