Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chalkboard in 'experimentation' shock

There are many things The Board cannot do. Pay his car tax on time, for example. And function adequately in civil society.

However, he was quite pleased with his most recent foray into the smouldering cess pool of music journalism through his review of Mos Def's very fulfilling new album 'The Ecstatic', featured in this week's Limerick Chronicle.

On The Beat, so often maligned on these pages as a pariah of the worst kind, was good enough to put said review up on his own blog here.

Bless his cold black heart.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Revelation of the day

The Supreme Leader of Iran has the best personal website of any world leader, elected or otherwise.

Such colours! Such flagrant use of propaganda and the personality cult! I'm already a fan.


End this now

Despite his foppish, cowardly manner, The Board has flirted with trouble once or twice.

Back in primary school he tripped up Daniel Power, black-hearted bully and fastest man on the playground, in the 1996 St Bede's One Lap Wobble-Off. Only a madman would do such a thing, of course, but I just let the moment take me.

Likewise, this January he flirted with a small pickle when he seemingly encouraged people to assault Tanaiste Mary Coughlan with office supplies. It was all tongue in cheek, of course. If I really wanted to see her injured, I'd suggest some kind of sharpened shovel.

That same shovel logic came crashing back into our world this Wednesday morning when Dearest Mary, our deputy leader, made a holy show of herself explaining away the Government's commitment to the Mid West following the publication of the regional task force's interim report.

It's quite a hollow feeling, really, to know that had the Fianna Fail government been forced into growing a social conscience five years sooner, the money to invest in regeneration, create 7,000 jobs and completely re-make some of the most broken areas of our society would have been there.

Instead, here we are in 2009, bankrupt and ponderous and waiting for answers from the national disgrace that is Mary Coughlan.

Did you hear her interview on Live 95FM? It would be funny if it wasn't so enraging. This woman's propensity to answer meaningful questions about the fate of this region and her own competency with flippancy and candour is an affront to the idea of accountability among our politicians.

The Tanaiste, as one of Brian Cowen's chief allies in his coronation as Taoiseach last year, was awarded her position and portfolio, prizes that she has done little to justify.

If, as rumours suggest, the Opposition begin their push for a general election once the Lisbon referendum is over, Brian Cowen would be faced with a window of less than four months to shuffle his cabinet and provide one final indication that he wants to inject a new energy into the front bench.

He could provide no clearer declaration of positive intent than if he cut Mary Coughlan loose. She has no public credibility outside her home constituency, and has become the personification of the indecision and fluster of the Ahern years.

She is simply not up to the job.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Lest we forget

Does anyone here remember Grease 2?

The Board can appreciate if that question draws nothing but forlorn silence. It was, after all, a painful homage of the sort of 50s retro-camp that kept alive the abhorrent 'diner' culture of middle America, something which we Irish have come to know through expensive, poorly cleaned Eddie Rocket's outlets.


I ask because one of the main story strands - or at least what little of the story I could make out from the bootleg copy The Board's sister rented from the musky video shop on Meads Lane in Ilford 'back in the day' - involved a shy, well spoken English exchange student whose syllables were stretched out unbearably in that horrible, Etonian way.

Our hero died in a horrible motorcycle stunt, or so we thought, only for him to return in a fireball of victory at the end, perhaps, just in time to have relations with Michelle Pfieffer outside of wedlock.

Like that pompous protagonist, The Board also has a penchant for English accents and random acts of disappearing.

Technically, I should say that I have been on holidays for two weeks. However this would be a liberal misuse of the word. 'Holiday' for a 24-year-old male implies exotic punch bowls, foreign sands, promiscuous blondes, house music and a general process of 'larging it'.

For The Board to admit that he spent two weeks watching Peep Show and failing to finish 'The Bonfire of the Vanities' would be too much.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Our Circus Maximus

Rod Stewart was in Limerick last Saturday. Did you hear?

The Board didn't, because he sits in the corner of the Limerick Leader newsroom, like an exiled harlot, and the cultural loop that you lot twirl around in doesn't swing that far.

On The Beat claims it was a smashing concert, but his opinions on all such things were discredited a long time ago.

But assuming that it was, it can be considered another victory for the globalisation of the Thomond Park brand, and hooray for that.

Back in his filthy corner of the workplace, The Board is sometimes imparted by El Newso Editora to pen the paper's main editorial piece, because I am too pithy to write anything factual or accurate.

As such, here's the example of same that was in last week's main edition, extolling from high the benefit that Thomond Park has for the city and the region.

In brief, Thomond Park= good.

"In recent years there have been drawings and discussions and debates about the possibility of an ‘iconic’ building for Limerick; something that would define the character and energy of this ancient city.

The more we think about it, the more we realise that we already have one.

On Monday, Thomond Park picked up the prestigious People’s Choice award from the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland.

On Tuesday, accountants BDO Simpson Xavier published a report stating that through Munster’s four home Heineken Cup matches last season, and the marquee fixture against the All Blacks in November, the ground generated an estimated €58 million for Limerick and the Mid West.

