In The Prime Time Of Her Life

Current affairs anchor – and Ireland's leading ‘yummy mummy’ according to the tabloids – MIRIAM O'CALLAGHAN talks about the challenges of raising eight children, her past marital woes and taking a pay cut at RTÉ.

Miriam O’Callaghan is the most successful female television presenter in Ireland. Dubbed a ‘yummy mummy’ by the people who decide these things, and famously known for having eight children, she is enjoying one of her most successful stints in RTÉ, with her Saturday night chat show during the summer achieving impressive viewership figures. Her new RTÉ Radio 1 show on Saturday mornings has also been deemed a big hit since going on air earlier this month, for a 12-week stint.

However, the Dubliner – whose father was from Kerry and mother from Laois – admits that she feels slightly overexposed these days. And with good reason. When Pat Kenny dramatically resigned as presenter of the Late Late Show, Miriam emerged as the bookies’ favourite to replace him. O’Callaghan and the other leading candidates, Gerry Ryan and Ryan Turbidy, were thrust into the eye of a media storm while RTÉ went about selecting the new face of the Late Late.

As a result, Miriam is reluctant to carry out in-depth interviews at the moment – but decided to make an exception for Hot Press.

“I just worry sometimes about boring my viewers or my listeners. I never want them to think I’m a pain in the B-A-C-K-S-I-D-E. But after this I’ll just lie low. I’m going on my holidays soon, to Portugal and Killarney. So, I’ll be gone. I never want to be a pain (laughs).

“I really, really, really find it uncomfortable being interviewed,” she adds. “The first time I ever worked with my husband we went out for a meal together, and he started asking me questions about myself. Now, I hardly knew him. And, I started to cry.

“I think it’s because I don’t really like talking about myself, which is why I never look back at a programme, which is very unusual. And I don’t listen to myself on the radio. I could only come down into the kitchen on Saturday – because my mother was there listening to it – when my show was over because I really don’t want to hear myself.

“That’s probably still about being self-conscious. A bit of the old 16-year old in there. But I don’t mind questions being asked. I mean, you can say what you want in response to them. For a living, I ask personal questions. I can hardly turn around to somebody, then, and say, ‘How dare you ask me that question?’”

On with the show, then…

Jason O’Toole: Growing up, what type of character were you?

Miriam O’Callaghan: I am five-foot-ten-and-a-half. I was that height when I was 11, which makes you feel very self-conscious at quite a young age. So, I was very, very boring; very, very shy.

I read that you once described yourself as borderline anorexic.

Friends of mine look back now and say, ‘Oh my God!’ I was the same height as I am now and I was under seven stone. What my parents did was kind of not make a big issue of the fact that I watched everything I ate – and eventually it went away. So, it never became an issue. I was very, very thin. Young girls – I watch my own daughters now – are very self-conscious. You think you look ugly and that, ‘If I get thin I’ll look better!’ But now I just eat a lot! I think the older you get, being too thin is really bad. Anyway, I like my food. I don’t own a weighing scales. I haven’t owned one since I was 18.

You started college very young.

I went to university when I was 16. Mental! My mother was a national school teacher and when she became the principal she used to take us in, as a way of child-minding, I think. I started junior infants at three. I did law in UCD. Everyone else probably had a great time. I was too young. I think university is about who you meet, and socialising, but we didn’t do any of that. I was quite studious. I was always a swot. Isn’t that terrible?

So you didn’t get to the student’s bar much?

Rarely got to the student’s bar, I’m afraid.

Brian Cowen once said to me that anybody who didn’t get a whiff of marijuana in the student’s bar back in those days would be telling you a lie.

Well, not if it was me, not straight-laced Miriam. I was not very exciting. I barely drank. If I could go there again, you never know, I might have a much more exciting time.

Did you always have an interest in media?

No. I did law and then I went to Blackhall Place and became a solicitor. And when I was there, there was a BBC law show, called Out Of Court, and they came over. I was working for FLAC, in my spare time, for free legal aid, and they needed to interview somebody about something in Ireland, and somebody said, ‘Oh there’s this solicitor, she’s young, she’s intelligent’. And they interviewed me and I remember the producer saying, ‘Have you ever thought about working in telly?’ – which I had never thought of doing. Subsequently, I went to London when I was 22 and instead of doing law there – I was going to have to spend another year to qualify for British solicitors – I just applied for a job through The Guardian as a researcher in television, and that’s how I went into television.

Did you meet your first husband, Tom McGurk, over there?

No, I met him in Dublin. I had just turned 20. I was in UCD. I got married when I was 22. He was going to London. I think he just wanted to leave Dublin, and I went with him.

Both your husbands are from Northern Ireland. Do you have a thing for Northern men?

I don’t know! I think it’s just a coincidence, actually.

When you got married the second time, you already had four children...

When I met Steven he was 26. I’m eight years older than him, so I was 34. And I had, yeah, four young kids. The joke was that he was a Newsnight producer living in a bedsit and all his mates would go, ‘What?! You’re going out with Miriam, and you’re moving to Dublin, and she’s got four kids?’ Obviously, it was a lot to take on. He was very mature. And he remains very mature. He is fantastic. And this is – how many years? – 14 years later.

Did he have doubts when you first told him you had four children?

He never had doubts. He is quite extraordinary. Genuinely. I’m madly in love with him.

Because I can imagine it could be quite difficult starting a relationship with someone who has four children.

