Monday, November 26, 2007

Just Far Too Much

Last Saturday night saw the launch of the 'Far too much Bertie' sticker campaign in Dublin. Enterprising anti-Fianna Fáil-er, Kevin Cotter started distributing the first of 200,000 stickers in protest at our beloved leader's recent and, I might add, well-deserved pay increase. (Shafting a country of 4 million people on a daily basis is no easy job, I'll have you know, and should be remunerated accordingly IMHO).

Nevertheless, campaigns like this should be encouraged if only to show what an enlightened politically engaged culture we inhabit. What's a thousand Euros on stickers when them barrister lads beyond in Dublin Castle spend more than that on sangwich for their dinners? The possibilities for extending the idea to other politicians are limitless and doubtless someone with more time on their hands than I is already hard at work producing worthy successors.

Still, on foot of the recent disclosures that Pavarotti's will is being contested by members of his family because he left his clothes to a certain ex-Tánaiste and Minister for (ill-)Health, I propose the following candidate

Any seconders?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Globalisation goes mental

I don't know if it's just me but there's something smug and vaguely sinister about the new Diageo advertising campaign for that porter they make above there in Dublin 8.

The idea of a bunch of Andean peasants sacrificing their old wardrobes, cadillacs and books to build a giant stout totem in the village square smacks of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo and perhaps even more of Les Blank's Burden of Dreams, the documentary which charted the effect that Herzog's obsession with his eponymous character had on cast, crew, and the indigenous peoples he recruited to do the actual work of dragging a 320 ton boat over a mountain top.

The ad is part of a £10 million campaign to restore the pre-eminence of the beer whose sales fell by 7% in Ireland this year, pushing the nation down to 3rd place behind Nigeria in the Diageo market hit parade

While I accept my exploitation as a consumer as being an inevitable feature of life under capitalism, I'm less than comfortable watching something like this. I keep asking myself questions like 'How many peasants were killed or injured in the making of this ad?' or 'Were Government sponsored death squads employed to force the peasants to co-operate and hand over their old motors and furniture to the ad-men at gun-point?' and more seriously 'How much cocaine was consumed prior to coming up with the mental idea in the first place?'

Anyway so, someone had some serious Aztec nose candy fun up there in the North Argentinian Highlands, that's for sure. See what you think

The way we lived then

The way we live now

My thanks to the fine folks at Gizmodo for pointing me towards these gems

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Signs of the times

Before anyone starts thinking that there's a theme developing here, let me assure you it's only a segue.

Them lovely folks at the Samaritans, the Irish Water Safety Board and Clare County Council have together concocted a very cunning plan to cut the number of suicides occurring at that former beauty spot turned cacky commercial interpretative centre and car park, the Cliffs of Moher.

They're going to put some signs up. With the Samaritans' telephone number on. Along the cliff top. Bound to work, that.

Concerned that the hordes of human lemmings who annually seek oblivion by a quick plunge off the 214 meter high cliffs into the foaming briny at their foot has given the site the reputation of a suicide blackspot, not to mention the effect such behaviour has on sales of Book of Kells tea-towels, Leprechaun key-rings, and that weird hippy music with noseflutes and whale noises, the plan is to advertise the Samaritans services at strategic points along the cliff-top.

In today's Irish Times Director of the Samaritans in Co Clare, Mary Lynch, said: "we have tried to make the signs visible, while being conscious that it is a very sensitive and beautiful area."

Tis a shame that the lads who built the car park, the gift shop and that nuclear bunker-cum-interpretative centre yoke didn't display the same sensitivity to the natural environment. Still maybe they'll put in a mobile phone mast just to make sure the Samaritan's service has a cat's chance of working. Nothing worse than having second thoughts and not being able to get a signal on the old dog and bone. I ask you.

I know suicide is not a laughing matter but plans like this clearly are. Anyone affected by the subject of this blog can contact the Samaritans for help and support via this website or More O'Ferrall for advice on discrete signage in areas of special natural interest.

Monday, November 05, 2007

He's back and this time he's brought his Prozac

My apologies to that small but loyal group of people who I count as regular readers. What was originally intended as a short sabbatical seems to have turned into a nigh on six month hiatus.

The gap was brought on by depression resulting from the result of the last general election, a severe bout of carpal tunnel syndrome, and the ever unfulfilled desire that we might get a decent summer for once. As the season drifted by with nary a sign of the sun, my desire to write shrank in direct proportion to the number of grey mornings and stories demonstrating our current Taoiseach's contempt for the sad crew of optimists who voted him back for another 5 years.

Anyway so, since I can't do anything about the weather and even less about the electoral choices of the Irish people, I've decided to make this blog in to a happy shiny place full of cream coloured ponies and crisp apple strudel, door bells and sleigh bells and whatever you're having yourself.

Heretofore on the new look Where Angels Fear you'll find no ironic or indignant stories about political corruption. No more righteous anger at the failings of our health system or the interesting goings on above there in Dublin Castle. No sirree, bob! I'm going to leave that depressing stuff that to those masters of melancholia, those denizens of the downside like Bock and the other old fellah with the wispy beard whose name escapes me.

On the new look WAF it's just going to be fun, fun, fun all the way, or at least until someone takes my T-bird away. Fuck the begrudgers and if I can't dance I don't want to be in your revolution.

And just to demonstrate my sincere commitment to the new WAF philosophy I'm going to share with you a little something I saw at the pictures only the other day. It's called Control, it's about Joy Division, it's set in Manchester in the late 1970s and suicide figures rather highly in the narrative. What a recipe for happiness unconfined. Joe-Bob says 3 stars, check it out but leave the washing line in the kitchen.

And to get you in the mood, here's a taste of the original.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Pure pop for now people: For want of something better to do

These guys blew the White Stripes and everyone else off on Later with Jules Smug Bastard tonight in my less than humble opinion. Thanks to the Hangar Queen for putting me on to them in the first place.

They're playing Dublin in August but it's at Marlay Park which means handing over absurd amounts of hard earned spondulicks in handling fees to those gangsters from Ticketmaster I expect. Let's hope Whelan's or somewhere sensible books 'em in while they're on the island.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Pure Pop For Now People Strikes Again

Came across these guys. They have a new album out today. They're from Wakefield. That's in Yorkshire. I think I can find it in myself to forgive them.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Electoral Alzheimer's Strikes Ahern

It's a sad fact that the tragedy that is Alzheimer's disease can strike anyone at any time. The tell-tale signs can be quite subtle at first; the odd lapse of memory, the misplaced fact, the small failure to distinguish fantasy from reality.

Not even high ranking cabinet ministers are exempt from its toll, a fact which emerged today in an interview of sorts with incumbent Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern on BBC Radio 4's World at One today.

