Interview with The Corrs

Earlier this year I sat down to interview multi-platinum selling chart act, The Corrs, on behalf of Vacuum Cleaner Monthly. I loosely knew the sisters from my time spent lightly stalking them through the alcoves of Dundalk (thankfully, none of them could place my face), though it was my first time meeting male Corr.

Jim and I failed to gel from minute one. His handshake unsettled me: limp, cold and damp, like a heroin-addicted mermaid OD'ing in a gutter. He bore a faint stench of death which he attributed to his volunteerism at an old folk’s home. And when he peered at you, you couldn’t help but feel he was undressing you (in fairness, only as far as the Y-fronts) with his eyes.

Our mutual disdain was hard to conceal. I think one of us remained professional. You be the judge….

Me: Andrea. Attractive, aromatic, alluring Andrea.
Andrea: Hi.
Me: Sharon. Sultry, seductive, sexy Sharon.
Sharon: Oh, don’t know about that last one. At my age, you tend to….
Me: Shush now, there’s a good girl. Caroline. Curvaceous, creamy…
Caroline: What?
Me:…cylindrical Caroline.
Caroline: Ok...Hi.
Me: Jim.
Me: I said, ‘Jim’.
Jim: Oh sorry, hello.
Me: Tune in mate.

Me: Now Jim, if I can start with you?
Jim: Sure.
Me: I’d like to read you a passage from an article written in 2003: “This thing called ‘Jim’ has brazenly contaminated a perfectly viable girl band with its penis. Like a tapeworm, it is a parasite unto its siblings, and tresspasses within the sexual fantasies of fans the world over.”
Sharon: What?
Jim: Who wrote this?

Me: Just a second Jim, it goes on: “I defy anybody to establish a full erection from an imagined pillow fight between Andrea, Sharon and Caroline, without Jim waltzing into the reverie – stark bollick naked, I might add – to starch the sheets and hoover the surrounding floor.”
Andrea: This is inappropriate.
Jim: Which journalist wrote….
Me: One second Jim, last bit: “Not since Hitler invaded Poland has there been a presence so unwelcome, as Jim’s in The Corrs. People die every day in Africa, yet this goatee’d elf clings to life, suckling at the teat of the glorious sirens he calls sisters.”

Caroline: That is shocking. I’m shocked.
Jim: It’s offensive drivel. Who wrote it?
Me: That’s not important.
Jim: Was it published?
Me: No, the excellent journalist involved was made promises by The Irish Independent that were not kept. I believe he even bought a 42 inch Sony flat screen television on the strength of those promises.
Jim: Well, it’s an offensive piece of tripe. Let's move on.

Me: Fine. Andrea.
Andrea: Yes?
Me: I’d like to play a game.
Andrea: Ok.
Me: It’s called, ‘Who’s Hockeying Andrea Now?’
Andrea: Are you serious?
Me: We’ll start with the quick fire round. Robbie Williams?
Andrea: I’m not playing this.
Me: Hugh from The Fun Loving Criminals?
Andrea: I’m serious. Move on.
Me: Derek Davis?
Andrea: Derek Davis?

Me: Yes. He’s been talking around town.
Andrea: Saying what?
Me: That he hockeyed you out of it in The Merrion Hotel two summers ago.
Andrea: You're making this up, right?
Me: Nope. He says it was kinky. That you established a ‘safety word’ beforehand, but you ignored it and bate the shite out of him with his own hand. 'Stop hitting yourself', you shouted. 'Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself', until he was bloodied and unconscious. 

Andrea: That's it, I'm done. I’m not answering any more questions.
Me: Ah, Andrea. Don’t be like that.
Jim: I’m not answering any more questions either.
Me: You still here?
Jim: I’m happy to leave.
Me: The band?
Jim: No, the room.
Me: Sorry girls, I tried.
Jim: You’re incredibly rude, do you know that?

Me: Shut up there now for a minute Jim. Caroline, you’ve been described as the band psycho.
Caroline: By who?
Me: An article written in 2003.
Caroline: The same article that slated Jim?
Me: The very same. It reads “she has the cold, black eyes of a serial killer, and the rigid bosom of an angry transsexual. Had she snakes for hair and a moustache of hornets, she’d be scarcely more grotesque or evil.”

Caroline: How dare you?
Me: It’s not me, it’s the article.
Caroline: Well, who wrote the article? Was it you?
Me: Newsflash baby. Every brilliantly written article that comes along isn't necessarily written by me.
Caroline: Fine, but did you write this one?
Me: Could you rephrase the question?
Caroline: Did you write it?
Me: Yes.

