Categories
Music popular culture

David Bowie passes on

It isn’t often that I sit bolt upright in bed at seven in the morning with eyes wide open, shouting What?

Actually, I’ve never done it until today when the news announced that David Bowie had died.

What? Isn’t he supposed to be, you know … ?

Immortal?

That’s it. Isn’t David Bowie supposed to be immortal? As a friend remarked today, I’ve never lived in a world without David Bowie, to which he might have added a little kicker: And I never expected to.

Who expected to be living in a world without David Bowie? Not I.

David BowieSome people seem to transcend mundane existence and David Robert Jones was one of them. As the same friend remarked, at least we still have his knife, though even that is a bit ambiguous. Did he really call himself after a notorious killing weapon, the Bowie knife, or after the man for whom it was named? And if he did, wasn’t it lucky he didn’t choose any of the other knife descriptions?

David Flick.

David Bread.

David Boning.

No. He was right when he went for Bowie, leaving Blunt for lesser artists.

When I was a lad, and that wasn’t today or yesterday, Limerick was a decent enough place to live, but I can’t deny that it was fairly direct. In working-class towns, people tend to be direct. You wouldn’t, for example, have ever suggested to anyone that they might be gay, unless you wanted a punch in the face, or maybe worse. Unless they were gay, of course. In those days, if you were gay and living in a land under the control of the Catholic church, you either jumped in the river or went insane on mind-bending drugs in Amsterdam.

But it was a paradoxical town at the same time. It was a place where you might not expect the stereotypical working classes to produce classical musicians, or socially-engaged doctors, or hippies for that matter. And yet that’s exactly what happened. And that’s why it came as no surprise when the toughest of the tough, guys who wouldn’t back down from the roughest front-row Kilfeacle could throw at them, or the nastiest lowlife spawned by skinheadery, were happy enough to tell the world that they were bisexual.

They probably weren’t, but that’s not the point. Tough guys, tough hippies, were happy enough to come out. Happy enough to embrace Bowie’s androgyny because it didn’t matter one flying shit to them.

David Robert Jones, a young lad from Brixton and later Bromley, with an Irish Catholic mother, reinvented himself as he would many times in years to come and presented an alternative vision of what might be possible with a little imagination. David Jones understood very clearly that all he had to do was tell people who he was now and they would believe him, thus making it possible for everyone else to do the same.

You want to be Ziggy Stardust? You’re Ziggy Stardust. You want to be the Thin White Duke? Fine. Just tell them with enough confidence and they’ll accept it because they, too, long for the exotic, the enigmatic and the thing that resides just a millimetre beyond the veil that divides our reality from the next. You’ll believe a London boy can be a starman because you want it to be so.

The real point is that David Bowie — along with many others — brought to every little backwater an understanding that there exists a great world out there, a world that couldn’t be confined within the narrow boundaries of the past, free of the old failures who still sought to impose the old discredited order on a youth yearning for something more.

And he never stopped offering us that freedom, which is why I found myself sitting up in bed at seven in the morning, wide-eyed and incredulous.

What?

Perhaps more than any other artist of his time, Bowie showed us that everything is possible. You can be a goblin king. You can be a defiant prisoner of war. You can be the voice of everything that yearns to become real.

You can even fall to Earth, but of course, he knew that already.

 

_________________

Elsewhere

BBC report

Official Bowie site

Guardian

Rolling Stone

Categories
Limerick popular culture

Culture and Chips

Hands up who doesn’t like chips?

Right.  Get out!

In my own case, it’s not that I don’t love them but that I have loved them too well, the tasty, crispy little carb-delivery systems.  Who hasn’t enjoyed the delicious pleasure of  creamy pints around the fire of your favourite hostelry, with good company, cheery banter and … chips?

Here’s a great idea the City of Culture folks have come up with.  Over the June holiday weekend, Limerick will be heaving with chip-related events, or events with a side-order of chips.  They’ve even got a genuine Spiegeltent, one of the few remaining in existence, and they’re going to set it up in Arthur’s Quay Park.

