Sorted magAZine presents the first in an occasional series of profiles of
figures from the Irish music biz.
Uaneen Fitzsimons is the presenter of the alternative and very cred music
programme, "No Disco", on RTÉ television and has also been known to MC the
odd major music festival.
Uaneen Fitzsimons leans conspiratorially close to the mike. "Get people to
write in", she whispers, conscious of the presence of RTÉ heads sipping
their Cappuccinos. "That's all it will take."
The matter in question was that of No Disco's ridiculously late Thursday
nighttime slot. Though the alternative music programme is holding its own
in terms of viewership, Uaneen believes its inaccessibility is keeping it
down in the ratings. "Bono watches it all the time" she giggles proudly.
A former Dublin City University Communications graduate, she has fond
memories of her student days. Living in a flat in Drumcondra, she recalls
an incident where she and her flat mate survived on lime jelly for a week.
She was mates with Donal Dineen who she went to music gigs with and was
gobsmacked when he landed his own music programme, "No Disco". "I was in
the States for the summer and my mother rang to tell me the news. I
couldn't believe it because he was really quiet and reserved. I thought,
that would be my dream job."
Uaneen got her first taste of broadcasting when she trained at BBC for a
year with Mike Edgar. "I loved it", she smiles, toying with the cigarette I
had just given her. From there, she reviewed bands for Jo Maxi and did PR
work for Frontier Films, the Ormond Multi-Media Centre and produced a
programme for Celtic Vision.
"I worked around the clock for about two years, to build up CVs". So it's a
difficult area to get into then? "Oh God, yes. I came out to RTÉ knocking
on doors and talking shite. But if you build up contacts then your name
When Donal Dineen left "No Disco", many assumed it wouldn't go on without
its charismatic, laid-back frontman. Uaneen got a call from RTE asking if
she would be into it. Three years later, she hasn't looked back. She has
interviewed anybody you care to name. The most difficult was John Squire,
formerly of The Stone Roses and now with The Sea Horses.
"He was just obnoxious and we ended up being really sarcastic with each
other". She met him again this year at Slane and said he was actually
"really sound". Uaneen became good mates with Huey from the Fun Lovin'
Criminals when the band toured Ireland. Sinead O' Conner disclosed some of
her darkest secrets. The Prodigy were "really sweet" (!) and U2 gave an
exclusive interview to the programme.
So just why do people respond so well to the fiery haired Ardglass girl?
"Nobody has been obnoxious", she says modestly, "you just know not to ask
the Manics how they feel now they've lost a member of their band". When she
hosted Slane, she boosted the lads' confidence by declaring to the crowd
that they were the reason she was there.
James Dean Bradfield was supposed to be Andy Cairns of Therapy's best man
but couldn't make it because of a major gig. Uaneen is good friends with
Therapy as well as Ash who she often meets in her local. She once sang in a
Karaoke with Bono and Michael Hutchence at one of Jim Sheridan's wrap-up
parties. She stood outside the Olympia with Neil Hannon when the bouncers
wouldn't let him in to play his gig.
Currently on her Walkman is the Tindersticks compilation album, Mercury
Rev's "Deserter's Songs", Placebo's "Pure Morning" ("it's growing on me")
and Unkle's "Psyence Fiction". She is working on editing the Big Day Out at
present and will be interviewing Asian Dub Foundation and David Gray in the
by Anne-Louise Foley