People are talking: VMA shade and side-eye
It's award-show Christmas morning today; this year's VMAs will, of course, kick off tonight in Los Angeles.
The entire spectrum of popular music will be represented there (from crap to rubbish and back again) and we get to see how much closer the pop starlet of the moment can nudge a live performance toward full-on pornography (whoever it is will be standing on the shoulder of giants - Miley Cyrus has been shunted to presenting duties).
And, of course, who will throw shade and give side-eye to whom. Catty reactions to the success of others are as integral a part of the VMAs as ogling the red carpet fashions are for other award shows. Nobody cares who wins, see our spectrum assessment above, but the cameras are trained to capture, say, Katy Perry's most minute eye roll in super slow motion so that the internet can nourish itself on her lack of graciousness.
The VMAs are also about outrage. Someone needs to behead a lion, diss a transsexual, simulate underage sex and then, in the grand tradition of Madonna, act like the thought police are out of control if anyone objects. There needs to be a surprise special guest star (Bill Cosby?). And watch for Taylor Swift getting her own back on Kanye.
The first rule of IRA club is, don't talk about it
When is the IRA not the IRA? When Gerry says it isn't.
That seems to be the new rule. Or rather, the old rule, because it was ever thus.
The Sinn Fein President has a simple formula when it comes to dealing with problems arising from his fellow republicans' kinky fixation with guns: If it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck, and quacks like a duck, just keep telling everyone it's a chicken. Then, when no one believes you, blame it on the big bad meejah for trying to make your mates look bad.
And in a way, Adams is right. There is no such thing as the IRA any more. It's just some people in the IRA doing IRA-type stuff on behalf of the IRA. Not the same thing at all.
Of course, we're not supposed to call them out on this nonsense because it might upset the IRA. You know, the IRA that doesn't exist?
Some say it might upset them so much that they actually start to exist again, just to prove how wrong everyone was for thinking that they still existed. And wouldn't we all feel silly then? It's a bit like dealing with the Incredible Hulk with a Belfast accent.
"Don't make me angry," says this supposedly non-existent monster. "You wouldn't like me when I'm angry."
The thought that there might be another way of handling frustration - such as not getting angry in the first place - never seems to occur to these geniuses at all. Though wouldn't that be a much simpler solution all round?
Only one question remains. Does Gerry Adams exist or is he a mere figment of our imagination too? We can but hope.
The Lohans will work it all out
All families can be a nightmare. But Lindsay Lohan's family, bless them, must be a particularly special kind of nightmare.
Dina Lohan, aka the original pushy Momager, and Michael Lohan, ex-con, divorced in 2007 following allegations made by Dina that her husband was abusive towards her. Suffice to say there is little love lost between them.
Apparently, however, they have recently agreed to make an honest attempt to try to improve the relationship. Hooray! But how? According to reports, they have agreed to try out family therapy. Sounds altogether very mature and sensible. But wait! That's not family therapy the practice. It's Family Therapy, the VH1 reality TV show, silly. A spin-off from the previous show Couples Therapy, it will follow troubled C-Listers as they attempt to work out their problems openly and honestly, and without the pesky constraints of discretion or patient confidentiality. After all, what would be the point of releasing a load of conflict, past-history and exclusive personal revelations into the world, if there's nobody but an over-paid listening post to benefit from them?
Or so Dina and Michael must have thought. When they can cash in on all of those things, build their brands (and, one imagines, avail of a paid-for limo drop-off and pick-up service each day), while getting it all out there in front of rolling cameras. Therapy can be so unflattering sometimes. Best to do it, at least, under good lighting with the benefit of full hair and make-up, no? What Lindsay herself makes of her parents step towards a more harmonious future remains to be seen. She's probably wishing they could have done things the classy way and gone directly to Oprah.
China: civilisation off menu
Stock up on spam, board up the windows, get a gun, and forget about granny - it's too late for her now - if the cannibals don't get her, the winter will.
We had a good run. We invented the internal combustion engine, came up with a vaccine for polio, and put a man on the moon. Alas, all of it was for nought. Modern civilisation, as we now know it, is almost at an end, thanks to the Chinese.
Share prices tumbled worldwide last week after China's 'Black Monday', marking the end, or at least that's the impression I got from the news.
Only the fittest will survive. Bloggers will be the first to go. Lawyers, journalists and bankers not long after. I dare say Vincent Browne will be starved for guests, although he'll probably find some Mad Max-like warlord to belabour the point with.
There may be some hope for Ireland. There may be still some residue of our Celtic and Viking ancestors deep within us, waiting to come to the surface and show us the way of a warrior people. As an island, we may also escape the continent's marauding hordes, although the radioactive clouds, drifting from the west, will get a lot of us. Not Bertie, though. He'll survive, he always does.
But as bad as the apocalypse will be there'll be one good thing about it - at least we won't have to worry about those damn water charges.
Hurling could be huge
The Lonely Planet list of 'where to watch sport as a local' released last week included Croke Park for a spot of hurling. This isn't a list of weird minority sports like ferret-chasing and hockey. It includes the cricket ground in Melbourne and Madison Square Garden.
This could lead to an explosion in hurling tourism. Let's face it - Dublin isn't exactly overloaded with major tourist attractions if you don't like watching people making beer. We'll need a leaflet to explain what's going on out on the pitch. Otherwise hurling fans will have to explain to a bemused couple from Tokyo that the guys in white coats by the goalpost aren't actually emperors. Or butchers.
The leaflet should outline the rules of hurling, which can be summarised as 'A 15 versus 15 game played with sticks which is nearly always won by Kilkenny.' It should also point out there is a ball involved, because that isn't immediately obvious when you're up at the top of the stand.
It might be time to make a few changes to the match-day experience in Croke Park. The Lonely Planet blurb on the stadium says it is steeped in local tradition. You can see how visiting Yanks might be disappointed to see 70,000 people scoffing hot dogs in their baseball caps. That's steeped in the local traditions of Boston. So for the love of tourism, let's put in a few olde style stalls selling furry hats and ham sandwiches. And point out that the correct pronunciation is ham sannidge. Now you're talking.
End of 1D is just the start
You can't help but feel sorry for the poor One Direction(less) young fans. We, the elders of the tribe, have seen it all before and know how it will play out. We know that 1D breaking up isn't the end, it's just part of the endless circle of pop life.
Kids, listen well, as this is how it will be. The band break up and they each pursue a solo career. After the failure of solo ventures one or two of the boys will disappear from public life and open a key-cutting kiosk or a micro-brewery, another will pitch up on Strictly Come Dancing, I'm a Celebrity or Celebrity Big Brother depending on the size of their tax bill and their level of desperation for public adulation. Another will prop up panels on talent shows.
There will be marriages, divorces, scandals, revelations, allegations, books, bankruptcies, public spats and somewhere in the midst of it all the lads will grow up. In or around 2040 someone will put the band back together - the band of four, as Zayn will swear he will never set foot on stage with 1D again. There will be a sold out tour which will end on a high note when Zayn surprises fans by appearing on stage with his old chums fuelling rumours that the entire band is getting back together, which they will. And then the whole cycle will start over again. Tis the circle of boyband life. Hakuna Matata.
Anne Marie Scanlon
Sunday Indo Living