Friday, March 31, 2006


One of the new faces of Channel 6, TV and radio presenter Taragh Loughrey - Grant enjoying the launch party last night.

Strike a pose

Richie Stokes and Triona "Party" McCarty pictured last night at the launch party for Channel 6.

Tune in!

Last night saw one of the best parties I have ever attended. A momentus occasion, it was the launch of new TV station Channel 6 at the amazing chq venue at the IFSC. It was a veritable who’s who of the party set as guests graced the red carpet in anticipation of the big count down to broadcast.

The channel has a range of presenters, all of whom are new talent and Irish, who will host a series of homegrown shows focusing on music, movies and entertainment. Take Six, the first programme to air, is a brand new, home produced movie show, hosted by none other than Taragh Loughrey-Grant! It takes an intelligent look at all aspects of both cinema and DVD releases and will review the Top 10 box office releases that week, combined with extended clips of movies, interviews and great competitions.

Night Shift, which will be presented by Michelle Doherty (one time ex. of Eddie Irvine) is a brand new, home produced, interactive music programme. It will cover all aspects of the alternative music scene and will provide information on not-to-be-missed gigs, showcase new and upcoming acts from both the Irish and International music scene and review the latest single and album releases from more established artists. Viewers can vote for their favourite videos and the show has a strong commitment to Irish bands.

Popscene is a brand new, home produced, interactive music show hosted by Brian Deveraux. It will cover all of the gigs of the week and bring viewers all the latest celebrity news and gossip from the music world and it will showcase new and upcoming acts both on the Irish and International music scene.

Presented by former model Jenny Buckley, Access Hollywood is an entertainment newsmagazine that provides viewers with the latest showbiz news, in-depth celebrity interviews, and behind-the-scenes accounts of the most important events in Hollywood. The newsmagazine breaks new ground by giving viewers the inside stories they want to see.

Among those assembled for the big launch (which was expertly organised by Wall2Wall PR) were actor Simon Delaney, Norman Pratt and Avril Collins, style duo Triona McCarty and Cathy O’Connor, Roisin Tierney – Crowe, Sonia Harris and Keith Gill, Joe Harrington and Joe Supple, the gorgeous Andrea Dillon – Horan of Thinkhouse PR with Emily Cramp and Jane McDaid.

TV producer Bill Hughes was also there, taking time out from his latest project, Celebrity Gigs and Reels; Mary Crawford was there with her sister Caroline as was Rebecca Burrell, socialite Richard Kavanagh, Alan Amsby, Niall McCrudden of Insight, publisher PJ Gibbons, Breda Brown and Al Dunne, Jonothan Sultan and Paul Davey of Toni&Guy.

Like I said, it was a veritable who’s who. With as much drink as the hundreds of guests could manage and delicious food from Unique Dining, managing director Michael Murphy hosted a party that was truly one to remember.

Channel 6 has arrived!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism, John O'Donoghue TD with 2005 Hennessy Literary Award winner Jennifer Farrell and Maurice Hennessy.

Award winning film director Jim Sheridan pictured with Caroline Sleiman at the Hennessy Literary Awards in the Four Seasons Hotel Dublin on Tuesday.

The Write Stuff

It’s a tough job being a writer. For every Dan Brown or Cecelia Ahern there are thousands of struggling scribes hoping that their manuscript sees the light of day. I guess it’s like any job within the arts world - a labour of love.

On Tuesday afternoon that writers labour was indeed loved at the Hennessy Literary Awards. Hosted in association with The Sunday Tribune and the Four Seasons Hotel Dublin, this year’s event was a sumptuous luncheon held in the aforementioned, and indeed sumptuous, Four Seasons Hotel.

Now in their 35th year, the Hennessy Literary Awards are unique accolades, providing the undiscovered writer and poet with an opportunity to break through the barriers to see their work published – and their talents appear in print.

