Saturday, April 29, 2006

All Apologies + Separated at Birth

Having blog heavyweights like Twenty Major, Redmum, JL Pagano, Omani, and Fatmammycat comment on your blog is like having group sex with FC Barcelona. You don't want it to stop but you know that once you get past Giovanni Van Bronkurst and Henrik Larsson, you face the prospect of Ronaldinho!

I'm immensely cuffed that the above and many others commented on my last post. In my reply, I described JL as the Godfather. That set me thinking ....... Two US-born actors famous for one movie appearance each, broody good looks.... they might just be the Van Bronkrust and Larsson to Twenty Ronaldinho Major!


Thursday, April 27, 2006

Major Twenty

The one consistent report from those who attended the Irish Blog Awards, was that Twenty Major is the benchmark in blogging and a bit of a fine thing. Like many benchmarks and fine things, they attract a lot of hangers on who bask in the reflected glory. Some try to emulate Mr Major and adopt his earthy vernacular. All they serve to do is demonstrate that their poor attempts are pathetic forms of flattery.

I am in constant emotional turmoil with how I view Twenty Major. In a battle not known since my ‘Tom Cruise or Andy Garcia’ days, I do the love-him-loathe-him thing. I vacillate between hating his misogynistic rants and wanting to have his babies for just how contemporary and relevant he is.

Some time ago, I dropped Twenty from my blogroll. I told myself that it was because I couldn’t endorse his gratuitous use of the C word. But I realise that I didn’t want to share his glory with anyone else.

Regular readers will know that I’ve being going through the old – “Why do I exist as a blogger” phase. I eventually came to the conclusion that the blogosphere community just sucks you in. And I am thankful for its warm embrace. As Fence says “What is the point of having a conversation with people”

Twenty’s fine
post telling people to stop telling him stuff is another tour de force by a man who knocks off tour-de-forces like some people blog about blogger’s block.

Twenty’s post attracts the usual race to the bottom – with numerous references to bowel movements. Fortunately not everyone sees his brilliant posts at a superficial level.

I’ll leave the last words to
Sweet Afton who says it how it is ….

Twenty, you are a prophet and no-one else knows it. I just love the way you are so contemporary and relevant. You are the thinking woman's Tracey Emin. The Billy Connolly of Blogosphere. The vast array of pigmy commenters that you attract (and on whose shoulders I stand) only serve to highlight your brilliance as they search for interesting variations on toilet humour. (What is it with these Neanderthals? Can they not spell diahorrea?)

I am as always your humble and awe-inspired servant,

Sweet Afton

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bless me Blogosphere for I have sinned....

..It's been two weeks since my last blog.

I can't explain my silence. I haven't been working on my thesis, making love to my new latin lover or re-writing the Constitution. I've not read Salman Rushdie's latest or rattled of an anthology of poetry. I've not blogged live from the Leinster under 14 camogie semi-final match between Ballyboden St Endas and Knocklyon.

I've just felt unworthy. But your warmth and attention has brought me back. I'm a sucker for a flicker on my StatCounter!

Love to you all who deserve it and those who need it.
It's nice to be back,

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Poetry for Dummies

Poetry for Dummies

It seems from my Keyword Analysis on the very excellent Statcounter that the world has moved on from “Sex + Paige” and “Paige is Shane Horgan’s wife”. The following eclectic mix brought poor souls to my blog over the last few days.

ppars cost overruns
female dictators
sometimes i sits and thinks and sometimes i just sits - author
graveside eulogy
i don't like consultants
let victory hurry to your manly tone
road rage taught in school
blame who for endangerment
fianna fail gender quotas ireland
scarlet johansson oops

I suppose I could have not disclosed the source of this wisdom and claimed that I’d written a poem. Or maybe I should claim this as some form of performance art.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

C'mon Eileen

It’s probably a throw back to their colonial past that the Brits can’t help their superior-than-thou attitude. Growing up in the south of England, I was almost immune (conditioned) to the pervasive racism. No, that’s not fair, it’s not racism. It’s just an unshakable believe that they are more sophisticated, intelligent and erudite than the rest of the world.