Caroline: Why?
Sharon: It’s incredibly cruel.
Andrea: How would you like it if we wrote something about you, full of lies and insults?
Me: I….I wouldn’t like it at all.
Caroline: What if we made fun of your physical features?
Sharon: Yeah, what's your biggest insecurity?
Me: (sniffle) I’m far too well hung. It’s my curse.
Caroline: Eh…ok. Well, what if we made fun of that? How would you feel?
Me: (crying) Flattered and embarrassed.

Caroline: Ok, we’re leaving now. This is ridiculous.
Me: Wait. I might not get this chance again. I have to ask. You three, me, and a Shetland Pony? Jim can watch.
Andrea: You’re sick.
Jim: I ought to break your jaw.
Me: You couldn’t break wind, anti-Smurfette.

Let the record show that Jim did not break my jaw, but did break my nose and crack my eye socket. Ne'er have I seen such a ferocious temper in man nor beast. Had his own sisters not subdued him (Sharon with a taser, Caroline with mace spray), I’d be dead and Jim would be in jail. Sure, The Corrs would finally be a girl band, but at what cost? At what cost... 

Jane Goodall and the Chimp Diary

In 1968 I suffered a nervous breakdown during the London premier of hit motion picture, Planet of the Apes. 20th Century Fox hired me to work the red carpet in a gorilla suit, schmoozing the press and stars alike. The Glitterati were out in force, and aside from a zoologically accurate butt-sniffing that saw Jane Fonda knee me (twice) in the scrotal district, my jungle theatrics charmed all.

Things began to unravel during a hard-earned toilet break. I glimpsed my monkey self in the bathroom mirror and grew disoriented. Soon, not only did I believe myself a genuine gorilla, but I thought my reflection a rival silver back. I made smithereens of the mirror before charging back onto the red carpet in search of a mate.

At first, punters thought my frenzied shenanigans a mere escalation to my 'A' game. Leading man Charlton Heston even embraced me for a photo-op. Alarm bells only rang when I head-butted Mr Heston unconscious, seized a marketing woman from Fyffes, and attempted to climb to the cinema roof. I was subdued by security, wheezing and exhausted, on a narrow window sill only eighteen inches above ground.

A diagnosis of AMA (Acute Monkey Anxiety) was forthcoming, and for six months I literally climbed the walls of my apartment, existing on nothing but bananas. My wife Sorcha couldn’t cope with the constant butt sniffing, and divorced the living crap out of me. Custody of the children was determined in a swiftly arranged court sitting.

I don’t recall the custody proceeding, but the court transcript records my only contribution as “OOH OOH, AAH AAH”, after which I hurled a fistful of my own faeces at the judge, and broke both my legs attempting to climb to the mezzanine public gallery. Sorcha was awarded sole custody of the kids, leaving me to rue the vacuum of paternal rights in the British legal system and scandalous price of imported bananas.

A court-ordered stint in the Institute for Chimpanzee Delusions proved wondrous. Though I didn’t specifically believe myself a Chimpanzee (I saw myself more as a baboon, and shaved my ass accordingly), I recognised myself human again within four months of intensive therapy. However, one symptom lingered: a new-found terror of monkey kind.

My psychiatrist recommended I confront my fear with a zoo trip. I went one better, taking an advertised position in Tanzania as assistant to legendary chimpanzee researcher, Dr Jane Goodall. My psychiatrist strongly disapproved of my spontaneity, but died in a bank robbery crossfire six weeks later. Perhaps she should have spent less time disapproving and more time ducking.

My month in Tanzania was eventful. I kept a shorthand diary during this period, detailing my interactions with both Dr Goodall and the chimps. I publish it now, for your reading:

7th December, 1970
Arrived in Tanzania. Nervous about meeting Jane and the chimps.

8th December, 1970
Had sex with Jane. Nervous about meeting the chimps.

9th December, 1970
Still haven’t seen a God-damned chimp, or left Jane’s cabin. She’s freaking me out. Demands that I stop shaving for some reason.

10 December, 1970
Jane says she hates chimps. Says she shot one dead last year for kicks. Am frightened. She's bonkers. Still haven’t been into jungle. Jane making me scrape knuckles along ground when I walk. Says it’ll put me in mindset of chimp. Can’t be good for my AMA.

11 December, 1970
Awoke in night to sensation of ass being shaved. Turns out Jane was shaving my ass. Told her I'm scared, and want to leave Tanzania. Says she’ll kill me and slit throat of every chimp in thirty mile radius if I leave. Dragged finger across neck for emphasis. Says my tears disgust her.