Yeah, I would assume most men would run away, to be honest. But he loved me, thank God. I mean, he clearly did, because he is still there. And they get on great.

You once commented that your biggest regret was the break-up of your first marriage.

I got married at 22. It’s very young. I was a baby and sadly it didn’t work out. None of my generation got married at 22. I was too young and I was immature. I’m really blessed because I have had a second chance and I have a great second husband. And you can even see from my kids, if you look at them – I only get snapped at the odd premiere, and I don’t do VIP spreads – that they’re happy and they’re great. I think once kids are secure, it turns out well.

I saw a photograph this morning: you’d all attended the Harry Potter premiere together.

They look happy, don’t they?

One of them actually looks a lot like you, I’d imagine, at that age.

Yeah, she’s 16. She’s an identical twin of the other girl on the other side of that photo.

They don’t look that similar.

I know. She’s like her mother, she dyes her hair blonde (smiles).

So when you got married the second time, was it by accident or design that you had four more children.

Oh, it was like, I wanted to. Meeting Steven was the best thing that ever happened to me.

But eight children sounds like more than a handful...

I read it sometimes and I go, ‘Who? What? She’s got eight kids?!’ But I only ended up with eight kids because, obviously, I married twice. Also, I did have fertility treatment. I didn’t find it easy to have children. I am now their best success story in this fertility clinic. But, hey, I want to put it out there, because I know for some people it is hard to have babies.

Can I ask you about the fertility treatment?

After my first child I couldn’t get pregnant, so I went to a gynaecologist, a man called Peter Snow. You might remember him, he used to do the ‘swingometer’ on Newsnight on the big elections. He is Jon Snow’s cousin. Anyway, I went to him and I got three children in ten months. A very effective fertility drug!

Three children in ten months?

They are Irish triplets because I had a daughter, and then ten months later I had twins (laughs). And people would say, ‘That must be a nightmare’. But I said, ‘No, it’s a blessing’. Because I had wanted a second child, the fact that three came was neither here nor there. And then my marriage broke-up, and then obviously Steven was single, and I thought I would have another child. And my mother said, ‘But did you have to have four?’ (Laughs). Ah but look, they’re all healthy. Every time you throw the dice you worry. I do think that anyone who has a child that doesn’t have a problem is very lucky in life. Yeah I’m always aware of that, and people should be.

You’ve been described as a yummy-mummy, what do you make of that?

Laughable! What is a ‘yummy-mummy’? I think it’s hilarious. What does it mean? It’s like when they come up with these silly things like, ‘You won sexiest legs of the year’. And you go, ‘But you’ve never seen my legs’ (laughs). But it doesn’t sound bad, so it’s okay by me.

Do you think you’ll have any more children?

Eh, no. I’m definitely never having any more children. I would be committed to an asylum at that stage!

How do you manage to juggle eight children and your career?

Because of the hours I work – on a day of Prime Time, I leave at nine in the morning, and I’m home at 11.30pm at night – I have two women who have worked with me for 11 years, Lorraine and Bridget, and they are fantastic. They work different times, and they are like part of my family. One of them is godmother to my seven-year-old. But when people say, ‘How do you get the same people minding your kids?’ I say, ‘Treat them well’.

So you’ve found a solution!

Yeah, well I couldn’t mind them, and Steve works very long hours. And I always say about men, you are great, but you’re not quite the same as a wife, because he doesn’t lie in bed thinking, ‘Who is going to pick up Jack from tennis tomorrow?’

It must be a military operation going off on holiday together...

Yeah, we go away every year. This is quite a sweet story: once at the airport, when we handed in our passports – Steven’s name is Carson, my name is O’Callaghan, the girls are McGurk, the boys are Carson, and my child-minder is Keating – and this woman (behind the counter) just said to the 10-year-old, ‘Are you with the tour party?’ And he said, ‘We’re not a tour party, we’re a family!’ And we laughed. But it’s fine. They’re happy. I worry sometimes that they’ll get lost and that I don’t give them enough attention. But I do work my butt off when I get home. I don’t really sit down until about half-ten because I spend so much time reading to them and talking to them.

I read on Wikipedia that you and your husband are very close to Matt Cooper, and his kids and your kids hang out with each other.

It’s so not true! We laughed about it because the kids are in the same school – it’s a national school in Rathmines – and I meet them dropping them off. We have never had a drink together, nor have we ever had a meal. I have never been in their house. But it’s just funny. But look, he is a great broadcaster. And his little girl is in my 10-year-old’s class. I just know them from the school gates. And Ardal O Hanlon’s kids go to the same school, so you could say I’m a great friend of Ardal as well – but, again, I have never been in his house.

Are you worried for your children growing up in Dublin today with people talking about binge-drinking problems, drug problems…

I’m not worried. My mother laughs. She said when we were young, she never slept until we were in at night. And I go to sleep and I don’t worry about them. I think, give children freedom. But I will always say, ‘If ever you cross the line and do anything wrong, I’m reining you in’. And they’ve turned out really sensible.

I heard that you buy a lot of things in charity shops.

Yeah, but if they’re nice, they’re fine. I’m trying to teach my kids as well. When we were really rich in this country, everybody thought if you had the perfect bag or the perfect dress, that’s what you needed, you know? Now, I think, what’s the point? Buy a bag for €10, and if you get bored you can fling it out. Plus, if it was €100 you’d be like, ‘No! I’m going to keep it forever!’ Also, I don’t want to acquire things. I don’t understand that, do you? What’s this obsession with acquisitions? It doesn’t buy you love and it doesn’t buy you happiness.

