I had a regular gig Friday nights doing an Arabian belly dancing spot at Riverside Club in Dublin when one night the TV show host Gerry Ryan walked in. Riverdance had just thrilled millions at the Eurovision Song Contest and so people were viewing Celtic music and dance with fresh eyes.
I ventured over to Gerry Ryan to tell him of my own creative concept of mixing belly dance with Celtic music. He smiled as if impressed and took my card. Nothing happened. Some weeks later he came back to the nightclub again but this time he seemed rather dismissive, as if I were interrupting his company. Oh dear!
The following Monday I was in Lilies’ Bordello wondering why I was wasting my time on a quiet Monday so late and went into the Ladies’ room. While I was dispiritedly touching up my lipstick another woman at the mirror out of the blue asked “Are you Maria D’Arcy?” We’re thinking of having you on the show. Are you available on Wednesday?
So two days later it happened—I danced live on the Gerry Ryan TV show. Wow! An aspiration concretised! This led to three other TV appearances in quick succession plus doing the entertainment act at a beauty contest in Dundalk where I shared the changing room with the stars Gerry Ryan and Margo, the singing sister of Donegal’s crooner Daniel O’Donnell. My hey-day was cut short because I went off for two months to Paris and changed my phone number. That was before all communication was done by e-mail, Ireland being a slow, slow beginner in IT. PS, I shrink when I see the interview, my first ever. I’m so gushy whereas everyone else is so composed when they are interviewed.
This was a scenario set up to shock a couple attending the live TV show in Belfast. A troupe of weird and wonderful artists were bus-loaded to their home in their absence, courtesy of their daughter and the programme organisers. While the couple were innocently looking on a snippet from a wild party was shown with a horse in the kitchen, their daughter being seduced by a rogue and I was the one who accidently broke their best vase while belly-dancing on the stairs. It was a lot of laughs.
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