Monthly Archives: May 2008

iPod, therefore I am

The iPod Shuffle is simply the greatest of all time, better than TV, penicillin or the thing for getting hairs out of your nose.

This afternoon, out in the garden in the glorious sunshine, my iPod played the live version of “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting” by Elton and Anastacia, which is just fabulous. I head-rocked along and as it ended, I thought, “wow, follow that.”

It did. The next track was Jacqueline duPre doing Bach’s No 1 Cello Suite.

Raw rocking followed by melancholic beauty. You’d never think of playing those two one after the other yourself. Thank God for the shuffle.

Top of the Morning, Ted

Better than Dustin, anyway

Better than Dustin, anyway

Although the weather has turned cold and dank again, (yesterday I’d to put on the light in the kitchen for the first morning in about two months) I’m in great form these mornings, and I think I know why.

About ten days ago my 13-year old son got ‘My Lovely Horse’ as his alarm call music. It goes off at 6.30, when I’m in the bathroom next door to his room, and it never fails to make me smile (it doesn’t do a lot towards making him get up, but you can’t have everything). Not only that, but the song stays in my head all through breakfast and right up until the time I put on my iPod on the train.

Good for you, Father Ted, and the Divine Comedy.

Up with this sort of thing.

Dustbin the Turkey

From inside the independent republic of Montrose, it all looked so simple – Dustin is on RTE, therefore if he says he’s funny, then he is. And he must be funny – he has a put-on inner-city Dub accent, he has a catchphrase – who wouldn’t piss themselves laughing at “Go on, ya good thing”?, and his response to being asked about any celebrity from Larry Gogan to the Pope is to say “Jaysus, I thought he was dead”.

Once the people of RTE  allowed the song into the national contest, it was a fait accompli that it would get through. Perhaps some people thought it was genuinely funny. Most people who voted for it did so to “show up” the Eurovision, and to laugh at the whole thing. They failed to realise that the Eurovision is well capable of laughing at itself, and that all we were doing is proving that we don’t get the joke.

People who dared to point out that the song was rubbish were dismissed as humourless old farts. If these were former winners, they were called old begrudgers trapped in a time warp.

And so it was that RTE wasted our time and our licence fee sending off a no-hope load of crap that just made us look like eejits. The sad part is that by Tuesday they really thought they’d win, citing the interest that Dustin was generating in the overseas media. Of course, if we’d sent a man with his head on fire that would have generated interest too, but wouldn’t have meant that we’d win. The boos from the audience should have given Marty Whelan the hint that things weren’t going well, but his increasing incredulity as song after song got in ahead of us, and his claims afterwards to be gutted, shows perfectly how RTE actually believed their own self-congratulatory hype.

After the inevitable happened, the line from RTE was that Europe just “didn’t get Dustin”. Thus we’re not just cleverer than everyone else, we’re in fact far too clever for their tiny foreign brains.

I don’t feel sorry for the guy who plays Dustin. He’s got more publicity out of it, which is all he wanted. And as if he hadn’t had enough, RTE decided it would be even funnier still if he featured again on Saturday, turning up with Marty to pretend he’d qualified because (wait for this) Turkey was on the running order. My God, and people wonder why RTE have never had a decent sit-com.

(By the way, we’ve probably insulted the country of Turkey at an almost Danish Cartoon level with all of this).

In case you haven’t got it by now, RTE, pay attention – Dustin is a humourless, one-gag waste of feathers and latex. He may have been funny as a bit-part on Zig and Zag (over 16 years ago now), but he’s not funny anymore. You made a huge mistake, as many people told you, now allow the whole thing to just die away.

A final word on Marty Whelan. I know he’s trying to be Terry Wogan with his dry cynicism, but he comes across as bitter. And he doesn’t get the voting. How does he not see that we voted for the UK and Poland, who both finished joint last, because of the number of natives of those countries living here. If we’d got in, the UK would have given us votes because the Irish there would have phoned in. So why does he get so angry when the Swedes living in Norway vote for Sweden, or the Serbs in Montenegro vote for Serbia? If he’d been consistent he’d have lambasted us for our votes.

In the end it’s quite simple, Marty. If you hate the whole thing as much as you seemed to last night, give it up and let someone else spend a week in a European city in May instead.

I’ll spit on your grave

Many thanks to the dickhead who spat on the southbound platform at Tara Street sometime today. I put my bag down on top of it, then on the train I put my bag on my lap, to get stuff out of it, & now I’ve a big grolly on my jeans.

What sort of fucking animal needs to spit all the time. Get some tissues, you neanderthal inbred.


A Different League of Grief

I wonder what Frank Lampard would have done if he’d missed the penalty in the Champions League semi-final against Liverpool. Would he have shaken his fist up at the sky at his mother?

I may sound heartless, but lots of working people have lost a parent, including me. You take a couple of days off, as Lampard did when he missed the United match, and then you go back to work to help both occupy your mind and start the process of returning to normality, as he did by playing in the semi-final. What you don’t do is turn your whole place of work into a theatre for you to display your grief, raising your black armband (at work? really? after a week?) to the sky every time you serve the right drinks to the right customers, get a long row of figures to balance or deliver a load of blocks to the correct building site. 

Because he’a footballer, though, his grief is by definition more agonising than anyone else’s has ever been, ever, and no opportunity must be missed to show us how great he is to be coping with it all. He certainly had no shortage of help from the media. Some eejit in the Times eulogised that Lampard’s ” bravery” in stepping up to take the penalty “after the worst week of his life” was extraordinary.  Then their feature writer, a guy called Martin Samuels wrote:

What a player. What a man. What an absolute diamond of a footballer. The critics, the haters, they cannot touch Frank Lampard now. Not after last night. Not after that penalty. He won, they lost. He stood tall, they skulked in the background.

The debate is over. The phone-ins, the message-boards, the sad little snipers from outside the arena; what do they matter when set against this, among the gutsiest acts from any athlete, across many decades?

It’s because bollocks like that gets written about footballers that they start to believe that they are something far more special than they really are. Only inside the rarified bubble that encompasses all those involved in football – players, managers and media – could an act which is merely mature be seen as so courageous. All bereaved people mourn, and then do the jobs they are being paid to do. That’s called being grown-up. It’s not just normal Joes that do it without fuss either. Bertie Ahern returned to the Good Friday talks directly from his mother’s funeral, and Bono played at Slane the week his father died. Both of these are targets for both contempt and ridicule from the media and the public (and me), but both are far better men than our Frank. 

Many people do show extraordinary bravery in their jobs. The firefighters of 9/11, for instance, who went into a burning tower past the body of their dead chaplain, were showing true bravery on what must have been the worst morning of their lives. The passengers of Flight United 93, who fought back against the hijackers and so died under their own terms rather than those of their captors, performed what truly was one of the gutsiest acts – not just among athletes – for many decades.

Perhaps Lampard now understands about grief and death better than he did in September 2001, when he and three team mates mocked a group of Americans at an airport, mooning them and waving their arms like aeroplanes in a shocking outburst of disrespect for the truly brave people mentioned above. He showed he didn’t value other people’s feelings then, so it is hard to feel sorry for him now.

Certainly, you’d have to be a saint not to hope that his mother is at this moment being berated in heaven by the spirits of the Twin Towers dead asking how she could have raised such an arsehole as a son.