- 20 Dec 18
The festive spirit was positively gushing as seven of Ireland's finest purveyors of popular music joined Hot Press' poundshop Paxman, Stuart Clark, for the 2018 HP Xmas Round Table. Nat King Cole, kickboxing injuries, Dolores O'Riordan, Freddie Mercury, U2, Making A Murderer, Beyoncé, the rebirth of punk and, er, spreading penises were all on the agenda...
Street after almost thirty years was an emotional affair, but Hot Press is feeling right at home in our new Northside abode where last month we lured hundreds of U2 fans into our basement with a pop-up covers exhibition.
With the likes of Amy Winehouse, Leonard Cohen, Phil Lynott, David Bowie, and Rory Gallagher joining Dublinıs fab four on the walls, it's an appropriately rock 'n' roll environment in which to stage our 2018 HP Xmas Round Table gathering of the musical clans.
Certain assumptions have been made - we all hate Trump, Brexit is a disaster, despite that freak Derby Day goal, Liverpool are poo compared to Everton etc. etc. - in order to avoid depressing ourselves at what should be a time of festive cheer.
The Round Table invite says 'Leave your dignity at the door', which means the mandatory donning of the finest Dealz Christmas attire. Making what could turnout to be extremely ill judged career decisions are...
Jerry Fish: Along with his own Mudbug Club-assisted slaying of audiences, Jerry's continued curation of the Electric Sideshow meant that Picnic-ers got to see such bright young things this summer as David Keenan, Loah and The Murder Capital (more of whom anon). He also supported Michael D. Higgins in his successful re-election bid, and made a nostalgic return trip to Tipp with An Emotional Fish.
Emma Langford: Crowned Best Emerging Artist at the inaugural RTÉ Folk Awards - her bonus prize was a hug from Maria Doyle Kennedy - the Limerick singer has been living out of a suitcase this year as she gigs her way round Europe. new-ish single 'Tug O' War' gained Emma loads of accompanying airplay.
Danny ODonoghue: The Script singer is Skype-ing in from London where, despite kicking the crap out of each other, the band are halfway through recording the stripped-down follow-up to last year's Freedom Child album. They've also found time to get into the Guinness Book Of Records, and take a brotherly interest in young Dubs, Wild Youth.
Matthew Crossan: The Touts frontman has hotfooted it down from the Olympia where the punk-minded Derry trio are supporting Blossoms. Given the ferocity of their new Analysis Paralysis EP, the front-of-stage security are in for a torrid night.
Erica Coady: Young but decidedly old school when it comes to her R'n'B belting, Erica was among the guest vocalists when the RTÉ Concert Orchestra took the Electric Picnic by storm with its The Story Of Hip-Hop show. Tomorrow sheıs off to Belfast where sheıs supplying the halftime entertainment at a basketball tournament thatıs being beamed around the world.
Dara Quilty: Seeing as theyıve yet to introduce a Most Impressive Hair category - sort it out people! - the 98FM Big Ride Home man had to settle for a Best Music Programme gong at this yearıs IMRO Radio Awards. When not playing music, heıs making it as one-half of razor-sharp pop duo, Apella.
James McGovern: Lead singer of The Murder Capital, the post-post-punk Dubliners who came out of nowhere (well, BIMM) to bag a deal with managerial heavyweights Q Prime - who also look after the likes of Snow Patrol, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Metallica. The guitars were scabrous, the mood malevolent and the melodies sublime when they played a stunner of a Whelan's gig recently.
Stuart Clark: Having declined invitations to appear in the Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special and star opposite/behind/above/below Stormy Daniels in her latest bonkbuster, the Hot Press Deputy Editor is chairing his fourteenth Round Table, and wondering where the time (and his hair) have gone.
Stuart: We've lots of questions later about fiscal policy and bilateral trade agreements, but let's warm you up by asking for your albums and gigs of the year.
Matthew: Can I just say that weıve all been brought here under false pretenses. Itıs supposed to be a 'Round Table' but this is clearly rectangular.
Stuart: There's always one
Emma: My gigs of the year are by the artists I've supported. HamsandwicH at St. Luke's Church in Cork was a magical experience. Touring with Beoga, even though theyıre predominantly instrumental and I'm a lyrics person, was special too. Iıve a few friends in common with Niamh, their fiddle-player, whoıs from Limerick and has done so much to represent the county and women in music.
