Friday, March 30, 2007
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 www.whiteslavesrus.com.
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)
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
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 historyNot 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
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.
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'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.
'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.'
Does nobody care? It's just me, me, me all the time in this life.
Monday, March 26, 2007
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.
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.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
From the Irish Times Letters Saturday March 24th
Madam, - I disagree with recent correspondents' criticisms of the new offices next door to City Hall in Dublin - and I say this as a former planner and city architect. The new office block is a superb piece of avant-garde architecture, sensitively handled by its architects, and it fits comfortably in with its classical neighbours. - Yours, etc,I don't know what drugs our Billy is on (but I'd definitely like to sample some) or whether his irony runs so deep you'd need that yoke they used for the Port Tunnel and half the population of Warsaw to dig it out. But if he thinks these two buildings fit together I can understand why he's a former city architect (or perhaps not).
BILL DELANEY, Castleknock Park, Dublin 15.
As a regular in The Oak I watched this edifice rise from its footings with enthusiastic anticipation having been promised by my mate Eamo, who works for the Corpo, that it would be an 'exciting development in the remodelling of public space on Dame St'. This, it seems, was architect speak for something that looks like a branch of Top Shop uprooted from a windswept shopping precinct in Essex.
Still, it sets Eddie Rocket's off a treat and as I stagger onto Dame St it makes me think it's Christmas every night. And in my life it usually is....
Saturday, March 24, 2007
I love my country but there are times, like most days, when I just despair. As a wise man, I think it was Twenty Major or it might have been Bock, possibly said 'it makes you wanna holler some times' (actually no, it was Gil Scott-Heron come to think of it).
There have been periods in my time here when my despondency over the state of the nation has plumbed such depths that a mere glance at the headlines would bring me out in the rash-like symptoms which are the psychosomatic accompaniment of deeply repressed rage and frustration.
To cope, I have gone weeks starting the Irish Times from the back and rarely straying beyond Crosaire, and Brendan McWilliam's weather column. Anything else would have me being drip-fed Class A pharmaceuticals in a back ward at St Ita's-on-Sea. There are only so many times in confronting the news here that you can shrug your shoulders and scream 'What the fuck else do you expect!' at passers-by on Dame Street.
This has definitely been one of those 'what the fuck else do you expect?' news weeks.
Here are just a few of the many stories that red-lined on the Where Angels Fear' melancholometer this week:
The Director of Public Prosecutions went for a nice meal with his wife and possibly a round or two of golf followed a by a mini-break in Lanzarote before public opinion in the shape of Joe Duffy, Pat Kenny and yer moaning wan from Cork on Newstalk 106, probably, forced him to appeal against the 3 year suspended sentence for rape handed down by district court mentaller Justice Paul Carney.
The dozy old beak observed that Adam Keane of Barnageeha, Daragh, Co Clare had said the rape was out of character for him and that he came from a respectable home. Oh well then, that's a comfort to his victim. Maybe he could invite her round for tea on the best delph by way of recompense.
Footnote: Ancient Brehon Law allowed for a category of marriage arising from 'sexual intercourse with an unconscious woman'. Perhaps Carney's sentence was an attempt to turn the clock back 1500 rather than merely 50 years.
Bent Galway councillor Michael Fahy refused to resign his seat on 'considered and conscientious grounds' and sought leave to appeal a jail sentence for misuse of public funds for personal property improvements. I would suggest Galway CC fund a nice cast iron lamp-post for the Fahy estate from which to string the fecker up, but with his neck he'd probably survive.
Newstalk 106 Galway vox-pop consensus: 'He's a great fellow who's done a lot of good for the community.' Ah they're as charitable as they are fucking stupid, them boggers. I can see why they let them keep the vote.
Galway water officials confirmed they all have shares in Ballygowan, Bord Gáis and the ESB as water boiling goes on apace around the county. An outbreak of the squitters in recent weeks has forced officials to resume the hunt for the cryptosporidium bacteria, them little critters on the right there, which are the presumed source of the outbreak. Thing is, these lads have known about the risk since 2005 and did shag all about it. They now claim they can't find the contaminated source.
I know it rains a lot but how many water sources are there in Galway? It's not like they have to take a microscope to every tap and spigot in the county for fuck's sake.
In the same vein, at the opening of the tribal gathering of the men with skulls on sticks, otherwise known as the Fianna Fáil Ard Fhéis, the current head man Bertie Aherne has said he was not going to be lectured to about environmental policy by parties "who think things up by the day".
Begob, Bertram, that's more time than you give it you (hesitates here for fear of accusations of plagiarism) cunt.
Friday, March 23, 2007
Much like a game of cricket itself, the mystery surrounding the death of Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer in his hotel room trundles on.
