Agus chomh hannamh atá an ceoldráma i mBaile Átha Cliath tá ceist á iarraidh ar duine nuair a freastalaíonn sé nó sí ar seó nach dtaitníonn leis nó léi. An fhírinne a insint nó a seachaint, ar eagla go gcaillfí misneach lucht cheoldráma go deo?
Bíonn ceoldrámaí amuigh faoin aer ar siúl sa gcathair sa Lúnasa, i ngearraí le Bárdas na Cathrach ag Cé an Adhmaid, cois Life, BÁC 8. Bhí Don Giovanni le Mozart, an ceoldráma foirfe dár le Gounod, ar siúl acu inné agus isteach leis an Spailpín chun breathnú air.
Bhí an gearraí lán le slua, ach thugas faoi déara gurbh daoine buailte go maith in aois ab ea an chuid is mó acu - ag am lóin i rith lae oibre, is bia choirp in ionad bia anama atá ag taisteal ón bpobal is mó.
Bhí ar daoine fanacht ina seasamh mura raibh suíocháin acu. Bhí roinnt suíochán infillte ann ar an bhféar - bhí a gceacht fóghlaimthe ag cuid an slua ag Aonach na gCapall ag an RDS céanna seo, sílim. Ach ag breathnú thall is abhus, bhuail sé ar an Spailpín go mbeadh sé deacair áire slua a choinnéal mura raibh siad ar a suamhneas gan suíocháin - an ndéanfaí suaimhneas an lucht féachána tionchar ar an gclár agus mar a gcasfaí ceoldráma á thógann trí uair is leath a chánadh go hiomlán?
Ní dhearna. Bhí tuairim greannmhar súgach ag na ceoltóirí Don Giovanni a thaispeáint mar galfaire gairmiúil, agus galfaire gairmiúil atá i bponc leis na mná sa nuacht na laethanta seo, cosuil leis an Don féin fadó.
Bhí cuma níos mó alickadoo an rugbaí istigh i dteach tábhairne Kiely's, an Domhnach Broc, ar an Don seo againne ná ar an ngalfaire is fearr sa domhain mór ach ba chuma más fhéidir leis na ceoltóirí áire an slua a choinnéal. Agus níl sé sin easca nuair atá ort ceoldráma atá scríofa don amharchlann sa tráthnóna a chur ar stáitse ag am lóin amuigh faoin aer.
Tá Don Giovanni scríofa i gceithre ghníomh. Rinne an comhlacht iarracht na gníomha a ghearradh chomh maith mar ab fhéidir agus bhí fear ann mar treoraí a n-inseodh don slua cad a dtarlódh os a gcomhair. Ach, mo léan, níor ghearr a dhótháin.
Is é an fadhb le sin ná go raibh an-iomarca gnó idir cathain a mbeadh an treoraí ar an ardán agus cathain a bhfillfeadh sé. Bhí se ró-easca dul amú leis an scéal agus an amhránaíocht.
Níl aithne nó meas ag an gcuid is mó daoine ar an gceoldráma. Le lucht an cheoldráma, is gnáth fotheideil istigh san amharclann. Leo féin amach faoin aer, tá níos mó cabhrach uathu ná óráid idir gníomha a maireann leathuair a chlog nó tuilleadh.
Agus an áiria catalóige a chasadh aige, bhris Leporello an ceathrú balla agus isteach sa slua leis, ag canadh le mná éigin. Shúigh sé síos taobh thiar léi agus seo leis:
"Nella bionda egli ha l'usanza
Di lodar la gentilezza,
Nella bruna la costanza,
Nella bianca la dolcezza."
Is cur síos ag Leporello ar mar a chuireann an Don faoi í an áiria seo. Cialltar an píosa sin ná mar a thaitníonn na mná eagsúla leis an Don. Aistrithe agam féin:
"Is gnáth leis moladh
na fionn as a ngalántacht
na donn as a dílseacht
na bána as a milseacht."
