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A Different View

Power and money – the aphrodisiacs that never let you down

Dave O'Connell

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It was the irrepressible Mrs Merton with her tongue firmly placed in cheek who once asked Paul Daniels’ wife Debbie McGee what it was that first attracted her to the small, bald millionaire magician.

It’s a question that the French media might well rephrase to put to the actress Julie Gayet if they were half as full of testosterone as their own President now appears to be.

And if Francois Hollande were a slightly more philosophical misogynist, he might take some solace from his ability to seduce a seemingly infinite number of beautiful women despite his boring and portly appearance.

But then the little Napoleon who preceded him, Nicolas Sarkozy, managed to hook up with one of the world’s top supermodels – albeit one in the autumn of her catwalk career – when he could hardly see higher than her navel.

And our own version of the Little General, Charlie Haughey, had quite a way with the ladies as well, despite his own vertical challenges. Although in fairness, the whiff of scandal and smell of Charvet shirts might have had something to do with that as well.

The common link seems to be that there are some women out there who thrive on power and money in the way that new babies thrive on mother’s milk.

Sometimes even one or the other will do – as in the case of the WAGs who plonk themselves into the lives of Premiership footballers, whose key attributes are healthy physiques and their even healthier bank balances.

The tabloids prove that many of these ladies will allow their footballing superstars a generous degree of latitude when it comes to their dalliances, once the credit card is still guaranteed to the max at home.

And quite frankly, that’s fine with the rest of us – because the truth is it’s none of our business.

None of us know what really goes on behind anyone else’s front door – and sometimes we’re not entirely aware what’s going on behind our own.

So if the French have a relaxed attitude to the notion of mistresses, then good luck to them. Indeed it would almost seem like a derogation of duties if their President didn’t have at least two ladies on the go to keep up with an ancient political tradition.

Francois Mitterrand did it and so did Jacques Chirac, and it didn’t seem to hugely affect their ability to do their job.

Perhaps that is just confirming the old adage that, if you want a job done well, give to a busy person – and a man trying to keep two homes afloat is certainly that.

In fairness to the French, perhaps it’s just the rest of us who are fascinated with the dalliances of the rich and famous – we might not be sophisticated enough to appreciate such sexual subtleties.

The mistresses of former Presidents were, by all accounts, open secrets among the French chattering classes, but nobody thought any less of their leaders because they were busier than normal in the boudoir.

If Francois Hollande were Irish or English and he turned up before the entire senior press corps of his nation – refusing to answer a single question about his private life in the midst of this scandal – he’d be hounded out of the room and possibly out of office.

 

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Selfies mean autographs are now just a relic of the past

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

When you look back through old photo albums, you realise what an occasion that family portrait used to be – best clothes, hair combed, standing to attention like soldiers off to war.

These days, we probably take more photographs in one week that our parents took in their entire lifetime, and so the sense of occasion or formality are no longer.

Now the trick is to capture those unguarded moments, where no one is posing for the picture but rather is caught unawares.

When we used to go to weddings in larger numbers, you’d find it was no longer enough to have an official photographer and videographer on hand to capture the unfolding now – now each table had a disposable camera to capture those accidental moments as well.

At least the wedding album is still a thing – even if, as ever before, its primary duty is as a door-stopper with the express purpose of gathering dust.

And the wedding video remains a great way of clearing the house of interminable guests; just stick it on and watch them reach for their coats as they suddenly ring for taxis.

Less so the days of everyone getting dressed up in best clothes again a few days after the Communion or Confirmation and going to a photography studio to pose beside the potted plant in front of the drop screen of big castle doors.

The upsurge in photography on foot of easy access has also seen another evolution – the celebrity autograph being usurped by the selfie.

There’s still a huge market for autographs of course, but it’s just no longer what young fans wait around stage doors or stadiums for – now it’s a pic on your phone with your favourite star.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Grandparents are the glue that became unstuck during Covid

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

IT goes without saying that lockdown has been hard for everyone – with the possible exception of hermits – but few have felt it more than grandparents, confined to barracks and deprived of those hugs from the grandchildren.

Looking at them through windows may only have made it worse, because little kids don’t understand why nana and granddad won’t come out; they don’t realise they want to, more than anything in the whole world.

This pandemic has given us plenty of time to reflect; a chance to remember what is truly important and what we should cherish instead of taking for granted.

And arguably, grandparents should be on top of that list.

You’ll have heard it said that being a grandparent is like you’ve been given a second chance; an opportunity to spend time in retirement with the next generation that work deprived you of when it came to your own.

There’s also a notion espoused by some of those grandparents that you love them more than your own kids, because this time, when you’re finished playing with them, you can give them back.

I never knew any of my four grandparents, because they were all dead before I was born. My own sons never knew my parents because they too had long departed before the next generation arrived.

But thankfully they did grow up with two grandparents as an integral part of their lives – and not just minding them, which they did with a commitment for which we will be ever grateful.

The measure of success in this department is that your children see your parents as just a part of the family; there’s an easy familiarity every time they meet, just like picking up the pieces without a second thought.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Home is still full of memories even when it’s an empty nest

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

We’ve all heard the phrase – and perhaps dread the concept; the empty nest, after the fledglings take flight and you’re left rattling around in a quiet house with just memories of those days of pandemonium and noise.

The social policy-makers would tell you that this is the time to downsize; save yourself the steps of the stairs and the cleaning, and cut down on the heating bills to enjoy your autumn days in accommodation more appropriate to your reduced needs.

And from a purely economic perspective, there’s merit in that. You have a house that’s now too big for you, and others can’t find a home of any size, let alone one sufficient for a full family – but that’s only one side of the argument.

The other is that your house is your home, and not because of its size – it’s because of its location, and your familiarity with its every nook and cranny. It’s also where those fly-away chicks still see as home, even if they’re now no more than occasional visitors.

As you grow older, familiarity is more important than ever; without the beautiful distraction of children, you grow even more dependent on neighbours and your community and the facilities you know on your old doorstep.

You know how long it takes to get to the shops or to the pub; you know you to give a spare key to in case you’re out when a delivery is due – or later on, if there’s a fear you might have a fall.

Your lifetime’s treasures – except for the children – are in your home; the sort of stuff others might see as clutter, but to you they are memories of holidays or graduations or births or marriages…those glory days that marked the chapters of your family life.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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