Though few of us doubted it to begin with, the aesthetic and economic value of Thomond Park to Limerick is now clear. The construction of the new ground ahead of schedule and on budget was testament to the stadium development committee. The design by Murray O'Laoire Architects is simple, clean and perfectly matches the proportions of the site.

In every way, Thomond Park is a triumph of art and function.

The difference between a promising city and a thriving metropolis is often a modern stadium. Sporting events attract thousands of travelling supporters who might not otherwise ever think of visiting the city.

Frequent, high profile concerts help develop music and culture as well as putting people into restaurants and hotels. One night stop-overs become long weekends; money spent in local shops and bars creates employment, which in turn creates more expenditure.

The wheels of the local economy turn faster and faster, and it all comes from Thomond Park.

But none of us can take this for granted. In the coming months and years, Limerick’s public and private spheres must work even harder to maximise the potential of this fabulous piece of infrastructure.

That does not mean squeezing every cent out of everyone who visits the city. It means functional traffic plans, improved public transport, better information about other attractions and events in Limerick - a cohesive approach to marketing Limerick city and county as a place to visit for a rugby match and to continue visiting thereafter.

Thomond Park, whether it was intended to be or not, is now Limerick’s iconic structure. It is simply majestic to see its silver arches crowning the city sky.

It is now imperative that the people of Limerick, through our ideas, energy and hospitality, continue to do justice to this great amphitheatre."

Revelation of the day

Tony Benn is a legend.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Midget presidents and mixed berries

As anyone who knows me will attest, The Board has been in a state of quarter life crisis for about three years now.

When I turned 21, I realised that my hair was thinning. That's when it started. I then graduated from college and lost my last tangible excuse for never taking life, or anything in it, seriously.

We've been stuck in a delicate place since, with work and money and cars and girls simply becoming slippery pockets in the vacuum.

One day soon, possibly a Thursday, The Board is going to steal a canoe, paddle to Uvs Nuur in Mongolia and startle himself into writing the Great American Novel, unburdened by the handicap of only having been to America once.

But being the current affairs sponge and sociopath that he is, The Board is moved by the example currently being set in Moscow by Russia's midget president, Dmitry Medvedev, and his US counterpart, Barack Obama.

If they can set aside decades of phoney war and agree a framework to reduce their nuclear warhead stockpiles - the equivalent in international relations of the trusty Swedish penis enlarger - then perhaps The Board can find a way to define himself as more than a 6'8" pedant with a love of milkshakes and flippancy.

For example, at a bbq at his house in Raheen last Saturday to celebrate his 24th birthday, The Board made his first telling contribution to modern society.

He discovered that by combining Kopparberg mixed berry, West Coast Cooler and Southern Comfort, one creates a beautiful-tasting drink potent enough to knock out a small bison.

He christened it the 'Game Over' and was quite proud of it.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Get your retaliation in first" - Willie John McBride

Paul O'Connell is lucky that Tendai Mtawarira has a ridiculous nickname, that Andy Murray is moody and Michael Vaughan is quitting.

Were it not for these distractions, you expect that O'Connell would be suffering a verbal beating from the English press at the moment.

The 2009 Lions tour to South Africa should not and cannot be described as a failure. The 2005 tour was a failure - it was shallow, commercial, self-important and undignified.

The mythical notion of the Lions as they were can never be recreated in an era of world cups, autumn tests and professionalism. But to its credit, 2009 was something closer to the expeditions of yore.

We may not have seen Phil Bennett and JJ Williams running double overlaps; Willie John McBride and Bobby Windsor querying the bone structure of Boland Coetzee's jaw or a series win over the Springboks a la 1974.

But the fact that O'Connell's Lions lost two of the most savagely brutal and utterly compelling test matches in history should not be a source of shame.

Lest we forget, since Lions tours began in 1910 they have been more often won against than won. In the professional era, the prospect of a scratch team beating one of the tri-nations on their own patch over a three game series is growing more unlikely by the day.

A judgement of this year's tour, and Paul O'Connell's captaincy, cannot be made through such simple criteria of winning and losing. Though you expect Stephen Jones, a jingoist of a writer if there ever was one, will attempt to hang O'Connell by any imaginary petard he can find.

This would be totally unfair.

Would this team, if lead by Brian O'Driscoll, Phil Vickery or even Stephen Jones' ludicrous pre-tour pick Ryan Jones (the cheek of it), have fared better in those defeats at King's Park and Loftus Versfeld?

Would the tiny margins of the victory and defeat have rearranged themselves in the Lions' favour because the armband lay elsewhere? No.

In professional test match rugby the captain is less a dictator than a first amongst equals, usually a triumvirate. O'Connell did not lead this side on his own, and should not be blamed for its defeat.

As the Lions leave South Africa, questions and frustrations and regrets will follow them.

But the tour has achieved what was it its core to do - portray Northern Hemisphere rugby in as positive a light as possible; to be fair, aggressive, competitive and skilled.

Whether this creates a win or a loss at the end is always at the mercy of the game. Paul O'Connell was a good captain for a good tour, and both he and the 2009 Lions will be remembered as such.

Don't let Stephen Jones or anyone else convince you otherwise.