Tuesday 15 October 2019

Frank Coughlan: 'Brexit misery has left us all a bit unhinged'

'I know people who switch stations when Boris bounces into view on their plasma screens or turn to Marty in the mornings rather than listen to Simon Coveney explain the unexplainable and put lumps in the porridge'. Stock image: PA
'I know people who switch stations when Boris bounces into view on their plasma screens or turn to Marty in the mornings rather than listen to Simon Coveney explain the unexplainable and put lumps in the porridge'. Stock image: PA
Frank Coughlan

Frank Coughlan

I didn't want to write about Brexit because that would require me to contemplate that nasty little bugger yet again, causing a blinding migraine followed by a serious bout of the miseries. But it could be worse.

Last week, there were reports of the first admission to a British hospital of a man who, according to his doctor, was suffering from acute psychotic illness. Brexit, simply, had turned him into a whimpering wreck.

The poor guy, in his 40s, was suffering from hallucinations and delusions. It appears he found his mental health deteriorated rapidly after the results of the EU poll in the summer of 2016. He said he felt ashamed to be British.

This is the first tangible evidence of what we all thought was happening anyway: that a great swathe of the neighbouring island is having a nervous breakdown.

It's easy to understand why. For English toy soldiers, most of them too old to ever have to deal with the consequences or else too dim to appreciate them, Brexit means fixing bayonets and going over the top.

They are, after all, taking back control. They're not sure of what, but it feels good. You know, Britannia, ruling waves and stuff.

But at the other end of this colour-clashing rainbow, there are those who find the whole débâcle both incomprehensible and, we now know, literally depressing.

So not too far-fetched to imagine that Britain's exit from Europe has unhinged us just a bit too.

The signs are there. Brexit is often pre-emptively banned as a topic when friends meet over dinner in the way that the Repeal campaign was over a year ago. It has the effect of corking the wine and souring the sauce.

I know people who switch stations when Boris bounces into view on their plasma screens or turn to Marty in the mornings rather than listen to Simon Coveney explain the unexplainable and put lumps in the porridge.

The economy is exhibiting stretch marks too. Hesitant consumers are shuffling loose change in their pockets and house-hunters, so eager only a while back, are waiting to see what Armageddon might do to the price of bricks and mortar.

All we can do is wait and suffer in fretful silence, punctuated occasionally perhaps by an excusable and expletive-fuelled rant. There have been no reports so far of anyone turning up at an Irish psychiatric ward begging for admission and telling of dystopian nightmares featuring Jacob Rees-Mogg in fishnet tights sprawled on a parliamentary chaise longue.

But it can't be far off.

To that poor man muttering to himself in a British padded cell right now unable to come to terms with what has happened to his once sane country, all we can do is send virtual hugs. And perhaps a passport.

Beatles' genius belongs to every generation

The Beatles' 'Abbey Road' is top of the album charts this week, just like it was 50 years ago immediately after its release. 'Rolling Stone' magazine's tone-deaf critic, among others, rubbished it but the real world was instantly spellbound. Over 35 million copies have since been sold.

If The Beatles aren't a part of your life you've missed out on a sixth sense - the second side of that album is truly and undeniably a work of considerable genius.

The breathtaking medley that dominates and wraps 'Abbey Road' simply re-imagined pop music.

But things that change the world are often mere happenstance: The Beatles were that perfect convergence of time, place and outrageous talent.

I am blessed to remember the album first time around, but it rightfully belongs to every generation. Happy enough, I suppose, to share.

Irish Independent

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