There’s a culture among some teenagers, in which the label is everything.

I don’t want them to think that money grows on trees or that it’s easy. Like, I had to teach piano lessons, and I slogged in restaurants as a student, to make money, and I think they should know that. There’s eight of them, so I’m not going to be leaving them a vast sum of money. They’ve got to earn their own way in life. I think there’s a problem with growing up in Dublin if your parents have a bit of money that you think life is like that and that it’s affluent.

You’re good on the piano. How come you didn’t make a career out of music?

I thought about trying to be a pianist but I wasn’t good enough. Like, I’m good, but I wasn’t good enough to make a living out of it. My parents didn’t have loads of money, so I would just teach young kids piano on a Saturday and Sunday morning in my house. And they would drive my siblings mad because they would have been out the night before, and goody-two-shoes Miriam is downstairs playing piano with the kids. Yeah, I do love music. But I love classical music; I love Mozart. Is that a really serious thing to say?

Do you have an iPod?

I certainly do. Are you going to ask me what’s on it? Well, loads of different stuff, obviously. I do listen to a fair amount of classical music, which is boring. I like U2; I like their new stuff. I quite like a lot of Snow Patrol. I like a lot of traditional stuff. I like John Spillane, who I hand-picked to be on my Saturday show. So I have an eclectic mix of tastes.

1995 must have been the most difficult year of your life, with both your father and your sister passing away.

After my sister died, my father collapsed in the garden eight weeks later and died, and then my marriage broke up that year.

How did you manage emotionally to deal with so many traumatic experiences?

I don’t know if you’ve gone through difficult times in life, but you just go through them, and it’s like you’re in slow-motion. I don’t remember it. It’s like a blur. I remember it was horrible and I cried a lot that year. I always say, if you don’t know the dark times, you’ll never know the good times. That’s why I appreciate every day. And the thing about a death is also that people always feel sorry for themselves because they get left behind, like in terms of my sister or father dying, I feel really sorry for them because ultimately it’s the person who loses their life who’s just (pauses)... you know, we’re all here, they’ve had their lives stolen, particularly Anne because she was so young.

When your sister passed away did it change your perspective on life?

Completely. I completely changed. I always say there is Miriam pre-Anne’s death, and post. I’m a different person. I am a better person. You know, it’s sad because she was my closest friend. I used to go around looking at people who were really grumpy and mean and older, and thinking, ‘Why are you alive when my sister is dead?’ It’s terrible, I was zapping people all around me. So yeah when they all get (pauses)… like, I like my job in television. I like my job but I don’t take it that seriously.

What was pre-Anne’s death Miriam like?

I probably did worry about my career, you know, and I probably was quite ambitious. After that I realised none of that mattered, and obviously things went better for me in a weird way. It was like, I just cared about the things that were fundamental. I decided that I was going to be happy. That’s why things changed in ‘95, you know. She had two little girls – a one-year old and a three-year old. Makes you wonder about a God.

Are you religious?

I think I probably am religious. Do I believe in some kind of a God? Yeah. Do I ask my little kids to say prayers going to sleep at night? Yes. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because if I think that this is just it, that would be quite depressing. Anyway, when in doubt – until I’m absolutely sure there is nothing – I am just going to cling on to the fact that when I die I’m going back to have a glass of champagne with Anne somewhere in the clouds. That’ll suit me. I feel blessed. I think my sister Anne winged Steven to me from heaven. I believe that.

Do you visit the graves of your sister and father a lot?

I don’t know why, but I do. I used not be able to, until this woman came on Prime Time one night, and she visits her son’s grave. He killed himself when he was 21. And I said, ‘Why do you go? There’s nothing there’. And she said, ‘Oh, yes there is, Miriam. I know what he was wearing and I know the ring he had on his finger. And that’s him, and I can talk to him’. Actually, she convinced me it was worth going to graves.

Do you believe in karma?

Do I believe in karma? I mean, ‘karma’ is such a kind of a ‘cool’ word. But on a simple level I think so. Obviously there’s bad luck: like my sister dying – she did nothing wrong, was beautiful to people – but I think, by-and-large, if you are decent to people they will treat you with decency. I think I’d have regrets if I messed somebody about, or had been horrible or cruel to people.

I was surprised to discover that Miriam Meets is your first radio show.

They used to come back virtually every year and ask me, but I just didn’t have the time. But I did my first show, yeah, on Saturday, and I loved it.

Were you nervous?

No, I found it much easier because there’s no optics. The whole thing about television is that people spend the first 20 minutes – like even in all the emails today, it’s like, ‘Where did Miriam get her dress?’ There’s an awful lot of that you have to deal with – and I just like talking to people. On radio you have none of that – you can come in and sit in your pyjamas if you so desire. I don’t own any pyjamas, but if you did you could come in and sit in them (laughs). And it’s just about talking to people and what they say to you. People talk about it being intimate – it is.

What type of guests are you going to have on it?

People like Róisín Ingle and her mother; Michael Colgan and Paul McGuinness, because they’re mates; Joe O’Connor, the writer, and his dad; Colm O’Gorman and his partner. They are some of them. Barry Devlin and his sister Marie Devlin. I’m quite interested in how people connect with each other, and I love people’s, kind of, family ties.

Would you like to do a daily radio show in the future?

