posted on March 08, 2008 08:32
Your blogger has never been happier to be in Paris. Life here is very busy and exciting for us these days - and award nominations back home are a fantastic bonus. We hope it stays like this. Unfortunately, our fellow Irishmen in Paris are not seeing la vie en rose at the moment.
Pat McQuaid (right), president of the International Cyclists' Union (UCI), is getting dog's abuse in France for threatening to sanction teams who compete in this year's Paris-Nice, due to start on Sunday. The row centres on ASO, the race organisers, and their decision to ban the Astana team from their events because of their record of doping scandals. As ASO also organise the Tour de France, and with their ban extending to Astana rider and defending champion Alberto Contador, a long-running dispute could spill over into this July's edition of the world's most famous cycling race.
For Jacques le Frenchman, having an Irishman threaten this year's Paris-Nice or Tour de France is akin to Michel Platini telling the Kerry team to withdraw from the All-Ireland final. Tough times for Pat.
Also feeling the strain in the French capital is Liam Neeson. It's just part of his latest film, though - 'Taken' sees the Ballymena man (left) dashing around Paris in a desperate race to find his kidnapped daughter.
Unfortunately, reviews have dismissed the film as a photocopy of vogue-ish TV thrillers like '24', so it looks like yet another turkey from an otherwise ultra-cool actor. Who's advising him?
And we're not mentioning the rugby again, alright?
Into this vale of tears steps an Irish troubadour for a Paris gig this weekend. Declan de Barra is supporting Nina Nastasia at the Nouveau Casino on Sunday night (9 March).
The Waterford singer-songer (right) is promoting his debut solo album, 'Song Of A Thousand Birds', released on his own Rogue Goat label. It's an atmospheric mix of Damien Rice's troubadour folk and Jeff Buckley-esque alt-acoustica.
But the man isn't going to rest there - he's already hard at work on his next long-player, to be called 'A Fire To Scare The Sun'.
You can listen to some of Declan's tunes over at his MySpace page, which also gives details of his upcoming gigs and the like. And if you stick around here until the bottom of this paragraph, you can watch him performing 'Throw Your Arms Around Me' on RTE's 'The View' back in October 2006: