An Spailpín FánachKing Kong is Getting Monster Reviews (9.12.2005, 12:30 UTC)
Pardon the pun above, but this is looking a lot like war. Tim Robey in the Daily Telegraph, normally one of my favourite movie critics, goes absolutely nuts about Peter Jackson's remake of King Kong in this morning's Telegraph. You correspondent wasn't expecting this, as I always thought the original Kong was of its time - fantastic, amazing, for 1933, but a bit so-whatty in 2005. But by damn it seems I was wrong - Peter Jackson's movie is, according to Robey, "magnificent in its own right -...
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An Spailpín FánachThe Wretched State of Irish Politics and Irish Political Journalism (8.12.2005, 15:02 UTC)
Ivor Callely has bitten the dust at last, and the vultures are circling the corpse. The Evening Herald, squalid rag that it is, reports on its front page this afternoon that Callely "begged" Bertie Ahern not to give him the heave-ho. Marie O'Halloran criticises his courage from the safety of the high-minded pages of the Irish Times. And that Old Lady herself editorialises that Ahern had no choice but to put a bullet behind Ivor's ear. An Spailpín Fánach has a question: If Ivor Callely...
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An Spailpín FánachThe Moral Civil Servant (3.12.2005, 13:15 UTC)
Once upon a time, An Spailpín Fánach had enough of his then day job. In to the boss with him to hand in his notice. "Behave yourself, you Spailpín Fánach," said the boss, wittily. "We'd hate to lose a man of your calibre. Tell you what, not only will we give you a few pound extra in the dear old per diem, we'll sort you for the company motor as well. How about that?" "I've never been so insulted in my life!," replied your hero. "A car? Oh, how could you! How could you? I'...
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An Spailpín FánachSubtitled Fillums (2.12.2005, 15:08 UTC)
'Ave you 'eard that extremely annoyingg ad on ze rrradio, where zere iz zome mademoiselle with an accent thicker zan ze cheeze ze size of a tractor wheel encouraging uz to go to some foreign movie fest-ti-val? Mes amis, is it simply the fevered imagination of An Spailpín Fánach, or is that ad just as crass as having someone in blackface singing "My Old Kentucky Home?" It's not like we think it's Sophie Marceau, and don't know that it's actually some boiler whose day job involves ra...
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An Spailpín FánachASBOs, Social Order, and What Ireland Can Learn from the Ancient World (1.12.2005, 13:55 UTC)
Like anyone else that saw it, An Spailpín Fánach watched the Prime Time show on Monday featuring the feral behaviour of young people beyond the law in housing estates all over Ireland with no small amount of revulsion, revulsion that very quickly turned to anger. Ordinary, decent people are having their lives ruined, blighted and put in very real danger by these hoodlums, while Irish society just wrings its hands and says "oh dear, oh dear, these children have problems, oh dear, oh...
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An Spailpín FánachGrowing a Social Conscience While Travelling with Dublin Bus (30.11.2005, 20:13 UTC)
An Spailpín Fánach boarded a city imp bus in Dublin city centre this evening at sevenish on his long journey home from another day's slavery in the Salt Mines. I made my way to the back of the bus to find living space, eventually squeezing in beside a Russian welterweight who had a bagful of teddybears - to remind her of the motherland, no doubt. I stuck my snout in my book, as is my custom and advice to all commuters, and switched off from my environment. Until I was dragged from the...
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An Spailpín FánachLines on the Death of George Best (30.11.2005, 16:53 UTC)
George Best, you’ve left us; you gave us such joy.Defender, rest easy. Barmaid, take your rest.No further to tremble at that wild Belfast boy,He’s no more to taunt you, that genius, George Best.His hair too long, his own life too messed,Ron Harris bamboozled, feet spurning the grass,The world to command, with looks and talent blessed.At full-time, these things could he never pass,A nightclub and a model and a bottle and a glass.©An Spailpín Fánach, 2005.
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An Spailpín FánachTom Wolfe on the Simpsons (30.11.2005, 15:28 UTC)
I read in my LA Times this morning that Tom Wolfe, the greatest American writer of his generation, is to make a guest appearance on The Simpsons, the greatest TV show of our, or any other, generation. Gore Vidal, who thinks he's the greatest American writer of his generation, will also be on the show, which is good news in that if he's taping an episode of The Simpsons it means he isn't writing another one of his awful books. An Spailpín Fánach generally operates a one-hundred-page ru...
