I’ve been neglecting my blog – and everything else – over the last few days because I’ve been editing a series of interviews about St Columb’s College, Derry, which I’m hoping to have published in September. But I wasn’t so busy I didn’t find time to write a letter to the Irish News. One Dr Joseph McBride had a letter in the paper, in the course of which he accused me of ‘supercilious condescension’ or something along those lines, so I felt the need to respond. Now normally writing to a newspaper is like St Paul writing to the Colossians – there’s never any letter back. Not this time. Before you could blink I had my old friend Noel Doran, present editor of the Irish News, emailing me. He wanted to tell me that my letter would probably be in his esteemed organ this coming week but that they’d have to edit it a bit, as the good doctor to whom I was replying was not a medical doctor as I had presumed, but a Doctor of Philosophy. (What is it, incidentally, that drives men to let the world know they are Doctors, whether philosophical or medical? Some little insecurity there, I think – that’s my diagnosis.) And my editor-friend also confessed that he’d had a peek at my blog and I should know it’s five years, not ten, since I left the Irish News to join the doomed ship Daily Ireland. Old Noel seemed to feel this invalidated my remark about the Irish News people being more disposed to pluck out and chew their eyeballs than have me writing for them again, although he didn’t actually explain how that worked. Anyway, I explained that I spoke in metaphor, so don’t expect any headlines like ‘TOP HACK HACKS AND CHEWS!!!’
My dear friend Noel was right about five years, not ten, though. Put my mistake down to my feeling like it WAS ten years since I enjoyed the womb-like wamth of Lr Donegall Street. And don’t tell me I should go back on my hands and knees. I’ve already TRIED that.