Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Recession, everyone! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Wow! long time no posting. So what's happened since September? I went to the Fatherland, had a great time and come back to a country in the (even more) shit. No surprises there, then. Especially when you consider we have a Prime Minister who can barely speak English, a Health Minister who's morbidly obese, a Finance Minister who proclaims an ignorance of basic economics and a Deputy Prime Minister who didn't even know how many EU commisioners member states had. And that is how I know, without even having to listen to a single economist, that we are fucked.

OK, negativity and rant over. Had a great time at Cormac and Paul's last gig - they're playing the Whisky in Cork Thursday 18th Dec, so be there, if you can, for a rocking night. Their myspace page is http://www.myspace.com/blackriveraffair. Had a lovely weekend surfing down in Cork last weekend, first one of the winter, bloody freezing but magic, great soul food. I'm busy at the moment with a project, and then I'm back to the Fatherland for Weihnachten. OK, got to start building the Christmas cake I stupidly agreed to - Its a massive job - three days to construct a cake - the Petronas Towers went up faster.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


So the nights get longer from here on in; and if this economic crisis turns out to be the perfect shitstorm they may last a very long time.  

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Debt of a Nation

With 250,000 homes lying empty in the country why has it come as such an apparent shock to many (including the government, it seems) that we no longer need to continue building 90,000 substandard "homes" and rabbit hutches, sorry, I mean "appartments" each year. Now, I'm no economics expert but surely this is a basic case of supply and demand?

There's a recession on the way, yeah? Great, people might remove their heads from their arses just long enough to see things as they really are:


rank ------country-----------------total --------------------------------------per head of population
- Flag of World World 54,310,000 2004 est. 8,141
1 Flag of the United States United States 12,877,889 31-Dec-07 42,343
2 Flag of the United Kingdom United Kingdom
Q4 2007 189,855
3 Flag of Germany Germany 4,489,000 30-Jun-07 54,604
4 Flag of France France 4,396,000 30-Jun-07 68,183
5 Flag of Italy Italy 2,345,000 30-Jun-07 39,446
6 Flag of the Netherlands Netherlands 2,277,000 30-Jun-07 138,619
7 Flag of Spain Spain 2,047,000 30 June 2007 est. 45,287
8 Flag of Ireland Ireland 1,841,000 30-Jun-07 424,291
9 Flag of Japan Japan 1,492,000 30-Jun-07 11,682
10 Flag of Switzerland Switzerland 1,340,000 30-Jun-07 176,019

Ireland owes more money than Japan who have a population of 125 million, compared to Ireland's 4.2 million. Party on.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Monkey Business

Today marks the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin and the now sadly forgotten Alfred Russel Wallace's Theory of Evolution:

"The joint publication of Wallace's and Darwin's papers proposing the revolutionary theory of evolution by natural selection had astonishingly little effect. The president of the Linnean Society, in his annual report for 1858, stated, "The year ... has not, indeed, been marked by any of those striking discoveries which at once revolutionize, so to speak, the department of science on which they bear."
Understatement or what?

hey, teacher... Leave those kids alone!

Who could have guessed teaching English could be so tiring? Well, obviously anyone who has ever taught. So I'm back in the world of the worker. Far out or what? Ok, too wrecked to try to be as funny or sarcastic or as deep and insightful as I usually am (Irony never tires). I used up all the good stuff in class. Tomorrows lesson: OK class, watch DVD "The Golden Compass" while teacher rests his eyes...ZZZZZ

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Apathy... who cares?

I was all fired up to exercise my democratic right to vote... I was going to vote Yes just because creepy Sinn Fein and the sinister Libertas (their founder's company has links to the US military, 'nuff said) were advocating a No vote. Basically, I find it a good idea to be in opposition to to those who would justify murder for political ends... But our present government also has blood on their hands - Shannon. So, what to do? Lies, propaganda, bullshit, it never ends. I am naive. And what's wrong with that? To expect people to behave with a bit of decency to each other, their planet and future generations? Yeah, crazy thinking, I know. Did you notice Peak Oil being mentioned in mainstream media recently? Those who raised it a couple of years back were dismissed as cranks, hippies, socialists or worse. Like global warming, it is now accepted fact. Now the greatest evil which could befall Western Civilization looms: Recession! Aaaaagggghhh!!! run screaming, everyone, in blind panic and terror! Aaaaaaggghhhhhh! Like a slowdown in our relentless consumption of resources and the subsequent filth we spew as a result is the worst thing that could happen. Jesus, we might have to pause from our never-ending trips to the shops to buy more crap we don't need/ can't afford anyway, to consider just what the fuck we are actually doing to ourselves: We are like an obscenely obese swine gorging ourselves to the point we vomit and shit all over ourselves, then gorging more, covered in our own vile filth, excrement and puke, and also covering our starving neighbour in it, our starving neighbour whose back-breaking labour has made our depraved lifestyle possible. Fuck you, Sinn Fein and your poisonous ideology, Fuck you, Libertas, you self-serving snakes, and Fuck you, Fianna Fail for a million and one reasons.