Greanmhar go leor - dá mbeadh an Iodáilis agat. Ach ní raibh tuiscint dá laghad ag an mbean bhocht cad a bhí ó Leporello mar níor mhínigh an treoraí an áiria catalóige ar dtús. Bhí an meas céanna ag an mbean ar Leporello taobh thiar di na mar a bhí ag Little Miss Muffet ar an domhan alla.
Níos measa arís, níor chóir do Leporello an ceathrú balla a bhriseach. Bhí a dhualgas roimh Donna Elvira - cantar an áiria catalóige do Donna Elvira, ach isteach le Leporollo sa slua in ionad an scéal a mhínigh le Donna Elvira. Dóchreite.
Bhí an t-amhránaíocht agus an ceol ceart go leor, agus an aisteoireacht níos fearr arís, Donna Elvira féin ach go háirithe. Is breá an smaoineamh é, an ceoldráma amuigh faoin aer, ach caithfear níos mó iarrachta a chur isteach agus a ghlacadh gur taispéanas ama lóin é seo, os comhair daoine nach bhfuil chomh cleachta leis na gceoldráma go dtuigfidís cuid den áiria catalóige. Caithfear an treoraí filleadh níos minice chun gluaiseacht an scéil a choinnéal beo.
Agus níos tábhachtaí ná dada eile, caithfear tuiscint agus glacadh níl ach uair amháin ag daoine mar ám lóin. Bhí ormsa imeacht nuair nach raibh an seó ach leath-críochnaithe, mar thugadar uair ar an gcéad dhá ghníomh. Teipeadh dóchreite.
Is breá an rud é an ceoldráma, agus ceoldráma amuigh faoi aer cosuil le seo, a dtógann áilleacht an cheoil amach ón dorchadas isteach faoi sholas gréine. Ach caithfear an seó a ghearradh gan faitíos gan trócaire go mbeidh sé tuillte le am lóin, le gnáthduine agus, go h-áirithe, le daoine a gcaithfear fanacht ina seasamh ar feadh na h-uaire.
Agus go raibh orm imeacht roimh deireadh, níor chuala mé críoch cailiúil Don Giovanni inné - teacht dealbh an Commendatore chun an Don a chuireadh chun tintí ifrinn. Seo chugaibh é anois, ar You Tube beannaithe. Bainígí sult.
Friday, August 27, 2010
Agus chomh hannamh atá an ceoldráma i mBaile Átha Cliath tá ceist á iarraidh ar duine nuair a freastalaíonn sé nó sí ar seó nach dtaitníonn leis nó léi. An fhírinne a insint nó a seachaint, ar eagla go gcaillfí misneach lucht cheoldráma go deo?
Thursday, August 26, 2010
An Spailpín Fánach is mystified at Down’s being written off prior to their All-Ireland semi-final this Sunday against Kildare. The great Kevin Egan, the GAA bettor’s greatest friend, advises a hearty punt on Kildare not just to win but to cover the -1 margin, bullishly adding that this is “the strongest recommendation this column has made for some time.”
Darragh Ó Sé couldn’t see Down winning no-how, no-way in yesterday’s Irish Times: “I’ve looked at it over and over and can’t see how Down can win. I see Kildare having a more comfortable win than Cork’s.”
Put aside, for the moment, the notion that Cork had an easy win last Sunday, and consider the rest of the statement. Darragh’s looked at it over and over and he still can’t see Down winning. At all. It’s tough but not impossible to see Tipp breaking Kilkenny’s hearts in the hurling without having to look at it over and over – how can Kildare have a better chance against Down than Kilkenny against Tipp? It doesn’t add up.
Of the three teams left in the competition, Down are a cracking, cracking price at 9/2 across the board to win their sixth title and pass Cavan as Ulster’s most successful team. Cork are already in the final but they are a team that is only just hanging together while Kildare’s signature win was against a team that was too chicken to play Louth. Louth!
Down, by contrast, are only the bunch of bums and layabouts that handed out a considerable scutching to the All-Ireland Champions. There is speculation that Kerry were on their last legs, and Down beat them just by virtue of their being the team that turned up on the day.
