Westlife: Dad bods, skinny jeans and flyin’ without Bryan



I should have seen it coming, I should have read the signs…but I didn’t and Westlife, aka Ireland’s answer to Take That, who warned us, nay swore, they were ‘never gonna say goodbye,’ have remained true to their word, because, following their break-up in 2012, they’re back, albeit this time, they’re flyin’ without Bryan, (formerly Brian) McFadden; and suddenly your columnist is not in a good place.

  Fans of the ‘90s bubble-gummers, (I’m not one…can ya tell?) will remember the uproar when Brian/Bryan left the lads to build a world of his own, (I’m gonna apologise right now for all the puns), in a vain attempt at forging a solo career back in 2004. When the news broke, I was one of the couldn’t-give-a-toss journos present at the press conference and witnessed first-hand the desolation and despair displayed by many a teenage fan when they learned of the highlighted haired one’s exit. And I’m not making fun of the poor girls’ associated trauma here folks, I mean, I’d  imagine life seemed pretty hollow for these young wans given what they thought was likely to be the demise of this hugely successful group following the parka-wearing no-hit-wonder’s departure! As we know, the others managed to bounce back and continue for a further eight years sans Brian/Bryan.

  Fast-forward to 2018 and poor Brian/Bryan  appears to be better known for his impressively thicker thatch…his platinum plumage thinned due to “lifestyle and general stresses” (I’d say he missed an opportunity there to join Right Said Fred, but I digress), as opposed to the upward trajectory of his solo career. He’s also credited  with somewhat incredibly offensive and ill-timed tweets, an inflated ego and a six-month driving suspension after notching up no less than ‘12 penalty points on separate speeding offences’. Wow, way to keep in the spotlight bro!

  But enough about he-of-the-thinning-mane; (and no, I’m not bald-bashing, in my opinion there’s nothing sexier than a bald man), and instead, let’s focus on the remaining fab four Westlifers whose idea of ‘dancing’ was to coordinate their movements from deftly sitting atop a high-stool to cleverly pointing every time they heard a key change whilst warbling to cover tracks. Oh, and dressing like frustrated ‘Greasers’ waiting tables in Arnold’s diner (remember TV’s Happy Days), as they murdered Billy Joel’s classic Uptown Girl!

The now grown-up Nicky, Mark, Kian and Shane, have, no doubt, since going their separate ways, experienced what we’ve all experienced, i.e. dealing with the hard lessons of adulthood. I’d imagine it must have been difficult being molly-coddled by flunkies, and living it large in five-star hotels chatting to music journos about the psychologically demanding choices associated with deciding on your favourite Subway sandwich filling, or which detox juice-cleanser you favoured. And, having now dealt with issues associated with post-boyband life, will the comeback kids manage to perfect their ‘go-to’ pose a la Derek Zoolander’s flawlessly executed, perfectly angled Blue Steel look, get ‘all dressed up for glamour and rock n’ roll’ pour their dad-bods into skinny jeans and drop a credible auto-tuned set of gigs whilst living life on the road at turbo speed?

  Now I’m not accusing the lads of lacking musical talent, I’m sure they’ve got it in abundance; but it’s a fact many a note-strangling group do take advantage of modern technology in order to help them create layered harmonies in the name of delivering seamless performances. But all that aside, I’d like to take this opportunity to congratulate Westlife on what’s clearly their incredible belief in their own abilities (and, ahem, natural-born talent), to croon what we’re told are going to be original Ed Sheeran penned ditties. I’m certain Nicky, Mark, Shane and…er, the other one, will once again raise up all those now hormonal former Queens of their hearts, igniting the one-time wannabe Mrs. Westlifers’ adulation in order that they can stand on mountains and, eh, walk on stormy seas…bless!

Lighten up Kristen, fairytales teach kids a valuable lesson

American actress Kristen Bell’s framing of the scenario where Prince Charming wakes Snow White from her poison-induced sleep with a kiss as a valuable opportunity to teach her kids about consent incited lively debate among keyboard warriors last week.

  I can understand her motives. She’s a concerned mother. I get it. That said, regular readers  know that, being a survivor of rape myself, it’s extremely important to me that, when educating young people about sex, the whole issue surrounding consent, (divisive though it is), is not just addressed in families and in schools, it’s fully understood by everyone. However, it’s my opinion that neither Grimm’s fairytales nor Disney’s adaptations of them are ever going to corrupt our kids. It’s also my opinion that Kristen, who voiced Princess Anna in kids’ favourite Frozen, a hugely successful Disney movie that no doubt did her career a lot of good and made her very rich, is being a tad hypocritical.

  Look, we all know the hot-to-trot ‘Prince’ delivering a persuasive pick-up line via an insolent pout, smouldering looks, and head of hair so fabulous it deserves its own Knighthood is never going to rock up and rescue us. And, as kids, I’ll bet while most of us, (me included) never wished to become actual Princesses, we did secretly want to be treated like one.

  The fact is, in my family, the much-loved tradition of sitting down together to watch Disney’s adaptation of a fairytale holds not just a cultural significance, it’s also something which is not going to decline in popularity, no matter how old we get!

  My most memorable Mother’s Day treat was when all four of us girls headed to the movies to watch Disney’s remake of Beauty and the Beast.

  Sure what could be more inspiring than enjoying a tale where a rose’s breathtaking blooms sit confined to a glass container, threatening to wither and die unless the heroine finally realises she needs to take action and do what we’re all capable of doing, i.e., save herself.

  So you see Kristen, the moral of the story hon, is that fairytales can not just play an important part in enhancing our imaginations, they can also teach us how to blossom and provide our own paths in life.