News Analysis

Saturday 23 August 2014

Bloom: your day is done!

Published 10/06/2006 | 00:11

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Darragh McManus is fed up with Groundhog Bloomsday and proposes some alternative heroes

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James Joyce was said to have once written, "How sick, sick, sick I am of Dublin!" - and as yet another Bloomsday celebration rolls around, I'm beginning to sympathise.

Every year it's the same thing, with the same tedious old duffers and pretentious pseuds traipsing around the same haunts from Ulysses, eating the same disgusting mess of giblet soup and liver slices, and reciting the same incomprehensible passages from a book they're about as likely to ever finish reading as a bonobo ape.

Why must we endure this Groundhog Day of boaters, bores and balderdash? Why can't we find someone new to celebrate? We've put together a shortlist of possibilities, so move over, Bloom: your day is done.

Pierce Brosnan: He managed to surmount the considerable handicap of being from Navan to play James Bond, a great cultural icon of the last century.

Location: An uber-chic bar or glittering skyscraper somewhere along the docks. Guests will arrive in speedboats which they ramp up onto land, crashing through the enormous front windows to make an entrance.

Dress code: Black tie and knowing smile for the gents, cocktail dress and seductive expression for the ladies.

Food and drink: Only the finest of Russian caviar, truffles, Dom Perignon and, of course, martinis served in the proper manner.

Activities: Baccarat, unsafe sex, grappling with gargantuan, steel-toothed Spectre agents.

Bono: Though he can be a royal pain in the behind, there's no denying the U2 frontman's huge influence on Irish life and world rock music.

Location: His house should be plenty big enough.

Dress code: In honour of the great man, everybody must wear sunglasses indoors. And out of sensitivity to this famously short fellow, ladies are asked not to wear heels.

Food and drink: Organically produced finger-food, ethically traded wines from Third World countries, maybe some nachos if Adam Clayton gets the munchies later on.

Activities: Special guest Steven Hawking will try to work out whether even an infinite universe is sufficient to contain Bono's ego.

Brendan Behan: A poet's soul trapped in a drunk's body - you couldn't get more Irish than that.

Location: Kilmainham Jail might be a bit gloomy, so any 'rare ould Dubbalin' pub should do. Ideally one of the few that Behan was never barred from.

Dress code: Stout-stained shirt, messy suit, even more messy hair, general air of boozy bewilderment.

Food and drink: No food, just drink. And a few Sweet Afton to settle the gut.

Activities: Crafting of mainly unintelligible drivel with the odd moment of literary brilliance, fighting in the carpark, roaring for more drink.

Michael Flatley: Lord of the Dance and, coincidentally, master of the universe.

Location: The Point Depot, where Flatley first achieved fame with Riverdance. All visitors must one-two-three, one-two-three their way into the building in a single line.

Dress code: Enormous bouffant hairdos, three inches of makeup and flouncy blouses that wouldn't look out of place on Lord Byron. And that's just for the men.

Food and drink: Energy bars and Lucozade - all that bucklepping about takes its toll on the body.

Activities: Flatley will attempt to power up the national grid through a generator attached to his flying feet, accompanied by a specially commissioned Bill Whelan composition.

Flann O'Brien: This literary genius virtually invented post-modernism and cranked out fantastic, hilarious newspaper columns for years.

Location: At Swim-Two-Birds, obviously.

Dress code: Long overcoats, fedora hats and briefcases for the men. Same for the women but swap the fedora for a trilby.

Food and drink: Anything but an egg. The brother could never stomach an egg. Meat, fish, chicken, spuds, whatever you like, but just no eggs.

Activities: Starting stories several times over, switching effortlessly between Irish and English whilst in conversation, ruining someone else's shoes with a shower of buff-coloured puke.

Oscar Wilde: Another towering genius of letters, his bon mots, epigrams and foppish hair made him the darling of Victorian London. Not to mention modern-day compilers of books of quotes. Location: Somewhere elegant, time-weathered and classy, like Dublin Castle or the Trinity library. A fleet of hansom carriages, driven by annoyingly chirpy Cockneys, will be provided to ferry people to and fro.

Dress code: Velvet jackets, cravats and hats with ridiculously large brims for gents; rib-bruising corsets and parasols for ladies.

Food and drink: brandy, strawberries, snuff.

Activities: Swapping witticisms, sighing heavily at the dullness of the company, laughing in an ironic sort of way, being arrested for sodomy.

Eamon Dunphy: The legendarily cranky soccer pundit and cultural commentator has been more responsible than most for facilitating that great Irish passion: a good row.

Location: The RTE studios during the early part of the day, before migrating en masse to the general Leeson Street area until about six the next morning.

Dress code: A sort of rumpled chic is the sought-after look, preferable accessorised with wine bottle in one hand and wild gesticulations emanating from the other.

Food and drink: Red wine, white wine, rose wine, tons of cigarettes.

Activities: Pursing your lips, frowning, lamenting how Ireland is a country in moral decline, mischievously teasing Bill O'Herlihy if he's there.

Arthur Guinness: He invented the drink that bears his name, which has become as much a part of the Irish DNA as the dribbling sentimentality which invariably follows its consumption.

Location: The Guinness Storehouse, with its lofty viewing tower, is an ideal place for a hooley.

Dress code: One per cent of the gathering will dress in expensive furs and stovepipe hats, while the remaining 99 per cent will wear rags and have soot on their faces, as was the custom at the time.

Food and drink: Porter, porter and more porter.

Activities: Enjoying a supercilious chuckle at how old Arthur conned his landlords into giving him a 10,000 year lease. Also getting blind drunk.

Errol Flynn: Australian-born of Irish ancestry, he was a superstar in Hollywood's Golden Age, a flamboyant character and a renowned hit with the ladies. Often all at the same time.

Location: The middle of O'Connell Street, with guests swinging from a rope tied to the top of the Spire before sliding down in true swashbuckling style.

Dress code: For men, white tuxedo, pencil moustache and omnipresent leer; for women, the scantier the better.

Food and drink: Pretty much the same as for the Pierce Brosnan bash, but with added alcohol.

Activities: Swordfights, seducing any female within a 50-yard radius, hastily changing the subject whenever Errol's Nazi sympathies pop up in conversation.

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