The programme was covering the progress of the Sinn Fein electoral campaign in the Republic and raised the important question of electoral pacts and alliances. If push came to shove, would either of the major parties consider taking Sinn Fein on board as a possible coalition partner if it meant keeping a hand on the tiller of the ship of state after May 24th?

Speaking for Fianna Fail, the 'other' Republican party, Dermot left the BBC interviewer in no doubt about his party's position by uttering the Louth equivalent of General de Gaulle's famous keep the-Brits-out-of-Europe 'Non!'.

When pressed for an explanation of his firm rejection of a potential alliance with the Shinners, our Dermot cited Bairbre de Brun's activities as Health Minister in the North during the last short period of devolved government up above there. 'We wouldn't be going into a coalition with a party that closes down hospitals,' he said, or words to that effect. When pressed further he repeated his rejection and cited the same grounds as a reason. Forming a coalition with a party that closes hospitals would not be the kind of thing of which Fianna Fail, the other Republic Party either condones or supports.

His firm protestation can only be interpreted as symptoms of some form of degenerative mental condition for two reasons. First, as far as I can discover, de Brun never closed any hospitals down in her brief tenure as Northern Health Minister. There was a decision which she inherited from the Northern Ireland Office on taking up the post regarding the rationalisation of maternity services between the two main Belfast hospitals . Subsequently there was a further report on local health services which recommended the closure of full A&E services in some of the smaller regional hospitals west of the Bann. Again, as far as I could ascertain, any action on her part with regard to this was forestalled by the collapse of devolved government in 2002.

Secondly, I live not 200 metres from Crumlin Children's Hospital which is about to be closed down by Minister Mary Harney of the PDs. These lads, as I recall vaguely, form part of the present governing alliance and come the election may well do so again.In addition, the good people of Monaghan might be very surprised to hear that Fianna Fail would not take kindly to partnering up with a party that closes down regional hospitals given the shenanigans up there the past year.. Only a cynic might suggest that Dermot's emphasis on Sinn Fein's hospital closing proclivities could have something to do with the latter party's success in mobilizing votes around the whole hospital service health care failures of the present regime.

No I prefer the Alzheimer's explanation. It also explains what happened to the issue of Irish neutrality while Dermot's been in the Foreign Affairs chair. He just forgot about it.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Carry on Doctor, but leave the Teddy Bears out of it.

While meandering from my house to the shops yesterday I came across the election poster shown on the left. It gave me a fairly nasty turn, I can tell ye without a word of a lie. If only because thinking about poor Ted nearly had me incurring injuries of me own in a clash with a particularly poorly hung Enda Kenny street poster dangling from the next lamp-post along.

Apart from the fact the good lady doctor looks like she's recently lost a pair of ruby slippers and lives in a gingerbread cottage with its own fully fitted, child-sized spit-roast, Teddy Bears in the hands of politicians always induce a profound feeling of nausea in me. It makes me think that some kind of vaguely paedophilic grooming process is about to commence, if it hasn't already.

Be-bandaged Teddy Bears make me feel, if anything, sicker still. I spent a lot of time in hospital as a young child (I know, it shows) and, in a bizarrely Proustian way, the sight of a bandaged bear still conjures up the sounds and smells of a children's surgical ward for me: The tears, the moans and cries and the strange smells of ether, disinfectant and hospital soap (the brown kind that if it got in your eyes would give you a foretaste of purgatory), and that was just the nurses.

But I digress. Back to the politics. Despite the fact that she's standing in the Dublin South Central, the interesting thing about Nanny Og's campaign is that if she's elected, she has no plans whatsoever to save the current children's hospital. What she seems to want, if you can get past the peculiarly clipped and stilted style of her webspeak, is a wholly new edifice somewhere out beside the M50. Great. A new hospital has to be better than a re-jigged Victorian one, but out beyond the M50? Impossible to get to unless you have a car and even then you'd be faster on foot during the day. Is she going to pay for the helicopters to ferry emergencies in? I think not. And anyway, who in their right mind would put a children's hospital in a part of the county where they still eat their young, for God's sake. Think it though, Rosie, think it through!

Given her campaign, the kind witch of the South might at least be excused for throwing in the odd ursine Edward, but what's that man Callely up to in North Dublin?

Having already crossed swords with Standards Authority over sticking his ugly mug over the Operation Noflow traffic posters back in the day, the lad who put the wheels under the Department of Transport has now employed marauding gangs of men disguised as teddies to loiter around the gates of schools on deh Nortside accosting the young ones as they emerge from another stressful day in the murder machine.

One mother Damaris O'Brien, from Killester, expressing her distress at the canvassing of her four year old daughter fresh from junior infants said :
Who the hell are these people in bear suits? I mean you just don't know who people are anymore and you hear all these horror stories about kids.
Indeed you don't, Damaris, indeed you don't. Especially when they've got a big false Teddy head hiding their ugly gobs. But rest assured. Old Ivor didn't get where he is today by just letting anyone pull on a Teddy outfit and go off about the streets scaring the little ones on his behalf. He'll have thought it through like almost every other decision in his political life. Those boys'd be screened and trained to within an inch of their lives, so they would. And other canvassers better watch out too. Try to stop them sticking a Callely No1 sticker on a rising 5 and they'll have you maimed and gutted faster than a grizzly can empty a camp full of Canadian backpackers.

Anyway, I have to get back to my latest job writing election promises for the highest bidder. My latest is to offer a free SSIA with every new hospital bed. Any takers?

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

'I have never met a bigger one than Bertie Ahern'

Tony Blair

I assume they're still counting the silverware over beyond at the palace of Westminster after Bertie's visit yesterday. I know I would be.
Balkan Bloc-vote Buggers Boggers

I realise this is a bit late coming (I've been busy, ok?) and much as I hate to say I told you so, (but I did) the tragedy for Irish musical aspirations that was Saturday's Eurovision Song Contest went entirely as predicted. Only a handful of stray Albanian votes saved the nation from the ultimate humiliation of a dreaded 'nul pwonts' result.

In a fit of whatever is the opposite of hubris, John 'I'm the Daddy' Waters tried to offer a sociological explanation for the simultaneous Irish implosion and the success of Serbia.
The central questions gravitate around the cultural implications of the still relatively recent collapse of the Berlin Wall. The taste gap between East and West can be addressed in one of only two ways: radical introversion or a more enthusiastic opening up to the new. I prefer the latter. They can't stop the spring. We can't stop the spring. Who could possibly want to stop the spring?
Well everyone in Europe except the Albanians it would seem. I can think of rather less binary ways of addressing the East-West 'taste gap' and John you're welcome to join me to broaden your analysis down the Czech Inn any night of the week.