No. I have no plans to do that. However, I would like to do more radio. I like it. I find it a lovely medium. You always think when your kids get older – my youngest is three – ‘I won’t be so busy’, but they almost need you more. When they get older they have all these little problems. ‘Somebody was mean to me in school today, Mum’. So we’ll see

Would you like to do the summer TV show again next year?

Yeah, I think I will do it, yeah. They’re a nice team, and we laugh a lot. And with these ratings I think I’ll be back.

What was the most cringe-worthy moment for you on television?

My worst moment in television? I think it was about 2001. I had just come back early from having a baby, my son Conor, and I was obviously feeling insecure. I had Alan Dukes in studio, and for some reason I was ridiculously tough – completely over the top tough – on him. And my lovely boss called me in the next day and he said, ‘Miriam’ – I think I was back a day from maternity leave –‘What exactly got into you last night?’ I said, ‘I do not know.’ I look back and I was giving out to the guy for nothing. But he forgave me, Alan Dukes. But that was my worst moment, I think, because I kind of was trying to be somebody I wasn’t. A lot of presenters in current affairs are male presenters, and they act in a certain way. But as a woman it can look really wrong if you are haranguing somebody. You are better off to have your own style. I went back to being myself.

Would you ever consider working in the US or going back to work in the UK?

No. I’m delighted where I am.

What’s your take on the wage cuts in RTÉ?

I’ve gone on the record. I took the wage cut. I work on Prime Time, where every other night there are people losing their jobs, and you are asking other people to step up to the mark. I can hardly do that with any integrity if I don’t step up to the mark myself. I’m on a great wage. It’s not like I’m paid a pittance.

So if they came back you would have no problems taking a cut in the future again?

Yeah. Well that’s just for me, it’s not the same for everybody else, Jason. Other people think differently. I just think like that. I don’t care about money.

Would you ever follow George Lee’s footsteps and enter politics?

No, I wouldn’t dream of it in a trillion years. I think it’s a really tough job. I’d hate it.

I heard you signed up to write a book...

I never signed up to write a book. I was asked to write a book, by a number of people. I was made a very generous offer, which even I was pained to not accept. No, I’m not going to write about myself.

Do you think Mint Productions will make any more documentaries?

Mint is finished. It’s closing down at the end of this series. The reason it’s closing down is that it was mainly run by Steve, and he’s in here (in RTÉ) now. I need to give more time to my kids as well, and Mint used to eat up a lot of our time. But I might do some documentary stuff. That’s something I’m looking at. You know, if I come up with a good idea, I’ll do it myself.

On the subject of the Late Late Show, it seemed unfair that if you took the show you’d have to give up Prime Time, whereas the other candidates wouldn’t have to give up their radio shows.

That was a big deciding factor for me. I think I was right, too. I have no regrets about that. People are bored by it at this stage, but I do think that that’s a fair point: why was I expected to give that up? I have built it up for years.

Why does Prime Time mean so much to you?

Unlike Newsnight – a show I worked on – Prime Time gets a very high rating. In other words, Irish people, irrespective of class or money believe it’s worth tuning-in to a current affairs show. Newsnight, which is a good show with Jeremy Paxman – same as Channel 4 News – gets a minute share. Like, nobody watches it except for people like you or me. That’s what I love about Prime Time: everyone thinks it’s accessible. I start getting really annoyed when people start using big words; you know, broadcasters who broadcast for themselves: ‘How clever can I sound tonight?’ I always think it’s a given you know what you’re talking about, and then you make it accessible. As long as I stay on Prime Time I’m happy.

Could you see yourself doing Prime Time until you’re 60?

A hundred. (Laughs) No, I’m joking. Yeah, probably. When I joined in ‘96, Brian Farrell was there and he was really good to me and we still meet for lunch – he stayed until he was 75. I think that’s too long, I don’t want to be doing Prime Time when I’m 75 – I hope I’m off touring the world with my husband.

Was it difficult when Steve was appointed to management at RTÉ? It has to have its disadvantages.

No, it’s got no disadvantages. Because I’m here a long time, I’m part of the furniture, he is a novelty! I don’t go near him at work, but I love the fact that I know he’s sitting above me.

Are you surprised by the level of success you’ve managed to achieve in RTÉ in your television career?

I’m probably surprised considering I was such a goofy, boring 16-year old, yeah. But I think you remain that person, inside. I don’t think I would be regarded as the most arrogant around. I would be quite aware of my own mistakes. And if I get criticised by a critic, I will always try and look and see, ‘Yeah, he’s right, there’. Or, ‘She’s right there’. You can always do better. You need confidence, I suppose, to walk out on a live TV show. I brought my mother to the chat show the other night and she still hasn’t recovered! She was so worried for me, just watching it live.

Where did you find the confidence to go for it?

It’s about experience. It’s about spending years on the streets of Northern Ireland during troubled times, doing very important stuff – that builds up a certain confidence. I’ve been in Irish people’s living rooms for 17 years, and they eventually get to know you, and they come up and they talk to you. I suppose you get a bit of confidence from how people react to you, especially if they say nice things.

Was covering Northern Ireland for a UK broadcaster difficult?

It was really interesting. It was very unusual for a Southern Irish Catholic to be doing all the Northern stuff – as I did from about ‘92. Probably because of my background, I would bend over backwards to be fair to the Unionist tradition. And then I ended up working with Steve – my husband – a lot from ‘96 and obviously he would bend over backwards, because he is a Protestant, to be fair to the Nationalist side. So there was a balance. Actually, when I left Newsnight, The Guardian wrote that Newsnight suffered from my going because I understood the terrain, and also, because I was Irish. Sometimes you get British people covering Northern Ireland and they don’t really get it. They can’t even pronounce the names.

