Archive for the ‘bloodyjournalists’ Category


My Irish Times profile is not hugely accurate

November 29, 2008


(Just got a long letter from Journalist Brian Boyd, where he details the research that went into his profile of me in the Irish Times. He’s genuinely upset that I don’t like it, and he feels that the story is close enough to the truth to make my many objections to it moot. I disagree, because I believe that a fact is either true or it’s not, just as someone is either pregnant or not. But I did write the post in anger and I should have paused before adopting my scorched-earth tone. Here’s the post again, except written by an adult.)

There’s a profile of me in the Irish Times today,  and there’s a few things wrong with it. I hate to inflict the following list of corrections onto the readers of WTD, but the piece is online now and so will presumably be used for research by other journalists and I want to make sure they have the facts.

In brief, then…

The story about how the ‘IT Crowd’ came to me is not true. The two incidents did not happen on the same day–it’s myth-making.

I wasn’t brought up in the Navan Road, I spent my first ten years on Glenbeigh Road, then moved to Castleknock.

I didn’t complain to Hot Press about a Pixies review.  I actually complimented them on a piece Bill Graham wrote about the NME.

“Over drinks in the International Bar, they talked about writing a comic documentary which detailed Father Ted’s day-to-day life. But nothing ever came of it.” Arthur and I had the idea to do a mock-documentary after we left Ireland and went to the UK, and quite far along after our arrival, at that. Arthur and I didn’t even THINK of writing comedy until years after we met each other.

“Linehan had grown up as a geeky outsider on Dublin’s northside. His interests began and ended with films, music and books. His three biggest comedy influences were Woody Allen, The Simpsons and Seinfeld, but all he ever wanted to be was a music critic.” Amazingly prescient of me considering I was born in 1968, and ‘Seinfeld’ and ‘The Simpsons’ both started running in 1990, when I was twenty-two years old. Why Brian believes I always wanted to be a music critic is beyond me. I certainly never said it in an interview because it’s not true. (Brian has an explanation for this that is too confusing for me to go into here).

Arthur and I didn’t start writing for Alexei Sayle, we started with ‘Smith and Jones’. There were no doors shut in our face after ‘Paris’–Ted was already in pre-production when it was going out. The Kevin McAleer ‘offer’ is completely overstated; I met him in a comedy venue and asked if he’d read the script and he said no. (“Quite possibly on the basis of how Paris had failed to perform.” This is quite possibly Brian using the words ‘quite possibly’ to excuse conjecture.)

“Never get into a game of poker with him. He’s close to a professional-level player.” I’m sitting at home at the moment, but I can still hear the laughter coming from every poker club I have ever played at. I am a cheerfully incompetent amateur, which is possibly giving myself too much credit.

Finally, the main reason I am writing this and the most annoying part of the whole thing. A purported quote from a friend which states ” I do know he was a bit disappointed with a documentary RTÉ made of him last year.”

This is nonsense and worse, hurtful to the people behind ‘Funny Business’. I was absolutely delighted with Adrian McCarthy’s documentary. It’s an exhaustive and (to me, at least) moving portrait of a very important year in my life, and it is as accurate and well-researched as one would hope from a serious profile.

Adrian, I hope you read this–I loved that program and if there’s a link to an online version of it, let me know so I can post it up.


Why are journalists such drama queens?

August 13, 2008

I love the way this journalist has me ‘appealing’ for props, like there’s some sort of prop famine going on.  It’s just a bit of fun, you ninny! Link


More argy bargy…

July 13, 2008

Another bit of fallout from the piece in ‘The Stage’, and The Independent picked up on it too. This is why I got narked at the angle of the original piece. I knew all this stuff would start swirling around and I’d end up spending too much time explaining myself…

I don’t want to have it said I’m complaining about shows that I actually love, so I want to be clear: ‘Pulling’ is great, ‘Gavin and Stacy’ is great, and (on Channel 4) ‘Peep Show’ is great. The latter, especially, is one of the shows that other writers have to watch in order to raise their game. I don’t have it in for shows that tackle ‘adult’ themes. I have it in for shows that tackle adult themes when the writers actually have little or nothing to say about them (or when what they do have to say is a disgusting lie).

I do, however, have a problem with BBC3. I’ve had a problem with BBC3 ever since I was in their office and saw a poster that described the ideal BBC3 viewer. I can’t remember the full shameful list of demographic-chasing bullet points, but the one that stood out for me was “She smokes Marlboro Lights” (seriously).

Since then, most of the material that I call funography has originated from BBC3. Programs like ‘My Penis and Everyone Else’s’ (pictured) and titles like ‘Pram Face Mansion’ made me suspect that it was actually morons who were being courted, not young girls with a cough, and while there are a lot of comedy shows that use the freedom the channel provides to good effect, there are as many if not more that have entirely the wrong tone because the creative teams behind them are being encouraged to appeal to that demographic.

A few of my favourite shows have been, or are in the process of being, ruined by this way of thinking. And  it’s not an ethos that is unique to BBC3…the relentless push for outrage and cheap, nasty, easy laughs seems to be endemic. I swear, if I hear the words “This program contains strong language from the start” one more time…

None of this is news to anyone who has been reading this site for any length of time, so I don’t quite understand why it’s being touted as such now. Except, as I said before, journalists do love a bit of argy bargy.

By the way, Independent editors? Asking me for an interview, stating that if I refuse “We’re just going to run the Stage story” (which they did) and then asking me to write a piece for the newspaper, is not the best way to get me to write a piece for your newspaper. You know what that process needs? A rethink.