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An Spailpín FánachTeam Aniston v Team Jolie (29.11.2005, 16:38 UTC)
There's a nice and frothy piece of fluff writing in today's London Times by Chris Ayres about how the human race in currently divided into two races of men; those that support the actress Jennifer Aniston, and those that support the actress Angelina Jolie. Normally, of course, An Spailpín Fánach muses at a far higher level than celebrity gossip, but the Ayres is so well judged, and in such a contrast to Miss Fitzgerald blundering about like a cow in a china shop in the Indo article re...
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An Spailpín FánachNí a'Tí (29.11.2005, 15:12 UTC)
Bhí bhur Spailpín Fánach gafa idir an gol agus an gáire tar éis an sliocht seo a léamh ins an Irish Independent ar maidin inniú. Scríobhann Jacqueline Fitzgerald faoin léíriú ag an ESRI a fhoilsiú inne ag rá go ndéanann mná na hÉireann i bhfad níos mó obair bhaile ná mar a dhéanann fir na hÉireann. Cuirtear an t-amhrán "The Bogs of Mayo" in aigne an Spailpín nuair a léigh s
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An Spailpín FánachLooking for a Start in the Smoke (28.11.2005, 11:42 UTC)
There's a marvellous article in this morning's Washington Post about the huge population of people that's moving from Eastern Europe to Ireland to find work. The writer, Kevin Sullivan, follows a guy called Janis Neulans on his way from Riga to Lucan, and extrapolates then from Neulans' micro-case to the macro-case of how Europe is changing. The parallels with Neulans' journey and experiences here are so close to our own emigrant stories as to be frightening (Kilkelly, Ireland, eighteen and six...
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An Spailpín FánachCeist Cé Imreodh Rugbaí? (22.11.2005, 15:45 UTC)
Tháinig scamall dubh eadóchais ar lucht tacaíochta rugbaí na hÉireann nuair a d'fhógair Eddie O'Sullivan a fhoireann a n-imríodh i gcoinne an Rómáin an Sathairn seo chugainn. Tar éis an dhá theip i gcoinne an Astráíl agus an Nua-Shéalainn, bhí na tacadóirí ag tnúth le tús nua. Níl stár nó trádisiún rugbaí na Rómáine comh fada ná stár rugbaí na ...
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An Spailpín FánachWillie O'Dea (17.11.2005, 09:47 UTC)
Anyone unaware that the current Minister for Defence, Willie O'Dea, is a proud son of Limerick will have their doubts comprehensively dispelled by the picture of Minister O'Dea on the front page of this morning's Irish Times. What a maroon, as Bugs Bunny likes to remark in similar cases.
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An Spailpín FánachBehind the Wire at the Railway Cup (15.11.2005, 11:58 UTC)
An Spailpín Fánach damn near spat his morning cheroot right across the room this morning on reading a very self-congratulatory report in his Irish Times about the Railway Cup football final, played last Saturday in Dublin's Parnell Park. "McEniff Sees Progress as Crowds Return," reads the headline, and the body of the text says that "a combined total of well over 12,000 supporters [have] attended the three M Donnelly Interprovincial football games this season," an attendance which ...
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An Spailpín FánachA Gleam of Sanity, in all the Muck (10.11.2005, 13:06 UTC)
Maybe we won't disgrace ourselves as a nation on Saturday after all. The great Keith Duggan has a lovely piece in this morning's Irish Times about an All-Black visit to Ramelton in Donegal yesterday. The All-Blacks were paying tribute to Dave Gallaher, whose family emigrated from Ramelton to Canterbury in the 19th century. Gallaher returned to the British Isles as captain of the New Zealand "Invicibles" touring side of 1905, who won 35 of the 36 matches they played. Gallaher, who died in 1917 i...