I vividly remember as a teenager watching the BBC News profile a forthcoming Irish general election. This was around the time of Garret Fitzgerald’s famous odd shoe gaff. I was subsequently informed that this incident showed the Fine Gael leader’s sensitive side (didn’t want to disturb Joan by turning on the light) but it wasn’t presented that way by the Beeb. They pointed to the ridiculousness of a country risking its Balance of Payments crisis with a man who couldn’t tell black from brown.

As I recall they also took a swipe at our Proportional Representation electoral system. “You could say it is very Irish,” the reporter intoned gravely, “but in Ireland, they don’t vote for the candidate that they want to elect. They vote for them all!” We Irish know that PR is a more sophisticated system than first passed the post. It allows people to vote tactically and provides a result more representative of electorate’s wishes. So what if it requires you to give a little thought to the process and (thanks to the anti-electronic Ludites) takes a few days to get a definitive result.

Last night, BBC Newsnight was still at it. Laughing at the Employment Law chaos in France, at the outcome of the Italian election and even the “corrupt nature of Peruvian elections”. Their hard hitting analysis included the observation that Silvio Berlusconi was a man who wasn’t ashamed of the fact that he has had hair transplant treatment.

They finished with a feature on the latest life peerages shortly to be elevated to the House of Lords and interviewed one appointee. The irascible Tony Benn did a brilliant job of ridiculing the whole charade of pretence and how despite all their talk, they’d a far from perfect democracy at home.

Mind you, would you trust a woman who sleeps with Ian Paisley with the job of keeping Tony Blair’s government in check?

Monday, April 10, 2006

Your cheatin' heart

Taxi rank on Dawson Street. It is lashing with rain. Here’s one! A result, I climb in…..

Taxi Driver (TD) : Hi love, where to?

Blankpaige (BP) : Hi there, Dun Laoghaire please.

I immediately notice the country music blaring from the radio…… bad omen

TD : You’re off home early. What’s wrong? Run out of money?

BP : Yeah, something like that. Either money or energy!

TD : Energy? I don’t know what’s wrong with you kids these days. In my youth, we’d party hard for about four days before we’d call it quits. And that was after a full working week. None of these one day weekends and your light beers. I hear them talk about the hours junior doctors work. Sure that was nothing in our day. And you’d still have enough energy to play a matvh on the Sunday.

BP just smiles weakly. The “Crystal Chandeliers” are lighting up some horrible house somewhere outside of Nashville, Co. Meath.

TD : Kids these days. You don’t know how lucky you are! We used to get up at six and do an hour in the yard before going to school. And as soon as we’d finished our books, we’d be back at it until nine or ten. Mind you, we didn’t know any better. Happy we were!

BP : mmmm.

TD : Mind you, we’re still going strong some forty years later. Myself and the wife. We can party like the best of them. Tell me, what time did you get to bed at last night?

BP : Silence …. Marble statutes are lying stately in the idiot’s hall……..

TD : C’mon, don’t be shy now, what time did you call it a night at last night?

BP : Don’t know, maybe 9:30pm or 9:45pm

TD : There you go! Myself and the missus are married 32 years now. We were out in Vicar Street last night until 2am, and then we went on to pub on the quays. Do you know The Ferryman pub? I know the guy who owns it. It’s a great place for a lock in. Well when I say owns it, I think he’s still paying off the deposit on it. It’s a right little gold mine.

BP : I admire your stamina!

TD : Mind you there’s not much left after he’s paid off the protection money. Still, it’s a good clean business. And in this day and age, you can’t knock a good clean business.

“Your good girl is goin’ to go bad…”

BP : eh…

TD : Yes, out until 4:30am this morning we were. Had a few scoops. They do excellent Guinness in The Ferryman. Do you drink Guinness yourself? Probably not, you’re probably one of those WKD girls or a Bicardi Breezer lass. None of that stuff in my day, we’d a pint and a chaser. Well when I say a pint, of course I mean we’d more like eight pints and eight whiskeys. I’m a Power’s man me’self. Always have been.

