One Sunday morning, after a night of debauchery, I awoke with my usual foggy head and parched mouth. But in addition to these familiar foes I noticed a numbness in my right hand. Hmm, I thought, what was I up to at all? As the day progressed the pain progressed until I was left with no choice but to go to A & E. The prognosis? A fractured scaphoid. The cause? To this day I still don't know. I sent texts to friends querying the previous night's activities, but they were just as nonplussed as I. A good night had clearly been had by all.
I viewed this as an occupational hazard, all part of the experience. If I had known where the injury had occurred it would served merely as anecdotal evidence, “Yeah I fell in the Comeragh and busted me hand” I'd laugh as I proudly showed off my cast. What a hero. The proprietor of the establishment would have laughed along with me, offering a pint for my troubles. But Ireland is a different country now. We're just like all the others, eager to grab a quick buck for as little effort as possible. We jokingly shout “Claim, claim” any time someone even so much as skids in our local Tesco. But Ms Ciara O'Connell was far from joking when she brought her case of misadventure to the High Court.
Back in 2006 Ms O'Connell was doing her thang on the dance floor of Copper Face Jack's when she, and the gentleman accompanying her, took quite the tumble. Such was the force of their fall that Ms O'Connell ended up fracturing her arm. Ooh nasty. Still at least you'll get lots of cute guys signing your cast eh Ciara? Wha?! Ya mad yoke. But she didn't see it like that. It wasn't her fault. Despite the fact that she'd been dancing backwards in a style reminiscent of Jennifer Grey in Dirty Dancing it wasn't her fault. Despite the fact that people all over the world go arse over tit while incapacitated from alcohol Ms O'Connell saw hers as a special case. So whose fault was it? Why Copper Face Jacks' of course. The dance floor was wet. Shock horror. A place where everyone is drinking has a wet dance floor. Whatever the fuck next.
Thankfully Ms O'Connell didn't win her case. Imagine if she had. The courts would be full of sheepish drunks brandishing their various injuries and screaming for justice. The few pubs remaining in the country would be shut down within weeks. There are not many things in Ireland which remain sacred but the outcome of this hearing has reaffirmed my faith in at least one doctrine: we get drunk, we make a fool of ourselves, we fall on our arses, and we laugh about it. Amen to that.
FRIDAY NIGHT FEVER
There can't be many sports that I enjoy less than Gaelic Football. It's like someone took the worst elements from football and the worst elements from rugby and made a sport out of it, painfully dull stuff. But in spite of my antipathy towards the game I still hold a deep admiration for those who play it, and that of course extends to the hurlers too. Performing in front of thousands in attendance and many more viewing at home on a weekly basis these men (and women) do it all for the pride of their county. They get up for work on a Monday morning just the same as those who pay to watch them. I'm sure they are remunerated in other ways but both codes are staunchly amateur and all the better for it.
But it is important that we don't take these sportsmen for granted. Yes they do it for the love of the game but even that love has a limit. How do you feel on a Friday evening after a hard week of work? Do you feel like playing a vitally important game, one which may shape your county's fortunes for the rest of the year? Probably not. Like most people you feel like flaking out in the front of the TV and laughing at Graham Norton's smutty double entendres. And I'm sure the gaelic footballers of Carlow and Laois were exactly the same. How could they be expected to prepare both physically and mentally for such a big game when they're stuck in work? And more to the point what impact does this have on their work? Oh I'm gonna take it a bit easy today boss, big game tonight y'know.
Can you imagine the GAA pushing a Kilkenny game to a Friday night, or worse still a Dublin one? Of course not, there'd be fuckin' outcry. But because it's little ole' Laois and Carlow they can get away with it, sure it's not like they're going to be winning the All-Ireland or anything is it? This flagrant disregard for the player's welfare is inexcusable and gives those kids considering a career in a better paid vocation just one more excuse not to bother with the local sports.
GROUNDS FOR COMPLAINT
I quite enjoyed The Voice, the Irish version that is. Have you ever watched the abomination that is the English show? Fuck me. Jessie J, some jumped up little twerp from The Script and the geriatric Tom Jones dreaming of the days when he swam in women's underwear for a living. Programmes like this are all about the judges and on this occasion, for a change, Ireland have easily bested their cross-channel neighbours. However when it comes to presenters, well that's a different matter. We have the nasal, whiny Kathryn Thomas who grows more and more like a dried prune with every passing year, and the Brits have Holly Willoughby. Now I'm not one of the thousands of men who worship the very ground Ms Willoughby walks upon but I can definitely see the attraction; blonde, brassy, big boobs, what's not to like?
Well 139 viewers of last weekend's edition of the show found something to grumble about. Their complaint? Holly's breasts were on display. They were? Where can I find a video? Quick! But no it appears they were being facetious. Her breasts weren't actually out for all to see, they were just clamouring for attention in a particularly low-cut dress. Purely for research purposes (ahem) I had a look at some pictures of Holly in the aforementioned dress, and if anything you can't see enough of her tits! Clearly I'm joking, television has already become sexualised enough, it's almost a relief to watch something without scantily clad ladies and provocative dancing.
But being so offended by a woman expressing her femininity that you feel compelled to contact the BBC and complain? There are far more things worthy of complaint than the sight of Holly Willoughby's barely concealed chest. The sight of Jessie J dishing out advice to singers infinitely more talented than her, that's what people should be complaining about.
GO ASK YOUR MOTHER. ERM, WHICH ONE?
I have previously gone on record as saying I fully endorse the notion of same-sex couples adopting children and starting a family. There are enough unhappy children in the world to go round and many of these unfortunate souls would prosper in the kind of loving, caring environment that these prospective parents could offer. Who cares if you have two Daddies or two Mammies, it doesn't really matter so long as they love you. But two parents is enough for any children, a line should definitely be drawn there. However in the future there may be some kids unlucky enough to have three of the fuckers.
In an attempt to prevent hereditary diseases such as muscular dystrophy, epilepsy and heart problems being passed down from parent to child British scientists have created a technique which may enable babiesto be created using the DNA of three different people. Confused? I was. The technique involves the merging of two embryos taking only the healthy parts from each. The mother's already fertilised egg is combined with that of another woman thus eradicating the risk of passing on these potentially life-threatening ailments. My view? We can't play God on things like this. Yes the notion of having a child free from the risks of genetic illnesses is a fine one but surely the ability to procreate is one of the finest gifts to be bestowed on mankind? Why tamper with this? If your child ends up with your fucked up genes then so be it. That's certainly more preferable than explaining to him or her that they are 45% Daddy 45% Mammy and 10% some random healthy lady who gave us a loan of her embryo.