12 December, 1970
Sexed Jane to sleep and snook into jungle with map. Figure I'll take my chances in wild.

13 December, 1970
Found chimps! Total fluke. Pitched my tent nearby. Too scared of Jane to be scared of the monkeys (not the band). No sign of Jane. Will sleep with knife close.

14 December, 1970
Still no Jane (thank Christ). Chimps intrigued by me. Allowing me to sit close. Females seem to be wearing makeup. Could only be Jane's doing. Males seem to be wearing cologne. What the f*ck is wrong with that woman?

15 December, 1970
Fur balls boring me to tears. So bored this morning, played prank. Waited until two mother chimps distracted. Grabbed child of one and swapped with child of other. Ensuing violence cheered me up.

16 December, 1970
Alpha male has not warmed to me. Keeps posturing, beating his chest. I have no fear. Is only short arse, glorified Mogwai. Have christened him Colin.

17 December, 1970
Have to hand it to Colin. Sure showed me. First embarrassed me in front of other chimps. Wrestled me to ground and jumped up and down on my back. Then whipped off my kacks and violently raped me. Far too strong. Pointless to try and stop him. Once he’d had his fun, ran me out of jungle like common pygmy. Probably a warning to others. Feel so used. Arse killing me.

18 December, 1970
Arrived at Jane’s cabin and grovelled for disappearing. Told her about Colin. Apparently real name is Larry. Jane says Larry must be dealt with. Has thirst for rape now. We attack at dawn.

19 December, 1970
Disaster. Charged into chimpsville at first light. Jane secured Larry in full nelson. I went to work, punching his monkey face repeatedly. Larry was tough. Spat blood into my face in act of defiance. Or perhaps to buy time? Other chimps rallied. Too many. Jane escaped. I couldn't. Was violently raped by Larry again. Chased from jungle for a second time.

20 December, 1970
Jane gave me lift to airfield. Tanzania not for me. Raped once by chimp, shame on chimp; raped twice by chimp, shame on me. Jane promised to kill and eat Larry. Will miss her. Gave me parting gift of photo scrapbook. Insists I don't open until home.

21 December, 1970
Scrapbook filled with photos of me. Am mostly asleep in photos, but some aerial shots of me taking dump in outhouse. Jane must have been on roof. Interesting.

Exclusive Interview with Roy Keane, Mick McCarthy and MC Hammer

Me: Gentlemen, thanks for taking the time. 
Roy Keane: I wasn't told he'd be here. 
Me: What's your beef with Hammer? 
MC Hammer: Yeah?
Roy Keane: Not Hammer. Him. 
Mick McCarthy: 'Him' has a name Roy. I wasn't told you'd be here either. My agent said this was a one-to-one interview? 

Me: Lads, lads, lads. Didn't you bury the hatchet a couple of years ago? Can't we be civil? Conduct ourselves as professionals? 
Mick McCarthy: I'm willing, if Roy and Mr Ice are. 
MC Hammer: Mr Ice?
Mick McCarthy: Oh, I'm sorry. Vanilla. 
MC Hammer Who the hell do you think I am? 
Mick McCarthy: Weren't you the fat one in Wham?
MC Hammer: Mother f*cker, there wasn't no black man in Wham. 
Roy Keane: Tool. 

Me: Come on, settle down. This is just a friendly interview. There's no need for anyone to get riled. 
Mick McCarthy: Ok.
Me: Now, Saipan....
Mick McCarthy: Christ...
MC Hammer: Sai-who?
Roy Keane: As I said, the facilities were a joke: no floodlights, lack of footballs....
Me: I haven't asked you anything yet Roy. 
Roy Keane: ....missing training kit, rock-hard pitches....
Me: Roy?
Roy Keane: ....single-ply non-quilted bog roll, Lenny Henry as live-in entertainer when we were promised Lenny Kravitz....
Me: ROY? 

Mick McCarthy: Eh? You see?
Me: I do see. 
Roy Keane: See what?
Mick McCarthy: This is what it was like, over there.
Me: It must have been hell for you Mick. 
Roy Keane: Stay out of it you. 
Mick McCarthy: Like you stayed out of the world cup? BOOYAKASHA!
Mick McCarthy: This is just as hurtful the second time round. 

