Archive for August 8th, 2005


A Tangled Web’s resident Yorkshireman pointed me in the direction of Brendan O’Connor’s weekly eulogy on ‘Northerners’.

Some choice excerpts:

The fact of the matter is that in this country we are closer to London than we are to Belfast. Northerners are not like us.

It is hard to escape the feeling that ‘this country’ is not the Republic of Ireland, but a notional territory that encompasses a few of the lower even-numbered postal code areas of Dublin. Are people in Castleblayney, Dundalk or Drogheda really closer to London than to Belfast? Are bullet-throwers in Armagh ‘a race apart’ from those of Clonakilty?

That is not to deny that there are differences, (and 80+ years extra of living under British rule can accentuate such things) but I think I feel more in common with most ‘Southerners’ than I do with Brendan O’Connor.

But apart from the slight distaste or sense of what is called in Cork being “allerge” to Northerners, [How I wish I had read this stuff 5 years ago. If I’d known my presence here was going to be the cause of mild consternation, I would have got off the bus in Monaghan and taken a taxi back North. I can see myself there now, working for the Parades Commission by day and drinking Buckfast and smoking Lambert and Butler by night. Happy Days, as the ‘Northies’ like to say] we also have very good reasons for being nervous of accepting them into our State with open arms.[Apart from the ones like me, of course, who have already infiltrated ‘their’ State. Every Friday night you can see me in my estate, out with a bag of glue, petrol-bombing Dublin Buses and shouting What about ye mucker? to all concerned.]

We all know deep down, regardless of our emotional attachment to the abstract notion of a united Ireland, that Northies would demand special treatment in this new superstate.[Just as people like me are wont to do these days.]

Some people here appear to have an emotional attachment to the abstract notion of a set of people called ‘Northies’. ‘Northies’, or depending on your accent, ‘Nordies’ are the Other: what some people here use as a means of creating and understanding one’s own identity. To define oneself against ‘Britishness’ becomes impossible when you walk down streets lined with Laura Ashley, Monsoon and HMV; the next best thing is to define oneself using an debased form of ‘Britishness’: Northernness.

The flipside to Northernism is Southern long-range republicanism. Both are products of ‘our State’. In Supermacs on O’Connell Street three years back, after an important semi-final, I got talking to a pair of young long-range republicans while I ate my chicken ‘fillet’ burger, which I suspected might have a tumour.

When these boys said ‘fuck’, it rhymed with ‘Blackrock’.

‘So you’re from Armagh. Do you know ‘Slab’ Murphy aha aha aha?’
No. ‘He is the boy. ‘
What do you do? ‘At college.’
Where? ‘[Some fee-paying institution that sounds important]’.
What are you studying? ‘[Some bullshit business studies course that sounds important]’
Why do you ask about ‘Slab’ Murphy? ‘Aha aha aha. Well we take an interest in these things.’

The Indian boy in the Supermacs t-shirt starts sweeping up around us.

‘First the spics, then the Chinese, now the Indians. Pick that up.’

The wrapper drops. He said ‘pick that up’ like Apu from the Simpsons. The Indian guy picks it up.

‘Fuckers over here. Can’t speak English.’

Ibrahim Ferrer

Goodbye to Ibrahim Ferrer, who died on Saturday aged 78. Like most people, I only heard of him after the release of the Buena Vista Social Club album. I then bought a couple of his other records. I finally saw the Wim Wenders documentary last summer, and was struck by his humility and simplicity, something you would never expect of someone of such immense talent as a singer.

A Yummy Mummy?

I watched The Mummy on BBC1 on Friday night. The film was good fun, and certainly not to be taken too seriously, but I did wonder what an American audience would think of a scene in a film where a rather good-looking and strapping Arab almost single-handedly (albeit self-effacingly) dishes out just desserts to hundreds of American horsemen.

Sloth, Indifference halts onward march of blog

The Great Blog Forward has been postponed as a result of the all-consuming indolence that has beset me in recent days. Nothing of note has entered my head over the past few days, apart from the thought that it might be a good idea to ban ironing, or at the very least place a very steep tax on the purchase of irons.

Ironing is a waste of electricity and a waste of time. You will die, and if you have enough time on your death bed to consider it, you will realise that all those hours spent ironing could have been spent doing something far more interesting. Like watching the omnibus version of Eastenders or taking the dog for a walk. You will groan in horror all those memories of wearing neatly-pressed shirts and chinos flashing before your eyes.

Time we freed ourselves from this tyranny.

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August 2005