Jerry: (laughs) Iım still on Miles Davis! Iım lucky that I have a 15-year-old whoıs kind of reintroduced me to hip hop. In return, I've introduced him to funk and weıve had a lot of fun finding the samples that have migrated from one to the other! Closer to home, I really like The Murder Capital, Fontaines DC and Thumper, another Dublin band who totally blew me away when I saw them first. Despite being extremely jealous that she's on the new Damien Dempsey album and I'm not, I love what Kate Tempest's doing. Another band creating their own really cool brand of punk are PowPig from Limerick. That attitude in music is fucking coming back.
Emma: PowPig donıt have any guise or act or look. Theyıre just four young girls dressed the way they want to dress, singing songs about stuff they care about - and owning the room.
James: They opened for us in Dolan's about a month ago and, yeah, they owned it.
Jerry: It's good to see so many women getting up there and doing it now. Years ago, I wrote a song called 'Man's World' which was about how in the 19th century it was said that receiving an education shrank a women's ovaries. I hasten to add, I wasn't agreeing with them. Ireland's come an awfully long way with the feminist movement and Repeal, but weıve got to keep pushing.
Erica: I'm obsessed with Ariana Grande's Sweetner, which production-wise builds on the brilliant Christmas EP she brought out a couple of years ago. It's soul-pop with a little RınıB tip on it. I actually bought the CD, which is the first time I havenıt just listened to something on Spotify in ages. The song with Pharrell, 'Blazed', is singly the best thing I've heard this year. Another album Iıd recommend is Silk Canvas, the debut from VanJess, who are two Nigerian-American sisters, Vanessa and Jessica. Itıs mellow, boppy, smooth R'n'B tunes.
Stuart: You're good mates with Mahelia, the Leicester singer whoıs just topped the first YouTube 'Ones To Watch' list, and is among the BRIT Critics Choice Award nominees...
Erica: We did an Irish tour together last year. It was the weirdest thing Ècause when we turned up for the first sound-check we had on the same coat, the same pants and the same shoes. By the time weıd worked our way from Cork to Limerick, it felt like Iıd found a long-lost sister. Her Seasons EP is just fantastic.
Stuart: Matthew, you can get down off the Naughty Step now.
Matthew: I think I'm still traumatised from last night. We were playing with Blossoms in Belfast and this screw on my guitar that had been hanging loose for about six months fell off during the first song. At the exact same time, the lead cut out as well. It was horrendous. I was stood there with nothing coming out for twenty seconds but it felt like way longer. Anyway, I saw Paul Simon in Dublin and two days after that again in Hyde Park. His new album, In The Blue Light, where he's redone old stuff of his that he felt didnıt get enough attention is really good too. There's a reason he's been top of the pile for over 50 years. I wasnıt really mad on Queens Of The Stone Age but then I saw them this year in the 3Arena and was blown away. It was the same with Kasabian at Reading. Seeing them live I was like, 'Fuck!'
Stuart: Somebody I discovered this year through the Touts Twitter account is Queen Zee, a psychedelic hardcore band from the 'Hyperspace State of Birkenhead' whose 'Sass Or Die' single is rocking!
Matthew: Aye, theyıre fucking brilliant. Weıre just back from playing with them in France. They look like complete degenerates but actually only two of them drink. The singer, Zee, identifies as a girl and they have a big LGBTQ following. Theyıre from a tough northern town where you really standout if you look different, but they donıt take any shit. Thereıs also an American band, Sunflower Bean, whose Twentytwo In Blue album is great.
James: I've been listening nonstop to Fontaines DC who are sort of kindred spirits of ours. We played a gig last month in the Tivoli with them and Shame. Weıre all really good friends, and had a lot of fun both on and off stage. There was a definite sense of 'occasion' about it.
Stuart: Thank you, by the way, for helping to make Irish rock dirty and dangerous again.
James: Youıre welcome!
Stuart: Were you surprised when on the strength of just a couple of demos, and not that many gigs, Q Prime signed you?
James: Er, yeah, it was definitely nice. We had an intense few weeks meeting a lot of different people and trying to suss them out. It's like meeting anybody for the first time - you either connect or you donıt, and we really connected with the person who became our manager, Tara. They've a good pedigree and only seem to work with people they really believe in, so it feels like weıre in the right place.
