US President Donald J. Trump speaks during a ‘Make America Great Again’ election campaign rally at Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minnesota, USA, 30 September 2020.  EPA/CRAIG LASSIG

As thousands of Americans succumbed to the virus, Trump continued to be the Pollyana-in-Chief

Van Morrison performs on the stage of the Olympia concert hall in Paris, on September 14, 2012.  (Photo by THOMAS SAMSON/AFP via Getty Images)

The extravagant amount of outrage over his Covid-19 songs is commensurate with his exalted status as an Irish artist

Matt Damon in Dalkey: Flaunting just a winning smile and a man-of-the-people SuperValu plastic bag, fawning media attention ensues.

We have a pathological need not just for The Famous Person to visit but through some ritual process of transubstantiation become l(...)

1979: Terry Jones, star of Monty Python’s Flying Circus directed and starred in Monty Python’s Life Of Brian. Photograph: Evening Standard/Getty Images

The Monty Python founder had the idea of dropping punchlines for an absurdist style

“Don’t blame me for Brexit because I headbutted a Tory”. Eric Joyce MP leaves City of Westminster Magistrates Court in London on March 9, 2012today where he was spared jail for beating up four politicians while drunk and telling police “You can’t touch me, I’m an MP” : Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The roots of the Tory victory can be traced back to Eric Joyce’s misbehaviour in 2012

Flying is the new smoking, becoming as socially unacceptable as the wearing of a fur coat to a vegan restaurant. File photograph: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Focusing on the impact of aviation is to miss the point about global warming

The pathetic irony of labelling Nick Kyrgios a racist because he used the word potato is that the tennis player himself has been the subject of racist abuse most of his life due to the fact that he is of part Malaysian descent. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Our understanding of what constitutes actual racist language and behaviour has become devalued

Love Island contestant Maura Higgins. Photograph: Facebook

Erotic capital may be all the reality television show’s contestants have or need

Brendan Grace preparing before his show in the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin in 1986. Photograph:  Independent News and Media/Getty Images)

These eight YouTube clips show Brendan Grace’s pioneering, inimitable comedy style

Brendan Grace at the Gaiety Theatre, Dublin in 2001. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Grace was a pioneer in Ireland, writing and performing his own comedy as a headline act

Freddie Starr: the comedian as Adolf Hitler in 1977; his controversial act probably wouldn’t be tolerated today. Photograph: Graham Wood/Evening Standard/Getty

Anything could happen at a Starr show. That was the appeal of his now dated comedy

Scott Walker on the BBC’s Presenting Nana Mouskouri TV show, 1970. Photograph:  Michael Putland/Getty Images

His beautiful voice and avant garde compositions influenced David Bowie and Radiohead

Damning accusations swirl around Michael Jackson  and will continue to do so to the extent that he has become the modern-day equivalent of a music-hall joke. Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

Brian Boyd: It is one rule for popular figures and another for revered idols of high art

O Emperor: winners of the 2018 Irish album of the year

Picture This win Song of the Year for One Drink

The Independent Group are a manifestation of a growing political trend that rejects the current doctrinaire shibboleths of both the left and right. Photograph: Niklas Halle’n/AFP/Getty Images

The Independent Group have within days of formation made a dramatic impact on the debate

Actor Liam Neeson who has admitted that he harboured violent thoughts about killing a black person after someone close to him was raped. File photograph: Laura Hutton/PA Wire

Were the actor’s remarks so disgustingly and violently racist that he brought this on himself?

Michael Jackson with 10-year-old Jimmy Safechuck in 1988. Photograph: Dave Hogan/Getty

A public row has erupted after two men alleged the ‘king of pop’ molested them as boys

Renowned chef Anthony Bourdain once referred to vegans as 'the Hezbollah-like splinter faction of vegetarians'

Ricky Gervais: “You can joke about whatever you like. And some people won’t like it and they will tell you they don’t like it . . . It’s a good system.” Photograph: Ray Burmiston/Entertainment One/PA

Despite risk of bad taste, comedians must honour progress and defy group-think

‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’  was written for the 1949 film ‘Neptune’s Daughter’, starring Esther Williams and Ricardo Montalban.  Photograph: Mondadori Portfolio by Getty Images

Some hear a song about sexual coercion and say it’s inappropriate in the #MeToo era

Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick appears as a face of Nike Inc advertisement marking the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan in this image released by Nike