If Kerry were playing Kildare tomorrow, would Kerry be an 11/8 underdog? The science of handicapping has more twists than simple substitutions, of course, but the broad stroke remains true – Down are not being given credit for beating Kerry. As they’re the only team to beat Kerry in a quarter-final since the introduction of the damnable Qualifiers ten years ago, they should be given more credit for that achievement than they are.
Ambrose Rodgers is a huge lose for Down of course, but does a missing Dermot Earley not balance things out?
People are talking about Kildare’s scoring threat. Down scored some pretty nice points against Kerry, and machine-gunned poor Sligo off the pitch. They’ll be able to keep up with the scores. Down’s defence is a risk but, as they demonstrated against Kerry, denying ball to the opposition can take the bad look off any defence. Kildare start slowly while Down strike quickly and ruthlessly. How much of a lead can Kildare spot Down without going past their elastic limit? All these are serious points of consideration.
And finally, there is the question of tradition. Tradition counts. The history of Down in the 90s and the 60s was to come from nowhere and scorch all before them. Down have had some bad years but talent has been bubbling under – their Under-21s gave Mayo an absolute lesson in Longford a few years ago, Martin Clarke is home from Australia, Benny Coulter has to be singing it’s now or never in the showers – there’s a lot coming together for them.
Whoever wins on Sunday need have no fear of Cork either. Cork were extremely lucky to get past Dublin last Sunday. The worries by the banks of the Lee that Conor Counihan doesn’t know his best fifteen should now be exacerbated by the appearance of him now not being able to tell whether or not a player is even fit to play.
Not only that, but Cork clearly hadn’t the first notion how to counteract Dublin’s infamous method and were lost lambs with fifteen minutes to go until, for reasons best known to himself, Ross O’Connell put Cork right back in the game.
Cork may well win the All-Ireland and if they do, they’ll deserve it of course. All-Irelands aren’t easily won. But nobody is running in fear of Cork the way they were last year until Kerry beat them in the All-Ireland. Cork have never come back from the boxing they took in the All-Ireland last year and, unless they have saved seventy minutes from somewhere, that will leave them vulnerable to whoever wins the semi-final on Sunday. An Spailpín’s dollar sees Sam making his way back to Down. Down, down, deeper and down. Get down, deeper and down. Down, down, deeper and down...
Monday, August 23, 2010
Is there a more grim harbinger of winter in Ireland than the annual return of the Rose of Tralee to our TV screens? An Spailpín has grown to hate the winter as Iago did hate the Moor and, to his sensitive soul, the saturation media coverage for this week’s event in Tralee has the same effect as hearing the carpenters building the gallows outside the condemned man’s cell.
The Rose of Tralee is a wintry vision because the experience of watching the pageant precisely mirrors what the deepest winter months are like. Stuck in the house with nothing to do but watch telly, and what’s on telly is absolutely, unrelentingly, inescapably cat.
There are things to like about the Rose of Tralee. Being a lovely girl is something to be praised and celebrated. The nation has a surfeit of lovely girls, thank God, and they are a priceless commodity of which we can never have too much. And it’s nice to see the fathers in the audience who live abroad seeing their daughters’ connection with Ireland confirmed, which means a huge amount to them of course.
But dear God, eight hours the thing lasts for! Eight hours cruelly stretched over two nights, like Father Murphy upon the rack. Could they not just do a half-hour highlights piece like Oireachtas Report?
Not that anybody watches the Rose of Tralee, of course. Oh no. One no more admits to watching the Rose of Tralee than one admits to voting Fianna Fáil, going to Mass or reading the Sunday Independent. Yet all these things still seem to get done, somehow.
Ask ten women what they think of the Rose of Tralee and eight of them will deliver a withering look, tell you they couldn’t be bothered with the Rose of Tralee, and return to whatever it was they were doing before you enquired.
