James Blunt and David Kitt lock horns, filming the Troubles and PR-ing for Penneys

In his memoir, British singer-songwriter claims Irish musician called him the c-word, but Kitt dismisses it as an ‘Alan Partridge version of what happened’

Row of the week goes to singer-songwriters James Blunt and Dublin’s own David Kitt. In his new autobiography Blunt claims he was pitted by his record company against labelmate Kitt in 2004, with only the best performer at a London gig getting a new contract. Blunt, who played support to Kitt on the night, claims the Dubliner rehearsed right until the gig was about to begin, preventing him from being able to do a sound check, and then refused him permission to use his sound man. When he walked backstage after the gig, Blunt claims the Irish musician greeted him with, “Ah, James C**t.”

Not so, Kitt responded on X, formerly Twitter, last week, claiming Blunt’s story is a “completely fabricated Alan Partridge version of what happened”.

“Congrats to him on his great career and being a funny guy, but the truth [is] I simply said a polite hello backstage and had no idea who he was or any of the issues mentioned,” he wrote.

To be fair, Blunt’s book is called Loosely Based on a Made-Up Story: A Non-Memoir.


Barrister’s building battle

Lawyer Brendan Grehan SC successfully demolished the evidence of former Sinn Féin councillor Jonathan Dowdall last year during the trial of Gerard Hutch at the Special Criminal Court. But he is having more difficulty tearing down a doer-upper on Strand Road in Sandymount, Dublin 4 and replacing it with a contemporary home. The criminal barrister bought a house “in poor condition” on the road in 2020 for about €800,000.

In 2022 he was refused permission to knock it down and replace it with a three-storey house because of the likelihood of increased flooding at the location due to climate change. But the silk is not about to let the tide get in the way of his plans. He has applied to Dublin City Council once more for a more modest, two-storey property designed to withstand flooding with a raised floor level, reinforced concrete at ground level, watertight walls and external doors designed to accommodate demountable flood barriers.

Meanwhile, another SC, Michael Collins, has also been busy writing to Dublin City Council. He is concerned that plans by Wanderers Rugby Club on Merrion Road to add new, higher floodlights will increase light pollution for locals, “including bats in particular”.

Not quite on the ball

PR man and lobbyist Paul Allen boasts a testimonial from no less than Alex Ferguson on his website, with the former Man Utd gaffer quoted as saying that Allen’s team “have been a great help to Manchester United over the years”.

We would hope that Allen would brush up on his football banter in that case. In an email to Minister for Finance Michael McGrath last October, he urged the politician to introduce a tax on vaping products, saying he had previously offered the same advice to Paschal Donohoe.

“Now, to use the Manchester United term, the ball is at your foot. You need to score the goal and introduce excise duty now rather than wait another year,” the PR guru advised United fan McGrath.

We trust he didn’t try the same spiel with Spurs follower Donohoe.

Troubles tales

Disney is certainly not just the home of fairytales any more. The streaming giant’s latest acquisition is Patrick Radden Keefe’s Say Nothing, which tells the story of the Troubles through the prism of the late IRA members Dolours Price and Brendan Hughes, former Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams (who claims never to have been in the IRA) and Jean McConville, the 38-year-old widowed Belfast mother of 10 murdered and “disappeared” by the IRA in 1972.

It’s being made by FX, Variety reports, with several well-known names attached, including Maxine Peake as Price and Anthony Boyle, currently starring in Masters of the Air, as Hughes.

The nine-episode series should be available on Irish screens next year.

Penneys’ PR push

Who does PR for Penneys? Edelman, hun. We know because the retailer has been on a charm offensive in recent months. First there was Inside Penneys, the fly-on-the-wall documentary on RTÉ.

Now we see from the lobbying register that heavy hitters from Edelman, including former government press secretary Feargal Purcell and former TD Jim Glennon, met Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald, Green Party Minister of State Ossian Smyth, Fianna Fáil Minister of State Dara Calleary and Fianna Fáil MEP Barry Andrews to give them an understanding of the “contribution Penneys makes to the Irish economy” in recent weeks.

Solar-powered prisons

Is green the new orange? At Shelton Abbey, an open prison in Wicklow with room for about 100 inmates, the Irish Prison Service has just received permission to install 3,492sq m of solar photovoltaic panels on ground-mounted frames in its grounds. There are similar plans for Loughan House Open Centre and the Midlands Prison.

Freedom at last from fossil fuels.

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