Except in Ireland, it would seem, the death has generated far more news interest than the competition itself.
Was he or wasn't he? Did he or didn't he? Was his killer a bad curry or a bad curry merchant? A disgruntled book-maker or an evil umpire? Unlike the man himself, this could run and run.
Theories surrounding the death have begun sprout like crab grass around the crease in April. Rumours that Woolmer was working on a book that would take the lid off corruption in the game have been shown to be unfounded. The truth is that he was working on an explanation of the LBW rule that the person in the street could understand.
In view of the 2 book deal offered to Twenty Major this week I sense an opportunity here for bloggers with aspirations to move into the literary mainstream. Why not try your hand at a classic cucumber sandwich and ladies in hats whodunnit not seen since the heady days of Agatha Christie and Margery Allyngham?
Need some inspiration? Look no further. Anything you need in the way of plot, character and cover design can be cribbed here.
The elements are simple:
The mysterious death of a top spin bowler disturbs the leather against willow serenity of an English afternoon somewhere in the home counties just before the 2nd World War.
The cast of characters:
An sprightly spinster of a certain age with a fondness for crotchet and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the poisoner's arsenal ;
A bumptious retired Colonel with a dubious military record and a string of bad debts;
An oily lascar named Aziz who seems a little too friendly with the Colonel's glamorous but brittle younger wife;
The club captain, a bluff non-nonsense Yorkshireman who prides himself on speaking as he finds and usually does;
A gauche, nouveau riche couple who made their money in trade, recently migrated to the locality from the East End, bought the freehold to the pavilion and are desperate to be accepted by the cocktails at eight set;
A moustachioed police inspector in a belted raincoat and his stout yeoman of a British bobby.
Throw in a couple of bright young things and an upper class dim-but-thick or two and Bob's your late uncle.
There now, I've laid the groundwork for you, all you have to do is step up to the crease and go to bat for Irish literature in this renascence of a classic but neglected genre.
Thursday, March 22, 2007
According to a snippet on BBC Radio 4 this morning, the family of Ian Paisley has given its backing to a biopic of the big yin by playwright Gary Mitchell. The Hollywood (Co Down) rumour-mill is said to be working overtime speculating who will play the great man.
The Reverend Ian is said to favour Chuck Heston for his political correctness, Alzheimer's disease and having played Moses, a figure with whom Papa Doc strongly identifies.
Liam Neeson's name has, of course, been mentioned but it's unlikely that the big gangly Fenian taig will get a look in when the casting couch is wheeled out.
John Wayne turned the part down on the grounds of being dead and Gregor Fisher refused to speculate on whether he would bring Rab C Nesbitt (left) out of mothballs to tackle such a challenging role.
Equally problematic is the question of a title. The following have been mentioned as amongst those considered
- Paisley: Lust for Glory
- Red Hand of Darkness
- The Unquiet Man
- Yes, First Minister
- Oranges are the only fruit
- None dare call him Antichrist
- The Paisley's not for turning
- Londonderry Burning
- Codename Lisburn
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
One can't help but wonder what would have happened if they'd tried this here. Possibly fewer than eight deaths over the weekend.
I wouldn't recommend it for the drink driving, though. Not with the stress our mental health services are already under.
PS It seems the lads at You Tube won't let you watch this from here unless you're logged on to them. You can avoid this techno-imperialism by clicking HERE
From The Irish Times Letters, 21 March 2007
Ok, very sporting and well done that man, but I heard no reports of arse brutalising going on. No wonder RTE didn't show the highlights.
Madam, - I am a blue-blooded Pakistani with a lot of love of your countrymen. I lived with an Irish in New York and also had the pleasure of being another Irish's room-mate in Washington. You deserved every bit of the victory in Jamaica. You played for the love of the game and the love of your country. I would gladly have the behind of my country brutalised by the Irish any day. Perhaps this way some of your qualities can rub off them. - Yours, etc,
ISFANDYAR KHAN, Islamabad, Pakistan.
Still, he could be onto something here. The fax machine at the ICC marketing department must be buzzing.
A potentially minor political row has broken out in South Dublin after Fianna Fáil Dublin South West TD Charlie O'Connor was asked by the waste enforcement section of South Dublin County Council to remove 400 posters from streets in Tallaght and Templeogue.
Mr O'Connor has accused the council of "persecution", claiming it failed to enforce the removal of Labour and Fine Gael posters over the past month. "I put up a few posters and suddenly they're down on me straight away."
Mr O'Connor, who should be so lucky to have anyone go down on him, even a loving spouse (See photo, right) apparently contravened the Litter Pollution Act 1997, which the council has decided to enforce strictly for a change or possibly for a laugh this year.