Limerick City of Culture Spiegeltent

On Thursday 29th May, Jerry Fish will rock the tent, or at least schmooze it with his very special brand of coolness.  That’ll be Jerry Fish and Chips.  Then, on Friday the 30th, the tent will host a culinary carnival  (that’s a big feed to you and me).  I think you have to get dressed up for it, but  this is Limerick, kid, you know?  Most of us don’t stand on ceremony, apart from a few retired models and the city councillors who are exceedingly fond of their robes and gold necklaces.  There will be more chips, which the retired models will probably decline, but the councillors might horse into , provided they’re free.

Saturday morning in the Spiegeltent is reserved for children’s theatre, while Sunday promises something the organisers enigmatically describe as breakfast with a difference.  I don’t want to raise anyone’s hopes here, so I won’t speculate on what the difference might be, but it’s probably not what you’re thinking.  I bet it involves chips.

And then, on Sunday night it is my favourite man, Jack L strutting his ludicrous stuff as he has done for many a long year since he first started gigging in Limerick and we all love him.  What’s not to like about Jackie?  Ne me quitte pas, Jacques.

You think the Spiegeltent is finished with that?  Think again.

Monday afternoon brings us Salon du Chat, backed by the ineffably wonderful Brad Pitt Light Orchestra, but here I must apologise to you, and also perhaps to Salon du Chat, for stealing a description of their schtick from another site.  It looks great.  I’ll be going.

Adding a touch of theatre and the surreal to the art of conversation, Salon du Chat recreates the atmosphere of Bohemian Paris, with a knowing nod to online chat rooms. Relax with a cup of tea and a bun, as you browse the Conversation Menu. Then our friendly chat hostesses will join you to spark up the conversation.  Like any meal the starters will get the palate warmed up, while mains are for meatier matters and dessert could get risqué …

STARTERS
Grounds for… 

Living on Less 

Having a Domestic

Learning The Hard Way

The Kindness of Strangers

 

MAINS

It’s a girl

Zero Waste Life

The Picture of Mental Health

Unshockable Me

Distractions

 

DESSERTS

Pillow Talk

Virtual Disasters

What I Live For

Sticky Dates

Just desserts

 

Lovin’ it.

Oh, you thought that was all, did  you?  Think again.

On Thursday and Friday, the Irish Chamber Orchestra are doing Carmen in the Milk Market.  With chips.  Carmen and chips.

The TomCat festival is happening in Thomas Street and Catherine Street, organised by lunatics local business people.  There will be plenty of chips.

The Rugby Sevens festival is happening in LIT sportsgrounds and I’ll tell you now, if I miss this, I’ll be kicking myself for the rest of the year.  There might not be too many chips at this, but you can’t have everything.

Is that it?  Not quite.  What festival would be complete without the World Chip-Making Championships?  My only gripe is that they don’t have a World Chip Sandwich Made With Real Cottage Loaf and Melted Butter Dripping Through Your Fingers Championship.  Nice!

I’ll tell you one  thing, by the end of this, we’ll all be fat bastards, but at least we’ll have a laugh piling on those pounds.

That’s Limerick City, kid!!

Categories
Arts popular culture

Limerick City of Culture in Groundbreaking New-Year Initiative

A series of sculptures has been commissioned to mark the complete removal of arts and culture professionals from the City of Culture 2014 project.  Based on body parts, the installation will include a cold shoulder and a piece entitled The Elbow.  At Merchants Quay, directly outside the Council offices, there will be an enormous brass neck called Conn Job.

It will be a bit like the Angel of the North, said a spokesman. The Neck of Thomond.  We considered having a jockey’s bollocks, but we thought this was more tasteful.

Admitting that this will use up the entire budget for the year, he added, but we’re worth it.

Karl Wallace Artistic Director Limerick City of Culture

Categories
popular culture Sexuality

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Categories
Limerick popular culture Tradition

That’s Limerick City (On Parade)

St Patrick’s day as a brand in Ireland is often seen as re-imported such is the prominence of re-broadcast Irish news items featuring American presidents, cities with green rivers and a running joke in the Simpsons. This year RTE ran a glowing piece showing the Sydney Opera house matched with a financial building in Abu Dhabi joined together  by St Pat and strong green lighting.

