ZOZIMUS

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Analysis - LIAM COLLINS

‘WHAT’S hap­penin’?” was the be­mused greet­ing from Dave Fan­ning to BP Fal­lon out­side the crowded Hen’s Teeth gallery in Fade Street, Dublin, last Thurs­day night.

BP was “hap­pen­ing” as he has been for decades, in his own laid-back, la­conic style.

Puff­ing a trade­mark fag, we were on the street as the crowds jos­tled in­side look­ing at his pho­to­graphs — a beam­ing Ron­nie Drew with a semi-naked fe­male DJ, Elvis Costello com­ing out of an old-school P&T phone box, Keith Richards with his sticky fin­gers in Ron­nie Wood’s mouth in Moscow — just a few of the mo­ments that The Beeb (or Bernard as close friends call him) cap­tured dur­ing his rock and roll years.

But don’t use the past tense with BP. “It’s still hap­pen­ing, man,” de­clares the wan­der­ing ban­dit who is one of the very few peo­ple in Dublin who de­serves the ac­co­lade ‘ leg­end’.

His pho­tos in­clude por­traits of Blondie’s Deb­bie Harry, Shane MacGowan, Van Mor­ri­son, Wil­lie Nel­son... if they were play­ing, then BP — with his trade­mark Derby hat and trail­ing coat — was hang­ing out some­where at the side of the stage, just be­ing him­self.

We were handed a brandy and soda and when John Hughes, man­ager of The Corrs, who was there with his daugh­ter Anna, asked for a min­eral the waiter shrugged her shoul­ders to say ‘none of the soft stuff tonight’. “That’s rock and roll for you,” shrugged John in re­turn.

Zozimus, who at one time sol­diered in the Sun­day In­de­pen­dent with BP, was glad to see an­other old col­league, the car­toon­ist Tom Mathews, also in at­ten­dance.

We are, we all agreed, just glad to be alive.

******* SPEAK­ING of rock and roll, we see Leo Varad­kar’s one­time ‘Sir Humphrey’ Tom O’Ma­hony has shrugged off his pin-striped suit and reap­peared com­plete with blue suede shoes as Tommy Keyes.

The one-time man­darin, who served un­der Noel Dempsey and Paschal Dono­hoe and fin­ished his ca­reer as sec­re­tary-gen­eral in the Depart­ment of Trans­port, Tourism and Sport, has left the cor­ri­dors of power to re­sume a ca­reer as a singer-song­writer.

We don’t know whether his new al­bum, Temp­ta­tion Once Again, was re­leased to co­in­cide with the Bud­get or the sup­ply and con­fi­dence ne­go­ti­a­tions, but it’s get­ting no­ticed in the right places.

“It’s all there: love, loss, suc­cess, fail­ure, pain, lone­li­ness, friends and fam­ily,” says Hot Press about his new re­lease — and, yeah, that sounds ex­actly like the life a top civil ser­vant has to put up with when deal­ing with his min­is­ter.

Can’t be bad when he’s got Richie Buck­ley on sax and Dick Far­relly on gui­tar and a string quar­tet thrown in.

Tommy is now chas­ing that elu­sive en­tity — an au­di­ence — and good luck to him. ob­vi­ously en­joyed his good for­tune to the full. Ac­cord­ing to pa­pers lodged in the Pro­bate Of­fice in Dublin the sur­geon with the golden touch, who died in 2014, left just €30,000 in his will.

Back in 1991, Dr Beesley hit the Lotto jack­pot, win­ning £1.3m with a ticket he bought in the lo­cal newsagents in Gle­nageary.

He also had a share in a £1.4m Lotto syn­di­cate, but it wasn’t quite as lu­cra­tive as some thought.

“Ev­ery­body thinks we’re mil­lion­aires — it’s un­be­liev­able,” he said af­ter his sec­ond Lotto suc­cess.

“We had to split one of the wins six ways, which meant only €150,000 each.”

Then, af­ter vow­ing to give up buy­ing Lotto tick­ets, Dr Beesley emerged as a win­ner on the Na­tional Lot­tery game show Win­ning Streak in 2003, walk­ing off with €12,900 in cash and a €3,750 hol­i­day in San Fran­cisco.

Dr Bill, who lived in Sandy­cove, Dublin, and op­er­ated from the pri­vate Black­rock Clinic, also rode the prop­erty boom when he sold his Sandy­cove home in 2004 for more than €1.55m, be­fore the col­lapse of the prop­erty mar­ket.

******* ZOZIMUS sees where film di­rec­tor Jim Sheri­dan is help­ing with the hous­ing cri­sis — he’s build­ing a house in the back gar­den of his up­mar­ket home on leafy St Mary’s Road in D4.

Sheri­dan — best known for di­rect­ing the Os­car­win­ning film My Left Foot — took an in­ter­est in the Apollo House oc­cu­pa­tion, vis­it­ing the now de­mol­ished of­fice block to show his sol­i­dar­ity with the oc­cu­pants.

The neigh­bours didn’t show the same sol­i­dar­ity when he ap­plied to build a two-bed­room house in his back gar­den — be­cause it meant the re­moval of ma­ture trees on a shared laneway and they ob­jected to this “chang­ing the char­ac­ter” of the neigh­bour­hood of Ed­war­dian red-bricks.

An Bord Pleanala has ruled the de­vel­op­ment can go ahead and is re­ar­rang­ing the off-street park­ing to fa­cil­i­tate a side gate to the new Sheri­dan res­i­dence. The sting is in the tail, how­ever — plan­ners have hit him with a bill for €10,000 as a con­tri­bu­tion to the costs of these changes. ******* WIL­LIE Rock, who died last week at the age of 85, was an old-style re­porter who worked for many years with the Sun­day Press. Orig­i­nally from the ten­e­ments in Pearse Street, Dublin, he got his big break when Muham­mad Ali came to Dublin in July 1972. It was a story filled with char­ac­ters — ‘Butty’ Su­grue, the Kerry publi­can who pro­moted the fight; Pat Quinn, who put Ali up at his Kil­ter­nan Coun­try Club ho­tel; and Ali, of course. Wil­lie hung on out­side the ho­tel when the rest of the hacks ex­hausted the free drink and went home for the night. He got chat­ting to Ali’s mother, Odessa — who then brought him in to meet Ali who gave him an ex­clu­sive in­ter­view. That’s how he got a cov­eted job on the Sun­day Press.

******* DOU­BLE Lotto win­ner ‘Lucky’ Bill Beesley

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