Following his Oscar nomination last year for the short film of ‘Everything in this Country Must’, internationally renowned writer Colum McCann was presented with this year’s prestigious Hall of Fame Award. Colum, who flew in from New York to attend, now joins Pat McCabe, Joseph O’Connor and Dermot Bolger, fellow winners of this esteemed award.

Colum, who now lives in New York with his wife Alison and their three children, was nominated for an Oscar in 2004 for his story - Everything in this Country Must - which was adapted to a short film. This story looks at the lives of ordinary people who have been born into a conflict in Northern Ireland that will probably continue on for many generations without resolution.

Leading Irish film director Jim Sheridan and his wife Fran, writer Dermot Bolger and Colum's parents Sean and Sally McCann were among those who were on hand to congratulate him on his achievement. In fact, upon receiving the award, Colum dedicated it to his parents.

The judging panel for this year’s awards included writer and poet Mary O’Donnell, writer Philip Hensher (named on Granta's list of Twenty Writers of the Decade) and Sunday Tribune’s New Irish Writing editor and Chairman of the judging panel, Ciaran Carty. Among those who attended the ceremony were TV presenter Caroline Morahan and her sister Olivia, publisher Trevor White, Caroline Sleiman (who looked stunning in a one-off Olga Maguire design), Minister for Arts John O’Donoghue TD, scion of the Hennessy dynasty Maurice Hennessy, Judith Giltinane, Deirdre Nolan from New Island and John Bowman, who was emcee for the afternoon.

This year’s winner of the overall Hennessy Literary Award was Dublin-born mother of three Jennifer Farrell, who said that receiving the award “made it all worthwhile”. She wins the Hennessy New Irish Writer Award on the occasion of her first-ever nomination in the Literary Awards and her outstanding short story, ‘Beached’, also saw Farrell presented with this year’s Hennessy Literary Award for Best First Fiction Writer. Jennifer studied History / Sociology at N.U.I. and after graduating, she continued her studies, with a Masters in 1995. Some of her non-fiction has been published and she is currently working on a novel and short stories.

Jennifer Farrell. Remember that name.

Other awards presented included Best Emerging Fiction Writer to Owen Dwyer for his short story ‘Respite’ and Best Emerging Poetry to Maria Wallace for her poem ‘That hand painted plate behind glass’. A total of 17 writers were nominated for this year’s awards.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

And they're off...

Racing, for me, is one of the biggest events in the yearly social calendar, and the season will soon kick off with the annual Fairyhouse Easter Festival. Details of the event, which includes the Powers Whisky sponsored big races, were announced at a lunch in the beautiful Fire restaurant at The Mansion House during the week.

The Fairyhouse Easter Festival gets underway on Sunday April 16 next, with the 135th running of the €250,000 Powers Whiskey Irish Grand National on Easter Monday being the highlight of the three-day festival.

The €100,000 Powers Gold Cup takes centre stage on the opening day while the €130,000 Menolly Homes Handicap Hurdle, upped in prize money by over €30,000 from last year, makes up the three most valuable races of the Festival. In fact, over €1million in total prize money will be played for over the 23 scheduled races.

At a pre-lunch drinks reception, guests enjoyed delicious Powers Whiskey cocktails and discussed plans and swapped tips for the forthcoming season. Racing boss Brian Kavanagh and PR supremo Tamso Doyle were just back from Cheltenham and were delighted with the all time record ten Irish wins at the UK festival. I also spotted Michael and Anne O'Brien, who won in Cheltenham on Thursday with their horse Kadoun.

I shared my table with Mary Irwin and Alan Hughes of TV3. Alan was telling me of his latest travel plans, which include a trip on the world’s newest and biggest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s The Freedom, and an upcoming jaunt to Miami.

The racing scene has long been associated with elegance and fashion and stylish girls Deirdre Farrell, Frances Winston and Mary FitzGerald all admired the fashion show by Marks & Spencer. This year’s Powers Whiskey/M&S Best Dressed Lady Competition will be judged on Easter Monday by fashionista Pamela Flood, so all you fillies start planning your outfits pronto!

