Remember August 14th 2003? The big black out in New York and the East Coast when all the electricity from here to Maine suddenly disappeared?

It was also the day Gerry Ryan made me swear on air on before a national Irish audience on his show.

It was a wonderful little sleight of hand.

I was sitting in my darkened apartment at about 5 a.m, power running out on my cell phone, hot as hell,unable to sleep cursing the blackness when suddenly the phone rang.

"Niall, It's Gerry Ryan, how is everything over there.'

F.. awful"Gerry I said going on to complain bitterly in quite colorful language about the blackout, the dark, the infernal heat.

I thought, of course, he was going to say can you come on air and talk about it.

Turned out I was on air.

At the time I was a little annoyed, but it was a brilliant set up I thought later, catch someone as experienced in media as me in an unguarded moment, letting off steam.

I'd say he did that a lot. That was one reason why Gerry Ryan was so good as a broadcaster-- the capacity to surprise.