Sunday, 24 October 2010

Lead Character Profile: PETER SULLIVAN

Peter Sullivan is one of the most widely-liked boys at Mount Olivet Grammar School. The High Priest of Lad Banter, Peter is known for his rowdy chat and wildly entertaining bad behaviour.


FULL NAME: Peter Edward David Sullivan

BIRTHDAY: August 4th

HOME TOWN: Fisherwick, Belfast, BT9


MEASUREMENTS: 6' 1", well-built

RELIGION: Agnostic


MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT: Peter has no concept of shame; only banter and those too weak to appreciate it.


FATHER: Eóin Sullivan, businessman (51)

MOTHER: Judith Sullivan, doctor (48)

SIBLINGS: Alexander (13), David (10) and Noah (7)


PRIMARY SCHOOL: Rathkeltair House Prep, Malone (Aged 4 - 11)

SECONDARY SCHOOL: Mount Olivet Grammar School (Aged 11 - now)

SCHOOL HOUSE: Chichester

FORM TEACHER: Rev. Ferrworthy (Religious Studies Department)

G.C.S.E subjects: Chemistry, Drama, English Language, English Literature, Geography, German, History, Additional Mathematics, Physics, Mathematics and Religion

Extra-curricular activities: Rugby


BEST FRIENDS: Peter is generally well-liked by most of the lads in the school, apart from the boys who are terrified by his aggressive banter. (See Callum "Mutant" Quigley.) Apparently, Peter's love of slapping people with towels in the changing rooms, wedgying them for literally no reason other than his own amusement,  shaking their unopened cans of fizzy drinks when they're not looking and concocting obscene songs about their mothers, girlfriends, faces, genitals or physical idiosyncrasies, have somehow offended some of the less-confident members of his year-group. Weird. His closest friend is probably fellow 1st XV Rugby player, Stewart Lawrence.

PAST GIRLFRIENDS:  Danielle Morrison (6 weeks) - they were the first people to start dating in their year group, back in first year. Highly scandalous, especially for the girls. 11 year-old Danielle bravely resisted Kerry Davison's insistence that she should probably start thinking about where they should register for their wedding gifts. 

Siofra Donahue (2 months) - a non-Mount Olivet Student. She was in 2nd year at Saint Gregory's Grammar when her and Peter started dating. The timing was all very confusing, leading to a rumour that Peter had asked Siofra to be his girlfriend before he had technically broken-up with Danielle. 11 year-old Danielle bravely resisted Kerry Davison's insistence that after such a devastating heartbreak, she should probably consider seeing a therapist.

Cristyn Evans (12 days) - very pretty girl in Peter's year. They broke-up when Peter refused to accompany Cristyn to her weekly after-school meetings of the Christian Union. 

Lisa Flaherty (3 months) - very attractive, but already on the slippery slopes to tramphood. She was technically still in the popular clique when she and Peter started dating in 2nd year, but the girls were already scheming to get rid of her.

Christine Garner (1 month) - choir geek. No-one knew why they were dating in the first place and when Peter broke-up with her, he was publicly cheered by the rest of the rugby squad. Bad day for Christine.

Tangela Henton-Worley (4 months) 

Fiona Merton (5 weeks) - pretty and likable girl. They dated for a while last year, but it didn't work out.

CURRENT CRUSH: Numerous - although he does secretly carry a torch for one of the popular girls.



FAVOURITE TV SHOW/S: American Dad, Family Guy, The Inbetweeners

FAVOURITE BOOK/S: Remains of the Day, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

FAVOURITE MOVIE/S: Empire of the Sun, History Boys, Lord of the Rings, The Hangover


Saturday, 23 October 2010

Eva Green starring in new French movie about Marie-Antoinette

Kingdom of Heaven star and former "Bond girl" actress, the very beautiful Eva Green, is due to star in a new French-language movie based on the novel by Les Adieux à la reine by Chantal Thomas. The novel follows the last three days of life at the Palace of Versailles before the French Revolution, told through the eyes of a young palace servant, Agathe, whose job it is to read aloud to the Queen while she takes her early morning coffee.

Dark and occasionally quite terrifying Les Adieux à lareine is a fantastic novel, which really captures the panic and fear of a world as it falls apart. First published in France in 2002, where it won the Prix Femina award for literary excellence, it was later published in English in 2004 as Farewell, my Queen. Also signed on to star in the movie version of the story is French Oscar-nominee, Gérard Depardieu and Robin Hood star, Léa Seydoux.

Internet rumour has it that Eva might be playing Marie-Antoinette herself, but given Eva's physical appearance I'd say it's far more likely that she'll be playing the legendarily beautiful socialite, Gabrielle de Polignac - one of Meredith's personal historical heroines. One internet journal said Depardieu will be playing King Louis the Sixteenth, but since the king was 34 years-old and Depardieu is 61, I'd say that's unlikely. My bet is he'll play the delightfully mad Captain de Laroche, the Royal Family's zookeeper. (Basically, the key point of the novel is that de Laroche seems to be brilliant but smelly, hence why he's kept so far away from the palace. The King finds him delightful.)

