Paddy Duffy, 28, is a writer and broadcaster. Growing up as a young boy in rural north west Ireland on a diet of raw quiz shows and comedy not quite directed at someone his age, he decided early that a career in media was uniquely suited to his dual skills of talking incessantly and retaining trivia of speculative use.
Apart from the blog you’re currently reading Paddy is also the author of Did That Actually Happen?, a humour book profiling the most ludicrous but true stories of Irish politics over the years. He was not short of material.
Previously he wrote a column for the Irish diaspora website IrishCentral, was a staff writer and editor for Ireland’s national youth website SpunOut.ie, for the European Youth Press as a reporter and columnist on EU affairs from various cities across the continent, and for a variety of other websites and newspapers, making him either very versatile or chronically indecisive.
As a commentator on TV and radio he’s a regular recurring, Buzzcocks-style radio columnist on RTE Radio One's Drivetime and also appeared on the BBC and Al Jazeera, and on one glorious occasion was interviewed for Hungarian TV in the back of a Renault Scenic in Brussels.
Apart from writing about and watching TV Paddy has also helped make actual shows, including University Challenge, Top Gear, Secret Fortune Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model and the BBC’s 2010 election coverage, and in 2011 he was actually let on TV as resident social media pundit for the BBC's Northern Ireland Assembly coverage. He also got to be team captain on a live edition of Would I Lie To You? hosted by Charlie Brooker at the Edinburgh TV Festival, and is inordinately proud of the fact he's got a song on popular BBC 6 Music feature The Chain. Three times!
I've grown up in a democratic European Union that for all it's imperfections has provided me enormous chances and broadened my horizons. It's easy to fall into a trap of thinking progress is inexorable. It's not. It requires all our effort, and we owe it to our next generations to Remain in a peaceful, prosperous Europe they can keep making better.
I have to admit, when I first resolved to write a column on the upcoming gay marriage referendum in Ireland, I was tempted to write an eye-catching headline like "If you're not voting Yes, you're probably an asshole". But then I thought harder on the matter: was that really fair?
Ultimately, the only things a comedy really needs are a good script, a good cast to perform it, a good crew to make it and the goodwill of the audience to take it to their hearts. If a writer thinks he has an idea that ticks all those boxes, he's entitled to give it a crack and it's absolutely crucial that he's allowed to try to break ground and boundaries.
There is possibly nothing more ill-fitting than a party conference: it's precisely the sort of thing that should happen briefly over a weekend in the summer, not four week days through the first weeks of a dreary autumn...
So while Alaska's newest reefer representative cleans house, in Ireland Minister Brendan Howlin is proposing a few sweeping law changes himself, in his case wiping some ancient statutes off the books. He better be careful though, as removing some of these measures could be quite unpopular.
Up North the Scottish independence referendum is hitting the final straight, with postal voters already casting their decisions. What should in all likelihood have been a 16 percentage point win for the No side looks a lot less certain now.
It's been a week of great frustration. There's an Irish proverb about a house with a broken roof, where a man explains that when it's sunny it poses no problem, and when it rains the weather is too bad to fix anything. In most countries, that would be a charming fable.
A few years ago, Sarah Palin may have asked the President how that whole hopey, changey, out of Iraqey thing was going, but at the minute she seems to be too busy having an epic battle with Elizabeth Warren.
In fairness, it is the silly season, so it's inevitable that such whimsy will make its way into the headlines. I mean, it's not like there have been any countries out there unleashing Operation Disproportionate Force for the umpteenth time on a piece of land a fifth the size of London...
In Ireland, news not involving Garth Brooks has ceased to exist... Vanessa Feltz told of the time Rolf Harris sexually assaulted her... Christian bakers refused to heed a customer request for a cake with Bert and Ernie icing advocating marriage equality...
Maybe it's because of the World Cup keeping everyone stimulated past their bed time (and who couldn't see Tim Howard play and not be inspired?) but the silly season hasn't really come round yet, with little of this week's news being especially soft or frivolous.
Some people like sport. Some do not. Neither is incorrect. But until Big Bang Theory retakes its place as the sole TV omnipotent, the World Cup is impossible to avoid. Although thanks to good-spirited wombling Japanese fans, at least you won't trip over it's mess.