Big companies are keen to to appropriate social justice concerns as part of their marketing strategy

Slang – new and old – has always been about sex, drink and being rude

A rediscovered dictionary of historical slang highlights some bawdy delights of the past

Ashley Blaine Featherson and Logan Browning in the US Netflix comedy ‘Dear White People’, which explores the dynamics of modern race relations. Photograph: Eddy Chen/Netflix

A row at the New York Times has sparked a heated debate over the nature of racism

With all due respect to David Kitt’s elegy about the “sadness of so many creative/artistic/bright people being forced to leave the city”, the people being hit hardest by the city’s housing crisis are not members of the “creative community” but the poorest people with the fewest options. Photograph:  Brenda Fitzsimons

Dublin needs affordable housing and an increase in the minimum wage – not another poetry pop-up space

 Miriam Daly prepares to hand the baton to team-mate Patience Jumbo Gula,  in the women’s  relayat  the European Youth Olympic Festival 2017 . Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Success of Irish athletes explaining to us is that monolithic notions are not fit for purpose anymore

WHO officials appear to have ignored the views of Psychiatric and Psychological bodies urging them not to stigmatise video gaming (...)

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko staged his death to foil an alleged plot on his life by Moscow’s security services. Photograph: (Valentyn Ogirenko/Pool photo via AP

Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko did it to expose a killer. But most people who fake their deaths are running from something

Guy McKinley paints a mural of Liverpool’s star striker Mo Salah from Egypt on hoarding in Liverpool’s city centre ahead of his team’s Champions League final in Kiev against Real Madrid. REUTERS/Andrew Yates

Crass and facile as some of it may be the adulation of the Liverpool player shows once again the power of sport to challenge preju(...)

Clodagh Rodgers: spangled hot pants and insured legs just visible as she performs for the UK in 1971 Eurovision Song Contest in Dublin. Photograph:  Rolls Press/Popperfoto/Getty Images

When Ireland hosted its first Eurovision it was beset by Troubles with a capital ‘T’

Kanye West:  This is not a man of ideological inflexibility - though slightly shocked by the appearance of the full Irish breakfast, he asked for advice and guidance on the issue before coming to an informed decision.  Photo : Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

The rapper's presidential ambitions may have been born over breakfast in a Dublin hotel

‘When we looked our best’ – 1979:  Bjorn Ulvaeus, Agnetha Faltskog, Anni-Frid Lyngstad and Benny Andersson, in concert. Photograph:  Evening Standard/Getty Images

They’ve recorded two new songs. One will be performed on TV in December. Not by Abba

Ed Sheeran performs on stage at Wembley Stadium in July 2015. The singer begins his Irish tour on May 4th. Photograph:  Christie Goodwin/Redferns via Getty Images

Sold-out tour begins in Cork on May 4th followed by shows in Belfast, Galway and Dublin

The “Incel Rebellion” – referenced by Alek Minassian – promotes violence, specifically the murder of women.

Manosphere must sit down and shut up – men’s problems are caused by men

Ken Dodd: Appeared in the ‘Guinness Book of Records’ for the longest joke-telling session

He was the Springsteen of seaside comedy, with no hatred or bullying to his humour

Former Russian military intelligence colonel Sergei Skripal attends a hearing at the Moscow District Military Court in Moscow on August 9, 2006. Sergei Skripal, a former Russian double agent whose mysterious collapse in England sparked concerns of a possible poisoning by Moscow, has been living in Britain since a high-profile spy swap in 2010.  Russia OUTYURI SENATOROV/AFP/Getty Images

The suspected poisioning of Sergei Skripal exposes the hypocritical moral grandstanding of the West when it comes to Russian malfe(...)

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 28: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson speaks to the media after jogging through St James Park on February 28, 2018 in London, England. A letter from Mr Johnson to the Prime Minister was leaked to the media yesterday, in which the Foreign Secretary stated that he believed that there would end up having to be some form of border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, post Brexit.  (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

When the reality of political life intrudes - a hard border in Ireland - he reverts to type and tries to quip his way around it

George Clooney in The American. Celebrities can be effective in drawing attention but their endorsements can actually cost support

The NRA are old-school: they show up at town hall meetings, they stuff letters and lick envelopes, they put through phone calls to(...)