Cheltenham hero jockey Conor Dwyer officially launched the announcement, and was accompanied by his wife Audrey. Dessie and Eileen Hughes, Tom and Elaine Taaffe, Justin Carthy from Chronicle Bookmakers, Today FM's Paul Collins, past Grand National winner Ross Geraghty and Martin Brassil, who trained last years winner Numbersixvalverde, were also in attendance.

Check out for more details.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

The boys behind Pro Audio Images, Lee Walsh and James Hyland, pose with The Tripletz at the Slane Castle party.

Model Rachel Kavanagh and actor Killian O'Sullivan enjoy the Pro Audio Images party.

Lord Henry Mount Charles and his wife Lady Iona at the Pro audio Images launch in Slane Castle.

Night to remember

Slane Castle, by way of Ashbourne, was the place to be on Saturday night last. A group of the “IT” crowd travelled to the Royal County to celebrate the launch of an exciting new development in the music and entertainment industry.

Our hosts for the evening were James Hyland and Lee Walsh, the two bright young things behind the new home of Pro Audio Images, the state of the art digital studios in Ashbourne. This was the first port of call for the guests, who enjoyed a champagne reception and tour of the new multi-million euro facilities.

Going under the name of Pro Audio Images, Hyland and Walsh have already established themselves as one of the most successful commercial production houses in Ireland, and indeed Europe. Apart from being the enviable age of 22, the dynamic duo already have extensive experience under their collective belts.

Hyland started working in the industry at a young age. I know he’s only 22, but he started early – 12 to be precise! At 16 he started organising and promoting concerts and has worked with Atomic Kitten, Coolio and Boyzone to name but a few. Two years ago he moved Pro Audio Images to Dublin, teamed up with partner Lee Walsh and setup an entertainment based production house for radio and TV commercials. The rest, as they say, is history. Or rather, where this pair is concerned, the future.

Making a special appearance was veteran actress Hilda Braid, who played the popular character of Nana Moon in Eastenders. Looking every inch the little old dear, she was accompanied by her on-screen grandson, Spencer, a.k.a. actor Chris Parker.

With no time to waste, guests were driven to Slane Castle, where the main celebrations of the evening were taking place. Having played host to international acts such as Madonna, U2, Robbie Williams, David Bowie and REM, the castle was the perfect setting for such a private and exclusive gig. And secret, I should add, as none of the guests knew who the band was to be.

I spotted Sean Montague and Brendan Scully with actor Kevin J. Ryan, who is just back from L.A. where he was shooting the Fast & Furious 3 and appearing in the hugely popular HBO show Entourage. He expects to be spending much more time Stateside during the course of the year.

Also there, and looking stunning as always, were the Tripletz, a.k.a. Allison, Laura and Nicola Crimmins. Three other sisters looking great were Roz, Avila and Sarah Lipsett, who were with their pals Killian O’Sullivan of Fair City and model Rachel Kavanagh.

Also among the who’s who on the night were Lord Henry Mount Charles and his wife Lady Iona, who sported a rather fetching musical themed jumper. Hollyoaks star Andy Newton Lee, Norman Pratt with Yvonne Cosgrave and Richard Stokes, legendary voice over artist Mitch Johnson and Julie Peacock of Vicar Street.

After being entertained by top Irish group Relish the party posse returned to Dublin, suitably impressed by what was definitely a proper audio experience.

Hilda Braid and Chris Parker (Nana and Spencer Moon) at the Pro Audio Images party in Slane Castle on Saturday night.

Monday, March 20, 2006

You give me Fever

Well, after the shenanigans of Paddy’s Day, a brief bout of strep throat and a well deserved break, I’m back. In my state of illness though I managed to venture out once last week. The newest kid on the block, Citi Bar & Venue on Dame Street, opened a new state of the art club called “Fever” in the basement of its stunning new hotel and four floor bar complex. Situated in the heart of Temple Bar, adjacent to the Central Bank and Trinity College, Citi Bar & Venue and Fever are sure to set the pulses racing of the party set.

