Paul Healy’s Week


‘Reindeer’ latest!

Last week I wrote about the Netflix phenomenon ‘Baby Reindeer’. Today, the fallout has escalated further on social media, thanks to Piers Morgan.

Baby Reindeer is the hit Netflix series starring actor/writer/comedian Richard Gadd, which tells the story of his harrowing experience with a stalker (‘Martha’ in the show) and a (separate) abuser.

Yesterday, Piers Morgan interviewed Scottish lawyer Fiona Harvey, who says she is the person the Martha character is based on. While she accepted that aspects of Baby Reindeer were accurate, she strongly disputes the overall portrayal and has threatened to sue both Netflix and Mr Gadd.

I don’t recall a series receiving such attention since the peak of the hysteria about Tiger King.

It’s hard to keep up with all the commentary, claims and counterclaims. I think I’ll go back to watching repeats of Last of the Summer Wine.


Raising the roof!

That’s the one certainty about the hottest day of the year… it will bring the roof-less drivers out.

I’m not remotely jealous, of course. Some people just happen to have a car with a retractable roof. And good luck to them. Some people even have cars that have no roof at all. This being Ireland, these are the lesser-spotted vehicles, but they will (rightly) emerge – and literally have their day in the sun – once a spell of warm weather comes our way.

Today – hailed as the hottest day of the year so far, not that there was much opposition – naturally brought a few roof-less cars out. Usually it’s a convertible, but this morning I got a fleeting glimpse of a gorgeous, stylish old vehicle, purring roof-less in the vicinity of Roscommon Town. It reminded me of that magical car in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but I didn’t get to see if the driver had any resemblance to Dick Van Dyke.

Anyways, not remotely jealous. Actually, these ramblings remind me of the early 1980s in Rooskey, when my family had a Toyota Landcruiser, the classic yellow version. One hot summer, we removed the roof… bolt by bolt. It felt like the ordeal had been worth it, as we whizzed – in roof-less joy – over Rooskey bridge that scorching weekend. No doubt there were one or two bolts left over by the time we had put the roof back in place.


Mayhem in Malmö!

After enjoying an evening barbeque – held to signal the start (and end) of the heatwave – and to celebrate finally sourcing burger buns in Roscommon Town – I returned indoors to check out the Eurovision Song Contest. Fortunately, I had consumed two glasses of wine by then.

When I was a kid, the Eurovision was essential viewing. It was unmissable TV, rather like the Late Late Toy Show and the All-Ireland finals. Mind you, even in the days when it was a conventional song contest, we watched it mostly for the voting, that and Terry Wogan’s deliciously droll commentary.

Tonight’s version was sheer chaos… politically charged behind the scenes, spectacular razzmatazz on stage, once the live coverage began. Eurovision 2024 took place against an explosive political backdrop (the Israel-Gaza war).

I only watched bits and pieces, as I couldn’t endure three hours and 50 minutes of such glitter, glam and goth. In full channel-hopping mode, at one stage I switched to a movie about the late British comedian Tony Hancock, which I stayed with for an hour, just for a change of pace!

Any time I returned to Malmö, it was to a gloriously eccentric show: extraordinary costumes, semi-naked acts, more feathers than you’d encounter in a poultry farm, provocative dance routines, colour, humour, but lots of darkness too. It was both wonderful and exhausting. Finland’s trouser-less ‘Windows95Man’ lit up the stage with some bangers, while singing about a boy who sells his cow and moves to the big city.

Irish entry Bambi Thug sang ‘Doomsday Blue’. This is certainly not my kind of music, but the self-proclaimed ‘goth gremlin goblin witch’ produced a spellbinding performance. Dana it wasn’t, all kinds of everything it was.

As for the judging, it isn’t as exciting as in the past. The format these days sees jury votes distributed first, before all hell breaks loose with the allocation of public votes that can run into the hundreds, thus potentially greatly distorting the pattern that has been established.

It was a spectacular production, but went on far too long. A nice chap called ‘Nemo’ won it for Switzerland, but I was beyond caring by then. Bambi came sixth. Oh well, What’s Another Year…


GAA drama

They used to say there were only two things you could be certain of in life; taxes… and death. To which one might add: ‘And Dublin winning the Leinster football title’.

Today, the Dubs won their 14th provincial crown in a row, arguably a preposterous state of affairs for the GAA! The last time a county other than Dublin won Leinster (Meath, 2010), Brian Cowen was Taoiseach.

Mind you, the story of today’s final was the magnificent performance by Louth; they ran the mighty Dubs to a mere four points, a phenomenal effort on the part of the massive underdogs. Louth, who were level with Dublin with seventeen minutes to go, combined patient defensive discipline with pacy breaks forward and superb point-taking. On this form, Ger Brennan’s team could be strong contenders in their All-Ireland group (which includes Kerry, Meath and Monaghan).

Meanwhile, today’s Ulster Football final was a terrific, nerve-racking contest, won by Donegal on a penalty shoot-out. Great for Donegal, more heartbreak for Armagh (who lost last year’s Ulster final in the same way).

I think it’s unfair for these big games (in GAA and soccer) to be decided by penalties. Could replays be accommodated again? Presumably GAA folks (not just the GAA Finance Department) remember the four-game epic between Dublin and Meath in 1991?


PR own goal!

The suspicion that some Dublin-based PR companies know as much about Romania as they do about Roscommon/rural Ireland was underlined today… when we received an email claiming a Roscommon ‘angle’ to a press release because the person in question is from ‘Spiddal’.