Friday, February 25, 2011

Rancid Ruminations Feb 2011

Don't you love that cosy deal between Aer Lingus management and SIPTU - let's connive on a tax fraud, shure only our shareholders will suffer. The usual lack of repercussions will follow.

Does Kidney know what he's doing anymore? Rory Best should be dropped, Paddy Wallace should not be on the bench, and Stringer should be scrum-half. He should have started his kicking outhalf (O'Gara) against France and his running outhalf (Sexton) against Scotland. Also, I think this team is on the wane. O'Connell is not match fit, Fitzgerald is not match fit, D'Arcy is out of sorts, O'Driscoll is over the hill, and the entire front row is suspect. The only thing they've got going for them is that Scotland are even worse. We may eke out an unimpressive win.

With our Department of Finance in disgrace over its pathetically inept role in the current financial crisis, we now hear that our Department of Foreign Affairs are no better. Its advice to our citizens trapped in Libya was to get on the internet and book yourselves flights back home - in a country where this was just plain not possible. Luckily the Brits intervened and rescued a bunch of them. You do have to laugh at the Croke Park agreement and the notion that these guys will mend their ways and improve their work practices. You can't change a culture by decree. Non serviam is their mantra rather than noblesse oblige.

I do love horses and racing and I do like the occasional gamble. And I do understand the importance of the bloodstock industry for Ireland. However, the gulf between the level of prize money in Irish and English racing is astounding. I would quite like us to offer more than the Brits but not this outrageous discrepancy. Look at any days racing cards for Irish and English racing and wonder at the difference. It's usually two or three times greater for equivalent races. It encourages mediocrity as moderate horses can earn a decent living.

The election eh - hard to get enthusiastic. Nothing radical will happen. All we can hope for is that some of the more egregious FFers will bite the dust. I'm thinking particularly of that pompous red-faced prick in Kerry. Fine Gael will go easy on the banks and Labour will strive to maintain the ludicrous Croke Park agreement. A plague on all their houses. I think I'll go off the grid.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

No Moore Street

I had to laugh at Eamon Gilmore doing the cliched Moore Street thing with his entourage on TV recently. I know he's standing in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown but he should have known that the old Moore Street is dead and gone. The shutters are down, the hoardings are up, planning notices adorn nearly every building. Graffiti runs riot. The businesses that remain have a transitory feel to them: mobile phones unlocked, exotic hairstyle options, nails tended. An Asian girl stands in a doorway offering tickets for some mysterious lottery.

There are few enough signs of the Moore Street that we knew and loved. It is still possible to find a butcher boy - just. F. X. Buckley offering cheap cuts and offal is one of the few holdouts from the past – a cheery commercial island in a slough of despond. The rest of the street is dirty, decrepit, diminished and deserted. There are a few fruit stalls and a forlorn fish barrow. There are many gaps where once the serried ranks of cheerful harridans assailed you to buy moody bananas and other problematical fruit: “twopence each the ripe bananas”. The abiding atmosphere is of seediness and impermanence.

Number 16 Moore Street was the building used by the leaders of the 1916 Rising as their headquarters after they had left the GPO. It was declared a national monument by Bertie Aherne in 2006. There are vague plans to house a commemorative centre there for the centenary of the Rising in 2016. The site currently lies boarded up and neglected, a small plaque unreadable high up on the second floor wall. Broken windows, broken promises.

The seeds of Moore Street’s downfall lie towards the Parnell Street side where Lidl sells fruit and vegetables even cheaper than the stallholders. Commerce ruthlessly displaces character. Dubliners have moved out to be replaced by immigrants from Asia and Africa struggling to find an economic foothold in their newfoundland. God help them.