The 2015 WHO report on bacon – which if you just read the headlines would make you never touch a rasher of bacon again for fear of imminent death – has been wildly and irresponsibly reported. Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

The WHO report that scared people off rashers and a bacon that's “safer than any other bacon on the market”.

Following a controversy relating to Simon Harris, Fine Gael uses the messaging app Confide,  where it’s not possible to screenshot messages

Chat carefully. A UK minister’s description of colleagues as ‘swivel-eyed’ has gone public

 Dolores O’Riordan performs with The Cranberries in Holmdel, New Jersey, US, on September 9th, 1996. File photograph: Ozier Muhammad/The New York Times

Before they made it big, the late Cranberries singer felt she was drinking in the music industry’s last-chance saloon

When Adam Boulton interviewed Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney last week over the Brexit/Border issue his job was to challenge and confront Coveney over the Government’s approach and strategy.

Tayto and Saoirse Ronan are not actual emblems on our flag

U2 singer  Bono had a “brush with mortality”  last year that has shaped the band’s new album. Photograph:  Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

On the liner notes of U2’s new album ‘Songs of Experience’, the singer references 'a shock to the system'

Trump, Brexit, personal crises scuppered the release of U2’s album out today

Christmas decorations in a hallway of the East Wing of the White House during a press preview of the 2017 holiday decorations . The theme of the White House holiday decorations this year is “Time-Honored Traditions.” (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Analysis shows every time Trump mentiones “we can say ‘Merry Christmas’ again” or a variant thereof he receives his biggest applau(...)

Thirty-three per cent of the people surveyed said drinking spirits made them feel aggressive, whereas only  2.5 per cent said drinking red wine made them feel aggressive.

A new study explores how spirits, wine and beer affect drinkers’ moods

Sean Hughes

Youngest ever winner of the Perrier Prize, he became the UK’s biggest stand-up attraction

Harvey Weinstein, US film producer  posing during a photocall at the MIPCOM audiovisual trade fair in Cannes, southeastern France on October 5, 2015 shows . New York police said on October 12. VALERY HACHE/AFP/Getty Images

Film producers response to harassment allegations follows a well trodden path

Roger Waters:  has advised fans if they want a show devoid of political statements, they should “go see Katy Perry or watch the Kardashians instead”. Photograph:  Scott Legato/Getty Images

Fans are angered by provocative images of the US president in the Pink Floyd man’s Us + Them tour

Former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton onstage to sign copies of her new book ‘What Happened’ at Barnes and Noble bookstore, New York. Photograph: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

With low overheads and sky-high ticket prices, Hillary Live is a book tour like no other

Virtual reality Abba: Björn, Agnetha, Benny and Anni-Frid are being digitised using techniques that capture them as they were in their spandex prime. Photograph: Richard E Aaron/Redferns

Björn, Agnetha, Benny and Anni-Frid are back – as you haven’t seen them since 1977

Mas de Notre Dame de Vie, Mougins, Côte d’Azur, France

The artist bought Mas de Notre Dame de Vie, a luxurious villa near Cannes in the South of France, from the Guinness family, and li(...)

Addiction and recovery are hellishly complex, profoundly personal and dramatically life-altering events. File photograph: Getty Images

National Recovery Month reduces addiction to selfies, thumbs-ups and confessionals

Obama’s 2012 tweet, “Four more years”, is the number 8 most-retweeted

Obama tweets less than Trump, but seven of the 10 all-time most popular tweets are his

There was clear and indisputable video evidence of the white nationalist protesters in Charlottesville last weekend. Their faces weren’t hidden under the traditional attire of hoods and robes. Photograph: Edu Bayer/New York Times

Unhidden by hoods and robes, white nationalists have been caught on camera

Barcelona is one of the most visited cities in Europe. A number of residents find they can earn five times as much a year by renting their apartment to platforms such as Airbnb as opposed to charging €1,000 a month in rent to the local population. Photograph: Getty Images

The youth wing of the CUP party is on a mission to drive out visitors

Stephen Crowley’s photos of his daughter Hannah Photoshopped into perilous scenarios to raise awareness of the Bone Marrow Registry. For Brian Boyd story

Baby Hannah cllimbs ladders, plays with knives, drives a car. It's for a good reason

Mick Jagger: both he and Jeremy Corbyn are frauds when it comes to Brexit. Photograph: Henry Romero/Reuters

