A Meathman of one’s acquaintance was once bushwhacked at a clambake in the backyard of a suburban hacienda in Dallas, Tx by a local good ole boy whose only criticism of the Irish was:
-Shoot, y’all critters are just………OVER friendly !
What Hank – not his real name – was saying was similar though expressed in different terms to what Herman Melville perceptively wrote in his novel, The Confidence Man (1857):
–See what sad work they make of it, who, ignorant of this, flame out in Irish enthusiam and with Irish sincerity, to a benefactor, who, if a man of sense and respectability, as well as kindliness, can but be more or less annoyed by it.
(Y’all know, of course, that Melville’s most famous novel, Moby Dick, was fillumed in Youghal.)
The Meathman was on the verge of responding that this is nothing compared to what we Irish are like when it comes to being OVER celebratory. Not least when the cause for self-congratulation on a ‘national’ level is at best dubious, and at worst, spurious, thereby causing the stateen to break a leg even if it costs an arm and the other leg in the process.
(Checked) fact is, that when it comes to the sudden pudding of jubilation no folk on earth quite does the over-egging in that department better than the cornpone Irish, whom you’ll nevvvvv——-er beat. Hardly surprising considering that Ireland was the native land of none other than Hudden and Dudden and Daniel O’Neary. Not to mention D.O.N’s cow, Daisy (see below).
We had a real sockdolager of an example back in the summer when the red carpet was laid out for the return of the all-conquered Irish Womens’ Team who, in some tournament or other, were hockeyed by a cricket score to the tune of ‘6-Nil’. Back in Dublin, celebrity invites tidal-waved in, from the Mansion House to early appearances on the Late Late Show itself to later disappearances back overseas as Ambassadresses for Dresses made in Ireland. Not forgetting a chance to brandish aloft the jolly CJ. Hockey Cup for consummate jiggery-pokery.
This is the kinda thing which Ruth Goodly News, (oh, my bold bandolier) patented when she nibbed her legendarily glib ‘The Harrumph of Failure’.
If the Mayor of Dallas tried to pull a cunning stunt like that down in the Heart of Texas after, say, the Dallas Cowboys had been guncontrolled with disarming ease in the Super Bowl, his epitaph would scarcely raise the ghost of a laugh. Much less would such a Dumb-Ass Dallas Politico get his butt kicked from one state line to another of the Lone Star State, being manhadled in the Panhandle along the way. That would be too good for him.
High instead would he be hoisted with the bracelet of his own Rolex Oysterflex by the ankles from the nearest triple underpass, and left a-swinging in the wind for buzzards to peck at his gizzard. Rumour has it there is an excess of Rolexes down in a strong box stored for just such an eventuality in nearby Dublin, Tx.
Meanwhile, back in DUPlin there is no danger of confusing 6-Nil and Hill 16: it is all too plain, Jane, which of them occupies the Halfpenny Place. Whereas the former is feted the latter’s fate was recently sealed. This happened when the PO-faced killjoys among the City Fathers and Mothers, sniffily announced that under NO cicrumstances or arches, Ethel, would the most iconic metal bridge to span the Liffey be defiled by the draping of the dreadful blue and bluer Dublin Jacks’ banner.
-There’ll be no A-Five, A-Five-O on this Molly Malone’s Rolex watch!
The latest (wo)manifestaton of this congenital kneejerk Irish urge to prematurely ejillulate and surge with silly, celebratory glee when there is utterly no call, happened on – stall the ball – cá háit eile? – RTE when the favourite to sweep this year’s Oscars was drum-rolled and trumpet-blasted. The fillum, quite remarkably, called:
In Donnybrook, D 4, we had The Made in Ireland Marian aka Dame Dosh Finucance and Áine ‘The Yawn’ Lawlor quite beside each other in their display of refined joy unconfined.
-Yet another great Irish victory on the International stage is asskickingly assured !
Ní glór mór an ghliondair go dtí é !
Well, the excitement was such that Dame Dosh and The Yawn Lawlor did the Golly Gosh Hush Push out through one studio door and back again through the other studio door of The Radio Centre, minding the wardrobe-dresser person on the way. All the while highkickingly sticking to the studio floor choreography of keeping quite beside each other. In? In their elation on behalf of the ‘nation’, in this provincial craving for overseas approbation, in all their delirium of the radio wave.