Dramatic foreign picturesque events should not be looked at as an Irish performance benchmark for March 17 as we have come to terms with the fact of having no ownership of this brand abroad.  It’s common knowledge that Obama’s casual vist to an Irish bar this year in Washington spoke to the Irish vote for America rather than any meaningful gesture to our sainted isle. The meaning of the day is now whatever you want it to be.  And so it should.  Let everyone now fashion a paton saint to serve both corporate interests and the craic of a day off.

In Limerick the day manifested by the parade is a celebration of people and the city.  Previously, in various counties I usually spent this day working either as a parade participant or as a photographer (contributing to ‘The Brand’) but this year I spent it as a member of the public and watched the city pass by outside the Hunt Museum.

What was immediately evident in the excited atmosphere was the amount of collaboration between crowd and participants.   It was easy here for anyone local or otherwise to get caught up in the support and reasoning of this parade as it peopled itself through the city. Between the cheers and shouts of recognition there was plenty of detailed commentary from friends and relatives filling in on the Friends of the Elderly walk-past, bands, and various school and sports groups.

Confusingly, youngsters behind the barriers screamed for attention at random flag carriers and other facepainted adults who came over for brief chats before carrying on. I realised that those in the parade were teachers or assistants and their fans were those who were previous participants or knew them from weekend workshops. March 17 always showcases the creative community work that has been ongoing for months but the interaction through the barricades registered just how much off it there is in Limerick. The gangs of cardboard covered children in the Limerick Printmakers and also Northside Learning Hub LSAD assisted group stood out in this celebratory context.




The public spirit of Limerick remains its diversity and pride in an understated public identity and the rhythm of the parade reflected this.  A chanting group from a primary school would be bookended by a fire engine and the Limerick Filipino community, who showcased a beauty pageant on a truck with a raucous rock n roll band. This band were fully aware of their situation and rose to the occasion by gleefully belting out ‘you may be wrong,  I may be crazy’ by Billy Joel.  I realised that the presentations that conventionally did not make sense spoke the loudest in representing the city.  Most enjoyable was the speculation on possible meanings in clusters and groupings. For example, why were a troop of scouts armed with attitude and water pistols and what was with the unexpected and heartening cheer that greeted the inter-faith groups walk-by?

There is a traditional local business aspect in parading wares and trades on this day.  An Irish cliché has many a small town shivering on the sidelines waving flags as the local car dealership makes its annual drive by. However it is often in this self-designed world that the richness of the local vernacular is glimpsed often just once a year and intentions and self initiated creativity triumph over formal artistic approaches.  Illustrating this I very much enjoyed the surrealism and fun contained in a parade float from Crecora, County Limerick.

Stone Age brick and stone supplies may have simply designed their contribution as a showcase of their sculpted wares but in treating the flatbed as a theatre set they ended up presenting much more.  A Victorian nymph kneels in a job lot of sand to face a galloping stone horse and foal. Riding the horse is a live redheaded horseman in a Limerick jersey with a tricolour for a saddle. He ignores a duck at the horse’s feet and also a backwards-facing stag. The feeling is mutual.  So preoccupied is the stag that it pays no attention to the Munster rugby flag tied to its antlers. Perhaps it is because there is a small green hat covering its eyes. Quietly at the back, a smaller nymph seems to be dreaming all this at once.

Any creative situation involving a horse is currently very ’Limerick City’ and as the tableau from Stone Age Brick and Stone passed the Hunt I imagined that somewhere in its building the gilded horse from the Horse Outside community art project nodded its head in approval.  In celebrating a Limerick confident with its unique self reflection, and creativity may I suggest that It is only a matter of time before the Rubberbandits are asked to lead the parade.

 

Categories
popular culture

Tipperary Casino Granted Planning Permission

Ah, they’re joking now, aren’t they? Please tell me they’re joking.

Please?