Designed with all your comforts in mind, Fever is a stylish and chic club that offers the best of Irish hospitality. The music will cater for every taste from chart to hip hop and the atmosphere will be welcoming and fun. The deep intensely coloured walls and moody neon lighting create a cool chilled out atmosphere. Key design features include a number of private snugs and stylish booths not to mention a unique glass dance floor.

General Manager Dave Lahart told me: “It provides everything you need to let your hair down after a tough day in the office or just a great night out on the town. We have created a contemporary venue that contrasts old with new effortlessly.

Fever is hot and is definitely somewhere you’ll want to keep coming back to. We have encompassed the very best in modern comfort and set a new standard for others to follow. If you thought it couldn’t happen well now it has, life’s little pleasures are no longer over looked”, he enthused.

The official opening was attended by Miss Ireland Aoife Coogan, former Miss World Rosanna Davidson, model Robert Rowat and TV3 Ireland AM's Alan Hughes. It was a party to remember with a plethora of dancers, performers and great music from hot DJ Keith Foran on the decks. The theme on the night was, as the name suggests ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and everyone got in the mood thanks to the great display put on by the enthusiastic entertainers.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Rise up

The Bud Rising Spring music festival program was launched last night at a party in The Village hosted by Budweiser. Easter weekend in Dublin will see a mix of the biggest acts alongside breakthrough bands and DJs in Dublin’s pubs, clubs and venues as BudRising Spring kick-starts a summer-long programme of BudRising music. With 17 events, across 10 venues over four days, BudRising Spring Festival promises one of the hottest festival line-ups of 2006.

Thursday 13 April sees live performances from Shout Out Louds, whose debut album “Howl Howl Gaff Gaff” is widely considered one of last year’s true gems, and The Morning After Girls in Whelans. At the same time, James Lavelle and DJ Scope take the stage in the Globe.

Saturday, Sunday and Monday’s impressive line-up includes The Long Blondes (15.04.06, POD); The Young Knives + White Rose Movement (15.04.06, Whelans); Isobel Campbell (16.04.06, The Village); Raw Fusion Records Night - various (16.04.06, Hogans); Gucci Soundsystem (16.04.06, The Village). We are Scientists, a band on the undisputed fast-track to greatness, play The Village on 17.04.06 while Nerina Pallot charms Crawdaddy on 17.04.06. Stadium contenders Razorlight, fresh from their seminal performance at Live 8, close the weekend in true Budweiser music festival style at the Olympia on Monday 17 April.

The festival brings to Dublin City a blistering line up for dance music fans as well. An early evening to late night line up includes The Juan McClean, Optimo DJs + Filthy Dukes, at the Temple Bar Music Centre on Saturday 15 April. The legend that is David Holmes keeps it intimate at one of BudRising Spring’s free of charge gigs in Anseo on Monday 17th and James Lavelle sets the standard at The Globe on Thursday 13 April, entrance free of charge.

Also, open from 3pm daily throughout the festival weekend, the BudRising Spring Festival Hub in The Village is where big names can be found playing special acoustic sets before their headline shows. Free food, free tickets, BudRising DJ sets and a bumper indie karaoke special on Monday 17 are just some of what’s on offer – as well as full information on BudRising bands, listings and merchandise.

Among the guests enjoying the endless supply of Bud, burgers, hot dogs and chips last night were trend setter Andrea Dillon – Horan, Richie Stokes, DJ Alison Curtis, Ronan Healy of Catapult, Nadine Wai – O’Flynn, model Peter Loyd, Norman Pratt and Avril Collins, Eoin Cregan of Bodytonic, Fergal Breen and Emily Cramp.

Other great acts performing include The Immediate, Liptrick, Howling Bells, Mad Matts, Philith and Monkey Tennis DJs. Venues taking part in BudRising Spring Festival include: The Olympia, Vicar Street, The Village, Whelans, Temple Bar Music Centre, Crawdaddy, POD, The Globe, Anseo, and Hogans.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

One of the looks at last night's Arnotts Spring / Summer 06 show.

Gracias a la vida!

