Monthly Archives: March 2015
I am delighted to read that Top Gear have dropped Jeremy Clarkson.
I know that Jeremy, deep down, as Russell Brand says of such people, is a beautiful soul, but is just misguided, yet I don’t think I could spend much time in the same room as the guy. Apart from his obviously reprehensible behaviour of late (and of not so late, as I talked about before)
, his program (and I say his because that’s the way most people consider it) is just not my cup of tea.
Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Jeremy.
But of course, it’s a revolving door. He’ll be back, grinning, on some other channel soon enough.
But it’s still a great day. An important day.
I’ll tell you.
But first, full disclosure: I am not a top gear fan.
I am also very happy that “fellow presenter James May has hinted that Clarkson, Richard Hammond and he “came as a package”.” I truly hope that it is indeed, the “end of an era.”
A better, brighter, more just less bigoted era might just replace it. One with fewer fucking cars, too, wouldn’t be half bad.
Aside from the fact that glorifying cars is not necessarily the best way to change society the way it needs to be changed, I just don’t see the draw/ appeal of a program talking about cars.
Cars are boring.
I mean, I have a car.
I need the car.
Not every day.
For most of my commuting, I have the lovely bike you see in the photo. It is proudly sporting the new 2015 membership sticker of WWF, my favourite charity helping keep some species from falling over the bring of the Sixth Extinction that climate change among other things (caused by cars among other things) is causing.
It’s a nice car. A Honda Civic.
But one of the things that galls me about Top Gear is the way they take the piss out of small cars with more fuel-efficient engines…
My daughter laughed the other day when she saw a Smart Car. “Look at the little car, Daddy. It’s funny.” she said. But she’s three. She knows nothing of energy conservation and traffic congestion. Grown men should know better.
Of course, grown men should also know not to be racist. Whether they are on the television before millions worldwide or not.
But getting back to cars being boring…
What most car enthusiasts don’t seem to understand is that cars are not cool.
Not even fast ones.
Only to other car geeks.
Yes, car enthusiasts are just another kind of geek.
And I can tell you, I know about geeks.
I write poetry, for god’s sake.
I have always loved reading and writing.
I used to keep budgies (that’s parakeets to you yanks.)
I used to show said birds in competitions.
Train spotting is no different to car spotting, really. The guys who think rockets are cool, and spacecraft, and astronomy, and comics, and science fiction movies, are more or less of the same ilk as those who bore me talking about how fast a car goes, how many cylinders it has, what the difference between horsepower and torque is…
I’d rather watch a gardening show. That’s my kind of geek.
Nevertheless, there are millions of car geeks. Who watch this programme.
So here’s why this is important news….
Over the last few weeks a lot of people said it would not happen.
But it fucking did…
And that’s important because the reason those people would have bet money on Clarkson getting away with it yet again is because the franchise was worth so much. Too much money involved. Can’t afford to lose the cash cow that is Top Gear and its syndication throughout the globe.
But the BBC, or whoever it is there who’s important enough to make these decisions decided that the money wasn’t as important as the moral right. Clarkson might make the BBC a load of dough, but sometimes money can’t justify things that we know are wrong – even though we see examples everyday.
So… if we can potentially lose money by doing the right thing in this instance, why not do the right thing in other instances?
The US could make lots of money from the Keystone Pipeline. But they don’t need it so bad they want to deal with the potential disaster of a leak, or the global climate change it will help intensify.
Fracking is a big source of revenue for states and towns, and the big powerful fossil fuel companies that do it, but having water we can drink without dying is more important.
Exxon Mobil and other such companies make billions in profits and hand over some of that to the politicians that grease the wheels. But reducing climate change is going to affect negatively millions more people than the few fat cats who will use their money to buy up real estate in Greenland while we all boil (or freeze in Europe, when the gulf stream stops).
There is no good reason we can’t do the right thing in these cases.
In some cases they already are. Because people clamoured for it.
We just need to keep clamouring.
Happy Saint Patrick’s day…
Most people will probably be looking for something green here.
But I have nothing.