Political fly-posters around the city are reported to be deeply unhappy about the council's decision. A spokesperson for one company described the council's actions as 'an attack on democracy, freedom of political expression and the employment of Rumanian labour at below the minimum wage.'
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Father Dougal alive and well and writing for the Jesuits
that's where the boss lives
In the recent Jesuit AMDG Newsletter a certain Fr Paul Andrews SJ has expressed his puzzlement over the use of the word 'Roman' to describe the Catholic church. He observes
As a boy I had a spell in England - Lancashire and London. I had been born into a Catholic family, and I used be puzzled by a word that some of my parents' Protestant friends used: they spoke of "arsees". .....Now I have heard presenters on Irish media, who watch too much English TV, talking about arsees, sometimes with a wan ecumenical courtesy, and a deference to the presumed prejudices of their audience.Well I always thought that it was called Roman because that's where head office is but clearly not. Presumably, as Fr Jack would say 'That would be an ecumenical matter.'
The 'arsee' bit is, fortunately, a little easier to understand. In the days before he became England's favourite Irishman and was still funny, Graham 'Fr Noel Hurley' Norton used to do a bit about growing up gay in Bandon (no not 'gay abandon'). He recounted how, even in those unenlightened times, the town was fortunate to have its own gay bar, where a young man keen to explore his sexuality could gain experience in the company of older men over claret and nibbles. It was known locally as the 'Altar Rail'.
Reform of maternity services announced
Health Minister Mary Harney today announced radical plans to shake up the delivery of maternity services in the Irish Republic and reduce waiting lists further. Ms Harney's announcement comes in response to news that women attending the maternity unit at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda have to wait until the start of the fifth month of pregnancy before seeing an obstetrician.
Ms Harney's plans involve the streamlining of the service to expectant mums by combining ante and post natal services across the nation. Under the plan, obstetricians will now pop in for a five minute shuftee as soon as possible after birth, 'just to make sure everything's ok' an HSE spokesperson said. Mothers will be re-assured to hear that a plentiful supply of midwives will be on hand to bring the doctor his tea, as and when it is needed.
According to the Minister
'We do not foresee any problems with this change. Isn't pregnancy the most natural thing in the world? Sure, women in Africa have been doing it for donkey's ages without medical intervention. The impact on waiting lists will be significant and enable us to target resources to areas of greater need, such as the building of hospitals for the rich.'A spokeperson for An Bord Altranais, which represents Irish midwives, today welcomed the change and said it would have little impact on the health of Irish mothers and children;
Sure, aren't most of the pregnancies these days them immigrants looking to get a dig out from the Social Welfare. They have their own ways, more natural loike, and they wouldn't be happy with us interfering. They'd be after dropping babies at breakfast and back working in the fields by dinnertime. Anyway so, they'll all be off home to Africa as soon as the Department of Justice gets its act together.
Monday, March 19, 2007
In a decision described as 'further evidence of a bizarre trend' the old lady of D'Olier street has put another cow story on its front page. Unlike like the last one however, this bovine bunkum has serious implications.
Down in Wickla, where all manner of weird and wonderful things ecological have been happening for years now, Prof Harry Harrison has been refused permission to retain three new windows in his house near Killiskey, Ashford after the owner of an adjoining field objected primarily because of the possible risk to livestock.
Refusing permission in the case, the board said the three windows would "negatively impact on the amenity and agricultural use of the adjoining field" now and in the future.
This, of course, is planner speak for a failure to grease the right palms over a pint or two down at Shifty O'Shaugnessy's Wine Bar, Bistro and Post Office on a Tuesday afternoon.
Fears were also raised by undisclosed sources that the cows might treat the windows as an escape route from the unwanted attentions of a priapic Wicklow farmer and come to harm attempting to batter down the toughened glass.
It was also rumoured that, as one of the windows opened on to the dining room, the animals might be severely traumatised by the sight of one of their relatives going up in a Sunday roast. The effect on milking rates in the locality could be another Chernobyl, a unnamed spokesman said.
Local livestock expert and Bord Pleanála stalwart Paddy O' Lughnassey pointed to the cows' natural reclusiveness as a possible explanation for the objection. 'Tis a well known fact that the half-Holstein is a very private animal. She wouldn't be taking kindly now to blow-ins after knowing her business every hour of the day and night. We have a bounden duty to protect her from this sort of thing.'
Unnamed local sources reported that Professor Harrison placed a large order for stout brown envelopes with Mrs Shifty only the day after the decision was announced.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
When we speak of 'The Necessity for De-Anglicising the Irish Nation', we mean it, not as a protest against imitating what is best in the English people, for that would be absurd, but rather to show the folly of neglecting what is Irish, and hastening to adopt, pell-mell, and indiscriminately, everything that is English, simply because it is cricket.
