Saturday, May 27, 2006

Manchester Rovers, the Colonel, and a Late Late Partridge

A few years ago, when Sir Eamon of Dunphy was having The Last Word on Today FM, the bould Colonel used to be dragged on air to hang out with "the lads" (Dunph and Johnny Giles) and chat about football and other matters. On one such occasion the Colonel was moved to comment on Alex Ferguson and his stewardship of Manchester Utd…or Manchester Rovers as the Colonel called it/them. Cue sniggering behind hands from Dunph and Gilesy as the poor Col. pressed on, trying to convince his pals that he was a fountain of knowledge RE: football, as opposed to a geyser of faeces.

Speaking of faeces, the ever-nauseating Pat Kenny (or "Pat Partridge" as Copernicus likes to call him) was engaging in a similar bit of cringe-making, "all lads together" type banter on the Late Late last night. The guests were three "ligends" of Munster Rugby - Paul O'Connell, Ronan O'Gara, and Anthony Foley (fresh from their epic Heineken Cup triumph) - who asked Pat to put a Munster jersey on before they got cracking with the interview.

In true Partridge fashion Pat opted to try (with the help of Paul O'C) to get the jersey on over his jacket! The struggle lasted for some time before Mr. Partridge surrendered, whipped the jacket off and revealed a substantial gut normally hidden by careful tailoring. Cue a few deranged wolf-whistles from a traumatised audience…before Pat declared "I feel like a real man now!". Gwan de lads!

When the chat finally got going Pat displayed his knowledge of the population of Limerick City by declaring that there were 100, 000 people on O'Connell St. watching the match on the big screen. Er…

The boys, in fairness, let Pat's dodgy arithmetic go, but he wasn't finished embarrassing himself yet. Not by a long chalk. With the testoesterone flowing (thanks to the jersey) Pat turned to the mighty (and modest) Paul O’Connell, and came out with the following (and I paraphrase):

PK: You're very scary aren't you?

POC: (clearly embarrassed) Em…I wouldn't say that now…

PK: (undaunted) Oh you are! You're very scary. I've heard that you're so scary you sleep with the light on because you're afraid of the dark!

[A few strained titters from the audience]

POC: (looking even more embarrassed) Er…I think that's Chuck Norris…

Gah! Partridge had obviously been saving up that gag all night - you know, the one about the dark being afraid of Paul O'Connell- but when his big moment came - with "de lads" all watching and waiting - he dropped the ball spectacularly.

Knock on. Scrum to the opposition…

Please Define Your Terms


While CE has been rather lax in its duties of late, exams are out of the way and it may well be that some of us might now find the time occasionally to pop into the local library or house of public resort to have a read of the Colonel's diurnal emesis over a quiet pint of Uncle Arthur's opaque and bitter nectar. However, disappointed readers of myerswatch should be cheered to find that someone was on the job. Over at talideon.com the Cruiskeen crew will find a rather excellent "fisking" of a typically deep and coherent consideration of the topical issue of same-sex unions by the bould Kevin.

Keith of talideon picks up on some of the themes which have been explored here, not least the Colonel's bizarre, near fascist attacks on the notion of "law" and his unfair, unprincipled attacks on those advocates who refuse to compromise on their common law, ethical and moral duty to advance arguments and evidence to protect and assert their clients' interests. I was personally gratified to read Keith's acute observations re the Colonel's use of the word "decent". It rather reminds CE of certain philistine young bloggers who don't read, don't watch interesting films in case, just in case, it might be a waste of time and whose musical "ear" extends across a very narrow range of compositions and who, yet, likes to bandy around words like "degenerate" - vile, dehumanising, intolerant and degrading language - to describe the cultural and intellectual lives of other human beings.

