You know your career is on a downward spiral when . . .

 . . . you start describing yourself as "Ireland's top x/y/z."

Yesterday I received a well-timed (and probably well-deserved) verbal slap in the face from doyenne of gay bars in Dublin herself, who had lined up a gig with a washed out, bankrupt pop diva yet again attempting to make a comeback to the pop world.  My comment, "Is she reduced to THIS?" was a tongue-in-cheek slap to what, in fairness, is actually quite a good public house, but do we really have to keep up with the showbiz trend of using gay bars to a) re-invent failed z-list celebs or b) give them a renewed lease of life on the pride circuit for the rest of your living days?  Why can't we have QUALITY entertainment on the scene?  And not just be used by the celebrity industry as a cheap way to get a few bums on seats or a few bob in their no-hoper pockets?

Oh yes, I've seen them.  Mostly at Prides.  The Vengaboys.  The Cheeky Girls.  Yer wan out of Steps.

You have to credit Sydney Lesbian and Gay Mardi Gras: there is one outfit which does NOT settle for the washed up failures of yesteryear, desperate for a buck and a well placed clap from a drunken (and frequently drug hazed) audience.  Last year, they had the one and only Kylie Minogue: this year - its a secret!  Their DJs include Jake Shears of Scissor Sisters fame.  In Ireland, we have not only Eurotrash failures, we've failures of our own.  The one successful product of Ireland's "scene", the inimitable, rude and rather wonderul (and successful) Katherine Lynch, should surely be asked along a wee bit more.

Anyway, its not unique to the gay scene, its a goer in opera too.  I notice one travelling production next month has an Irish soprano playing a role in the supporting cast.  Good for her.  Except she has to top it off with the phrase "Ireland's leading soprano."  Well I've news for you, Miss X.  While you had one role in Klagenfurt last season, one of your Cork counterparts had 5 roles in Europe, including a Maria Stuarda in Bergamo, another Dublin sop has had 5 roles (Berlin and Rome included), another has done 4 runs which include a Senta which will go to Auckland.

The last soprano I regularly accompanied in my organist days (to me, the TRUE finest of the living crop of non-mezzos) has had 4 roles, but numerous Wigmore Hall recitals, concerts all over Europe, a couple of good, well received CDs and a notable Papagena on DVD from the ROH.  Where are your DVDs, o egotistical soprano?  Or for that matter, your big roles?

Meanwhile, the two international class mezzos, Bardon and Murray, continue to soar - Bardon's had 11 roles in 2 seasons, including 3 at the Met - and if only I'd sure-fire time off, I'd travel for her Carmen in LA in the autumn.  Murray, supposedly "retired", has nevertheless managed to pull off at least 9 roles, and was in Budapest just week for a sell-out concert staging of something.  And seems to be on the Wigmore hall every other week to boot.  Will she actually retire I wonder?

So take that, egotistical soprano, when you're actually playing roles on the international stage THEN start talking about being "Ireland's leading soprano", not before.

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