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.

1 comment:

Leo Cullen, Ireland said...

Thanks for pointing out that glaring error G... Sub-standard writing, bloody amateur!