Kevin Myers adopts a totally wierd and inconsistent line on the law. While on the one hand he asserts a macho vision of robust individualism characterised by ex-rugby playing billionaires with virile bouffant haircuts - when it suits - he nevertheless suggests that lawyers should represent their clients and judges interpret the law in accordance with outcomes which take account not of freedom, liberty, fairness and the complex balance to be achieved between public and private interests, but rather in a way which ensures that nobody does anything that his Kevness might find distasteful or upsetting or which gives him to perceive that they have got away with something, the bastards. The only mild point of disagreement CE has with Keith is his assertion that judges are answerable to the people. While that is correct as a matter of constitutional aspiration, the practical means of disciplining members of the Judiciary are unsatisfactory, to say the least, and, in essence, non-existent for anything less than being caught with images of pederastic abuse on your home computer.

Following yesterday's furore at an event in the Royal College of Physicians, superbly live-blogged by Suzy of Maman Poulet (a stout-hearted supporter of the myerswatch team whose blog archives are a good source of comment on the very issue of same-sex unions) the blogosphere has some interesting posts and comments at, if memory serves, such diverse forums as the aforementioned Maman Poulet, Mulley dot net, Back Seat Drivers, Reality Check dot ie and Freestater.

As Keith points out in his post, the slippery Kevin refuses at any point to actually define what it is he means by "marriage". Of course, if he did, the cracks in his logic would begin to show. Of course, again, Kevin's position is a matter not of logic but of reaction. I have a lot more respect for people like Boris Johnson whose approach to this issue might best be summed up as "Look, I'm instinctively against this notion that marriage doesn't necessarily refer to nuptials twixt man and woman, but I can't justify it rationally or by reference to the other principles I have articulated and as such I have to really examine my position." I think it behoves us to consider that our reactions to the idea of gay marriage are probably a matter of chemistry and as such, should be scrutinised on that rather than, initially, on "moral" grounds.

Homosexuality as with any other orientation is a product of both nature and nurture; nurture in so far as one's environment has an impact on the development of the brain in childhood and adolescence. As such it's entirely a matter of biology and in no respect a lifestyle choice. Of course, there are degrees of sexual identity along the whole awesome spectrum and I am sure it is open to some people to choose the sexual life they will wish to lead on the basis of inclination and a personal even societal determination of what would be a good and happy life for them. That's really beside the point.

We are a reproductive species, machines for the replication of our genes, and as such our sexuality is at the very heart of our identity. But we are each and every one of us mutant beings, which is why we aren't clones of our parents or, simpliciter, the first ameobic lifeforms. And given the complex interplay of our mutant cells and the reproductive and environmental processes to which each and every one of us is subject it is approaching the miraculous that there are any ordinarily heterosexually adjusted people around at all.

If Kevin Myers has been lucky enough to develop a sexual identity against all the odds of his mutant genes, and the impact of the things he saw as a little boy on his brain architecture, which co-incides with the straitened Edwardian standards that confuse reproductive efficiency with social order, he should count his blessings. Life is hard enough for people, especially those whom the exigencies of evolution have determined will have as the most fundamental aspect of their identity as human beings a sexual orientation which, on the face of it, is confounding of reproductive effects. The compulsions are the same for all of us, it's in the consequences that difference lies. And the reactionary likes of Mr. Myers have an incredible cheek not to mention little of the milk of human kindness in expecting people to resist billions of years of cosmic and evolutionary forces during their brutish, short four score years and ten (CE is very lifespan optimistic) when he and his ilk can't even be bothered to define their terms and explain a) what is "marriage" and b) by what logic is that definition immutable and binding on everyone else?

Anyway, go read Keith on Myers, dear, loyal readers. CE is sure you are hanging out for news of the Colonel's doings. CE is only sorry that Keith's post didn't appear here.

And when you're done, why not have a read of this.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Tally Ho



The jaded blogger hacks here at Cruiskeen Eile rejoice in seeing that the Colonel's transfer from the D'Olier Guards to the Talbot Fusileers (© The Phoenix) has resulted in his popping up on hitherto unvisited front lines in the Glorious Conservative Counter-Revolution - namely, everyone's favourite pre-scripted panel discussion, RTÉ's Questions and Answers.