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An Spailpín FánachHave These People Ever Even Seen a Rugby Match? (9.11.2005, 17:18 UTC)
An Spailpín Fánach is bitterly disappointed to report the latest in this utterly spurious Tana Umaga controversy, as a well-known Dublin publican, one Charlie Chalke, is making a fool of himself by trying to cash in on this "poow Bwian O'Dwiscoll, rotten Tana Umaga" controversy. Chalke, who owns a scatter of pubs around the city, has banned Tana Umaga from every one of them, and put up posters to that effect. Ireland of the Welcomes, indeed. I wonder has Charlie also banned Colin M...
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An Spailpín FánachBrian O'Driscoll - Lig Uait, a Bhrian, Lig Uait (7.11.2005, 21:25 UTC)
Dá ndéarfadh Brian O'Driscoll, captaen foireann rugbaí na hÉireann, focal dá laghad eile ar an bhfeall a dhéanadh air agus é ina chaptaen na Leon ar a dturas Nua-Shéalainne, ba cheart gúna na gcailíní scoile a chur ar a dhroim in aonad geansaí glas na hÉireann. Sular chuaigh na Leoin go dtí an Nua-Shéalainn ba mhór an meas a bhí ag lucht rugbaí an domhain ar O'Driscoll mar imreoir den chéad scó
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An Spailpín FánachRome - The Miniseries (4.11.2005, 16:09 UTC)
The Roman Republic lasted for the guts of five hundred years, from the overthrow of Tarquinius Superbus, the last of the Etruscan kings in the sixth century BC until Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and appointed himself Bosso Solo in the first century BC. Viewers of the new miniseries, Rome, on BCC2 on Wednesday night, will have felt every one of those five hundred long years go by during that first episode, and can only dread the dull and buttock-numbing horror of the eleven more episode...
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An Spailpín FánachIrish Transport Policy (1.11.2005, 20:52 UTC)
This surely is a great little nation. That Wise Old Owl of fiscal prudence, Minister for Transport Martin Cullen, today announced that the Government is to spend €34 billion on improving the Irish transport infrastructure. And isn't it badly needed, to link those blue and red hub towns that house all those decentralised public servants? Time for a reality check. As a nation, we've managed to build 22 miles of M50 motorway in 25 years. We've taken eleven years to build this LUAS that we...
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An Spailpín FánachA Swashbuckler, a Sprog, and a Horse's Ass (31.10.2005, 23:12 UTC)
Oh God, they've done it again. They've made a sequel to The Mask of Zorro, and they've bunged in a sprog. As if it wasn't going to be awful enough. An Spailpín Fánach was quite a fan of The Mask of Zorro when it was released - it was old style movie swashbuckling, and it was the big screen break of Catherzine Zeta-Jones, whose pre-Raphaelite beauty, those gorgeous cascading raven tresses of hair and, if I may make so bold, that top-notch chassis, lit up the screen the way it hadn'...
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An Spailpín FánachDrinking in a Chimney - Kehoe's of South Anne Street (21.10.2005, 11:00 UTC)
"The weekend, wha'?""Yeah, magic.""I love going for a few scoops on the weekend. I love me few pints, I do.""Yeah. But it's hard to find a good pub in town, but.""Yeah. It's so busy in town, it is.""Yeah. All those mulchies.""Yeah. It's hard to find a real Dublin pub anymore - you know, one with a few Dublin characters. Everywhere's so big now, it is.""Yeah. But I'll tell you where's a great pub in town.""Where?""Kehoe's of South Anne Street.""Kehoe's? I know it, I do. Kehoe's of South Anne Stre...
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An Spailpín Fánach'Sé an tOcras an tAnlann Is Fearr (19.10.2005, 15:53 UTC)
Fuair Brian Kerr an píléir ag deireadh scríbe areir. Bhí crinniú lucht uisle an FAI thus ins an Great Southern Hotel ar chul aerphoirt BÁC, agus fograíodh tar éis é gur chaill Kerr a phost mar bainisteoir foirne sacair na hÉireann nuair a shéideadh an fhéadóg dheireanach De Céadaoin ag an gcluiche Eilvéise. Má chaill, cén fáth gur bhuail mo bhuachaillí suas go dtí an Great Southern Hotel ar
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An Spailpín FánachCoisc Curtha ar an Spailpín Fánach Amach ins an tSín (14.10.2005, 09:58 UTC)
Is bróduil an lá é seo don Spailpín Fánach agus don suíomh idirlíon seo. Fuaireasa amach ó mo dhuine san Oirtear, mo Mharcó Póló más maith libh, go bhfuil coisc curtha ag Rialtas na Síne ar an suíomh seo, http://spailpin.blogspot.com. Is cuma má tá tú i Beijing i measc na huaisle nó i lár na tire i Xian i measc na gnáthphobal, ní féidir leat smaointe breá an Spailpín a lé...
