Old-fashioned scandals back in fashion

Off the fence
Old-fashioned scandals back in fashion

Off the fence
Áine Ryan

SO we all know what a grumpy old musician and a female fundamentalist have in common. Just as we have digested TV3s crass intrusion on Minister Brian Lenihan’s health, the mass media has once again provided the best peepshow in town.
The personal and private lives of Van Morrisson and Iris Robinson have become the latest fodder for the insatiable monster that is the media industry.
Tragedy, sex, money, rock-and-roll is always certain to provide the best aphrodisiac for a salivating public.
Nothing like a paternity claim, a little old cancer scare, or a secret romp with a dead butcher’s son to get tongues wagging. Wagging tongues sell newspapers. They also help increase advertising revenue.
Especially when the public has for months been injected with an overdose of dodgy developers and greedy bankers. Indeed, the protracted arctic spell – particularly as we lay beached on our couches from over-indulgence during the festive season – has provided perfect timing for good old-fashioned scandals.  
And with certain media outlets better at baying for blood than the mob in a Roman amphitheatre, the revelations are assured to be juicy and salacious.  
George Ivan Morrison, aka Van the Man has largely managed to lead a reclusive and private life at his Dalkey, County Dublin, home. Surprisingly, for the omniscient Press, he even dared to marry his longtime girlfriend Michelle Rocca without anyone breaking the story.
Now the Belfast native is in the middle of a media storm since a hacker announced on his website that he had fathered a child with a Texan woman Gigi Lee. Reportedly, Ms Lee, who gave birth to a baby boy called George Ivan Morrison 111 on December 28 last, worked on his recent Astral Weeks video and is a director of a number of his companies.
Van has categorically denied the claim and is now suing one Sunday newspaper, which quoted an unnamed source – allegedly a friend of Ms Lee – confirming he is in fact the father of the child.     
Responding to the scandal in a statement to The Sunday Times at the weekend, he said: “My private life is exactly that, private. I have never spoken about it and I am not about to start doing so now.”
The author of Inarticulate  Speech of the Heart also said that his only ‘public communications [from now on] will be through my music , which is what I’m known for’.
And he is totally correct, isn’t he?  Of course, it is an entirely different matter for his fellow northerner, Iris Robinson. But that’s simply because she used her powers as a public representative to act inappropriately in respect of the funding of her 19-year-old lover’s restaurant. What she got up to in the back of a car, with another consenting adult, is not the business of the public.