Like fellow Glastonbury headliner Corbyn, Jagger is jumping on the bandwagon

On Trump’s mental health charge sheet we find professional accusations of narcissism, impulsivity, poor attention span, paranoia, petty grudge-holding, the use of vulgar personal abuse against opponents, delusions of grandeur, a victim complex and compulsive tweeting. Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

American Psychoanalytic Association has lifted ban on members commenting on president’s mental state

Switzerland’s Roger Federer celebrates beating Croatia’s Marin Cilic in the men’s singles final at Wimbledon. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Wimbledon winner’s remarkable revival raises questions that only he seems to be asking

Get Active: Tennis

It’s better for you than swimming, running or cycling

“Our blind acceptance and compliance with technologies means that the people who know us best – what we like, want, prefer, aspire to be – are not our governments but Google and Facebook.” Photograph: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Many of the ‘problems’ being sold to us by digital technologies aren’t problems at all

John McEnroe:   He does valuable work for the Wimbledon tournament each year by saying something ‘controversial’. Photograph: Jonathan Ford

The former champion on women’s tennis, his recurring nightmare and who will win Wimbledon 2017

A tussle for Jack Sock’s Wimbledon towel on the second day of the 2017 Wimbledon Championships, in London, England. Photograph: Screengrab/BBC

Furore over the Wimbledon tussle highlights a digital desperation for popularity

The way gin is served – fishbowl-style glasses with garnishes  – adds to its fashionability. Photograph: Getty Images

It’s the biggest growth sector in drink sales, and even the tonic has had a makeover

The amount of conflicting, contradictory and barely sane advice  about alcohol consumption is now such that leading scientists say this is a problem that needs treating in itself. Photograph: Getty Images

The governmental obsession with litres and units does nothing to address alcohol abuse

Sugar-shaming is not just about sugar. It’s about our wider relationship with food

Fans of US singer Ariana Grande speak to members of the press in Mancheste. / AFP PHOTO / Paul ELLISPAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Analysis: Going to a concert will become more time-consuming and more expensive

Bono: ‘These songs don’t belong to us anymore. They belong to the people who went through stuff when they heard them first.’ Photograph:  Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

The U2 singer fears the US president will undo years of work on Aids and development

The Edge performs with Bono during the opening concert of U2’s global The Joshua Tree Tour 2017 in Vancouver, Canada on May 12th. Photograph: Nick Didlick/Reuters

‘Eamon said this beautiful thing once - he said ‘Bono, Ali is the best thing about you’’

The “avocado rose”. This  fad has people cutting their avocados into thin slices, fanning out the slices so that they all overlap and then curling the slices towards the centre in imitation of a rose

Ireland can’t get enough of the avocado, but there’s a sinister side to the food trend

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walks with Labour Party activists as he leaves his home to cast his vote at a polling station at Pakeman Primary School in Islington on June 23, 2016 in London, England.  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

The Islington Labour Party of the 1980’s was achingly “right on” and as relevant today as Duran Duran

Ed Sheeran: Croke Park bound? Here he is during his recent concert at Dublin’s 3 Arena Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Speculation mounting that Ed Sheeran will play three concerts in 2018

Stories about Pepsi, United Airlines and Sean Spicer ticked the “social media storm/online backlash” boxes but none of them stand (...)

“The film and television industries are determined to remain cleaved to an outdated distribution system which is cunningly designed to maximise their profits.”

Studios create massive global hype around movies but stagger releases across markets

Vaxxed  has been banned by many cinemas over its purported linking of the MMR vaccine  to autism

Controversial ‘anti-vaxx’ film linking autism to childhood vaccinations to tour Ireland

Racegoers enjoy a drink at Cheltenham racecourse. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images

Excessive gambling rather than alcohol consumption is the real danger

Donald Trump: Disproves the theory that just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Photograph: Erik S Lesser-Pool/Getty Images

Swivel-eyed loons among US right claim a shadowy movement is out to ‘remove’ Trump

Fighting fascism on Twitter is not what the International Brigades foresaw when they marched to Spain in the 1930s. Photograph:  Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Throwing around insults and labelling voters will not prevail against the muscular right

Ivanka Trump, with her husband Jared Kushner and their children.  The socially liberal couple claim the credit for  persuading Trump not to roll back Obama-era LGBT workplace rights. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/EPA

Backlash over decision not to roll back LGBT rights will be more damaging than travel ban

Feng shui consultant Dervilla Griffin: “I have a lovely mix of home and business clients who would generally contact me having received a recommendation from a previous client.”

