Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Christmas Prayer

Baby Jesus, mild and meek
Grant us all an outlook bleak
Guarantee a life austere
Misery throughout the year

Baby Jesus, barely born
Look upon a world forlorn
Billions facing daily strife
Promise them an afterlife

Through your death upon the cross
Exalt obedience to the boss
Put their suffering into perspective
Serve as an ideological corrective

Baby Jesus, it’s an emergency
Banish the people’s thoughts of insurgency 
Justify their deprivation
Self-sacrifice for their edification

Banisher of usurers from the temple
Set for us a good example
Though many moralists still confuse
Honest bankers and filthy Jews.

Baby Jesus, to Earth you came
To show us who we ought to blame
Fornicators, harlots, commies,
Atheists and unwed mommies.

Profligate Greeks who don’t pay taxes
Teen binge drinkers with Brazilian waxes
Rioters in cities, fighting the cops
Liberal clergymen, establishment fops

Immigrants, multiculturalism, violent video games
Public sector workers, Wikileaks naming names,
Bradley Manning, Arab Spring, Wall Street Occupiers
Baby Jesus, damn them all, to brimstone and Hell’s fires.

Better still, O bringer of peace
If it’s not too much trouble, bring blessèd release
Free your people from their insanity
Annihilate the rest of humanity.

May you all have a pious, spartan, and devotional Christmas.




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Mariano's Trench

A loose translation: Aggressive Begging for Change.

This past month has been demonstrating the various ways in which the different nationalities of the world make clear their personal innate characteristics through their response to the austerity. In Greece, the technocratic corporate government imposed by the Illuminati cabal at the head of the IMF and European Union has met with the typical Greek response to all forms of government: indifference that is borders on downright insolence; let us not forget that the Greeks was invent democracy, so they have had longer than anyone to realize that it does not work. In Italy, as usual, the peoples there was meekly accepting the paternal advice of their German allies and happily sit back in the sun and not worry about anything, like Nicolas Cave in Captain Corelli's Mandrill and also every other film he has ever made. In Egypt, where they was make the initial mistake of getting rid of their benign dictator (actually, their initial mistake was having for a dictator an Egyptian; they should have had a Spanish one), the people are now uprising because they have realize that everything lapses into chaos if you try to combine military rule with elections. Either they must now hold their own elections independent of the military and nominate their own leaders, which would be a recipe for disaster: the pyramids was not built using direct democracy! The alternative is to abolish elections and have a proper military government who can impose proper Christian austerity and asceticism, mostly by spending all the country's money on weapons.

In Ireland, in contrast, everyone has left the country. At least that is to say, all the smart peoples have gone, such as the foreing intellectuals who was only there for the "good times": the hookers, the cocaine, and the software localization jobs. And good riddance too, I say. Now that Ireland is enjoying a so-call brain-drain, leaving behind in charge End O'Kenny, the Drain-Brain, successor to Brain Cowen, the Inane-Brain, it will allow the 100% Real Irish people who have stay behind to return to the simpler days of Bord na Mona, proper Catholic education, and xenophobia. The Irish are the only people in Europe who are actively looking forward to the austerity; do not underestimate the attractiveness of simpler, rural times dominating by big families, the radio phone-in, character-forming manual labour, and famine.

And in Spain, of course, the people have done the sensible thing and before the Illuminati get the chance to intervene, as per the idiot Zapatero's plan, we have instead elected in power the PP, which is stand for the People's Party and tell you all you need to know about who the People are. You can see in the picture above the winner of the election, Mariano Rompuy, sorry, Rajoy, who was once upon a time a member of the post-Francoist People's Alliance party, which was the nice fascists. Rajoy is what people with the political sophistication and pretentiousness call a prominence grise, which is a Latin phrase that literally is translate as "a Grey Nose." This is like a Brown Nose escept it is specifically relate to bureaucrats. Think Adolf Eichmann.

The win for the PP is a strong kick in the genitals of both sexes of the socialists, the PSOE, who clearly was not austering fast enough in the view of the Spanish people. The Spanish people knew that if things were allow to drift on the way they was, the Germans would intervene, in their BMWs and Heinkels, and take over and have all the fun. Now, however, all the punishment will be in Spanish hands. An iron fist in an oven glove is just what Spain is needing now, and it is better that it is a grey Spanish fisting than a German one.

There is still a problem with Spanish democracy, however, besides its very existence. Of the 34 million legible voters, only 24 million are voting, and of those 24 million, 600,000 either blank their voting sheet or soil it. That means, in toto, that one-third of the population is not taking democracy seriously; nearly half, if you count those who voted for the socialists. In Australia, they respond to this crisis of legitimacy by making voting compulsory. In Spain, however, this crisis of legitimacy is a good sign. Contempt for democracy only goes to show how many of the people still hanker back for the days of dictatorship. The Spanish people still innately understand that leaders are not people who are elected as such. Human beings are constructed in such a way that there are natural-born leaders in any community, who come to the fore as a result of circumstance, history, or simply the force of their personality. In any situation, there are natural leaders, even if it may only be just for that situation or particular talent: Who, for instance, can deny that Rafa Nadal is the best tennis player in the world? And yet give him a sack of kittens and ask him to drive over it in his Lexus 4X4 and he is useless. If you want a kitten-squasher, you go to the expert. Probly Andy Murray.

My point is that leaders are not elected. They are chosen by birth. And any electing, consensussing, accountability and cetera is just a brake on natural social forces that should be allow to play out as God intended. Ironically, by their inaction, the Spanish people have done precisely that. In this sense, it is because democracy does not work that it has worked, allowing the true national Spanish spirit to espress itself in the embodiment of Rajoy, a Spanish man for our times. His challenge now will be to wage war, figuratively, metaphorically, and literally, against the enemies of Spain on all fronts: the Illuminati in Brussels, the atheist communists at home, the immigrants, un-Spanish thinking, and people in general. All of us true Spanish must wish him well. Certainly, I shall be watching on with great anticipation and enthusiasm and also with binoculars, from my austere retirement penthouse in Dublin 4. Estìmulo: ¡Absente!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Do Not Panic. Kill All Actors!!

"No point getting toilet paper. It will be miles away by now."

Here is Leonardo Da Capo and Kate Wimslet above from the new movie Contagion!, which is already spreading like an incurable rash across box offices near you. The movie is telling the true story of how actors travel all around the world making films and in the process carrying with them virulent deadly diseases such as the lurgy, rabies, pimples, syphilis, and popcorn. A lot of people have already made the point that the movie is not meant to be a true story but is only a metaphor that is meant to warn us about the dangers of immigration, and therefore that we should close all our borders, including the bookshops, but the irony is, and I don't believe in irony, that more than 30 people died during the making of the film, all of them from illnesses contracted because they went abroad. But you won't hear that mentioned in the film, will you? Oh no. And why not? Because it is a work of fiction.

In fact, the correct way to look at the film is this, my way. Rather than the film's message being a metaphor for clamping down on illegal immigrants, those deaths of the various crew members (including two best boys, one first grip, and Miss Wimslet's fluffer) should be seen as a metaphor for the Hollywood movie industry and the way that it spreads its evil testicles through foreign cultures, the subcutaneous implicit insidious liberal value-system that Hollywood embodies infiltrating and undermining locally constructed belief systems such as voodoo, Copernicanism, creationism, heart-warming fascism, and, in places like Australia, Bananas in Pajamas and penis puppetry. These long-held and much-cherished vernacular worldviews struggle in the face of the virulence of Hollywood liberalism because of the latter's technological know-how, its shiny newness that appeals to all primitive, innocent savages, and its loud bangs and large-breasted women, all of which distract and confuse the former penis worshippers so that they do not notice the sneaky subtext being slipped in underneath: the sympathetic portrayal of Jews and freemasons, the blatant feminism, the tolerance for inferior races, the anthropomorphizing of Muslims. All of these things are there, if you look closely, but nobody does because they are all still recovering from the shock of seeing an elephant fly.

You are probably thinking now, "Well that's all true, Manuel, and well observed," but how does this fit into the correct fascist view of the world? Surely inferior races with their stupid worldviews and religions will just be wiped off the face of the earth in the struggle for survival like that appalling race of human beings in Independence Day. To which I would reply, "Did you not see the end of that movie?! Also, you are confusing Catholic fascism with Social Darwinism, you inbecile! Fascism does not want people to be killed. No! That is just a typical Hollywood distortion of its actual, true message, which is stay where you are, don't immigrate, open your hearts to Jesus, and export your resources to Spain."

You see, we in the Falangist movement appreciate and understand the importance of societies retaining their own cultures and sense of place. The peoples of all societies have developed their cultures and values so that they are appropriate to where they live—Islam for the desert, Buddhism for the rice paddy, Christianity for the battlefield, and cetera—and which is why they should never be mixed up together. However and neverthenonetheless, having said all that, it is also clear that 1) Christianity is correct and therefore we have an obligation to take Jesus's Good News to all human beings regardless of their ability to understand it, and 2) it follows that there is a natural hierarchy between societies, specifically those superior ones which have received Jesus's message first, and the inferior ones which are not in Europe.

