Monday 9 December 2019

Seeing funnier side of Garthgate fiasco

Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Have we settled on an official name for the Garth Brooks story yet? Is Absurdgate too long? They call this the silly season on radio, but the cancellation of his Croker gigs is nonsense nonpareil. Callan's Kicks (Radio 1, Friday 6.30pm) or Gift Grub on the Ian Dempsey Breakfast Show (Today FM, Mon-Fri 7am) couldn't produce better comedy.

Yes, I realise it has serious repercussions for Dublin business and disappointed fans, and don't mean to make light of that. But still. It's concerts by a honky-tonk merchant which now won't go ahead. Nobody has died . . . yet.

Even in the midst of, for instance, a "serious" discussion of the matter on Today with Sean O'Rourke (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 10am), the inherent ridiculousness of the whole thing came through.

We're in a "western stand- off", Sean declared (appropriate enough, with a country star at its epicentre). Entertainment journalist Ken Sweeney retorted: "My biggest fear is that Garth Brooks will write a song about this in the future." He added that "the relationship between some residents and the GAA is like North Korea and South Korea at this stage".

On Liveline (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 1.45pm), a lady called Margaret had a simple solution to the problem, offering rooms in her Wexford home for residents. Given what else was said all week, this was not the silliest thing heard.

That, for me, would be the anguished comments by Dublin Mayor Christy Burke, repeated across various shows, that this was "a funeral without a corpse" and there was "a sadness throughout the nation". If you say so.

He also sent out a heartfelt plea to the Cat in the Hat: "The country wants you – the country needs you!" As Oscar Wilde wrote, you'd need a heart of stone not to laugh.

Garthgate was only matched in sheer "what the hell is happening?" weirdness by Germany's 7-1 evisceration of Brazil in the World Cup. The John Murray Show (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 9am) spoke to Brazilian Paolo Oliveira – living in Ballina – for their World Cup Supporters Club.

I thought he was admirably philosophical about the whole thing, saying he felt "not too bad – the sun is shining here".

If only everyone else had that sense of perspective.

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