In the meantime, Johnny boy, I'll stay out of journalism if you leave sociology to us pros. The only possible implication of the fall of the Berlin wall is that these guys can now enter the competition. The fact that it kept out the kitsch retro-lounge bar sounds of the former Eastern bloc was one of the few good things to be said for old-style Soviet Communism, if you ask me.

Both Terry Wogan on the night (yes, I did watch the voting section of the show) and the Irish Times suggested that the result which left Ireland last and England second last was the product of dodgy bloc voting deals done by the Balkan states. But I think the vote rigging at fault, at least in the case of Ireland was part of a darker design hatched by the denizens of Donnybrook as a means of avoiding the poisoned chalice of another Irish victory. A cunning scheme known to fans of Father Ted as the 'My Lovely Horse Stratagem'

The RTE boys don't like winning the old Eurovision at at all. It costs too much and they'd much rather spend the money on suits, tanning sessions and personal trainers for Ryan and Pat. So since the spate of wins in the 80s and 90s they have adopted an approach to the competition which uses all the guile and cunning with which only a UCD education can equip one.

It starts with the short listing of the songs from which the gullible Irish public has to choose and continues right up to voting on the night. A new refinement was added this year though. When Linda with the lovely tan (although I'm not sure ochre is her colour) announced the Irish votes, the poll actually thrust us into last place by giving votes to Lithuania and the UK. This was not, as the old lady of D'Olier Street suggested, a result of enthusiastic polling by our Eastern European immigrant communities.

Quite the contrary, it was all part of Operation My Lovely Horse 2007. Phoney results submitted to ensure that Dervish would crash and burn and demoralise the nation so severely that we won't care ever again about the old boom-banga-bang fest. Next year's choices will make John Waters and the whirling Dervish's effort seem cutting edge by comparison and My Lovely Horse more than some Norwegian elevator music.

Anyway so, for those of you who've forgotten or those who never saw it in the 1st place, I give you the best Eurovision entry Ireland never had.

A serendipitous postcript : Coming back from Dublin airport late on Monday night I had the remarkable good fortune to be driven home by an Albanian taxi-man whose surname was, I kid you not, Dervish. Oh how we laughed about that one, he and I, until he chucked me out of the cab for taking the piss out of his name.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

I shall say this only once....

I guess the City of Manchester must have finally run out of virgins for Alex Ferguson to sacrifice to the great Beelzebub, Lord of the Flies.

Spot the difference:

Liverpool 1 Chelsea 0

AC Milan 3 Manchester Utd 0

Meanwhile on Merseyside the police wish to interview Frank Lampard about the burglary at Jose Reina's house. Apparently no-one can vouch for his whereabouts between 7.45 and 10.15pm on Tuesday night.

Thanks to Football365 for that little gem

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Black skin, brown envelope

A recent report from the the Migration and Citizenship Research Unit above there at UCD condemns the neglect of ethnic minority inclusion shown by the major parties on this island. As its authors note:
..... the integration efforts of Irish political parties are, as of yet, minimal. This is a crucial issue. Politicians are key actors in debates about immigration and integration. They are expected to provide leadership. Yet their own specific institutions, the political parties, remain amongst the least diverse, the least responsive, the least capable of leading by example when it comes to representing the diversity of twenty-first century Irish society. This is unsustainable and potentially dangerous to social cohesion in the long run.
Ever an organisation to grasp an opportunity (not to mention a brown envelope or two), I understand that the Fianna Fáil political machine has immediately swung into action and responded to the challenge of integration and equal opportunities.

Spooky Glockenspiel Music and dissolve to:

Party Headquarters,
Mount St Lower, Dublin 4
where a candidate selection interview is taking place

INTERVIEWER: Top of the morning to you O' Benjamin. Will you take a cup o' tay or a drop of that Nigerian lager I hear is popular amongst you people.

CANDIDATE: Good morning, it's Obenjwe-Amin, actually. Tea would be fine thank you.

INTVR: Sit you down, sit you down. That's a chair over there or you can just squat on the floor if that's more comfortable for you. Sure we'll not stand on ceremony here. So now tell us a bit about yourself. What part of Nigeria are you from?

CAND: I'm not from Nigeria, I'm from Crumlin.

INTVR: Would that be anywhere near Lagos, then? I hear that's a fierce wild place for the old brown envelopes, if you follow my drift.

CAND: No, it's in Dublin, near Drimnagh.

INTVR: Ah, Der-im-in-ah, is it? They're such exotic names you're after having beyond there in Africa. Sure can't I only see the lions and the monkeys up the palm trees and the dusky maidens with the long necks doing the fertility dances. So, how long is it since you left Nigeria, then?

CAND: I told you. I'm not Nigerian.

INTVR: Of course you're not, me darling girl (WINKS THEATRICALLY). Like the last fellah before you wasn't Rumanian, either. Told us he was a Bulgarian, so he did, but we all know they like to do that before they put the grip on yeh for a copy of deh Big Issues, hah?. (MIMES A NUDGE AND WINKS AGAIN)

CAND: I'm from Crumlin, it's in Dublin, that's in Ireland. Not Nigeria, not anywhere in Africa.

INTVR: So it is, so it is, ye fine thing, yeh. Anyway so, must press on. Time's a divil and waits for no man, hah?. So what would a fine Nigerian lassie like yourself think you could bring to the Fianna Fáil party?

CAND: Well I have a degree in law and a Master's in political science. I've worked with NGOs in my local community on adult literacy and welfare rights and I was auditor of my college Cumann of Fianna Fáil. I'd say I was pretty plugged in at a grass-roots level.

INTVR: Well an education that grand must have cost a fine penny or two. I expect the family pulled some strings to get you in, did they? Would there be diplomats or former dictators in the family then? Maybe an ex-Government minister?

CAND: No. I took the Leaving Cert like everyone else.

INTVR: Nothing to be ashamed of a bit of the old nepotism, eh? Sure there's many a man not an asses roar from here who wouldn't be where they are but for having a Daddy or an Uncle in the right place at the right time (WINKS AGAIN). Anyway so, back to the interview script, them maggots at the Equalities Authority give us a divil of a time if we don't treat everyone the same.

Would you be after playing any sport now? Sure a fine thing like yourself would be a wonder to behold in a camogie kit.

CAND: Well I played a bit of soccer and tennis at college and .....

INTVR: (Nods slowly and prints, even more slowly, 'NO GAA!' on the sheet in front of him). Perhaps you like watching the lads play rugby or the old golf then?

CAND: I don't really have much time to watch sport because of the advocacy work I do with Asylum Seekers in the evenings and weekends.