Sadly, then, it is cucumbent upon us, the European Christian West, particularly the Spanish, to shoulder the white man's burden of subjugating other cultures and, like benevolent but strict schoolmasters, guiding lesser races in their quest to be just like us, which they never can be. This is a great and onerous burden, which is why we require so many resources from foreign countries to carry it out properly, what was incorrectly called the "circle of life" in that doicumentary The Lion King, yet another piece of schmaltzy liberal Hollywood schlock that totally misrepresented Nature. And don't not get me started on Bambi.

Contagion! thus carries a confusing message. It talks about contagious infectious death-dealing plagues as if they are a bad thing, when in fact it is movies that are the virus and therefore a bad thing, and the truth is that some plagues are actually a good thing, such as missionary work to unenlightened countries and The crusades. Therefore, in conclusion, Contagion!'s true message is that we are all dead in the long run and we are in a race against time to make sure everyone catches the virus of Christianity before they die.

There. Now you will not even have to see it. Me neither.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Don't Mention the Chocolate War. I was Mention It Once, But I Think I am Get Away with It.

Unless you have been living in a yurt (which is a tent containing pro-biotics), you will have by now have heard of the assortment of people, made homeless by predatory borrowing, who are making themselves at home on the various streets of the Western world, in imitation of the homeless Arabs in the Israel/Illuminati-inspired Arab Spring Surprise, which, coincidentally, was take place last spring. These actions are being called occupations, which is ironic because all these people involved do not have occupations, being generally unkempt, hairy, unable to get out of bed on time, having a bad attitude, talking back to their boss, probably Humanities graduates types of people. Of course, these are always the first types to get hit when a recession takes place; it is a myth that the poor take the big brunt of economic crisises, and the reason is because they are always poor, and therefore they have inbuilt stalwart coping mechanisms already in place to deal with their powerlessness and poverty, such as alcohol, bingo, cigarettes, and church. They do not have any espectations whether the economy is shit hot, or just shit, of any improvement in their lot, whereas during a boom time even Philosophy graduates can find work of some description, even if it is just in the fashion industry, where their feeble bodies are regarded as ideal and their feeble minds regarded as genius.

Now, as you are well know, I am by no means a fan of modernism, modernisty or modernart, but one of the top best things that modernisty ever produced was something called the public square, an idea nicked from the ancient Greeks and ancient Romans, who also invented modernisty. The public square is a place, or a Place, usually in the middle of the city, where can be concentrated all the ne'er-do-wells, the moaning Minis, the carpers, the pikeys, the breamers, and every, Tom, Dick, Harry, Sam n' Ella, thereby keeping them out of the way of hard-working decent ordinary apolitical and non-political people, the so-called backbone or cervix of society, who can therefore get on with their lives of quiet desperation undisturbed by rabble-carousing hordes. In Germany, always ahead of the herd, they went one better: Rather than a Public Square, they have instead the Public Sphere, invented by the Frankfurt School of Design and named after the famous and brilliant Nazi architect Sir Albert Sphere. This not only concentrates the city's malcontents, it is also sound-proof, so nobody can hear them scream. In Morocco, on the other hand, rather than a sphere, they have the ram's bladder cup, which contains all the piss and vinegar but is open to the sky, where their Gods live.

These present-day malingering occupants, however, either have not realize that they are meant to use the public square, or else they cannot read a map. Or also, a further possibility is that they are like the zombies in the Evil Dead movies returning to the shopping mall, but instead of the shopping mall they are returning to the places where they use to work or where their money use to be, namely, banks, offshore covens, golf courses, the pockets of short-armed bondtraders and cetera. They are milling about aimlessly, not knowing at all where they are going or what they are moaning about, also like zombies. This, incidentally, is what happens when you have a leaderless movement. In the old days, when there was things like useful trades unions, well-disciplined communist parties, reliable propaganda mechanisms, the idiot proletariat could be relied upon to march properly, all in a line behind their smarter but still idiot leaders, through the weekend streets when the offices are all shut, and all the way to the public square, where they was then entertained by tedious speeches from the platform, vacuous polemical haranguing, and Bono. Then they would go home and try to spot themselves on the news. When the cold war was ending, however, and capitalism no longer had any use of the useful idiots leading the useless idiots up a back alley to nowhere, then the unions and communist parties was all put into cold war storage, like the delivery boy in Futurama, only perhaps to be brought out again in a time of crisis when it looks like the peoples are starting to get ideas above their station. Or even next to their station.

Thus, no doubt soon you will probly hear soon some business leaders or pretend potential self-appointed communist leaders lamenting the lack of organization of the #Occupy movements, describing them as "in choate" (which is a kind of wide penis with no head), or "udderless," or "lacking discernible goals" (like Sporting Gijon). What they are really mean is that there is a ferment of new ideas that therefore could be dangerous and must be curtailed, or at least curtopped. After all, nobody has any idea where a march that goes nowhere might end up. If these peoples weren't too feckless to emigrate we could at least lure them onto a ferry with the promise of jobs in Australia and transport them there. We would never hear of them ever again! But while they are there, in the midst of ordinary, heads-down, knees-back God-fearing punters, fermenting theories without limitations and trying out new processes, such as democracy—never a positive development—they constitute a threat to our docile, passive, obedient way of life. They must be stomped on by square-headed baton-wielding riot police, preferably from up the country, before any new ideas seep out into the public body at large, like a ball of ideological pus.

The one advantage of having these malodorous obnoxities stay in one place for the time being is that the virus which they represent cannot spread. What is more, it will be actually possible to sow a virus amongst them themselves. Not an ideological one. A proper one. I am not wanting to imagine for one moment what the sanitary conditions must be like on Wall Street, for instance, but it will only be a matter of time before the first spores of anthrax ripple through the throng; there must still be some of them left over from the biological research programs carried out by those involved in Farm Warfare (the CIA training facility, not the band from Liverpool). I have already been told that there is a cockroach cluster assembling in Battery Park which has been trained to sneak into protestors' sleeping bags and deposit there a cough and cholera strain (possibly I misheard and it is a "cuff and collar" strain, equally deadly to these workshy recalcitrants. Or perhaps I am confusing it with the Tie Flu.

You would naturally espect that countries like Italy and Spain, with their soft-centred atheist anarchist cosmopolitan populations, would soon fall for this sort of protesting. So far, Paris, home to the crunchy Frog, has not surrendered, but it is only a matter of time. Saddest of all is the news that even in Holy Pissing Ireland they have a couple of #Occupy sites. This is the sort of thing you can see and hear if you go to the one in Dublin. Is a big disgrace! I am mortified. I think.

In fact, you know what? I think you should go down there right NOW if you are in Ireland and tell them what you think. And tell them Manuel sent you!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Irritation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Didn't You Kill My Brother?

As goes the old saying

Big fleas are having little fleas upon their backs which are bite them, and little fleas have even littler fleas, and so on until you get to the littlest.

What I am referencing here to on this occasion by my witty apothegm above is the recent case of plaguerism in the Irish media spotted by Brian Whelan (Hack), who has been uplifting the veil yesterday to show how (allegedly) the Irish Esaminer columnist and ghostwriter Steven King has been publishing articles that are eerily similar to those which are also being written by former atheist communist Brendan O'Neill of Spooked Online, also known as The Dustbin of History. King, who was previously a political adviser to Nobel Peace Loyalist and First Minister of Northern Ireland David Trimble, probly espected that nobody would remark upon the identicalities between his own words and those of O'Neill because what he was saying was esactly what you would espect from someone of their persuasion, whatever it is, and therefore people's eyes would glaze over before they got to the second paragraph. However, for anyone who could be bothered to look closer, such as the indefatigable Whelan, the resemblance is almost uncanny, as if O'Neill and King were of one, collective hive mind, like the Phoners, which ironically enough appear in King's book Cell, or also the Borg, or else the Gerulaitis. King also knew that O'Neill was previously belong to the Revolutionary Communist Party, an organization which was notorious for the fact that its members have never had a single original thought in their entire lives—indeed, since that party disbanded all its members have become The Institute of an Idea—and therefore that what O'Neill wrote had already been thought before, only probly more eloquently and more lucidly by fascist writers such as myself.

Which is where I am come in. Because recently O'Neill was write what some people believed was a very witty parody of one of my own past blog posts for the British Empire newspaper the Daily Telegraph. This was an article in which he lament the death of bullfighting in Catalonia. You can read the article here, although you must forgive the typos, such as where it says "Brendan O'Neill is the editor of spiked, an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms," where it clearly means to say IN FAVOUR OF.

