Daniel O’Donnell. Do you know what the ‘O’ stands for? Daniel Ohfuckingnothim’Donnell. If you don’t know who he is, then picture yourself an Irish Cliff Richard. Only even more insincere and with even less ability. And what could be more annoying than that? Come on, think about it; imagine a night with an Irish Cliff Richard. Ill underline it for you: AN IRISH CLIFF RICHARD. Fix that thought in your mind and put yourself in that front row for two hours at that show and tell me how it feels. Banal middle of the road tripe delivered with a poe-faced self-righteous depreciation of the man who quietly thinks he’s a fucking genius. Youd be killing yourself. Youd be slamming your head into the front apron of the stage just trying to get it all to stop.
ODonnell turns out sentimental crap with the loving craft of a man singing along to a poor karaoke backing tape in an empty Working Mens Club somewhere in the rainy, post-industrial North on a Wednesday night. Cmon, lets rip it up, lads Shell be coming round the mountain when she comes All delivered in a dead pan, cosy brogue. Ah, but what we be talkin’ in this cursed tongue for when we’ve got the Gaelic? I saw a documentary about him once and the voice over was banging on about how much he loved his fans and how approachable he was. That he was the Irish boy next door with the voice of an angel who had time for a craic with everybody. Grand it was. Cut to some shots of him posing awkwardly with his blue rinsed groupies all waiting in line for a five second audience and a quickly posed snap. I watched it, horribly fascinated by the towering falseness of it all. He comes across has having all the sincerity of a cold calling double glazing salesman. He reminds me of a Medieval Pope; all the right words but without any of the meaning behind them. And being Irish and ostensibly clean cut he is almost canonised, like Dana and Jimmy Cricket before him. ‘Thank y’darrrrrrrrrrlin” I dont buy it. It was a sales pitch. What a twat. Speaking he didnt even seem to be in the room. A slow voice and a faraway look in his glassy eyes. Like he was on fucking Tramadol or something. In conversation he reminds me of when I was loaded on Amitryptaline after an operation; every word being pushed out like it weighed a thousand tonnes and when I finally managed to tip it out of my mouth and saw it tumble down into a deep black space it wasnt quite what I intended to say in the first place and Id immediately forgotten what Id just said anyway and the meaning was lost forever, and what was I saying ? Then again some of his fans are genuinely frightening. I think Id be getting in a Zen like trance and imagining myself somewhere else as well if I were suddenly confronted by some of those worrying individuals. We are talking Kathy Bates in Misery x 1,000,000 to the power of ten. I shiver to think what some of them would do to the poor bastard if he ever fell into their hands. Hed be like a sexual rag doll. Just keep singing The Rose of Tralee for me, Daniel, while I try to blow a tune out of this Oh, dear, Im not getting any sound from it, but maybe its a bit like the recorder at school, maybe I need to keep this little hole covered at the same time ♫♪♫The pale moon was rising above the green mountaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaains!!!!! And I suppose, in fairness to him, Id be a bit stand offish if Id just been smacked in the face by an under-girdle with the gusset all sopping wet from incontinence after getting over excited on hearing his rendition – if it can be called that – of ‘Singing the blues’. Fuck my spats. Daniel with his fans, the cups of tea and the chirpy welcome from the Old Country; like a Furby thats been indoctrinated by Gay Byrne dressed as a St Patricks Day Leprechaun drinking Guinness and eating Soda Bread in every Irish homily and stereotype possible, to be sure, top o’ the morning, begorra. Its like a hooker offering the full on girlfriend experience. Some women like him in the same way that they like Cliff and Barry Manilow. Hes the bloke you can fancy without there being any danger of him doing anything about it unless you were in total control. Hes a submissive male sex symbol. Youd be taking the lead in that relationship; pull it off and youd be riding him like Red Rum in the last furlong at Aintree with a sniff of a National win in your nostrils. And he wouldnt dare complain. Hed just keep smiling while you got your jollies. Maybe sing you Im a believer while you guiltlessly violated him. His persona is a venal trade off to get the cash in the bank. Hes an easy listening whore dressed up as a school girl. I dont believe in the illusion.
It wouldnt be so bad if he could sing. He cant. His voice has the power and range of an asthmatic fart from a sickly, invalid mouses arse. Theres nothing there. And if the Germans had won World War 2 I can quite easily see Hitler being a big fan. Tapping his foot to O’Donnell’s middle of the road spaff. It has that sterile healthiness to it that the Nazis and all true spuriously sentimental hypocrites love in their art. Theres even loads of accordion in the mix which is a dead giveaway. Its a scene from a Clintons Christmas card with smiling one-legged orphans or virginal milk maids who will bear heroes for the Nation set to music.
Hitler: ‘He’s really nailed ‘Peggy Sue’.
Goering [nodding, starting a tentative hand jive]: Better than the decadent Americans original. I like that steady um-pah-pah beat. And hes smiling!
Its music that’s fundamentally hypocritical. It apes the form without having anything of the substance. Its crap. Yeah but his melodies are harmless and even if it is false at least its all nice and cosy. You might think. But its not harmless, its invidious propaganda for a sinister parallel universe where we all smile even though we feel crippled inside but were too scared to say anything. He brings pleasure to millions, I hear you object. Yep. And so did Opium smoking but we banned that fucking shit, didnt we? So why is this twat being allowed to roam around loose pissing on the memory of Buddy Holly? I warn you, if ODonnell keeps going on like this, before you realize whats happened you will be standing in line in Wembley Stadium, clapping your hands and singing along to St. Daniel as he wheezes out King of the road and then listening to a five hour speech about moral standards and genetic cleanliness from some bloke with a tash in uniform. Its only a matter of time.
Post script. There was a moment reading back through this when I felt that I was being unfair to ODonnell. That its not him specifically as a person that I despise but rather the carefully crafted persona that he presents in the media and his middle of the road music. After all he seems to love his mother and perhaps the world does need another version of Please release me. And my Auntie Joan loves him. So he cant be all bad, surely, I thought. And then I saw this. And I thought, no Im not wrong. Hes a twat.