Gentlemen interested in investigating the veracity or otherwise of these claims may conduct the following experiment next week: just as the horror is unfolding on the TV, and Daithí Ó Sé is asking a lady from New Zealand if she likes a nice bit of hake for the dinner, remind your darling that you have Tight Lines, Sky Sports’ excellent fly-fishing show on the Sky+, and maybe now would be a good time to watch it together, as a couple.
Next thing you know, your morning and evening star has leapt from the coach, wrenched your arm half-way up your back and catapulted you out into the garden in a move expertly copied from the matchless cinema of Ms Angelina Jolie. And as you sit there, in the dark with the cats who live under the shed, you will know exactly who’s watching the Rose of Tralee loyally every year. But you will still struggle to understand just what is the attraction of eight indeterminable hours of soft old chat and barefoot Irish dancing.
Back in the day, the Rose of Tralee had a sister competition. It was the Calor Kosangas Housewife of the Year competition and, as its excellent Facebook tribute page points out, it was a competition for Roses who had grown old.
Both the Rose of Tralee and Housewife of the Year were presented by Gay Byrne, and both were aimed at the same lovely girl demographic. A lovely girl cannot exist without her diligent mother, and it is any lovely girl’s destiny to become that same diligent mother and home-maker herself as the great wheel of the world rolls around.
Time has caught up with the Housewife of the Year but the Rose of Tralee rolls relentlessly on, even though there is now no grown-up show for the Roses to enter. The most to hope for is a guest panellist spot on Midday on TV3. Unlike the housewives, the ladies spend very little time among the pots and pans on Midday on TV3, but my goodness gracious, you really can’t fault them for gas.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
The news that the cheapest ticket to see Ireland play the World Champion Springboks in the new stadium at Lansdowne Road retails at a tasty one hundred bucks has been greeted with horror, amazement and dismay. Rugby tickets were never either cheap or easy to get but my goodness, once a commodity goes into three figures people are inclined to stop and think before opening up the sporran.
Irish rugby has never been as popular as it now. The provincial system, which has been present since forever, suddenly became the ideal unit size for the new international club competitions that the professional game brought. The damage wrought to proud old clubs like Lansdowne, Shannon or Dungannon was all forgotten about when the provinces returned home laden with titles and booty.
Couple the rise of the provinces with the presence of a golden generation that saw Ireland win their second ever Grand Slam and sensible people were suddenly wondering if rugby really would challenge the GAA as the most popular sport in Ireland.
How odd, then, that the IRFU should put that in danger, as they are currently doing. Or, is it the case as some cynics suggest that popularity was never something that the Irish rugby establishment ever really desired? As long as player numbers remained stable, were they quite happy to retain their historic aura or elitism? To keep the game among one’s own kind of people?
The ticket prices aren’t the strangest part of it. One of the hardest things to understand about the IRFU in the past six months has been how happy they were to see their potential attendance at games drop from eighty to fifty thousand. How can any sports organisation be happy to see the potential audience at live showpiece games not only reduce, but reduce by more than a quarter? It doesn’t make sense.
The other thing that doesn’t make sense is the Irish rugby establishment’s unquestioning acceptance of the notion that the game in Ireland would be wiped out without Sky television coverage and their hysterical reaction to Minister Ryan’s proposals to do with free to air TV. Keith Duggan of the Irish Times was the only mainstream journalist to question this primacy of Sky television, and to go on to wonder if there wasn’t something just a little bit not right about a national sports organisation that cares so little for a specifically national broadcasting angle on its live games.
In the past ten years, many Irish people looked to rugby, specifically to the Munster and Ireland teams, to represent all that’s best about the nation. The IRFU accepted this love. And have repaid it with hundred Euro tickets, sublime indifference to thirty thousand fans locked out for home internationals and a willingness to have the TV games dissected from London, rather than Ireland (be that Limerick, Galway, Belfast or Dublin).
That’s an extraordinary way for the Irish rugby establishment to react to the hands that have been feeding them for a decade. Not least as the success of Irish rugby has been due to a golden generation winning things – a golden generation that is getting very old, very quickly.
