Wednesday 24 January 2018

Feelgood vibes in a feelbad situation

The Galway Races (RTE1 ), Ear To The Ground (RTE1)

Illustration: Jim Cogan
Illustration: Jim Cogan

It was the opening
 day of the Galway Races and Tracy Piggott was talking to Marietta Doran about the fashion side of things, about Ladies Day and all that, and she
told Marietta that she - Marietta - looked gorgeous today. 
Indeed by looking so gorgeous on the first day, Tracy suggested that Marietta had set the bar very high, going into this crucial week. And Marietta didn't shy away from the issue.
"You said that to me earlier...why did you start off so fabulous?...but you know I couldn't help myself. It's always nice to start the week off on the right foot...", she declared.

We don't have enough
people in Ireland like Marietta. Due to our terrible 
lack of self-esteem, we feel that self-praise is no 
praise, and that pride comes before a fall, and all that
old cobblers that keeps us
in a state of perpetual bondage.

Interesting too, that Marietta was accepting the praise of Tracy, and raising it a 
bit higher, in this particular setting. At a race meeting, confidence is of the essence, with even the poor ould 
fella clutching his five-
euro note at the Tote, making some sort of a statement about his expertise. 
But does he feel fabulous? 
I don't think so, not on the first day, and not on any
other day. And even in the unlikely event that he does feel fabulous, is he going to come right out and say it? No, he is not.

It may also be hard for some men to take the high spirits of Marietta, if they have just lost a pile of money. To them, she is putting out feelgood vibes in a feelbad situation. And they don't like that.

Indeed there is something in the collective male psyche which objects to the very idea of Marietta at these ancient gatherings, so that rather than endorsing her enthusiastic attitude to herself and to all things, they will be heard muttering in a negative tone - like, if Marietta is going to be taking up time that might be better spent assessing 
the form and picking winners, can we expect to see Ted 
Walsh making some sort of a contribution to London Fashion Week? Did they ever interrupt Naomi Campbell on The Face to bring us the latest show of betting from Down Royal?


Valid though they may be, perhaps it is such questions which have held us back. If 
we had clung to the old ways, we would still be looking
at Mart & Market, a programme for farmers that seemed to have been also made by farmers, and we would never have had the excellent Ear To The Ground with those items on artificial insemination presented by Ella McSweeney.

Last week in her "Food Journeys" spot, she reported on the insemination of pigs in a large pig-establishment in Co Kildare, a worthy successor to her much admired report on the same procedure as it applies to cattle.

Clearly there is a danger here that she may become type-cast in this role, that any agricultural programme looking to do a piece on artificial insemination will think only of McSweeney, in the light of all that she has done for the game. But then that is showbusiness.

We don't want to get too technical here, but for this we were brought to a building known as "the insemination house", where the magic happens, or not as the case may be.

Naturally we were worried for the intensive farmer, as 
he spoke of the small margin for the producer, and we 
worried a bit for Ella McSweeney, as we always do when we see a bright young TV presenter wandering through a shed in which a load of pigs are having semen pumped into them through a tube, by men who do that sort of thing.

But perhaps most of all we worried for ourselves, and our choice of viewing now that the World Cup is over, and the new season has not really started.

Even in our wildest imaginings, as we wondered what life might be like without Brazil 2014, we probably never 
saw ourselves putting away our gloom in the style of 
Marietta Doran and saying: "You know what? I really fancy watching this thing
here about pigs being inseminated."

But you know what? It was just fabulous.

Sunday Independent

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