News Ian O'Doherty

Sunday 31 August 2014

Ah lads – pour the other one. . .

Ian O'Doherty

Published 15/08/2013 | 05:00

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'Local' talent: Emeli Sandé will play here for Arthur's Day

So, you all geared up? Specially branded plastic hat? One of those little wavy flags that are great for poking into people's faces every time you get excited? An inexplicable urge to raise your glass, spill the contents everywhere and then shout: "To Arthur!" like some Pavlovian sap?

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Then it sounds like you're just about ready for Arthur's Day, the 26th of next month.

Although obviously the good people at Diageo don't want people who just want to get banjoed to attend this year's event, because they are keen to insist that this is a cultural and musical extravaganza, and not an excuse for every part-time drinker and full-time muppet to get sloshed on promotional pints of Guinness while some band plays in the background.

Because according to Diageo's Stephen O'Kelly: "What Guinness is going to do for the next few years is to connect with Ireland. We've had a recession and there is a lot of creativity out there, but they all need a bit of a start – that's the role we believe Guinness can play for them."

Why thank you Guinness – I didn't know you cared so much.

Look, I'm not going to start bellyaching about how such a blatant, vulgar celebration of brainless consumption for the sake of brainless consumption is another example of our obviously weird relationship with booze.

I'm not even going to scale the moral high ground and point out the absurdity of trying to ban alcohol sponsoring of sporting events while the country's most popular drink simply creates an occasion solely designed to get young people into gigs to drink their product.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that booze companies have been made easy sporting targets when we have county teams sponsored by fast-food outlets.

No, my main problem with this abomination of a pseudo-celebration is the fact that the Irish people bought into it, hook, line and sinker.

Some marketing bod had the idea to dupe a gullible, witless people and decided to sell them a complete lemon of an idea and everyone bought into it. If you pour it, they will come.

How in the name of Jeremy Paxman's beard did they manage to convince people this was some sort of exciting festival?

It's not as if the Irish don't have ample opportunity to go out and get tanked up anytime they want. And appalling though Paddy's Day undoubtedly is, at least it has an historical context, both for the occasion and for the drinking.

Instead, the young punters are told that this is a venerable celebration and they buy it. Worse, and this is the really unforgivable bit, they buy the guff that this is, as O'Kelly claims: "About showing the depth of creativity and talent in this country."

Yes, such obscure and emerging Irish acts as, um, Emeli Sandé and, erm, the Manics and, oh yeah, Bobby Womack.

It's Guinness's job to get more people to drink Guinness. Every business needs customers and it is just pointlessly stupid to complain that a beer company wants to turn your precious teenagers into future customers by attracting them with a series of heavily branded gigs.

But don't give us that rubbish about helping local acts because there are a few Irish bands on the bill – no festival could happen in this country without a healthy filling of indigenous acts, so they're hardly doing anyone a favour.

Seasoned drinkers – most of whom avoid their local like the plague on this day – wouldn't have any problem with Guinness putting on a load of acts, telling people to have a good time and throwing them a few pints while they were at it.

But to believe that this is being done as some sort of artificially created tradition to help 'Irish creativity' is one hell of a leap – in fact, it merely reinforces everything Bill Hicks said about marketing people.

Anyway – Emeli bloody Sandé?

I rest my case.

THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!

Given their recent travails, you might have thought the Catholic Church was eager to get as many bums on seats and souls in heaven as they could.

So fair play, in a strange way, to bishop Michael Smith and his firm stance on that burning social issue of . . . eulogies being delivered in a church during funerals.

It seems a rather churlish fight to pick, but then what's the point of being a bishop if you can't tell a grieving family how to remember their dearly departed? He is the boss, after all.

But he didn't go far enough – he should just insist that every eulogy is strictly truthful.

After all, how often have you been at a funeral when you heard someone read a eulogy at a funeral and you know that what's going through everyone's mind is: "He was a miserable ould shite who never did anyone a good turn in his life. I'm glad the fecker is dead . . . Now he better have left me that china chamber pot in his will, the swine"?

Maybe that last one was just me . . .

NO. THAT'S JUST NOT BLOODY FUNNY

Men are used to being the butt of jokes everywhere but I've had it with some of my friends of the female persuasion who have been busy giggling about the discovery of South American, testicle-biting, pacu fish in a lake in Sweden.

They – the fish, that is – have a frankly disgusting habit of mistaking a gentleman's junk for actual nuts that fell off trees and while I can't imagine the results (I keep fainting every time I think about it, to be honest), I do know that this is not, and can never be, something to giggle about. Under any circumstances. Ever.

Taking a dip in Blessington Lake won't be an option ever again, either.

Irish Independent

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