You can’t be serious.  Michael Lowry’s muck-savage pal, Richie Quirke, former proprietor of Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Emporium gaming arcade has really been granted permission to build a casino in Tipperary?

Oh dear me.

Filthy Richie, a former Garda Síochána, built his personal fortune on the arcade in Dublin’s O’Connell Street, doubtless through hard work and commitment.  It’s hardly his fault that his children turned out to be absolute prats, as often happens when a parent does all the hard work.   In Richie’s case, the hard work involved persuading the poor people of Dublin’s northside to spend all their money in his slot-machines, thereby leaving their children short of food and schoolbooks.  But as Richie would no doubt argue, such is personal choice, and the feckless Dublin northsiders ought to take more personal responsibility for their habits.  But did his children really have to hold a party lampooning the poor people who feed his slot machines night and day?

One way or the other, Richie and Mrs Richie still manage to extract millions every year from the venture, despite the economic downturn.  I see that one of Filthy Richie’s young lads is dating Rosanna Davison, daughter of the worst songwiter who ever lived, and former Miss World.

How crass does it get?

That’s Ireland for you.  Half-educated but rich gobshites are turned into royalty, and that explains precisely why our country is now in the shit.

But here’s the bit I don’t get.  When did Richie start to build up his slot-machine empire?  He doesn’t look that old — perhaps 60?  When did he retire from an Garda Síochána?  In the last ten years?  Nice going for such a short time.

Or did he build up the business while he was still a policeman? Surely not.

I don’t know, but it certainly would seem to be a conflict of interest if he did.  Wouldn’t you think so?   Should he not have been devoting his attentions full-time to his extremely exacting profession?  And how did he resolve difficulties when his business inevitably came to the attention of his fellow law-enforcers, as happens from time to time?  How did he distance himself from these concerns?

Maybe we’ll never know how Richie achieved these things, but his ambitions didn’t stop with a slot-machine joint in Dublin, though his children became a sort of tawdry royalty as a result.

No indeed.  Ex-guard Richie wanted much more including, of all things, a casino in Tipperary, and now he has it.

According to the Irish Times

An Bord Pleanála has given the go-ahead for the construction of a €460 million “Las Vegas-style” sports and leisure complex in Co Tipperary.

The 800-acre Tipperary Venue, close to the village of Two-Mile-Borris, will include a 500-bedroom, five-star hotel; a 6,000sq m casino; an all-weather racecourse; a greyhound track and a golf course.

The site, which is located off the M8 Dublin-Cork motorway, will also feature a full-size replica of the White House in Washington which will be used as “a banqueting facility” and to host wedding receptions.

A full-size replica of the White House, you say? Classy.  Richie’s twenty-something kids will have great fun playing in the Oval Office.

Meanwhile, respected senior parliamentarian, Michael Lowry, welcomed the development.  There is a renewed commitment and determination to make this exciting development a reality, he mumbled. Lowry was among a group who went to Riyadh last year in search of investment for the project, but it remains to be seen where the money will come from to build the thing.  The sources of funding remain a clse secret, but my guess is that Richie will put together a consortium of slot-machine-addicted Northsiders.

Welcome to Dr Quirkey’s Good Time Muck-Savage Casino.

Ireland 2011.

 

 

Categories
popular culture

Bono Fails to Win “Ireland’s Greatest”

Isn’t it an amazing historical coincidence that in the thousands of years of Irish history, the five people chosen for the shortlist of Ireland’s Greatest all happened to live and work in the 20th century?

Michael Collins

Bono

Mary Robinson

John Hume

James Connolly

Hume won, and I can see how some people might regard him, Collins, Robinson and Connolly as Ireland’s greatest, provided you don’t think any of our scientists, artists or philosophers over the centuries count for a pile of mole-shit, but Bono?  Fucking Bono?  Every time I clap my hands, the sanctimonious fucking midget dodges another €1000 in tax.  He has the gall to lecture the world but won’t even contribute to the country of his birth.

Every time I clap my hands, Bono earns another million tax-free euros.

Every time I clap my hands, Bono sets up a new charity that pays 99% of the money it raises to itself.

