This coming Friday night, I’ll be gently setting three alarm clocks by my pillow and bracing myself for the earliest working day start I’ve had in quite some time.
On Saturday morning, I’m beginning a brand new show with the mighty Phantom 105.2, Dublin’s awesome indie-rock station. After seven brilliant years, The Kiosk, my old show, finally has no more tickets to sell. Instead The Breakfast Club will take its place, a new Saturday morning show in which I’ll be bringing you three hours of chat, tunes and excellent contributions from a roving bunch of music-heads, film buffs and theatre goers.
If The Kiosk sometimes bulged at the seams with its content, The Breakfast Club will have much more space — I’m looking forward to playing more of the music I love, and bringing in lots of deadly musicians, authors, artists and reviewers.
There is a certain amount of sadness with bringing one show to an end, even when it is to make way for a new one. Over The Kiosk’s seven-year duration, guests including Kate Bush, Quentin Tarantino and Arcade Fire paid visits to the show, and I’ve had some of the best times with brilliant reviewers and the great team who were part of the show over the years, including Derek Byrne, Sarah Anne Murphy, Johnnie Craig, Orla Ormond and — although he was never an official Kioskian — Cathal Funge, who has saved my radio bacon more times than I can count.
The Kiosk is a little part of my personal history by this point, a constant in my life when sometimes all else was in turmoil. When my Dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2008, I would do The Kiosk on a Saturday morning, with my little bag in tow, and then get the train to Cork and the bus to Skibbereen to spend time with him. Although the schedule, taking in my weekday newspaper job as well, was madness, and sometimes it showed, perhaps, in the presentation, the discipline of radio was a tremendous relief and a way to take my mind off things.
One of my favourite stories about my Dad — who passed away in 2009 — connects to the show. As my family tells it, one day, back when I had recently started presenting the show, Dad came to Dublin. At this time, my family didn’t have the option of listening to Phantom online at home, so no one back in Cork had heard the show. Always my proudest supporter, Dad arrived into the Westbury hotel, one of Dublin’s swankiest hotels, and informed the doorman that he was in need of a radio.
When the doorman explained that unfortunately this was something that they couldn’t supply — the Westbury instead prefer to have someone play on a grand piano — Dad was momentarily confounded. But he refused to be deterred. He turned on his heel and moved on to what I think was then known as Bus-stop Cafe on Grafton Street, a little coffee shop upstairs from a newsagent. There the usual collection of Dublin dwellers were enjoying their Saturday morning, listening to the radio (probably that Finucane lady, who’s apparently quite popular) and drinking their coffee. My father informed the waitress that the radio station must be changed immediately, because his daughter was on air right now, and he and his family (he had my mother and brother in tow) would like to listen to the show.
And so, without further delay, the entire coffee shop suddenly got to listen to The Kiosk — and listen rather intently, I would wager, as my Dad wouldn’t have stood for the sound to have been down low. As my brother drily comments of the morning they had, “I told him he’d better order a bloody big breakfast.”
The Breakfast Club kicks off at 8am this coming Saturday morning, with Game of Thrones actor Aidan Gillen, writer/musician Cait O’Riordan, and reviewers Eamon Sweeney and Cailan O’Connell. I hope — whether you’re still up from the night before or getting up with the lark (and the kids) — you can join us.