THE ALTAR BOY who altered THE MASSES – by Perkin Warbeck


The title of this memoir-cum- aide memoire  by the modern Renoir of  the Republic  could  well have been titled ‘Luncheon at the Gloating Party’ for every one of its pages chugs along smugly while  samultaneously(sic) throbbing with triumphalism, bigly.  The mentally unchallenged author, instead, who has incrementally  made a bigger impression upon himself with every glowing review by his circle of (secretely envious) acolytes in the hackitariat, has opted for a real body-warmer of a title, even as he enters into his Winter of Content.

-We don’t know Ourselves.

A body-warmer is, of course, a sleeveless jacket and the sleeves which have been snipped off are to be seen in the original working, class title at which this reviewer was privileged to get a sneak peak:

-Arah, shur, We don’t know Ourselves, at all at all.

But of course that would have smacked a tad too much of the linguistic Paddywhackery which the high-ranking Johnny come lately prelate in the Hierarchy of the Hackitariat affects to despise. Which is not to say that this Boland’s Millipede of a memoir is not heaving with sleeveenism: it is, in all its leaves, boy. All 600 plus pages of it. Truly is it a Long Mile Road of a Memoir  in which he conclusivly proves that the Southern Yunes are the original most oppressed people ever. Thus, does  the Road Runner of Revisionism  notch up a million meep meeps for the MOPES.  And counting.

There is scarcely a chapter (and there are 43 of them) in it where the self-made memoirist  does not make a tool of himself, and more soft than snot, a total tool.

For the book has legs, and a poisonous bite in each page of this Jacob’s Cookie Monster of a memoir: this is a given, considering that the author is none other than (gasp) Finchley Fintan, the debator supreme and past master of the prolix.

Call him, if you will, The Father Tedium of the Medium.

The central relay-theme which runs through this Mendacity Institute of a memoir is how FF’s own life (b. 1958) has paralelled the emergence, see, of the Republic from being a rockbottom backwater of Cetlic Catholicism to a model cattle-prod modernity. A Mod to his finger-taps there is no mention of the Mass Rockers in past centuries for fear they might explain a much more recent past. The past in which the neoPenal Laws of  Same-Annexe Marriage and Complete Defeat for the Foetus were  passed and concelebrated with glee unconfined  in the not inappropriate surrounds of Dublin Castle. Thus  leaving the Hiberno hassle of a dark, dog-barking past behind for all time.

Toxic Feminity (in all its multi-hued  manifestations) rules here, baby.

Not only is there no mention of a Mass Rock in this GPO of a memoir which delivers a TKO to the Papes neither, diito, is there an itty bitty namecheck for another particular tool. For one will also look high, low, long and hard for a japes-provoking namecheck of a Tally Stick.  Even though the Sticks, used to enforcing Compulsory English, haven’t gone away, I know.

The two sweaty  Bete Noirs of this Renoir of the Memoir (Bete Noir Lives mutter) are, deffo, the divorcee-free RC Church and the Lingua Franca of the Fanatical Leprehauns. Thus,  even token Mentions by the Mod  of either the Mass Rocker  or the Tally Stick would not suit the bespoke Knorritive of this Souper-star of Shoneenism.

The dodge of this dodgy memoir is to parallel the Ireland between 1958 and 2021 with the Life of the Brain, aka  Finchley Fintan. Right from the off he is quoting from various newspapers – like he born the same week that (shudder) The Dublin Theatre Festival was cancelled at the behest (the latest in a long list of behestivals) of The Archbishop of Dublin, John Charles McQuaid.

Thus, the first image  which emerges of the much to-be-later  sought authro  is  of a precocious  Flinty Finty, just a lad of eightbeen weeks, stocious on premature intellectuation, sitting upright  in his cot gobbling up the Goebells-style libels of  The Unionist Times (TUT), having tossed his comfort blanket over the side of the cot. No blanket boy in the making, our Finchley Fintan.

One can readily imagine his first sounds of approval were:

-Tut, tut,tut,tut,tut,

As it happened lucky mise  read  this whale of a bucklepping tome, from a Rome-and-Genome Gael basher, on a Kindle: the equivalent of stone-skimming aross a vast expanse of watery prose from a poseur of  political commentating.   Meaning  I could finger-tap my way swiftly through at least four fifths of Finchley Fintan’s  book- the aide-memoire part  in jig and reel time. Thus, for a fiver, or a fifth of the hard back price, I didn’t need to be a deep sea diver into the  ocean of notional and selective anti-national  press cuttinos. Instead, I could snorkerl dive into the much  dwindled memoir part of Flinty Finty’s personal odyssey in the City of Ulysses.

 Finchely Fintan was born in the  Poor. Working. Class. Dublin. Suburb of  Crumlin in 1958. And he parallels his own life since then and Ireland’s painful emergence from the Frightful Fifties, from the eff-off to the  slough of Celtic Catholicism to the h.t. welcomes on the mat, Timothy and Pat,  to Modernity of Monarchical language..

 John Charles  the Archbishop emerges as the Daddy of all Baddies, when and where the culture was All Church, like it or lump it. Young Fintan, for his sins, served Mass for him on one occasion.  (Sin Fin has a certain ring-a-ding-a-ling to it).