It was with a growing sense of disquiet that I lay in bed the other night listening to the BBC World Service as the Ireland cricket team made history by drawing with Zimbabwe. I heard smug and patronising commentators write off any chance that Ireland had of avoiding the inevitable humiliation at the hands of a 'serious' cricketing side. There is after all no place for plucky little amateurs in world class cricket. But they pulled it off and hubris was the emotion of the night.
Ok I thought, no need to panic. Ireland meet Pakistan in the next fixture and, Paddy's Day or not, reality will bite with the bone-crushing force of a great white shark on the toned thighs of an unwary swimmer. Nope. They went and done and did it, beating the Pakistanis quite convincingly by 3 wickets. A more than likely win by the West Indies over Zimbabwe will now take them into the final stages of the cricket world cup and meetings with Australia and England in the next stage of the competition.
Part of me wishes the lads in green jym-jams well, but the other part of me, the mean spirited product of an English grammar school education, hopes they crash and burn spectacularly. Bear with me on this one: We do not want cricket getting a foothold in the popular imagination on this Ireland.
My utter contempt for Rugby Union is well documented, but I have kept silent about cricket in my time here. But once I see lads in green pyjamas and pads displayed willy-nilly over the front pages of the Irish Sundays, I believe that now is the time to speak out.
My reasons are simple:
1. Contrary to popular belief cricket is not a boring game, it is merely incomprehensible to most sane people. Here are the rules:
Not merely are the rules incomprehensible but, unlike the R game, there are no helpful referees to explain them to players and spectators as the game unfolds. Umpires take pride in their incontestable inscrutability preferring to communicate their decisions in an arcane sign language known only to certain North American Plains Indians.
You have two sides, one out in the field and one in. Each man that's in the side that's in goes out, and when he's out he comes in and the next man goes in until he's out. When they are all out, the side that's out comes in and the side that's been in goes out and tries to get those coming in, out. Sometimes you get men still in and not out.
When a man goes out to go in, the men who are out try to get him out, and when he is out he goes in and the next man in goes out and goes in. There are two men called umpires who stay all out all the time and they decide when the men who are in are out. When both sides have been in and all the men have out, and both sides have been out twice after all the men have been in, including those who are not out, that is the end of the game!
The English revel in this lack of transparency and in some quarters it is regarded as a mark of cultural assimilation: if you can understand the game to their satisfaction you're well on the way to getting an invitation to the hunt ball.
2. Should the game catch on here, anyone with an English accent will be asked constantly to explain the rules to home grown fans. Explaining the off-side rule to a person of the feminine persuasion is a piece of cake by comparison. This painfully frustrating task would try the patience of a Catholic martyr and, in fact, cannot be accomplished due to the illogical nature of said rules.
On the plus side shared incomprehension might increase the bond between us and our American cousins as victims of snot-nosed English contempt.
3. Cricket has a distinctly negative effect on the Irish psyche. Look at Samuel Becket, one of only a handful of Nobel prize winners to play first class cricket. Beckett's pessimism about the human condition was acquired after a game against Northamptonshire in 1935 when he conceded 63 runs for no wicket and was never allowed bowl again. He spent the remainder of his cricketing career pondering the imponderables of existence at 3rd man, a posting well known for its ability to drive sane men over the boundary into madness.
It is widely rumoured that the entire script of Endgame was cribbed from the crowd during a particularly tedious county match between Somerset and Glamorgan in 1955, a game notable only for the deaths of 3 spectators from ennui. And every dog on the street knows that the absence of climax in Waiting for Godot is a metaphor not for life but for county cricket.
4. These days they play in pyjamas. This is fine if you're a tracker-knacker teenager from Ballymun or Dolphin's Barn for whom Dunne's nightwear is daytime de rigeur. But imagine if you started seeing this stuff sold at usurious prices in your local Champion Sports and, what is worse, folk started wearing it on a regular basis around the inns and hostelries of this fair city. Ughhhh!
5. Fans of the game think this kind of thing is trouser-wettingly hilarious:
Welcome to Worcester where you've just missed seeing
Barry Richards hitting one of Basil D'Oliveira's balls
clean out of the ground.
- Brian Johnston, BBC RadioThe bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey.
- Brian Johnston, BBC
Oo-er, Mrs Golightly, not exactly Oscar Wilde, is it? Or even Benny Hill for that matter.
6. When cricket was introduced to the Trobriand islands, according to anthropologists 'they embraced it and made it their own, transforming the game in keeping with their own ideas about village warfare, sorcery, hospitality, fair play, and spectacle'. In actual fact it became a substitute for head-hunting, wife raiding, and the routine mayhem of life in a Melanesian jungle paradise.
