herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

The O-Zone: WHOAH, TIGER!

Confessions of a wayward golfer, Galway’s book-lovers, and Munster’s ‘opening’ victory over the Church

MONDAY

While OZone is all for swinging, birdies, foursomes, holes and pimp-style clothing, I've never really understood the attraction of golf. Like Mark Twain, I basically feel that it's a good walk spoiled. Or, in the autumnal months, a veritable holocaust of magic mushrooms.

However, I can easily understand the attraction of multimillionaire golfers -- to gold-digging females, at least -- so I wasn't especially surprised by how much of an unholy mess Tiger Woods has landed himself in.

Interviewed for the first time since the scandal surrounding his exhausting private life broke, the 34-year-old recovering sex addict told ESPN about his myriad infidelities with porn stars, cocktail waitresses and various other brazen hussies: "I tried to stop and I couldn't stop. It was horrific. It was disgusting behaviour."

Jaysus! Horrific? Disgusting? What exactly was he doing with those women?

TUESDAY

To the Meyrick Hotel in Eyre Square for the launch of the 25th Cuirt Festival, which will be on from April 20-25. Thinking back on it, OZone has been really lucky to grow up in a city that hosts such a fabulous annual literature festival. Readings, performances, plays and pints aside, literary groupies are always far more interesting than those of the rock'n' roll variety. On the down side, they're often a touch more suicidal.

I've read at Cuirt on a couple of occasions (sharing stages with Allen Ginsberg and Linton Kwesi Johnson) and have interviewed some truly brilliant writers there over the years -- including Hanif Kureishi, Chuck Palahniuk, DBC Pierre and Irvine Welsh.

This year's line-up includes Charles Simic, Ian Rankin, Roddy Doyle, Kevin Barry, Colum McCann, Claire Keegan, Amy Bloom and Joyce Carol Oates. Musicians Josh Ritter and Richard Hawley will also be appearing. Full details at www.cuirt.ie.

Staying with literary matters, there was a great Arts Lives documentary on RTE this evening. Directed by Maurice Sweeney and produced by Yvonne Nolan, John Connolly: Of Blood and Lost Things was a compelling examination of the internationally bestselling crime writer's career, influences, methods and motives. Although born and raised in Dublin (where he still lives), not one of Connolly's books is set in Ireland.

OZone actually interviewed Connolly way back in 1999 when his debut novel Every Dead Thing was published (for which he received what was then the biggest cash advance ever paid to an Irish writer). Shamefully, I haven't read much of his work since, but this excellent programme certainly whetted my appetite to do so.

But, given that he's published another 12 books since, where to start? Towards the end of the documentary, that question is answered by the man himself.

As he proudly explained, his 2006 novel The Book of Lost Things has the distinction of being, "the only book to be rejected by the Richard and Judy Book Club on the grounds of bestiality".

Well done, sir.

WEDNESDAY

What can you say about Biffo's Cabinet reshuffle? That it's as gutless, unimaginative, unsafe and uninspiring as the man himself? Yeah, that's about right.

THURSDAY

Odd-shaped balls! I see that rugby/Heino fans are to be allowed to get rat-arsed in Limerick on Good Friday. This morning, Judge Tom O'Donnell granted the city's publicans a special exemption to open between the hours of 6pm and 11.30pm on the night Munster meet Leinster in the Magners League at Thomond Park.

Within hours, wily street traders had printed up special T-shirts bearing the legends 'Munster Rugby: Officially Bigger Than The Catholic Church' and 'Mass Will Now Take Place At Thomond Park'.

All very well and good (Friday), but isn't it about time that this antiquated law was changed anyway? Why is the Catholic Church -- fast becoming the Enron of world religions -- still dictating the timetable of our national alcoholism?

Obviously, it'd be different if they were a little less tight with their altar wine.

FRIDAY

To the Roisin Dubh where, in return for free Tennessee liquor, OZone is misjudging the Galway heat of The JD Set Battle of the Bands. There are four acts -- Monaghan's Sanzkrit, Dublin's Tupelo and Galway acts Go Panda Go and The Coonics.

Following heated debate with my fellow judges (Adam Murphy from Jack Daniel's and iRadio's Josh Clarke), it's decided that The Coonics put on the best performance of the night. There's a touch of genius about a band that can come up with a great chorus like, "She's a crowd-pleaser -- prick-teaser!"

As always happens at such events, the decision doesn't go down particularly well with everybody who didn't win -- and their families, friends and fans. We beat a tactical retreat before it goes beyond evil glares.

The Coonics will now compete in The JD Set final in Dublin's The Village on April 29.

SATURDAY

So farewell then, Kevin A Armitage, bartender extraordinaire of The Littlest Bar In Boston, who passed away at the age of 46 earlier this month. His ashes are scattered into Galway Bay at a moving ceremony in Salthill this afternoon. RIP.

Earth Hour 2010 gets under way today as guilt-ridden nations across the globe switch off their power at 8.30pm for an hour to call for action on climate change. Critics and global warming sceptics think it's a waste of time, if not energy.

It would've been interesting to hear John Gormley's take on the matter. Ironically (actually, stupidly), the live television coverage of his address to Green Party members at Waterford's Tower Hotel was scheduled to begin at . . . 8.30pm.

Needless to say, OZone dutifully switched off his TV at the appointed hour.

SUNDAY

The clocks go forward this morning. Which mercifully knocks an hour off OZone's hangover recovery time.

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