Vital players are hanging on for one last hurrah at the 2011 World Cup after the disaster of 2007, but they are past their sell-by date already, one year before a ball is kicked. They will not be easily replaced. This is apart from Brian O’Driscoll of course, whose like will never be seen again. Seeing someone like O’Driscoll is like seeing Halley’s Comet. It’s a once in a lifetime thing.
But outside of a genius in our time, the Irish playing pool is exposing itself as dangerously shallow in vital positions like tight head prop and fly-half. There is so little domestic rugby played in Ireland that players in those very specialist positions don’t have the time to learn their trade and build experience before being thrown in at a level higher than their ability out of desperation. Fly-halves and props who are anonymous in their own countries can look so competent for provinces here because they come from a much richer rugby culture. Even the Australians.
Fly-half is vital because the fly-half controls the game, and prop, especially tight-head prop, is vital because the scrum remains integral to the very soul of the game. And, with the way the game has evolved, where France routinely change their entire front row after an hour to make the most of the final quarter, you now need four props and two hookers, instead of the three happy fatties of yore.
What happens if these positions aren’t filled? The reality is that the Irish playing pool is so shallow that if people don’t start challenging for positions in the front row and at fly-half soon, the next ten years won’t be a question of matching the achievements of the golden generation, not even those tin-pot Triple Crowns and second place finishes of the past decade. Without quality at pivotal positions, you’re trying not to be humiliated by Scotland and Italy.
Nervous times for an IRFU that seems to know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
It’s not easy to interview someone. The really interesting stuff is often what the interviewee doesn’t want to talk about. This means that the trickiest job the interviewer faces is coaxing that bit of news out of the interviewee without the interviewee getting upset over the extraction, thus putting the interviewer’s career – and possibly life – in danger.
Newstalk’s Eoin McDevitt is the best sports interviewer on Irish radio today. He is astonishingly good and, a little like Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate, his skill lies in the fact that you never see him coming.
An RTÉ commentator badgered Ollie Canning on the radio recently about whether or not Canning would ever hurl for Galway again. Bad. Ollie wasn’t on trial for his life, and was left in a no-win situation.
If Canning said no, he was never playing again, ever, it would close off forever whatever spark is left in him, that may kindle yet after the harsh and lonely winter, and if he said yes, he would play again, he would look like an idiot. Nothing gained there for anyone.
Of course, the commentator was a commentator, not an interviewer, and there is a difference. McDevitt’s own recent attempt at athletics commentary highlighted that difference further. But purely as an interviewer, McDevitt is outstanding.
The reason McDevitt is so good is the same reason Michael Parkinson was so good. McDevitt always knows that his role is second banana. That people want to know what Darragh Ó Sé’s opinion, and not Eoin McDevitt’s. Whatever ego fulfilment McDevitt gets, he does not attempt to get it by telling Brian O’Driscoll what it’s like to win a Grand Slam. He is aware that insight travels in a contrary direction.
McDevitt’s personality type is particularly suited to Irish sportspeople, combining as it does the best traits of two icons of Irish life – the undertaker, and the former Lieutenant Columbo of the Los Angeles Police Department.
We saw McDevitt’s undertaker schtick on Setanta over the weekend when McDevitt was chairing an hour’s cheap blather with Brian Kerr, Ken Early and Big Joe Kernan. It was up to McDevitt to ask Big Joe why he wasn’t manager of Galway any more, without ever being able to raise any unpleasantness over that green stuff that makes the world go around, the world go around, the world go around.
And nor did he. Summoning the combined sorrows of Pippi Longstocking and our own Deirdre na mBrón, McDevitt heaved a heartfelt sigh and asked Joe if the deceased had been suffering long. Joe told his little scéal and McDevitt nodded mournfully in time with Joe’s pain. A double check to see if the departed would be buried in the blue suit or the brown, and McDevitt faded back into the wallpaper again. Genius.