Dara: A breakout artist who I think is absolutely outstanding is Charlie Puth. His debut albumıs called Voicenotes because it was sketched out on his phone, and itıs literally four on the floor and a bass line. He did pretty much everything on it himself, makes incredible videos and has whatever 'it' is in spades. Somebody who's probably higher profile in the States than here is Sorcha Richardson. I was in Urban Outfitters in Brooklyn recently and they were blasting her out. She totally ought to be on daytime radio rotation in Ireland but it tends to be the same half-dozen artists.
Stuart: You've been trying to do something about that on your 98FM show
Dara: Yeah, I've introduced a segment called 'Play My Music', which is exactly what it sounds like. Whether you're on a big label or by yourself in your room, you can email your song to [email protected] and if it's good enough and fits in we'll play it every day for a week. The 'fit in' part is important because, no matter how amazing it is, if we stick a hardcore techno or heavy metal tune on, half the 98FM audience will change station.
Stuart: Explain that, so everyone in the room understands.
Dara: Music programming is an art form, a behavioural science and a business. You canıt separate the three. It's worth mentioning that along with the good stuff and the good stuff that wasnıt suitable, there were an astonishing amount of poor quality recordings. With the level of competition, youıve got to be on your game. Anyway, one of the artists we've had as our Record of the Week is this amazing guy from Swords called Curtis Wade. Commercially he hasnıt done much yet, but hopefully thatıll change in the New Year.
Matthew: They should have the same thing here as they do in Canada where something like 40% of the music played on the radio has to be homegrown.
Dara: We do have it - it varies from station to station, but is normally around 30%. It tends to be established acts, though, rather than new music. I know from trying to get airplay for Apella how frustrating it can be. People think that because I'm on the radio myself I have an upper hand, but itıs the complete opposite. Everyone knows who I am and goes, 'Fuck that guy, we're not gonna to play his song!'
Danny: I'm going to be accused of sucking up to Bono, but my favourite gig of the year was U2 in the O2 in London. A guy who used to be involved with The Script is now part of their extended team, so he said, 'Do you want to come down?' I was really impressed with the scope of the show; it was a masterclass in performance art. The bit where Bono's taking off his MacPhisto makeup and starts talking to Ali - 'I love you, thanks for letting me do this' - literally made the hair on the back of my neck stand-up. And that version of 'I Will Follow' was raw as fuck! Noel Gallagher was there too, dad dancing! Glen and myself also went to the opening night in the 3Arena and blagged our way into the aftershow. We were taken up to Bonoıs private family room, which was a bit of a shock because, although we've talked a few times, weıve never been out on a session 'til four in the morning or holidayed together. I was like, 'Are we supposed to be here?' - but everybody made us feel really welcome. I had a great chat with the heir to the throne, Elijah, who's just starting out on his own rock 'n' roll journey with Inhaler.
Stuart: You and Mark got to produce another upwardly mobile Dublin band, Wild Youth.
Danny: Did you hear the single they had out during the summer, 'Can't Move On'? It's such a great song. They don't care if anybody in Ireland likes them or not: they want world domination. They absolutely think that they're meant for the bigger stage, which is the type of ego and mentality that I want to be involved with. We were supposed to be taking time off this year - Mark and his missus recently had their fourth child, a gorgeous baby girl, and I wanted to go on safari to South Africa - but we did a writing session with the Wild Youth guys and were totally engergised by how great a young band they are. After we'd done the session, I said to Mark, 'What are you doing tonight?' He was like, 'Not much', so we went into the studio and, boom, wrote a song. I walked out of there going, 'Fuck, we've got the first track for the new record.' Mark and Glen felt the same. We booked the studio between now and December 23rd. We go kickboxing in the morning, head to the studio and do a bit of sparring - hence the bruises - and then spar lyrically with each other.
Stuart: Another of your favourite records - cue tenuous segue - must be your Guinness one.
Danny: Neatly done, Stuart! We were gigging in Belgium on St. Patrickıs Day and thought, 'Let's buy the whole place a drink!' It was something like 8,000 beers, and the bar tab was 26,000 EURO. I was like, 'Shit, lads, I've left me wallet at home, can you get it?' It smashed the biggest round record, which was previously held by a guy from Tennessee who bought something like 5,000 drinks.
Stuart: The Script, spreading happiness wherever they go...
Danny: (cackles) Did you say 'spreading a penis'?
Stuart: Lest there be any #MeToo-related confusion, I most certainly did not.
Stuart: Dara, they say that awards don't matter - until you win one!