There was an excitement in the air as champagne glasses clinked in anticipation of the show. The buzz was permeated with air kisses, gossip and laughter. As the flashes went off the beautiful people were striking a pose. We were in Arnotts department store for the Spring / Summer 2006 show.

Overall, for S/S 06, the looks in both men’s and women’s collections at Arnotts are becoming more thoughtful and refined. There is a move away from the boho eccentricity of previous seasons. The new cleaner silhouette is enhanced by the use of exquisite fabrics – gossamer silks, wonderfully textured linens, soft washed cottons, easily drapeding viscose and fine summer tweeds.

Prints abound, especially in the season’s most desirable item – the dress. They come in every shape – shift, shirtwaister or strapless. Shorter asymmetrical tunic styles can be worn over the latest skinny jeans or colourful hosiery.

In other scenes the military look gives way to a more understated utility styling softened by embroidered details and a sometimes humours shock of colour. Embroidery, beads and sequins add a touch of glamour at all times of day or night. The practical, yet stylish soft trench coat proves popular for both men and women.

After the show, with was produced by Eddie Shanahan (who also came up with the concept), we all retired to the top floor Studio Bar for an intimate dinner. There’s something odd about being in a department store after hours, it’s a mini exhilaration.

Guests included fashion writers, stylists, buyers and generally stylish people including Bairbre Power, who is busy preparing for her upcoming role in the Vagina Monologues, Susan Vasquez, newly appointed Marketing Manager of Arnotts Tania Meighan and writer / broadcaster Quentin Fottrell.

Also there were stylist Sonia Mohlich, Alice Sheridan of and Kerri Galligan, who’s off on a mega shopping trip to NYC next week.

Several new brands have been introduced to the men’s, woman’s, lingerie and accessory collections at Arnotts – Pal Zileri Lab, Superdry, Isobel Sarsfield, Pollini Studio, 120% Linen, Custo, Andy Warhol @ Cultura and Derhy among others. These join existing labels such as Sharon Wauchop, Seven, Hunters & Gatherers and Elle McPherson.

As we left the store, full of food, wine and love we said our goodbyes but some continued on to the next event, for the night was far from over.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Pictured at the launch of the International Dance Festival Ireland were dancers Niamh Condron and Feargus O'Conchuir.

Director Alan Gilsenan (Timbuktu) and International Dance Festival Ireland's Festival Co-ordinator Caroline Grace-Cassidy at the IDFI launch in Crawdaddy last night.

Rythym is the answer

Dance, dance wherever you may be. International Dance Festival Ireland returns to Dublin this spring (7th - 21st April), showcasing the best in contemporary dance from abstract contemporary to ballet; from tap to sean nós; from hip-hop to pure dance. This, the third festival, hopes to build on the phenomenal success of the event to date by platforming a diverse range of excellent international work that is both stimulating and inspiring.

The festival launched its programme last night in Crawdaddy in association with West Coast Cooler. This year the IDFI continues to grow on the success of the previous two festivals showcasing the best in contemporary dance as well as facilitating dance progression with commissions, residencies and critical thought. IDFI is also welcoming back Jérome Bel whose controversial performance at the 2002 saw IDFI being brought to court. Bel will be performing a new dance work as well as giving a public interview in association with Critical Voices 3 exploring topics such as censorship and freedom of expression.

The big news from the night was that the Arts Council Funding is to become annual to begin from 2008, which Catherine Nunes, Artistic Director of the Festival announced at the end of her speech to rapturous applause.

When we embarked on the journey of creating this Festival it was agreed that it would be prudent to test the water with a trilogy of biennial Festivals. So we began in 2002 and here we are tonight, presenting the last of this trilogy in 2006. It is therefore with great
delight that I can tonight announce that, as a testament to the enormous success of the Festival, it has been given the green light to become an annual event. I am particularly thrilled with this news as I think it is a symbol of the fact that dance has finally and fully taken its place in the Irish cultural landscape,” commented Nunes.

