Thursday, March 16, 2006
Tie Me Snake Chasing Saint down!
Well gang, greetings and salutatations on the eve of a day even greener than a hippy convention. I hope you all find the gold at the end of the rainbow, and get to watch Darby O Gill till the cow's come home.. begorrah!
All is grand here in Perth international school of sitting under a shady tree and contemplating the various and amazing workings of the human body while also hiding under a pair of sunnies and a hat least you be bludgeoned to death by a frenzied group of 18 year olds freaked out by the old guy in the class and simultaneously of course, wondering what the waves are like! Ah no Im only joking about the age bit, there's loads of oldies in my class and Im a good ways away from being the eldest Ewok, which is good indeed. (better than the news that the spuds hadn't rotted in the ground this season!) (being paddys day almost one should make an effort to relate things to irishness).
The course itself is super interesting, but who the hell spent the time to find out all this stuff, that's what I want to know!? I am also starting a petition from this email onwards to have God label the various parts of the anatomy and colour code them more clearly as well, it would make my life that much easier, and don't tell me he cant do it, if he can make cheerleaders and the Hoff's plastic face everything is possible!
So yes getting into the swing of things by this stage, Im still living down in Rocko (or 'The Nam' as it's affectionately know)(Rockingham..'the nam'..well done!) so for this week it's just me and the pup as Brian is off digging for gold, or at least fixing things that dig for gold, so every evening is very much a case of 'no Digby, don't eat that, or that, or that, or me!', he's a legend though I expect him to be the Don Juan of Staffies. Of course I imparted all the knowledge I have in such matters to him, namely 'make them laugh and lean', if it ever worked in Newcastle West it has a strong foundation in the animal world! (since it's paddys day I might arm him with the 'Got any Irish in ya?' line for the walk in the park tomorrow!
Besides lecturing dogs in the arts of 'The Love' im pretty much studying or at least trying to, the ol waves are a bit sparse at the moment due to the summerness, but the water is still a cosy 25 degrees or so which makes a good ol fashioned swim well worth the effort!
Anyways enough of my raving, I hope everyone is well, everyone here is expecting me to go ballistic tomorrow..it's hard being the token Irish bloke!
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
The game of rugby has always held a unique position in Irish society, the sport of the landed gentry, the escape route for the working classes and the dreams of the schoolboy. The game once described as a game for savages played by gentlemen has endeared itself to Irish men of all ages and all backgrounds, women have also been long associated with the game of rugby, the proud mother handing her son the Schools Cup probably the most endearing of all images.
However there is a new rugby supporter gracing the Irish rugby scene, one that is re-inventing the basic idea behind a Six Nations weekend and revolutionising supporter behaviour…the rugby mascot! You know the type..female, aged between 23 & 33, private school educated and single minded. They typically gather in a couple of establishments, The Berkely, Searsons, the 51 and of course The Burlington to name a few. Their methods are diverse, their tactics tried and trusted, their aim..always the same….Meet rich men..perferrably of the same social standing and of course of the bearers of considerable wallets!
Like flies to the honey we always fall for the allure of the pretty young things, collars up, long lasting make up on and strategically placed perfume…what rugby man stands a chance. But its not as quick a death as it sounds…the experienced mascot will tell you that it’s a labour of love and that a successful rugby day out comes after hours of groundwork. Firstly…we as men fight a little…three quick pints before the game…laughing at the mascots as they sip their white wines…'silly fairer sex…cant drink to save their lives'. Then with 15mins before kick off…the evacuation begins…men pour out of public houses from all directions…some mascots go also..but generally it’s the girlfriend/wife who is lucky enough to be given a ticket. The others remain…re-apply make-up….and move onto the gin….
80 mins later….an Irish victory that Willie Duggan himself would have been proud of and the slightly frozen men return to the warm embrace of the pub…buoyed by the Irish victory, a certain sense of invincibility flows through every mans veins after watching Jerry Flannery take the best abuse the Scots could muster, smiles and takes some more!! The next hour is crucial…men want to take about the game, who was good..who was bad..why aren't all the Munster team playing for Ireland!…the mascots must now begin to circle..they may be forced to join in the conversation..but with a couple of good rugby seasons behind them..they begin talking about 'how the Bull while an excellent lifter fails in the scrum'….we are done for…beauty…style…and an apparent knowledge of rugby…..what chance did we really stand!!!
As the evening progresses..they collars up small childs rugby jersey is replaced by a fantastic alluring 'going out' top..by now the Mascots have not paid for a drink in about 3 hours..there is talk about grabbing something to eat..que bravado…and a four course meal in any number of restaurants….dosed by two maybe three bottles of wine. At this stage…the poor unfortunate men have reached the point of no return..friends are left to fend for themselves..some cant even remember if they brought their girlfriends/wifes to the game….no no…in for a penny in for a pound and if the mascots have anything to do with it that’s exactly where it will lead…
The end result is of course always the same..Leggs, Lillies, Reynards, 6 bottles of champagne….a couple of bottles of what the barman claims is white wine…shirts are ruined…wallets are empty…the chaps at this stage are now the hunters..waiting for any hint of a slow set to pounce…but then in an instant its over…like the Scottish pack the mascots disintegrate…home safe to the refuge of their manors in Blackrock, Clontarf and Ballsbridge…and the men..well…the Irish man does what he does best..in times of depression…wanders off….finds a chicken burger and curry chips..and returns to base..broke..drunk and well and truly taken for a ride!
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Do you know the scene in the Great Escape where Steve McQueen (Hilts) is on the motorbike and he is trying to get into Switzerland but the nasty Germans have huge fences of barbed wire in poor old Steve's way..you know the one..he jumps one bloody fence only to be confronted by another! Well each week I and thousands more like me engage in our own personal version of the Great Escape as we attempt to leave the Pale and head towards the our native county's.
But the comparisons between myself and Hilts 'The Cooler King' doesn't end there. Each Friday morning I sit down with my fellow escapees and discuss tactics for the weekly escape. Plans are discussed, strategies debated and routes planned as sausage rolls and tea are hastily consumed. The ruthless Dubs look on nonplussed, confident that their intricate system of roundabouts, one-way streets and traffic lights will deter any attempted flight for freedom.
Generally, each gang has one 'Big X', the Roger Bartlett of the group who has been in a civil service job since the maidens were dancing at De Valera's crossroads. His word is gospel and generally he advices caution…'stay away from the main routes..avoid confrontation…try the backroads…less chance of getting caught!'. Any young escapee would be wise to listen to the Big X, he has been doing this successfully for years…but the folly of youth ensures that many of the Pale's young captives fall headfirst into the dreaded traps.
You know the scene…the young soldier sits nervously in the train carriage as the SS man makes his way slowly checking all the passengers documents..the young soldier suddenly panics and tries to make a run for it…and with a simple nod of his head…a German cuts down the young escapee with a volley from his machine gun. How often I have witnessed this travesty as the young men and women of rural Ireland foolishly attempt to navigate the treachous canals and quays…..sometimes the foolhardy make it past these initial hazards only to enter the minefield of the M50 roundabout..sadly many have never passed that cement circle of death.
That’s not to say escape is foolish..oh no…some do make it…head down…speeding away from the Dublin motorway…just like Hilts as he speeds through the German meadows next to the Swiss border. Some fall into the hands of the ruthless SS and their deadly but infrequent speed checks…and others…make it..brushing past, riding their luck as they happily see Mulingar on the horizon. As they approach they notice something or someone familiar..a 96 Rover speeding along…the Big X ensconced inside laughing as he has yet again outfoxed those dastardly foes and escaped to victory!