This is O'Neill in full flight:

To put a bull into a bullfight is to ennoble it. As a participant in a strange, centuries-old ritual, in a violent dance-off between man and beast, a bull acquires a significance far beyond its own natural existence. In fact, the only "purpose" in the life of a bull is that bestowed upon it by picadors and matadors – it is through their efforts, and their efforts alone, that a bull is transformed from being a rather pointless, instinctual beast into a noble creature worthy of being watched by an audience of thousands. In this sense, bullfighting is humane rather than cruel, since through the endeavour and labour of the bullfighting brigade a bull is given a use and purpose nature could never have designed for it.

What is a bull but a grunting creature destined to live a rather sad and short life of munching grass and impregnating cows? Through the humanity of the matadors, bulls selected for a bullfight are spared this terrible fate and are given something they could have never, in a million years, discovered for themselves: a purpose in life.

and here is me, writing in June of last year:

If history is teach us anything, it is that the majority of the world's species alive today would not be alive were it not for the fact that they serve some purpose to humanity. The Dodo, for instance, is a prime esample. Once it had serve its purpose to mankind, in providing food, then it become estinct. Ecologists, sociologists, theologists, and macrobiotics are all unanimal on this: There would be no cows or pigs or sheeps on this planet, were it not for mankind husbanding them, wifing them, then killing and eating them. Is because mankind have a vested interest in their perpetuance that they are still around, whereas other animals that are not so tasty, such as the unicorn, are long gone. Why are you think Noah did not bother putting it in the ark? Because they are taste like shit! (And also because their horn could make significant damage beneath the water line if they broke loose and went on an escapade). Imagine what the world would be like with no cows, pigs and sheeps. It would be less smelly, certainly, and we could have a much better road and rail infrastructure once we had concrete over all those fields, but on the other hand, you would not have no hat. Nor sandals. Both of which are made from cow. You would have no bacon sarnies, no electricity, no pork scratching, and girls would have no pigtails, because they are all made from pig. And there would be no sheeps.

In similar, if you are to ban the corrida, you will be in ultimate saying goodbye to the bull. Not, however, in this case because the bull will estinctify. No! Let us be honest. Throughout all time, we have know that the bull is mankind's natural enemy, after the Jew and the Muslim, that there is always been a danger in keeping sustained the bull population. But that was always the price we pay for the corrida. The bull is an estremely fierce and proud and big-balled beast. He lives for the corrida, for the opportunity to do battle with Man, to chase around the sawdust a multicolour curtain and diminutive hero with sword and lances and things. There is nothing finer, more noble, for the bull than to compete in the corrida, to choke slowly on its own lifeblood knowing that it have given everything in a carnal, cathartic orgy of agony, lust, muscles, meat, power, yearning, thrusting, and an object lesson in mortality in front of a crowd of appreciative Spanish aesthetes.

Si!! Is almost as if a ventriloquist had come into the room, inserted his hand into Brendan O'Neill's anus, and then used his other hand to type an article having the same views as my own. After having had lunch with me. And washed his hands.

Now, I am not the sort of person to cast aspersiums or to even claim to having had any original ideas of my own. I get a lot of them from Top Gear. But I merely draw to your attention how those of us such as myself with small minds (by which I mean we have no audience of readers), can be sucked off by other slightly less small minds, and so on and so on up the food chain, like mercury. Is like a form of edmosis, in which partially formed ideas slowly crawl their way towards the light, similar to a scary foetus, until eventually everyone has got the same idea but have no idea where they got the idea from. It was me!

And therefore to those people who say that there is no point in me blogging my fascist views for nobody to read, I direct your attention to The Irish Examiner, the Sunday Independent, the Daily Mail, and, to a lesser estent, everything printed by News International, who may not have necessarily been hacking my phones but, well, they was hardly had need to.

I am not sure that I have any case to sue for any damages, but I console myself that the damages caused to society by my writing will more than compensate. I merely am sew the seed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Round Ireland with the Falange: County Wexford

That Keith Richards has really let himself go, hasn't he?

Quizmistress Anne Robinson: Which Mick is the lead singer of the Rolling Stones?

Idiot English Contestant: Is it Bono?

Those for whom Irish music is epitomized by the seisiún or the céilí, featuring a bodhrán player, a guitarist, a fiddler, a tin whistler and Shane MacGowan, will be surprised to know that most of the components of the traditional arrangements can locate their origins in the Iberian peninsula, with the exception of Shane MacGowan, who is as English as Pontefract Cakes and anal sex. You only have to look at his teeth for proof. The guitar, of course, everyone knows is Spanish; it was originally called the Spanish guitar, but this title eventually came to be regarded as a tautology because there was no other kind of guitar, the much-inferior banjo and ukulele being invented much later by slaves in America and Hawaii working in sweat shops making knock-offs. The fiddle is a cheaper version of the violin, usually associated with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Northern Italy but so clearly related to the guitar in design that a good case can be made that they plagiarised it but never saw one being played and so improvised, using a modified horsewhip. The tin whistle or flageolet was invented by a Frenchman, Juvigny, in the late 16th century, of which nothing can be gainsaid except that although he lived in Paris he always wanted to live in Madrid, like all Parisians of his own and our age. The bodhrán, similarly, is a cheap imitation of the tamborine, this word being a corruption of the Spanish word Tambor, meaning drum. Here you can see the Tambores de Calanda, which are played non-stop for 24 hours a day during Holy Week, regardless of whether the drummers' hands bleed, get blisters and calluses on their palms, or get splinters from the drumsticks in their eyes, mouth and/or ears. They do this because to commemorate the fact that there were drummers following Jesus up to Calvary and because when they pushed away the stone from his tomb there was a massive drumroll from the skies. And then a cymbal. The only genuine and definite Irish musical instrument is the harp, which was invented by the blind Irish harpist O'Carolan (although he was not called this until after he invented the harp), and even then he didn't know what it was he was playing.

I was very keen to get to Wexford on my journey around Ireland because much of the archaeological and historical evidence indicates that it was here that Ireland's musical heritage began. It was here that Saint Iberius established his church, long before Saint Patrick ever arrived on the island (there is no record of Patrick bringing any musical instruments with him, although he may have driven the snakes out of Ireland with his awful tin whistle playing, the first snake uncharmer). Saint Iberius, who obviously came from Spain, lived on the island of Beggerin in Wexford harbour. He drew many disciples to his modest church, mainly wanting to learn to play the guitar or the organ. There wasn't much to do in Wexford in those days. We know from the story of another saint, Saint Veoc, that in those days it was a desolate, barren place, qualities that drew Veoc there from Armagh in the hope of a hermitic existence. Imagine his disappointment at finding the place full of spotty novices learning the first chords of "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

Sadly, Saint Iberius's home has now disappeared. I was advised by the lady in the Tourist Information Office with the square glasses and peppery hair that the island had become part of the Sloblands, which I assumed was simply a reference to the local council estate, but which turned out to be reclaimed polder land like they have in Holland, so that the island had been rejoined to the mainland. The lady in the Tourist Office also told me that I would need to get a licence from the council if I wanted to start digging there for the fossils of guitars or bodhráns, and she rather ignorantly opined that there were not likely to be any there after all these years. Which shows how little she knows about Creationism. In the same way that our Good Lord placed cenobites, Tyrannosauruses, saber-toothed tigers, and David Blaine in blocks of ice or inside coal mines to be discovered by humans as a test of faith, and also patience, so also he would preserve all the many important holy relics for worship by the faithful, rendering them incorrupted by the ages, the air, the bird poo, and science, like those dead nuns trapped in glass in the rue du Bac.

It so happened that this part of my tour coincided with a significant musical event in the history of Ireland, namely, the victory in the Eurovision Song Contest of the retarded Siamese twins Jedward, who you may have seen on the television being separated at birth by famous surgeons who also warned their parents that they would never be able to talk properly, let alone sing. Nonetheless, the Irish elected to be represented in the contest by Jedward as a way of sticking up a metaphorical two fingers, both identical, at the Europe that is demanding that they all work harder and also have no jobs. This is not the first time that Ireland has demonstrated such petulance, of course. Only the other year they sent Dustin from Turkey, who wasn't even Irish, and in previous years they have sent Mary Hopkirk, Johnny Rogaine, Dickie Rock, and Mary Peters and Lee. None of these did the Irish reputation for mellifluous Euterpian prowess any favours, and it was partly in response to watching these performances on European TV that the False Pope, Benedict, decided to ban rock and roll and support the call for the return to the Latin Mass, sung a cappella, with nary an amp in sight. This was a pope who booed at Bob Dillon when he plugged in his electric chair at Newport, Isle of Wight, in 1954 and began singing along to the godawful racket that came out. Then he turned it off and everyone realized the godawful racket had nothing to do with the electric.