INTVR: Asylum seekers, is it? No votes in them lads worth speaking of, hah? Still they'll do a good job building a conservatory for the right price should the need arise. Or would that be the Poles? I'm always after mixing them up.

CAND: I think that would be Polish people. Asylum seekers aren't allowed to work.

INTVR: No, and a good job it is too. Sure wouldn't they be after taking the bread from the mouth of the honest Irish working man who fought the Tans to free this nation from the Saxon yoke. (His eyes glaze over and he begins to hum A Nation Once Again).

CAND: Could we get back to the interview, please?

INTVR: Ah yes, the interview. Well, as you know what with the forthcoming election and all, there's going to be a major drain on the auld finances. Them street posters aren't cheap, even with them asylum seekers on nixers to put them up for us. The ideal candidate for our party would be someone who has the kind of talents that could give us a dig-out when the time comes. Would you be that sort of candidate Miss O'Benjamin?

CAND: Well I've done several fund-raising campaigns for the local hospital, fun runs, sponsored walks, that kind of thing....

INTVR: Very good, very good. But I was after thinking of something that could pull in a more substantial contribution. Would you ever have done anything with the auld emails, perhaps? You know the kind of thing, hah? Your people are past masters at it, so I'm told. (PUTS ON A BAD NIGERIAN ACCENT) 'My name is Joseph I am orphan whose parents died in famine. I need money to make sure I get good Christian Catholic education. Please sponsor me Only $200 a month.' Pulls on the auld ones' hearts-strings and their purse strings at the same time that one does. My favourite's about the 11 Million Dollars belonging to the deposed fellah in a numbered bank account. Send on your bank details and the vacuum cleaners have gone to work on it before you can say 'Mazarawe's your uncle'.

CAND: I don't think I could condone that sort of behaviour. It's unethical and almost certainly illegal.

INTVR: Don't be after getting on your high horse with me now, wee girl. This party was built on a lack of ethics and a disregard for the letter of the law. Didn't old Dev start it with the Hospital Sweepstake? Wasn't Charlie the beneficiary of many a brown envelope? And isn't deh current leader after hiding a few skellingtons in his fiscal wardrobe even as we speak? We're a party of tradition but we're not afraid to move with the times. You don't think we're interviewing Nigerians and Rumanians for the fun of it, do yeh? It wouldn't be for the votes you'd bring in that's for sure. It's the scams me dear, the scams. We could do with a few new ones, now the tribunals have copped onto us. The brown envelope has gone the way of the dinosaur. We need fresh blood and fresh ideas if we're to keep the coffers full. And there's always the fact they'd never go after a black face for the fear of being called a bunch of racists. Liberals, hah?

CAND: (Leaves with only the slamming of the door behind her)

INTVR: And what would be the problem with her I wonder? Come in, Mr Caecescu.
Election Smelection Part 2

Sorry Enda, the mean streets of this fair city were a fuck of a lot safer before some eejits started sticking up posters at just the right height to take an unwary pedestrian's eye out.

And just who came up with that slogan anyway, the wife's cousin?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Election, Smelection

Okay so Bertie's named the day and in 3 and a half weeks time we'll all know which combination of knaves, charlatans and mountebanks will be leading the political shaft-fest for the coming 5 years. I'll say no more about it other than point out that, given the gathering clouds on the economic horizon, it boils down to little more than a choice between two fatal diseases; one that kills you in a week and that kills you in a fortnight.

Some of you may have already noticed that there is a far more significant election going on, the effects of which will remain with us long after the government in waiting has packed up its stall and moved on to take the shears to a new flock of sheep.

With almost clairvoyant timing, the lads from Hasbro down in Waterford have come up with one of the most bizarre marketing ideas of the present century. They want to launch an All-Ireland version of Monopoly. It says here that politicians, county councillors and Monopoly lovers are being asked 'to rally their county’s population to vote in a bid to ensure that their county features on the board'.

According to Hasbro’s National Sales Manager, Anne Dermody:
We have always been amazed at the level of interest and passion that surrounds Monopoly. Now it’s up to the people of Ireland to have their say and to ensure that their county is included on the new board. Those who don’t vote will find that their county will be left out.

You don't say, Annie, me darling.

The training ground of many an Irish property magnate, Monopoly is a game best remembered from my childhood as the cause of annual bouts of sibling rivalry and internecine warfare that lasted from St Stephen's Day until well into the new year. I still have a scar on me napper caused by a Matchbox edition Pickford's furniture removal truck (lots of sharp corners them pantechnicons) thrown by my sister as a response to the rents on my extensive developments in Mayfair and Park Lane (that's Shrewsbury and Aylesbury Roads to you indigenes).

As a good Marxist, when playing the game thereafter I set up housing co-ops and not-for-profit community businesses, nationalised transport and utilities and distributed my profits amongst the other players. I never won again but neither did I require further stitches below the hairline.

But I digress. Apart from the logical problem arising from the fact that there are 32 Counties and only 22 properties on the board which makes an 'All-Ireland' Monopoly board an impossible dream (pretty much like the real thing), Hasbro's plebiscite will leave the nation worse off than Michael Collins and Lord Birkenhead did between them in 1922. And we all know the trouble that caused.

Sociologically, the current state of the leaderboard is interesting. Poised to occupy the prime site that was once Shrewsbury Road is Co Roscommon with 3500-odd votes. Donegal and Leitrim lie in 2nd and 3rd positions respectively. As counties that benefited least from the Celtic Tiger, I guess it's a case of if you can't get in reality,you'll settle for the fantasy, eh?

Five of the six Northern Irish counties are in there, but Sinn Féin need to get their lads with the camáns out on the doorsteps of Fermanagh. They're currently at the foot of the poll with a miserly 633 votes. Bobby Sands must be turning in his grave with the shame of it.

Anyway so, the polls close on May 25th. As they say in the North, often without a wry grin, 'Vote early and vote often.'

Sunday, April 29, 2007

We don't have class in Ireland

I was recently much engaged by a discussion over on Bock the Robber's blog regarding the notion of class in Ireland. It brought back a number of memories for me from around the time I began to associate with middle class Irish people for the first time.

Now as any Marxist schoolboy knows, class is not an attribute of an individual. It is a social relationship to the means of production through which we live our lives. In the most broad and abstract Marxist terms, if you operate the means of production you are working class, if you own them, you are middle class. But even old Charlie recognised that there were more than two classes in society at any given time and that the subjective experience of class varied considerably.

The problem of revolution often boiled down to how you got working class people to recognise their common relationship to the means of production under capitalism and unite as a means of changing that relationship. This is sometime referred to as the problem of 'false consciousness'.

