Wednesday 23 January 2019

Colette Fitzpatrick: Try singing our anthem, Christina

IT Might be one for the candidates. Ask them if they know all the words to the national anthem. All of them. Especially the second and third last lines. Just before you belt out 'Seo libh canaig amhran na bhFiann'.

Most of us tend to give those lines our own twist. Warble or rewrite them, sometimes in a brand new dialect, where 'Le gean ar Ghaeil, chun bais no saoil, Le gunna screach faoi lamhach na bpilear' should be. This week Christina Aguilera messed up the American national anthem in front of millions at the Super Bowl. The ex-teen queen had a problem with the ramparts -- specifically, the 'O'er the ramparts we watched' line, which she left out altogether.

Her own unique remix was a big mistake. Huge.

A country's national anthem, like a flag, represents the nation, fostering a sense of identity, stirring feelings of patriotism.

And Christina, you really don't want anyone questioning your patriotism. Angry patriot games are no fun. Yes, our national anthem is about chanting soldiers manning a gap of danger (bearna baoil) but it is not an indoctrination.

It may be the cue to head for the exit when a dodgy disco ends, and Gaeilgeoirs can sound like they're coughing up phlegm when they belt it out. But at its core the national anthem is about integration and sovereignty.

Most of us put rousing passion into the anthem at sports events. It's when we want to wrap the tricolour around us. When, if you sliced us down the middle, we'd be made up of green, white and gold. Having the patent out on patriotism isn't exclusive to Amhran na Bhfiann. I put some similar gusto into Ireland's Call during the Six Nations.

Bonus points though for Christina for her excuse. "I got so caught up in the moment of the song that I lost my place," she said.

"I can only hope that everyone could feel my love for this country and that the true spirit of its anthem still came through."

The good people of the land of the free and home of the brave are feeling you, Christina.

This column was brought to you by someone who, if ever called upon to sing it on television, now knows all of the words of the national anthem.

I just can't get this image of Enda Kenny in his fancy underpants out of my head

Enda Kenny in his underpants. I can't get the image out of my head. I'm closing my eyes and grimacing, like a vegetarian who just ate a piece of liver sneakily hidden in her greens.

It's not that I regularly muse about men in their smalls. But it's hard not to, when a politician's wife tells the nation that her husband has just one pair of 'fancy' underpants.

And that's exactly what Fionnuala Kenny did on Newstalk. The most likely Taoiseach-to- be's wife was being quizzed by Newstalk about her hubbie's worst habits.

"Untidiness," she said. Asked if the Fine Gael leader wore designer underwear, Mrs Kenny replied: "Not unless I buy them for him." She then went on to reveal that Enda has just one pair of Calvin Kleins.


The next Taoiseach's wife was clearly trying to paint a picture of her hubbie as 'the guy next door' or rather 'yer man up the road'. And a man's underwear says plenty about the wearer.

But I'm not sure Calvin Kleins say what Fionnuala might think. In fact I'm pretty sure they don't come under the title of 'fancy' pants' any more. There was a time when a ripped Mark Wahlberg made the most functional wardrobe item on earth scorching hot. But isn't the brand now mostly worn by rappers? And aren't they meant to be worn to be seen? As in, above the waistband of your trousers, 'inda hood' style?


Boxers say 'I'm a relaxed guy, who likes to hang out.' (No slogans or novelty numbers please. You are not Homer Simpson)

Beware the dapper cousin of the boxer -- the silk boxer. They just say, 'move over, it's my turn at the mirror.'

Really tiny, tight briefs and you've got to ask yourself if your man moonlighting on WWF. They're a deal breaker, I'm afraid.

Y fronts? Well he's just being funny and ironic isn't he?

As for going commando. Only the Shinners could pull off this look. Just mind that zip.

By the way, in the 1988 US vice-presidential debate, Lloyd Bentsen famously said to Dan Quayle, 'You're no Jack Kennedy.'

Enda, you're no Mark Wahlberg. But maybe you won't get the reference.

You'd have to be a political debate junkie for that.

I'm quite happy being that teeny bit gloomy

Some people are just born miserable, it seems. Researchers have discovered that our DNA dictates whether or not we have a "glass half empty" or "glass half full" attitude towards life.

Seriously? When you go through your daily life, do you feel like your genes are determining whatever your current emotional state is?

And isn't pessimism in small doses actually quite a rational response?

It can operate as a defence mechanism. As in when you realise that there's no point in sweating the small stuff and you can't change it anyway, you actually get a disproportionate kick out of the tiniest things going right.

It's sort of paradoxical, but really it's true if you think about it.

And really doesn't it depend on your personal circumstances? Optimistically, if a new government plays its cards right, we can get out of the hole we're in. Eventually, pessimistically, no matter who you are or where you're standing, we're all screwed, no matter who gets in and what their economic policies are.

Everyone's going down. The water is freezing and there's not enough life boats.

Have a nice day on the thought that even if the world falls apart, at least it's not raining. Oh wait...It probably is.

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