Did you ever have any scary moments in Northern Ireland?

Yeah, we did have a couple of scary moments with bombs, and we, kind of, got involved in riots. It was one of the first times I worked with Steve, but look, nothing big to tell, you know. I’m still here!

Any death threats?

We did get death threats. Myself and another guy, who is now editor of Channel 4 News, were doing a story about the UDR 4, which was like the Birmingham Six, but we came out to our car after coming out of the jail, and they had pulled out all the engine, all the wires. They were just trying to scare us, but we weren’t scared, we just got another hire car. So when you do all that, you’re not really scared of chat shows.

Not so much hangs on them...

Chat shows are just talking to people about their lives, and that’s endlessly interesting. People here thought of me doing a chat show because I used to sit in the green room after Prime Time and have fascinating discussions with people when we were off-air. Talking to a politician, I might notice that his right knee is shaking because he’s nervous, and on a chat show I could say, ‘I can see your leg shaking. Do you find this very tough?’ Whereas if that was on Prime Time people would think I was a deranged lunatic. But I’m more interested sometimes in the back-story of people. Most people have tragedy in their lives, or a back-story that’s important, but you can’t bring it up on Prime Time, so it’s nice to do the chat show as well.

You are going on 50 soon. Do you think about that much?

It never enters my head. I just feel so blessed. My sister died at the age of 33. No, genuinely, I get kind of annoyed with people who go, ‘Oh, I’m getting older!’ And I go, ‘Thank your lucky stars you’re alive’. And it’s fantastic. I always think you should celebrate the length of time you are on Earth instead of worrying about it. Touch wood.

 

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John Boyne had already penned a clutch of novels when he wrote his first book for young adults. Published in 2006, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas went on to become a literary phenomenon, selling seven million copies. But behind that remarkable success lies a very different kind of life story. Now, with the publication of his latest novel, The Heart’s Invisible Furies, the best-selling writer feels that he can talk honestly and openly about his past: about growing up in Ireland, his sexuality, the break-down of his civil partnership, depression, drinking and a lot more besides.

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The Hot Press Interview with Stephen Donnelly

With no background in politics, and a paltry five weeks to canvass, he was first elected to the Dáil in 2011 as an Independent. Since then, he co-founded and then left the Social Democratic Party. Throughout all of this, he has retained a boyish enthusiasm and a sense of humour – which is unusual in Irish politics. So what lies behind the cheerful demeanour and liberal attitudes of the TD for Wicklow? Well, he’s a long-time fan of Hot Press for a start…

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The Hot Press Interview with Gino Kenny

Dexys Midnight Runners’ hit single may not have been written about him, but there’s lots of reasons right now to chant the name of the People Before Profit TD, Gino Kenny. Chief among them is the fact that he has got a Bill legalising cannabis for medicinal purposes through its first stage in the Dáil – an extraordinary achievement for a man who only became a TD in February 2016.

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U2 Party Weekend With Cover Band Planned To Celebrate Croke Park Gig

U2 fans will get the chance to party away in the company of a great tribute band at a special two night event being organised at The Church Bar venue in Dublin on the weekend of the historic Croke Park gig to celebrate the seminal classic album 'The Joshua Tree' in July, it has just been announced.

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LEONARD COHEN TRIBUTE: IRA prisoners adopted 'Bird On A Wire' as their freedom anthem

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly tell us what Leonard meant to him during his Long Kesh incarceration...

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THE 12 INTERVIEWS OF XMAS: Christy Dignam on Aslan, Assisted Suicide and Depression

Christy Dignam bravely opened up in an extensive interview with Jason O'Toole back in October.

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THE 12 INTERVIEWS OF XMAS: Danny Healy-Rae on Church and State

Kerry TD Danny Healy-Rae sat down with Jason O'Toole back in September for an extraordinary interview on his religious and political views.

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THE 12 INTERVIEWS OF XMAS: Roz Purcell on Trump, Food and Repealing the 8th

Just ahead of the US Presidential elections, Jason O'Toole caught up with the former Miss Universe Ireland, who went to the States to take part in the Trump-led international beauty competition, to talk about modelling, politics and cuisine.

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Communication Breakdown: Catholic Church Denies Amnesty International Banned From Schools Over Views On Abortion Laws!

Amnesty International is not banned from any primary schools in the Waterford district – despite a letter being circulated that appears to claim otherwise, the Catholic Church diocese of Waterford and Lismore has insisted today.

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Kourtney Kardashian Gives Irish Company Massive Profile Boost

An Irish company’s cheerful little product is receiving some major international exposure thanks to Kourney Kardashian.

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Hilarious TV Interview Voted Most Memorable Irish Sporting Moment of 2016

The O’Donovan brothers’ humorous comments about their brilliant silver medal achievement at the Rio Games has been voted as the most memorable Irish sporting moment of 2016.

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Donald Trump's War of Words With Magazine

President-elect Donald Trump took to twitter yesterday to attack Vanity Fair’s editor after the magazine gave one of his restaurants a negative review in their latest edition to just hit the newsstands.

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Paul McCartney Album To Be Reissued

Paul McCartney’s critically acclaimed 1989 album ‘Flowers in the Dirt’ is to be reissued next March, it has been confirmed.