Every time I clap my hands, Bono gives a Harley-Davidson to some pompous old RTE has-been.

Every time I clap my hands, Bono believes a bit more of his own bullshit.

You know what folks?

It’s time to stop clapping.  It’s time to stop clapping Bono for being a guy who writes pop songs.

It’s time to stop clapping Bono for being a celebrity.

It’s time to stop clapping Bono for having stronger frown muscles than the ordinary man.

It’s time to stop clapping Bono for sucking Gay Byrne’s metaphorical and self-important dick all those years ago when he needed a bit of exposure.

We don’t need another plastic hero.

We need real people doing real things to get us out of this mess, not sanctimonious billionaires jerking off on a charity fetish.

I’ll do a deal with Bono.  If he doesn’t lecture me about world poverty, I won’t prance around in the dark, wearing sunglasses.  And if he promises to pay some of his taxes here, I’ll do the same.

How about that?

Categories
popular culture

The X-Factor

The brilliant Declan Lynch has once again confirmed that our civilisation has come to an end and that we have been taken over by Rock N’ Roll hating aliens.

Lynch was commentating on the cultural effect of The X-Factor, which we shall refer to as the world of wank for the sake of argument.

Contestants are frequently performing a song called To Make You Feel My Love on this season’s show. Readers will be aware that this song was written by Bob Dylan, who, unlike some of Munster’s star signings this season, has actually played at Thomond Park.

However, Dylan does not get any credit for the song, although Adele Blankbrain does. They obviously believe she wrote it when she was two. Maybe they believe she was older then but she’s younger than that now.

But why was Dylan’s name omitted? Was it just an oversight?

Some believe it was was , but Lynch delves deeper and proves that it was not. Dismissing the idea that ignoring Dylan was just an editing error he sensationally proves that it is in fact a fiendish ploy to subvert whatever musical intelligence the contestants have left, thus sucking them deeper into the world of wank, using much the same methods as snakes that suffocate their prey before swallowing them entire.

Lynch brilliantly argues that X-Factor chiefs won’t allow words like Bob Dylan to be mentioned on the show for ideological reasons – in much the same way that the old USSR wouldn’t mistakenly utter the words Coca Cola or Rock N’ Roll, lest the natives begin to grow restless and start developing notions about their environment – and start taking clawhammers to the Berlin Wall.

Similarly, X-Factor chiefs reckon that if contestants become aware of words such as Dylan, Leonard Cohen or even Morrissey, that they could start developing some sort of collective artificial intelligence, evolving upwards into a state similar to when, after a downing half a gallon of porter, you’re laughing at Pat Shortt only to sober up and realise in horror that his show is a national embarrassment, that he is to comedy what The X-Factor is to music.

Hence, X-Factor bosses have erected firewalls around the studio to filter out those Dylanesque viruses, lest they download through the system.

For if contestants start citing Dylan, and his subversive ilk, next thing you know acne-ridden teenagers would be learning how to play the guitar and, horror, musical instruments in general, whilst demanding to play original music, live on national TV.

And where would a music show be if you start allowing musicians take part?

Likewise, The X-Factor, like the old USSR, cannot afford to let certain words slip out in relation to any type of originality, lest their entire edifice comes tumbling down around their ears.

Deep in the heart of The X-Factor there lurks a pathological fear of the likes of Dylan with their original music, genius and such. For these boys and girls are everything that The X-Factor, whose entire raison d’etre is to keep their contestants and audience in a perpetual state of clap-happy ignorance, is not.

Meanwhile, a darker malaise is beginning to emerge on said show. In the not so distant past a singer, who we shall refer to as a bastard for the sake or argument, desecrated Cohen’s Hallelujah to such an extent that she/he was cited to Amnesty International.

The audience, having availed of the obligatory full frontal lobotomy on entering the X-Factor building, loved it though. However, the vast majority of people involved in the show and the ones out in tellyland didn’t know that the song was written by the incomparable Cohen – it is also forbidden to mention his name on the X-Factor.