(Is Myers indeed going to take the fight to the enemy (i.e. the great unwashed Irish public?). Time will tell, though undoubtedly fellow scribe 'Copernicus' is sharpening his pencil in anticipation as we speak and will return with a vengeance once exams permit...)

Noted longtime Myers fanboi Richard Waghorne, meanwhile, is left bemoaning Kevin's deft handling by pinko socialist union riff-raff - and what's (undoubtedly) worse for the Colonel's manly aura - a woman. Cheer up, Dickie! It could be worse - it could be Senator David Norris doing the deed.

Finally, though we recognise that it is a tad ungentlemanly to speculate on the nature of a fellow officer's relationship with a lady, we cannot but wonder if the Colonel and Madam Editor have yet worked a time-share arrangement for custody of the, ah, airwaves at RTÉ. We can't see Ms. Kennedy too long forsaking her favourite public platform, and confidentiality agreements may not stand up too well once the protagonists are trapped in close proximity...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Colonel's First Indo Column

Like you, dear reader, Cruiskeen Eile was expecting great things of the nation's top polemicist and scholarship boy on his first day at big school. Alas, he produced one of those jobbies he used to knock off over a glass or two of claret whenever he was a bit stuck over at the Old Lady of D'Olier Street. Cruiskeen Eile managed to get hold of an earlier draft which we've reprinted in full in the last post. This is the version which finally made it into the Independent.

As I was saying, before being so rudely interrupted . . .

MAY, 1980, and I start from my sleep after the most extraordinary dream, one in which I am working for years and years as a newspaper columnist for The . . . no, no, I won't go into the details of where and who and so on. It's all too preposterously unbelievable.

I gaze at the alarm clock, before leaping up, yelping with horror. I'm late for my morning shift at The Indo! I leap out of bed, and in my panic, feel I am drawn into a strangely trilateral flush, which suffuses my entire being. Then I recover, and tumble downstairs from my flat above the Family Planning Clinic - my condominium - and hurtle through the doorway into Mountjoy Square, which is as you know, a sad wasteland resembling Berlin circa 1945.

What! Overnight, someone has completely rebuilt it with elegant offices and apartment blocks. A strange flat-faced gentleman passes by. "Excuse me, sir," I ask, "but can you tell me what's been going on here?"

"Xctlgh Abklds vhghta," he murmurs melodiously. "Bnhghstd mklllp."

"I see. Thank you very much."

How odd. The Dalai Lama apparently has moved here. But why? After catastrophic economic mismanagement through the 1970s, tens of thousands of people are fleeing this Ireland of 1980. I'm the lucky one: this morning I have a freelance shift in Independent Newspapers. I scurry past the ruins of Gardiner Street: but stay! The ruins are gone: vanished! Indeed, horrible old Gardiner Street appears to have been transformed into a boulevard in the 17th arrondisement.

Now I didn't touch a drop last night. So what is going on here? I head towards the once great Gate Theatre, now in an abysmal decline. No modern drama ever here. Sad, sad, sad. Yet hold on! Hoardings insist that the Gate is staging "Waiting for Godot". What? Mac Liammoir as Estragon? And Edwards as Vladimir? But that'd be like John Wayne - who died just nine months ago: RIP - playing Lady Bracknell. No, no, it cannot be.

Dizzy with incomprehension, I totter down O'Connell Street, of all of Europe's capital main-streets, perhaps the most depressingly dereli . . . My God. It's utterly unrecognisable. There's a big shiny yoke sticking out of the street between the GPO and . . . The Anne Summers' what? kind of shop? Indeed, just about the only thing that remains from yesterday is that newly-opened McDonalds, the first one in Ireland, and the last, I'll be bound. McDonalds will never catch on in this country. Irish people just won't take to fast-food.

Irish people? What Irish people? The Tower of Babel has come to Dublin. Everywhere there are Balts and Bosnians, Gauls, Galicians and Greeks, never mind Poles, Apaches and Pathans. Some are spouting languages without vowels, others flute ones without consonants, and others still without either. What's happening to me? Is there something in the Mountjoy Square water? I half expect to see a chanting impi of Zulu warriors come trotting over O'Connell Bridge . . .

