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The O-Zone: Bronze age booze

If the banks don't get you down the head shop ban will, but at least the powers that be heaven't copped on to bronze age booze yet

> MONDAY OZone has totally had it with Irish banks! It's bad enough that they helped destroy the economy, screw their customers at every turn, and that their chained ballpoint pens never work.

This morning my bank emails to inform me that they've had some kind of security problem and they urgently need me to reconfirm all of my account details. It takes me at least half an hour to fill out a really detailed form.

If my bank manager writes me a letter to berate me about my overdraft, I'm charged something like €25 for his time. Will my bank reimburse me for the time it took to give them details they should never have lost to begin with?

Will they f**k! The incompetent fools!

> tuesday Afternoon pint in Naughton's with Galway archaeologist Declan Moore. We had a row many years ago, but we've since buried the hatchet. Declan still hasn't found it. Some bloody archaeologist!

OZone is jesting of course. Declan and his colleague Billy Quinn made worldwide headlines a couple of years ago with an alcohol-related archaeological theory. They suggested that one of the most common archaeological monuments to be found in the Irish landscape -- known as the 'fulacht fiadh' -- may have been used for brewing a Bronze Age beer.

These small, horseshoe-shaped grass-covered mounds are dotted all around the country, and had conventionally been thought of by archaeologists as ancient cooking spots, saunas or industrial sites. Declan and Billy thought differently, figuring that their primary use was for the brewing of ale, and that a brewing tradition existed in Ireland as far back as 2500BC.

To prove their theory, they recreated the process using water, milled barley, yeast, an old wooden trough and some heated stones. It took just a few hours to produce the ale and, following the addition of natural wild flavourings, a few days wait for fermentation. The result was 300 litres of basic Bronze Age ale.

"It didn't taste great, but it certainly did the trick," Declan tells me.

Needless to say, the international press picked up on this quirky story, and their experiment was reported everywhere from Boston to Beijing.

A selection of photographs can be viewed at www.mooregroup.ie/beer/gallery/index.html.

> wednesday Head shops nationwide close their doors (of perception) today as the Government collectively jerk their knees and genuflect at the altar of Joe Duffy. Reactionary f**kwits, the lot of them!

They've updated the list of banned drugs -- with sentences ranging as high as seven years to life for possession and supply -- and brought in fresh legislation to prevent the sale of other, newly created substances invented to get around existing laws.

It's amazing that they can act so quickly on head shops, but bringing in legislation to deal with corruption, white-collar crime and dodgy public service pensions is considered almost impossible.

These idiotic moves received ministerial approval at a Cabinet meeting yesterday. Biffo told a press conference afterwards that the Government was "not prepared to countenance this threat to the public health".

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- most drugs aren't prohibited because they're dangerous, they're dangerous because they're prohibited.

At this very moment, criminal gangs nationwide are mixing kilos of mepehedrone with rat poison to bulk it up and increase their black-market profits.

> thursday Regular readers will be aware that OZone interviewed controversial Hole singer Courtney Love in Glasgow last week. I spend most of today writing it up.

Although her band's first album in more than a decade, Nobody's Daughter, is getting some excellent reviews, the most infamous widow in rock told me that her main ambition at the moment is to make it as a serious actress. Courtney made her film debut back in 1986 with a small role in Alex Cox's Sid & Nancy. She's made a few movies since, but her acting career basically stalled after her Golden Globe nomination for The People vs Larry Flynt in 1996.

She told me she bitterly regrets turning down roles in Girl Interrupted and The Matrix -- blaming the latter decision on one of her famous exes. "It was nine months in this remote part of Australia and I remember Edward Norton telling me, 'Oh don't do it, Val Kilmer's in it!' Like, Val Kilmer wasn't even in it! I mean, was that a reason not to do it?

"A lot of people were like, 'what happened with the film thing?' I was like, 'what happened with the f**king film thing is I had a boyfriend in Edward Norton who wanted to f**king tame me, as many men have tried to do, as many men still do try and do.'"

There's obviously no Love lost there.

> friday I see that Jonathan Rhys Meyers has been banned from a US airline because of drunken behaviour. Every time this guy gets into trouble, it seems to happen in an airport.

Maybe he's just petrified of flying . . .

> saturday OZone had some poems cruelly rejected by a distinguished literary journal earlier this week (from now on, I'll consider it an undistinguished literary journal). I wouldn't mind so much, but one of them, entitled Crime Returns to the Scene of its Perpetrator, was actually about rejection letters.

In the evening I go for a pint with Conor Montague and Dara Foley, two members of local writers' group The Atlantis Collective, and tell them of my bitter disappointment. The bastards can barely disguise their glee. "Ha!" Monty laughs. "Welcome to the club!"

"If you don't wipe that stupid smile off your face, Monty, I'm not going to mention that The Atlantis Collective's second book of stories, Faceless Monsters, will be launched at 7pm this Friday in the Irish Writers' Centre in Parnell Square -- and all are welcome."

He wipes the stupid smile off his face.

> sunday OZone went out for dinner this evening and, when I went to pay the bill, my credit card was refused. Hugely embarrassed, I went to an ATM only to discover that my account is empty. How could this possibly have happened? Stupid bloody banks!