THE last time the Band of the Irish Guards came to the Republic, in 2000, 'social media' was merely a gossip column in the 'Evening Herald'. But Facebook and Twitter -- and no doubt other silicate malignancies of which I know nothing -- have changed everything. At the start of the century, a few hate-filled molecules of mediocrity dancing frenziedly in a dish could be ignored. But now they can attract wholly disproportionate attention, merely because they can daub their dotty graffiti in the public eye, courtesy of the internet.
Thus they've turned a nice little charity gig organised by the Irish security industry to raise money for the Jack & Jill Foundation, which does so much for neurologically sick children, into almost an endorsement of slavery, genocide and female circumcision. One typical Facebook message stated: "It's a pity that the Jack & Jill Foundation are helping to put nails in the coffins of children in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria."
Yet actually, that's a fairly good summation of the thought processes of the strange, hysterical, historically ignorant, frothing hybrid that inhabits the tiniest margins of Irish life. It is partly perverse Irish republican, partly pathological conspiracy theorist, partly feminist, partly global eco-Marxist and wholly lunatic. It usually lives at home with its parents, and is most active at around 3am. It is a sort of vegan vampire, with a keen appetite for homicidal pacifism and murderous Buddhism. Its Facebook ranting is a haggis of tofu, entrails and right-on voodoo, all bound together in an aspic of hatred.
So, of course, the Band of the Irish Guards is responsible for what is happening in Syria and Libya today. After all, was it not behind Chernobyl? It's a well-known fact that it spread AIDS through Africa, cunningly disguised as aid, trading on the illiteracy of the unfortunate Africans, whose ancient reading skills had of course been stolen from them by the British. And naturally, Irish Guards bandsmen gave weapons training to the Hutu militia -- or was it the Tuareg? -- before the Armenian massacres. Remember the Tiananmen Square slaughter? Did you spot the white man in the corner, just before the killings began? Well, that was the director of music of the Irish Guards: a well-known fact, which has been hushed up by MI6. Global warming was introduced in order to provide cheap bearskins for the Brigade of Guards: scientific fact. And who was really on the grassy knoll in Dallas? Yes, two timpanists and a piccolo player from the Irish Guards. And as for those initials 'MLK' daubed all over Memphis after a certain assassination in 1968: they didn't stand for 'Martin Luther King', you know. Oh no, they stood for 'Micks Love Killing'. Yes, and scrawled by none other than James Earl Ray: 1st battalion, Irish Guards (undercover).
You can argue with these people as fruitfully as you can use a tennis racquet to divert the Gulf Stream, or a mirror to blind the sun. So the following remarks are not directed at this tiny minority of twitching frothing lunatics, one-handedly hammering out their hatred on their keyboards while the world sleeps, but at the rest of the Irish population, who wish no harm to anyone, and who want to live with their neighbours, both locally and archipelagically (new word, just made it up).
This is the situation. The Security Emergency Services Ireland Forum, composed of members of An Garda Siochana, the Defence Forces, the Coast Guard, and so on, have organised a concert-plus-dinner in the K Club, and they have made some seats available to the Jack & Jill Foundation, which has to raise 80pc of its income through its own devices.
To attend this dinner is not an endorsement of British policy towards the Boers, or the Battle of Berlin 1943-45, or of the Ashanti Wars, or of the RIC Auxiliaries. It is simply an evening's entertainment organised by a few Irish people in the security business, who have invited their musical friends in the Irish Guards to play for them: rather as the Army Number One Band played with the Irish Guards in Dublin Castle 12 years ago. Dead simple.
No doubt the 3am frothers will gibber on about British foreign policy: but how strangely silent they were when the fine men and women of the US Navy came to town a couple of weeks ago. If their complaints had genuinely been about another country's 'foreign policy', they could have shattered their keyboards in rage about the Americans, but of course they didn't.
The anger we hear about the Micks playing in the K Club is the recidivist rant of anachronistic innumerates who, whenever they look at a calendar, can only see 1689, 1798, 1847, 1916, et cetera. Deep sigh. For the rest of you: there are some corporate seats still available for the Micks concert for Jack & Jill, from Jack & Jill. Contact 045 894538, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hello! Incoming email! Yes, it's confirmed! Elvis Presley was the love-child of Constance Markievicz and Mahatma Gandhi, which was why the band of the Irish Guards abducted him and put him into earth-orbit. You can see him, waving desperately in the night sky, every September 31.