Either way, Kerry and Imogen would be v. excited. I smell major costume delightfulness when the movie starts filming at Versailles next year.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Lead character profile: CATHERINE O'ROURKE

The first in-depth character profile about the nine leads of Popular begins with the popular girl's favourite punching-bag and technical besty, Catherine O'Rourke. Catherine is very pretty, she's quite rich and she definitely likes to shop - so they can't exclude her. Plus, if they kicked her out of the group, she'd probably die and she's been around forever and stuff. BUT she's also a clutz, with zero common sense and totally annoying. She's a definite stalker when it comes to guys and a serial romantic. Pathetic, much, Catherine?

But, even though the popular girls amuse themselves by occasionally torching Catherine like she's an ant and they're the mean kids with a magnifying class, half the school would still give their right arms to be able to sit where she does at lunch-time. 


FULL NAME: Catherine Teresa Anne Dymphna O'Rourke

BIRTHDAY: April 8th

HOME TOWN: Cultra, BT18

HAIR COLOUR: Light brown

MEASUREMENTS: 5' 3'', Size 10

RELIGION: Christian - Roman Catholic

PLACE OF WORSHIP: Saint Colmcille's Roman Catholic Church, Holywood

MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT: Wearing monogrammed velour hot pants to Gym class


FATHER: Sean O'Rourke, property developer (47)

MOTHER: Mary O'Rourke, housewife (44)

SIBLINGS: Orla (18) and Caoimhe (10)


PRIMARY SCHOOL: Hollywood Primary School (Aged 4 - 11)

SECONDARY SCHOOL: Mount Olivet Grammar School (Aged 11 - now)


FORM TEACHER: Mrs. Vaughn (Spanish Department)

G.C.S.E subjects: Art, Chemistry, English Language, English Literature, Geography, History, Home Economics, Mathematics, Religion  and Spanish


BEST FRIENDS: Once, she was definitely besties with Aisleagh McGorian, before Aisleagh transferred to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 3rd year. Catherine does actually have quite a lot of friends outside the popular group, a lot of whom seem to think that Catherine's life is quite glamorous.... Well, it's nice for Catherine to be clung to once in a while, rather than to do the clinging like she usually does, hence why she sits next to Cristyn Evans ("Clingy Cristyn") in Spanish class. But, all her close friends are in the popular clique. She'd probably say her best friend is the crown princess of curl, Kerry Davison. Whether Kerry would say the same thing back is questionable.

PAST BOYFRIENDS:  Chris O'Shea (5 days) - never throw a strop if someone won't go into a Facebook relationship with you after 4 days, because this is what happens.

Eoghann O'Hare (3 weeks) - bless her. This time, she made it to two and a half weeks before the Facebook strop hit.

Oran Cahill (12 days) 

Sean Flanagan (2 months) 

Padraig Hamill (6 weeks) - very bad break-up, Catherine likened it to "having my heart ripped out backwards and jumped on... It was like so bad and stuff."

CURRENT CRUSH: Mark Kingston (standard hotty in her year; he's always very polite to her. She interprets this as a sign that they're meant to get married.)



FAVOURITE TV SHOW/S: Will & Grace, Australia's Next Top Model and The Hills

FAVOURITE BOOK/S: Anything by Rachel Gibson or Stephenie Meyer, the Harry Potter books

FAVOURITE MOVIE/S: Madagascar, The Notebook, The Land Before Time



In the photograph: Lynsey Russell and Emily-Rose Conlon during rehearsals for Magdalene (2007.) Catherine would approve of the sunnies and the shopping bags.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

The First XV Rugby Squad

Continuing on in our profile of Mount Olivet Grammar's other cliques is the 1st XVs, the school's sporting elite. Imogen has naturally plucked one of her boyfriends from its ranks - Stewart Lawrence. Yes, his family totally has a history of gingers, but he himself is quite the hotty... so, like, maybe that cancels out the Ginger Gene ... Maybe. Anyway, it's totally OK to have ginger blood in the family if you're on the rugby team and dating the hottest girl in school.


Clique Nickname: "The First Fifteens" or "The Leds"

Clique Leader: Technically the captain - Quentin Smith (18)

Other Members of the posse: Keith Bryce, Oran Cahill, Alistair Davidson, Stephen Dryton, Nicholas Fairfield, Luke Faulkner, Colin Ferris, Andrew Henton-Worley, Harry Irwin, Matthew Kilbride, Charlie Kirk, Stewart Lawrence, Robbie McIlwaine, Richard Murland, Peter Murray, Patrick Neville, Oliver O'Neill, Titus Pitt, Richard Smith, Quinten Smith and Peter Sullivan

Trademark/s: Strapping physique, excellent levels of physical fitness, very loud voices, ability to turn almost any comment into a sexual innuendo, highly rowdy communal banter and behavioural patterns, enormous appetites

Never Without... A penny - just in case anyone leaves their drink unattended, ever.

