Oh Louis, Louis! Why is the Kiltimagh impresario falling out with all his stars?

Our man Frank on loose-lipped Louis’s showbiz spats; Why our horseracing and rugby exploits reminds us we should celebrate such great success… and local issues

Success is a funny thing. For people like Kiltimagh’s  Louis Walsh, showbusiness opened the door to unimaginable riches.

Along the way, while reaping huge rewards himself, he allegedly also made millionaires out of several singers and musical groups. So in a normal world, you would think that all of those who benefitted from their mutual successes would live out their lives in perfect harmony and friendship on the back of their financial independence, and would only ever have complimentary things to say about each other.

But I suppose theirs is not a normal world, and while I have never even seen a single episode of Big Brother, it seems that Louis, who is appearing on the present celebrity series, is taking aim at almost every musical act that he mentored or managed through the years.

Bearing in mind that his protégés included Westlife, Boyzone, and Girls Aloud, all of whom had tremendous worldwide success, it is somewhat surprising that all three of those groups have had fall-outs of varying degrees with the Kiltimagh impresario.

Cheryl Tweedy of Girls Aloud has had a long-running feud with Walsh, with Louis allegedly being annoyed at her popularity as an X Factor judge, having accused her of being a peacock and believing that the reality programme was “her show”.

Staying with The X Factor, at one stage he fell out with fellow judge Sharon Osbourne, who famously drenched him with water during a live show, and it is reported that Simon Cowell, with whom he worked for many years, has totally cut Walsh out of his life.

Louis has had an expletive-driven go at Ronan Keating, and described him as “a little manufactured pop star who actually believed his own publicity”, while the lads in Westlife claimed he made their lives hell and that they lived in constant fear of getting sacked from the band. Apparently he kept telling them they were fat and would get the chop, and that he would have them “on the next plane home”.

Then he moved on to Jedward, who despite being decidedly limited as singers, had that quality they call the X Factor, with the public loving them. They too apparently became millionaires, and that should have been the end of it! Louis however can’t seem to help himself, and in a recent Big Brother episode he called the twins “vile” and claimed he made €5 million from them. They, in turn, branded him as an “evil manipulator” who tried to “make us sign our name and life away in dodgy contracts to people he was great friends with” and also of being a “cold-hearted b**tard” who didn’t send flowers after their mother died in 2019.

In the subsequent fall-out from this row, it seems that there is a lot more support for the Grimes twins than for Louis. You would have to wonder when he looks back on his life, financially rewarding as it certainly has been, will Walsh wish he had kept his mouth shut and not fallen out with so many people, artists in whose lives he had played such an important part?

As I said, showbusiness is not a normal life, but in any type of business, surely it would be better to maintain cordial relationships with your clients! Louis obviously disagrees!


Sporting heroics a reminder we need to stop being blasé about success

I have to admit that I am, at best, lukewarm about horseracing. I have had only a very occasional flutter on the horses in my 70-odd years on this planet.

However, I have been aware of the Cheltenham festival since the late 1960s, when a friend left the bank that we worked in in Dundalk to go to the races on his holidays – and never came back (to work).

In those days, you could have a card that guaranteed your cheque up to a value of fifty pounds. Unknown to us all, my work colleague had been storing up his cheque books for several months, and as he headed to the Cotswolds he had 100 cheques in his possession.

Bearing in mind that this was almost fifty years ago and we were earning about £12 a week, my friend was guaranteed to pocket up to £5,000, and as cheque after cheque arrived back from all parts of England, we realised that he was never returning. To this day, I have never heard of him again.

However, I never forgot Cheltenham, and last week, along with millions of followers all over the world, I tuned into this year’s festival and marvelled at the wonderful performance of all our Irish representatives – from trainers to jockeys to stablehands, and of course to the horses themselves.

It goes without saying that the Carlow maestro, Willie Mullins, is the uncrowned King of Cheltenham, but Gordon Elliott, Henry de Bromhead and Gavin Cromwell – among others – fairly flew the Irish trainers’ flag. And what can we say about jockeys Paul Townend, Jack Kennedy, Galway’s Danny Gilligan, who had his first ever win in the festival, and of course Rachael Blackmore, who continues to write her own history with two more highly prestigious wins.

Back in the days when my colleague flew the coop, the Irish travelled across the sea hoping to pick up an odd win, but ultimately knowing the English were much stronger and better and that they would dominate the week’s racing. Last week however, the Irish won 18 out of 27 races, with 12 of the 14 grade one races coming back here. The truth is that the pendulum has swung totally and the Irish are completely dominant – at least for the present.

It’s funny how we as a nation have become so blasé about success. On the rugby field, the fantastic achievement of winning the Six Nations Championship was something that we should be hugely proud of – however, for some, expectations were so ridiculously high that they felt the Grand Slam was almost guaranteed, and losing to England in the last minute by a single point seemed to upset a lot of our over-optimistic supporters. For the team to overcome a hugely committed and highly talented Scottish outfit in a bruising encounter on Saturday shows exactly how good they are, and ‘real’ rugby people will know how blessed we are to have them represent us.

Back to the English: to see how much they celebrated their win at home over us by a point shows the strides we have made, and winning the championship was something the Irish players were really proud of.

In St Patrick’s week, our heartfelt thanks should go to Willie Mullins and all the other Irish in Cheltenham, and to Andy Farrell’s rugby men – especially lionheart (and renowned gardener) captain Peter O’Mahony – because ye made all of us Irish feel good about ourselves! Thanks again to each and every one of you!


Bring your dancing shoes…

For some reason today I seem to be lukewarm about everything, because another thing I am lukewarm about (along with horseracing) is dancing – mainly because I have two left feet and have never learnt even the most basic of steps.

However, it appears that a lot of people out there are not on my wavelength, and the success of TV programme Dancing with the Stars shows the huge interest there is in dancing all around the country.

Social dancing has become very popular. Two well-known Glenamaddy women, singer Julie Healy and Frances Keaveney, are now hosting a season of social dances in Hannon’s Hotel, Roscommon (on Tuesday nights, 8.30-11 pm). Local artists will perform, and it’s already underway. Bring your dancing shoes!

My dancing skills are on a par with a drunken ass (sorry to all ass’). I might just show up one Tuesday night and prove how accurate that actually is!


And finally…

TV series’ are all the rage nowadays, and among one of the very popular ones is a series called Ted Lasso.

Up to now I have managed to give it a miss, despite hearing a lot of good things about it, but in the last few days I have tuned in. All I can say is the show is well worth watching. I won’t spoil it by telling you anything about it, but remember that I told you about Heartlands – and you really enjoyed that!