Although from an Irish background, Dillon has never had the opportunity to represent Ireland at the Eurovision, and with him recently reaching the age of 70 and having been senile for the past 30 years, it doesn't look like he will ever have the chance to perform any of his classic tracks—"Wichita Grub Man," "The Times, They Are a Changeling," "I'm the Rolling Stones," and "Mister Tamberlaine Man" (he was also the inspiration for the well-known Beatles song "Hey Jew"—before an unappreciative audience of millions. It may come as some consolation to him to have been awarded only a year or two ago the Prince of Asturias Art Award (previous winners include Yo-Yo Ma, Elvis Presley, and Hitler), which recognizes rich celebrities who have done something vaguely artistic, such as commodifying protest songs, but I suspect he would much rather compete against Ukrainian Death Metal Yodellers, prancing puppets on strings like Jedward, and the German S Club 7. Any true artiste would want to show he could cut it with the best. I know that he was massively disappointed not to be invited to Princess Diana's funeral, where all the biggest names in the industry appeared on the largest stage of all—The Abbey—to show what they could do. Elton John sang his famous song hit "Candle with the Wind," which went straight to number one in the hit parade subsequently because the English people love funeral dirges and play them at all their parties. Then he followed up with "Rocket Man" and "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road." After that, blackface singer Tracy Chapman came on and sang "Fast Car," followed by the Animals, who sang "We Gotta Get Out of This Place." And finally Joe Dolce came on and closed with "Shaddap You Face" followed by a selection from his album Difficult Women. Dillon would have loved to have come on at that point and given a rousing rendition of "It's Alright Ma'am, I'm Only Bleeding," but apparently the Abbey was booked for a christening at six and the toilets needed hosing down.

I have not touched here, on my favourite Irish musician, who hails from a very different part of this pious land, but it would remiss of me not to mention a man who has contributed more to drawing the Irish people closer to the one true path through the medium of music than any fake messiah in sunglasses dodging taxes and swanning about with world leaders. This man, like Our Lord Jesus, knows what it is to be reviled, to be persecuted, to be mocked and laughed at and scorned for daring to speak the truth. He is thus a modern-day Cassandra, warning of catastrophe but never to be believed. And yet he persists. Indeed, only last year Jim Corr announced on the radio that he would, if necessary, stand for election for the European Union in order to save Ireland from the Freemasons. The government of Ireland, he warned, is riddled with secret societies, such as the Masons, the Rosicrucians, the Mormons, the Pretenders, the Persuaders, and the Champions, and that these societies are determined to sell Ireland's birthright to the highest bidder, probably Noel Eedmonds. He would not allow this, he said. He would do everything in his special super powers to stop it. He also made the very interesting and novel observation that the attacks of 9/11 in the United States were caused by rogue elephants in the Bush administration, a claim I had not heard made before.

Much as I admire the man, I believe his perspective on how the world works is nonetheless a little cock-eyed (an Irish expression which means he views the world through the eye of his cock, much like my randy brother Hornolo). It is not the Irish government that is the enemy, but the Illuminati in Europe, the bankers and cabals running the Masonic European state. Indeed, this is so obvious to any right-thinking Irish man that it makes me wonder whether or not Jim Corr is not in fact a false flag operation, a cleverly cultivated plant intended to discredit sensible fascist views with his bizarre rantings. His cloned sisters certainly suggest some kind of perverse scheme dreamt up by an insane Communist scientist in a Berlin atelier or Übungsräume. It is not beyond the realms of possibility.

Still, a partially accurate paranoid right-wing neo-fascist conspiracy theory is better than none. And in days like these, when you don't even hear the likes of aryan ubermenschen Jedward demanding that the elderly and disabled be euthanized, it's necessary to find solace where one can. Just don't listen to their music.

Famous people from Wexford include American "comedian" Des Bishop, monobrowed narcissist Chris de Burgh, founder of Irish music Saint Iberius (see above), and U.S. president Barack Obama. Although there is some dispute about this.

Lucky numbers: 0

Gemstone: Bakelite

Next week: County Waterford

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Round Ireland with the Falange: County Carlow

Few people know that the Palace of Versailles is based on Bagenalstown railway station.

Carole-Anne Delaney must have extraordinary influence within the Irish media, or else the jungle drums of County Wicklow work remarkably fast. I was no more than ten minutes up the road, having escaped from her clutches, when I noticed people waving at me, pointing at me, or shouting in the distance and running after me. "Surely," I thought, she cannot already have written a book review mentioning me in passing and had it published in the Irish Times. Even if she phoned it in and it went straight into the online edition." But then I reminded myself that Wicklow is the natural home for the Irish literary intelligentsia/mafia, ever alert to developments at the leading edge of scriptorial erudition and technics, and they would inevitably have been following Miss Delaney on Twitter or Facebook. Thus it followed that those mobs in the distance vigorously shaking baseball bats, pikes, and golf clubs above their heads were well-wishers from the book-reading classes alerted to my endeavours and keen to offer some encouragement in whatever way they could, no matter how small and inconsequential. I waved back and offered them my most sincerest cheery smile.

I was half-way across the Wicklow Mountains National Park when I really started to feel the cold and thought it might be a good idea to put some clothes on. When it was first made, in 1954, the Dürkopp Diana was regarded as one of the most luxurious scooters on the market, but time has moved on, and heated handlebars, shatterproof windshields, and woolly gloves and boots come as standard on most scooters, I understand. I am reluctant to move with the times, but such an adherence to tradition has its downsides. Fortunately, the Diana does have sufficient room for a ruck sack or travel bag, a suitcase at a push, and I had had the foresight to bring with me an extra set of clothes should I lose my original and preferred travel outfit under such circumstances as had occurred at Miss Delaney's house. This change of clothes consisted in a pair of swimming trunks, 70-denier tights (jet black and therefore resembling leggings or, in my case, my legs), an Aran Isle sweater, a Real Madrid shirt (home), a deer-stalker hat, and a pair of expensive Italian shoes belonging to my dissolute and delinquent brother Hornolo. I had taken them from him without his permission but knowing that they are wasted on him. He has dozens more pairs besides.

A quick survey of the map upon exiting the park showed me that a small diversion of only several hours would take me to the Poulaphouca Reservoir, which I was determined to visit solely on account of its splendid name. Indeed, as I wended my way northwards along the R756 and R758, the wind smiled as it caught my words, unable as I was to avoid revelling in the name, reciting it endlessly to myself: "Reh-Serr-Voir. Reh-Serr-Voir. Reh-Serr-Voir." It has such a resonance, don't you think? For me it conjures up Celtic mists, hills of bracken, diseases long unknown to Western civilization but still kept alive in Irish hamlets cut off from the world for centuries.

Sadly, when I arrived, it turned out to be a lake. Nothing more. Two workman who saw my perplexity from across the road in their hut came over and were most helpful, explaining that "Poulaphouca" is an Irish word meaning "Pool of Water," "Phouca" or "Phucca," to give it its traditional pronunciation, being the old Irish word for water. I committed it to my memory on the off-chance that it might come in handy later during my journey should I be dehydrated, and counted my diversion as not entirely wasted. Interestingly enough, the workmen were at a loss to translate for me the word "Reservoir," that pungent and eloquent word so redolent of a lost Hibernia, and my Irish-Spanish dictionary was of no help. The nearest word I could find was "Rastafáraí."

I cut my losses. I wanted to get to Bagenalstown by nightfall, which meant a straight run southwards along the N81 towards Tullow before heading cross-country on some of the scenic backroads of County Carlow. The county's roads have long been known for their terrible state, the only rival to those of Cavan in Irish folklore for their potholes, crevasses, and sudden disappearances (to be replaced by paths of cowpat-friendly rubble). There is an Irish tribute band from Drogheda called the Ring o'Stars* who have a line in one of their songs about "10,000 holes in the R170122," which is a two-mile stretch of road just outside Borris. That said, the last two decades saw a remarkable turnaround in the maintenance and treatment of Carlow's roads, the intent being to attract tourists who would otherwise not feel inclined to visit the county, which has very little going for it other than its famed blandness. But with the brand new roads, the place had something else to offer. "Come to Carlow whether you have Haemorrhoids or Not!" was the Carlow County Tourist Board's slogan between 1998 and 2007. And people did indeed come. Tourism more than doubled during that period: up to as many as 831 people in 2003 alone.

The recession really bit in 2009, and last year's dreadful winter took even larger bites, mostly out of the concrete and Tarmacadam that had so mellifluously lulled visitors to sleep for many a trip. Consequently, Carlow's roads are as bad now as they ever were. Although it isn't just Carlow that's suffering. Winter was winter everywhere in Ireland. Saint Stephen's Green in Dublin's city centre now has chasms that stretch across several lanes, hardy weeds sprouting up from them due to a lack of upkeep, a decline in tourist traffic, and the price of petrol. Evolution seems to have bred a particularly hardy weed there, immune to fumes and with an impressive elasticity that allows the plant to spring back to full size after being run over by the 145 bus. Not that I believe in evolution. I use the term as shorthand for my deity, the way Richard Dawkins does.