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Watch Bruce Springsteen Get Into The Festive Spirit

A video has just been uploaded onto YouTube of The Boss getting a packed Carnegie Hall into the festive mood with some Christmas tunes at Sting’s biennial Rainforest Fund benefit gig.

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Watch Lady Gaga’s New Music Video

Lady Gaga’s fans will no doubt have a million reasons to be excited to learn that the latest music video from her new album ‘Joanne’ has just been uploaded on YouTube.

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Key Music Industry Players Pen Open Letter to Donald Trump

Some of the most influential figures in the music industry are urging President-elect Donald Trump to radically shake-up laws concerning intellectual property rights.

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Obama Promises Not To “Vanish” During Donald Trump’s Presidency

Outgoing US President Barack Obama has said that he will not be afraid to air his views when Donald Trump is in the White House.

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Virgin Media launches Netflix on Horizon TV

Virgin Media’s Irish customers can now watch all their favourite Netflix shows seamlessly on their TV using their Netflix subscription on Virgin Media’s Horizon TV service.

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National Web Archive Preserves 10 Irish Websites

Ten websites that are believed to best record “Irish life in 2016 and remember the events of 1916” as chosen in a public vote have been revealed by the National Library of Ireland.

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Watch Arcade Fire Perform ‘Reflektor’ From New Concert & Documentary DVD

Arcade Fire’s powerful live performance of ‘Reflecktor’ in London back in 2014 has just been uploaded on the Internet as a preview of the band’s new two-disc DVD/Blu Ray concert and documentary, which will be released on 27 January.

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Robbie Williams Gives 1D Star Some Sound Advice

Ex-Take That star Robbie Williams has reached out to One Direction singer Zayn Malik, urging him to be strong in the aftermath of his debilitating anxiety that forced him to cancel some upcoming shows.

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Netflix releases The OA

The original Netflix series The OA, which is from visionaries Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij (Sound of My Voice, The East), will air on the online streaming service from 16 December.

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Elton John Launches Contest For Would-Be Filmmakers

Elton John has teamed up with YouTube to give you the opportunity to create a brand new pop video for one of his seminal classic tracks.

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Bob Dylan On His Shock Nobel Award: “Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, ‘Are my songs literature?’”

Music icon Bob Dylan said it was a great honour to receive “such a prestigious prize” – but confessed that he always thought he’d just about the same chance of going to the moon as he did of being the first singer-songwriter to be deemed a worthy enough winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

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Simon Cowell Applauds Louis Tomlinson’s "Bravery"

He’s best known for tearing musicians apart with his outspoken criticism on The X-Factor, but Simon Cowell had nothing but praise for Louis Tomlinson after the 1D superstar found the inner strength to go on with the show and perform his new single just days after his mother lost her battle with leukaemia.

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Comedian Tina Fey On Why Donald Trump Is No Laughing Matter

Tina Fey has opened up about how she believes that Donald Trump’s negative presidential campaign and his shock victory has alarmingly fueled an increased level of misogyny in the US.

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The Jesus and Mary Chain Confirm New Album's Release Date

It’s 18 years since we last hard new material by the Scottish band, but The Jesus and Mary Chain has just confirmed that they will be releasing a new studio album early next year.

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New Education Resources To Support Next Generation Of Irish Entrepreneurs

Fourteen “enterprising teens”, ranging in age from 12 to 17, had an audience with the Minister for Employment and Small Business, Pat Breen when he visited their school in Wicklow yesterday to launch a new teacher resources package to help support the next generation of entrepreneurs.

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Michelle Obama Breaks Her Silence Over Shock Trump Victory

As most of the world stayed up late watching the dramatic US presidential election count unfold, the First Lady Michelle Obama has now revealed that she was tucked up in her White House bed fast asleep!

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Stephen King Hails Bob Dylan As Worthy Winner Of Nobel Prize

Best-selling author Stephen King has dismissed any criticism of Bob Dylan becoming the first singer-songwriter to win the Nobel Prize for Literature as nothing more than “just plain old sour grapes”.

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Fiona Apple Attacks Donald Trump In Christmas Song

Fiona Apple has put an anti-Donald Trump spin on a cover version of a classic Christmas song!

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Ryan Adams Opens Up About Emotional Pain Behind New Album

Ryan Adams has opened up about having to force himself to "keep my chin up" while recording his new album because his marriage was coming to an end at the same time.

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Lady Gaga Opens Up About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder From Rape Ordeal

Lady Gaga has courageously spoken on US national television about how she has suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder since enduring the horrible ordeal of being raped as a teenager.

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The Three Patrick’s Charity Festive Concert!

Composer Patrick Cassidy and actor Patrick Bergin are teaming up to perform a concert at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin in aid of The Friends of St. Luke’s Cancer Care on 14 December from 8pm – 9:30pm.

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Irish Soprano Celine Byrne To End Year On High Note

Internationally acclaimed soprano Celine Byrne – who was recently asked to perform for Pope Francis – will end the year on a high note with a Christmas Gala at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Dublin on 18 December.

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Kells Announces New Chapter For Literary Festival

The annual summer literature festival in Kells, County Meath will rebranded as the ‘Hinterland Festival’ in 2017, it has just been announced.

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Watch New Teaser Trailer Of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ Sequel

It’s not set for a US cinema release until next May, but a brand new teaser trailer for Marvel’s eagerly awaited Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 has just been put up on YouTube.