Dara: I got a slight bit of sadistic joy from beating the national guys who have the luxury of staff. I'm my own producer, researcher, technical operator and guest-booker.
Stuart: Emma, tell us about the hug Maria Doyle-Kennedy gave you when you went up to collect your RTÉ Folk Award.
Emma: She gives a very good hug! To be honest, I just freaked out. I wasnıt saying words. It was a combination of fangirling over Maria and receiving an award that I never expected to receive. I'd seen her in The Commitments, and then followed her musical career, so it was a really big deal.
Stuart: Does that rate as your biggest fangirl moment?
Emma: No, I was even more of a mess the time I met Wallis Bird backstage at the Doolin Folk Festival!
Jerry: I was the same when I met Quentin Crisp at The Gate. For those of you looking blankly at me, he was this incredible flamboyant homosexual who held court in 1940s London Soho. He wrote a book called The Naked Civil Servant, which was turned into a TV film starring John Hurt. There was a section during the show in the Gate where people were invited on stage to get his autograph - mobile phones and selfies had yet to be invented - and I was straight up, only to forget my name when he asked me who he should dedicate it to. I fell asunder!
Stuart: You also had a close encounter of the Deborah Harry kind...
Jerry: Oh, yeah, the time the Fish supported Blondie in Brixton Academy. I'd gone into their dressing-room while they were on to steal a beer, and was drinking away when Debbie, soaking wet and looking very voluptuous, came in after the main set looking to freshen up for the encore. From the look on her face, she obviously thought I was there to kill her. She was nearly abducted in the '70s by Ted Bundy, so you couldn't blame her. Interesting fact: she was the first ever person to buy a Basquiat. I don't know if she's still got it, but it has to be worth tens of millions. I was like, 'I'm just, er, grabbing, er, a beer...' I fell asunder that time too!
Stuart: Did Touts manage to keep their sunder together when you supported Liam Gallagher?
Matthew: The only words he spoke to me when we were standing out in the smoking area together were 'Nice shoes, man!' I think he was just a bit shy rather than being a dickhead or anything.
Dara: Having a chat wasn't an option because of the security they had with them, but I remember feeling overawed like that when my previous band, Fox Avenue, were on the same Oxegen bill as Jay Z and he arrived with Beyoncé. He had three dressing rooms - one for him and the wife, one for his crew of which there were dozens, and one for wardrobe. There was a single toilet on the floor, which once they'd arrived only Jay Z and Beyoncé were allowed to pee in by order of the two very large guys guarding it. I also caught a glimpse of Eminem, who it struck me recently would never have gotten away with releasing his Marshall Mathers LP in the present climate.
Stuart: From what I recall, Freddie Mercury singing 'Mama, just killed a man/ Put a gun against his head/ Pulled my trigger, now heıs dead' didn't lead to accusations of him normalising and encouraging murder. I was talking about this to the Versatile lads who have people going through their lyrics hoping to be offended.
Dara: As they said in their Hot Press interview, it's art. What I like about Versatile is that, in an Irish context, they're fucking different.
Jerry: The sensibility is the same as a lot of American hip-hop, only transported to Ringsend. They're playing a clever game.
Danny: I haven't heard them yet, but theyıre on my list of people to check out. Funnily enough, Versatile was on the list of fifty names we considered before settling on The Script.
Stuart: As somebody who's always been into their R'n'B and hip-hop, it must be heartening to see Irish acts like Versatile, Rejjie Snow, Kojaque, Soulé, Jafaris, Rusangano Family and - no blushing, Ms. Coady! Erica here releasing great records, and working their way higher and higher up festival bills.
Danny: It's fucking awesome! I'm not trying to take credit for it 'cause these guys have 100% done it for themselves, but starting out we were laughed at for wanting to merge hip-hop with Irish music. Hanging out in The Globe these people with NMEs under their arm would say, 'What the fuck are you guys at? That would never work.' Going over to America in the '90s as a member of Mytown and meeting the likes of Pharrell was an amazing learning curve. I've known him for more than twenty years. The cliché about there only being two types of music - good and bad - is true. Fuck genres!
Stuart: James, seeing The Murder Capital at Electric Picnic, I wanted to buy a schoolbag so that I could Tipp-Ex your name onto it. You're the sort of band that kids, especially, fall for hook, line and sinker. Who inflamed your musical passions like that when you were growing up?