An interview with Lovely Derval O’Rourke after Derval’s silver medal in Barcelona showed the Columbo side to McDevitt’s technique. Lovely Derval had a tiny crack at the AAI (as opposed to the big root in the bottom that they need so badly) when she got back from Barcelona, but by the time of Monday’s Off the Ball Derval didn’t want to get mixed up in a shouting match and was all for backing off.
Not enough for McDevitt though. He went back over what she said, gently but thoroughly, and Derval expanded a little more on what it’s like for Irish athletes trying to compete on a world stage. She did not have rant, but simply expressed what it’s like for her and what it’s like for others, with McDevitt leading her along without ever trying to trap her or be sensational in any way.
In the matter of bringing the truth to the light, it was like when Columbo would call around to the suspect's house, apologise for bothering the suspect, and just wonder – because he couldn’t sleep last night, wondering, and it just just this one other little thing – why was it that, if your secretary was in New York on business at the time of your wife’s murder, the ashtray in the summer house contains menthol cigarettes butts. Your wife only ever smoked Camels. And Columbo would stand there, in the raggedy coat and the cheap cigar like the biggest gom in the world, while the suspect paled beneath his tan.
McDevitt has the advantage of three hours of radio to kill, of course, and that gives him the time his particular technique needs, but still. It’s a pleasure to hear a master going about his work – not least if you are taking the iron around the chicanes and have another four shirts to do for the week. Long may he reign.
FOCAL SCOIR: Speaking of Parky, here's one of his finest hours, getting cosy with Miss Piggy in the 70s. Fantastic.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Amongst the soul-destroying dross of the new RTÉ schedule, a gem. The Hardy Bucks are hitting the big time.
This leads to two questions. Firstly, is the Hardy Bucks’ talent sufficient to overcome the often-crippling constraints of the national broadcaster, and secondly, who or what the Hell are the Hardy Bucks?
Let’s look at the second question first. The Hardy Bucks are the heroes of an online series of mockumentaries that form a note-perfect representation of what it’s like to hang around in small town Ireland in the twenty-first century.
It’s superb, a true mirror held up to the reality of modern Irish small town life. The Hardy Bucks – Eddie, Buzz, The Boo, Toashteen and the rest - are lads whose income and intelligence exist in inverse proportion to the dead weight of time on their hands, and they try to kill that time in the way the Irish always have, by dreaming and getting wasted.
It’s essential to understand that the Hardy Bucks never mock the Irish rural experience, no matter how grotesque. The shows have moments of unexpected and breathtaking beauty too, such as when Eddie’s Uncle Mick sings the first verse of a gorgeous song called Horses and Plough, with the wild heather plains of Mayo stretching behind him. It’s wonderful. Wonderful.
The problem is that it’s very difficult to understand how the Hardy Bucks can survive a trip through the RTÉ mill. The Hardy Bucks are the natural successors to D’Unbelievables as the authentic comedic voice of rural Ireland, but Pat Shortt went to RTÉ as an Unbelievable and came out as Killnascully. Killnascully makes both Shortt and RTÉ a serious amount of money but, by any reasonable artistic or creative criteria, Killnascully is bottled slurry. Can the Hardy Bucks keep their integrity?
Sad to say, but An Spailpín seriously doubts it. The Hardy Bucks, being true to where they’re from, swear often and prodigiously. If this swearing is removed the show’s language will lose a huge amount of its power. Will the bucks be able to up the writing to cover the loss? And if they can, why haven’t they done it by now?
The RTÉ Storyland uploads blank out the swearing, suggesting that Storyland haven’t a notion. It reminded your faithful correspondent of seeing the movie New Jack City on TV in the States once, with all the swearing blanked out there too. An Spailpín thought it was a silent picture – a tribute to Buster Keaton, or something.
It’s hard not to wonder whether or not any top brass in RTÉ have even seen The Hardy Bucks. An Spailpín’s dollar is that they haven’t.