In the industrialised societies of the 19th Century it was relatively easy for workers to recognise their common experience. They were all pretty much treated like shit, excluded from political power, education and the other trappings of citizenship we nowadays take for granted. With the top down reforms that came from the end of the 19th Century and continued during the 20th Century as a means of heading the revolution off at the pass, it became harder and harder to consider class in this clear cut kind of way. So much so that by the 1960s some deeply confused and ideologically motivated sociologists were talking about the 'end of class.'

Nonetheless, the basic principle of seeing class as a social relationship rather than a characteristic or attribute of the individual is as true now as it was in the mid-19th Century. Understanding class in this way is less a matter of what you work at, what you own, or how you label yourself in the here and now than how you experience the world and act in it in largely unconscious ways learned very early on in life. As Anthony Wilden once said 'Class is something you don't grow out of.'

When we start to think about it as an attribute of individuals, the problems and confusions around the concept really begin to escalate because, again as any Marxist schoolboy knows, we are confronted by a series of contradictions and misrecognitions about social relationships that as human beings we don't handle very well. They make us feel uncomfortable and uneasy when we experience them.

The situation becomes even more complicated and contradictory in colonised and post-colonial societies because class relationships typically get obliterated by national ones. The nationalist middle class typically horizontalizes the class structure and induces people to think of themselves as, say, Irish first and everything else second, if at all.

The Irish political structure, the practices of clientilism, stroke politics and the high degree of centralised control and localised surveillance, not to mention emigration, kept people toeing the national line and made the Irish ruling class probably the most successful in Europe at maintaining control over its people. Paradoxically, it made Irishness and the concept of identity amongst Irish people a very fragile and inward looking thing indeed.

Anyway, I digress. Until I went to work at the Institute of Irish Studies in Liverpool I had never met middle class (as defined by occupational status, access to education, and income) Irish people. My day to day experience of Irish-born people was pretty much restricted to folks from the same background as me and my parents (manual workers from Coronation St neighbourhoods) and relatives from similar backgrounds in Belfast and Dublin. The issue of class was a non-issue in such company because it was patently obvious what class we came from, raised no contradictions and therefore needed no discussion.

However, in the more socially rarified environment of the Institute I began to meet people who became increasingly agitated when I raised the issue of class politics in an Irish context. Seemingly intelligent people such as academics, journalists, diplomats, artists, and other professionals would have coniptions when Liam the Red introduced a class dimension to the discussion of phenomena relating to contemporary Irish society and culture.

They would almost inevitably and invariably resolve their unease with the same phrase: 'Ah now, Liam, you can tell you're not Irish. Everyone knows we don't have class in Ireland.' After a while I gave up trying to argue with this apparent truism in the spirit of rational debate and would simply resort to saying something like: 'Perhaps you'd be kind enough to inform my cousins in Ballyfermot and Ballymun of that next time you're passing that way, assuming you know how to find your way there.'

The illusion of the absence of class and class relationships in Ireland is precisely that, an illusion. What's more it is an illusion historically maintained by the privileged as a means of maintaining their privilege. If you speak out about it you run the risk of losing your claim to Irishness altogether, letting the side down, or otherwise being less than a credit to your race. This is a very powerful means of ideological control in a post-colonial society and when it's backed up by the sanctions of social exclusion and the threat of the emigrant boat, it doesn't take long for most folk to get on the programme.

Anyway, that's the sociology rant over. If anyone still doesn't believe me then I suggest they take this little test from the English Daily Torygraph. If the results can be relied upon, I'm expecting my invitation to the Duchess of Devonshire's next 'at home' to arrive any day now.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Sarky bastards with Telecasters or Rickenbackers or something

While preparing myself emotionally for the upcoming Jesse Malin gig at the Irish Music Centre next week I came across these guys:-

They're called Butch Walker and the Let's Go Out Tonites. I'd never heard of them before. Kind of wish I had.

A special note for Is it just me. You might find this track interesting or amusing

Friday, April 27, 2007

Back on the blogbeat

Apologies to regular readers for the relative absence of activity on Where Angels Fear of late. I know how much you miss me, darlings. Important affairs of state and matters of national security have had me back and forth between here and the motherland on the mainland for the past couple of weeks. A full report of my activities in foreign climes will appear in due course, but for now security clearance at the highest levels is still pending.

Anyway the image below appeared in my mailbox this afternoon and I couldn't resist the temptation to chance the ire of my Limerick compatriots. You know who you are, Bock. (Many congrats on the Scunnies promotion by the way, but did it have to be at Tranmere Rovers' expense?)

Still and all, as demeaning and unflattering such images may be to the fine city of Limerick and its people (who look a lot like Scousers in my opinion and are to be complimented for that), they are nothing to the kind of stereotyping and ridicule that the noble of folk of my own home city of Liverpool have to put up with.

In the interests of promoting best practice and anti-Scousism amongst stakeholders, users and providers connected with Where Angels Fear I reproduce a small sample of these images in the hope that they will promote understanding of the burden of prejudice that we Scousers carry on a day to day basis.

I also expect you to get behind us when we attempt to overturn a 1-0 deficit against CSKA London at Anfield next Tuesday. I promise not to break into your house and make off with your DVD player while you're down the pub giving rousing choruses Poor Tommy Scouser and You'll Never Walk Alone.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Down with that sort of thing...

Not content with saving the ecosystem, freeing the whales, and trying to get us all going about the city on rickshaws and bicycles, those tree-hugging puss-faces across in the Green Party have now decided to go one step further in their campaign to make our lives a little duller and more worthy.

Dublin City Councillor Bronwen 'I saved the planet yesterday, what did you do?' Maher intends to table a motion this month which will take deny us another piece of the precious sunshine that global warming and the decline of organised religion has brought to this grey little country in recent years.

Bronwen only wants to ban the use of glamour models in the promotion of Dublin Corpo events arguing that "We need to look at the message we are sending out to women and young girls and how that impacts on women's lives,"

Well what better message in this day and age could a young girl get than one which says that if you rub shoulders with the grey-suited men who stalk the corridors of power, show a lot of leg, teeth and cleavage, and act like an all round french fry head you'll probably never have to do a proper day's work in your life. Isn't that what girl power was all about? Have we forgotten the Spice Girls so soon? What will become of poor Katy French?

More importantly, however, is what will the lads and lasses over at Blogorrah do once they're denied the abundance of opportunities such photo opportunities lend for caption competitions and other Wildean displays of wit ?

Monday, April 09, 2007

For what seems like months now every time I turn on Channel 6 there's been this quirky black and white video of a young man with a guitar. Short of phoning up the station, I've never been been able to find out who he is until tonight. He's from Bray and his name is Fionn Regan apparently and I'd never heard of him. Which shows how uncool I've become in my latter years.