In a futile effort to increase road use and thereby increase revenue through a tax on petrol use, the government recently widened the M1 motorway around Dublin airport, having been made aware of research showing that if you add more lanes to a road, they soon fill up with more traffic. This is an argument generally used against the adding of extra lanes and is premised on the existence of cheap fuel, but the government figured that if they make cuts to public transport at the same time, they could save money and force people onto the roads, thereby increasing state coffers. A brilliant move, if people have jobs to go to, although as it has transpired, the Port Tunnel, the largest construction project in the history of the state, transporting goods and tourists to and from the ferry port without creating congestion in the city centre, currently has a rate of use of one vehicle per hour. It is anticipated that, at such a rate, the project will have paid for itself around the time that our Sun goes nova.

With the population of Ireland back down to 3½ million and counting, it's difficult to know who the government thinks will be driving these cars. Children barely know their left from their right and don't have much pocket money left over for petrol once they've budgeted for essentials like red lemonade and condoms, and it may surprise this government to learn that the dead don't get out much. Zombies might be ubiquitous in the popular culture these days, but you never see them driving a car. It isn't possible without a functioning brain stem. Unless you count fans of Top Gear, that is, but they're already out on the road killing people. And in some cases, eating them. Perhaps the government is banking on the Death Coach picking up some of the slack.

But as we like to say in Spain, "He who shops with Catalans must take two wallets." Or, in other words, a hedged bet is better than a bet head. In Spain a few years ago, we had a very famous case of a disabled man in his motorized bed who was arrested for drunk-driving on the motorway on his way to visit the local bordello. José Antonio Navarro, who is 95% disabled, had got drunk and was intending to visit ‘Jade,’ a local whorehouse, but took a wrong turning off the roundabout. When he realized that he had taken the wrong turnoff, he decided to continue along the motorway in order not to put other drivers in danger. And fair play to him. This is the sort of inspiring attitude that the Irish government should be encouraging. I do not mean drunk-driving, of course, which even the Spanish only do at night-time, but if only the government was to open a few knocking-shops at the newly opened Apple services at strategic points along the motorways of this country (one just outside Galway would be particularly well-frequented), they could guarantee getting at least half of the Irish population out on the roads, whether they had cars or not. I have frequently seen Spanish men crawling on their hands and knees both to and from such bordellos.

I am not entirely sure how a bordello would go down in Bagenalstown, which strikes me as a very pious and devout place, even if at times ominous and filled with foreboding. My history book The Truth About Carlow!: Saints, Murderers, Sodomites, and Celebrities tells me that this was the place where Saint Laserian first considered establishing his church, before eventually building his cathedral in Old Leighlin. Apparently, he was deterred from building in Bagenalstown on Day One of construction because the first person he saw that morning was a red-haired woman, considered even back then to be a terrible sign. Consequently, he took the rest of the day off, like any sensible construction industry boss, but the next morning an angel came to him and told him to sit in the stone chair on the top of Ballycormac Hill and to build his church on the spot where the sun first shone. It turned out to be Old Leighlin. My history book says the stone chair was preserved over dozens of generations at Ballycormac until 30 years ago, near to a house now occupied by a Mr. Radwell. The father of the present Mr. Radwell broke up the chair, however, and used the stones in making a fence. His fate is not recorded, but I expect it was death.

Saint Laserian is recorded as having miraculously healed a boy who had been decapitated, but my book does not say if he, like Our Lady of Mount Carmel (see County Wicklow), used his laser vision (it was Saint Laserian who gave this particular holy power its name) in a kind of cauterizing/welding operation or if he just did it by praying. It does, however, explain why Saint Laserian is now the patron saint of shipbuilders, microprocessor manufacturers, and Bond villains. Even so, it was a holy power of no avail when Saint Laserian met his match, Saint Sillán of County Louth. While he did not have laser vision, Saint Sillán's eyebrow more than compensated for this lack. It was said that anyone who saw Sillán's eyebrow would die immediately. Laserian, being a plucky saint, tried to pluck it out. Unfortunately, he had to look to see what he was doing (my suspicion is that he pulled out hair from somewhere else on Sillán's body and upon looking at them doubted that they could be eyebrow hairs). One look at Sillán's eyebrow and it was curtains for Laserian. Black curtains.

This happened over 1,000 years ago, on April 18th. Which is his feast day.

There is a range of opinion as to where Laserian's remains can be found. Some say that he was buried under his church at Old Leighlin or under the high cross in Leighlin, whereas others say that looking at Sillán's eyebrow results in death by explosion and that Laserian has no remains other than those scattered around the fields of Leighlin and now well mulched into the earth that he once trod and ploughed with his laser vision. Still others wonder why Laserian didn't just use his laser vision on Saint Sillán and evaporate him instead of using his normal vision, but the rules of engagement for saints in combat against each other preclude offensive use of holy weapons. Sillán's eyebrow constitutes a defensive weapon, and anyway Laserian started it.

Famous people from this town include Beauchamp Bagenal, famous rake, drunkard, duellist, and former MP who fought his duels leaning against a tombstone; Swami Dennis D'arcy, the guru with a whip; and Barack Obama. Although there is some dispute about this.

Lucky numbers: 23, 12, 9, 1,034

Gemstone: Mud

Next week: County Wexford

The Ring o'Stars are less a tribute band than an Irish Oasis, updating and localizing the Beatles' lyrics rather than their music. Thus, they boast in their repertoire such classics as "Let It Beef," "Norbrinstown Wood," and "Lucy in the Spar with Dermot."

Friday, May 06, 2011

Round Ireland with the Falange: County Wicklow

"You're not from around these parts, are you, Señor?"

"On the run from the authorities and living in Cork."

"Died in the arms of a rent boy from a methamphetamine overdose."

"Lost his house in a poker game, went insane, now raising llamas in Monaghan for gladiatorial combat."

"Locked herself in a cellar in 2005 and refuses to come out."

"Jailed for treason."

"Fired for impersonating a gynaecologist."

"Caught cheating at Russian roulette. Told to leave the country within 24 hours. Training for the priesthood in Clare. Still impersonating a man."

A decade is a long time in journalism. It is nearly ten years. That is my joke about journalistic accuracy. And also it is difficult to drum up any sympathy for the plight of the average hack among the general public, who these days regard journalism as the first refuge of the scoundrel, a once-noble profession now reduced to regurgitating press releases, writing puff pieces for the local businesses who effectively pay their wages by deigning to advertise in their paper, or else rifling through the rubbish bins of minor Irish celebrities—all Irish celebrities are minor—in the hope of finding proof of sexual peccadilloes, infidelity, or drug abuse. They know precisely what to look for thanks to their own tawdry, sordid, sad, sorry lives.

I was hoping that at least one of my contacts would still be keeping it together after all this time, however. When I was working for Spanish intelligence in Ireland back in the 1980s and 1990s, I frequently had cause to liaise with members of the Irish press in order to help them put the requisite spin on stories about Spain, whether it was to suggest connections between the IRA, ETA and Colonel Gadhafi, cover up details of Spanish government involvement in helping Nazis on the run, or promoting Enrique Iglesias's latest single. Irish journalists were always very accommodating and co-operative, as you might imagine, in exchange for a box of Cohibas, a meal in the Four Seasons or Roly's Bistro, a massage and happy ending at Miss Whipcream's establishment in Dun Laoghaire, a day at the races with 500 punts to spend, or a weekend away at the Loughrea Hotel and Spa, all of which can now be won in competitions on TV3. Journalists once upon a time had a reputation for longevity, for the capacity to endure, to type out nine types of shit, 12 hours a day, on two bottles of Paddy and 40 Carrolls, and still make it out of Doheny & Nesbitt's before the wankers from Department of Finance came in after work. Unfortunately, the hard-bitten cynicism and contempt for authority once a pre-requisite of the self-respecting journalist has now been replaced by hard-bitten cynicism and contempt for oneself and the once-respected job of reporter, with the consequence that no-one can last in the job any longer than five years without becoming a parody of themselves, a mindless keyboard-banging monkey inebriated only to enable them to look in the mirror each morning without asking themselves how it came to pass that someone with a Master's from DCU and a 2.1 in English Literature could be pretending to have a shit in the bogs of Toner's just on the off-chance of overhearing a conversation between Eamonn Dunphy's daughter's nanny's brother and that bloke who does the cider adverts.

I had been hoping to drum up some publicity for my very important state-of-the-nation tour of Ireland by roping in some of my old friends and calling in a few favours, also known as blackmail. I am by no means a miserly man and can admit to a small fortune, on paper at least, if you count my retirement home, shares in Miss Whipcream and Jane Bondage's highly lucrative business, and the gold ingots that my neighbours the Mengeles back in the Canarias have stowed away for me, but paper money butters no parsnips, or as we Spanish say, "God will look after the blind driver. Those who can see must look after themselves." Therefore it was incumbent on me to try to find alternative sources of funding for my trip, and what better way, I thought, than to take advantage of the hospitality of the Irish, to exploit their reputation for welcoming strangers and milk the sow of human kindness, a kind of pig/person hybrid which came about through xenotransplantation rather than bestiality.