The Hardy Bucks are tremendously popular but profoundly underground. Their ascension to a proper TV gig is only mentioned in passing in press coverage of the new schedule, suggesting that of the three and a half million visits to the Hardy Bucks’ You Tube channel - which is PROFOUNDLY unsafe for work - very few of them were from the Dublin media.
This would suggest the RTÉ brass will have a major What-Hath-God-Wrought? moment once they sit through the entire oeuvre and discover just how profoundly politically incorrect the Hardy Bucks are, even apart from the swearing. This will inevitably have the consequence of Mr Maloney and Mr Tordoff getting their bridles tightened big style once they reach Donnybrook, Dublin 4, by irate card-carrying members of the Labour Party, and likewise concerned citizens.
In a just world the national broadcaster would tell them to puck away, and paint Ireland warts and all. In the actual world, An Spailpín fears The Hardy Bucks on RTÉ will be as Elvis home from the army. I do hope I’m wrong though. Best of luck to them.
Wednesday, August 04, 2010
An Spailpín Fánach can exclusively reveal that the remarkable events of all the Provincial Champions losing in the quarter-finals resulted in an extraordinary meeting of a select comma-tee deep underground in Croke Park on Sunday night.
The comma-tee was formed when a man went into fits in the premium level after Dublin beat Tyrone, wondering what would happen if a team refused to accept the Sam McGuire Cup on the basis they hadn’t been beaten at all during the year and wanted to know why they were being singled out and discriminated against.
The Association realised that the Championship could end up like search for the final digit of π at that rate of going. And who needs that, with the nights drawing in and no sign of a rise in the price of houses?
Hence the comma-tee. The minutes of the meeting are as follows.
1. This comma-tee accepts that the root cause of discrimination in the GAA is not the provincial system, but the county system itself. Counties have unequal populations, and often suffer further due to an unfortunate ratio of boys to childs in certain counties.
2. The comma-tee has decided, therefore, that all counties are to be done away with summarily. All players in clubs on the island of Ireland, and her wild geese in London and New York, are to listed, collated and randomly assigned to thirty-two newly created teams of equal size.
3. The teams will be named after sponsors rather than counties in order to level the playing field. This to further promote equality, and has nothing to do with money. At all. We hate the stuff. Root of all evil. (NOTE: Any smartarse in a newspaper who writes any wry/world-weary/why-oh-why/Grab-All-Association thousand word think piece in response to this initiative is to be banned from all games for five bloody years, and that counts double for the International Rules pinting sessions).
4. The new teams then play in a Champions League style round robin rotisserie league, after which four semi-finalists are draw out of a hat because nobody understands what the hell any of that other stuff is.
5. Before each semi-final, each team manager will be shown a picture of John Mullane, a hurl and a kitten. He will be then be told if it’s there’s one peep, sigh or sideways glance out of him about the new system, it’s goodbye kitty. Not even one of those Nordie bollixes would dare. Everybody loves kitties. And is a little frightened of John Mullane.
6. The comma-tee recognises that, even though the counties will have been replaced by Brennan’s Breaded Buffaloes, Galtee Mountain Bucks, Bailey’s Irish Scream, and so on, inequality will still exist on the field of play. Even though the players are randomly selected, the luck of the draw will still mean that some players will better than others are catching footballs, kicking footballs and kicking caught footballs over the bar.
7. The comma-tee therefore recommends that the old determination of the result of a game by adding up “goals” and “points” scored will no longer apply. Instead, at the end of seventy minutes, where graphs of players' work-rates are displayed on the big boards as the players run aimlessly around Croke Park, stopping only to do jumping jacks and push-ups, some scrawny buck with glasses and a white coat will along with a computer to announce the winner.
8. The formula for calculating the winner will be derived by a complex algorithm drawn up by a mathematician so smart he lives in a cave, does sums with chalk held in his toes, and smells like a ferret that’s been fried in chip fat. The comma-tee accepts the weirder you are, the better you are at sums as a fundamental natural law.