Anyway, this ain't the quirky black and white video, but it's still quirky. I commend him to you.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

High Treason
I do not love my country.
Its abstract splendour
is beyond my grasp
But (although it sounds bad) I would give my life
for ten places in it, for certain people,
seaports, pine woods, fortresses,
a run-down city, gray, grotesque,
various figures from its history,
(and three or four rivers).

This is always a difficult time of the year for me. As a devout Marxisante I'm religiously opposed to nationalism in any way, shape, or form. But as an Irishman, Easter always has significant emotional connotations for me, as it does for countless Irish people. Connotations that can't be resolved in just any old materialist dialectic.

I hate nationalism. I love my country. The sense of being Irish and proud was ingrained in me early on. When I was making myself sick on too many chocolate eggs the names of Padraig Pearse, James Connolly and the rest of the mad bastards who wandered out to take on the British Empire at Easter in 1916 would be raised as a reminder that the season was about more than a Smarties egg or some bloke in Palestine being nailed to a cross.

Nationalism represents a major dilemma because however much you try to separate your Marxist analysis from your heart, if you're an Irish Marxist there's a level at which you can't escape this historical equivalent of the club versus country debate.

So I shall do as I have done for many a year now. I shall wait until the speeches are over, the flute bands have shagged off to the pub, and the wilted Easter lilies have been put away until next year. I shall wander alone up to Kilmainham Jail and then onto Glasnevin where I shall pay my respects to a Jock, a Scouser, and a Big House toff whose legacy of struggle and inspiration was swiftly pushed aside in the rush to nationhood after 1916.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven...

Having recently revived the traditional concept of Hell, I have no doubt Pope Ratso I is currently readying a special place in the infernal depths for a certain Irish turf accountant.

In Ireland's headlong rush towards secularisation, not to mention the never ending quest to gull the public out of its last red cent, those little devils at Paddy Power, the nation's favourite bookies, have come up with another crafty stratagem to part the punter from his hard earned mazoola.

A story in today's Irish Times reveals that Paddy the punter's friend has opened a book on the length, the theme and the audience for a sermon to be delivered at St Muredach's Cathedral, Ballina, that will be shown on RTE this coming Easter Sunday.

Responding to criticism over the wee flutter from Martin Long of the Catholic Communications Office, Paddy Power, the company's spokesman, and henceforth to be known on these shores as the depraved jism of Beelzebub, said:
I'm a Catholic myself and I fully respect the importance of Easter in the Catholic calendar. I think it is a little bit of fun. Some people would see it as an extra incentive to watch the Mass
Of course you do, Paddy me old mate, but some of the less enlightened might think there's something a tad demonic going on down in Airton House. Especially after the Last Supper billboard campaign that nobody understood but the Advertising Standards Authority got its knickers in a twist about in 2005.

Still and all, there's a lot to be said for running the book on a bit of ecclesiastical action. Apart from the fact it might finish off the handful of religious zealots still remaining on these shores in an epidemic of apoplectic seizures, the possibilities for a fortune-tempting punt are, like some sermons, apparently endless.

So much so that I'm thinking of offering odds on the following:
  • An altar-boy surviving to puberty without getting his bottom felt in the vestry;
  • An outbreak of moving statues, weeping Madonnas, and bleeding Jesuses in Mayo the next time the abortion debate comes up;
  • The discovery of a Christian Brother who didn't scar, fracture or otherwise concuss one of his charges in an Irish language class since the foundation of the state.

Any takers?

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Come in to the parlour (and keep your wallet handy)

I had the good fortune to be one of an elite group of plastic paddies invited to attend a top secret conference on Ireland's attitudes to the Diaspora held at Dublin Castle yesterday.

The aim of the conference was to 're-invigorate the debate' and assess the indigenous attitude to those rats who deserted the sinking ship, sorry, unfortunates who were driven off the four green fields and scattered to the corners of the earth by the great calamity that was pre-Celtic Tiger Irish history. A fate which, it appears, was not entirely the fault of the Brits after all, but don't be after spreading that around now.

Organised by a grand bunch of lads and lasses from the Department of Foreign Affairs, the event marked the 5 years which have passed from the publication of a highly classified document referred to as the Task Force Report on Emigration, but you didn't hear about that from me.

The meeting was opened by Bertie's kid brother Dermot or Desmond or whatever his name is. He gives good speech, by the way. There were moments during his intro when I felt almost obliged to slip on me Bhoys replica shirt, pop my DJ mix of A Nation Once Again, Skibbereen and the Fields of Athenry onto the Ipod and have an auld jive around the room. Sadly it all went down hill from there.

The speakers included the head honcho from the bogball and stick-fighting posse, a bimbo from some business school named after an airline (the school, not the bimbo), Ian Paisley's family doctor who I think had been dipping into the Big Yin's medication, and some old journo whose book about deh diasporee is, like The Sun newspaper, still banned in Liverpool due to its defamatory attitude to Scousers.

Some of the brogues were a bit thick for my English educated ear, but I think I can pretty much can summarise the attitudes of the indigenes who spoke as follows:

  1. A long time ago a lot of people had to flee Mother Ireland's shores due to poverty, starvation and a surfeit of other woes, none of which can entirely be blamed on the Saxon foe good people of England. This was a pity and a great big sad lump of a thing for all concerned.
  2. On the bright side some of you did very well, especially the ones who went to Amerikay and kept the nation going with all of the postal orders you sent back.
  3. Some of you didn't do very well and didn't get as far Amerikay or the post office. These wee blackgaurds and rascals went to England on the lump and spent their money on drink instead of roof tiles in Kiltimagh and we're sorry for that. Especially because these days you're always after getting on Prime Time moidering us for hand-outs for community centres, free holidays and the like.
  4. Now we're a rich and prosperous modern European nation that doesn't rely the postal orders any more, we're ready to let bygones be bygones. And anyway, times have changed. Thanks to new technology like the interweb there are lots of ways other than postal orders you can give us a dig out should the need arise. And you don't even have to queue at the counter to do it.
  5. You can, for example, keep buying the U2 records, even though we all know that Sir Bono is a wee sleeveen, wearing the Aran knitwear and getting the lumps of gift-packaged bogland off the eee-Bay. For the right price and in the flick of a goat's tail at Puck Fair, we can have you all jabbering away as Gaeilge, playing handball, road-bowling and the bodhran (well maybe not the last).
  6. You can keep coming here summer after summer and letting us patronise the shite out of you and your wacky St Patrick's Day parades and Quiet Man shenanigans. And it doesn't matter a jot that you're not really Irish, because your Sterling, Euros and Dollars are as good as anyone else's.