There being not one of my former journalistic contacts still capable of generating goodwill towards my endeavour—who, in any case, would trust a journalist these days?—I retreated to the nearest barbershop for my morning hot towel shave and a well-deserved haircut to reflect on my available options. I ought to point out here, perhaps, that this was no spontaneous, ad hoc decision. I am a particularly hirsute individual who requires a minimum of two shaves a day, sometimes three, and a haircut at least once a week, and experience has taught me that time spent on this unavoidable chore is the perfect opportunity for reflection and inspiration. In addition, barbers, at least in Spain, are the best source of underworld rumour, commonplace wisdom, arcane lore, and local gossip. Also they know 15 different ways to kill a man with a comb.

Gerry* the barber from Bray, for this is where I was on my tour so far by now, was a chunky balding middle-aged Londoner with sideburns who manipulated his blade and towel with a panache and bravado that would have put the great matador Enrique Ponce to shame. Barely was I in his chair and the razor disinfected than he had deduced my foreign origins and elicited from me the nature of my quest.

"We used to get journalists in here all the time," he told me, the flash of the morning sun sliding down the cutting edge of his blade as he scythed it through the air. "Once upon a time they took pride in their work, in their appearance, in their vocation." He paused to look me straight in the eye. Via the mirror.

"Not any more. Too ashamed to be recognized in public. These days they cower behind beards—even the women—and let their hair grow long and lank like . . . I don't know . . . greasers."

"What is greasers?" I asked, without dropping my gaze.

"You know. People from Greece. Moustaches, beards, lots of hair, unkempt appearance, smashing plates."

"Ah yes, I know this," I said. "Plates of meat: feet. They have smashing feet."

"No. Not rhyming slang. They smash plates. On the restaurant floor. When they dance."

This was a cultural stereotype that had passed me by, someone who generally prides himself on being able to compartmentalize and pass ready-made opinions of foreigners, but I took his word for it that this was something journalists do. I had often seen them standing on the bar of the Shelbourne Hotel urinating into one another's mouths, but smashing plates on the restaurant floor . . . why would anyone do that?

"I'll tell you what, though," he went on, "if you're stuck, you should try . . . wassername . . . the Delaney woman down near Greystones. She's always in the papers."

"She is who?"

"Delaney. You know. The writer woman."

I had no idea who he meant, having failed to stay au fait, au courant or au naturel with the world of literature, so it was with some embarrassment that I had to confess my ignorance of Ireland's most famous writer of chicken literature, Carol-Anne Delaney, author of the world-renowned "Irish Hearts" trilogy—Hearts and Carrickmines, Clonskeagh to My Heart, and Heart of Greystones—as well as countless other blockbusters that have remained on the New York Times Foreign paperback romantic fiction list for the better part of this century: Killiney and Tigers, A Celbridge Too Far, I Stepaside for No Man, and These Boots Were Made for Walkinstown.

"I can make a call for you, if you'd like," said Gerry. "I have a mate in the . . erm . . . legal profession who knows her well and owes me a favour. He can have a word and see if she'd be willing to meet you, mention you in one of her columns, book reviews, fashion pieces, interviews, that sort of thing."

"You could do that?" I said, turning my pristine, shiny face up in awe. Gerry just shrugged.

"Sure. I'm the barber."

And thus it was not two hours later that I found myself at the ivy-bordered front door of Rosacea Cottage, just outside the small village of Delgany, not a stone's throw from the Carmelite convent, where tradition has it that Our Lady of Mount Carmel appeared to the local children, who threw stones at her, and were consequently melted by her laser vision, whence the recipe for crème caramel. The door was opened by a purple-haired giant of a woman with a snub nose and what I assumed were shoulder pads, even though she was wearing a halter top. Her smile was a gleaming, brilliant, bluey white, the result, I later found, of chewing biros and Mint Imperials all day, habits that Miss—NOT Ms—Delaney had acquired early in her writing career.

"Much of the surrounding land is of no agricultural value," she informed me off-handedly as she guided me into the conservatory for afternoon tea. "I would rent it out to farmers, of course, even though they can be such cute hoors that most of my time would be spent keeping an eye on them, so instead I've had it all landscaped and called in one of the top Italian designers to give it that cultivated but louche look."

It reminded me that County Wicklow is known as the Garden of Ireland, an eminently suitable title, particularly given that it is indeed in Ireland. Calling it The Garden of Austria would be bound to cause confusion. Or worse, the Garden of Japan, since the Japanese Gardens are in Kildare, as everyone knows. But I was not prepared for the vast size of Miss Delaney's holdings. During the Celtic Tiger years, she explained to me, the Irish public couldn't get enough of chicken literature. They were flying off the shelves. Like chickens. At the height of the boom, she told me, there were 300,000 chicken literature books being published every week in Ireland, which meant that each individual member of the public had either read or written 16 novels. "And that's not including poetry," she said, "although there's no money in that. Only idiots write poetry."

After tea she gave me a quick tour of the public areas of Rosacea Cottage (she has an open day once a year during which she poses for photographs with her adoring fans, signs copies of her novels, accepts gifts and tithes, and gets through two packets of Solpadeine; she used to stockpile Kaolin and Morphine and let the ingredients separate, but Boots have stopped selling it). We then retired to her study/writing room to discuss business. I must confess that I had anticipated an airy, cheerful, well-lit room overlooking the extensive gardens, but Miss Delaney prefers to work ("and it is work, don't forget") in an underground bunker, lined with mahogany panelling and bookshelves, featuring not her works, as one might expect, but photographs, some of the author herself, but most of them of her inspirations: Mother Theresa, Dame Barbara Cartland, Margaret Thatcher, Mary Harney, Ayn Rand. "All strong, powerful women, Manuel, you will notice," she explained. "All of them knew what they wanted and pursued it single-mindedly, regardless of what anybody else thought of them." She caressed the frame of a picture of Mary Harney strangling a goose. "In women such qualities are invariably frowned upon, whereas in men they are considered honourable. Just think. Michael O'Leary, Jeffrey Archer, Michael McDowell, Gordon Ramsay. All of them admired, nay, worshiped and fawned over for their strength of character and determination. Women who exhibit those qualities, on the other hand . . . " Her voice trailed away and she shook her head dejectedly as she stroked Barbara Cartland's cheek. I felt it best not to express my personal feelings on the matter of the weaker sex and the emasculating nature of liberal society, bearing in mind that I had not yet been able to take advantage of her.

"It must nevertheless mean a life of loneliness," I ventured, a speculation that suggested empathy when in fact I felt that it served her right for taking away a man's job. But Miss Delaney had no time for mawkish self-pity. She quickly bucked up.

"Let's get some tea and biscuits and discuss your itinerary," she said.

Over the next 20 minutes or so I outlined my plans and offered suggestions for how Miss Delaney might help me: a direct donation into my account, going onto the airwaves and telling everyone to give me free food and accommodation, mentioning me in the opening lines of her next book review for the Irish Times ("The correspondence between Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt, skillfully edited and annotated in this volume by Martin Golightly, put me in mind of the fearless, handsome, and pious but humble Manuel Estímulo, currently making a tour of this benighted nation of ours . . . "). At most turns, she demurred, not contemptuously but firmly explaining the shortcomings in my proposals.

"You must understand, my dear Manuel," she said, "the emphasis in the phrase 'publishing industry' falls upon the second word. These days publishing is exclusively a business enterprise, and unless you are already a well-known public figure, publishing houses have no interest at all in attempting to sell your wares. The publishing world is a very conservative place–"

"–I am pleased to hear it."

"Good. But a consequence of this is that it is near impossible, especially in times like these, for outsiders to break in. Even those of us who are successful must write to a formula, giving our readers exactly what they want. I do not exaggerate. I can give you the precise breakdown of the plot, character, and storyline requirements for the novels of any of the top 50 novelists alive today. And that's before you begin to consider the tie-ins: film rights, product placement, toys, spin-offs, location cachet, newsworthiness. There's no point writing a book today about leukaemia or Alzheimer's. They've been done to death. Or autism. Or the Holocaust. You have to look at what's going to be in the news in 12 months' time. Who's likely to be dead by then? Is there a centenary coming up in 2014 that you can exploit? Or else make up a new illness. Growing old backwards, for instance. That's a good one. Or growing a new cock. How about that?"

I was crunching my Hobnobs with abandon by this point, making furious notes in the margins of the Daily Mail which I'd taken from the pile of newspapers Miss Delaney told me she was throwing out. But at the mention of the word "cock" I must confess that my knee jerked with surprise (and a brief experience of déjà vu as I recalled the first day in the showers at school). That jerk catapulted my tray of half-eaten Hobnobs to the floor, where the plate smashed and the biscuits crumbled. I looked up at her in horror. She rose from behind her desk.

