My friend, the late George Byrne, used to call it the “ah boys” phase. He would enjoy the film until he got to the point where they brought in something that was a bit ridiculous even by film standards, to which the only acceptable response was to ruefully shake his head and say, “Ah, boys…”
ontaines DC reached the “ah people” stage very quickly, I have to say. It’s not their music that does that, but the things they say along the way to the immense success that will undoubtedly be theirs.
You’re not alone in this, of course, and last week they were joined in an adjacent “ah boys” section by others who are already well accustomed to it from public life. But first, let’s take Fontaine’s DC because otherwise they’re so talented.
Here is an excerpt from a Rolling Stone Magazine feature about the band in January, describing singer Grian Chatten as: “An Irishman living in London… deals with a lot of bullshit. His name isn’t Paddy, but that doesn’t stop bullies from calling him that. Then there are the jokes about the IRA, the lewd men asking him to say “Top of the Morning” while he’s just trying to have a quiet drink with his girlfriend. And the people who bluntly tell him, ‘Go home’.”
Perhaps this final insult to the Brits should read in full: “Go Home, and take your NME Award for Best Band in the World with you.”
Now, I’m not one of those people who likes to demonstrate their seriousness by advising bands to stick with rock and roll and let the people do the social commentary The week in politics.
On the contrary, I love a band that puts their charisma and overall coolness at the service of a progressive cause – while recognizing that there are inherent risks; that what is emotionally pleasing to the artist at a given moment may not be fully thought out.
Grian was here again last weekend Irish times: “I don’t remember the riots and I know people who don’t want Sinn Féin in government at all, but I think what the current government is doing in Ireland is an atrocity in itself. And we have to be realistic about that.”
Really, you don’t have to “remember the problems” to appreciate it better. Grian doesn’t remember the famine either, but I assume he got an idea of the nature of the atrocities that were committed then and their impact on what came after.
As for the definition of an “atrocity,” frankly, the issues set a pretty high bar, and I’ll just leave it at that. But on a related subject, in this interview with Eamon Sweeney, he says, “I really like Mary Lou McDonald.”
Anyhow, Grian thinks that “Ireland would really benefit from a socialist government” and I wouldn’t disagree with him. What he is not entirely clear about is that McDonald is not the leader of a socialist party. She is the leader of a nationalist party.
If Sinn Féin were a socialist party, I would probably vote for it myself. But since they’re obviously a nationalist party, with a few dashes of socialism to make their nationalist ambitions more palatable, I can only marvel at the number of otherwise smart people like Grian who have apparently failed to notice this interesting fact.
I see them on Twitter, these other charismatic and cool people who would see any wave of nationalism other than Ireland as a plague on humanity, but who really don’t seem to have noticed at Sinn Féin. Or, anyway, not enough to deter them, as they are usually deterred by this ideology, which is in fact the polar opposite of the pluralism they enjoy.
It’s not like McDonald’s hiding it. Last week, in a newsletter sent to foreign diplomats in Dublin, she called on the EU to support Irish reunification, which was “realistic, achievable, necessary”.
It is not known how informed these diplomats might be about the “housekeeping exercise” in which Sinn Féin recently deleted thousands of communications from its website.
But whatever the party’s associations with Russia and other bad actors, as things currently stand in the world, it’s hard to imagine that the EU will be enthusiastic about another declaration of an expansionist vision.
It’s another move by aggressive nationalists aiming to expand their territory by reclaiming a country they never believed was a real country anyway.
Yes, they will love that in the messages.
Perhaps best of all, however, was this line from Mary Lou about reunification, Sinn Féin’s most important and in many ways only policy: “It’s talked about in every town and city in Ireland.”
Vintage cars still roll in politics
Aside from the routine statements of racism at the US Supreme Court hearings of Ketanji Brown Jackson, it was noted that the average age of the first five senators to make a statement was 80 years old. Chuck Grassley has been in office since 1959.
Now we hear a lot about the difficulties of political life from politicians themselves and their sympathizers. They keep telling us about the strain on our old friend, the work-life balance. Somehow, despite the downsides, trading still attracts a steady stream of candidates.
But whatever brings them to our part of the world, the charms of being a US Senator must be on a whole different scale.
Nancy Pelosi (81), Joe Biden (79) and Bernie Sanders (80) are the better known of Washington’s elders. The shackles of public service may be straining, but to them, life is life.
To get a sense of the Irish equivalent, from Fine Gael alone one could randomly select Alan Dukes, who at 76 would be a relatively young man in the US Senate. Or Michael Noonan, who at 78 would still have time on his side.
Or Enda Kenny, who would be something of a brute at 70. John Bruton is only 74 – if he had just continued American-style, he would at least have avoided becoming the worst ex-Taoiseach we’ve ever had.
Power is a terrible addiction, of course, but the love of power alone couldn’t explain what has kept it rock bottom in Washington for so long. There is something in this trough that cannot be found in any other trough. Something almost beyond human imagination.
I just know whatever it is, we all need a piece of it.
Van Gaal scores with his fresh take on Fifa’s greed
Louis van Gaal, coach of the Netherlands, apparently said something true about the World Cup in Qatar: “It’s ridiculous that we play in a country, as Fifa says, to develop football there. This is bullshit… it’s about money, commercial interests. That is the main motive of Fifa.”
As a preeminent amateur psychologist, I have long maintained that “stress” is often associated only with the frantic pace of events, when it is also the result of the constant, low-level pressures arising from our massive exposure to bullshit in its myriad forms .
When a van gaal breaks this cycle, he brings us a moment of peace that no pills can bring. Truth is the only cure for the ubiquitous yet almost unnoticed stress of bullshit.
Boris Johnson knows this, which is why he obsessively avoids the truth and says disgusting things like his analogy between Ukraine’s urge to be “free” and that of Brexiteers. He’s a chaos agent trying to leave any halfway decent people beaten and confused by bullshit.
Even when millions of lives have been destroyed, he is never idle.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/fontaines-dc-reach-the-ah-lads-stage-far-too-quickly-41491057.html Fontaine’s DC reaches the “ah boys” stage way too quickly