A footnote in the interest of balance (and how often do you find that in satire?). The fine people at the Department of Foreign Affairs should be commended for their efforts in trying to undo the colossal bad faith of the indigenous Irish towards the diaspora for the past 85 years. Where Angels Fear says a wholehearted fair fecks to yeh lads! Especially the cute 3rd Secretary Labour.

PS Did you know that the State Apartments in Dublin Castle doesn't have toilets? It has restrooms. What does that tell you? Answers on a postcard only please.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

We're on a road to nowhere

Joan Blake, Dalkey, Co Dublin, with her new all-island free travel pass, which was launched for older people North and South yesterday by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Minister for Social Affairs Séamus Brennan. (Irish Times)

Before they start exercising their franchise in the direction of Fianna Fáil, will somebody please tell the ould ones that it's a one way trip and only goes as far as somewhere like Lea's Cross.
At the end of the day, loike

In an exclusive interview with Where Angels Fear, controversial Sunderland manager Roy Keane yesterday lashed out at his chairman's latest efforts in what is widely seen as a campaign for early canonisation.

The remarks came after the Black Cats' Chairman had paid £12,000 to taxi stranded fans back to the North East after an away game in Cardiff when they were ejected from a flight at Bristol Airport for not being proper Geordies.

Quinn has since forgiven the airline in his prayers and hopes that the staff of Easyjet will not suffer in the afterlife for their actions against the loyal disciples of soon to be St Niall.

Keane recently courted controversy when he kicked off about some of his former senior team mates in the Republic of Ireland side, including the Blessed Shay Given, regarding their willingness to collect caps for friendlies and other such insignificant matches such as the group stage of the 2002 World Cup.

The self-styled Caliph of Cork has now turned his attention to what he clearly sees as his chairman's profligate charm offensive:

All credit to Niall, but just because you paid £12,000 and organised taxis for 20 minutes you think you are a superstar or something, loike. At the end of the day, there's a fine line between loyalty and stupidity, loike, and that money should have been spent on the club, loike. That's all Oi'm saying loike. Not on a few lads who think that just because they're supporters the club owes them something. Nobody knows better than me, loike, that the club is the team and the team is me, so that money could have been better spent. That's all Oi'm saying, loike.

When our reporter suggested to the traitor of Taipan that his remarks might be ill-judged, Keane responded with his characteristic steely glare followed swiftly by a head-butt. The poor girl was escorted to a waiting ambulance (we always keep one on hand when the Cork man is interviewed). Keane was hustled from the venue by his minders, Wolf and Little Fang, muttering the following words:
At the end of the day loike, nobody knows anything better than me, loike.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Sunday Tribune apologises for April Fool's Day Debacle

The editors of the Sunday Tribune have today apologised for an April Fool's prank which went disastrously wrong .

A hoax story in yesterday's Trib that reported the intention of Fine Gael to revise the lyrics of Amhrán Na bhFiann because of its Fianna Fáil bias, suffered severe bruising after falling flat on its face when it was realised that most of the paper's readership thought that Ireland's Call was in fact the nation's anthem.

A spokesperson for the crypto-unionist rag said the editors sincerely hoped that the article had not caused offence, confusion or apoplexy amongst readers and offered to replace any kedgeree spoiled as a result of reading it.

This year's existential exam topic

1) Love is more than pulling petals from a daisy. Discuss

Friday, March 30, 2007

A chorus of twirlies

My apologies to regular readers for my absence over the past day or two. I was temporarily distracted from my bloggerly duties by the arrival of a consignment of former showgirls ordered on approval from my friend Omar the Tentmaker at

There are five in total, two blondes, two brunettes and a redhead, and I have to make my choice before returning them to the night spots, frolic pads and juke joints of darkest Macao this Sunday afternoon.

I have been criticised in some quarters for predilections which veer to the louche and certain instances, such the unpleasantness with the then Rose of Tralee at the Ferban sheepdog trials in 1987 (for which I might add no charges were ever brought), might seem to justify such animadversion.

Some cavilers amongst you might think that the importation of a gaggle of chorines simply reflects that rakish dedication to the pursuit of dissolute pleasure that has been the hallmark of my biography to date. What next, I hear you ask, a nomination for the Peter Stringfellow tiresome old roué trophy; the prized 'mullet and medallion' as it is known in the twilight world of cheesy piano bars and lap-dancing clubs?

I loudly reject such nitpicking censure and vitriol. On the contrary, the decision to purchase a former dancing girl as a mate represents the subtle wisdom that comes with advancing years and a decline in my use of certain chemical intoxicants, or perhaps the uptake of others. For the persistent naysayers amongst you allow me to guide you through the pros and cons of such a transaction.

Acquiring a lapsed danseuse as a life-partner is easier than you might think. One can obtain them readily through a 'reputable' agency such that run by my old amigo and associate Omar. He may contacted by way of the Bar Bazaare, Antwerp, although he only accepts hard currency these days. However, in the absence of such a source they may be found in the most seemingly unlikely places. Even in the respectable environs of the English Home Counties you might be surprised to find that one is rarely more than a glittery G-string's toss from a former ecdysiast. Look carefully at that college lecturer or primary school teacher for beneath the veneer of current respectability can often lie a picaresque past of sequined burlesque and bump and grind shenanigans.

On a day to day basis, these terpsichorean topsies are remarkably easy to look after. The ability to take direction is well ingrained after years of being manoeuvred around the footlights by limp-wristed choreographers of the lavender persuasion. They are used to arduous physical work, long unsociable hours and will put on a show at the drop of an abandoned barn or stable.

They love to please a crowd even if the crowd in question consists of only one person (they wouldn't be the greatest at sums, it seems) and, like kittens, can be kept amused for hours with small shiny things or anything involving peacock feathers. They also possess an almost miraculous facility to transform themselves from wasted and hungover party animals into visions of feminine loveliness with the merest flick of a powder puff and an eyeliner pencil.

Their physical abilities and presence are remarkable. Watching one walk from kitchen to dining room recalls the halcyon days of the Paris Lido when Mme Bluebell herself still ran the show with a rod of iron. The ability to touch ankle to nose from a standing start in a confined space, which it seems comes as standard, is a talent for which I have yet to find a use, but I'm sure in time its function will become clear.

In addition maintenance costs are low. Many will go for days on a few packets of Marlboro Light, a flask of strong black coffee and a supply of reasonably priced Sauvignon Blanc. Buck's Fizz or non-vintage Bolly at breakfast is always an option which seems to please.

There are some drawbacks, however. They do possess an endless supply of 'bishop and the chorus girl' non-sequiturs which will be drawn upon at any and every opportunity. This can be sometimes uncomfortable when one is taking tiffin with Monsignor Kelly (although the good Monsignor seemed quite happy at the time).