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An Spailpín FánachI Don't "Believe" It (12.10.2005, 08:48 UTC)
The gap between the Irish Times and the Plain People of Ireland appears to be yawning into a chasm by the hour. The Times started out as the paper of the Ascendency, but in latter years it has been seen, as certainly liked to project itself, as the paper of the educated middle classes, the drivers of the Celtic Tiger. However, there are always little tell-tale traces in there that show that the Irish Times knows about as much about what goes on outside certain postal addresses in south Dublin a...
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An Spailpín FánachNooo! Not the Smurfs! (10.10.2005, 20:13 UTC)
Unicef, the United Nations' children's charity, is running an ad campaign to alert the Belgians to the plight of child soldiers in Burundi and hellholes like that. Only thing is, the Belgians realise that having Belgium's answer to Fintan O'Toole emoting for thirty seconds on the correct response to war on primetime TV won't amount to a hill of beans. So, in order to show just what war can do, they've gone and wiped out the Smurfs. They've raised the Smurf village to the ground. The ads star...
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An Spailpín FánachÁr gCáca Againne agus É á Ithe (6.10.2005, 12:08 UTC)
Is breá leis an An Spailpín Fánach, tar éis lá fada oibre, a scith a ligeadh i gcomhluadar a gcarad, piontaí dubha phórtáir in ár lámha, agus cursaí an tsaoil á phlé againne. Tar éis an plé fada feallsúnachta seo, sílim go bhfuil dhá rud ag cur isteacht ar phobal na hÉireann, nó an chuid phobail atá cosuil le cairde An Spailpín Fánach. Uaireanta cuireann cursaí eile isteac...
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An Spailpín FánachOn the Session with the Department of Health (6.10.2005, 08:49 UTC)
Opposition leader Enda Kenny makes front page news in today's Irish Independent with the shock-horror revelation that the Department of Health - you know, those bucks that close down the hospital wards and have superbugs running about in the ones they keep open? - spent €40,000 on the session in Sligo to celebrate the installation of a computer system that doesn't work.To which your humble Spailpín Fánach can only reply well Jesus, Inda, what else is new? All Government Departmen...
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An Spailpín FánachInternational Fools' Football (4.10.2005, 19:37 UTC)
The GAA media is all atwitter at the prospect of the upcoming "International Rules" series between Ireland and Australia. And why wouldn't they be? If An Spailpín Fánach was on his way off to Australia for three solid weeks of beer, birds and barbies, his frown would turn upside down too. But if you're some sort of innocent that wants to see Gaelic Games prosper and thrive, then you have to realise that sponsoring debauched junkets to Australia isn't going to cut it. The official s...
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An Spailpín FánachCalvin and Hobbes, Ten Years On (4.10.2005, 12:57 UTC)
It's been ten years since Bill Watterson drew his last Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip. There's a lovely tribute to the cartoons in this morning's Washington Post, to celebrate the release of a deluxe Complete Calvin and Hobbes, available in all good bookstores. Bill Watterson would have made a mint if he'd ever permitted merchandising, and he never has. Amazing.
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An Spailpín FánachAn Spailpín Fánach's All-Star Team of 2005 (3.10.2005, 21:51 UTC)
The evenings are dark, the skies are grey and we're still one month away from the autumn rugby internationals. If that's not time to pick An Spailpín Fánach's All-Star Gaelic Football team of 2005, I don't know when is. Stephen Cluxton (Dublin); Ryan McMenamin (Tyrone), Francie Bellew (Armagh), Paul Clancy (Galway); Anthony Lynch (Cork), Kieran McGeeney (Armagh), Séamus Moynihan (Kerry); Seán Cavanagh (Tyrone), David Heaney (Mayo); Ross Munnelly (Laois), Brian McGuigan (...
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