James: I was in between Cork and Dublin for most of my childhood, and driving on the motorway with my dad there was a lot of Kraftwerk. I was also majorly into Joy Division. It has been amazing seeing the reaction from crowds. We did a UK tour at the end of September/early October, which was full power. We did a couple of supports and some headliners as well. We indulged. It was a good time.
Stuart: The Murder Capital got together while you were all studying at BIMM. I was up there recently and got a sense of there being creativity in every corner. Did you enjoy the experience?
James: Yeah, you kind of get out what you put in. There was a lot of conspiring and hatching plans. The lecturers are eager and attentive and, in a lot of cases, still actively engaged in making music themselves. There were some interesting classes like Cultural Perspectives. Our band wouldn't exist without having met there, so it was totally a worthwhile experience.
Stuart: The musical year got off to the worst possible start with the death of Dolores O'Riordan. I cried when I heard the news and again when I saw footage of people in Limerick spontaneously gathering in her honour on Arthur's Quay.
Emma: She did amazing things for Limerick and women in music, which perhaps she didn't get enough credit for when she was alive. The bandwagon jumping was a bit frustrating, but that's always going to happen. We had a gorgeous I Heart Dolores night for her in Dolan;s, which borrowed from the I Heart series that John Byrne runs in aid of the LauraLynn Childrenıs Hospice. Niamh from HamsandwicH came down, we had a house band and the place was mobbed with not just Irish fans, but people from the US, Japan, Germany and Spain. It was like a pilgrimage to the birthplace of The Cranberries. I did I Heart Jonie - as in Mitchell - there recently in Whelan's, which was another great occasion.
Stuart: Somebody else we lost this year was John Reynolds, the Electric Picnic founder who you worked with very closely, Jerry. What kind of a guy was he?
Jerry: An entrepreneur, a maverick and a visionary. Lots of people have good ideas but not many of them follow through to the extent that John did. He put his money where his mouth was and changed the way we do festivals in this country. He was really into the sense of music as community. John introduced me as 'Ireland's Wayne Coyne' to the guy who runs Burning Man in America, which is one of the nicest things anybody's ever said about me. We all have so much to thank John for.
Stuart: Beautifully put. On a happier note, you got to play 'Féile Classical with An Emotional Fish. It was chilled Prosecco rather than warm Harp and no sleeping on the top of phone-boxes this time.
Jerry: But still lots of fun! One of the young burlesque artists I work with asked, 'Whatıs this new thing you're doing, 'An Emotional Fish?' It's great when you've been around so long that people have forgotten what you started off doing. The band split up because we were in court with a record company that we owed so much fucking money to, and had to get out. To play together again for fun was, pardon the pun, very emotional.
Stuart: You werenıt the only posh person who got to perform with an orchestra this year. How was your Picnic experience, Erica?
Erica: It was the ultimate karaoke! I grew up listening to all that old school '90s stuff courtesy of my mam and dad, so getting to sing them in front of 15,000 people jammed into a tent was such a thrill. It was during the newer part of The Story Of Hip-Hop when we did a Nicki Minaj tune that I was like, 'Oh my God, this is amazing!' It's a great thing to have done so early in my career.
Stuart: Tell us about the basketball gig youıre half-timing at this weekend in the SSE Arena.
Erica: Eight American Division One college teams are coming over for the Belfast Classic. My dad was a pro baller, who moved here in the '80s when the Irish league was in full swing. I played it from the age of six all the way up to three years ago - I'd be going from dance rehearsal to matches - when the performance side of things started taking over. I was like, 'Do I really want to go to America and play college basketball when BIMM's an option?' I was never book smart, that wasn't my thing, and I also tore my ACL during a game, which is a serious injury, so music won!
Stuart: Guys, what have been your tour bus essentials - films, books, box-sets etc. etc. - this year?
Emma: To have tour bus essentials you need a tour bus, which the budget doesn't extend to at the moment. Something I've listened to a lot whilst waiting for busses, trains and taxis is the My Dad Wrote A Porno podcast. It's three Londoners talking about one of their dads, who's a Northern Irish builder, writing a series of erotic novels, the star of whom is Belinda Blumenthal, a leading saleswoman in the pots and pans industry. He's very little grasp of female anatomy and even less grasp of erotic literature, so they're unintentionally hilarious. I adore Winnie-the-Pooh, so I bawled my eyes out watching Christopher Robin. I'm approaching thirty, so I totally relate to the idea of reluctantly letting go of your childhood. The visual representation of 'washing the colour out of your life' had me going 'Noooooooooooooo!'