So, then, The Favourite, this Irish fillum.
It walks like an Irish fillum?
Story: It is the early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah.
Its Stars saunter like they are Irish colleens?
Cast: Olivia Colman (Queen Anne); Rachel Weisz (Lady Sarah); Emma Delves (Queen’s Maid); Faye Daveney (Sarah’s Maid); Emma Stone (Abigail); Paul Swaine (Wanking Man) – enough of that now !
All blanks so far.
Its locations traipse across the screen from one end of Ireland to the other?
-Hatfield House, Herfordshire, England.
Its Director strides purposefully like he’s a Friendly Son of St. Patricia?
Its Screen Writers footslog through the bog like they are part of the great Irish literary tradition?
Oh, joy: just read this:
-Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara.
Alas, the latter is a cobber from the shade of a coolibah tree. Deflation once again.
But, wait ! What is this? Indeed, what are these?
Its producers hoof it on Shank’s Irish Pony even as the credits roll:
-Skyline Pictures / Scarlet Film / Film 4.
Yes it is a three-part Pantomime Horse of a Production Team: and guess which part is…….Irish ??!!!
Cool your jets ! there’s more:
Its cinematographer ambles like an Irish cameraman:
Truly is this – on a score of 6-1 ! – yet another cause for free and unfettered frolication by the Irish Nation !
And who better to orchestrate the festivities than one, who last year broke his silence on matters sporting, old sport. This occurred when he duly hack-acknowledged his homage to the jolly hockey sticky achievements of the team to be ever after affectionately known as the Six-Nil Nellies.
Here he comes, purely by chance, and him to be pootling along even while tootling on his flute the theme song from ‘The Favourite’, i.e., Skyline Pigeon (down to make much mouldy ould dough for Lt. Elton John). Gentleladies and Men, cuirigí bhur lámha le chéile do, none other than:
-The Great FOTsby !
He who embodies all that is wonderful about the modest, modern-day West Brit Egg Head has made his humble sixty-room home in a place, oddly enough, called West Egg. It looks across the Sound at East Egg, wherein does dwell his lost love, Daisy, (see Daisy the Cow far above / féach i bhfad suas).
This would be Daisy Brucellosis, so named, in the great Irish tradition of calling the island of S and S (SAS) after the bovine kind (c.f., An Droimeann Donn Dílis). Both Eggs, West and East, are located on Long Island which is The Great FOTsby’s characteristically ironic take on, despite or indeed because of his proudly off-proclaimed possession of ‘fuckáil, focal Gaeilge’:
–An t-Oileán Fada.
The Great FOTsby, uber party animal, is, of course, legendary for the throwing of all-night, all-comers welome parties with a political slant, predictably, the compulsory McHenparty one. The theme for his latest party, even while con-celebrating the forthcoming victory of the Irish fillum, ‘The Favourite’ (see above/ féach suas ) while simultaneously nodding along with the thinking hacks’s Pink Sow’s Dyke, in the oriental direction of the Chinese New Year (I’ll have Number 26: sweet and sour pork) of the Pig is a co-RTE and TUT production :
-The Ganging up on Bobby Ballagh.
Now, as one famously does not need an invite – one only has to be drawn to the sheer Harris-like charisma of the The Great FOTsby to attend – for in his Mansion House Mentality there are many mansions – one must perforce look to just one for the nonce, there being not enough arsenic and old space left to do otherwise.
So who, of the platitude-spouting multitudes will it be? Lemme see …….hmmmmm…..ah, yis ! That one over there, the one carryng under his oxter, Joxer, a recent copy of The Unionist Times, folded, purely by chance, at a profound piece penned by himself, no less :
-WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH A HARD BORDER ?
The men who founded this State thought that recognising the North’s essential difference was a price worth paying.
-Michael O Loughlin.
Who? Here’s the merest tint of hint.
–Forgive me if I seem a little bit paranoid, but when everyone from Fine Gael and Sinn Féin to many sections of the media are relentlessly pushing the idea of “no hard border on the island of Ireland”, I begin to smell groupthink.
Now where might MOL have learned that specific nosetrick?
He considers himself to be more European than Irish. In an interview he gave some chronological sonnets ago:
“As a poet I got an Arts Council grant to Berlin, and stopped off in Amsterdam’.