I’m not at home in Ireland today. I’ve celebrating my fourteenth Saint Patrick’s day off the island.
I might have a pint in an Irish pub.
I might not.
It will be a fairly busy day and it won’t bother me either way.
I’ll have a dram of whiskey at home in the evening. I’ve a nice 12 year old Jameson I got for xmas sitting here.
Just like I’m having a dram of Black Bush right now.
Everyone here expects me to do something special, though. I tell them I never did anything special at home, bar go out on a Monday rather than a Saturday. And have to drink on the street because there’s no room in Mulligan’s. And the Gardaí let us drink on the street just this once.
Here I can drink on the street any day of the week. It’s usually sunny, ever bar has a terrace, and you can take your drink up the street and sit down on the pavement in the sun and nobody will say boo.
Every weekend would put our St. Patrick’s tolerance of street revelry at home to shame.
Trying to describe what we do at home is fairly hollow compared to what people have experienced here in the realm of festivals. My forthcoming novella under the name JD Martin’s, One Night in Pamplona will give you a hint of the mayhem…
But then I haven’t been home in a decade for the day.
And certainly won’t be wearing green.
I don’t actually have any green clothes – bar my hiking/hunting gear.
I don’t like soccer, or rugby or GAA, so I have never worn a football shirt in my life. And I don’t intend to start now.
To be honest, I’d feel like a bit of a tool if I put something on just for the day.
I’m not sure why, but I don’t go out of my way to meet up with my fellow ex-pats outside of Ireland. I mix with the locals, and other blow-ins. Hanging out with Paddies just because they’re Paddies was never my bag, baby.
I’d probably have to watch football, then.
This doesn’t mean I’m not attached to my own land. I am. I love the island. I feel more at home with my feet in the soft peat of a heather bog than on the sharp stony soil growing lavender and thyme and a thousand thorny bushes here. And when I’m home, that’s where I take myself. Up the hill, as we say.
But I always remember the words of a character in a New Zealand film called Once Were Warriors.
A pretty impacting flick. I recommend it.
The older brother asks his younger brother if he wants to get the traditional tattoo on his face (ala Mike Tyson) and the kid shakes his head and smiles, says, “I wear my colours on the inside.”
He was no less Maori for not getting painted. He was probably more so than his brother, since he’d learned traditional warrior arts and methods.
That film made me think a lot – I wrote a poem about one aspect back in the day, and have pasted it in below (it’s from my formal rhyming period of poetry writing).
So enjoy the day, as I will: another day in a life of being Irish, of having cups of tea and whiskey and worrying about the immersion (thank goodness we don’t have that here!) and thinking of the next time I’ll be up the hill. And writing.
Which reminds me – I’ll be on http://thecelticroseblog.blogspot.com/ tomorrow evening 6 Irish time/10am Pacific time…. with a little blurb of Five Days on Ballyboy Beach – if you’re looking to transport yourself to the old country for a while…
Once Were What?
The people of a now downtrodden race,
However they live under western ways,
Can remember the glory of past days;
They have their ancestors to give them grace.
But here, our warriors have long since past;
Forgotten graves under tides of good times;
Yet oft’ the bell tolls, when we think it chimes:
Do we realise what we’ve lost at last?
On whose shoulders do I stand upon then?
No others’ colours can I wear inside;
I must paint my own image of those who died,
Must live in me, maybe, they were proud men.
Been busy at that stage of writing the first sequel to Leaving the Pack that I can’t think of anything else or the thing might get away from me.
But I’d to take a quick poll about covers and taglines and titles of a different book – The Ecology of Lonesomeness, my next book out in June – contemporary fiction…
1) Do you prefer to know exactly what the book is going to be about, or to be surprised?
2) Do you think the cover of Five Days on Ballyboy Beach left enough mystery?
3) What does the title The Ecology of Lonesomeness say to you? Do you think you know what the story will be about?
4) Should I put a tagline on the cover (a short quote like the one “Nobody Believes in Werewolves” I have on the cover of Leaving the Pack) to give a hint?
Appreciate any answers in the comments! Go!