Anyway, the above song by Dylan is now evolving into a modern day classic, but its creator is not being credited because the vast majority of the population consciously choose to remain musically illiterate.

Then again maybe we have a tendency to think a bit too deeply about music, unlike others, who treat it as a backdrop to a night out.

Maybe the Beautiful South were right and musicians should just “give them a chorus and that bit at the end where they wail on and on about the loss of a friend.”

Meantime, The X-Factor goes out live each Saturday night. Tune in next weekend and get a load of an arsehole from Wigan making a total bollocks of Under Pressure.

That would be the old classic penned by the spawn of Satan – Jedward. Right?

Categories
popular culture

Ireland’s Greatest

There’s too much democracy around these days folks.

Years back a panel of experts would be sequestered and they’d come up with proper questions, while we were out drinking, before presenting us with the proper answer before we got the last round in.

They’d do our thinking for us, unlike RTE, who have gone and done it again with their Greatest Irish Person of all time poll.

Bono, a tax dodger, Michael Collins a killer, John Hume a bluffer, James Connolly, and auld Noddy, Mary Robinson, have made the Top 5 shortlist for the above award.

You may recall that Noddy and her housebound insulted the highest office in the land after fucking off to take up a position with the completely useless UN before her tenure as Irish President was up.

“I am of two pensions, come dance with us in the Hague,” said Mary as she embraced the marginalised and marginalises the marginalisers of the marginalised.

Why, during her term of office, a tenure in which she concocted some of the most mind-numbing clichés known in the English language, Mary even found time to embrace the marginalisers of the people who were once rampant marginalisers but who are now, thanks to her intervention, also embracing the marginalisers of the marginalised, going forward.

Bono, meantime, has the balls to lecture governments on their contributions to international aid agencies while he and the Fab Four have all their doubloons stashed away in Holland to avoid paying taxes.

And he’s also a bollocks.

Collins, a man who left many Irish families grieving for loved ones, the collateral damage of an irredentist claim which he more or less created, was the founding father of modern terrorism. He wrote the script.

Another unfortunate legacy of the Collins myth is that the virus of Yeats’s Cathleen Ní Houlihan is still stalking the land and has downloaded iself into the cerebral cortexes of normally intelligent people such as Michael McDowell to such an extent that he appears to have bought into this hissing of a spent Republican lie.

McDowell recently described the ex Minister for Finance as our Nelson Mandela. “He was a man for all seasons: he was our George Washington, our Nelson Mandela, ” he said of Collins.

GUBU, to paraphrase another great Irishman, Conor Cruise O’Brien, the man who intellectually decommissioned physical force Irish nationalism.

O’Brien also exposed Charles Haughey 20 years before the rest, while his book States of Ireland should be prerequisite reading in our schools. John Hume emphasised just how great this book is when he described it as an exercise in total paranoia – essential reading in other words.

We ignored O’Brien’s accusations about Haughey and Fianna Fail, treating him as some sort of deranged Gaelic Cassandra, but he was proved to be right and we have reaped the whirlwind, courtesy of the institutionalised corruption which has brought this country to its knees.

This isn’t the first time that RTE – which we pay for – have dumped down on us by providing opportunities for cretins to cast votes. A few months back they provided the platform for the full-frontal lobotomised ones to cite Padraig Harrington as the Greatest Irish Sportsman of all time even though golf isn’t a sport.

Montrose started out with a list of 40 for above. To give you any idea of where they were coming from, Westlife, a group of individuals devoid of any discernible talent, are on the list despite the fact that Rory Gallagher’s drummer put more thought into his Hi-Hat work than this repellent band put into entire CDs.

Louis Walsh, a deformed pygmy, is also included. Why not Jedward while you’re at it?

Writing in one of today’s broadsheets, Cathal MacCarthy quite correctly points out that Walsh has done more damage to Irish culture than Cromwell.

McCarthy recalls an LP of Sinatra covers that Walsh and Westlife desecrated and concludes that they managed to do the impossible and mutilate the heritage of two great artistic nations.

Stephen Gately, who had the decency to die last year – a good career move as Elvis Presley’s manager remarked after the King quite literally slipped off the throne – made the top ten, even though he had no talent at all.