So, no, I wont be voting.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

I am very ill.

Wow! So long since my last post. Well, that's surfing; it's a feast or famine, and the last couple of weeks were a humongous wave-fest. Cork, Kerry, Clare; mellow beach to fast reef breaks, longer days and warmer water. Good company, longer sessions, twice a day. Surfing is a sickness, a disease, leading to exhaustion, pure exhaustion, destroyed careers (I could have been a senior deputy vice assistant supervisory departmental managerial something or other, you know) and relationships (Svenja, after three years of this, you really must be the one).

So, apparently we have a new Taoiseach?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Happy Birthday, Prince of Darkness!

On this day 1897, Bram Stoker's Gothic masterpiece Dracula was first published. Famously referred to in the 1994 film Interview with the Vampire by Louis de Pointe du Lac as "the vulgar fictions of a demented Irishman." Nonetheless, academics have deemed it important enough to have written reams of shite about Stoker's creation.
The text has been interpreted as everything from a Christian allegory to evidence of the author's repressed desires (homosexuality, necrophilia, etc.) and it has even been claimed that Stoker died of syphilis (an outright lie, apparently). Thankfully, the renowned Stoker scholar Elizabeth Miller has done a masterful job of debunking the Postmodernist rubbish spewed by those who have superimposed their own hang-ups onto Stoker's work in her article
Coitus Interruptus: Sex, Bram Stoker and Dracula.

backyard bliss

All the signs were there for classic surf in Dougmore last week. The reality, however, was disappointing; instead of clean, stacked lines it was typically fat and lumpy. Then, after driving back to Cork feeling dejected and having written off the chances of scoring decent waves that week, a quick glance at the forecast showed some promise for the South Coast: I decided another hour's driving was worth a shot. Driving over the crest of a narrow West Cork boreen the spray was visible first - Offshore!, followed by a perfectly peeling, shoulder-high, fast and hollow righthander - Yes! I would have the classic session I'd imagined after all: only not in Clare but right here in Cork.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Doom 'n' Gloom

Yes, I'm in a slightly gloomy frame of mind today:

'Eschatology (from the Greek ἔσχατος, Eschatos meaning "last" and -logy meaning "the study of") is a part of theology and philosophy concerned with the final events in the history of the world, or the ultimate destiny of humanity, commonly referred to as the end of the world.'

Or when there's no surf.

the sickest species

Haven't posted anything for awhile because I just didn't feel like it. Sometimes you just got nothing to say; especially when disaster strikes on a massive scale and those affected are denied aid because of their rulers' political agenda. At such times the depravity of humans seems to know no bounds.

Thinkers debate what it is that makes us uniquely human and sets us apart from all the other sentient lifeforms: Our tool-making ability? The use of language?
Our capacity to reason? Sometimes I think it's our limitless cruelty.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Lines Written in Early Spring

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran
(William Wordsworth)

Language Abuse

“Those who know nothing of foreign languages know nothing of their own.”


Knowing even just a little of another language besides your own can be very rewarding, and deepen understanding of your native tongue. For instance, many words which have changed their meaning in English betray their true colours in German. When Shakespeare wrote

"And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks."
(My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun)

the word reek did not have the negative connotations it now does, and in modern German riechen simply means to smell without any negative associations (unless explicitly stated). Weinen which in German means to cry is another word which in English has found itself transformed into something a little more unpleasant sounding; to whine now carries more baggage with it than a simple cry which can be done softly or joyfully.


