The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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

Saturday, March 30, 2019

facile insolence towards the famous

Everybody's making it big but me.
All this week I keep coming across (in newspapers and on television) people I knew vaguely years ago who are currently achieving varying degrees of national prominence in the Republic of Ireland.
Sitting in a cafe.
In a moment lacking inspiration, I pick up the abortionist's gazette, ie the bankrupt Irish Independent newspaper.
I open it cautiously.
A big gawdelpus picture of a grinning gawdelpus woman grins gawdelpusly at me.
It is one Jackie Lynam.
Gawdelpus!
Two Jackie Lynams would have been excessive.
She has a personal column with her photograph on it.
And lo.
I knew her Horatio.
In the dim and distant days of youth, I attended a journalism course which she was also attending.
So if it's the same Jackie Lynam, now she's writing for the bankrupt Irish Independent newspaper.
I read.
Well.
I'm not saying Jackie Lynam is responsible for the Irish Independent newspaper group being bankrupt, but this bilge sure can't be helping.
Her column is in a bodily health section.
It is about as turgid as they come.
Spiced with some ripe inaccuracies that even I can spot.
For a start they say she's 41.
If  Jackie Lynam is 41 that means she was about three years old when she studied journalism at College with me.
Otherwise stated, if Jackie Lynam is 41, I'm the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Her column is written in a syncopated mewling style laden with wearisome self pity, the nub of which seems to be: "I had periods that lasted eight days while most women's periods lasted two. For years I explained away the situation as just being something else women have to put up with."
Oh the humanity.
Then there's stuff about her irritable bowel syndrome (I know how her bowel felt) which turns out after twenty years to be phantom irritable bowel syndrome.
Some poor booby of a doctor eventually got up the courage to tell her there was nothing wrong with her.
Ha, ha, ha.
I admit it.
I enjoyed that bit of her column.
She gives more details about her physical health than I wish to recall, but the salient moment is slipped in almost unnoticed.
She writes almost as an aside that she spent years taking contraceptive pills.
And she's wondering why her body went haywire.
There's the clue you daft happorth.
You bunged chemicals into yourself which destroy your natural bodily rhythms.
Mystery solved.
The poisonous bio chemicals dunnit.
Again.
I folded the newspaper.
"Except for the bit where the doctor said there was nothing wrong with her, that's the most unreadable tripe I've ever read," I mused musingly.
A thought struck me.
If we gave Jackie Lynam a pen name, say Wimminy Whinge, her article would actually be transformed into something readable.
It would be instantly humorous, self parodaical, even perhaps a tad insightful.
You wouldn't have to change a thing.
Just call her Wimminy Whinge.
Beacause Wimminy Whinge is what she writes.
Still she has surpassed me.
She's employable at least.
Others abide my question.
Jackie Lynam thou art free.
That very night another blast from my past erupted into my present.
I was watching the bankrupt Stalinist State broadcaster RTE.
A Bolshevick news presenter (Pol Pot or Eileen Dunne or some such) cut away dramatically to an on the spot interview with some firebrand social activist.
"I'm talking to Roughan McNamara," said the on the spot interviewer.
And lo!
I knew Roughan McNamara in journalism school too Horatio.
He was in the same journalism class as me and Jackie Lynam.
In those days he'd been something of a young Adonis. A high society type, I'd thought him. He was connected by birth to one of Ireland's literary dynasties. In College he was always perfectly attired, sporting suit and tie, more like a male model than a journalist. He spoke with exquisite upper class diction and his perfectly coiffed head of brown undulant hair framing gentle pre raphaelite features and piercing caerulean blue eyes was, as we say in the trade, perfectly coiffed.
Now.
Tonight.
Hair shorn.
Almost bald as an egg.
Tough guy Jimmy Cagney style stubbly semi shaven face.
A grim determined squint egad.
Accent much more rough hewn.
Working class even.
And not a sign of a saville row suit.
I think he was wearing an anorak.
Definitely an open necked shirt.
Say it's not so Roughan, say it's not so.
I goggled in amazement.
The interviewer explained that Roughan McNamara represented an organisation called Focus Ireland.
I think they're a homelessness charity.
They're against homelessness of course.
Anything else would have run the risk of actually being interesting.
Roughan McNamara.
Heaven bless the days when he wrote amusing skits about the Soviet Union raiding the Journalism class at the College of Commerce Rathmines, and stuffing student journos into the photocopier,
Alas poor Roughan.
Where are thy jibes now?
Pity the Soviets didn't get you.
It would have been kinder than this.
Ah bold travellers of the internet.
What a strange resentment is this I feel against my betters.
By which I mean my inferiors.
But there was more to come.
Someone had left a copy of the bankrupt atheistic, abortionist, contraceptivist, divorcenik, anti Catholic, Irish Times on my kitchen table.
Gingerly I opened it.
What did I see?
A large feature article by Tara Brady about church burnings in Finland.
Nice and safe and far away in Finland, eh Irish Times.
And lo!
I knew Tara Brady too Horatio.
She hadn't been a journalist 25 years ago.
She'd been a theatre director.
I remember her giving me the classic direction: "James, you're the villain. You're making us love you. Stop making us love you. Make us hate you."
I thought it was a quite nifty piece of direction.
Flattering in a way.
Anyhoo.
Today she's a feature writer for the Irish Times.
Her writing is alright.
It suffers a little from an amoral something which predominates in that august newspaper, something I thought I detected in her all those years ago as she advised me how to play a character she thought was the villain in Shadow Of The Glen, and something I thought I detected tonight in her feature article.
An unsettling little something.
To wit.
I never for a moment then or now, believed her considerations of church burnings comported anything you might mistake for disapproval on a dark night.
Hi there Tara.
It's been a while.
Yes, I'm still working to suppress my near cosmic likeability.
You need to go to church.