THE ALTAR BOY who altered THE MASSES (2) – by Perkin Warbeck



Total Tool Time (3).

In a weird coincidence, the same seventeenth  floor of the Grand Cypress, Orlando, Florida was occupied at the same time by the great icons of a new form of global Irishness, the rock band U2. They were about to launch in Florida what could become to be regarded as the most spectacular stadium rock show ever staged, the Zoo TV tour. Even weirder is that one of the daring innovations of the show was a video confession booth where fans could look into the camera and tell it their most intimate secrets. Some of these would then be streamed during the concert. While Ben Dunne was raving to escorts about the Catholic Church and Confession, his compatriots a few doors away were about to launch a parody of the same sacrament’.

Talk about  Ben Dunne living on (erm) The Edge.

-Hold it there, Colette !

Y? in the immortal interrogative of Joe ‘Guff’ Duffy,  Honorary Consul of The Stoops in the Free Southern Stateen.

Well, the absence (total) of any hint of an inkling of criticism from FF, memoirist supreme of the FSS. Rather is it emphatic is its stamp of approval with a not so iffy whiff of the dampening of the uber-enthusiastic author’s underwear……’one of the daring innovations of the show was a video confession booth …..’

-Stall the ball, Saul !

Consider the following, in an earlier part of Finchely Fintan’s personal and often hysterical history:

Aodh de Blácam, a member of the official Commission on Emigration, dug deep into xenophobia and anti-Semitisim to urge Irish girls to stay at home with lovely Irish Catholic families: ‘Would you like to the see any girl in whom you had any interest going to a Jewman’s house in an English slum?’

Compare and contrast the fast ones Finchely Fintan has just pulled here, dear: a nasty trait with which the Renoir of the Modern Memoir in the the FSS impressively opts to adopt throughout the 600 plus pasty pages of this Rome-and-Gaelic Gnome-whacking hard-back tome.

Whereas the Great and Grating Intellectual  goes to the bother of selectively telling us who U2 are – (gasp)  – ‘the great icons of a new form of global Irishness ‘ –(wow) –  crucially, he self-levvies  upon his heavenly self  the equivalent of a cruciate injury to his credibilty by omitting to inform us of the really relevant identifier here. That is, only one of U2 is a non-Protestant.  That would be the drummer, who upends the old carthorse of a cliché: that a drummer is one who plays with musicians. In fact, this rhythm setter is the only musician in this ‘band’.

So a pass, and not of the Holy Mary variety, is given to the others, call them We3, who do a John Wilkes Booth, who actually did occupy a Box, on (erm) the Confession booth (sic), a fixture in the furniture of a religion not their own.  If and when the honorary doctorate is inevitably conferred on FF for this us-and-damn memoir, let him  henceforth be proudly known by his silky ilk as the Good Samaritan Doctor whose name truly was and still is,  Mudd.

This is indeed odd of one who is God to the mindless masses: for the author, FF, is the self -appointed Hector who does trojan work  hectoring wojus sectarianism whenever and wherever he encounters it. Where then the hissy fit, the howl of outrage, the thistle-sharp bristle at this dog whistle of sectarianism by the saintly We3 of U2?

But, Aodh de Blácam: who he? Sounds like a local, oakum-picking yokel who, from the day he was foaled in the (erm) Erse hole of the bawndoocks,  finds a compulsory urge to splurge in Irish or ‘the language of the Gael’  a synonym which the nib-scatching FF finds such an hilarious rib-tickler. So, no need for FF to explain in this case. It’s a given, Ivan

 Alas, ole A de B  was none of the above,

In fact, he was Harold Saunders Blackam who was born in London, the son of an Ulster  Protestant from Newry and an Englishwoman whose brother was the Surgeon General to the British Army in Ireland. Harold rebelled against the evangelical Protestantism of his family and converted to the Catholic Church (perverted would be the bon mot of the tolerantcow’s lick of a ruling cliquein Modern Oireland). He learned Irish, oops, the Language of the Gael, from the Belfast Protestant Robert Lynd and moved to Irelynd, oops, Ireland.