9. The comma-tee will appoint a sub-comma-tee to see if we can use an umpire’s white coat for the scrawny buck, and use the money saved for an iPad instead of a regular computer. Mental looking yokes, the iPads.
10. The comma-tee heartily endorses the attitude of the Mayo County Board in having no damned “fan” telling them what they can or can’t do. Any “fans” attempting to so question the comma-tee's recommendations, either through Liveline, Des Cahill or Twitter, will be rounded up and shot.
11. The comma-tee then adjourned to the Auld Triangle at the corner of Dorset and Gardiner for drinks. And are probably there yet.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Tá an saol athruithe go deo. Ní in Éirinn amháin, ach amach sa domhan mór.
Ba é an t-alt seo ag Lucy Cavendish sa Daily Telegraph a chuir an crú deireanach isteach sa gcónra. Tá an cócaireacht agus an chóisir bhéile chomh tábhachtach sa saol anois ná go bhfuil mná uaisle Shasana féin cráite faoin mbrú.
Agus Lucy féin tite, cén seans ag an Spailpín Fánach? Is fear simplí go leor mise. Tabhair pláta bagúin agus cabáiste dom, agus cúpla prátaí, agus bím sásta go leor, gan tuilleadh ar iarracht ón saol. Ach níl an domhan mór sásta - tá ar gach duine snas agus sár-snas arís a chuir ar gach béile bia a ndéantar ach ar m'anam caite ar áis i do ghob a mbeidh sé, le fearg, uafás agus déistin.
Tá cúrsaí cócaireachta agus cúrsaí bhia níos tábhachtaí ná mar a bhíodh riamh sa saol sóisialta in Éirinn sa lá 'tá inniu ann. Tá rás rite ag an Spailpín maidir le seo - tógadh le fataí é, agus cuireadh mar fhata é ar lá brónach éigin. Ach idir an dhá linn, caithfidh mé leanúint leis an athrú saol seo.
Mar sin, tá seift ag an Spailpín Fánach. Ar chuimhin leat an scannán Reservoir Dogs, agus gur insíodh don Oráisteach gur chóir dó scéal aige i gcónaí? Tá an moladh céanna ag an Spailpín do gach uile fear ar an sean-saol atá chun cóisir bhéile, eisean uaigneach tar éis na prátaí, agus trí cheile os comhair na mbeacán líonta.
Tagann an uair nuair a n-iarrfar ort cad fút féin maidir leis an gcócaireacht. "Ó, is breá liom bheith i measc na potaí," a déarfaidh an Spailpín. "Níl an t-am agam go minic, ar ndóigh, agus an saol chomh gnóthach mar atá, ach nuair atá an t-am agam, níl tada níos fearr ná cudal curtha suas ina dúch féin."
Scanradh ar gach taobh. "Cudal! A dúch féin! Inis tuilleadh dúinn, a saoi na spúnóga!"
Más féidir caitheamh tobac ag an mbord, seo am maith cipín a chuir ar thoit breá mór, agus aire gach duine ort.
"Ó, tá sé simplí go leor. Tóg do chudal, gearr an bolg amach uaidh - "
"An bolg! A Thiarna!"
"Ghearr amach an bolg, istigh leis an gcudal nóiméad faoin uisce chun é a ghlanadh, istigh sa bpota leis le gairleog, piobar agus ola olóige, sé unsa nó mar sin de. Ar an tine ar feadh uair agus ceathrú, curtha ar pláta deas ríse, agus tá tú ceart go leor. Ó, agus gloine fíona ar ndóigh. Folonari deas rua, b'fhéidir. Tá an blás níos láidre ná gnáth-iasc, meas tú."
An blás níos láidre ná gnáth-iasc. Sin iad na focail draíochta. Tusa laoch na cóisire tar éis an cur síos sin. Bainfear do dhraíocht nuair a thagann daoine chugat sa mbaile agus níl sa gcuisneoir agat ach buidéil beoracha agus boscaí Birds-Eye Waffles ach feadh na cóisire ag ithe amach ó dó lámh a mbeidh siad.