Paul Healy’s Week



Style over substance!

Like me, it sounds as if the BBC continuity announcer might be reaching the end of his tether with the annual pattern of ‘The Apprentice’. The man from the BBC delivered a nice sardonic line tonight as the credits rolled on the latest episode.

First, let’s recap. Fools that we were, when the ‘The Apprentice’ started a number of years ago, we thought the contestants aiming to win the approval of Lord Sugar must be amongst the brightest of their generation; this new reality show would, we presumed, be a gripping showdown between the finest young entrepreneurs of our times.

In actual fact, while some talent lurks therein, more often than not the contestants tend to be very naïve, and I can imagine employers across Great Britain and Ireland shaking their heads at some of the ineptitude on show. Of course I appreciate that the editing process has entertainment as its goal.

The typical ‘Apprentice’ contestant is extremely stylishly dressed and impeccably groomed. The problems lie elsewhere. Very few of them appear to have any sense of their shortcomings. Quite the opposite. They are supremely self-confident, each contestant convinced they can channel their inner Elon Musk at the drop of a hat. Truly they are – if I may borrow the great Rex Harrison line – ‘legends in their own lunchtime’.

Viewers see it differently. The contestants on ‘The Apprentice’ may be impossibly high on self-confidence, but they are worryingly low on self-awareness (and common sense). One by one they fall (well, all bar the eventual winner), their egos dented in Lord Sugar’s boardroom, where home truths are told and sparks fly.

Oh yes, back to that BBC continuity presenter tonight. A man after my own heart, he got his gentle dig in as the credits rolled, Lord Sugar having dismissed another wilted wannabe.

“If you think you could do better – and who wouldn’t – go online to BBC Take Part and submit an application…”




Top of Pop…

I followed my own recommendation of last week and watched the Netflix documentary ‘The Greatest Night in Pop’, which looks back on the night over 40 superstars came together to record ‘We Are the World’. The footage from the recording studio is amazing. It’s well worth watching.




No joy in Croker

It was the late Moss Keane who famously said of a very poor quality rugby game: “The first half was even; the second half was even worse”.

When Dublin and Roscommon met in Croke Park today, there was nothing wrong with the quality of play, but one could paraphrase Moss and say ‘the first half was even, the second half, sadly, wasn’t’.

Ask any man, woman, or child – or any dog in the street – about Roscommon’s disallowed goal in the first half, and they would probably all deem it to have been a fair score. Unfortunately, the umpires/referee decided otherwise. Certainly our dog looked as dismayed as yours truly.

Roscommon stuck with the All-Ireland champions during an entertaining first half. While our lads made a some frustrating errors, they never lacked heart, and scored some superb points.

Roscommon, gallant as they were, couldn’t stay with Dublin in the second half, the Dubs winning by seven. Enda Smith gave a performance befitting his All-Star status. We have no complaints – but we want to see umpires and refs mic-ed up!




Church chat…

It is with regret that I must confirm that the TIC Club is still going strong. This, of course, is the Talking In Church club. Reports of its demise have indeed been greatly exaggerated.

It’s almost always men (small numbers, to be fair) who just cannot resist having a full-scale chat, or some intensive whispering at least. It’s always near the back of the church. To be fair, it’s not as common as it used to be, and most members of the TIC (Talking in Church) Club have the decency to stop once they’ve had a few minutes of verbal interaction.

I suppose we should be thankful for small mercies. In the old days, when the traditional Midnight Mass at Christmas actually happened at midnight, we’d have been grateful if a bit of chatting and banter was all that went on at the back of the church. Back in the 1970s, you were relieved if the odd inebriated latecomer didn’t topple over, or inadvertently order another pint from the person standing next to them. But I digress.

Today, two men ‘down the back’ were chatting away to their hearts’ content, admittedly prior to the arrival on the altar of the priest. Loud as they were, unfortunately I couldn’t pick up what they were saying. They may have been going on about Putin, or Trump, or Dancing with the Stars itself.

Church chat isn’t completely confined to men. Recently I was sitting a few pews from the back of the church and two old ladies were nattering away (again, prior to the priest arriving). My mild frustration turned to near-disbelief when one of the women began talking about her bottom false teeth. (I could say she raised her bottom false teeth, but I don’t want readers to confuse them with her top false teeth).

In fairness, when the priest started on the Mass, the women finished on the teeth. I was having my own problems. It turned out to be one of those embarrassing Sundays which I will hereby officially (and awkwardly) term ‘NCOPAM Sunday’. That means ‘No Cash On Person At Mass’ Sunday.

The morning the old ladies were nattering, I was removed from my smug comfort zone when the mid-Mass collection began. After some self-conscious shuffling in my pockets, I accepted my fate… passing the box on, without making any contribution, in full view of witnesses.

I ruled out asking the nice old ladies for a fiver, for fear I might get chatting to them…




Toys for boys

Rory Coveney, the RTE man with most responsibility for Toy Show: The Musical, recently left the national broadcaster at the height of the ongoing scandal. His departure followed ‘talks’ with the DG, Kevin Bakhurst.

Mr Coveney, despite the public outrage over RTEgate, received a ‘golden handshake’ of approximately €200k.

Toy Show: The Musical lost an estimated €2.2m. One might ask what golden handshake Mr Coveney would have received had the show been a financial success…