Sunday 25 June 2017

Kirsty at large: Brimstone, 'trendy' jumpers and the language of the Eighth

Brianna Parkins
Brianna Parkins
Puss in books: Alan Amsby (Mr. Pussy) and Dave Kenny at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards launch
Wuff justice: Vatican ruling also affects dogs
Singer Grace Jones
Kirsty Blake Knox

Kirsty Blake Knox

The language surrounding the Eighth Amendment is becoming more bewildering by the day.

On the one hand, we have the Pro-Lifers, who like to dismiss the Pro-Choice standpoint by describing it as "trendy".

As if views on the Eighth will fall out of fashion in a few weeks' time and end up in a 'What were we thinking?!?' Buzzfeed article alongside hair mascara and parachute pants.

Meanwhile, the Pro-Choice side are talking about "hellfire and brimstone" while waving packs of abortion pills in the Dáil and threatening to scream their heads off (Richard Boyd Barrett) if they hear an opposing opinion.

This is nuts. It's like watching two drunks arguing at a house party; messy, confusing and potentially devastating.

Let me be clear: I am pro-choice, I marched with my mum and sister on September 24.

I own a Repeal sweater and thought it was fantastic when Brianna Parkins, above, broached the issue of the Eighth at the Rose of Tralee.

I think abortion should be legal in this country. And I thought it was inexcusable that on Tuesday night only a smattering of TDs bothered to show up to discuss the issue.

But I hate the rhetoric that is being used. Condemning those for expressing a divergent opinion is idiotic. So is scaremongering and patronising people for owning a bloody jumper.

Disagreeing with pro-choicers doesn't mean you're part of "the Catholic Taliban" - Boyd Barrett's words, not mine.

Likewise, calling for a referendum doesn't make you a "trendy" champagne socialist with no real understanding of the issue. It also doesn't make you an advocate of murder.

TD Kate O'Connell hit the nail on the head when she told the AAA-PBP that they did "not have a monopoly on caring about the Eighth or about women's rights in this country".

Neither do the Pro-Life side. But both sides often give the impression they think they do.

Everyone needs to start choosing their words more carefully. Blowing brimstone into the Dáil doesn't strengthen the cause, it just clouds the argument.

Mr Pussy's kiss-and-tell with Mannix and Naomi

Puss in books: Alan Amsby (Mr. Pussy) and Dave Kenny at the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards launch

You'd be hard pressed to find anyone else in the country, nay the world, who owns a pair of Naomi Campbell's knickers and has snogged both Danny La Rue and Mannix Flynn.

"I think it's just me," Alan Amsby - aka the talented Mr Pussy - said proudly at the unveiling of the Bord Gáis Energy Irish Book Awards shortlist.

Naomi gifted Amsby her pants when he was the proprietor of well-known greasy spoon Mr Pussy's Café.

Two nights after über diva Naomi handed him her pants, Christy Turlington wandered through the doors and presented Mr Pussy with her bra.

"I refused it," he said. "It was hanging out of her coat pocket and I thought 'You dirty cow! You didn't have time to get dressed - I'm not taking that."

As for the kiss with Mannix? "It was for a theatre show and he had eaten a lot of garlic the night before."

Well, I think we are all in agreement that the less said about that delightful encounter, the better.

Amsby's book, Before I Forget to Remember, is in the non-fiction category and will go up against entries from Louise McSharry, model Pippa O'Connor and Marian Keyes.

The launch was a hive of hyperactive chit-chat. Sophie White was glowing, having just welcomed baby Arlo into the world five days previously, and Uncle Gaybo arrived with his wife, Kathleen Watkins.

"Her book, Pigín of Howth, has upstaged Harry Potter," Gay said.

The gala event will take place on November 16 and should be an absolute hoot - Graham Norton, comedian Jason Byrne, Michael D Higgins AND Jilly Cooper are going to be there.

Jilly Cooper! Queen of the Bonkbuster and the unofficial 'patron saint of Gloucestershire'. I can only imagine the conversation she's going to strike up with our Uachtarán na hÉireann.

Cosmo's footpath to God is vetoed by the Vatican

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Wuff justice: Vatican ruling also affects dogs

Wuff justice: Vatican ruling also affects dogs

When I heard the Vatican had banned people scattering the ashes of their loves ones here, there and everywhere, I ­immediately thought of my mother.

Earlier this year, she told me she wanted her ashes to be mixed with those of our family dog Cosmo (yes, really) and scattered along the footpath of their favourite countryside walk.

"It's what we both want," she said.

I looked at Cosmo and frowned. I may be generalising here, but I don't think dogs tend to spend a huge amount of time musing over their mortality.

Needless to say my mother was not impressed when I texted her to inform the Vatican had vetoed her and Cosmo's funeral arrangements.

"Feck off!" she wrote back. "I'll scatter you if you're not careful."

But, according to Dave Fanagan of Fanagans Funeral Directors, it is all a storm in a teacup.

"It isn't going to make a blind bit of difference," he said.

"People who want to scatter their ashes will scatter them where they want."

I don't get all these directives from the Vatican - I mean it's hardly a sellers' market at the moment for the Catholic Church. They should be welcoming everyone with open arms, whether they chose to dispose their ashes whether that's over the Cliffs of Moher, across Croke Park or down a country lane with an old mutt.



ir Grace Jones.jpg
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