Ian O'Doherty: What brilliant PR!
So, how are things going in your house?
Is it lovely and clean and spotless or is it a filthy, rancid, rat-infested kip?
Well, if things keep going the way they are with Greyhound and their new bin collection service, then chances are you're in danger of falling into the latter category.
Greyhound, as you know, are fast becoming the most hated company in the country as more than 18,000 householders spent last week worrying whether their bloody bins were going to be picked up or not.
In the face of massive public and political pressure, they eventually relented and promised to pick up bins this week. But that's not the end of it, oh no.
As readers of this column will know by now, Mrs iSpy does all the grown-up stuff in our house and she decided to dump Greyhound and go with a different company -- which then left us with a green bin and a black bin and a brown bin all belonging to Greyhound.
When the new ones arrived, we found ourselves with even more bins in the garden -- not a particularly pretty sight, as you can imagine and also a rather confusing one as, eejit that I am, I kept putting rubbish into the wrong one.
So when she eventually got in touch with the company (no mean feat, as any Dubliner who has been trying to sort out their bin situation will tell you) and asked them to remove their property from our house, she was told they would -- for €30.
This sent the Missus into something of a rage and she sent off a stinker of an email, prompting Greyhound to reply: "Greyhound has decided to waive the charges for bin removal . . . and your bins will be collected free of charge."
If you're having this kind of hassle with them, and Lord knows it seems like most people are, just email greyhoundrecycling.com/ dcc and tell them that they have already set a precedent for collecting for free.
And if you have already been charged, then look for a refund.
Any further problems with them? Well, drop me a line, and I'll be happy to write about it.
Stop it -- it's racist. Or is it?
Well, did you watch the first episode of My Big Fat Gypsy Exploitation Communion and Wedding last week?
What first ran as a rather interesting documentary on Channel 4 a couple of years back has now become a grotesque celebration of so-called 'Traveller culture' -- an oxymoron if ever there was one.
What was particularly interesting in the opening episode was the self-righteousness of the people involved and I was particularly taken by one mother who defended dressing her daughter like a hooker by saying "we have high moral standards" -- something which certainly didn't come across on the programme.
But the TV channel now faces the possibility of prosecution -- under the Incitement To Racial Hatred Act -- following a complaint to police by several Traveller advocacy groups.
That's all well and good. As we know, few people do wounded indignation quite as well as professional Travellers. But I wonder one thing -- will those same advocacy groups also be calling the local truant officers to explain why so many of their kids aren't in school?
After all, when you have someone talking about their daughter and saying: "We'll take her out of school after primary, what does she need maths and English for?" you might expect the authorities to intervene.
But hey, we must not judge them.
It's their culture, after all, innit?
Well, are you offended?
When you think of the French, what springs to mind?
Obviously the fact that they cannot organise a bloody rugby match is first on the mental agenda, as well as the infamous French arrogance when it came to responding to criticisms of their handling of the affair. (If that had happened in the Aviva with the IRFU the French would have closed their embassy down and left the country in a Gallic huff.)
But, apart from bad organisational skills, a stupendous degree of self-satisfaction and a tendency to run away from the Germans, do you ever think of them as . . . chivalrous?
Let's be honest, the one thing they have going for them is the fact that they are a rather politically incorrect people.
Until now, that is.
Local French councils have now banned the use of the word 'mademoiselle' because they say that it is demeaning and sexist.
Of course, this a quandary that iSpy has faced before -- how do you address your female colleagues in the office?
And, as ever, I've come up with the perfect solution -- I have learned that female journalists just love being called 'sweetheart', 'darling' or, in the words of David Cameron . . . 'dear'.
You see, the little ladies might protest (sometimes violently, I have learned) but you know they love it deep down.
Okay -- an admission.
After Stephen King, Andrew Vachss is probably my favourite author.
I grew up reading his legendary 'Burke' series and when the last novel in that sequence came out two years ago I got about as far as the last chapter and then put it down, unfinished. The reason?
Well, I guess I just don't want to say goodbye to a character that was part of my life for over 20 years -- yup, the Burke novels are truly that good and even though he's a fictional character, he meant too much to read about what happened to him.
So I always approach new, non- Burke novels by Vachss with a certain degree of trepidation, but his latest, That's How I Roll, is a noir masterpiece.
The product of an abusive, incestuous relationship, Esau Till is physically handicapped but an accomplished killer for hire.
He's on death row and recounting how he got there and the lengths he will take to save his brother -- the only person he has ever loved.
Sample quote: "Around here, even dying can be hard. Horribly hard. Only death itself comes easy. By easy, I mean frequent. Death happens so often that people regard it pretty much the same as the never-ending rain."
My Ma, Phyl O'Doherty, died two years ago today.
Myself and Daniel and Katie miss her.