Then I finally realise what's going on. This is all part of that mad dream, the same one in which I was writing a newspaper column for decades. So I lower my head and scurry to Middle Abbey Street, hoping to wake up when I reach the sanctuary of Independent Newspapers.

Except it is gone. Yes, it too has vanished. It was there yesterday; but not today. Should I go back to bed? Probably. A gentleman who rather resembles the prime minister of Ghana, complete with fly-whisk, passes by. And I know I'm having a true Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds experience when a ban-garda shimmers into view, and on horseback. Naturally.

"Excuse me, ban-garda," I cry to the she-Mountie, "What's happened to Independent Newspapers, please?"

She looks at me curiously. "Moved to Talbot Street. And a little less sexist talk, if you don't mind." She then clops out of my dream.

Talbot Street? But Talbot Street is Stalingrad. You couldn't have newspaper offices there. And what's "sexist talk"?

I stagger back to O'Connell Street, past bistros selling mysterious comestibles I've never heard of: lattes and chorizos and pannini and mochas and even wraps. Why, we'll be munching sock-pie next. Meanwhile, the dream is getting steadily more ludicrous: Talbot Street, once populated by wizened, whey-skinned jailbirds with soggy cigarettes drooping out of their mouths, is now almost as cosmopolitan as Manhattan. I ask a little Eskimo for directions, and with the aid of his harpoon, he politely points out the new Independent building.

"I'm feeling a little out of sorts today," I gibber haplessly at some swagman at reception. "Is this newspaper still run by that O'Reilly fellow?"

"Of course, mate."

"Hallelujah! I thought I was having the weirdest dream, in which Ireland of 1980 is incredibly prosperous and attracting immigrants from around the world, and the receptionist at this newspaper is an Australian . . . "

"Which I am, cobber. But the year is 2006."

"TWO THOUSAND AND SIX? What! Am I some sort of Rip Mac Winkle?"

"Rather well put, sport. You used to work here, until you missed your shift back in 1980. Did you feel your complexion redden first thing after you woke up?"

"Yes! How did you know?"

"Because you vanished into the Florider Triangle. You're just out of it. Do yourself a favour. Don't look in the mirror, not quite yet, anyway. Otherwise, welcome back to the newspaper you used to write for, 26 years ago."

Ah. Really? So, as I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted . . .

The Colonel's New Adventure in Full

May 2006, and I am prised from the sweet arms of Morpheus having had the most extraordinary reverie, one in which I work for year upon Sisiphusian year as a crazed polemicist for The Telegr…no, no, I won’t go into the details of who did what to who, where. ACHAB* as Alan Clark used to say.

I glaze at the alarm clock, er gaze, before leaping from my bed looking like an immortal god, the rosy fingered Dawn indicating that I am late for my morning shit at The Bindo! I leap forth, and in my panicked search for loin girding, feel I am drawn into a strangely trilateral flush, which suffuses my entire being. No, I don’t know what that means either. Realising that never mattered before, I recover and tumble downstairs from my flat above the Family Planning Clinic – tripping over my condominimum, left with the milk bottles at the threshold; not for bastard-getting I – and hurtle out into the street. Still, sharp-eyed readers will have noted, in a state of ungentlemanly undress, I stay my gallop for a moment outside to take in my surrounds.

Mountjoy Square?!

Oh sweet Christ! I'm on the northside!!

What! Overnight, someone has completely moved me to the northside! As I had long suspected, they do not look like us over here. They have flat-faces and speak inscrutable oriental mishmash. “Excuse me, sir,” I ask one, “but can you tell me where the white rabbit went. I’ve come down the wrong hole”.

"Xctlgh Abklds vhghta," he murmurs melodiously. "Bnhghstd mklllp."

“I see...I want my mummy!”