Do you know, I drank my first Power’s at nine. At my father’s wake. Don’t think I’ve stopped since. Well that’s not exactly true. I stop every year for lent. I never drink a drop of alcohol during lent. Never have never will.

BP : But isn’t this lent?

TD: Well this year is different. It is the first year in 27 that I haven’t gone off the gargle for lent. You see it was my birth day on the 19th March. And it was a milestone if you get my drift. And the wife was celebrating too.

BP : Ogh, were you 40?

TD : Hah, hah. Now aren’t you the charmer! 40? Sure I’ll never see 40 again. I was 50 last week. 50 years of age. Sure still only a young one. But I can understand your mistake. Most people take me to be only in my early 40’s. I’ve always looked young. Was the youngest at school. Well we were all young back then. None of this Montessori lark for us. Went to the University of Life so I did. And it didn’t do me any harm what so ever. That’s what attracted the missus. My youthful good looks, I suppose, what?. Do you know what age I was married at ? Go on, have a guess.

BP : Must have been 18, if you are married for 32 years and you are 50.

TD : That’s right. 18, I was. Good you’re quick for a women who’s been drinking since early evening! We’ll then of course you got married young in those days. We all did. In fact I was quite old at 18. Had to look after the business, you see. Never had much time for dances and all.

BP : I suppose….

TD : If you don’t mind me asking, what age are you?

BP : 26 (I lie)

TD : 26, and I see you are n’t wearing a wedding ring. God, my three were nearly reared by the time I was 26. Mind you, the kids these days, you aren’t in a hurry getting married, are yea?

I love you because you understand me ……

TD : And sure, marriage these days is nothing more than a passing fad. Not like it was in our day. A contract for life, it was with us. No thought of divorce for us. There was no way out. Til death us do part. And do you know, it nearly did part us several times during the past 32 years. My wife has been in and out of St Vincent’s Hospital, we nearly have our own parking space. We know all the staff there. First it was her gall bladder. Was in major pain with it for years before we knew it was serious. Flared up during our cruise on the Achille Lauro. Back in ’80. Well she just had to put up with it for 3-4 days. There was no way we’d trust those foreign doctors Don’t know what you are letting yourself in for. And then there was the breast cancer scare in ‘92. But she’s a warrior my wife. She toughed it out and you’d never know that she’d six months of chemotherapy. Mind you it’s pretty severe, the old chemo. Takes a lot out of your system. Most people think it’s the sickness, but it’s really the tiredness that gets you in the end.

TD : And that’s just the missus. Sure my heart stopped twice. The first time I was out on a golf weekend with the lads in Portugal. Flew into Faro on Ryanair for a five day trip taking in six golf courses. Now, I’m no Ernie Els, but I do love a bit of golf in the sun. And we had a great few days golf. Mind you the heat was something else. We’d played a round in the morning. I’d been hitting the ball very well and hit some magical shots. They started calling me Tiger I was so hot. We’d a big lunch too. God, but the Portuguese like their food. Yes so I don’t know if it was all the walking, or the heat or the big lunch. But I was fair puffin’ by the time I’d finished the back nine. This tightness in my chest. It was like some big bloke had his size tens on my chest. That’s the last I remember. I woke up in the hospital in Albufera. And a fine place it was too. So clean and efficient. I never saw a trolley for the entire four days I was in there.

Trailer so sale or rent. Rooms to let 50 cent……..

TD : And I’d another scare last year. Was coming in the Long Mile Road. Knew straight away that I was in trouble. Luckily I didn’t have a fare so I was able to drive myself straight into Vincent’s. Well you see I know the staff well in there. Nicest bunch of people you could ask to meet. In and out in three days I was. Well the missus was off work with her back, and the bills don’t pay themselves, do they?