Stuart: You've got your own podcast, haven't you?
Emma: Yeah, it's called Limerick Lady and is myself and Anne Blake from the Brad Pitt Orchestra, who's also a theatre-maker, trying to provoke discussion around gender balance, visibility and equality. It's in its infancy - four episodes so far - and very influenced by The Guilty Feminist.
James: Blindboy's podcast has been really good this year. If you look at the number of listens it's not far short of what a lot of the big Irish radio shows get.
Matthew: Our vans are usually pretty shitty - three seats in the front, three seats in the back and all the gear piled on top of you - but we came down tonight in a people carrier, which is very fancy. I don't know about 'essential' but we've been watching the Chilling Adventures Of Sabrina, which is a lot, lot darker than the original.
Erica: I'm dying to see Bohemian Rhapsody.
Jerry: A friend of mine has a theatre piece about the time - and it's a true story - that Princess Di went gay pubbing in South London with Freddie Mercury and Kenny Everett. A really important film for me because my father is a youth worker, and it addresses drugs, is Dublin Oldschool. I've been advocating for the legalisation of drugs forever. Portugal has turned it into a health issue and their drug usage has gone way down. The working class communities are the ones that suffer - our prisons are full of five postal codes - and the gangsters are getting stronger. It doesn't make any sense and there's nobody addressing it. So a movie like that is very important.
Danny: I've been writing my arse off this year, but Making A Murderer 2 really put me back on the couch again. The twists and turns and ins and outs of this guy whoıs spent pretty much all of his life in jail on trumped up charges - or are they? Just to see the shenanigans which go on in a small town. Mark gave me the complete ten season box-set of Curb Your Enthusiasm for my birthday. I love that show; it reminds me so much of myself and how I see the world. I'm always the guy pointing out the injustices and minutiae of everyday life.
Stuart: I'm told you're walking with a limp at the moment.
Danny: (rolls up his trouser leg and shows us impressive yellowing bruise) Yeah, I'm in fucking bits. Like I said earlier, Mark and myself have been doing kickboxing two or three times a week with a bit of sparring at the end. It's body only, no headshots. We're keeping fit and getting the testosterone pumping at the same time. But there has been some collateral damage.
Stuart: Will you be able to hobble into the studio tomorrow?
Danny: I'll get a wheelchair if necessary! Man, we're seven songs in and knocking it out of the park! We've gone back to, 'Here's four instruments; how fucking good a song can we write with them?" Gone are the days of massive production and bells and whistles. We're looking outward, we're looking inward, so it's going to be a very emotional record and one that I really think will stand up there with the best of the Script albums. I'm really excited.
Stuart: Okay, it's Christmas Day. Doctor Who is finished, as is the bottle of Bailey's youıve stolen off your mum. Someone suggests a family singsong; what's your party piece?
Matthew: Her two bottles of Bailey's! I really like 'Santa Baby', and 'Blue Christmas' as well. Elvis is brilliant!
Jerry: Eartha Kitt's is considered the definitive version, but Marilyn Monroe did a great 'Santa Baby' too. I'm a Nat King Cole nutcase. Even if he's not singing Christmas songs, it sounds Christmassy to me. I always die of shyness singing them, though.
Matthew: I don't believe you!
Jerry: I'm fine doing a 90-minute set - or two hours if youıve enough money - in front of thousands of people, but ask me to sing a song in someone's living-room and I clam up.
Erica: When I was a kid it was loads of Disney songs, which Iıd sing just one verse of for some strange reason, and 'Fields Of Gold' by Eva Cassidy. Rock and roll!!!
Danny: "Silent Night", which will probably get an airing when we go into Temple Street Childrenıs Hospital on Christmas Day. It's our tenth year doing it. We arrive at eight in the morning, eat sausages and bacon with the nurses and then do the rounds. We started off after my father passed away. Christmas Day felt a bit shit, so I decided to change the energy. The first time, it was just John the porter and me bopping around. The next year some of the Dublin team came in with the Sam Maguire. The year after that it was the Lord Mayor in all his finery. We've now got two groups of people heading all around the hospital and trying to brighten the day up for the kids and the staff. It gives me a Ready Brek glow!
Stuart: On that rather lovely note, let me say, "Happy Christmas, everyone!"
Everyone: Happy Christmas!