I don't even want to contemplate the consequence if we took a leaf out of them lads' book. Isn't the old stick-fighting trouble enough?
7. Would you like these guys walking our streets singing calypso at the top of their voices, eating cake, and giving sugar-lumps to police-horses on a regular basis?
I don't think I have to answer that, do I?
Saturday, March 17, 2007
It's the morning of St Patrick's Day 1995. A bright and sunny good to be alive day. Or it would be if I didn't have the hangover to end all hangovers. The result of a three day tear taking in most of the bars in the Bowery and the
Anyway so now I'm shaved and showered and shining like a new dime as I walk towards
The streets are already a mess of kelly, emerald, and all hues Johnny Cash. 40 shades, more like 400. Anything that will pass for green or shamrock-shaped will do. Beer is sucked from brown bags by boys and girls in kiss me I'm Irish t-shirts, plastic bowler hats of an eye-stabbing hue only achievable at a high cost to the ozone layer, bawneen caps, blue jeans and plaid kilts.
I keep my distance from all this viridiana. I'm in black. A leather jacket I bought off a street corner Pakistani in
The subway is crowded with
Off the train at
At a side altar a black woman prostrates herself before an enormous marble crucifix. She looks like she just stepped of the streets of Port au Prince. Cotton headscarf, so white it hurts my eyes, long skirt with a Gitanes-blue and white floral pattern. She is face down, arms out-stretched mimicking the man on the cross. The skirt spreads like a discarded opera fan. The lace curtain Micks step around her with eyes averted as if her devotions shame their noisy impiety.
I leave the cathedral by a side exit and try to slip under the NYPD barriers to claim a spot in the space reserved for the VII(rish)Ps . Rumour has it that Gerry Adams will be making an appearance after he's been and shown solidarity with the ILGO protest. I have a ticket in a sweep and I'm banking on 22 arrests at this year's demo. Sod ideology this means pints.
I almost make it into the Hibernian equivalent of the Royal enclosure when I'm stopped by a short female Hispanic cop. She asks for my invitation. I pull out my passport. It's green with a big gold harp on it. Worth a try.
No dice. No invitation no way in. I've come all the way from
Eventually I hook up with my mate Mike on the corner of
The marching bands and school girl majorettes are limbering up, getting ready for their part in the big day. There's a crew of hard core republicans wearing T-Shirts with slogans that would get them arrested on the other side of the
A group of fireman pipers entertain each other by revealing what is worn under an Irish-American's kilt. I look at Mike, he looks at me. No comment but the grin gives it all away it all. The Majorettes of Mother Cabrini’s Marching Band do stretches while
Grrrrr! says Finn the fireman
In the next street a drunken
In our zig-zag, leap frog from side street to side street we stop from time to time and engage in loud and nonsensical conversations as gaeilge. ‘Cad é an focail gaeilge 'dialysis machine'?’ as we witness one more kid drunk at 11.30 am. People look at us as if we're speaking Latvian. We keep it up trying to provoke a response or at least a word or two of Irish from someone else on the streets on this very Irish day. After five minutes we move on and try it again another street corner. In an attempt at guerilla street theatre Mike asks directions to Carnegie Hall in Irish from the leader of a Republican flute band. The man looks at him blankly, scratches an Aran clad armpit and points towards a cop standing on the opposite corner. Shona lá le Padraig tu féin, a chara. We move on.
Our zig-zag progress starts to take its toll and my hangover returns like a line from a House of Pain rap tune. We look around and realise that we're the only ones not drinking or marching or both. Our frantic pace slows and then slows again. Somewhere in the mid-70s I realise that this Bloom like sojourn cannot be sustained without pints and more pints. I emerge onto 5th Avenue heading east and realise that the parade has overtaken us. The last bands are passing and it's like the final scene from State of Grace without the carnage.
Zen and the art of piping NYC
Don't worry New York City, this child of migrants gets it. And loves you all the more for it.
A smiling black cop puts his hand on my shoulder and points me east. He wears a small tricolour in his lapel. 'Time to move along now, sir.'
Could be continued if there's enough interest....
The photo of St Patrick's Cathedral above was purloined from Griotphoto
These guys do good camera. Joe-Bob says 4 stars, check 'em out
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
In a pre-holiday crackdown intended to improve the quality of St Patrick's Day, Garda have today rounded up the following groups of people for offences under Section 35 (Amended) of the Annoying the Diaspora Act:
1. Anyone from Dublin who think its funny to don a ginger fright wig, a green bowler hat, or a kiss me I'm Irish tee-shirt just because that's what they do in New York.
2. Fuckwits from anywhere on earth who thinks its ok to wear a ginger wig, a green bowler hat, or a kiss me I'm Irish tee-shirt on the island of Ireland, period.
