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The spectre of Halloween haunts us long after we've outgrown it

In a week when parts of the south inner city resembled the skies over Kobane due to the amount of illegal fireworks being let off, I trust you all had a great Halloween. An ancient Celtic festival brought to America and sold back to us at a grossly-inflated price, like most makey-up Hallmark holidays this seems to stretch by the year and this time out it feels like there have been fancy dress parties and 'special events' going on for the best part of a fortnight.

Nonsense

Now, fancy dress is all very well and good up to the age of, oh, about twelve or so, but when you have grown adults buying into (in every sense of the term) this infantilising nonsense then we're truly doomed as a society. But hey, the handbrake has just been released on the Christmas rollercoaster. God help us all.

Elsewhere, there was good news for the residents of Temple Bar with the announcement that buskers were to be banned from the cobbled streets of this cultural mecca.

Alas, the new codes don't apply to Grafton Street and, judging by the evidence of my own eyes, certainly not Henry Street. On a busy lunchtime during the week pedestrian traffic was restricted to two-abreast outside the ILAC Centre due to a crowd who'd gathered to watch an hilariously ridiculous breakdancing crew. These muppets were effectively blocking one of the capital's busiest shopping throroughfares in the middle of the day but was there a member of the Garda Siochana about to tell them to go spin on their heads elsewhere? And as for the atrocious Blues trio jamming - with fully amplified bass guitar - a few yards beyond them, don't get me started.

It's a very rare day indeed when I'd want to applaud David Cameron, but he walks off with the Man of the Week Award due his refusal to kowtow to the demands of Elle magazine. In order to flog copies of their magazine, they came up with the wizard wheeze of getting celebrities and politicians to wear t-shirts which state "This is what a feminist looks like" and, quite rightly, Cameron told them to sling their hook.

Quite aside from the fact that the Prime Minister of the UK has better things to be doing than promoting a glossy advertising platform, he raised the ire of the touchy-feely brigade who somehow missed the point that just because he wouldn't allow himself to be pressured into a gimmicky campaign that didn't automatically make him a raving misogynist.

Oh, and is this the same Elle magazine which regularly Photoshops the women on its front covers and in the issue in question included an article headed "Give a woman the right accessories and she can conquer the world"? The sisterhood need to work on the logic of their arguments a teensy bit more, methinks.

Science

Meanwhile, it's good to know that the taxpayers of Australia aren't having their money wasted when it emerged from research (research, I tells ya!) conducted by the University of Sydney that - wait for it - rock stars die far younger than the rest of us. Dianna Kenny, a professor of psychology and music, concluded that 'all is not well in pop music land' with the life expectancy on average 25 years less than that of, say, a civil servant and with the suicide rate more than double that of the general population.

Granted, the rock'n'roll lifestyle can take its toll over the years, with travel, anxiety, drugs and all manner of sexual temptations but whereas most of today's major acts operate like mini-corporations, with regular medical checks for insurance purposes par for the course for its executives, sorry, band members back in the day things were considerable less responsible.

Mind you, the next time you read a piece causing you to fret about some aspect of your diet or lifestyle bear in mind that Iggy Pop and Keith Richards are still alive. The greatest scientists alive couldn't figure that one out.


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