Me: Please people, stop this. 
Me: What? 
MC Hammer: I said, HAMMER TIME!
Me: Why? 
MC Hammer: You said 'stop'. 
Me: No I didn't, I said 'stop this'. 
Roy Keane: Listen up Coolio. Shout in my ear once more and you'll be spending none of your time living in the Gangsta's Paradise. Because you'll be dead, strangled with your own parachute pants. Capiche?

Me: Lads, please. All of this negativity is unhealthy. 
Mick McCarthy: He started it. 
Roy Keane: I started it? All I do is give it 100%, every time...
Me: No, no, no. Let's not play the blame game. Mick, I want you to look into Roy's eyes...
MC Hammer: Hello. Now we talkin...
Me: ....and tell us one good memory you have of Roy. Something from before Saipan. 
Mick McCarthy: Well...I, you'll all laugh. 
MC Hammer: Come on brother. We're all here for you. 
Roy Keane: Go on Mick. Just be honest.

Mick McCarthy: (deep breath) I remember after a home game in Landsdown Road, against Portugal I think? We'd had our showers, and a few of us thought it’d be a good laugh if we hogtied Niall Quinn and held him down while Mick Byrne threatened to rape him. Quinny was always easy to wind up. He was in floods of tears within seconds. 

(Roy giggles. Mick follows suit)

Mick McCarthy: After an hour or so, we decided Quinny'd had enough. Mick Byrne was getting a bit carried away, and none of us were comfortable with where the joke was going. So we untied Quinny and let him go.
Roy Keane: Not a minute too soon. 
Mick McCarthy: He briefly talked about pressing charges, but we've heard it all before with Quinny. 
Roy Keane: Typical Niall. Never follows through. 

Mick McCarthy: So next home game comes and goes, and Quinny decides he'll have his revenge. I come out of the showers, minding my own business, and from nowhere Quinny comes at me with a giant bunch of nettles, swinging and swinging. I turned away to protect my genitals, but he thrashed my back over and over....(welling up)....
Roy Keane: Go on Mick. 
Mick McCarthy: Well, if it wasn't for Roy....he came in and beat the sh*t out of Niall.
Roy Keane: For an unrelated matter. I didn't know what was going on with Mick. 
Mick McCarthy: That's right, but afterwards? Afterwards you went out and picked some dock leaves, and soothed my back. 
Roy Keane: That's right, I did. 
Me: What the?

MC Hammer: While we're all male bonding and sh*t, YOU CAN'T TOUCH THIS! 
Roy Keane: Ah Jaysus no. 
Mick McCarthy: Jaysus, put that yoke away. 
Me: Jaysus Hammer, I warned you. I said if you took your lad out, you're out of the interview. 
MC Hammer: Come on man. A brother's gotta air the snake? 
Me: No, you're gone Hammer. You're out. 
MC Hammer: Whatever.  

(Hammer waddles out of the room, parachute kacks around his ankles)

Me: Roy? I think you were about to share? 
Roy Keane: (deep breath) It's hard, you know?
Mick McCarthy: It’s ok Roy. 
Roy Keane: Well, I remember a time in 2001. We’d finished training in Malahide and were bored silly. So myself and Mick decided to climb The Sugarloaf.
Mick McCarthy: I remember.
Roy Keane: We made good time to the summit, but I started to feel dodgy. 
Mick McCarthy: More than dodgy. 

Roy Keane: It was altitude sickness. I went a bit ga-ga. 
Mick McCarthy: You thought you were a ballerina. 
Roy Keane: I did, I really believed it. I thought I was a ballerina performing in a production of The Nutcracker. And Mick…the only way he could get me off the mountain was to pretend he was a ballerina too. 
Mick McCarthy: It wasn’t hard. I studied ballet for eight years as a nipper. Also, six years jazz and four years tap. The film Billie Elliot was loosely based on me. 
Roy Keane: It usually takes an hour to hike down The Sugarloaf, but it took us over twenty four hours to frolic and pirouette to the bottom. Mick was with me every prance of the way. 
Mick McCarthy: I’d never leave a fallen brother on The Sugarloaf. 
Me: Jaysus.

Roy Keane: When we got to the bottom….
Mick McCarthy: Go on Roy. Don’t be embarrassed. 
Roy Keane: …I don’t know how but…instinctively, we both knew what was going to happen. I charged at Mick, dove into his arms, and we performed the lift from Dirty Dancing flawlessly.
Me: Sweet Suffering Mother of Divine Jaysus. 

