Paddy O'Gorman draws the short straw for Temple Bar
Spare a thought for Paddy O'Gorman. Other broadcasters were given tickets to Brazil for the World Cup. RTE's roving conversationalist was sent to ... Temple Bar. He was there for Today With Sean O'Rourke to canvass England football supporters about the welcome they were receiving from Irish fans as they watched live matches in pubs across the capital, and also to ask Irish fans who they were supporting in the tournament. Paddy's interviewed everyone down the years, and, while his unique style is not to everyone's taste, he's always worth hearing; but this proved again that drunk people are a particularly difficult source of sense.
Still, it was worth it for the man from Northern Ireland who declared that he wouldn't be supporting England because "they repressed our people in the Six Counties with their armies", and who hoped that "Rooney loses his hairpiece" in revenge. Take that, perfidious Albion!
The History Show, consistently one of the best programmes on Irish radio, also got into the mood with an item on the last time the World Cup was held in Brazil, in 1950, and why the Irish, despite an invitation, didn't go. "We couldn't get the players together, they were on their holidays and the passports would've taken a little bit of arranging," recalled author Eoghan Corry. In the event, the opportunity didn't come round again for another 40 years. There's a moral there somewhere.
Getting away from football, BBC Radio Four last week broadcast the first of a new two-part dramatisation of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep?, the novel on which Ridley Scott's classic film Blade Runner was based. The film itself is a perfect rebuttal to bores who say films are never as good as the books on which they're based, because Philip K Dick's dystopian thriller is a hard book to like, with a central character whose entire motivation appears based around his desire for a real sheep, or monkey, or owl, or anything really, in a world where nuclear disaster has wiped out most of the animal population.
This radio version, for Radio Four's Dangerous Visions series, stuck very much to that original version, whilst inexplicably reinstating the device of an exaggerated Philip Marlowe-like narratorial voiceover much criticised in the initially released studio version of Blade Runner and absent from the novel, which is told in the third person. It was an interesting effort to bring some life back to the original version, but it probably sent most listeners scuttling back to the far superior film version.
The rest of the week was devoted to the usual blah, blah, blah about politics; though interestingly some of the best background analysis of the week's events came, not on the news programmes themselves, but on Newstalk's Moncrieff, with a look at the terrifying Islamic extremist takeover of Iraq on Thursday, and a sparky rundown of the history of the Spanish monarchy on Wednesday to mark the abdication of King Juan Carlos. Bloomsday was also celebrated on Sunday's Marian by an interview with author Will Self which began with the question: "What is it about James Joyce that attracted you first?"
Self's reply: "Well, he's not Tony Blair, for a start." Cue exaggerated cackles of laughter from the rest of the guests, as if this was the funniest joke they'd ever heard. Perhaps they were merely being polite. We can but hope.