Tuesday, December 23, 2008

What have you done for me lately

So you're there, covered in filth, staring down a glass in Tom and Jerry's with Fareed Zakaria, of all people.

Some year Fareed, huh?

The man of letters and closet Bushmills fan just snarls.

Quiet you. What do you know about it? You've been chained to a desk all year, peering at the world through a 14 square inch window. You didn't see Mumbai. You weren't in Grant Park. You weren't sub-primed upside the head. You have as much context in all this as a blind child. Shaddup.

Two minutes later he's on the floor, and the Chalkboard's fist hurts. Put that in your next book about Post-American international society, boy. And tell Chomsky that he's in for it too.

But you get to thinking. What were the best things that I actually did this year? You scrawl a list down, leaving out alternate vowels, because you're drunk and it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Here's the legible version of the five best things the Chalkboard did in 2008. Direct all letters of complaint to The Editor, Limerick Leader, 54 O'Connell Street, Limerick.

1. Drank at the Southill shebeen; awaiting arrest
Ma Kelly's was the new Aubars this year; the natural destination for those recessionistas for whom cocktails and clothing are so 2007. The great victory in all this, alas, was The Chalkboard's binging on Budweiser at Francie Kelly's behest and returning to the office to write a feature about it on company time. But drinking at the shebeen has got a few people in trouble with the Judges since, it would seem. Expecting to be Paddy Wagon-ed in the next twelve to thirteen minutes, Kevin O'Kelly style.
2. Covered Miss Limerick 2008; pun intended. (see pic)
There was an awful scrap, so there was. The filthy news staff of the Limerick Leader had been sounding their jabs for weeks beforehand.
I'm going down to it. No you're not, I am. Like f*** you are. Say that to my face. I would if I could bend down that low, you b*****d.

You get the idea.

Anyway, the important thing is The Chalkboard won the subsequent three-day Battle Royale in the Clare Hills, murdering three of his colleagues with pointed sticks and rubber bullets in the process. Got to spend the afternoon in the company of ridiculously beautiful women who would never even think of looking at me before, or since.
3. Avoided killing a family of five in Cardiff
Now that was a bit of a blur. One of the few visions that survived those four days of hellishly pounding my brain, liver and face was using my body weight to stop Pinky, Brouder, Shane-O-Mac, Corky and the Power Ranger from falling down two rows in the Millennium Stadium after Dougie scored his disallowed try against Toulouse. Left the stadium happy in the knowledge that I had saved the Partridges. Pinky, however, wasn't so lucky. He's still buried under a pile of fat Newport-Gwent Dragons fans on Caroline Street.
4. Discovered Ladyhawke
A late burner on the album of the year front. For a long, long time Q-Tip's cracking new solo album 'The Renaissance' held the lead in The Chalkboard's album of the year race. And then, with One For All voucher in hand, he bought some New Zealand synth-rock stylings from Ladyhawke. Better noise we have not heard since after the Champions League final in May.
5. Scored two tries in the Volvic Summer Tag league at Old Crescent
Keep in mind that the last time The Board scored a try in eleven years of playing rugby was a pick-and-go under the posts for the Ilford Wanderers under-13's against some shower from Brighton who I still maintain had a 19-year-old Fijian at out half. So it was with great enthusiasm that we celebrated scoring not one, not three, but two tries for the Leader's tag team in Old Crescent during the summer. Instilled happy rugby memories of the like not seen since punching a St Mary's backrow while playing for the Terenure J3's in 2006. Joy.

And that, essentially, was The Chalkboard's year.
Pathetic, isn't it.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Not pretty enough, it would seem

The county folks don't like the city.
What's new, says you.
In fairness, we've made a few changes from back in the day when city centre parking meant abandoning the car on a derelict scrap on Shannon Street.
We have blue lights now. And fancy new glass avenues. And those bubble-wrap style pavement slabs that cut the feet off you if you're wearing suit shoes. What's not to like?
It's not about amenities, it seems. It's about pumping enough logs to take down the Drago that is the Crescent, with it's abundant parking, ease of access, better quality of shops, eighteen places to get a smoothie and two tv screens that always show the soccer.
In truth, this is going to turn out to be as much of a contest as Roberto Duran taking on a horse.
Though I did hear that in the Crescent recently one lovely lady - you know, the kind who gather there on Sunday evenings wearing skirts the size of gloves and more gold than a Persian rapper - took a dump on the changing room floor of a major clothes retailer, just because she felt like it.
The Crescent is still the number one place to burn your money.
Just be careful where you step.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wishing my life away