HSB joined  (gulp) The Irish Times which he later left to become (uber gulp) Editor of the Catholic Standard. (Now, THAT’s a mortlar is ever there was one for the pure as snowflakes wannabe Protestants in the FSS). For 17 years he wrote a feature in the Irish Press called Roddy the Rover.

Geddit, Andy?

I mean, FF’s model of a modern modus operandi.

It is based on a simple premise, like the rest of the Southern Yune Anglophoney world view. In the blue corner stands the doublewhammy Sammy Davis Jr and in the other corner there is the statuesque Tommy Davis Jr. No surprises and therefore no prizes for guessing which corner the SYs are sighing for, the one which allows them to VS: yes, indeed the blue one, an ceann leis an fear gorm. For Sammy D is a perfect storm trooper for the Souper-stars of Virtue Signalling: not merely black but Jewish as well, not merely etc.

Total Tool Time (4)

It was also the headquarters of Conor Cruise O’Brien, the UN representative and perhaps the leading Irish intellectual of his generation. Cultured, sophisticated, comopolitan, witty, supremely self-confident, a billiant critic and historian, O’Brien seemed to embody the new Ireland’.

This paean in the whole grain bread occurs in the chapter entitled ‘1961: Balubaland’ and for a moment one had to do a double-take: was Finchely Fintan actually describing himself as’ the embodiment of the new, modern Ireland’.

No, actually. But indeed, it is  CCO’B, aka Corn on the Cob for which the sliced paean was designed, the same cultured, sophisticated, cosmopolitan, witty, supremely self-confident son of a gun-runner who honed his cut-glass British blas by spending his shool vacations from Sandford  Park School in Ranelagh on Liffeyside. in the Galltacht of Ranelagh Pleasure Gardens on Thameside.

Yes, the same role model who bequeathed to Ireland not one, not two, but no less than  three deathless concepts;

-Section 31, GUBU and The Bogoak Monolith.

Finchley Fintan’s swooning namecheck of Congo Crisis O Brain was prompted by his own Uncle Willie’s connection. The latter was a boots-on-the-ground squaddie in the Irish UN batallion detailed to guard the villa-cum-swimming pool of Ireland’s leading intellectual which also contained a lady not his wife at the time. One, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, poetess, oops, poet i dTeanga na nGael. Oh, the scandalous sophistication of it all !

Mind you,  the very phrase ‘O’Toole’s Uncle Willie’  does have a certain ring-a-ling-a-ding-dong about it, does it not?

The latter comes across as a hero to the nephew as he had been offensively issued with antiquated weaponry by the Department of Defence in Dublin. Mind you, not quite as heroic as the ten young young British soldiers, all of them raw conscripts, in the guardroom of a training camp in Blandford, Dorset who were bound and gagged by five or six  masked men from the clandestine IRA, brandishing revolvers. Even as FF’s mother was in labour with the future Renoir of the Memoir.

It was very easy : the guards’ rifles were not loaded.

Eh? Oh, yes I see now: that routine military level of unpreparedness had obviously been broadcast on the BBC Light Service every day for the previous week and picked up by the Irish press with a small p.. FF does not believe in stating the obvious: he makes his readers think and join the links.

Clandestine is FF’s choice of word: a daaaaarlin word, Joxer!Especially in a Dubalin setting. Would bond nicely nicely with, say, the Glennane Gang, who, alas, for whatever reason fail to get a namecheck from FF, much less a heart-gladdening adjective..

What really gets FF far more riled than even Old Mother Riley at her frilly shrillest  in this chapter is the adoption of the tribal name ‘Baluba’ as a xenophobic, racist term of abuse in an Irish context. He himself would have been all of 3 at the time in Crumlin. As one who was 14 at the time I recall it well, and indeed often heard it uttered on the roads of  Drimnagh and  it was not exactly meant as a compliment. At the same time it was not unlike its far more pervasive, predecessor ‘Mad Arab’ meant  much more in the manner  jocular rather than the vicious racial superiority inherent in, lemme see, ah yis:

-The Bogoak Monolith.