Seems like he stayed a long time there, finding the Princsengracht Canal, rather more to his cosmopolitan taste and his sophisticated sensibility than an Chanáil Rioga ag Fionglas / the Royal Canal of Finglas, there to smell the tulips and mouth the Dutch of the two lips. Which seemingly he made his own as such, unlike the Double Dutch of the Leprechaun.
As another poetaster, dár ainm do Micailín O Luch once retorted after being turned down for a handsome handout from An Chomhairle Ealaion in this two-fingered snorter of a couplet:
The Arts Council, grant, groupthink go
Together like Eeeny meeney miney mo.
You remember young Peter O Loughlin, of course, the chap who’s over in London at the head of the force? No relation. There is, after all, no paper trail to support the idle speculation that Peter sidled down from the Mountains of Mourne with the deontas of an Arts Council Grant is his arts pocket.
Díol trua a rá ach gur cosúil go bhfuil deacracht ar leith ag MOL an Mol Thuaidh atá aige a aithint ón Mol Theas atá aige / Sad to relate but MOL does seem to have a particular problem distintinguishing between his North Pole and his South Pole.
The clue may well lay here in this same tut-tut piece by MOL in TUT:
The North, as we know, is another story. Officially of course, we continued to pretend that there was some kind of unity. Even now, quite bizarrely, bodies such as the Arts Council continue to treat people and institutions from the North as if they are part of this country.
Call it (gasp) MOL’s gap.
For example, the Irish language has settled down into a comfortable if fairly marginal coexistence with English, whereas in the North it is still being weaponised.
Many calendar stanzas ago the much put upon Michael O Loughlin bared his bardic soul about the sheer non-British brutishness of growing up in Baile Átha Cliath:
Well, I think that I first started writing poetry – or even thinking – I had an instinctive feeling that Dublin wasn’t everything, or that Ireland wasn’t everything. And that I shouldn’t try to make sense of things in those terms. I can’t even explain where that feeling came from. But I felt that Ireland wasn’t my whole ecosphere, that, in fact, it was part of something else. I suppose I always felt European, or just displaced or rootless. I didn’t identify with Dublin, or I didn’t identify with Ireland. I grew up in an Ireland that was still very much under the hegemony of nationalist Catholic ideas, which I rejected by the time I was ten, or twelve.
You want weaponised ? You’re gonna get weaponised !
But at the time, to me, it was just a rotten society, from top to bottom. I came from a very typical Dublin background. My father had been in the RAF, my grandfather in the British Army. They were very pro-British, and not particularly Catholic – my father was an atheist, I think. But when you went into a normal middle-class Irish environment, like my school, you were made feel, “That’s not quite right: you should be speaking Irish; you should be a nationalist.” But instinctively as a child I felt that this was all wrong.
When one considers the anoerexic output of the average Arts Council-funded poet – one Miss Twiggy-skinny tome every eight years or so – a commonly posed question from the prosaiac tax-paying proles, not least in this The Year of the Piggy Bank is as follows:
-What do the modern poets do with the rest of their ill-kept time?
Why, that’s an easy one: they technicolour yawn over each others’ wafer-thin collections of mulch. (Not for nawt is the Leprechaun word for modern poetry: drochphrós). Call it the (gulp) echochamber of their (gasp) ecosphere. Take this bulimiac bulsh for example:
–Latin as a Foreign Language, of course, is a retrofit English as a foreign language, a service that O’Loughlin, like James Joyce before him, must have executed on his European wanderings. But it is also Irish as a foreign language, a subtle comment on the state of Gaelic in a venal polity.
Don’t be put off by O’Loughlin’s put-down of his native tongue in The Irish Lesson (“I didn’t want to learn their language / It wasn’t mine”), which is in any case limited. Elsewhere in this fine volume he betrays a broken-hearted philologist’s love of the idiom: “And my favourite, the word for read: dearg / Strange and contingent as our Latvian sarkans . . .”
Dearg: can we now take that as read?
Pause now at Limerick Junction:
Being a poet and one anointed by the Arts Council it is de rigeur that MOL be more adept at the pose than at the prose.
(To the toon of ‘If you don’t know me- and how ’ by Simply Read).
Michael O L belongs to the Bard Order
Long backs strongly for a Hard Border
Dips his poet-toes
Rarely into prose
No lack of pretension deficit disorder.
TUILLEADH LE TEACHT : TO BE CONTINUED