Group Heroes: Whoever invented TrueLad and Arthur Guinness (1725 - 1803)

Favourite Belfast Haunts: Ravenshill Grounds, DW Fitness or Sphinx kebabs

Most Frequently Spotted in school: The changing rooms or the sports fields

Least Frequently Spotted in school: The Choir rooms

Most Infamous Quote: "It's not gay if you yell banter!" - Undisclosed member of the squad, attempting to offer friendly encouragement to the Gay Rights' Parade in Belfast City Centre

Least Likely to hear them say: "I'm actually a teetotaller" or "That joke was a bit too sexually explicit; I find that offensive."

Key Phrase to avoid in conversation with them: "Do you fancy a game of Hurling?"

Other Profiled Groups: The Upper Sixth Popular Girls

Monday, 4 October 2010

Happy birthday, Lynsey!

Well, today my beautiful eldest sister, Lynsey (centre left), turns twenty-one. She's currently at university in Edinburgh, so Daddy has flown over from Belfast to surprise her for the day. I really wish I could be there and I'm planning to get over in the next couple of weeks, between classes.

Yesterday, Nana called up to our house to leave off presents for Daddy to take over to Scotland for Lynsey. Literally, all anyone had to do was to mention the words "twenty-one" and Nana's eyes would fill instantly with tears. "I just wish I was still taking her for a walk in her pram... the Silver Cross prams. The Edwardian ones. Not those horrible, ugly ones you see people with these days. Who would put a baby in a plastic pram? I mean, who in their right minds? ... My wee Lynsey. Twenty-one...."

Mummy also dug-out a bunch of baby photographs of Lynsey - one of which shows her in the County Kerry GAA shirt and the other in Grandpa Richard's arms as a baby, waving a Union Jack at the Tercentenary of the Battle of the Boyne in 1990. We were always a very political correct family.

Inexplicably, Lynsey and I have been left in charge of the house, while our parents and two youngest sisters go off on their holidays, for the last four years. It's been an interesting move on their part, because we have now developed a near-professional level of party-planning and party-recovery. (Sometimes the turn-over period between one ending and another beginning is less than five hours. Like the time I found Emily-Rose standing, smoking and shaking outside a restaurant we'd all gone to, to acquire a "morning after" breakfast fry-up. "Gareth, I have literally no idea how I got here... I mean, seriously, last thing I remember was standing talking to you in the kitchen and now I'm here... Jesus... Jesus, Mary and Holy Saint Joseph... I think I'm dying. Anyway, what time should I come over at tonight?")

Lynsey and I are also incredibly lucky to not only be brother and sister, but also friends. 

Lynz, I can't be there today but I love you and I know that any of the family - or any of your friends - who can't be there today, for whatever reason, send their love and are with you in spirit. Which is probably the way you like it, because at least that way they won't interrupt your naps.

So, here, are the 21 quotes that really stick out in my mind about mine and Lynsey's relationship.

1. "This baby Mum's carrying ... I'm still going to get all the attention, right?" - Lynsey (approximately 1992)

2. "Awk... wee Ashleigh's the quiet one in the family, isn't she?" - Lynsey (approximately 2001)

3. "Gareth, I'm serious, if we don't get this house tidied before they get back from holiday, Mum is going to go ASAP!" - Lynsey getting a little confused over the use of "AWOL"

Friday, 1 October 2010

"Popular" News Update!

Hello all!

Well, firstly and very excitingly, Popular now has a brand new UK publication date of 7th July 2011, with its first sequel hopefully hitting the shelves in January 2012. So, circle that date in your calendar - unless, like me, you consider effort to be très irritating, in which case you can just rely on somebody else to remind you about it closer to the time. That's what this blog is for. Or, if you would prefer, you can click on Popular's page on the Penguin website and sign up to receive news on Popular's publication and events, by e-mail!

You can do that by clicking here.

To those of you who have asked about the US publication date for Popular via Facebook and e-mail, I promise I am not withholding Meredith's shimmering manipulations from you on purpose. To the delightful Sorority who wanted to make it part of their Book Club, you very much sound like my kind of people! To those  friends who threatened to cut me if I didn't give them American news, I'm afraid I consider that over-zealous. News will be forthcoming at the first available opportunity!

For the British and Irish readers, there will also be a brand new sparkling cover to admire on 7th July.  And if you want to follow me on Twitter, you can at Or become a fan on Facebook.

In other news - as you can see - Popular now has its own utterly delightful on-line blog here, which will carry news about the books, as well as info about the real-life locations in Belfast, character profiles with information and fact-files not revealed in the novels, (Imogen's favourite TV shows are True Blood and Mad Men) and information about the novel's fictional setting, Mount Olivet Grammar School - its school houses,teachers, rivals, real-life inspirations, traditions and other pupils.

It's already started with a profile of the most popular clique in Upper Sixth - the Pashmina Brigade.
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