Saturday 22 October 2016

Darragh McManus: 'Garthgate - if this was a TV show, it would have jumped the shark a long time ago'

Published 09/07/2014 | 18:40

Around five seconds after hearing the latest twist in the Garth Brooks saga, a strange thing happened. I felt something I would have thought impossible: boredom.

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We all love these daft controversies that go on and on and on, like one of those interminable country songs with 75 verses about a farmer struggling with the defection of his wife and the imminent expiration of his combine-harvester. They’re dumb, distracting and great fun during these dog-days of summer.

But Garthgate has surely outstayed its welcome by now. If it were a TV show, we’d be saying it had jumped the shark and was beyond resuscitation.

Hell, the network would have cancelled by now. Even some ridiculous soap like Revenge – which trades on outlandish plots and scarcely believable developments – would have doubts about continuing this narrative arc.

In a letter to Peter Aiken, Garth says he’s still willing to do the five gigs if a solution can be hammered out. (Tip for promoters: try some actual hammering, you’d be surprised at the results.)

And in fairness, he’s putting his money where his mouth is, as a ship travels towards Ireland, laden with his gear. By this point, you wouldn’t be totally surprised if it turned out that Dracula was on-board and currently chowing down on the sound-engineer and the bloke who tunes up the slide-guitars.

But all this is only delaying the inevitable. It’s keeping the mangled corpse alive, beyond any limits of decency or sense. There seems, at this stage, as much chance of all five concerts happening as that theory about Dracula turning out to be true.

We’ve had death threats and accusations of forgery. We’ve had calls for the Taoiseach to get involved and demands for emergency legislation. We’ve even had one lunatic declare that Bertie would have never let this happen on his watch. (Well, he did have an affinity for cowboys.)

We’ve also, most depressingly, had the usual self-crucifixion which accompanies any misfortune in Ireland. “No other country in the world would screw up so badly!”

Really? Maybe you should move to these innumerable paragons of intelligent organisation and sensible policy then, and stop annoying everyone else.

Most of all, we’ve had our fill of all this. Yes, even the unmatchable delights of a national meltdown lose their allure eventually. A bit like opium, only the dreams are weirder and more disturbing.

In short, we’ve had enough. Someone make it stop.

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