Monday 11 December 2017

The ongoing battle between old and new...

FERGAL D’ARCY: Today FM newcomer takes on hipsters
FERGAL D’ARCY: Today FM newcomer takes on hipsters

Eilis O'Hanlon

Eating gourmet crisps rather than Tayto. Saying "goujons", not "chicken nuggets". Pumpkin spice latte. "Things from the Continent."

Just some of the trends that annoy Today FM's Fergal D'Arcy so much that he's set up his own Notions Clinic for Irish people in danger of getting a bit above themselves. "It might take time, but we will get you back to normality."

What's funny was how, on Tuesday, this entertaining segment was followed by an ad for a new range of sandwiches, including "a sweet chicken wrap with chickpeas and mint". You're fighting a losing battle, Mr D'Arcy.

Similar social trends were much in the news, thanks to the mob attack on a "cereal café" in London's East End by anti-gentrification protestors.

Tireless man about town Henry McKean went along to South William Street, "the heart of hipster Dublin", to do a report for Newstalk's Moncrieff, and was quickly surrounded by beards and "lads with buns in their hair".

Ireland has changed alright, but the interesting thing about the current phoney election war is how traditional most Irish politics remains.

RTE's Late Debate was picking over the details of the capital spending plan; Newstalk's Breakfast - which had a nice vibe on Tuesday, with former Justice Minister Nora Owen sitting in for Ivan Yates, meaning there was much less of the macho swagger that comes from having two alpha males locking horns each morning - was discussing "counter cyclical" economic policy.

It all felt curiously old fashioned. As Olivia O'Leary said on RTE Radio 1's Drivetime: "Haven't we seen this 'rail link to the airport' trick before?"

She rightly pointed out that politicians only play these games because voters expect it; though her own preferred solutions - for more big spending by government - felt antiquated, too.

Likewise, the coverage of Fianna Fail candidate Mary Hanafin being added to the ticket in Dun Laoghaire, which, as epitomised by Today With Sean O'Rourke, consisted largely of interviews with the candidate herself rather than any analysis of what it means.

Though due respect to O'Rourke for telling one speaker on a bad phone line on Thursday that she sounded "as if you're on the far side of a few biscuit tins". Lord knows what that means, but who cares? It's a cracking phrase.

There was even useful advice for politicians on Dublin City FM's You And Your Business, a lively, informative show aimed at small and medium sized companies, presented with infectious humour and enthusiasm by Don Harris.

According to guest Eamon O'Brien, of the Reluctant Speakers Club, 80pc of Irish people are terrified of public speaking, and his advice to them was: "Don't be thinking about perfect."

He also stressed the importance of telling stories, and of never letting an audience know when you're a spoofer who doesn't know half as much about a subject as you're letting on. There'll certainly be plenty of that in the months to come. You have been warned.

Sunday Independent

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