Attendees at the launch included numerous representatives of the Arts Council including chair Olive Braiden who also spoke about the success of the festival and the commitment of all involved as well as Michelle Hoctor, Una McCarthy and Diago Fascati.

Other attendees included John Scott Artistic Director of Irish Modern Dance Theatre;
Liz Roche of Rex Levitates; Willie White of Project; Donal Shiels of St Patrick's Festival; Helen Meany of Critical Voices 3; Tony O'Dailigh; Director Alan Gilsenan; Dermot McLoughlin from Temple Bar Properties and many others.

The success of the festival has been proven with 80% ticket sales in both 2002 and 2004 an outstanding rate for arts events, with organisers predicting a bigger turnout this year.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

VM opening night

It wasn’t an Irish premiere or a gala opening night but that didn’t stop the paparazzi from swarming the Spirit venue for last night’s performance of the Vagina Monologues. The strange thing was that a few of the paps were complaining that there were too many paps there! What did they expect for a Monday night in Dublin?

The three glamorous girls treading the boards were English actress Fenella Fielding, top model Glenda Gilson and Norma Sheehan, star of RTE’s drama The Clinic, all of whom looked stunning in black evening gowns. The chemistry between them was obvious and it added to the overall joy of the show.

Fielding, who has had an extensive TV and film career, was a joy to behold with her cheeky gravely voice and exaggerated pronunciations. I found out today that the woman is in her 70’s. Fantastic! The blonde haired Sheehan injected some characters into the show with a good variety of accents and an explosive end to proceedings.

All eyes, and long focus lenses, were on Gilson, who made her debut in her first acting role. Her performance was really engaging and will only get better as she becomes more comfortable in the role. This could be a really great new career direction for her and I hope she pursues it.

I spotted Astrid Brennan with Gemma Kelly, TV3 presenter Collette Fitzpatrick, the gorgeous Siobhan O’Connor and Triona McCarthy, who had just flown in from London. Carole Hunt chatted with Sinead Ryan, who was there with her business partner Joanne Byrne.

Anne Boylan was there with Shirley Beere, model Vivienne Connolly was there to support her pal Glenda and TV presenter Pamela Flood and model Andrea Roche were also checking out the show as they will be starring in it at a later stage. And just so you don’t think it was a girl’s night out, I also saw Ross Robertson, Andrew Rudd, Michael Sharpe and show director Michael Scott there too!

The Vagina Monologues will run until the 1st of April with a percentage from every ticket going to the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Who Wants to Know?

I get so many e-mails every week asking me a multitude of questions. While I absolutely love your correspondence I’m finding it increasingly difficult to reply to it as I just don’t have the time. So, as per a suggestion from an avid reader, I’m going to publish some of the more commonly asked questions and answer then here (I’ll paraphrase them for convenience). I’ll answer some of the more specific ones here too at a later stage. Lets call this feature “Who Wants to Know?”.

Q: How many parties do you go to every week? Are you out every night?

A: I am out and about probably 5 or 6 nights a week. Sunday night is usually the night in for me, but I absolutely hate going out on a Saturday night too (as it’s when every else is out), so it varies. Last year I attended 272 parties, not including personal social events, such as birthdays, weddings and nights out with friends, which I don’t report on.

Q: What famous people have you met?

A: This is such a common question! So many celebrities, so little time. Well, apart from the usual TV people, pop stars, models etc. some of the bigger names I’ve encountered are: Bill Clinton, Robbie Williams, Mary J. Blige, Billy Bob Thornton, Jay Z, Naomi Campbell, HRH Princess Anne, Johnny Depp and, of course, Bono. Some of those I’ve spent considerable time getting to know, others a brief exchange of words.

Q: Why can’t I leave comments to your posts?

A: Another common query. I think that, while comments are a fun feature to any blog, I wouldn’t like to open the people I write about to ridicule, which I’m sure would happen! I also wouldn’t want to start censoring people’s opinions and views, which I fear I would probably have to (and which I don’t have time to do). Maybe I’ll try it and you could prove me wrong?