"Not to worry, Manuel. I'll go get a brush from the scullery. I'm sure the maid will have something like that."

She crossed the study to the door but turned as she opened it.

"Of course, there is one other way of breaking into the business, you know, Manuel. You could have sex with someone already on the inside." She gave me what I thought must have been a meaningful look before disappearing up the stairs and into the daylight above.

Now, I am not fool enough to imagine myself to be a sophisticate, with all the worldly wiles of, say, an American. And Heaven knows that I have done my best to disdain and dismiss all material goods and pleasures as trivia, mere gew-gaws and trinkets of temptation by means of which Satan lures us into the maw of Hell. But even I have the presence of mind to be able to spot an opportunity for career advancement when it is presented to me on a plate, as it were, winking at me over its shoulder with its arse raised in the air. And therefore you will not be surprised when I tell you what I did next. As quickly as possible, I relieved myself of my clothings so that I would be ready and waiting for Miss Delaney when she returned to the room, having no doubt washed herself down there and put some lippy on (I splashed some gin from the drinks cabinet on my cheeks and gave my penis a quick spritz too just to take the daily stink off it). I then climbed up onto the Miss Delaney's desk, attempting to look magnificent, masculine, magisterial, and another word that begins with an m but I don't know what it is in English. And while I stood there waiting, I did some dynamic tension exercises I remembered from Charles Atlas that would make me looked pumped. Also I masturbated a little.

I was therefore a little disappointed when Miss Delaney returned not only still fully dressed and with no apparent lipstick on her mouth, but also wielding what I can only describe as the thickest, longest, knobbliest broomstick I think it has ever been my misfortune to lay my eyes on. "Unless I have seriously misread this situation and the next half an hour is not going to involve some rampant sex after all, I can't for the life of me imagine how she is going to incorporate a broomstick that size into proceedings," I thought to myself. However, and possibly fortunately, I had indeed misread the situation. Upon seeing my virile form standing erect upon her workstation, Miss Delaney at first screamed with terror, an emotion that soon took a backseat to violent, incandescent rage, which manifested itself in the way she charged at me waving the broomstick above her head.

"Aaaaaaarrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!" she yelled, channeling a million banshee howls, her huge shoulders now generating serious purchase through the broomhandle. I leapt from the table, the first swipe missing me by inches, and clambered onto the nearest bookshelf, hoping to scramble high enough to be out of her reach.

"Get down here, you vile man!" she screeched, swiping again at my behind, which hung down like a forbidden fruit as I clung to the rail protecting her first-edition Atlas Shrugged. I inched along as best I could, she still swiping with her broom, photos of Harney, Thatcher, Sarah Palin, crashing to the floor.

"Help me! Help me!" I implored, before realizing that there was nobody in earshot and that anyone who did happen upon us would simply imagine that we were re-enacting the final scene of the movie The Fly, my pink shaven head lending the scene a particular veracity. There was nothing for it but to jump and make a break for the door.

"There's been a big mistake," I said, trying to placate my assailant in order to improve my chances of escape.

"I'll say there has," she replied as I landed on the floor on all fours. "Get out of my house, you monster." She attempted to scuttle me off with a final swish, but I was already halfway up the stair before the broom's trajectory was complete, leaving my clothes behind, and I refused myself the luxury of looking back until I was at least a half-mile up the road. At least I'd had the foresight to leave the ignition key in my scooter.

*All names have been changed to protect the guilty.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Every Cow Has a Silver Lining!

It's What's Underneath That Counts! (Not the Udders)

"What is the most common expression in Ireland?"

This was the question which was pose for a competition recently in one of Ireland's most wide-read magazines, Ireland's Own (target demographic: widows/spinsters aged 90 to 130). Although my subscription to the magazine was let lapse once I retired to the Canarias (prohibitive postal charges), when I was work in Ireland back in the 1980s for the Spanish intelligence services, this magazine was essential reading in order to acquire up-to-date information on what the population was thinking, and consequently a week was never go by without it appearing on the top of a pile of documents on my desk, the always gorgeous watercolour painting on its cover stamped with a single word: Urgente.

Even though my reading was for work purpoises and therefore by definition a trial to be endured, I was raised to enjoy pain and suffering, especially those of others, and Ireland's Own was replete with suffering, especially of the Irish people and their saints, all of whom seem to have been killed by the English at Vinegar Hill (which I think is a poetical metaphor for Calvary rather than an actual place). Consequently I came very much to look forward to my rendez-vous with the Irish psyche, an attitude that both enhanced my appreciation for and understanding of the prevalent worldview abroad in the land and also to scale the greasy pole, which is not a reference to Ludmilla the office secretary but to the promotions I secured in my several years in the embassy. When I leave Ireland, it was with much sadness but also a hefty pension as chief of station, and much of that can be placed at the doorstep of Ireland's Own, although, needless to say, I have no such intention of doing so.

I was, however, intrigued by the competition which was run by the magazine recently, if you remember. Since I am now newly back in Ireland, it was strike me that the correct answer to this question would tell me a great deal about how much the country had changed in the years I had been away. I had seen some of and sympathized with the lovely holy pissing Ireland of yore, a simple, pious, bitter, fervently nationalistic Ireland driven by self-hatred, hatred of others, and the love of our lord Jesus and his blessed mother, but it was clear to me that a materialist atheist capitalist conspiracy had insinuated itself into some parts of society, particularly the urban regions, with their cosmopolitanism, ladies living alone, Jews, bookshops, lack of playing fields, and huddled masses (although not huddled Masses, which were still, thankfully, much in evidence down the country). Thus I took it upon myself to utilize this competition question as a springboard for some amateur research, suspecting that the changes which have take place since the arrival and departure of the Celtic Tiger would manifest itself in the answers I was likely to receive.

I therefore was set up my stall in various parts of the city of Dublin and the suburb of Dun Laoghaire where I am now based and asked people the question posed by Ireland's Own. So in order as not to raise their suspicions, I carried on my person a fake Newstalk i.d., a microphone, a portable tape recorder (conveniently, I had one given to me as a birthday present in the 1970s), and sunglasses so I could not be recognized. I set up first my stall outside the swimming baths, sometimes following people in and sometimes following them home afterwards, then outside a GAA club, then also outside the FÁS offices on Baggot Street, then immediately after that outside the Waterloo pub (also on Baggot Street), then outside Harcourt Street police station, inside Harcourt Street police station, and then a ladies' hairdressing salon. And finally back inside Harcourt Street police station. I was able to make from this process a fairly representative sample to extrapolate with (and some nice photos too). The most popular answers I received to Ireland's Own's question, masquerading as Manuel's Own question were (in no particular order):

(1) "Hail Mary, full of grace. Our Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus." (This was reassuring to hear and also allowed me to engage in some guerrilla praying.)

(2) "If you really loved me, you'd put it in your mouth." (This suggestion was particularly common among ladies.)

(3) "We are where we are." (This was usually said with a sneer.)

(4) "There is no god but Allah, and Mohammed is his prophet." (A consecutive number of students from the college of F.E. in Ballsbridge said this to me with barely contained laughter, which I took for contempt and proof of the insidious Islamicization of education in Ireland that the Irish Independent is always warning people about.)

(5) "This is the wettest July on record since last July." (I insert here myself the word "July," but respondents actually used every month on the calendar).

(6) "We apologize for the delay to this train, which was caused by a technical difficulty/a lorry hitting a bridge/suicide at Killester."

(7) "What time's your flight?"


(8) "We here at Ireland AM have teamed up with [insert the name of any half-empty hotel in the provinces]."

These, I think you must agree, constitute a varied and representative sample of what passes for the commonplace banter of the average Irish interlocutor. Imagine therefore my surprise, having entered all eight of these statements into the competition under different identities but the same address so as not to complicate any prize collection, when the winning entry was announced and it transpired to be the proverb which now makes up the title of this blog post: "Every Cow has a Silver Lining." I was at once taken aback, mystified, and yet also strangely comforted, since it made me realize that the old Ireland that I had so much loved was still intact somewhere out there, somewhere beyond the fleshpots of sin and depravity that make up Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown.

My overseas readers will no doubt be asking, though, what means this saying "Every Cow Has a Silver Lining"? Although not my Spanish readers, who will be familiar with a similar such proverb which we have, "Every Bull Has Gold Inside," which is a clever proverb that plays on the words "Toro," meaning bull, and "Oro," which is the word for gold. This is an old farming expression which tells you of the high esteem and importance in which rural communities hold bulls and their regenerative powers, since a good bull is much more valuable to a farmer than a dozen cows. Some people, mostly foreigners, think that the saying is meant to be taken literally, as a reference to the bull's seed, but bull semen is not gold at all, merely a sort of orangey-beige, as any Spanish child can tell you from school trips. The Spanish saying is therefore nothing more than a metaphor.