Curiously enough, TBM does not raise a squeak of testy protest  from the Renoir of the Irish Memoir, whose ire remains unpiqued. Just imagine if the B had been substituted with a W ! Talk about the Wigs being on in the Green Street Courthouse where the Special Criminal Midnight Court is held! Ní bheadh raic, rí-RA agus rúille búille go dtí é !

For such an enthusiast for UN Peacekeeping intervention, there is a somewhat surprising reticence (i.e, not a syllable, Jill or even an ejaculation,  Jack) from the the normally fluent effluence of  FF. Did not Dr. Paddy Hillery make such a call in 1969? Alas, just as he was about to plant the flag on the summit  of the UN Building he was bellowed home by the fallow fellow (ff)  Union Jack Lynch, aka, A. Pierpoint of the Noose Ireland.

Speaking of Africa, on St Patrick’s Day in 1968 this scrupulously objective reveiwer  found himself confronted with a Sight of Such Ferocity in a college campus near a town in Nigeria where the local tribe was the Yoruba rather than the Baluba.  Nigeria  was in the middle of an (alleged)  Civil War at the time.  (Actually, an logical outplay of British Colonisation when the Ibo tribe – as different from the Yorubas etc as say, the Pakistanis are from the Indians- did a Sinatra and decided to do it their way).

So chronic and non-histrionic was  the post-traumatic shock I suffered from the Ferocious Sight it was too late for me to propose, in the absence of the UN intervention, an obvious remedy to the Trouble Bubble in Norn Iron which came to be blown the following year. A remedy  which  would  have compelled even General Sir Frank ‘Put your Mitts Up’  Kitson himself to pack up his old namesake of a bag, having made such a low intensity  bags of The Bog Oak Monolith.

The F.S. in question was a great hurling match between 11 Irishmen (most of whom were missionaries)  and 11 Englishmen. The hurleys had been supplied by a Cobh (that’s Queenstown, FF) engineer (call him The Bould Thady Quill 2) who  halted production in the nearby  Tate and Lyle factory the previous day and got his workers to fashion 44 hurley sticks  from the native wood, with the hurl which TBTQ had brought with him in his luggage from De Rebel County, boy, functioning as a design model. Not so much the clash of the ash as the smash of the easily broken iroko.

The ball was not a sliotar but a tennis ball, the referee was Mr. Onigbinde, the sports master in the college in which y.t. was the teacher of the (gasp)  Queen’s English. Mr. O was an international soccer referee and was dressed in the full canonicals he had  previously  worn when refereeing a World Cup qualifier game betwen two North African countries. The crowd consisted of the students and local villagers, most of whom sought hurried  shelter among the palm trees whenever the play swung in their direction. Mr. Onigbinde once later fetched up in The Aviva, Dublin as the assistant coach of the Nigerian national soccer team.

The result has become a casualty of amnesia. But not the Ferocious Sight of 11 Englishmen with Hurleys in hand being wielded like a butcher’s cleaver in a chopping motion. (Talk about the Longthorpe Slashers!). I wasn’t able to hold a stick of chalk in the classroom for at least a month afterwards.

 If the peace-keeping Paratroop Regiment  had been thus issued with same (rather than the bulletless rifles issued to the young heroes in Blandford Barrracks, Dorset – see above) the wonderful Wildean wit of CCO’B would have been made flesh within a week, max.

-I Ran Away.

Or, as the Eddie Cochran of Collaboraton might urge his followers to roar:

-Camán everybody !


-BA -LU-BA ! Ní thiocfadh ár LU riamh agus é timpeallaithe agus an BA le hurls ina lámha ar thaobh amháin agus BA le hurleys ina lámha ar an dtaobh  eile !

Total Tool Time (5):  

 ‘Within a few years, producing a fondue set at a middle-class dinner party would be an appalling lapse of taste, like having flying ducks or The Crying Boy or your wall, or Mantovani on our new stereo’

                                               To be continued…..

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