Ornithology

A Poem That Has No Real Meaning, Yet Literary Critics And Academics Would No Doubt Find Some Hidden Connotations About Life And Death And Draw Some Significance In The Fact That The Title Is Longer Than The Actual Poem

From my forthcoming collection of short stories and poetry:


“A Poem That Has No Real Meaning, Yet Literary Critics And Academics Would No Doubt Find Some Hidden Connotations About Life And Death And Draw Some Significance In The Fact That The Title Is Longer Than The Actual Poem”

A fish opens its mouth

In a pond

Closes it

Opens it again

Over and over

Eats weed

Swims away

And gets eaten by a passing heron.

 

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Ireland not so Keane on Ireland (or Ireland opens his Trapp)

Move over Natalie Portman... Stephen Ireland auditions for the part of a ballerina in Black Swan

Hidden amidst all the cricket coverage (now suddenly Ireland’s most popular sport for some reason) in the sports pages of today’s Irish Times is a report on an eye-openingly frank interview with Newcastle and former Rep of Ireland midfielder, the improbably named Stephen Ireland, “Ireland goes on the attack”, page 23.
Well, a good many years ago I remember the manager of the Welsh football team was called Mike England, but as the smaller less talented still alive half of the Two Ronnies used to say “I digress”.

Ireland (the footballer not the country) famously courted controversy a few years when he told the Rep of Ireland manager Giovanni Trappatoni he was unable to play in the forthcoming international fixture as his grandmother had just died.
It soon emerged that the old lady in question was actually very much alive and young Stephen was in fact telling a massive porky pie just to get out of playing in the match.
What is it with Irish soccer players and grannies? Not so long ago, there were few players on the team with Irish accents, but they could all claim at least one Irish granny.

In this interview Ireland makes clear his views on Ireland – both the team (the southern one that is) and the country. His criticism of “foreign managers” in the interview is interesting, (“they’re no good” he says), but I’d love to see him saying that to Jack Charlton’s face.

So here we have a tattooed outspoken footballer from Cork who likes to speak his mind with brutal honesty, who once plied his trade with an expensive Premiere League club in Manchester before moving to a less successful club in the north-east of England, but refuses to play for his national team and has a pop at the manager – it sounds all too familiar…

Current Affairs Magazine desperate to increase sales?

Are the folks at The Village desperate to shift more copies?

On arrival in Belfast on Christmas eve, having flown in from London that morning I had a bit of time to wait to catch the bus back to Omagh.  So I ventured into WH Smiths for a browse.  In such situations I generally make a point of looking at the Irish current affairs magazines which aren’t available in London.  Hidden discreetly behind a stack of Economists or some similar such publication was the latest edition of the Dublin-based current affairs magazine The Village with a rather eye-catching front cover of the sort one would normally see on the top shelf.  Is it just me or does the woman on the cover bear an uncanny resemblance to one of The Corrs?

So to mark an issue dedicated to the themes of sexual equality and gender (or more likely in a desperate attempt to boost flagging sales), the magazine has gone for this particular type of cover.  Ironically, the staff at WH Smiths had decided to hide it away which was more likely to have the opposite effect.  But in a further ironic twist I did end up buying it – so it did work.

In its monthly “Village idiot” section, the magazine has nominated foul-mouthed, attention-seeking Green Party TD Paul “Fuck you Deputy Stagg” Gogarty following his recent outburst in the Dáil involving the use of “most unparliamentary language” directed at a fellow member and “by constantly – tiresomely and hypocritically disagreeing with policies he then votes for”.  The incident has become so famous that it even featured in a recent airing of the BBC TV satirical panel show Have I Got News For You.  But for the benefit of anyone who hasn’t seen it, you can view it here:

There’s also an article by the senator, academic and gay rights campaigner David Norris on anti-gay discrimination in the Republic – the only article in the magazine on this particular topic.  So does this mean that Norris is the only gay in “The Village”?