Last time round I wrote about how I came to audition for Head 2 Toe some 25 years ago.
Then last week RTÉ Archives reminded me that 20 years ago this summer I was working with Pauline McLynn – and D’Unbelieveables, Mary Curtis (now Head of Channel at UTV Ireland) and Liveline’s Joe Duffy – on the thankfully-short-lived twice-weekly light entertainment series, Gortnaclune ’94.
As Denis Hurley tweeted about it a while back, it was “awful plop…a crap version of Nighthawks, basically.” He wasn’t wrong. It was great crack to work on but it was appalling muck.
This means it’s also 20 years since I left Head 2 Toe after five hugely enjoyable years.
Aware that because fashion wasn’t a subject I felt passionate about – it’s common knowledge that Head 2 Toe was for me always a gig, not a vocation – in 1994 it was time to move on before getting typecast and, more importantly, before losing my poor marbles watching hemlines, shoulder pads and lapels do their meaningless cyclical sartorial shuffle.
Which got me thinking about how there are actually quite a few varyingly significant personal anniversaries in the air this year.
It’s 5 years since I came back to Dublin after 11 up-and-down years in London, towards the end the recession that hit in 2008 scuppering two major projects that would have kept me busy there for a couple of years on the back of my first pair of producer/director gigs.
Thankfully a year later as things were beginning to look desperate RTÉ Television liked an idea I pitched them about the news we search for on the internet enough to commission it so I hightailed it home and haven’t gone back since.
Never say never, mind.
An Emmy that disappointingly never led to bigger and better things; despite meeting many of the big television documentary hitters in New York during my six days there for the awards in September 2005 and pitching them a myriad of magnificent ideas – what else? – nothing came of any of it and the initial buzz quickly faded.
It’s 15 years since I realised one season of working on Watchdog was more than enough, thank you very much. Not my cuppa at all, I’m afraid.
It’s 30 years since I won by a mere 27 votes my first – and only ever – election, becoming Entertainments Officer while in 2nd Year in NIHE Dublin (now DCU), a gig which undoubtedly played a large part in setting me on this daft career path I’m still trying desperately to navigate.
It’s 35 years since I found out how badly I’d bust my left foot the year before while a 1st Year PE student in Thomond College of Education in Limerick (now part of UL), a break so severe it eventually ended my PE-teaching career and that two operations and three and a half decades later it’s still buggered.
And it’s 40 years since I made my television debut, singing and reading a prayer-of-the-faithful on Palm Sunday mass live on RTÉ’s then solitary channel from one of its studios in Donnybrook in Dublin with a bunch of my fellow De La Salle Castletown (outside Mountrath, Co Laois) secondary school students.
Sadly this is a performance that – and I’ve checked – is long gone to the great un-indexed archive in the sky.
In 1974 broadcast standard video tape was so expensive live programmes were rarely recorded by RTÉ – or any other broadcaster for that matter; and even if they were, in the interests of hard economics, they were soon recorded over.
And of course domestic video tape was but a twinkle in Sony and Phillips’ R&D departments’ eyes so recording it at home or in the school wasn’t actually an option.
So that horrific pudding-bowl haircut one of the Brothers cruelly subjected me to the night before is lost forever in the analogue annals of time.
Though I guess if a dodgy haircut was the worst abuse I suffered at boarding school I escaped lightly.