The O-Zone: 02/06/2009
Our man finds himself in the black and he’s not happy, but has some moneysaving ideas
The OZone's week gets off to a polished start. This morning I absent mindedly apply liquid black shoe polish, rather than the intended roll-on deodorant, to my left armpit. Just to compound the problem, I then apply same to my right one. Even after a second shower, the stains are still there.
Those ads were right. Smoking too much marijuana really does rot the brain.
Disgraced former government press secretary Frank Dunlop is sent down today for corrupting the planning process. Sentencing him in Dublin's Central Criminal Court, Judge Frank O'Donnell stated that, "The word must go out from this court that the corruption of politicians, or anyone in public life, must attract significant penalties."
Yeah, right! Two years in prison (with six months suspended) and a €30,000 fine is hardly a significant penalty for bribing crooked councillors.
Having said that, The OZone feels that prisons should really only be used to incarcerate people who pose a serious threat to society -- paedophiles, rapists, murderers and GAA players. Spending in excess of €100,000 to incarcerate the likes of Dunlop, who'll probably use his time to write a lucrative book, is a waste of scarce resources.
A far more appropriate punishment would be to seriously increase the fine (€250,000 sounds about right) and make him work, for minimum wage, at solving some of the problems he has helped to create ... like litter.
Some mail is forwarded from the Hot Press office. In among the usual green-inked religious screeds, promotional CDs and scented thongs, is a short note from legendary DJ Larry Gogan, thanking me for something I'd written about him.
Back in the early 90s, I used to manage an anarchic punk act called the Far Canals (you have to say their name in an Aussie accent to get the joke). When the band released their debut album, If You See K, Larry was the very first Irish DJ to play the first single, Glorious. Sadly, he was also possibly the last.
Some lyrics from a Far Canals song called Angry seem particularly appropriate for the week that's in it: "Think for yourself/ Ignore the missionary/ If you're gonna vote/ Vote for the visionary."
Sad to say, but there's a distinct lack of visionaries in Irish politics nowadays.
To London on the midday Aer Arann flight to Luton. At least, that's the plan. No sooner have I gone through security at Galway Airport than it's announced that the flight will be delayed for three hours. Fortunately, I have a good book (Will Self's hilarious satire The Butt).
In fairness to Aer Arann, an apologetic representative comes out within minutes and distributes €8 meal vouchers to make up for the inconvenience. Not a great compensation, but it wouldn't happen with Ryanair.
Fortunately, I make it to London in time to attend one of the Island 50 gigs in the Shepherd's Bush Empire. The iconic record label is celebrating its 50th anniversary with a week-long series of concerts by some of its best-known artists. Tonight's show is by Senegalese singer Baba Maal and the legendary Yusuf Islam (formerly known as Cat Stevens).
As Maal finishes his set with an impassioned cover of U2's One, the crowd is delighted when Bono and the band suddenly appear on stage to help him finish it. After One, U2 neatly segue into a largely acoustic version of Vertigo. Midway through the song, Bono humorously sends a shout out to Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell: "Chris once said to me, 'All of this, all of this can be yours, all of this can be yours . . . just give me what I want and no-one gets hurt!'"
Needless to say, U2 ultimately wound up more or less owning Blackwell's label.
Back home just in time to miss Pat Kenny's last ever Late Late Show. It's the end of an . . . error.
The festivities surrounding the Volvo Ocean Race are continuing and the city is absolutely thronged. Kudos to the event organisers, who seem to have done a terrific job. Helped by the sunshine, the docks area looks like a Mediterranean marina and there's a great atmosphere. But if I have to listen to Galway Girl one more time . . .
In among the food, alcohol and merchandising stalls, a few businesses are advertising their services. I wander into the tent of a crowd called Sim2Learn and avail of a free test drive on their top-of-the-range driving simulator. My virtual car crashes into a bus and careens off the road at 100mph within minutes.
"Er . . . you do realise that this isn't actually a video game?" the company rep says.
Finally, my old muckers The Big Geraniums have been in touch, requesting that I plug their one-off reunion gig in Whelans next Monday.
Here's the blurb they sent: "Throughout the 1990s The Big Geraniums established themselves as the foremost anglo-irish-american folk-pop-ska-punk-octets-with-a-dog of the late 20th century. Despite overwhelming popular demand, the band will be performing all the same songs they were doing in the early 90s . . . though a lot of them will be played considerably slower, due to their advanced years."
Hmmm . . . wilt I or won't I?