In one sense he is correct: John Charles did actually loom large over the Dublin of the fifties and sixites. Except it was a different John Charles. A soccer player from Swansea who played for that club with an Allchurch called Ivor. They were of far more interest to the boys (Catholic)  of Dublin, courtesy of the Charlie Buchan football monthly.

Having been born in Drimnagh, the nextdoor neigbhourhood of Poor. Working. Class. Dublin. Suburb of  Crumlin  in 1947 one speaks with a certain Camac-sider’s insider’s eye about the Fabulous Fifties which Finchley Fintan’s crabby dismissal of the decade when he was ‘interviewed’ by a genuflecting mono-minded Matt ‘The Hoople’ Cooper attired in his special all-fawn ensemble on The Last Word. The Host (unsacred) having swopped his normal pushiness for this lesser favoured  show of gushiness.

-We  had no idea of just how terrible the Fifties were !

FF leaves no ochone unturned, when it comes to depicting  the Frightful Fifties aka A Sorrowful Decade of Holy Terror.

Total Tool Time (1).

As a SY-fi fan, (Southern Yune)  who give a nod of synchronicty to  his Northern counterparts in Norn Iron, it is no surprise that Finchley Fintan badmouths Sean South:  

Sean South (who had Gaelicised his name to Sean Sabhat).

Coming from a fellow who persists in calling himself O’Toole, this truly is fertile ground for the  Easter Billy Guffaws which thrive in Irish soil. Welcome to the Republic of Irony-free Land.

Total Tool Time (2)

Because we were not getting married in church and  could therefore not have the banns read, we had to put an ad in a national newspaper declaring our intention to  wed. We put it in Irish on the assumption (correct as it turned out) that no one would read it in the language of the Gael’.

Translated from the script of a sleeveen this reads as : those who read Irish or the language of the Gael are nobodies.

Incidentally, how come does Lord Know-all come to the bracketed assumption (correct as it turned out) ? The very fact of its being ‘the language of the Gael’ indeed would have had  quite the opposite effect: an rud is annamh is iontach. But then Finchley Fintan does not do nuance particularly well. No nuancy boy he.

Welcome to the Neo FFeast of the Assumption.

But let one dwell for a moment on the ‘no one’. As it happened it featured in the biggest hit of the wonderful singer known as the Window Cleaner. None other than The Drimnagh Man with the sunniest disposition ever, Sonny Knowles.

No one will ever know my heart is breaking

Although a million teardrops start to flow

I’ll cry myself to sleep and wake up smiling

I’ll miss you but no one will ever know.

The composer of this superb melody was the great Fred Rose, the second part of the Acuff-Rose record company which featured on every second single bought by Drimnagh nobodies  (and possiby even Crumlin nobodies), during the Fifties.

It is quite possible that Lord Know-all, the alter ego of Finchley Fintan,  does not know this. I once approached the eminently approachable Sonny Knowles down in the National Boxing Stadiuim where he was also an habitué, would he know who had penned his biggest hit? As honest as the count is long, Sonny shrugged his shoulders in the negative with an embarrassed grin on his friendly face.

I honestly hadn’t the neck to tell him I’d once gone out of my way to pay  my respects to the late, great, publicity-shy Fred Rose whose grave was, like the man himself, in an obscure part of a Nashville graveyard where most of the music greats of Music City are not interred. It was another resplendent Fred Rose song which first skyrocketed a different  C and W great   to the strathosphere: Willie Nelosn, who is, of course, a songwriter of genius himself:

-Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.

So? So, FF the Memoirist habours as much respect agus grá  for  C and W (Country and Western) music as he does for,say, Confession Boxes and Toxic Teangah Troublestirrers. Take  his choice of musical songstresses, Twink and Susan McCann whom  he calls upon to act as witnesses even as  he, a demeurrer de luxe,  conducts an autopsy in the Showbands. One of whom, incidentally, was the only songstress on the stage a friend of mine ever witnessed consulting her wrist watch in midsong. Is leor é sin.

Incidentally, Sonny Knowles competed in two Irish heats of the Eurovision Contest singing an Irish song on both occasions, each of which felt the cold wind of finishing with Náid Pointí. Perchance  it was Finchely Fintan’s inner niúdaí náidí which prevented him from detailing that tale of sheer and  utter pointlessness.

Total Tool Time (3)

It would  appear that FF is more of a fan of C and E ( City and Eastern) music. Consider the following episode which features in this personal history. (a ph which seems bound to be honoured with PhD) In  1992 Ben Dunne aka Big Fella, with whom a 14-year old FF  had once pushed  Dunne’s Stores trollies through the streets of down town Dublin (ben dar, dunne dat),  threathened, while  on a cocaine binge with a local mott,  to throw himself off the roof  of an Orlando Hotel, Florida.

Also staying in the same hotel at the same time were the brashest and cashest ever C and E band to emerge from the No-hope Land of the real MOPES.  Does this come as news to You too? Also, who were about to launch one of their on-stage sectarian mimic-friendly  gimmicks which may have inspried the Writhing of Father Ted and the Writhings of Father Tedium alike….

To be continued…

Comments are closed.