Tuesday 22 January 2019

No bother to Michael, the Prince of whales

Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae is an exotic political beast who does not speak the same language as you or I.

Although it sounds like he's using English words, the true meaning of what he says is encoded in the cadences, tones and pulses of his voice . . . like whale-song. When seemingly engaging with radio show hosts about other issues, he is communicating sub-sonically to the people of Kerry South about medical cards, attending funerals and, possibly, the location of delicious schools of krill.

Healy-Rae turned up on The Last Word this week to justify not stepping down from the Citizens' Information Board when asked to by Minister Joan Burton. He suggested the position was useful to his constituents, the E5,000 a year he gets for it was negligible, and Burton was engaging in cronyism by trying to oust him. But I don't know what he was really saying, because I don't speak constituent.

Loquacious journalist John Drennan didn't let this deter him. He waded in with an angry defence of Burton, preceded by the words 'lookit' pal' and followed by references to Monty Python and John B Keane. But this was far too sophisticated. Healy Rae responded with a touch of the poor mouth ("Why pick on me?") and a dollop of devastating sarcasm. "I'm glad you got that off your chest because it's been bursting inside of you for a long time.You should feel better now when you got that out." Drennan didn't stand a chance.

On Liveline two bald men were fighting over a hair transplant. After seeing pictures of Wayne Rooney transformed by new hair, a man called Mark had got in touch to bemoan all the "fake plastic people in a fake plastic world".

"I'm bald and you know what Joe? I'm beautiful," he insisted, his magnificent pate gleaming proudly in the intermittent Irish sunlight (I'm using my imagination). Daniel disagreed. He plans to pay a surgeon E20,000 to take slices from the back of his head and graft them on the front, because some urchins once called him "baldy". It seemed extreme.


On the Moncrieff show, Sean Moncrieff, radio host and occasional voice of Rabobank, was questioning an eccentric Dutchman who had built an ark after an apocalyptic dream. He'd built this to the specifications outlined in the Book of Genesis (the Bible apparently functions as a workable "how-to" book).

Huibers explained why one might build a dream ark (the answer seems to be: for attention) and also how to stop one's dream ark from getting filled with poo (it's all about what you feed your animal passengers). But the best bit was when Moncrieff asked Huibers how he funded his crazy scheme.

"Rabobank," said Huibers, matter-of-factly.

"Rabobank will lend you money if you think it's the end of the world?" said Moncrieff, his vocal cords wrapping themselves around the brand-name like an old familiar friend. It was a beautiful moment for those who love marketing synergy. Indeed, remove the question mark and it's a new advertising slogan.

The Last Word, Weekdays, Today FM, Liveline, Weekdays, RTE 1, Moncrieff, Weekdays, Newstalk

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