3. Arseholes who say to anyone who will listen 'You know, in New York they dye the beer green. They're mad the yanks, so they are.'
4. Sanctimonious bastards who feel obliged to remind you that 'it's supposed to be a religious festival, you know.'
5. Complete maggots who give up drink for Lent and then get spectacularly blitzed the day before, during and the day after St Patrick's and then immediately re-assume the high moral ground before their hangover is cold in its grave.
6. Utter gobshites who patronize Irish-American visitors by insisting that only the indigenous Irish know how Saint Pat's should be really celebrated. Unless your idea of a celebration is watching a few auld floats loaded with livestock, a pipe band led by a bedraggled wolfhound and some priests trundle by in the rain, they don't. The yanks have always done it better.
7. Irritating puss faces who challenge anyone with an English accent their right to wear the shamrock, paint their face green white and orange, or enter an informal Shane McGowan drinkalike competition for the duration of the festival.
8. Armchair republicans who think wearing a Celtic replica shirt and singing a few Wolfe Tone come all ye's demonstrates the purest love of their cultural identity. A special dispensation from this section exists for anyone who grew up under the aegis of the Prevention of Terrorism Act or the NI Special Powers legislation.
9. Traditional musicians in paid sessions who act like they're Druidic guardians of Holy Celtic culture rather than hired banjos who couldn't get a gig anywhere else and who shush loudly while some amadán destroys The Lonesome Boatman on a tin whistle.
10. Cute whoor bar owners who add a St Patrick's Day surcharge to their already over-inflated prices.
11. The same whoors who add a cover charge to pay for the dubious services of the musicians in section 9. And then pocket the difference between the charge and what they actually pay.
12. Community arts gobdaws who think Macnas is something to be emulated, rather than utterly eradicated like the street theatre plague carrier it is, and who dress under-nourished kids from Dolphins Barn up like survivors of a nuclear holocaust, smear their faces in manure and force them out half naked on to the streets in March.
13. RTE TV commentators watching the parade who say things like 'It's all got too much for someone there' Or 'Isn't that (insert minor celeb here) there? S/he looks like s/he's having a day of it.' Or 'Today's the day everyone wishes they were Irish' (usually said just after the camera picks out a black, brown or yellow face in the crowd).
14. Anyone, anywhere who calls the day in question 'St Patty's'.
15. Helpful head the balls who suggest dyeing the Liffey green, like they do in New York, having failed to notice it already is green, like 365.
16. Smug sleeveens who preface every conversation on the day with 'Did I tell you about the time I spent St Pat's in an Irish theme bar in Latvia/tagging jaguars in the Orinoco Basin/amongst the headhunting tribes of the Seepik Highlands who worship Prince Philip as a god? Boy, them boys could sup stout.'
17. Any begrudging bollocks who fails to understand that St Patrick's Day festivities are for migrants. We invented them and we own the copyright. It's the one day wherever you find yourself in the world that it's ok to be a Paddy. Except possibly in Ireland.
Have a nice time, folks, but be careful out there.
Friday, March 09, 2007
In an uncharacteristic outburst of frankness, Kildare FG TD Bernard Durkan yesterday made the shocking revelation that there were TDs who should never have been elected to the Dáil. The man from Mayo is obviously trailing his coat for the 'Every dog on the street knows that' Award, 2007.
In a debate on the Electoral (Amendment) Bill he was heard to mutter the following:
I do not care how many people supported them, or assented to their election. I still believe it was wrong that they were elected. It is wrong to make a decision that allows people with criminal records, for example, to be elected. The election of such people does nothing for society or for local and national politics.He stopped short of suggesting a rake of Lee Enfields and a conveniently located stone wall as a solution to this problem, which is the course of action I would naturally choose meself.
I was, however, somewhat disquieted by his advocacy of the 'purest and simplest' form of democracy. Do I detect the beginnings of a beerhall putsch in the offing? Somebody should tip off the bar staff at Doheny & Nesbitt's before there's pint pots broken .
Forgetful readers may need to be reminded that born again guardian of political virtue Mr Durkan was up before the beaks at the DIRT inquiry in 1999 regarding the write-off of IR£20,000 in loan interest by ACC Bank, knowledge of which emerged when he was, wait for it, sitting on the Public Accounts Committee and presumably ensuring that money wasn't squandered on such fripperies as hospitals, schools and public transport.
