Monthly Archives: June 2011

Bunga Bunga Enda

Everyone’s favourite inappropriate granddad type figure Silvio Berlusconi is in the news again today, with sordid details of his infamous ‘bunga bunga’ parties emerging this week from an Italian courthouse where he is on trial. The Daily Mail, that bastion of propriety and decorum, dusted off its favourite shocked-and-appalled font and somehow found space among its collection of Pippa Middleton pictures to decry these latest antics. The particulars involve lesbian encounters and other sexual acts that were allegedly paid for by Silvio himself and took place at one of his lavish parties. Incidentally, one imagines that among his gang of cronies from the world of Italian business and politics, receiving an invite to one of these shindigs is a bit of a golden ticket moment. Only instead of bringing along Grandpa Joe they bring three hookers and a wad of cash.

While the Italian public seems fed up with him at this stage, it is incredible that he has lasted this long as prime minister. Aside from the aforementioned trial, he is involved in three other serious cases over shady business dealings and has a long history of somewhat unprofessional and improper behaviour. Based on my knowledge of offensive stereotypes I can only deduce that the Italian people must have been too busy gesticulating wildly at each other, drinking coffee outside charming bistros and winning World Cups to be too concerned with removing the wily old rogue from power.

It has led me to wonder how long the people in this country would have put up with these kinds of shenanigans. Doubtlessly we are a more conservative race than the Italians, as well as being a lot more inhibited when it comes to matters involving sex. The prohibitive nature of the Church’s influence here has ensured that our sexual liberation is found somewhat wanting. Italy is very much the swarthy, six-packed gentleman, charming the pants off women left, right and centre, with most of his sexual encounters occurring in black and white Armani aftershave ads to a trendy Europop soundtrack. Ireland, on the other hand, is very much the pimply, pathetic teenager who watches that fifteen minutes of Basic Instinct that he recorded on VHS so many times that he can’t even tell anymore if it’s Sharon Stone’s arse or Michael Douglas’s that he’s staring at.

Imagine for a moment, and I apologise for the following mental image that will follow you to your grave, if our Enda had been caught carrying on with some underage floozy. If allegations of wild sex parties involving our dear Taoiseach began to circulate. If tales emerged of orgiastic romps at Farmleigh House over Christmas; presents of an unimaginably lewd nature being given and, ahem, received, turkey legs being used for anything but sustenance, and as for the stuffing…well, the less said about all that stuffing the better. People would be outraged. Surprised, more so perhaps, but outraged all the same.

I think we can safely assume that no such revelations concerning the wholesome Enda are coming our way any time soon. Although he is a primary school teacher from Mayo so who knows what he got up to in Copper’s back in the 70’s? Either way I imagine that most people would find it far easier to imagine such Carry On-esque behaviour from our previous government. When the newspapers finally get their hands on the expense lists from the Celtic Tiger days, there may yet be a lot of sex dungeons, farmyard animals and leather-clad midgets to be accounted for. Those Galway Races weekends were mad craic altogether.

The argument will always come back to the standards we expect to be upheld by our elected officials. This differs from country to country, and though the Italians may be a tad lax about the whole thing, perhaps we need to grow up a bit as a country and become a bit more liberal and open-minded. I would be of the opinion that a politician’s personal life should remain his own unless it is actively interfering with his duties. Although that being said, it was having a 17-year old Moroccan prostitute actively interfere with his duties that got Silvio into all this trouble in the first place. Maybe we’re better off with good old Enda after all.


Emigration, Emigration, Emigration

Have you noticed that every article written on the topic of young people emigrating from these shores is quick to bemoan the fact that we are losing intelligent, valuable young minds with the potential for future greatness? Veritable entrepreneurs in waiting, every one of them, with just the kind of chutzpah and initiative we need to reach up with our grubby little hand, grab Europe by the ankle, and drag ourselves out of this quagmire of economic shite. Oh if only some of these politicians of ours had an ounce of what these young people ha…yadda yadda etc. etc.

Nobody mentions the fact that we’re also cutting loose an awful lot of very average people who have the potential to become very ordinary and contribute absolutely nothing of value. It is still a shame to be losing so many of our most promising citizens, however. The headache of rearranging the daytime TV schedule once all of our arts graduates have left is just one of the multitude of problems we’ll be faced with if this en masse evacuation keeps up.

If recent figures are to be believed, it appears we are haemorrhaging young, vibrant grey matter at an alarming rate. The last time young Irish people left the motherland in such quantities was when we were kind enough to build New York for the Yanks. They were so impressed with our work they even asked us to stay on and police the city and put out all their fires for them too. The time before that our youngsters left hanging off the side of a boat, looking to go anywhere you could find a daycent spud.

So the question is, now that this mass exodus of our brightest and best is underway once more and our sons and daughters are off to join NASA, become the next Steve Jobs or cure AIDS (read bartend in London, bartend in Vancouver or bartend in Sydney), what is to become of them?

The reality is that the internet, which has really taken off in the last few years after a slow start, has revolutionised the concept of emigration. In those bygone days you’d have Mammy fretting over whether that last jumper or packet of Oxo cubes reached you safely, waiting for weeks on end for a letter from across the water. These days, she can just go online five minutes after you’ve left the house and read your inane Facebook post about how awesome the Guinness tastes in Dublin airport.

After a month of Skyping and e-mailing has gone by and you’re uploading photos of yourself in the county colours in some shithole of a pub in Boston for your granny to see, your family will be sick of hearing from you. They’ll want you to come home so you can go back to ringing the house once a month and occasionally turning up with dirty laundry.

The point is that Irish people are good at planting our seed all over the world. Literally and figuratively. This is not only because we know the whole twinkly-eyed Irish-accented troubadour shtick goes down a treat with the rest of the world and gives us a license to act like depraved animals and call it craic. That’s fantastic and we take full advantage of it.

No, it is also because, unlike the Greeks and the Portugese and the, eh, people who live in Iceland, we’re not too worried about our short-term prosperity. Because we know that fifty, a hundred, two hundred years from now, this place will be stuffed to the gills with second and third generation Irish-Americans, Irish-Australians and Irish-wherever else we did a bit of ridin’, spending fifty euro for a “Kiss me I’m deadly” T-shirt in Carroll’s and six quid a pint in Temple Bar. We are such an economically savvy race that our tourism strategy is planned not by the year but by the generation.

In a world ruled by Google, Twitter, Facebook and their ilk, we have recognised that Irishness is a brand. Like any good marketing strategy, ours involves expansion, self-advertisement, and a nicely self-deprecating, friendly attitude for good measure. Let’s be honest; we all know that the Emerald Isle image, land of a hundred thousand welcomes and saints and scholars and all that, is complete nonsense. But they don’t know that. So let’s do as our forefathers before us have done, what comes naturally to us, and what we do best: whore ourselves out for money. No kissing though, that costs extra. Doesn’t everything these days…