+++ bits + pieces +++

- The latest reality TV show to hit our screens will be Ni Gaeilgoir Me, where 10 Irish celebrities will be ensconced in a house, Big Brother style, and forced to learn how to speak Irish. Details are still sketchy but among those who will be participating in the show (which former BBC producer Padraig Burke is working on) are comedian Alan Shortt, radio presenter Jenny Kelly, socialite Gavin Lambe – Murphy, singer Philip Magee and author Marisa Mackle.

- Last night’s Leviathan show in Crawdaddy passed without incident, despite Islamic militant Anjem Choudray was on the panel of guests. Choudray, who apparently travelled with bodyguards, is known for his outspoken and controversial views. Chair for the evening, David McWilliams, kept the tense debate flowing and, while it did get heated at times, people kept a level of restraint. Interestingly there were 2 Gardaí posted outside the venue for the night. Better to be safe than sorry I guess.

- Singer songwriter Josh Ritter plays a special gig in HMV tonight which sold out in record time. Ritter recently split up with his Irish girlfriend and has been spending much time in the studio writing new material.

- Rock group Jaded Sun played a blinder on Wednesday night in popular music venue Whelans. The group, which is managed by SiAn, continues to go from strength to strength and this year sees a packed calendar for the long haired boys. They were supported by up comers Central Line whose excellent music and pretty boy looks will ensure them to be worthy successors to the likes of Coldplay.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Suicide is Sexy ....?

The invite was vague and it intrigued everyone. Trendy Clarendon Street fashion store Ave Maria was packed on Tuesday night as guests came to witness art in motion. Controversial artist Darryn Lee was presenting the concept for his next series of paintings, Suicide is Sexy. Yeah, it was the title that grabbed the attention.

The performance art piece starred Gavin Lambe – Murphy and Sonia Macari, both of whom put on a magnificent show as they “committed suicide” with a shotgun and rope noose respectively. The jokes are too easy, but even Gavin quipped “after I pull the trigger there’ll be a massive cheer”.

Needless to say the mass media was whipped up into a frenzy with this risqué subject being glamorised. However, Darryn was at pains to point out that he didn’t, in fact, think that suicide is sexy.

Citing a diversity of influences from Caravaggio to Loaded magazine, the source of Darryn’s methodological madness can be traced back to the trauma he suffered when his 19 year-old brother Martin was killed in a car crash in 1999. Soon afterwards Darryn went to pursue his studies in Florence during which time he became obsessed with death inspiring many works in which he envisioned himself dead, in a coffin. Darryn’s personal suffering did not stop there for he went blind at the age of 18 and only got the all clear on one of his eyes 6 months later due to an error by a local hospital.

This obsession with both cursing God and dealing with the death of his own brother and his own suicidal feelings all inform his art. Darryn’s work includes the painting in which he juxtaposes a Christ-like figure against the dictionary definition of the word ‘Bastard’ while his Suicide is Sexy Performance Art Show used the same shotgun that Lee himself often thought of using to take his own life.

I want to give Irish people more appreciation for the diversity of art and to broach the subject of the progression of our society and its social problems. I’m very interested in the idea that art should be relevant to today’s society. Nothing less than bringing the mountain to Mohammed will satisfy me”, says Darryn.

The event, hosted by Maria Fusco, was well attended, with guests including opera singer Paul Byrom, Nadine Wai O’Flynn, Niall McCrudden, Valerie Craughwell and Tara Sinnott.

Triona “Party” McCarthy was looking fab and was with her pal, fashion designer Mel Jago of Jago Couture. Actually, Triona was telling me that she’s been informed of a group of internet users who have developed a rather weird fascination about her. A fan club or a crowd of stalkers, we don’t yet know.

Andrea Roche, who was there with fiancée PJ Mansfield, was so incensed by the whole event that she called the Gerry Ryan radio show the next day to voice her opinion.

Stuart Musgrave, make-up artist Zoe Clarke, Bernie and Lorenzo Cafolla and fashion designer Virgina Macari were also there having a blast.