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Saturday 30 August 2014

Billy Keane: Good tidings to all, even an awful poet and a dozy Tyrone know-all

Billy Keane

Published 22/12/2012 | 05:00

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Drink in excess can be beneficial to society, because it stops some people from talking by putting them to sleep. I was on a bus. It was hard luck. The car broke. And worse again, the man next to me was from Tyrone.

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It was very unfair. I paid. He was free and he tortured me. The snore bore knew all there was to be known about Gaelic football but eventually he dozed off, having been lullabied to sleep by his own repetition.

One bit of advice; if you are ever on a bus, sit on the outside seat. Otherwise it's worse than being trapped in a sealed tomb with a dead pharaoh. It's a living death.

But more anon about my captor and how it came to be; he was sure I was his squeeze Maureen.

There must be a pre-Gathering gathering of bores and gits. I checked the moon.

It was a full half on Thursday night. If it was full full I would have understood, but we have it all figured out. Now I know all the answers. It came to me on the bus. Later.

The worst part of the demi-lunar Gathering was having to listen to a poem early this morning. I tried to escape but the poet held my wrist. It was like being strapped into an electric chair and you're begging for the warden to flick the switch.

There was a line I can remember, even though I've tried my best to forget. It's the same as one of those horrible tunes where the ditty goes around and around in your head and you can't get it out no matter how hard you try.

'We bate the bread and tae boy townies,

Like a bunch of funny little circus ponies'

Firstly, you'd get more rhythm when Sumos make love after a feed of porter. Secondly, the collective noun is a troupe of circus ponies, and thirdly, who would want to bate circus ponies and why?

Most of the circuses I've been at give the ponies lumps of sugar if they do well, which isn't exactly torture unless you're reading the poem from the perspective of an equine dentist.

The reference to bread and 'tae' means all we ever had to eat and drink here in the town was, you guessed it, bread and 'tae'.

Listowel lost in the poem and it was hard enough to take.

But there are lyrical writers out there too. Willie Duggan's daughter Helena has produced a children's masterpiece. All the adults are cracked, which is fairly true to life. Western Europeans are descended from four or five explorers out of the Rift Valley in Kenya who made their way across the world, over a few million years, to Ireland.

We are inbred and mutants of ourselves. Well, that's my theory and some are madder than others, but no one is wholly exempt. It definitely explains the man on the bus and the townie-hating poet.

Helena's book is 'A Place Called Perfect', the perfect antidote to PlayStation, which I would ban. Mostly because it gives young lads notions beyond their abilities.

I saw a 25-year-old almost disembowel himself while trying a scissors kick after he saw one done on PlayStation. The same young lad could hardly throw his leg over a ladies' bike.

Helena Duggan's lifesaving treasure can be bought on Amazon.

I know it's Scrooge-ish but I'm still annoyed over the insulting poem.

When I was but a boy and Santa was only 1,200 years old, I kicked a man in the shin for knocking Listowel at the North Kerry final. He complained to my mother, who said 'you were lucky you didn't say it to his father'.

This year's North Kerry final will be played on St Stephen's Day. It's all part of a cunning plan by the North Kerry Board to make sure the Kerry players are completely worn out come championship time. Just to even things up for the other counties.

Beale and Duagh are the finalists this year, and it should be a mighty game. Duagh haven't won for 50 years. Beale is the club of 'Bomber' Liston and Ogie Moran.

Ballybunion is the town part of Beale. Duagh is a small village with a huge heart.

Listowel hosts the final. It will be a huge day out for all of North Kerry.

Páidí would have been there. I'm too sad to write any more about P O other than to thank his family for the lovely welcome and for their enduring dignity. He would have been very, very proud. P O will live forever as long as there's an ó Sé in Ard an Bhóthair.

The drunken Tyrone man on the bus elbowed me in his sleep, but when I elbowed him back he stayed asleep. I had to climb up and over him to escape at Abbeyfeale. He didn't even open his eyes.

"Is that you Maureen, pet?" he asked, as I straddled to freedom.

It's great to unload all that angst. We're feeling good enough now to send the traditional free Christmas card.

Even to the man on the bus who thought I was his Maureen and the doggerel poet who don't know it.

Happy Christmas to one and all.

Irish Independent

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