I now have no reason to want the time between now and next June to pass even remotely slowly.
Mickey, the broker on the Mall, rang this morning with the productivity-shattering news that he got us tickets to AC/DC.
Cracking stuff.
But on a side note, I am likely to die at that same concert.
I'm quite tall, you see. Very, very tall in fact. In most day-to-day activities, such as driving and shopping for mushrooms, my height isn't a problem.
At concerts, however, we have an issue. Sometimes it's good, sometimes not so.
At The Police, the crowd parted a big V behind me.
At U2, an aged gentleman got narky.
At Kanye West (x2) pretty girls from Northern Ireland asked me to help locate their lost friends.
But the Young brothers are standard bearers for midget pride the world over, and I expect that their gigs are popular with the vertically challenged.
Imagine being a five foot one inch man, struggling all your life to be taken seriously. Imagine looking up to Angus and Malcolm all that time, drawing inspiration from their deeds as little men in a big man's world.
Imagine giving your life's energies and talents to noble causes because you want to distract the world from the fact that you're a grown man but are still small enough to ride the Bumblebee at Chessington.
Imagine waiting all that time to see AC/DC play in Ireland, and when it finally happens there's a 6'8" lump from Limerick standing right in front of you.
I'd personally murder him with my 4-inch platforms.
Hopefully Bono is more of a pacifist.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Ministry of Silly Walks

Conjugate the verb!

Seriously though, I think even Cleese wouldn't find it funny.

The Sinn Fein crew rolled up on Henry Street Garda Station yesterday, ready to tell those cracker po-lice how to do their job.

The knowledge of how to protect our evidently Jakarta-esque slums and their armies of the night lies not with those constitutionally empowered to do so, it seems.

No no, Maurice Quinlivan, Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Tom Collopy are the men to bust those punk criminals a new one.

It is their right under law to meet with Supt Frank O'Brien and make submissions to the city's policing strategy.

Community policing, of course, must come from the ground up.

But one cannot help but think that yesterday was less about the desire to make our streets safer than sounding a few Law and Order jabs in front of the cameras ahead of next year's local and European electoral jingle.

I'm so angry at it all, I'm going to put the Life Of Brian on loop for the next three days.

Where's it going to gestate, in a box?


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Negotiating with reality

Supt Frank O'Brien has said that the gardai are willing to mediate between criminal gangs in the city if asked to do so.
Some of the more righteous, law-and-order types in Limerick have snorted at this notion in the past and will probably do so again in the future.
If you sit down and talk to them, goes the theory, it gives an indirect legitimacy to what they're doing; a recognition that being murdering, drug dealing bastards gives them power and status to negotiate with the law, as opposed to simply obeying it.
That's a lovely stance to take if you're Thomas Hobbes. But the gardai don't deal in philosophy. Their directive is numbers.
They can stick their fingers in their eyes and state that criminal gangs are no different to street urchins stealing for their dinner, placating the armchair philosophers in this society for whom crime and death are simply reasons to buy the newspaper.
But Supt O'Brien and the rest of the gardai in Limerick have to stop people selling heroin, importing semi-automatic weapons from Spain and shooting others in the head, be they innocent or not.
If negotiating an end to feuding violence is deemed a viable option in the short and medium term, the gardai have a responsibility to do just that.
If some people consider the notion of our police force taking these practical, realistic steps to limiting violence on our streets disturbing, so be it.
But far more is at stake here than middle class morality.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

From Barcelona to Ballynanty

There's a match on this Saturday. You may have heard. That lot up there will be going. The Mayor will probably be going. 'On the Beat', 'Stuff and Nonsense' and the editor will be going.

The Chalkboard will not be going.

The Chalkboard still hasn't been in Thomond Park since it was re-opened. I've been around it, I've been under it, but not in.

But it appears my opportunities to do so are likely to increase in the near future. Leaving jokes about Elton and his Rod aside, it seems that Thomond Park are looking to get a few high profile soccer teams to drop anchor at Hassett's Cross. Celtic, Barcelona, a Vatican XI, and the Limerick Leader's crappy inter firm side have been mentioned.

It seems perplexing, therefore, that the Scottish FA are hoping to make a joint bid with their Wales and Norn Iron counterparts to host Euro 2016.

