Thanks to the ubiquity of the Arthur's Day adverts it feels like the yearly celebration has been around for ever; but it only began in 2009. And if certain parties are to have their way it might not be around for much longer. As a semi-retired boozer this newly created excuse for a piss up has little impact on my life, it actually took me a while to figure out why town was so busy on what I presumed was just another mundane Thursday afternoon. But then it clicked, “ah yes, people are heading out to get hammered in the name of a person whom they know little about. I thought that was what Paddy's day was for?” You can't blame the drinks companies though, if they had their way there'd be festivals for every fucker who'd ever worked a day in the Guinness factory.
But Arthur's Day has it's fair share of detractors, with negativity stemming from several cunning marketing ploys designed to drum up interest in the event. The Arthur Guinness Project – essentially a talent show made cool by it's association with the black stuff – is a case in point. The belief among many is that this is merely a cynical way of getting the Arthur Guinness name out there, yes it rewards the nation's undiscovered talent but only a select few actually receive any funding from the organisers. This is modern-day Ireland though, everyone is just out get to a buck in any way they can.
Look at The Gathering, a complete shakedown of the Irish diaspora. But it worked, the fuckers were here in their droves this year, and they're still coming. Who benefits from this? Not you or I, at least not yet, but perhaps it will help drive the Irish economy forward indirectly and that's something we all want. As far as I'm concerned we can have Gatherings, monthly tributes to the Guinness family and four Paddy's Days a year, because no one is forcing us to get involved. Let them market the shit out of it and exploit as many poor fools as they want, and then maybe some day our beleaguered little country can get back on it's own two feet.
Flattering to deceive
I'm not really sure where I stand when it comes to Roy Keane these days. Time was when I'd spill blood for the Corkonian, but not any more. Granted, my loyalty towards him stemmed from his imperious performances in the name of MUFC but invariably when Roy spoke, I agreed. But that changed in the wake of United's Champion's League exit to Real Madrid this year. I'm not so precious that I can't handle an ex-player railing against the club he represented with such distinction; but there was something in the way Keane spoke that night, he seemed to revel in his role of naysayer and dare I say it, in Alex Ferguson's misfortune.
And given his own managerial failures Roy has been doing a lot of speaking lately; mostly in his role as pundit with ITV. But that hasn't stopped his name being mentioned in relation to the Irish job recently vacated by Giovanni Trappatoni. Despite not managing a club for over two years he's still found himself on the list of candidates to replace the departed Italian. Perhaps his time away from management has made us forget just how bad he was at it? Yes he had a great start with Sunderland, getting them promoted in his first season at the helm. But since then? Mediocre at best.
You'd think these humbling experiences would have softened Roy's cough, but it appears not. When asked if he was flattered to be linked with the Irish job his response was “No, not really. I shouldn't be flatted by that, should I?” Yes you bloody well should Mr 'I only buy players I used to play with', yes you should. In a way I admire his brazenness, his refusal to tow the company line has always made him one of the game's most fascinating characters. But a bit of humility wouldn't go astray either. Keane once famously told the FAI to “get over it”,in reference to the Hand of Henry. But maybe now it's time for Roy to heed his own advice, because you can't stay bitter for ever and eventually we all have to get over it.
It's great when you find money isn't it? You're walking along the street and there it is on the ground waiting to be picked up. Marvellous, free fucking money. But no sooner have you pocketed it then the guilt starts, “Oh I bet some poor old woman dropped that after getting her pension,” or words to that effect. You get so guilty that you wish more than anything you could give it back to the poor forgetful fool who dropped it. So if you find a wallet do you hand that back? Course ya do 'cos you're lovely. You ignore the wad of fifties bulging out from the seams and head straight to the nearest Garda station. In short: you are a credit to humanity.
That's what most people would do anyway, at least I think they would. Really we have no way of knowing how honest we are as a nation. But thanks to a recent experiment by Reader's Digest we can discover just how honest the sixteen other nations. They placed twelve wallets in each of the cities under the microscope - cities which included New York, London, Rio and Madrid – and then waited to see how many would be returned. A simple but genius way of finding out where the most generous folk in the world reside. And it will come as no surprise to learn that the Finns of Helsinki were the most virtuous of those investigated with eleven of the twelve wallets being returned to the authorities. Damn those Scandinavians and their beautiful hearts.
The worst, most dishonest cities? Madrid and Lisbon. But I don't think we should jump to conclusions about Iberians just yet. Is it any coincidence that Portugal and Spain are two of the most hard-up countries in the world right now? They were probably fighting each other in the streets for those wallets. And given our own economic state perhaps we should be grateful that we weren't considered when it came to this study of honesty.
The acid test
I can't let a week go by without covering a more 'risqué' story, for a while it looked like there was nothing of note for me to talk about this week. But then I heard about the pH of a vagina. Uh oh things are about to get embarrassing - and yet I'm not embarrassed at all. Anyway the pH of a vagina (I really like saying that), what is it? Well if you must know it's 4.5; but unless you're a science boffin that number will mean nothing to you. The best way of judging this figure is by comparing to other items with a similar pH, or items with a comparable level of acidity. And they are? Beer and tomatoes. Brilliant. That's right girls your precious lady-garden is as acidic as a pint of Bud or a plump, ripe tomato.
At first I wondered if this high pH was evolution's way of warding off potential suitors, kind of like a burning furnace designed to injure all who entered. But it appears that it's perfectly natural and that this level of acidity is required in order to ward off harmful infections. The old bearded clam works in much the same way as our stomachs and mouths and therefore resembles a boiling hotpot of microorgnanisms and such like. It should make us blokes think twice about taking a trip South of the border but let's face it we've eaten worse. And because women are armed with the knowledge that their furry cups share a pH level with beer I get the feeling that no excuse will ever be good enough from now on.