According to an Indo report at the time
One leading senior counsel said last night that Mr Durkan's dealings with the bank would be a cause of legitimate concern for fair procedures: ``He could appear to be too hard on the bank to show he is not biased in their favour, or seem to be going easy on them because of his past dealings with them. It's all a matter of perception.''The same report noted that our Bernie was represented in his dealings with the bank at the time by a certain Charlie McCreevy. No conflict of interest there either, wha? And anyway so, the writing off of loans, interest and other stuff for politicos was common practice back in them days; an essential part of the democratic process as we understood it, blah, blah blah.
Somewhere in the deepest pits of Hades old Charlie Haughey must be laughing hard enough to split the seams of his favourite state-subsidised Charvet shirt.
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Sororial Solidarity to all (or is it both?) my readers. Drape yourself in purple and green and hang out your brightest colours. Today, as I'm sure you know, is International Women's Day and I would like to make my small contribution to this global fest of feminism and femininity with some hopeful and hopefully helpful suggestions to members of the local sorority on the Emerald Isle. So here we go:
1. Do not begin sentences with 'I'm not a feminist but.....' . Either you are or you aren't and there's definitely nothing wrong with feminism that you should have to apologise for it. I'm a feminist. All men should be, if only for survival reasons. And before the purists out there start to whine that 'a man can't be a feminist' I would point you in the direction of my Uncle Mary.
2. Pay no attention to John Waters and his mates in the Amen Corner (who haven't been the same since Andy Fairweather-Low bought the farm). The man is a fool who never got over being dumped by a looper. It's the price one pays for starfucking. Anyway, anyone who thinks Sinead O'Connor is representative of women in general lost touch with reality somewhere along the boreens of pre-Celtic Tiger Ireland
3. Do not confuse feminism with lad-ism, lesbianism or me-ism. Women's rights and status are not advanced by you behaving like Weslian prop forward in Annabel's on a Saturday night.
4. Whatever you might think, drunken joyless sex with a stranger you're likely never to see again, or even want to, is not a sign of sexual emancipation. Quite the contrary. Liquor may be quicker but if the only way you can enjoy sex is bordering on the edge of alcoholic oblivion, then you may have my sympathies and the name of a good therapist.
5. Stop dancing with an agenda. My favourite feminist Emma Goldman once dismissed the bearded denizens of the Comintern by saying 'If I can't dance I don't want to be in your revolution.' Dancing is good thing in itself and not necessarily an invitation to sex , marriage and mortgage on a two bed semi above in Naas. The ballroom of romance days are long gone but if you keep resurrecting them every time you make shapes on the dancefloor it truly will be murder, of the soul if nothing else.
6. Give up the 2 men good 1 man bad approach to inter-gender social encounters. You know the one I mean. You start talking to one guy you’re interested in a bar. Once you’ve got his attention you then immediately behave as if you’re more interested in his friend or some other bloke in the vicinity, often a completely innocent bystander. It doesn’t make you more enigmatic, desirable or interesting, not when the competition is a fine pint of creamy porter or two. It’s the kind of childish coquettishness that wouldn’t be out of place in a 5th form disco. Time to move on.
7. Complaining about the elevation of the toilet seat does not enhance your claims to equal rights and treatment. Learn to work the fucking thing. You're a big girl now and you've come a long way, baby. If it's up, put it down or whatever you fancy yourself. You don't hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
Irish womanhood might have gone from the BVM to the Spice Girls overnight (without I might add the benefit of Madonna in between) but that doesn’t mean that Sex in the City rules and values could or should be imported wholesale. Those girls just ain't happy campers. Mullingar isn’t
Parts of this blog were previously published in Your Destiny I am grateful to the publishers for permission to re-write them here
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
I have to confess that a moribund depressive paralysis set in after Liverpool's defeat by the forces of darkness last Saturday at Anfield. So much so that not even an invitation to the Irish Bloggers' Beano could have overcome the mortification I felt for most of the weekend (I guess my invite got lost in the post, eh lads?).
The miasma of doom and despondency which surrounded me was only lifted after the Barcelona game on Tuesday night. However while the result was helpful to our European cause, the performance in that game didn't exactly fill me with me joy in abundance. If we can do everything wrong for most of the game against Barca and go through, how is it that we can play Man U off the park for 90 minutes and still lose to a goal in injury time scored by a player who would struggle to keep his place in an Eircom League side?
Pondering this I've been developing a theory about the dark denizen of Old Trafford, the archfiend Alex Ferguson. I am convinced that the man is in league with the devil. Even without the innumerate Graham Poll, Fergie's minor demon and scourge of scousers everywhere, on hand to deny us a justified penalty or Uri Geller the rules sufficiently to give United one, they still manage to eke out a win at Fortress Anfield.
How else can you explain the fact that a team so weak in so many areas, a side which should have been struggling to keep in the hunt for a Champions League place by the first week of January, currently sits atop the Premiership like Lucifer on the throne of Hades? I'll tell you. It's because Alex Ferguson has sold the soul of another of his offspring to the dark lord Mephistopheles.