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Trump Compared As “Closest Thing” To Hitler By TCD Professor

“Do not deceive yourselves: Trump is no ordinary conservative Republican. He is the closest thing to Hitler Americans have ever seen.” That’s the stark warning from an Associate Professor of US History at Trinity College Dublin.

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Madonna “Ashamed To Be American” Following Trump’s Shock Election

Madonna has spoken about her anger and dismay over President-elect Donald Trump’s shock defeat of Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House.

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‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ Comes To Netflix

It’s hard to believe that it’s exactly 20 years since Will Smith’s hit TV show came to an end, but Netflix is now bringing all six seasons of ‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ to the streaming service on New Year’s Eve for its Irish members.

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Fawlty Towers Star Andrew Sachs Dies

Actor Andrew Sachs has died at the age of 86 following a four year battle with dementia, it was confirmed late last night.

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Drake Crowned Spotify’s Most Streamed Artist of 2016

Drake was the most popular musician played on Spotify for the second year running in 2016 with an astronomical 4.7 billion streams on the music service.

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Coldplay Ban Selfie Sticks At Gigs

It looks like selfie sticks – along with more than a dozen other “undesirable items” – could be banned when Chris Martin and Co takes to the stage in Croke Park next summer, as part of their world tour.

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Jennifer Aniston Reveals Why Friends Reunion Would Never Work

FANS of the popular US sitcom Friends will certainly be disheartened to hear that Jennifer Aniston feels a reunion movie or TV show will never happen.

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Bernie Sanders Feels He Could've Defeated Trump in Presidential Election

Bernie Sanders has confessed that he's left wondering "what if" if it was him instead of Hillary Clinton who ran against Donald Trump.

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Neil Diamond Announces World Tour To Mark 50th Anniversary

It’s hard to believe that Neil Diamond is celebrating his 50th anniversary since he became a household name with his first major hit single with ‘Solidarity Man’ all the way back in 1966.

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Government Won’t Oppose Medicinal Cannabis Bill

It appears that the door is now finally being opened to making cannabis legal for medicinal purposes in Ireland.

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Star Wars Live Stream Event on Twitter

Star Wars fanatics are in for a treat.Twitter has teamed up with Disney and People magazine to live steam an exclusive special ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' event with a behind-the-scenes sneak peek from the hugely anticipated new movie on Friday.

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Bowie, R.E.M, and Nirvana Tracks Listed Amongst 25 Great Recordings

Nirvana, R.E.M., Elvis, Rod Stewart, along with David Bowie and Prince - who both sadly passed away this year - are among 25 artists going to have one their songs inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame, it has been announced.

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The Contraceptive Train On Track For Abbey Theatre!

The critically acclaimed musical ‘The Train’, which is inspired by a remarkable true story involving a former Hot Press writer and has a score composed by Bill Whelan of Riverdance fame, is to be staged at The Abbey next spring.

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Michelle Obama “Will Never Run For Office”

The rumour mill has gone into overdrive with recent speculation that the First Lady Michelle Obama was planning to run for the presidency in the future. But outgoing US President Barack Obama has now debunked the notion of his wife making history by becoming the first woman elected to the White House

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Robbie Williams Opens Up About Needing Meds To Battle Inner Demons

Ex-Take That star Robbie Williams has bravely admitted that he started taking anti-depressants this year after a “weird summer”.

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Paul Simon’s Ex-Wife Carrie Fisher Still Loves His Music!

Star Wars actress Carrie Fisher has revealed that she still loves her ex-husband’s music – even if she feels he has personally insulted her in some of his lyrics.

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Trump’s Wife Threatens To Sue YouTube

The US's First Lady-elect is threatening YouTube with a major lawsuit over a video on its site that claims her son Barron is autistic.

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Lady Gaga Opens Up In Revealing TV Interview

Lady Gaga wore her heart on her sleeve on Sunday in an interview on US TV in which she touched on the subject of love following her break-up with actor Taylor Kinney after being together for five years.

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Dublin Vigil To Honour Revolutionary Leader Fidel Castro

There will be a vigil to mark the death of Fidel Castro in Dublin this evening (Monday, 28, November) at 6.30pm at The Spire on O'Connell Street, according to a tweet put out yesterday by Sinn Féin's newspaper, An Phoblacht.

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RTÉ Announces Partnership with RTÉ Choice Music Prize

RTÉ has announced a new partnership with the RTÉ Choice Music Prize for next year's event, which will see both RTÉ2 and RTÉ 2FM play a lead role in supporting what has become one of the highlights of the Irish musical calendar as part of a new agreement.

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Jeremy Clarkson’s New Motor Show Gives Hothouse Flowers Unexpected Hit

Hothouse Flowers are riding high in the iTunes charts with one of their old hit singles – and it’s all thanks to Jeremy Clarkson and Co’s new Amazon online streaming show, ‘The Grand Tour.’

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It Would Be “Ridiculous” If 1D Didn’t Reform, Says Niall Horan

Irish superstar Niall Horan might be focusing on his solo career right now, but he’s confident One Direction will reform in the future. “We’ll be back,” the Mullingar native vowed yesterday, which the band’s fans will surely be thrilled to hear.

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Cuban Revolutionary Leader Fidel Castro Dies At Age 90

President Michael D. Higgins leads the Irish tributes this morning to the breaking news of the death of former Cuban leader, Fidel Castro.