Is Gately more talented than WB Yeats, who hasn’t even made the top 10? And what does it say about us as a nation when a Karaoke artist finished higher than the greatest poet of the last two centuries?

Tone, Parnell, Davitt, Swift, O’Casey, Synge, lesser talents than Gately obviously, and Daniel O’Connell, who Tim Pat Coogan believes was a truly international figure in that the civil rights movement in the USA had its roots in his successful drive for Catholic emancipation, Shaw, nor Joyce made the top five or ten for that matter.

Neither did Beckett, a mad fucker granted. When he originally wrote Waiting for Godot he didn’t want any actors on stage at all, just an old chair and some bollocks giving an occasional groan out of him in the background.

The French, sick bastards, were mad for it, but not Paddy. Being from a backward country, Paddy wanted dialogue and acting and such. The French were having none of that though.

Daniel O’Donnell, meantime, made it into the top 30. A few years back O’Donnell’s manager insisted that he be shifted from the mainstream charts into the middle of the road charts to boost sales. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the middle of the road during rush hour.

Charles Haughey also made the Top 40, while Ronan Keating, another talentless bastard, is also included.

A spokesperson for RTÉ said:

“The public were asked to name the top five people who they considered to be the greatest Irish man or woman who’s ever lived. The public were then asked to vote online for their favourite Irish person over a 12-day period. From this list the final top five contenders were chosen”.

My greatest Irish person of all time is Arthur Guinness and/or the Duke of Wellington. The Dublin-born Duke changed the course of European history after sorting out the Frogs at Waterloo. That quietened the bastards – until the Henry incident.

Uncle Arthur, meantime, is also involved in the poetry business, liquid poetry. Conor Cruise O’Brien, Ireland’s restless conscience, and Edmund Burke deserve honourable mentions.

Meantime, Dave Fanning will be on the telly on Monday night extolling the virtues of Bono and arguing why he should get the top award. Will Dave ask him about his tax avoidance schemes? Will Michael D Higgins be lining out as quarter-back for the Dallas Cowboys?

Why are RTE being allowed to humiliate us as a nation by soliciting the votes of brain-dead people? The national broadcaster, if they are pursuing ventures of this sort, should leave the matter to a panel of experts in various fields.

Of course, it’s not even an original idea. A few years back the BBC did the same and the Catholic writer Willie Shakespeare finished top of the table. Even the English recognise their heritage, but not Ireland.

In Ireland, a majority believe that Stephen Gately, Louis Walsh, Ronan Keating and Daniel O’Donnell have made a greater contribution to the arts than WB Yeats, Joyce, Shaw, Wilde, Beckett, Synge, and O’Casey, to name but seven.

We may as well pack it in and call in the IMF folks. It’s bad enough being broke, but when we start dumping down on our own culture it’s time to throw in the towel.

Top 5

Bono, Michael Collins, James Connolly, John Hume, Mary Robinson

Top 10

Noel Brown, Stephen Gately (Jesus wept), Phil Lynott, Patrick Pearse, Adi Roche

Top 40

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popular culture

Hunky Dory Advertising

Some people are deeply offended by this Hunky Dory advertising campaign. They say it makes objects of women.

I feel their pain.  Having sat through too many televised rugby games where my women friends hooted, whistled and leered at the players, I can understand the outrage of people offended by these ads.

What do you think?

Update.  10th May 2010.

The ads have been pulled after 300 complaints were lodged with the standards authority and the IRFU threatened legal action.

The standards authority asked the company to cancel the campaign because of widespread criticism.

According to the Rape Crisis Network, These posters add to attitudes and behaviours that make Ireland a place where the casual and everyday sexual assault of women is permitted and unchallenged.

I know that women are sexually assaulted every day, but I didn’t know Ireland was a place where this was permitted or unchallenged.  I’m struggling to see the link between the ads and sexual assault.

Maybe we should ban dirty jokes as well, just to be on the safe side.  In fact, why don’t we ban skimpy tops and solve the problem once and for all?