Thursday, 26 December 2013

Off the trolley at Christmas.

Christmas comes but once a year, and it is just as well in my case.  I don't know what category you fall into -  Pioneer abstainer, vegan pagan or, like me, blathered blogger; it's difficult to avoid the stuff even if you wanted to.

You see, on the left, a picture taken of a Tesco trolley destined for Gombeen Manor.  Well, you've got to have some booze there in case someone drops in, don't you?  It would be rude otherwise.

But isn't that what Christmas is all about, as an older Gombeen Nation post attests?   "Christmas", albeit with different names, existed this time of year among the ancients, long before the Christians (and other religious deceivers)  came along and attempted to take all the fun out of it.  

I remember as a kid finally teasing out from my Old Dear that Santa didn't exist.  The next logical question was "what about God?".  "YES, HE DOES!" was the unequivocal reply.

So you see, you can believe whatever brand of nonsense you want.  For my part, I'm off for another beer or two before the Leeds United v Blackpool match kicks off. 

 Another example of the misery that blind faith can bring...

Merry Christmas - in every sense.

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Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Blades at the Olympia Theatre - Boy One. Meantime Bono hobnobs it at Mandela memorial in South Africa

"Almost forgot to take you down Memory Lane..."

It was great seeing The Blades' "reunion" gigs  at the Olympia Theatre this weekend.  Not a full reunion really, but a two-off, so we're told.  It was a fantastic couple of nights.

 Back in the '80s The Blades were Dublin's best band, and I was lucky enough to have seen them as a three-piece at the Magnet on Pearse Street  -  that's like saying you were in the GPO in '16 or, more important, at the Sex Pistols in the Hope and Anchor in '77.  

They also played residencies in McGonagles and the Baggot Inn, had slots in Harcourt Street's TV Club, and played their farewell Dublin gig in the Olympic Ballroom, Camden Street, in 1986.   

Inspired by the Beatles as a kid, and the Sex Pistols, The Clash and The Jam as a teenager, Paul Cleary - the band's songwriter - was one of the best around.  A look at the lyrics of "Tears that tell the truth" - along with a listen to that brilliant bass run - will confirm that for you.

Here's a snippet captured with my own fair hand at the Saturday gig, a song called Boy One:

The Blades and their contemporaries, U2, shared the bill at the Baggot Inn for six weekends on the trot in 1979.  U2 subsequently became one of the world's biggest bands, while The Blades languished in Dublin and never saw fame and fortune.   Paul McGuinness must have been doing something right, then...  he must have been a miracle worker, in fact.

Interesting so, to see mega-popstar Bono hobnobbing it with the likes of George Bush at Nelson Mandela's memorial do in South Africa last Tuesday, while Paul Cleary prepared for his Olympia gigs.

In 1984, Cleary gave his support to shopworkers at Dunnes Stores who refused to handle produce from the apartheid South African regime and went on strike over the issue.  If you'd been around in the 80s, a time of rampant unemployment and emigration, you'd realise what an incredibly brave, principled stand that was.   

Here's a poster advertising a benefit gig at the time:

Where was Bono back then, I wonder?

Here's to The Blades, Dublin's best-ever band.

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Tuesday, 10 December 2013

O Cuirreain to resign An Choimisinéir Teanga job (Irish Language Commission)

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The whole planet is in shock.

One of the greatest champions of human rights the world has ever known stepped off the stage last week. Things will never be the same.

I refer of course, to Irish Language Kommisar Sean O Cuirreain, who made public his intention to resign his post as head of of An Choimisinéir Teanga (The Irish Language Commission).   

For those of you who don't know,  An Choimisinéir Teanga is a quango set up to help English speakers, who also speak Gaelic, gain as much advantage as possible in the arena of State employment over everyone else, both native and non-native.  Some call them the Gaeliban, others The Irish Language Lobby.