Roy Keane: Where did we lose our way Mick? 
Mick McCarthy:  I don’t know Roy. 
Roy Keane: Can things go back to the way they were? 
Mick McCarthy:  I believe they can. 
Me: Group hug? 
MC Hammer: Deal me in. 
Me: Ah Jaysus, it’s still hangin out. 
Mick McCarthy: Ah no, put it away Shaggy. 
Roy Keane: I’m sorry, I'm not into any of this naked stuff. 
Mick McCarthy: ROY? ROY, COME BACK? 
Me: No, let him go Mick. Gotta let him go. He needs time. 

Crooning with Frank Sinatra and The Rat Pack

In 1982, I had the privilege of being in a head-on car crash with crooning royalty, Frank Sinatra. Though I spent the next year in traction, the friendship that developed between myself and Old Blue Eyes was worth the agonising rehabilitation. Doctors were critical that I focused on learning to croon again before learning to talk again, but when you’ve got an opportunity to learn from the master? You have to take it.

For six months, crooning was my only mode of communication. I’d croon deli orders, croon the guy in the adjacent cubicle to pass some bog roll under the partition — I was even crooning heavy breather phone calls to the girl I was obsessed with.

This behaviour only came to a head when my wife Imelda hung herself in March 1983, directly attributing her unhappiness to an overdose of second-hand crooning. Her suicide note read simply…


Shockingly, the ‘Ahhhhhhhh’ in Imelda's note was forty to fifty times longer than the one I’ve recounted above. Her death sent me spiralling into a weekend-long depression from which Frank eventually rescued me. He was a sturdy crutch to me during that time, and we even crooned a duet at Imelda’s funeral. It’s undoubtedly not what she would have wanted (several of her relatives stormed out), but I’ve been told we were scintillating.

Frank did eventually drop me like a new-born baby with a freshly discovered tail, but not before we delivered some electrifying, sell-out Rat Pack concerts on the Las Vegas strip. Some musicologists regard the line-up of myself, Frank, Sammy and Dean as the halcyon days. Our on-stage banter was legendary, though it did often descend into petty squabbling. I present now the transcript of our now infamous meltdown during a show in The Bellagio Hotel in 1983:

Frank Sinatra: …and I did it, my way.

(Audience applause)

Frank Sinatra: Thank you. Thank you very much. Would you now welcome on stage some friends of mine. I think you know their names.

(More audience applause)

Dean Martin: Man, I could listen to you sing that song all day long Franky Baby.
Frank Sinatra: Thanks Deano, but I doubt you could do anything all day long.

(Audience laughter)

Sammy Davis Junior: It’s like you reinvent the song every night, man.
Frank Sinatra: That’s because I can’t remember the damn words.

(Audience laughter)

Me: I thought it was shite.

(Smattering of uncomfortable laughter, receding into awkward silence)

Frank Sinatra: Why you ungrateful Paddy. Six months ago you thought a crooner was a type of fish.

(Smattering of uncomfortable laughter)

Sammy Davis Junior: Fellas, fellas, let’s have a song.
Dean Martin: A song, a song? Ring-a-ding-dong.
Me: What does that even mean Dean?
Dean Martin: Don’t talk to me like that, you God damned blow-in.
Me: You’re overrated Dean. You know it. I know it. The audience knows it.
Dean Martin: Now just a minute…

Sammy Davis Junior: Uncool man. Frank brings you in, and this is how you repay him? Embarrassing us all on stage? Unprofessional and uncool, man.
Me: Frank did bring me in. But I’m crooning at an advanced level now. He taught me everything he knows.
Frank Sinatra: Not everything, you punk. I’m gonna pop you right in the mouth, Irish.
Me: Why? Because I’m honest? It wasn’t your best performance tonight Frank. And these two jokers? They couldn’t croon their way out of a Turkish prison.

Audience Member 1: (muffled) You suck.
Me: Who said that? Come on, who said it? Why don’t you come up here and repeat that?
Audience Member 2: (muffled) Nobody even knows who the f*ck you are.
Me: Big man, shouting from the shadows. Stand up, and let's see how brave you are.
Dean Martin: Now hold on mister. You never diss the audience.
Me: Ah, screw off Martin, you overrated fossil. I’d teach you to croon, but you wouldn’t know what to do with the sheer, raw power.
Frank Sinatra: I’ve heard enough. Vito? Salvatori? Take this scumbag out back.

Mr Sinatra’s goons dealt me a ferocious beating in the alleyway behind the hotel. Ironically, the head trauma stole my ability to croon. Easy come, easy go, I guess.

Old Rants

Rant by is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Copyright © 2009 Flann O'Coonassa