BP : … (missed my cue)

TD : Our Jimmy came home all the way from Australia, the silly bugger. Sure I was out on the road again before he arrived. My kids are all away from home now. My youngest Sandra is in Arizona. She’s an assistant to a plastic surgeon. None of the cosmetic stuff. It’s all reconstruction surgery. You know, fires and car crashes. She sees some horrific stuff in an average week. Agh yeh, Sandra’s a good kid. Married to a nice bloke from Chicago. They’ve two kids of their own and then Peter, a seven year old from Andy’s first marriage. Lovely kids. Very polite. But sure Americans are all very polite. Very mannerly bunch. Myself and the wife are going over there this summer. We go over there every year….

BP : Here is just fine!

TD : What?! But I thought you said Dun Laoghaire? Sure this is Booterstown. Sure I didn’t get time to tell you about Tony, the middle one. Or my last turn in Thurles. On the road with Tommo’s army.

BP : Sorry, just hear please. Thanks!

TD : What’s wrong do you not like country music?

BP : No, I love it, honest. I just changed my mind.

Blankpaige scrambles out of the taxi. I need a drink, I need a drink!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Paige is moving home!

With thanks to Thatgirl (who in turn thanks Winds who in turn thanks Dossing Times ). Also relieved not to have been landed in the Red Cow Hotel!

You Belong in Milan

Stylish and sophisticated, you want to enjoy a truly European life - away from tourists!
Milan fits you perfectly. Great shopping, high quality food, lots of culture... with very little hype.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Terms & Conditions Apply

It takes a special person to be incredibly funny with just one word.  I always think that as I pass down Grafton Street and listen to the buskers.  I think about the craft being honed like latter day blacksmiths or glass blowers.  

Although I pass the street often I always catch the same snatch of performance.  It’s like my own special Groundhog Day.  The guy who pitches outside of the AIB at the Nassau Street end cracks me up every time.

“Even though I am standing here”, he offers by way of disclaimer, “I should stress that I have no connection with Allied Irish Banks or any other criminal organisation!”


Thursday, April 06, 2006

Easy Pieces

Growing up in the South of England in my early teens, I idolised my cousin Danny. A few years older than me, he was so cool and trendy. He knew all the best music (Lloyd Cole, Prefrab Sprout and The Cure) long before I read about them in the NME back copies that he saved for me. But more importantly, he was incredibly sensitive without being a wimp. He had a great anti-establishment sense of humour and joked about being an anarchist but we knew that despite his protestations he was growing into a very eligible young man. But he was highly impressionable and was always falling into and out of love with some gloriously unattainable woman. My friends and I swore to hate with a vengeance the bitch who’d eventually steal our Danny away.

In the mid-1980’s, Danny went off to another cousin’s wedding in Killorglin. We were so envious of him. We loved our summer trips to Ireland but were never trusted by our parents to make the journey on our own. But being nineteen and in gainful employment, Danny had a lot more freedom. By all accounts, he’d a fabulous week of partying with his Irish cousins culminating in the first big wedding of our generation. He came back with stories of sessions in pubs and driving through the night to remote discos in the middle of nowhere.

The only sour note to this great adventure occurred during his return to England. Danny was stopped at Holyhead and invited to help the local police with their enquiries. It would seem that Danny got drinking with a suspected IRA man who was under surveillance. In hindsight, perhaps it wasn’t that surprising that the cops should take an interest. A young first generation Irishman with a healthy disregard for convention, travelling alone to Ireland. Drinking with a known activist. The police were suspicious of everyone back then. We know now about IRA sleepers, terrorist cells and recruitment of clean operatives. Danny, I think, thought the whole interrogation thing quite amusing and most probably strung the cops along before commonsense prevailed and they realised that this man was far from being an evil terrorist. Danny spent an overnight in a cell near Bangor and no real harm was done.