Now I don't exactly have what you might call hard evidence for this theory, but the circumstantials are there if you look hard enough into the man's biography.
- He's from Govan, well known in Scottish legend as one of the inner circles of Hell
- As a young man he supported and played for Rangers (Ask any Celtic supporter what that means for one's mortal soul)
- He was sacked from St Mirren for 'unpardonable swearing at a lady on club premises' (Definite evidence of a step on the road to perdition, that)
- Aberdeen, a club that hadn't won anything since 1955, suddenly starts to win cups and trophies galore when he takes over. Coincidence? I think not.
- He left them to manage a club known apparently as the 'Red Devils' (Spooky or wha?)
- He once gave a 'team talk' to Strathclyde Police
- His son Jason is a football agent (Definitely a case of a soul sold to further his ambitions and sure evidence of a family trait for diabolic collusion)
- Another son, Darren spent 8 years in the purgatory that is Wrexham and was last heard of managing Peterborough Utd (Oh the price the children pay for the sins of their father).
- He has poor taste in names for his boy children. I suspect he has one called Damien hidden somewhere.
- He received a knighthood on 12 June 1999 (Do the maths. 12 is two 6s, June is the 6th Month and 999 is 666 upside down. What better evidence could a reasonable person ask for satanic involvement)
- Man U won their 6th title in the Millenium Season 1999-2000. A definite sign of impending apocalypse and the rule of the Antichrist.
- Ruud Van Nistelroy was signed the following year for, wait for it £18 million. (That's three 6s again)
- Wayne Rooney looks like a goblin and, as the evidence below shows, smears himself in the blood of sacrificial virgins (or aged prostitutes if no virgins available) before every game.
- The injury time goal against Liverpool on Saturday was scored by a cloven footed beast (affectionately known to Republic of Ireland supporters 'that fucking donkey O'Shea')
Thursday, March 01, 2007
Madam, - With reference to your report of February 23rd, "Coca-Cola and Pepsi Irish operations shipping to Iran", I would like to clarify a very important point for you and your readers. The sale of The Coca-Cola Company's concentrate to a local bottler in Iran is done with the approval of a licence granted to our company by the Office of Foreign Assets Control of the United States Department of Treasury, which has jurisdiction over the implementation of US sanctions laws. The authorisation granted through the licence requires that the concentrate must be intended for ultimate consumption as food in Iran. There is no question of the company skirting US trade sanctions or shipping company products to Iran by way of a loophole. - Yours, etc,
The Coca-Cola Company Corporate Communications,
News to me, that. Coca-Cola a food? Whatever next will they claim for it? A refreshing drink for a warm summer's day in the war zone, perhaps? Well they say it does add life.
Suggestions on a medium of you choice to whoever you like.
It's the first day of spring, the sun is shining and the daffodils are blooming around the lush meadows of my ancestral industrial estate. A tiding of young magpies struts around the garden in the jeans they just nicked off my washing line. It feels so good to be alive, I thought I'd share with you some the things that contribute to my present euphoric condition.
Eurovision Song Contest
Should be great this year. A song co-written by a culchie misogynist about a country that no longer exists, performed by a band whose front-person nicked her stage persona from a spinster primary school teacher in darkest Sligo. The Finns must be shaking in their saunas. As close as RTE could get to 'My Lovely Horse' without re-animating the stiffened cadaver of poor Dermot Morgan. Null pwonts and worth every one of them!
Life in the blogosphere
From the cheeky chappy celebrochat at Blogorrah to the curmudgeonly precision-bombing prose of Twenty Major and all points in between, it's great to see that those great, but rarely praised, aspects of the Irish national character, begrudgery and cosmic biliousness, haven't been lost in the rush to embrace the Xanax of (post-)modernity. Forget the Irish Blog Awards. Aosdána stipends and tax free status to the lot of 'em, says I.
The imminent demise of Christianity as a religion
The jig's up lads. Big Jim 'The Terminator' Cameron has got on your case and found out where the skeletons were hidden. Fair dos now, you had a good run for your money and you can't complain after all the trouble you caused.
To my many Jewish and Muslim friends across the globe, please be as gentle as you can when using the following words: I-told-you-so.
A new Lucinda Williams Album
Heroin, suicide, bleeding fingers, broken hearts, users, losers, boozers and a morbid fear of flying. All these and more can be yours for only slightly more than my current hourly rate above in DCU.
Joe Bob says 4 stars, check it out HERE
The photo at the top of this blog was blatantly ripped off from Pixeldiva. I love the work you do lads, but why do I get the distinct feeling you'd come after me mob-handed if it wasn't credited?