Saturday 1 October 2016

Heed my purple prose: we don't need wall-to-wall cream

Published 28/07/2014 | 02:30

Billy Keane painted the front of the pub in the green and gold of Kerry.
Billy Keane painted the front of the pub in the green and gold of Kerry.

So there I was lying in bed, in the middle of the night, with the weight of the world wearing down on top of me. I had to lie flat as the back is gone again. I started to worry, as you do late at night.

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The news is the stuff of nightmares. For a good while it was all about the depression or was it a recession? Now it's the Middle East again.

So I got to thinking, what could I do about it all anyway?

So I took out the frustration out on the cream ceiling. I hate cream – the colour. It's not as if you could stand up on the bed and spoon some of the ceiling on top of a bowl of jelly or apple pie. Cream is Ireland's favourite colour. Put down the paper for a second or ignore the tablet. Take a look around you. I'll bet there's a cream something in every direction and not just in the middle of a bun.

I know a woman who daubs new cream over coats of old cream. Her house is about the half the width it used to be. If you stood still long enough the chances are she would deem you to an inanimate object and would proceed to paint you cream. The lady even paints the radio cream.

Don't take any notice of me this week if I jump a little bit here and there. The back is gone again. The mother has steadfastly refused to lift any more barrels and so I had to hoist up a barrel of beer all on my own. I'd fire her but 59 years' redundancy would sink the ship. Now I'm doped up to the last.

One of the drugs is a generic version of valium, which was given to women in the old days by mostly male doctors to stop them giving out to the husbands but then the doctors discovered it was a muscle relaxant and men with bad backs, which is close on 100pc of us, are on it as well. The drugs are to combat spasms which are very similar to contractions women go through when they are having babies. When I was in the maternity ward the nurses used always say, "if men could have babies, there would be no children born".

This was of course a snide reference to the fiction that all men are softies who whinge at the slightest sign of any pain. The story we are sold is that if a man gets sick it's manflu and there's really nothing wrong with him. The worst ones though are the women who say, "ah you poor thing" in a really pitying and insincere voice, and you know what they really mean is men give in too easy and if there was a big match to go to the back would clear up almost immediately.

My theory is this approach has killed millions of us men. We could have two broken legs and the diagnosis from some women would be, sure, it's all psychosomatic. Note I wrote some, not all. The inference is there's nothing wrong with us and we shouldn't be bothering the doctors who are far too busy as it is consoling women whose husbands couldn't be bothered talking to them about their troubles. Most men only go to the doctor when it's far too late and the attitude that we have a low or no pain threshold plays a major role in this. So that was one of the worries that was brought on by the cream ceiling.

I would have welcomed a squashed moth or a dead fly just to break up the monotony of it all. What is this national obsession with insipid frigging cream? Why can't we paint our country in bright colours like red? I painted the front of the pub in the green and gold of Kerry and the red of Munster. Cream reminds me of cat's vomit and the pale faces of sick people.

The morning dose is kicking in now and I'm getting very drowsy. There's a note stuck on to the side of tablet bottle that says 'do not operate any heavy machinery' so I begin to wonder if that includes the TV zapper. I must remember not to drive my crane today.

The door of my old room over the pub is cream. I had to move down here to write because of the noise in my own house where a new shower is being installed because we are too clean a family and are always wearing out showers. The tiles around the shower are cream. I'm ready to go on a dirty protest.

I've always hated cream. There should be only so many cream buildings allowed in every town and city. Dublin City Council could lead the way, what with their excellent track record in banning things.

I swear it to you here and now: I will paint my old room purple the very minute I get the back sorted. As for the tiles, someone told me you can stick pictures of fishes and mermaids on to take away the blank canvass of cream. I'm going to make up those paper blobs with spit on them and throw them hard up to the ceiling where they will stick for a stalactite effect.

The war on cream starts here.

Billy Keane

Irish Independent

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