Their collective conversations about bodily matters would put pink on the cheeks of a Royal Marine drill sergeant and letting them loose in Dublin on a Friday night was somewhat reminiscent of an evening once spent on offshore leave in Murmansk with a crew of Soviet sailors just back from Arctic duty.

One should also avoid putting them in close proximity of upright poles of any kind. Such objects seem to provoke a frenzy of excitability amongst certain of them (sorry Piotr).

All of these talents, and more which my legal advisors will not permit me to discuss here, are vital necessities in the break-neck world of Where Angels Fear. I think it's clear that the defence can now rest (and after 3 days with these girls, he definitely needs it)

Thank you ladies. Very nice. Next!!!!

PS After a gruelling selection process I think my mind is finally made up. I'm going to go for the tall brunette who looks like a cross between Cleopatra and a young Elizabeth Taylor. A shipment of bullion plundered from the Tsars is on its way to your numbered account, Omar my old friend. Spend it wisely.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Shock horror, down the country people know your business

Our correspondent in the valley of the squinting windows has discovered shocking evidence of confidential medical information being available to any nosey-parker that cares to have a root through the odd filing cabinet . According to a Drogheda Independent exclusive, a confidentiality scandal has erupted at that monument to modern medical practice better known as Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital.

While making a routine trip to the hospital to stroke some votes out of the sick and dying, Labour councillor Gerald Nash was mortified to discover that there was open, unsupervised access to patient files in the visiting room. The clearly perturbed politico described his distress at the discovery:
I could clearly see highly confidential patient files and I could clearly make out who they belonged to. If I was so minded, I could have decided to have a trawl through these files in an unsupervised room....Worryingly for patients and medical staff alike, there is a high risk that confidential patient files could be removed or stolen thereby resulting in the loss of a lifetime’s worth of medical history

Not being so minded our Gerry refrained from having a quick perusal of his rivals' medical data (yeah, right!) and instead absconded from the building clutching a batch of appointment forms for endoscopies, blood tests, x-rays and a range of other such services.

Queues are already forming outside the crusading councillor's constituency office following his announcement that
I can also write you a sick note for a couple of weeks or send you for physiotherapy.
Cllr Nash is expected to hold his seat comfortably at the forthcoming elections and stay well within his election campaign budget.

A unnamed spokesperson for the hospital said that the board of management was deeply concerned that the important ability to lose patients' files was no longer in the control of medical and administrative staff and said this would have important implications for the massaging of waiting lists.

In a brief statement given before waddling swiftly away from reporters , Minister of Health, Mary Harney said 'Not that fucking kip of a place again. The sooner we replace it with a state of the art private healthcare centre.....'

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What if The Beatles were Irish?

Came across this guy this morning on YouTube. He's a less urbane version of Tom Lehrer but funny nonetheless I thought (if that's not damning with faint praise). Check him out.

PS Roy, if you're watching, I've got news for you. 3 of them were.
Time to kill...

I hate it when the clocks change. There are a number of reasons for this. The most important is that because I never change my bedside alarm from Irish Wintertime, until last Sunday I would have been buried in my scratcher content in the knowledge that I had another hour in the pit to prepare myself emotionally, and in other ways, to face the fresh hell that is a new day in the world of Where Angels Fear.

Instead, I find myself up and about before the under-houseboy has had time to bring me my second cup of Kenyan Peaberry and pounding the keys on the old Toshiba in the vain hope of amusing a small but select group of fellow anoraks out there on t'interweb . It won't do I tell you.

But this is a mere selfish whimsy. And here comes another one. For me, the changing of the clocks is inevitably marked by a strange sense of dissociation from reality.

For a week after the change I find myself existing in the middle of a Half Man Half Biscuit song in which almost the only conversations I hear and overhear from friends, over-familiar servants, toadies, lackeys, and old ladies at bus stops consist of moans about how the change affects them:
'Oh I feel so tired all the time'
'Oh I can't get to sleep'
'Oh I can't wake up.'
'Yes but it's worth it for the lighter evenings, the kids can play out.'
'And it's better in the morning too, not going to work in the dark'
'Oh I hate that, going out when it's dark, coming home when it's dark, you don't feel like you've had a day.'
'Oh you're so right, Alice.'
Fuck off the lot of yez. I feel like I've just flown back from Tokyo via Seattle in a single hop. Do you think I could possibly care whether the kids can play out or you can take the dog for a walk without fear of being interfered with? If you don't stop this bi-annual prattle fest, I shall unleash the awesome power of the small thermonuclear device I carry about my person at all times.

Does nobody care? It's just me, me, me all the time in this life.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Who are these people, Fine Gaelers?

While both Bertie Aherne and the management of Diageo may be selling their souls to the the great earth mother by going green, it seems the message isn't getting through to some consumers on the Emerald Isle.

Distressing news about anti-eco goings around around the bottle bank in the village of Corofin, Co Galway came my way this morning. According to that august organ, the Tuam Herald

The condition of the local bottle banks at the Dr. Duggan Hall has continued to deteriorate into what parishioners have described as a "total disgrace" and a blight on our lovely village. Their condition has been highlighted on numerous occasions and appeals made to the perpetrators both from the altar and in the Tuam Herald.

The failure of elements in the locality to cop on to the ecological message being thrummed out by everyone from Bertie downwards led to tragedy last week. Canon Oliver, the parish priest, embarrassed with what was described as 'the filth in the village' , which had recently traumatised some visiting French students, stepped out on Paddy's day to clear up some of the mess.

While salvaging some old pallets from the site for use, and I quote, 'in a Santa Claus event' he dropped one on his foot resulting in some nasty bruises to his saintly plates. The good canon was forced to pull out of the best dressed priest competition and the freestyle mass giving mosh, both of which he has won unopposed for the past 75 years. A swift visit to casualty followed and the good pastor is currently smiting his parishioners with the fear of hell and damnation on the hobble.

The bottle bank has been banished from the parish and would be eco-warriors now have to drive their SUVs to the sink-pit of Hell that is Tuam to do their re-cycling. The French students were provided with counselling before being returned to their homes in, well, France.

It's so easy being green

Excellent news in this morning's Irish Times for the eco-consconscious drinker. Diageo has gone green and signed a contract with the ESB to get all its electrickery from renewable sources.

The impact on Where Angels Fear's carbon footprint is likely to be significant and the knock-on effect on the future survival of the human race has been welcomed by eco-organisations around the globe.

Diageo has been doing a fair bit of the old green-washing in recent years, using its by-products to make compost, animal feed and nutrients for willow trees to burn in the old Aga.

Now if they could only find a way of harnessing my house-mate kranky Rae's methane output the morning after a night on the stout, the nation's energy problems would be resolved at a stroke.