Tuesday 20 February 2018

Ian on TV: Ryder steps on to (subject of) UFOs for a truly alien experience

Ian O'Doherty

Ian O'Doherty

"Shaun ryder is exactly the kind of man we should hope the aliens abduct"

Shaun Ryder on UFOs


When I first saw the title, Shaun Ryder On UFOs, I must admit that I was rather perplexed. Was this the name of a new type of E?

Why on earth was the History Channel devoting an hour to the lovable Happy Mondays frontman getting mashed?

Would National Geographic do a follow-up – Shaun Ryder Spazzed On Purple Spangles?

The singer remains convinced that he saw a UFO when he was a kid in Manchester and having spent most of his professional life sharing a stage with the maracas-wielding berserker that is Bez, his comfort in the company of spacers has been well documented.

In fact, Shaun Ryder is exactly the kind of man we should hope the aliens abduct.

Because it would be him, not Will Smith or Tom Cruise, who would prove to any invading species that we're just not worth the hassle.

The most sweary man on TV, who has always practiced better living through chemistry, would simply sit down with our visitors and get them so completely banjoed that they'd forget why they came here in the first place, and then get lost as they wandered off to the nearest late-night garage to buy some more skins and large box of Pringles.

Now, make a movie out of that, Spielberg, if you dare.

I was struck by one exchange when he told a bemused Chilean eyewitness: "You think that's bad? You should have seen what went on in Salford in the 70s."

I'd rather take my chances with aliens.

Danny Boy - The Ballad That Bewitched the World


If there's one memory that remains from childhood, it's being shushed into silence when some drunken old fart would start to sing Danny Boy.

It was the ultimate in Irish caterwauling, a painfully self-pitying dirge that was a sure sign that the returning American cousins, back from Brooklyn for a few weeks, had hit the Jameson early and things would, hopefully, be coming to a close soon.

But as the surprisingly entertaining Danny Boy – The Ballad That Bewitched The World showed, this was a song whose origins remain far more interesting than listening to some returning New York cops murdering it in a Dublin living room.

How ironic that the song which destroyed a thousand Irish parties should actually have been written in 1913 by an Englishman who had never set foot in the country.

Rather than it being some ancient keening, a historical Irish lament for our lost youth, it was penned by jingle writer Fred E Wetherly, who put his lyrics to The Londonderry Air.

Even more fittingly, he stole all the credit from his Irish sister-in-law, who remained suitably furious with the English plunderer until she died, as the narration rather cruelly put it: "Penniless and insane."

Which certainly puts the mental into judgmental, I'm sure you'll agree.

Like many things that had little to actually do with Ireland, the song became a national anthem for Irish America and, in turn, for the poor black and equally poor white sharecroppers of the American south – two communities who had enjoyed a somewhat less than healthy relationship with the Irish.

From Harry Belafonte's appropriation, through the troubled Johnny Cash version and then onto Black 47's iconoclastic adaptation, the song has come to represent whatever the listener wants it to mean.

In fact, you could say that Danny Boy is a bit like the Irish equivalent of the poppy – it represents whatever the individual wants to represent.

And, just like the poppy, it is, of course, an English creation.

Honestly, where would we be without them? (Answers on a postcard addressed to 800 years ago, please.)

Made In Chelsea


I finally discovered a long-hidden truth that has perplexed scientists and conspiracy theorists for years – just why do people watch Made In Chelsea?

More specifically, why do women watch it?

After all, if they wanted backbiting, bitchiness and hair-pulling nastiness they would just go out for a few drinks with their own frenemies and be done with it.

But then it struck me – the men on this show aren't actually metrosexual, as has been claimed, nor are they all secretly gay, as the various rumours allege. No, the men are all... women.

Seriously, they don't behave in any recognisable male way, be that gay, straight or metro.

Instead, they simper around and play with their hair, go for cocktails and have pampering sessions.

At one point, one of them even opened up to his therapist about how he was losing touch with his best friend and that hurt him.

Then they all had a big hug. I rest my case...

Irish Independent

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