Three young British men – first generation Pakistanis - travelled to Afghanistan for a wedding around the time of the American invasion. I’ve no doubt they looked forward to their adventure with the same enthusiasm as Danny did twenty years previously. However instead of an inconvenient detention overnight, these gentlemen were shipped off to Guantanamo Bay. They were held without charge for 3 years on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activity despite no evidence and strong alibis.

We Irish know what it is like to be viewed with suspicion and fear by a superpower because of the misguided actions of a few of our countrymen. We know how terrorised nations react when confronted with an evil that they can’t (won’t) understand. We know that human rights get quickly trampled in the rush for homeland security. Also, we are a nation that is generally well disposed to America. We consider ourselves as friends. Don’t we have a duty to tell that friend when they are perpetrating evil? As Bono said, “Building our own monster, to defeat a monster”.

My cousin Danny or her cousin Rashish deserve it.

Pic :

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Brevity is the Soul of Lingerie

I used to be great with the one liners, now I can’t blog anything without it filling 3 A4 pages.

With thanks to Dorothy Parker.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Is it just me ?

Is it just me or does everyone want to scream from the roof tops - "It's spring, the sun is shining, people are smiling and I am so happy!" ?

Travelling to work this morning, I thought about 50 possible blog posts. It seems that the blog block has worked its way through my system and I've the equivalent of blogging incontinence. I thought for a moment about which subject I’d pick, when it struck me that each and every one was a rant of some description. Then I started thinking, well nearly every post recently has been a rant of kinds. I don’t like that.

The strange thing is ranting doesn’t reflect my current mood. I missed the train, laddered a new pair of tights and left my mobile cum radio at home this morning. Work has been a bit of a slog recently. I’ve had a run of minor illnesses nay ailments. But none of that matters. I’ve been in such good humour that I even posted my favourite happy tune (My old friend the blues). That was always going to be a last resort post. I wrote it up months ago to cheer me up when I was a little less positive. I saved the draft and thought; I’ll post this when I have come to an understanding with myself. (Astute blankpaige watchers will spot that ‘Don’t Go’ by the Hothouse Flowers is coming any day now.) I 've been touched by the warmth and concern of my fellow bloggers and feel more than a little guilty that I’d imposed upon their sympathies.

I know that many people think I’m more than a little weird. But there is nothing like a sad song/movie/book to put everything into perspective for me. I feel brilliant at the moment and I’d like to give Blog O’Sphere one big hug.


Monday, April 03, 2006

My old friend the Blues

Just when every ray of hope was gone
I should have known that you would come along
I can’t believe I ever doubted you
My old friend the blues

Another lonely night, a nameless town
If sleep don’t take me first, you’ll come around
’cause I know I can always count on you
My old friend the blues

Lovers leave and friends will let you down
But you’re the only sure thing that I’ve found
No matter what I do I’ll never lose
My old friend the blues

Just let me hide my weary heart in you
My old friend the blues

© Steve Earle ; Beautifully sung by The Proclaimers

Ar dheis De go raibh a anam dilis

The good and concerned Steven asked me if I was okay. Thanks blog buddy, I'm doing just fine. Or at least I was doing fine, until the no-less-good Damien drew my attention to some guy wrangling out of a speeding ticket cos the Courts couldn't provide an Irish translation of the Road Traffic Act.

We probably think we are the smartest nation on earth. Our legal profession (a group generally known to consider themselves as the smartest among the smart) probably believe themselves to be the finest among the developed world. Our inherent ability to subvert the system is something that we take pride in. The Brits found us ungovernable and we will proudly remain so.

It is because we are so smart that we are unable to maneouvre mass produced vehicles along designated routes without killing and maiming large swathes of our population. I don't know the specifics about this case. Perhaps the defendent was unable to speak English and that Gaelige was his/her only tongue. But to be honest, I couldn't care if he could only speak a particularly rare colloquial version of a long forgotten Tibetan tongue.

Unfortunately your linguistic skills offer little in the way of protection when you are knocked down by a speeding car. The defendent, barrister and judge should all be forced to visit the family of a crash victim. It’s not like we wouldn’t be able to produce one at short notice.