Not for the first time, I am dizzy with incomprehension, and totter down
O'Connell Street, like a working class female in stilettos and white mini. Of all Europe's capital main-streets, this is perhaps the most depressingly dereli . . . But what’s this? Anne Summers? What kind of shop can it be?

Two hours later I re-emerge blinking into the daylight, a brown paper bag clasped to my ample bosom. But where are the Irish people? The
Tower of Babel has come to Dublin, and that gives me an idea for a column or two. I know just how to put the willies up people, especially since I acquired this brown paper bag. By the time I’m finished, people will half expect to see a chanting impi of Zulu warriors come trotting over O'Connell Bridge . . .

It is then I finally realise what's going on. This is all part of that mad dream, the same one in which I was writing a newspaper column for decades. A mad newspaper column. So I lower my head and scurry to Middle Abbey Street, where I have no desire to wake up when I reach the sanctuary of Independent Newspapers. But it’s not there.

Provoking even greater suspicion that I haven’t bothered to research the latest developments on the northside for my column, I completely fail to notice the rather obvious tram system and turn my attentions instead to immigration and my obsession with Edwardian social values. I think of an African gentleman in the language of H Rider Haggard and mischievously use the arcane and dismissive term "ban-garda" to describe a female police officer. In my dreamscape, however, I cannot help but imagine her astride a snorting stallion adopting the tones of a stern governess…

Having returned to Anne Summers momentarily, I make my way to Talbot Street.

Eskimos are funny, by the way.

Having located Independent Newspapers, I rush inside and gibber “Is this newspaper still run by Doctor Sir Anthony O’Reilly Pasha, God keep him?”

“Of course, mate. That’s him over there stroking that white cat.”

“Thank God. Ever since the Major went at the other place, I just haven’t felt comfortable.” My voice cracks slightly. “I had…I… They made me work for a woman over there.” Oh God, the shame burns my cheeks. Another flush, another triangle. Still no idea what the hell I’m on about.

“I had a dream that things had moved on in this country and that there was incredible prosperity and progress in our attitudes.”

“Oh that doesn’t matter around here, mate.”

“Hallelujah! You mean I can go back to saying what I was saying in 1980 and to what my forefathers were saying in 1880?”

“’Struth cobber”.

“Ah really? So, business as usual then...”


*Anything can happen at backgammon. If you have to ask, you'll never be U.

That's all I had/have time for. It's almost as phoned-in as the Colonel's own jaded effort, but it's exam time and so....exeunt copernicus, stage right.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Fathers of Bastards

For those who'd like to get in on today's joke, the full text of Mr. Myers' (phoned-in) column is available here, at the ever delightful Clare Hurlers forum, where the crack goes on, on anfearrua.com. I haven't had a chance to revert to my posting of the real version all day as an t-Idirlinn was on the blink at work.

However, my purchase of the Bindo! yielded the following great story. It seems a disgruntled German ex-politician is doing the satanic work of hundreds of MoBs by adopting up to 1,000 fatherless urchins by year's end, presumably in Paraguay in which country he now resides, as a form of revenge on the German State. According to himself, Mr. Jurgen Hass (56) was wrongly convicted of fraud and "treated like a dog" and is now exploiting a 1998 children's rights law whereby he can adopt fatherless boys with the consent of their mothers thereby entitling them to passports and a lifetime of social welfare freeloading at the expense of his former countrymen.

I mean, it's one thing when a 15 year old slattern from a tenement does it, but a man! Whatever would the Colonel say?

The Colonel Has Left the Building

Just a quick Cut and Paste job of the letters in The Irish Times today, bidding fond, and not so fond, farewells to the bould Colonel.

Madam, - Who else is going to horrify and humour me in equal measure? Since his departure I have become a more placid person. Other journalists don't seem to provoke me to the point of rage the way "An Irishman's Diary" did. I miss him. . . - Yours, etc,

EVA McDONNELL,
Aiken's Village,
Sandyford,
Co Dublin

Madam, - Please allow me to express my joy at the departure of Kevin Myers from your newspaper. Experience has taught me that everyone finds their own level in life eventually and in joining a newspaper group with "tabloid" standards, Mr Myers has found his. I have no doubt he will be among his own at Independent Group. - Yours, etc,

ALAN McPARTLAND,
Grange Court,
Rathfarnham,
Dublin 16.