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It's Gilmore Girls Day On Netflix

Gilmore Girls makes its much-anticipated return today on Netflix with four memorable chapters from the lives of Lorelai, Emily, Rory... and many more stalwarts from the fictional small town of Stars Hollow.

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DJ Nikki Hayes Opens Up About Giving Up Booze

Popular radio DJ Nikki Hayes has bravely revealed that she gave up alcohol last year because of its negative side effects of being mixed with medication to deal with a mental health condition.

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Watch Aretha Franklin’s Soulful Version Of US National Anthem

To help celebrate Thanksgiving, Aretha Franklin was invited to sing the American national anthem before yesterday’s big football game between Detroit Lions and Minnesota Vikings at the Ford Field stadium.

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Justin Bieber Looks Set To Face Legal Action Over “Aggressive Punch”

It’ll probably come as no surprise to hear that the teenager filmed being hit by the Canadian popstar prior to one of his gigs on Tuesday is now planning to take legal action.

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Elton John Rejects Offer To Play at Trump’s Inauguration

Media reports that Elton John is set to perform at President-elect Donald Trump’s Inauguration ceremony are “not true,” according to a spokesperson for the British star.

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Putin’s Top Spin Doctor Makes Horrible Racial Slurs About Obama

Vladimir Putin’s top media advisor in the Kremlin has used disgusting racial slurs to attack US President Barack Obama on the state-owned national television.

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Jean-Michel Jarre Makes Surprise Release Of New Music Video

The French composer’s new single Oxygène Pt. 17 has just been stuck up on YouTube without any fanfare, shortly ahead of his much anticipated new album on 2 December.

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Justin Bieber Punches Fan in Face

Justin Bieber lashed out at a fan shortly before going on stage for his “Purpose World Tour” concert in Barcelona last night.

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Donald Trump’s Own Grandfather Faced Deportation!

The USA might have had a very different President-elect right now – if it wasn’t for the fact that Donald Trump's grandfather was booted out of Germany, according to a legal decree that was recently discovered.

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Jason Donovan Reveals Liberal Attitude Towards His Kids Taking Drugs

Ex-Neighbours star Jason Donovan says he would prefer if his teenage children wanted to experiment with drugs that they would do so in the more safe environment of the family home in front of him – describing it as a form of “reverse psychology”.

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Phil Collins Plans Comeback Gigs in 2017

Phil Collins revealed back in 2015 that he was “no longer retired”... and now true to his word he plans "some comeback shows" next year.

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Kanye West Is Hospitalised After "Psychotic Breakdown"

Kanye West was forcibly taken to hospital for his own safety after suffering a "psychotic breakdown", according to US media reports.

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Steve Jones Reveals He Was Sexually Abused In New Memoir

Former Sex Pistol Steve Jones has opened up for the first time about being sexually abused by his stepfather in his autobiography.

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Marilyn Monroe Memorabilia Auction Sets New World Record

A three-day auction of Marilyn Monroe’s personal and career items has just fetched a staggering $11million dollars, which is being described as a “another word record” for the LA-based Julien’s Auctions who organised the event.

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Sting Offered Megabucks For Reunion Gig With The Police

The Police have been offered a whopping $9million US dollars to reform for a one-off festival in California next year, according to reports.

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New Book Reveals Heartbreaking Details Of Freddie Mercury’s Battle With HIV

It’s hard to believe that it’ll be 25 years since Queen’s charismatic frontman was cruelly cut down in his prime this coming Thursday (24 November).

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Grateful Dead to Celebrate 50th Anniversary In Style

As part of the celebrations for the upcoming 50th anniversary of their debut album, the Grateful Dead have announced plans for a comprehensive reissue of their entire discography.

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US President Obama Sheds New Light On White House Chat With Donald Trump

Outgoing US President Barack Obama has for the first time revealed that he strongly warned President-elect Donald Trump that he should tone down some of his radical political stances during their chat at The White House last week.

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Jeremy Clarkson Is Back Behind The Wheel

The much-anticipated new show by ex-Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson is now uploaded for streaming. The first episode of the new show called 'The Grand Tour' – featuring hosts Clarkson, Hammond and May – premieres exclusively on fee-paying Amazon Prime Video today (Friday 18 November).

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Clinton Finally Reveals Heartache Over Losing To Trump

Defeated US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton gave her first public speech in which she not only opened up about her pain at her shock defeat, but she also made a rallying cry for young people not to get disillusioned with politics.

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Lemony Snicket Fans Will Be Excited By Sneak Peak OF New TV Series

Fans of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events look set to be in for a real treat if the exciting new trailer just put up on YouTube for an upcoming series created by the book's author himself is anything to go by.

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I’m Your Fan:Jeff Buckley’s Irish Friends Pay Moving Tribute On Day Tragic Singer Would’ve Turned 50

It’s hard to believe how time flies. Jeff Buckley – who will probably be most fondly remembered for his haunting cover version of the late Leonard Cohen’s elegiac song ‘hallelujah’, which was released posthumously to much acclaim – would’ve been celebrating his 50th birthday today on 17 November … if only he hadn’t been taken away so tragically young at just 30-years-old.

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John Lennon's Bitter Letter To Paul McCartney Over Beatles’ Split To Be Auctioned Off

To paraphrase one of The Beatles’ most popular tunes ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, John Lennon definitely felt he had been let him down by his ex-band members - as demonstrated in an angry letter addressed to Sir Paul McCartney and his then wife Linda about the iconic band's split in 1970, which has resurfaced and will be auctioned off.

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