AN ASTONISHING week in the life of The Rubberbandits - Limerick's plastic-bag wearing comedy-rap act - will culminate in an appearance on this Friday's Late Late Show, while they had reached just under 2 million views on You Tube for the video of their single 'Horse Outside'.
The hip-hop "collective", which consists of several members who are all from Limerick, despite rumours to the contrary and attempts to 'unmask them' this week, have also been booked to play at the Munster Rugby players Christmas party at a "secret location" next week. Munster hooker Jerry Flannery booked the act himself, the Leader understands.
The 'Bandits are also currently running at number one in the Irish charts, the Leader has been informed, but the official chart positions will not be announced until the weekend.
The group are seeking a Christmas number one next week, attempting to upset the chances of X-Factor winner Matt Cardle and this Thursday bookmakers Paddy Power said they were already paying out on them doing it - which has cost them €10,000.
Thursday also marked the day that the controversial Limerick act made the crossover into the mainstream consciousness after years of prank phone calls, underground gigs and word of mouth popularity.
Every major national newspaper carried pictures of the plastic bag wearing rappers after they held a photo-call outside Dail Eireann on Wednesday, and indeed they provoked an agngry scrum between the photographers that had gathered to take their picture in the process, with each jockeying for the best picture of the group.
Limerick TD Willie O'Dea, who is the inspiration for the group's masked DJ 'Willie O'DJ' and who has had his own song written for him by the group, took to the national airwaves on Wednesday to defend the group against accusations that they were portraying Limerick in a poor light.
Speaking to the Leader this Thursday, the former Minister continued to offer his support for the Limerick act: "They are funny. They really are hilarious".
"I told some of my colleagues here in the Dail and they went and accessed it on You Tube, and everybody is a fan of The Rubberbandits up here in the Dail, I can tell you," he added.
A spokesperson for the rappers strongly denounced attempts by the tabloid media to unmask the group and denied that a picture appearing in one tabloid was the "real Rubberbandits".
"We feel sorry for those two youngfellas, who are they? It is lousy," he said. "This is reminiscent of Halloween when, due to people dressing as the Rubberbandits, we got a drunken disorderly fine from Letterkenny, a public urination fine in Skibbereen, and a public disorder fine in Dungarvan, all in the same night."
The spokesperson would merely say of speculation about the 'Bandits real identities that there are "up to 15 members of the group", and that they "are the epitomisation of the character of Limerick city, presented in physical form".
The group are expected to make an appearance outside HMV on Cruises Street early next week to celebrate their recent success.
The popularity of the group's You Tube video has seen five of their other segments recorded for RTE's Republic of Telly TV series enter the ten most watched videos on RT's YouTube channel.
The single 'Horse Outside' is now available in all good record stores.
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