After estate agents, property developers must rank as some of the greatest abusers of Language. Have you ever seen a new apartment complex described as anything other than luxury, no matter that they are no bigger than rabbit-hutches? And what the hell does contemporary living mean? That you are living in the present era as opposed to going on regular time-travel jaunts? "No, sorry it's not for me, I was looking for a house without a toilet or running water. Never mind, I'll take a look at the non-contemporary living development up the road. Sorry for wasting your time." Or the office block situated in an inspiring location. Since when the fuck can an industrial park overlooking a shopping centre be considered inspiring? "So, Herr ex-camp guard, what was Auschwitz like for the inmates? Sorry, did you say it was relaxing?" You wouldn't buy it for a second, so why do property developers think they can misuse words in such a blatantly mendacious fashion?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Take me out

A beautiful day for a stroll into town. A decaf latte and all was well with the world. Until I had quick leaf through the paper . Stories of infinitely heartbreaking tragedy that left me feeling impotent and disgusted at the world. When I got home there was my surfboard lying serenely against the wall. Her pleasing lines calling me like Richard Pryor's crack-pipe. 'Come on baby, please take me out, I know you wanna get wet...' How bad I wished I could, to plunge into the cleansing brine, washing away all my sins, the sins of the world. To emerge renewed and purified, to achieve that state of exhausted bliss that felt better than any narcotic.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Ireland: a quiet drinking island with a fishing problem.

I took the title for this post from a bumper-sticker. (The original read 'Courtmacsharry: A quiet drinking village with a fishing problem.') Although humorous, it betrays the country's ambivalent attitude to alcohol abuse. from time-to-time the Taoiseach (an Irish title for the prime minister meaning 'chieftain') or some other minister will pay lip service to the problem but nothing seems to change, least of all our dumb sheep-mentality where we drink to excess because 'ah sure, that's what everyone does'.

In trying to find a few facts to add meat to the bones of this post I came across this very well written article that nailed down much of what I wanted to say, only much better than I could have: Ireland's Alcohol Problem. It is heartening that at least some people on an individual level are raising the issue. And In an Irish Time's feature on March 22nd, Drinking ourselves into a stupor, Brian O Connell wrote:

'At the heart of the Irish experience, there is a need to filter the way we experience the world. We're in danger of drinking ourselves into a national stupor.'

'Ireland is a hard society in which to be sober. Giving up alcohol in a country with a drink problem can mean the end of friendships, feeling like an outsider - and being treated like one too.'

what is the drink industry's response? To stick a small slogan on their ads 'enjoy alcohol sensibly'. Good one. Thy are selling a mind altering substance capable of rendering rational behaviour impossible and asking you to behave rationally while under its influence. 'Please lose your mind in a sensible fashion.' The compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary could not have defined the word oxymoron any more eloquently.

Now, added to to problem, we have other substances thrown into the mix. Cannabis has been called a 'gateway drug' by some well-meaning but misguided people. If any drug deserves that epithet in this country it is alcohol. Once accustomed to getting obliterated on alcohol, drugs like cocaine and ecstasy seem mild in comparison. Even in small towns in Ireland (or perhaps especially in small towns in Ireland) drug use is widespread. Recently in my home town a young man took his own life. He had a serious cocaine problem. When someone at his funeral suggested this may have contributed to his death he was admonished for daring to suggest that cocaine could have been a factor: 'He just couldn't handle his drugs. There's nothing wrong with the coke.' Such is the level of denial and a sad reflection of the addicts' mentality and the emptiness of their lives. I thank God that surfing came into my life. It added value and meaning to it. It gave me a reason to get fit and healthy. It became an addiction. And until more Irish people can find meaning in their lives I think Ireland will remain in a stupor.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

banana republic

Work and work and work and work till you die
There's plenty more fish in the sea to fry
(Paul Weller)

I don't think there is any connection between the words idyll and idle, except in my mind. Once upon a time in Ireland -before 1991- we had plenty of time on our hands. Unemployment was high. There were no jobs, and according to Tommy Tiernan, "we were all secretly, fucking delighted." Mine was the last generation of Irishmen and Irishwomen who had to emigrate in search of work. I remember our maths teacher solemnly pronouncing that we would have to take the boat the England (even though it actually went to Wales) after the Leaving Certificate exam that marked the end of our schooldays. We would have to bid farewell to our gentle, green land and leave friends and family behind. At the thought of living in such an iniquitous city as London I was secretly, fucking delighted.

How times have changed now that we hear people complaining of overwork, stress and traffic hell. We have mortgages, car loans, tracker bonds, overseas property. People emigrate to Ireland; I even met a Californian working in my local Supermarket. Despite all the negative effects of modernity (I do not include immigrant californians as one) not many would seriously wish to go back to the dark days of the Banana Republic, a song written, allegedly, about Ireland in the 1980s by Bob Geldof. There is a consensus, however, that a way of life has changed and that, for better or worse, we have lost something forever. Now with gangland murders an everyday occurence, rampant drug and alcohol abuse, and house repossessions and unemployment once again on the increase maybe the time will come when the benefits of economic growth are devoured by the monstrous excesses of the celtic tiger.