This oppressed minority - who number 2% daily speakers outside an  education system where Gaelic is compulsory - are to be found among top civil servants, teachers, Irish Times readers, judges and those who grace the RTE credits at the end of each dire programme the state-subsidised dross-merchant produces. 

O Cuirreain isn't, of course, resigning right away... but he has announced his intention to do so in light what he sees as the lack of  Gaelic language services for "Gaeltacht residents".    As acts of martyrdom go, it's not exactly Robben Island, is it?

Bear in mind, please, that there is not one monoglot Gaelic speaker in the country, and many in the Gaeltacht don't even speak it to any acceptable level.  There are no poor Paidis or Peigs on rocky outcrops in the Atlantic who are only capable of pursuing vocal intercourse with state agencies through Gaelic.  

More realistically, the kind of person more likely to insist on such interaction as Gaeilge is likely to be your well-heeled middle-class type who speaks Gaelic as a second language out of a Dev-inspired cultural nationalism, or who already benefits from the bureaucracy surrounding the language in the public sector.

An Choimisinéir Teanga, Conradh na Gaelige, and all the rest want to increase this bureaucracy to ring-fence more jobs for themselves and like-minded enthusiasts by increasing Gaelic requirements for state careers... simple as that.   In the past you failed your entire Leaving Cert if you didn't pass Gaeilge – you could have had seven "A"s otherwise – but nowadays they have to be a bit more subtle.

The reality is that there are more grounds for increasing the number of English/Polish speakers, or English/Chinese speakers, in state employment - including the police force.   But no...this is Ireland after all, and logic and reason seldom triumph.

As someone who takes the train to and from work most days, I can vouch for the intrusiveness of An Choimisinéir Teanga's diktats; having to listen to endless recorded announcements as Gaeilge –  especially on intercity trains serving commuter routes where the Gaelic announcements drone on for so long that there is no room to hear the vernacular between stops.   

Last week I had a nice English lady ask for clarification as to where the train was going, as she couldn't make head nor tail of the babble.  I told her I couldn't make it out either – nor possibly most of the other passengers – and that Dev and his grandson were to blame.  I did, however, know that the train stopped at Pearse Station.

Likewise, you will see many tourists looking quizzically around them as they frantically peruse their phrase-books, before the doors close and they land in some location they had no intention of going to.   How Irish is that, then?

Instead of humouring  the likes of Cuirreain, the government should grab the moment and repeal Fianna Fail's 2003 Languages Act, introduced by aforementioned grandson-of-Dev, Eamon O'Cuiv.

An Choimisinéir Teanga should then be shut down, being a commodity of nonsense bollocksology we can ill afford.

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Monday, 2 December 2013

Man set on fire, horse set on fire, woman blinded. Business as usual in Dublin.

A woman blinded by a scumbag who threw an egg from a moving car, a horse set alight by "feral youths" in Tallaght, a homeless man burnt alive in his sleeping bag in the Phoenix Park.  All horror strories that have featured in the news in recent weeks. 

In the case of the "feral youths", as described by The Herald, children as young as 12 to 14 years old have been flinging petrol bombs at each other in pitched battles, if that not entirely reliable publication is to be believed.

If it's true, it would make you wonder about the feral scumbag parents who brought such feral scumbag devilspawn into the world.  

"What did you do today, Johnny?".

"I threw a few petrol bombs at people and set a horse on fire, ma".

"That's nice, love".

The really worrying thing about all this is Ireland's demographic.  Paddy and Mary are still popping out vile brats like there is some kind of demand for them. 

I suppose this goes back to the days when the Catholic Church held sway on "moral" issues, contraceptives were an illegal novelty, and people were encouraged to breed without any responsibility once the urchin had vacated the womb.

Maybe the way forward here is to hold parents to account for the actions of their offspring? Or surely if they are unaware of the activities or their children, as they roam wild during school hours, they should at least be done for negligence?

Why should their kids be everyone else's – plus the odd horse's – problem?

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