Bernard and Marty, Gooch and Picasso


Surviving Marty & Bernard

First, we closed the curtains…in solemn acknowledgement of the enormity of what was about to unfold.

  Then, in order to spare them, we asked the children to move to another room.

  In a final act of generosity, we covered the dog’s eyes with a copy of a pets’ magazine. 

  Only for the dodgy broadband, we’d have streamed some of that music the state broadcaster in the Soviet Union used to play when one of their leaders had died.

  The fateful moment arrived, and we were braced for it. There was no turning back now. And so, with heavy but stoic hearts, we watched Marty and Bernard’s Big Adventure.

  This is a two-part television series in which Mary Morrissey and Bernard O’Shea set out to see what is the most ludicrous way in which taxpayers’ money can be squandered, or, as the RTE blurb prefers to describe it, ‘an investigation into modern male masculinity’.

  Nothing could have adequately prepared us for the horrors that unfolded over that hour. Still, we bravely stuck with it, even as our dog Coco walked out in protest.

  Those of you who missed it are to be envied for eternity, while any of our readers who experienced trauma which watching Marty and Bernard’s Big Adventure are advised that a Helpline has been set up. Daniel & Majella have been recalled from the US.

  Furthermore, a vigil will be held outside RTE HQ where sufferers can share their stories and protest ahead of the second episode. A collection will be held for distraught TV licence holders. John Delaney’s accountant has been cordially invited.

Finian’s foot in mouth…

Ah Finian, and we had missed you so much…

  Sorry, but we have a bit of a thing about Finian here. Finian McGrath. Decent chap, certainly. Good ould skin. But we’ve watched his ‘playing it both ways’ approach for many years…with a combination of reluctant admiration and near-disdain.

  Finian, now an Independent Government Minister, has been quiet lately. But all that changed at the weekend. Bristling with pride and doubtlessly ever so slightly swayed by the trappings of office, Finian was on a roll. Never that well acquainted with modesty, Finian was revelling in the presence of the reporter and photographer from the Sunday Independent.

  And so, even though he is a Government Minister, Finian went into full ‘Man of the people’ mode, perhaps with an eye or two on the next General Election.

  When it came to the drink-driving laws, he sort of lost the run of himself. The Gardaí, the bould Finian suggested, don’t approve of the latest drink-driving laws. Some within An Garda Síochána, he suggested, want to and do blame the Government (“and I don’t like that”). He then went further, and it was naughty stuff from a member of Government. Finian inferred that our police force actually has a political agenda…to damage the government of the day.

  Great copy for the journalist. The Sunday Independent made hay with it. Front page treatment. A big outcry followed on Sunday. Finian was in danger of spoiling Mother’s Day. Finian had to fire-fight.

  Finian withdrew his comments, but being loyal to the tradition of so many Irish politicians before him, he was careful to not actually apologise. In fact he had the cheek to include the following self-important guff: “Nobody is more supportive of the work An Garda Síochána does – often in tough circumstances – than I am”.

  Not true, Finian – every one of us who hasn’t accused the Gardaí of mounting a campaign against the Government has arguably been more supportive of An Garda Síochána than you (at least until you clarified your comments). 

  Anyways, I don’t think it was a resigning matter. Decent man. Big ego.

  As the pressure grew, our hero did what he should have done early on Sunday – he actually apologised. 

On the top of the Times…

At the top of the front page of the Irish Times on Saturday, two of the feature stories in the ‘Weekend Review’ were prominently highlighted…tempting readers to turn inside. There were two names and two faces.

  One of those people was Fintan O’Toole. While certainly a divisive figure, O’Toole is a journalist/commentator who is widely respected, even by those who hold staunchly opposing views.

  He belongs on the top of ‘Weekend Review’, or indeed on the front page.

  The other person helping to promote ‘Weekend Review’ was some geezer called Liam Byrne, described by the esteemed ‘paper of record’ as ‘Christy Kinahan’s lieutenant in Ireland’. The article on Byrne was accompanied by an artist’s drawing of the ‘trusted associate of the Kinahan cartel’…the graphic adding mystique to the subject.

  This was undoubtedly an impressive piece of journalism by Conor Lally. I’m full of admiration for the research that went into it, but Liam Byrne is not anyone’s ‘lieutenant’, and arguably not Irish Times’ feature material. I’m not sure that attaching some kind of celebrity status to alleged criminals is what the media should be doing.

  It’s giving underworld figures an elevated status in society. Instead of glorifying them with feature articles and illustrations – not to mention the nicknames much loved by the Sunday World and other tabloids – we should read about their ‘life and crimes’ in the newspapers’ court reports.

Gooch & Picasso…

Mayo’s victory in the Allianz Division One League Final was important in its own right – silverware at Croker and all that – it could also be very significant from a psychological perspective.

  The game was unusually (and refreshingly) free-flowing, and Mayo were deserving winners. They left Croke Park with the trophy – and left Kerry with a good deal to think about.

  Mayo are certainly in good shape, a view shared by League Sunday pundits Ciaran Whelan and Colm Cooper. The latter, by the way, remains an earnest but fairly average addition to RTE’s lengthy list of expert former players. Genius in front of goal, so-so in studio.

  Still, we’ll surely forgive the great ‘Gooch’ his clichéd punditry. After all, if Picasso was around today, we probably wouldn’t complain if he was only an average contributor on the Arts Show.