21 Dec 2007

As we all know, most things in life pretty much suck. So, to keep the list of Things That Sucked, 2007, from running on and on, I’ve decided to leave out all those things which suck perenially (the Government (although a couple of things came close to inclusion– I suffer from that common phobia, the official name for which now slips me, where people find it somehow inappropriate to share pizza with other people from a cardboard box at a conference room table, so the late night FF/Green negotiations  (important as they were to the future of the country, and so on) between Dan and Biffo didn’t really do it for me. Neither did James Reilly’s teary meltdown. Nor, in general, exceptionally well paid Mary Harney. Also Irish journalism. Vincent Brown, Fintan O’Toole et al found new ways to repeatedly stay out of touch with the Irish people, while the Irish Times continued it’s now almost complete morph into the official propaganda organ for the European Council of European Commission Directives of An Taisce. Outside of actual books (Vikas Swarup’s Q + A), the only interesting things I read this year were on the internet) and focus on those one-off things that sucked during the past year or things I only noticed sucking for the first time in 2007.  


So without further ado…


The Things That Sucked In 2007



Podge and Rodge


I can’t believe a ‘Scare At Bedtime’ used to be my favourite show. What are these guys doing to their careers? The only guest I recognised this year was the Garda from Crimeline – the one who says ‘… as you can see, the CCTV footage on this one is particularly good. In it, you can clearly see the perpetrator walk away from the bar without paying for his pint. Somebody out there – be it a wife, be it a girlfriend - recognizes this man…’ .



The Panel


It’s like being at a fund raising pub quiz where the MC - your neighbour you’ve never before seen with drink on - is desperately trying to be funny. They should script this show. Seriously. And have funny people on it.



Stephen Fry


What’s going on with Fry? He was a great Jeeves, but then on someone's recommendation for Friday evening entertainment I tune into this QI thing for some high brow chortling but instead find myself breaking out in a rash! Why does he get such pleasure out of either telling tales of public school thrashings from his youth or regurgitating everything he’s just read on obscure Wikipedia pages? I almost found myself considering cancelling a planned pleasure trip to England for fear I’d stroll into a tea-room somewhere in the Home Counties and get an ‘r’ rolling lecture from Stevie on the correct way to drink Darjeeling.

He claims in the Guardian newspaper to be a techno geek. Here he is recently reviewing a new cordless mouse:

‘Beauty. Charm. Delight. Excitement. Ooh. Aah. Wow! Let me at it. The jouissance, as Roland Barthes liked to say…’


People called Dermot


O’Leary. Murnaghan.  



The Demise of Great TV series.


I’m not so much talking about The Sopranos here as The Wire which, in the middle of its run was absolutely brilliant. And also King of Queens, which would have been an ordinary run-of-the-mill sitcom were it not for Arthur Stiller’s turn as the unreformed Brooklyn-trade-union-commie, trapped in the 1950s, politically incorrect, living in the basement father-in-law.
My favourite moments were when Arthur’s much put upon daughter, Carrie, says she’s taking evening classes in law which leads him to opine: ‘Paralegals. I just love those guys. No feeling from the waist down, and still they spend their lives helping other people.’
And, when speaking to Mr. Laysho – the ‘MD’ of the mail order firm which sold him a dodgy tube of athlete’s foot miracle cure – he signs off with ‘Thank you Phil. You’ve been very helpful.’


Perhaps you had to be there at the time…



Soccer Pundits


Lorro and Hanson are to soccer what Pat Kenny is to toys. Also, Pat Dolan’s new hair has me worried for him (sorry, Pat, for offending you if you’re growing that pelt for some worthwhile charity. But if you are, I do think you should at least warn the rest of us. Every five minutes.)
And after predicting that Besiktas might ‘expose serious weaknesses in Raffa’s defence’ before they went on to be thrashed 8-0 by Liverpool, Eamo told a smirking Billo that he’s paid to have a drug addled Japan-v-Russia meltdown offer expert analysis. 



Amy Winehouse



Things That Sucked so Hard They Were Practically Cool.


While very few things qualified in this category, those that did are too important to ignore. The Late Late Toy Show was, of course, as awful as expected (honestly, it was as entertaining as watching a slow pan across a slab of polished granite. And from the ‘this is the last man on the planet I’d care to share my toys with’ expressions on the poor little kids’ faces, you could tell they knew this wasn’t going to be the life cherishing memory previous participants had warned them it wouldn’t. Were you able to stick it out to the very end of this year’s show when Pat read out the last clue in the exciting competition - ‘His name is a spoonerism for Parry Hotter’ – and the audience couldn’t shake themselves out of their stupor to mutter the right answer even though the prize was one billion euro?). But in the annals of things which suck really hard, the Late Late Toy Show is predictable onyx, so there’s no element of surprise – an important criteria for inclusion in this category. Not to mention it doesn’t have a cool side (if you don’t count the two Barbies on the gymnastic apparatus…)


Here we go…


Highly Commended


May the Lord forgive me, but when I need a bit of a pick me up during the day I can’t help checking this out on YouTube.







Hands down, it’s gotta be Twink.


I heard Twink standing in for someone on the radio this year. I’m not really sure if it was the two phoney accents she keeps switching between (she sounds like she’s subliminally ripping off Gay Byrne: one minute she’s all ‘delirah and excirah’ then she’s straining not to split her ‘t’s as she rereads, as if by mistake, an email from a ‘male fan’ in Cork saying how great it is to ‘heeahh’ her on the radio again) she uses to relentlessly promote ‘Menopause: The Musical’, but something tells me that the now famous telephone message to her ex is just the tip of the iceberg in this lady’s life. If news were to suddenly break that a hundred and one dalmation puppies were found in Twink’s Olympia dressing room, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised. Mark my words: one of these days a scandal will erupt the like of which the glamorous world of Dublin celebrity car salesmen and their ilk has never before seen and Twink will be at the centre of it all.



These are the things which brightened up my year:

Things That Didn’t Suck IN 2007

Damien Dempsey


If you haven’t already, go out and buy ‘To Hell Or Barbados’. It’s what it means to be Irish. And he was absolutely SENSATIONAL at the open air gig in Rahan during the summer. Thousands or iron-muscled suedeheads having teary meltdowns during ‘Spray Paint Back Alley’. Awesome.


(Otherwise, music pretty much sucked. Apart from the Flaming Lips’ The WAND. It's the one on the Dell Inspiron commercial.)





Tokyo is absolutely phenomenal. Up there with San Francisco and New York.


Keith (the Grumpiest Man in England)


announcing that Padraig Harrington couldn’t be that good, otherwise he (Keith) would have already heard of him (Padraig) only days before Padraig went on to win the British Open. I bring this memory up every time I feel the effects of 800 years of oppression getting me down. 

So there you have it… The Things Which Did And Didn't Suck 2007



Apologies to Mike Maher for the cheap jibe in the last Dispatch about him not realising that the rest of us suspect that he secretly thinks he’s a really a brilliant dancer. I was totally insensitive to the hurt he’s feeling that his days of throwing down shapes to Tina Turner in the Galway Radisson are over due to a knee so gammy it needs surgery. Ooops. Sorry, Mike.


(But maybe if you didn’t put so much weight on it? I know dieting is hard; try starting with only one McDonalds breakfast per visit).


I was going to say something else but   maybe not.


Merry Christmas Kittens.

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