In the case of the Irish saying, however, there is some evidence that rural communities still believe that it is literally true that cows have silver linings. This is because of the peculiar history of the Irish dairy economy. Irish farmers, while astute, tight-fisted bastardos, are also very sentimental sons-of-bitches, and since the country gained independence, not a single cow has been slaughtered in the 26 counties. Irish farmers could not bear to see the cows they had become so fond of and intimately affectionate with shot through the skull with a bolt gun. Therefore, all cows were exported "on the hoof" by ferry to England, often under better conditions than Irish men and women (anyone who has taken the overnight boat train from Dublin to Holyhead can testify to this), and then the cows were ritually slaughtered by the English, which is what they are good at. The butchered meat would then be distributed to all three corners of the British Empire, including Ireland, where the populace are notoriously fond of their rump steaks, chitlings, buffalo wings, and Bisto. Of course, by the time the cows are in the butchers' shops in Kilkenny, Castlebar, Carlow, and sometimes Athlone, they are no longer recognizable as the individuals they once were, and what is more, their skin has been removed long ago, kept by the English who use them for their rugs, having FIRST removed the silver lining! This, at least, has been for hundreds of years the Irish farmers' suspicion for how come the cruel, vicious, animal-hating Protestant English were getting so rich while the decent, animal-loving, pious Roman Catholic Irish were still having to pay €5 for a decent tongue sandwich.

It was heartening to think that this traditional worldview is still underneath the surface of the superficial postmodern multicultural communist Ireland of today, even though the casual observer has to peer deeply under the carapace, or the bonnet, depending if they are looking at a car, a ladybird, a small child, or a teenage girl. The competition result proved to me that the shallow mediocrity that some sections of Ireland aspire to adopt as their defining national characteristic has not yet taken hold across the country; somewhere out there the beating heart of the true Ireland persists, throbbing under the surface like an unwanted erection at the aforementioned swimming baths, and since my return to this island has been premised on the belief that conditions have never been riper to restore Ireland to herself, her true pious, disciplined, fascist Roman Catholic self, locating the source of that pulsating flesh would be the sine qua non of success. It must be massaged, cajoled, made stronger and bigger, the way it once was, so that it can rejuvenate and regenerate this once proud, but also very humble, nation.

I have resolved therefore to embark upon a nationwide tour in search of the real true Ireland. I plan to take in every single county and every major townland, village, convent, farm, and bar in my quest. I have already packed my Tupperware box with sandwiches and filled my Thermos flask (with Bisto, of course!), and Miss Whipcream and Jane Bondage have promised to keep an eye on my home in my absence, dealing with post, burst pipes, death threats, unmarked packages that appear on bank statements as "Runnymede Entertainment Enterprises," and the football scores. I have asked them to record for me the Champions League final so that I do not miss Real Madrid beating Manchester United 6-0 at Wembley, but I espect I shall be able to watch it in a field in Fermanagh, hopefully surrounded by cows. With silver linings.

Let us pray.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

A Man's Work is Never Done!

Why Book Burning was Invented!

I have never been a great fan of Do-It-Yourself, also known as D.I.Why, both for practical and for ideological reasons. In the first place, it is an attitude which is synomynous with anarchism, exemplified by the punk rocking, fanzines, blogging, and masturbation. It reach its apogee in the late 1970s, when all across Britain and Ireland there was open all these megastores such as Virgin, B&Q, Homebase, Allied Carpet Bombings, Atlantic Homeboy, Home Despot, and, in Ireland, Hoodies. Also on the television were such shows as Home Improvement, Tomorrow's World, Practical Anarchist, Kitchen Impossible, and Upstairs and Downstairs, all of which was intent on turning the men and women of Europe into atheist communist autonomous revolutionaries. Every Sunday, which is God's day, I remind you, men and women with hate in their eyes and dogs in their cars would drive to these suspicious out-of-town meeting places where they would congregate, plot revolution, buy nailguns and grout, and then return to their homes and put honest decent Christian small businessmen out of work. For this was their devious plan, the Why in the D.I.Why: A noxious conspiracy to break the petty bourgeoisie and draw them back into the seething proletarian mass, thereby polarizing society into decent God-fearing wealthy hacienda owners on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the scum. Everybody else.

Out of principle therefore I have never done a proper day's work in my life, choosing instead to employ others, lackeys of some sort or another, to do it for me. I am thereby generating employment, gratuitude, indebtedness, droit de seigneur, and a sense of noblesse oblige which is only proper and fitting and which keeps society stable and moving in the right direction, which is nowhere. I have deliberately avoided learning how to turn taps on and off, change a plug in my bath, how to empty my jacuzzi, how to open the oven (or close it, obviously!), how to exchange lightbulbs, or how to flush a toilet. These are all jobs for someone else. It has therefore been a bit of a wrench to find myself last week standing in my kitchen with, in my hand, a bit of a wrench. And a bit. A drill bit. Which was because I have had the decorators in. Miss Whipcream and Jane Bondage, my old friends who I was mention last week and have found me my new bachelor pad in Dun Laoghaire, have been getting the place "done up" for me, and it is turn out that they are dab hands at all manner of activities that involve screwing, nailing, banging, and plumming. And also teabagging.

My natural manliness was felt a little threatened by this broad knowledge, so in order not to be intiminated by them, I snuck out one of the mornings last week while they were still assembling the lowering apparatus in my bedroom and took a walk down to the Dun Laoghaire public library. I have never been in such a place before, again as a matter of principle. Libraries should be privately owned and books rented out to those willing to pay for them, not communally owned and given to all and sundry, whether they can read or not and who might get God-knows-what ideas out of them. And who-knows-what infections off them. At least with a private library you know whose pubic hairs they are. Neverthenonetheless, I made a member of myself (although I used a pseudoname so as not to leave a record or to be embarrass at a later date for overdue fines and the likes).

I find myself now however in two minds about the value or lack therein of the public library. After I was a member, I then say to the library lady, "Now perhaps you will help me, library lady. I am somewhat retarded in the ability to do the crafts around the house, and therefore I am needing some books that will enable me to feel better about myself, especially in the presents of other sex members." The library lady was just stand there for a minute contemplating me and stroking her moustache, and then she was take my hand and say, "Come with me, dear," and lead me to a shelf where she pull off two books which she give me:

"I think you will find these perfect for your special needs," she said.

I did not want to make her look like a fool in front of all the homeless people and snoring pensioners sitting around us, so I didn't not say anything at the time to dispel her of her mistake. A man must show courtesy and discretion on such an occasion so as not to humiliate a woman until he gets her home, so I just nodded and said thank you to her and then when she had her back turned put the books in a small boy's satchel hanging on the back of a chair. It was already apparent to me that all library staff are morons, probably volunteers left money in a feeble-minded aunt's will and therefore at a loose end and with a desire to confuse the aged, so I therefore ventured further into the library on my own in order to satisfy both my curiosity, which is very small, and my hunger, since they had also a cafe.

After two hours of meandering and doughnut munching, I was finally able to find books of some merit. Thus, even though I would instinctively feel that all public libraries should be burned to the ground, I was also force to ask myself where else in the Greater Dublin area I would be able to find books so perfectly tailored to my needs:

This is just a refresher course for me. Making coffins was part of my training during National Service. Like the SAS, we in Spanish intelligence always know where the bodies are buried. Because we buried them ourselves!

Actually, I took this book for Miss Whipcream, who has a couple of boas. Furry ones. They do not look well at all. They just lie there on the back of her sofa.

I am not disabled, but I do sit around all day doing nothing, so I am figure that clothes for the disabled will not be much different to clothes for the lazy. Mostly tracksuits, pyjamas, and slankets. I do not have much confidence in the contents of this book, however. The cardigan on the cover has buttons on. Who can be arsed doing up buttons?

NOW we are talking! Since part of my agenda is to take Ireland back to the days of the burro, this book will be invaluable in providing tips on feeding, beating, overworking, and insulting donkeys, all part of the traditional rural Irish way of life that disappeared when the Ford plant opened in Cork (2005, I think).

You see now why I am ambiguous about public libraries? They are a source of some of the most treasured and valuable works in the English language, but they are also open to the malodorous hoi polloi. It is very important therefore that they are saved and treated properly, preferably by being bought up by someone who will look after their contents for posterity. I always say that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing, so it is better that the rabble have no knowledge whatsoever, and the little knowledge provided by libraries is shared amongst policemen, soldiers, and the secret service and intelligence agencies: the people we want to be dangerous.

Anyway, when I got home, Miss Whipcream and Jane Bondage was fast asleep in my bed with smiles on their faces, and the batteries in my adjustable sander was all dead. I wouldn't not mind, but they had still not erected my pommel horse. Is a big disgrace!