‘Beyond The Spotlight’ by Alan Murphy
FROM MAYO TO PARIS…
“Paris frickin’ Hilton just told me that I was hot. Yes, me! And yes, the actual Paris Hilton. That’s hot with a double “t” coming from her I’ll have you know. As in H-O-T-T people! Yeah, yeah, so she calls everything from her designer clad pets to, um, the Earth hot and even successfully trademarked the “That’s hot” catchphrase but seeing as she’s one of the world’s most ridiculously famous stars, I’ll sure as hell take it as a massive compliment and smugly brag about it for the rest of my life. So how did a small town boy from Ballinrobe, County Mayo in the scenic West of Ireland even get to meet the heiress to the enormous Hilton Hotel fortune in the first place? I’m sure you’re wondering. Well, I guess I better rewind things a little bit then.
It was 2006 and I had been working for Galway City based radio station Galway Bay FM as a presenter for over two years and was loving it. I luckily nabbed the job just a few short weeks before finishing college in Dublin, where I studied journalism and media, and I had my own show every Saturday and Sunday evening. I was revelling in being a presenter because as you’ll realise the more you read of this book, I’m not really a behind the scenes kind of guy. I was always hugely interested in the showbiz world. It completely fascinated me. And it still does today. While most of my fellow journalism students were reading the Irish Times newspaper on their lunch breaks and catching up on the latest political happenings, I’d have an issue of Heat Magazine on me and be thoroughly gripped by Britney Spears’ outrageous train wreck Vegas wedding to childhood friend Jason Alexander, which lasted a total of 55 hours…somewhat impressive by celebrity standards. Or, the original “wardrobe malfunction” when Janet Jackson accidentally exposed herself during the Super Bowl halftime show. Or even better – the latest cringeworthy antics of lovebirds Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez. Remember Bennifer anyone? I still shudder at the thought.
It was so clear to me that the showbiz industry was where I wished to work. I wanted to interview the biggest stars on the planet and cover the red carpet at VIP award ceremonies and be in the thick of this exclusive world. It was my goal. My dream. There was just one problem of course. Ireland was hardly a hub for the rich and famous. Did someone seriously just mention Pat Shortt? I’m talking A-List elite here my friends, not your man from Killinascully. Imagine wanting to be an actor but there was no such place as Hollywood. It’d be kind of gut-wrenching. That’s what wanting to be a showbiz journalist in Ireland felt like. There were no Oscars or Grammys or Emmy Awards or Golden Globes or VMAs. Instead we had the Meteor Awards and the TVNow Awards, both of which are now as over as Geri Halliwell’s singing career. Sorry Ginger Spice. My chances to actually carve out a career in the showbiz stratosphere were pretty much slim to none. But then along came Paris Hilton…
*Alan Murphy’s first book with our sister company, Book Hub Publishing, is now available for purchase from www.bookhubpublishing.com