Saturday, 13 November 2010

Michael Flatley and Riverdance - symbols of the Celtic Tiger?

Mario Rosenstock does Michael Flatley
(big thanks to Tallowman for posting on You Tube)

I remember, as a kid, being dragged across town to Cora Cadwell’s near Camden Street to do Irish dancing. For those of you who are of a younger vintage, or did not have traumatic childhoods, Cadwell was the Billie Barry of the Irish dancing world, a teacher of some repute.

I was only 5 years old and was probably on some kind of kiddie bribe, but when I got there I could see Irish dancing was not for me.  Not impressed at all - just as a young Frank McCourt likened the style’s frantic, stiff-backed, jigging to someone hopping around with a poker up their arse. My Irish dancing career was very short, and consisted of doing three “steps”. That day, Michael Flatley lost a serious rival.

And what about Flatley and Riverdance? According to a column-filler in today’s Arts section of the Irish Times the dubious art-form “represented national self-confidence and joie de vivre”.  That explains a lot about what happened since.   Then Flatley was behind something entitled (non-ironically, I think) “Celtic Tiger” which apparently "boasted the biggest TV screen in the world" with $3 million worth of costumes and a lightning show to rival Pink Floyd.

Now, much as I would rather stick pins in my ears than listen to a Pink Floyd album, I can appreciate the group’s place in the musical hall of fame and popular culture.  But Riverdance? What a bloody embarrassment.  It says it all that Riverdance was seen as a sign of the “new Irish confidence” as the eejits were sending Oisin and Roisin off to the Gaelscoil and getting up to their necks in debt to borrow money for apartments in places they hadn’t even heard of. Give me the pins in the ears anytime.

Last week, I tuned into the Late Late Show to see ex-Leeds United and Ireland football legend, Johnny Giles, make an appearance. Imagine my shock when I heard the show’s presenter, Ryan Tubridy, introduce Flatley onto the Late Late floor for the second week running due to popular demand.  “This has got to be a parody”, I thought, as I watched the world’s best exponent of cadence braking skip across the stage.

Thankfully it was a parody, and turned out to be none other than mimic Mario Rosenstock. You had to look at it for a while to establish that for certain, though.

See clip above, it’s amusing. The Michael Flatley bit anyway... not sure about the rest of it.

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Anonymous said...

I wouldn't knock Riverdance. It is indicative of something that does us no harm at all; that Ireland punches well above it's weight internationally when it comes to things cultural. It reminds us that to be Irish is to be somebody. Tell anyone anywhere in the world that you are Irish and they know what you are talking about.

Compare that to our nearest Celtic neighbours, the Welsh. When asked what Wales is most people think you are talking about Japanese fishing policy and remember Bill Clinton? He famously commented the to call someone Welsh was a slur, thinking it only applied to 'welching on a deal' and not realising it is what people from a small unknown place called Wales call themselves.

I wonder why Wales has such a low profile internationally? I don't need to spell it out do I? ;)

The Gombeen Man said...

Haven't they got valley boyo himself, Tom Jones?

Bloody awful, of course, and a huge source of national embarrassment for them - but my, my, my, not as bad as MF and his troupe...

Anonymous said...

yes indeed GM what ever a about mf and oirland always punching above its weight in all things great and small including borrowing beyond its means , its time to get our own MARY HARNEY to limber up, skipping, sit ups, pressups, handstands, cross coutry running etc, if this smug FRAU MERKEL keeps on insisting that the oirish pay back the money they borrowed from the german banks mary can go over and wallop the shite out of der chancellor and sit on her till she singns a realease of all of irl debts,i hope it works BH

Anonymous said...

If a hugely successful stage show embarrasses you than fair enough - each to his own, but thousands of fans from all over the world would disagree.

Let's moan about the failures - fair enough, but moan about the successes as well? What is the point in that?

Dakota said...

National self-confidence and joie de vivre? The 1990's was a very very strange decade in the ROI. Correct me if I'm wrong (I don't know anything about Irish dancning) but isn't the present phenomenon of "Riverdance" a combo of tap and flamenco dancing? Where does the Irish part come into it - apart from the theatrical Irish flimflam? Having said that, it's harmless and strangely exciting IMO lol.....Maybe MF will run for the presidency and set up a class on the 15 acres...

