The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Driving through the heartland of South Kildare.
Warm sun on the fields.
Life good.
Me and Tom Petty singing "Running Down A Dream."
Him on the radio.
Me in the car.
All is right with the world.
Abruptly my attention is drawn to a breaking news item on the radio.
According to the announcer, a  woman called Lyndsey Chamberlain has just received yet another court hearing in Australia in which Judges with more feminist sensibility than sense, have announced yet again, that they are absolutely certain that Lyndsey Chamberlain is not a murderess and that a dingo took her baby.
For a brief moment my car is filled with shouting.
Presently I realise that the person doing the shouting is me.
I am shouting: "Ah give it a rest you bitch. You got away with it. Congratulations. A bloody dingo my arse."
Why it was like I'd instantly gone back twenty years.
It was the 1980's again.
Meryl Streep had just made a film in which she portrayed Lyndsey Chamberlain plaintively intoning: "A dingo took my baby."
A group of us were watching the film on video.
And I'd begun shouting that Meryl Streep was just as gulty of the murder of that baby as Lyndsey Chamberlain because Meryl Streep had done her level best to alibi that murdering bitch without knowing whether she was guilty or not.
And my civilised socially conscious 14 year old cousin Emma had responded in equally robust terms that Lyndsey Chamberlain was innocent, and that I was no better than Meryl Streep because I was making statements about Lyndsey Chamberlain's guilt when in fact there was no way I could know whether Lyndsey Chamberlain actually killed her baby or not, or indeed anything else about Lyndsey Chamberlain.
The whole vignette came back to me today as I drove.
I smiled ruefully.
I pretty much stand by my original assessment of Lyndsey Chamberlain.
Me and every copper who investigated the case, and every journo who met Lyndsey Chamberlain for more than five seconds, thought she did it.
I still do.
Incidentally, that was one of only three disagreements I ever had with my characterful cousin Emma.
All three came back to me today with a certain piquancy.
The second one was in the dulcet Summer of 1991 when the Bangles were soaring up the charts with their unforgettable Summer hit: "Walk Like An Egyptian."
As we watched the Bangles on television, Emma had pronounced that the dark haired backing singer was the best looking Bangle.
I had met this with near cosmic derision.
My exact words were: "Susannnah Hoffs is the only good looking Bangle. The other Bangles are respectively a battle axe, a war hammer and a back of a bus."
Emma had been fairly censorious about my analysis of the comparitive pulchritudinousness of the various Bangles.
She had not spared my feelings in her rebuttal which focussed rather more than was necessary on perceived deficiencies in my own physical and mental traits.
Ah memories.
Now decades later I pretty much stand by my original assessment of Susannah Hoffs too.
Ah Susannah Hoffs.
I have not forgotten you.
Thou art indeed more fair
Than all the tresses of Neaera's hair
Thy beauty it has brought me home
To the grandeur that was Greece and the glory that was Rome.
Well you know what I mean.
I love Susannah Hoffs with a passion that is deep dark and undimmed by the years.
It pierces to the core of my soul.
She can sit on my face any time.
Truly I am a sentimentalist at heart.
The third and final disagreement I had with my cousin Emma occurred when she was much younger, about ten years old.
She came in from school with her little friend Lavina.
Both seemed troubled.
I asked what was up.
"We've been talking about God," said Emma. "And we've just realised that if God asked us to kill someone, we'd have to do it."
"And what would you do if God asked you to become a nun?" I enquired judicially.
"Oh I could never become a nun," shot back Emma.
"Me neither," said Lavina with feeling.
They exited cheerily enough.
I never heard either of them talk about committing culpable homicide on behalf of the Deity again.
Three arguments with Emma in a lifetime.
It's not bad really.
And I don't think I was ever wrong about any of them.


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