Perhaps they're still upset at how we were the lump that sank their bid for Euro 2008. But it is abundantly clear that between Croke Park, the new Lansdowne and Thomond Park, Ireland is far more qualified to be the junior partner in hosting the Euros than those damn Welsh.

Of course, the current situation suits the Board, who garners far too much enjoyment from insulting/slapping Scottish people.

The Board wishes this to continue.

Pain in the face, brain areas

Just jump, man. Do it. Your brain will thank you.

The Limerick Co-Ordination Office had their Christmas do last night. The mind and body are still on the floor of Aubars, but we won't get into that.

For those of you who don't know them, they're the (two) people tasked with publicising Limerick, organising our city and stopping our politicians from swearing.

They're like the media antithesis of the Chalkboard. They're the good guys, if you will.

It's an unenviable task sometimes, trying to promote Limerick and get it in the news for the right reasons. It takes dedication, creativity and above all, perseverance.

Anyway, give a jump over to their new website here. The more people are made aware of the work Laura and Orla do and the positive impact that they have on Limerick city and the livers of its journalists, the better.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

It's my fault too, you know

The Irish Open is gone from Adare, sure it is. In fairness, it's lost the owner of Adare Manor Tom Kane about €3 million over the past two years, so no one can really claim to be shocked at it all.

But I fear that I myself may have caused the final, fatal, flagrant financial blow to the Irish Open at Adare.

I had a press pass, you see, to this year's tournament. Well, technically it was the Sports Editor's, but we won't get into that.

Anyway, I finished all the work I needed to do there at about 9.15am on the Wednesday of the Pro-Am, but the pass was good for the whole weekend.

You can see where this is going.

Anyhoo, I used it to get in on the Saturday, because my cousin from the bogs of Kerry was around, and he likes his golf. I thought I'd humour him.

Now we're both Irish and both men, which means we're both pale-skinned and stupid.

No sun cream was bought, and as we started to cook on the back nine, we became desperate.

I flashed the press pass, ran into the media tent and stole eighteen bottles of water, sixteen of which ended up on my face.

Now, as I watch the Open shuffle off to the boring, land-locked midlands, I can't help but think I pushed it over the edge.

One must find a way to live with one's shame.

Have at thee, wench

I feel like Henry V.

That is, if Henry V turned up at Agincourt with garden hoses, balloons and some slowly-cooling cream pie.

It was brought to the Board's attention yesterday by that lovable rascal and leader of men Bock The Robber that our blogs are, as yet, crap.

Not crap in the traditional sense, mind.

We're using Blogspot as our initial template, whilst the IT kinks are being found, beaten and thrown down Glentworth Street.

But Bock, like a samaritan parachuting onto the deck of the Lusitania, has warned us to get off, and get off now.

As such, the Board will be moving on to Wordpress soon, and then onto the Limerick Leader's own domain.

Will keep you posted with links, waffle, etc.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Limerick flirts with vegetarianism; insanity

Limerick likes ham. I think I'm not wrong in saying as much. Back in the day, ham, lace and docker sweat were our main exports.

But now that plastic pig meal has brought about the end of chops, pudding and the pig world as we know it, some serious questions have been raised.

Paul Craughan, of O'Connell's Butchers on Little Catherine Street, knows good pig. As he told the Leader here, the bad pig is gone and the good pig is a-coming.

But a handful of animal feed producers have knocked 3 per cent off our GNP, and many of us are just too heart broken after having to dump the six Dunnes sausages we were going to eat when we came back from the gym on Sunday night. Lifestyle changes are in order.

We could insist on eating only non-processed, fresh, organic meat. But the only way to ensure this is to systematically bite live cattle in the ass area.

We could go veggie, but then we'd be at the mercy of the potato blight again, and we all know how fun that is.

E-mail your suggestions to Idon'twanttoenduplikeViktorYushchenko@limerickleader.ie

Avant le deluge

Not to be outdone by the worlds of music and satire, the Chalkboard is here, kicking and screaming.
The Chalkboard is the blunt, wonkish prong in the Limerick Leader's new blogging armoury. To its left is 'On The Beat' - a music and ents blog by our grubby music writer Alan Owens.
The Chalkboard will start off as a news/current affairs-based opinion blog with emphasis on local stuff. Though that job description is likely to fall apart very, very quickly.
Please note the likes and dislikes feature on the right of your screen. That will be updated when someone or something does enough to draw my ire.
If you have any opinions about this or anything else Limerick Leader related that start gnawing away at your soul, you can air them here.
I can guarantee that almost 80 per cent of them will be ignored.