Diageo Marketing has made monkeys out of all of us
You just knew that they wouldn't let it lie. Two years ago it seemed like a reasonable proposition to mark the 250th anniversary of the signing of the 9,000-year lease on the St James's Gate with the celebration of Arthur's Day. A snazzy advertising campaign duly followed and a raft of musical acts -- precious few of them Irish -- were signed up to perform around the city.
So, we had the likes of Tom Jones picking up a sizeable slice of wonga for a show in the Guinness Storehouse and a more intimate session in the Brazen Head, while the city was encouraged to let its hair down to mark the anniversary of one of our nation's iconic products. Big mistake.
Now, at the best of times the Irish as a race are rarely to be trusted with the concept of fiesta, but when an exaltation of our national drink is on the agenda you'd be entitled to expect the worst, which duly followed. A barman friend of mine described the scenes in town that Thursday as "Carnage . . . worse than Paddy's Day" and he was right.
Things were calmer last year because it was bucketing out of the heavens (ah yes, rain -- the policeman's friend) but the whole notion of Arthur's Day was shown to be the marketing ploy many suspected by the very fact that it was deemed 'such a success' (marketing speak for 'wa-hey, even we didn't think the suckers would fall so hard for this one') that it's now an annual event.
Such was the brainwashing of the public with Diageo Day that tourists in my local thought this was a traditional Irish feast day, and now we even have RTE1 giving over an hour of screentime to 'Highlights of the Arthur's Day celebrations' this coming Thursday. Brilliant -- the national broadcaster getting a product handed to them largely for free by a multinational drinks conglomerate who'll benefit from an hour of branding opportunities.
You know that the marketing people (who are the scum-sucking spawn of Satan) have really done a number when you overhear a conversation, as I did on the LUAS during the week, which contains the phrase: 'Where are you heading for Arthur's Day?'
As for me, I'll have a quick couple in my local (and head for home . . . while praying for a deluge of biblical proportions.