Practitioner says it is not about decluttering, it is an Earth science

Venus and Serena Williams will play each other in the Australian Open women’s final on Saturday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Williams sisters and Federer proving that veteran doesn’t have to mean past it

Ruth Negga in Loving. The most important aspect of Negga’s Oscar nomination was that grave offence was caused to our nation by the Brits - going on their airwaves and into print to steal one of our own. Reverting to type.

It is the sole authority of Ruth Negga to describe her nationality and sense of place in whatever way she sees fit

Trump’s attitude to his own health is relevant here. He’s the type of person who would only take his face out of his bucket of KFC fried chicken to laugh in the face of Big Government lecturing him about his “five-a-day” intake.

His lack of interest in his own health informs his support for anti-vaccination campaigners

Brew your cappuccino in a built-in machine, before drinking it in a free-standing soaker tub, set under a showcase chandelier

Real deal: U2 tickets for Croke Park. Photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

U2’s Croke Park show sold out in minutes this week. Then tickets showed up online at vastly inflated prices. Is this touting, and (...)

There is still silence from Beyoncé as to the estimated $2 million she received for performing a private concert for Muammar Gadafy’s family in 2009 - at a time when it was abundantly clear to all that Gadafy was an evil despot.   (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

It is ok to play for money in front of Gadafy but not the president-elect of the USA

The Irish date - at Croke Park on Saturday July 22nd - brings Bono and U2 back to the same venue where they played the then just-released album live 30 years ago. Photograph: Chris Wattie/Reuters

‘More desperate times’ motivated U2 to revisit songs from three decades ago, says Clayton

Reliable sources have indicated that U2 are to outline their plans on Monday for a major 2017 stadium tour of their 1987 album The Joshua Tree.

Croke Park likely venue in unexpected move for band who have never toured a catalogue album

They’re the equivalent of paying for a weather app on your phone - when you could just look out the window instead

George Michael performing at the Live Aid concert at Wembley Stadium in London. Photograph: PA Wire

Brian Boyd selects 10 songs that tell part of the story of the British pop superstar’s life

George Michael performing at the O2 in Dublin in November, 2011. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

2016 continues to be year of living dangerously for giants of music world

Frank Murray managed The Pogues, Thin Lizzy, The Frames, Elton John and The Specials

Fake news has been around as long as humans have. The first notorious use of it was when the Christian Church in the 8th century brought out the document “The Donation of Constantine”

Just like previous efforts to police the internet, the clampdown on fake stories will fail

The house Hitler was born in was siezed by the  Austrian parliament

The former dictator’s home has become a macabre Neo-Nazi attraction – a phenomenon known in the trade as “real estate disaster por(...)

A scene from the RTÉ Television drama series Tolka Row, during studio filming in 1967. From left to right; John McDarby as Gabby Doyle, Des Perry as Jack Nolan, May Ollis as Rita Nolan and Iris Lawler as Statia Nolan-Doyle.  It ran from  January 3, 1964 to  June 7, 1968.

When TV soaps were seen as a social threat and kitchen skills were part of the Inter Cert

“It is shameful to think that the actions of figures such as Rosa Parks [above] and Harvey Milk have now been replaced with the lazy, crude, stupid and infantile justice warriors, be they on  the left or right.”

Today’s alt-righters and SJWs have far more in common than they care to know

Your first pressing decision will be: curved or flat screen? Curved screens look cool but are way more expensive.

‘Home entertainment’ offers a dizzying array of choice, depending on budget and, er, taste

Squaring the circle: AerClub will be powered by the travel rewards company Avios, with members collecting three Avios points for  every €1 spent on flights booked with Aer Lingus

New AerClub frequent flyer programme is based on money spent and not airmiles flown

Snake oil? Homeopathy was always the dodgy second-hand car salesman of the alt-medical world. Photograph: iStockphoto

US law will hopefully also spell the end of aromatherapy, reiki and mindfulness

 Edward Horgan, Claire Horgan and Paul Horgan of   Horgans Delicatessen Supplies in Mitchelstown. “The Icelandic diet came in ranked first and one of the products that featured strongly in the diet was Skyr,” says Claire Horgan.

UN report ranks Iceland at the top of the list of healthiest countries due to its diet

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