Madam, - It is sad to hear that Kevin Myers is leaving The Irish Times. Under his stewardship, the "Irishman's Diary" was entertaining and always a worthwhile read. I met Mr Myers a number of times when I was involved with the UCC team on Challenging Times - one of the abiding memories of my time in university.

I would like to wish him all the best for the future! - Yours, etc,

NIALL TWAMLEY,
Blarney Road,
Cork.

Madam, - With the departure of Kevin Myers to his natural home in the Independent Newspaper Group, I'll be deprived of a daily ritual of mine.

His "Irishman's Diary" was the first article I went to every morning, so I could read it, cut it out, bin it and continue to read the rest of your refreshingly liberal paper.

His usual right-wing rant was bad enough, but his pathetic efforts at humour were even worse.

He has found his true home beside the syndicated Daily Telegraph pieces and the "hang 'em and flog 'em" columnists of Mr O'Reilly's empire.

I look forward to becoming a regular reader of "An Irishman's Diary" from now on, - Yours, etc,

ÁINNLE O'NEILL,
Osprey Drive,
Templeogue,
Dublin 6W.

Madam, - We shall miss his contribution and craic.

However, one Kevin Myers doesn't make a good newspaper so I, for one, will not be moving with him. - Yours, etc,

GERRY LOWE OBE,
Windmill Road,
Saintfield,
Co Down.

Madam, - Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! . . . - Yours, etc,

JONATHAN WHITE,
Sandymount,
Dublin 4.

More bits and pieces to come...

The Colonel's Adventure Through the Looking Glass

May 2006, and I am prised from the sweet arms of Morpheus having had the most extraordinary reverie, one in which I work for year upon Sisiphusian year as a crazed polemicist for The Telegr…no, no, I won’t go into the details of who did what to who, where. ACHAB* as my old mucker, Alan, used to say.

I glaze at the alarm clock, er gaze, before leaping from my bed looking like an immortal god, the rosy fingered Dawn indicating that I am late for my morning shit at The Bindo! I leap forth, and in my panicked search for loin girding, feel I am drawn into a strangely trilateral flush, which suffuses my entire being. No, I don’t know what that means either. Realising that never mattered before, I recover and tumble downstairs from my flat above the Family Planning Clinic – tripping over my condominimum, left with the milk bottles at the threshold; not for bastard-getting I – and hurtle out into the street. Still, sharp-eyed readers will have noted, in a state of ungentlemanly undress, I stay my gallop for a moment outside to take in my surrounds.

Mountjoy Square?!

Oh sweet Christ! I am on the northside!!

What! Overnight, someone has completely moved me to the northside! As I had long suspected, they do not look like us over here. They have flat-faces and speak inscrutable oriental mishmash. “Excuse me, sir,” I ask one, “but can you tell me where the white rabbit went. I’ve come down the wrong hole”.

"Xctlgh Abklds vhghta," he murmurs melodiously. "Bnhghstd mklllp."

“I see...I want my mummy”.


*Anything can happen at backgammon - Clark, Goldsmith and other London clubland poshos.

[The adventure will continue this afternoon. I have to get my bus through the northside.]

Monday, May 08, 2006

What Price Independence?

Tomorrow sees the Colonel embark on his maiden voyage aboard the bad ship Indo. Will he come out fighting? What effect will the (allegedly) more generous remuneration have on his distinctive patriarchal rage? Will he now slip into cosy, slipper-wearing mode - writing chuckling prose that bubbles with chummy self-satisfaction?

Whatever happens, we, at Cruiskeen Eile HQ, will (at long last) have some meaty chunks of Myers to dissect once again.

*Spits on hands and prepares to get down to work*