Anonymous said...

Dance the Jig of the Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann

Riverdance is wonderful and so was Michael Flatley in his prime, and even now he is quite good. Michael Flatley is from Chicago and the Riverdance is an Irish-American concept.

The Riverdance idea was in operation in Boston and New York long before it arrived in Ireland. Riverdance is infectiously exhilarating and distracting with foot tapping magic especially when one is being screwed "up the ass" by the government. In the 1930's Chicago they had the Charlston to cheer people up as they robbed them blind.

I grow tired of people knocking Ireland and Irish Americans just because the “The Lucchese Crime Family” sometimes referred to as “The Kildare Street Mob” control: The Judiciary, The Banks, The Newspapers, Television News and all media outlets together with every other conceivable malevolent act of mendacity through their influence in The Oireachtas. "Fiction"???

Salute: Ceann Comhairle of Dáil Éireann

D B Corrigan

Anonymous said...

I dont mind riverdance that much. Feet of Flames on the other hand:

After Flatley has beaten the Red Coated Brits in 1916 everyone sings a nation once again:

Michael Flatley's Celtic Tiger - Freedom (youtube)

Fintan O'Toole:

"Ireland is free and triumphant. But there’s not much to do in Ireland now that it’s free, so everyone goes to New York. They dance with homeboys and Spaniards and Michael dances dressed as a gangsgter with nifty spats and Tommy Gun, so he’s clearly doing well. But what of Ireland back home? It’s struggling to become modern: here’s Kathleen ni Houlihan as an Aer Lingus stewardess in a green uniform, dancin a jig in high heels – modernity and tradition. Then Michael and his crew of sun-glassed beefcake boys in Pan Am uniforms fly her over New York. She sees Ireland’s destiny. She does a striptease act, peeling off her green Irish uniform to reveal underneath a bra and panties imprinted with the Stars and Stripes. Ireland was really America all along and now the Celtic Tiger has allowed itself to reveal its true identity. All that suffering – the Famine, the evictions, the murder of Saint Michael Flatley by the redcoat bastard Brits – has been repaid at last"

The Gombeen Man said...

Omigod!!!!! (as they say).

That, Toast, has got to be the most utterly awful, mega-cringey thing I have ever seen in my life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And just when you think it might be picking up a bit at the end, it stops... ;-)

Anonymous said... was really good +++

All kinds of Bullshit
One of the biggest mistakes Ireland has made was not to vote Dana, (the wonderful Rosemary Brown) as the President. If the people of Ireland had done so, there could have been evenings of song and dance (Riverdance) in Phoenix Park every night with a special ode and anthem to Brian Cowan:

“All kinds of bullshit remind me of You”

Any budding poet of lyricist among you can write suitable lyrics to meet with this special occasion of the demise of Fianna Fail, who have only six months left in power.

Anonymous said...

There was a clever squirrel and a silly squirrel , clever squirrel was very smart and saved up all his nuts for winter , he was so clever that he traded some in as a deposit on lovely tree house , silly squirrel didnt plan very well he went traveling and acted the eejit with easy foreign squirrels and soon his nuts ran out , silly squirrell had to go home and live in mammy squirrels house . Clever squirrel was so clever that he did a deal with sly fox the banker , soon he would have a tree to rent in east kazakhstan , all he had to do was keep commuting on the m50 and let the nuts roll in , but suddenly the nuts were all gone , sly fox came to the tree, he wanted his nuts , then the eu badger came around too he was very angry . They said that clever squirrel must give some nuts to eu badger too . Clever squirrel was very sad . Silly squirrel was very happy , he stayed in mammy squirrels house and got free nuts from the happy monkeys in the welfare ofice .

The Gombeen Man said...

@ last Anon. Hmmmm... just how clever was Clever Squirrel I wonder?

@ previous Anon. Are you trying to drive all the squirrels out of the Phoenix Park with that line-up??!!


Anonymous said...

"that Ireland punches well above it's weight internationally when it comes to things cultural." I need a lie down.. my ribs hurt from LAUGHING!!! seriously...