Friday 29 February 2008
Picture the poor tourists battling with the Pay and Display Parking in Galway City.
They have sussed out that it costs a whacking great ¤4.80 to park for a measly two hours, and they've also discovered that their chances of sliding a fiver into the machine and recovering change are as solid as the rushing river Corrib.
They drop in a coin.
'One Moment Please.' says the digital readout.
Desperately, they dive into their phrase book.
"What exchange rate is this 'Moment' to the Euro? Perhaps is this 'Moment' an Irish slang for 50 cent, or maybe a special parking card?"
And then again, far more likely in these days of educated and enlightened travellers, they understand perfectly well what a moment is, but cannot for the life of them comprehend why they can only park for two hours, and how it can cost so much.
As this colyoom has pointed out before, the costs and time limits imposed on visitors to this city are insane, and as a result, Galway is being bled dry of goodwill and trade.
In two hours you can either have a family meal or do a bit of shopping, but you most certainly cannot do both, and surely locals and visitors alike are being deprived of enjoying Galway, as well as being unable to pass on their hard-earned moolar to local businesses.
Oh yeh, I know, if they want to stay longer, all they need to do is move the car and pay again, but when you're out on your own with three kids under five, going all the way back to the car is not only a right royal pain in the arse, but also means your visit to Galway has cost just under a tenner before you've bought anything at all.
I love Galway and hate to see the council leeches sucking the lifeblood out of the place, at the expense of the very people who work and live in the city.
A couple of years ago I used to take my car into town, park nearby, and spend lovely long leisurely afternoons doing what Galwegians do best.
These days I'm constantly checking my watch and mentally cancelling things I wanted to do in town because I have to get back to the bloody car.
Where's the good in that?
No wonder there are so many taxis in Galway.
So what's the answer? Well, how about ¤1.50 per hour, up to three hours, and then a fiver for four hours.
There will of course be those delighted that I'm not using my car as much as I used to, because they'll figure the reduction of my carbon footprint is helping to save the polar bears and rain forest.
And they would be right, if I wasn't instead sitting in a taxi. Had we anything approaching a comprehensive public transport system, we'd all be on the right track.
The politicians try to look like they give a damn about climate change by slapping happy taxes on those who drive SUV's, but it doesn't work, because people just want to show off.
Worse, the ever-growing ranks of ostentatious and evidently insecure people who feel the need to drive small tanks to pick up a pint of milk from the Centra round the corner are blathering on and on about how they are victimised and isn't it just dreadful and yes, of course I can afford it, after all it's only a few hundred quid a year. but really it is the last straw.
No mate, you're the last straw.
As long as there are SUVs, people will want to buy them, and as soon as another bigger more expensive more utterly ridiculous model comes out, there will be another well-dressed stampede down to the showroom, each toff slavering at the possibility of being the first to drive this spanky sparkly super-dooper model, which is very reasonable really, when you think that you could barely buy a three-bedroomed house for the same money.
No, I'm not slagging off the rich in a covetous or begrudging way; merely, as Basil Fawlty so eloquently put it, stating the bleedin' obvious, which is that people who have it seem to need to flaunt it.
So what's the answer?
Well, some in the USA make the interesting point that in fact, these hulking great SUVs and Hummers are actually greener than most other cars, because they are made from less plasticcy ingredients, and thus last far longer than tiny hatchbacks put together with petroleum by-products, cardboard and glue.
And indeed they have a point, but the only thing that should require two gallons of petrol to go around the block is the local bus, carrying everybody else.
You moddim, do not need to be driving something that costs more than the gross domestic product of a small nation to pick up your child from school.
Oh, and while we're at it, can I be the first to ask if it is only SUV drivers who are granted special dispensation to park on double yellow lines, or can we all apply for a permit?
As always and ever, this colyoom does not merely give out and never gives in. 'Double Vision' has a solution, so precise and beautiful in its simplicity that, were I a Bond villain, I would hold it in my arms and stroke it slowly whilst almost imperceptibly dribbling contentedly from my mouth.
Bring back rationing.
Yep, that's what I said.
This way, you can have and drive whatever car you like. Hell, if you can find a Boeing 757 and adapt it to fit in your garage, then take that down Tescos, by all means.
But each year, when you go to buy your road tax, you will be allocated a monthly ration of ¤50 in petrol.
To ward off the gangsters and black marketeers, all cars will henceforth be fitted with microchips that will disable the engine after more than ¤50 of petrol has been consumed each month.
That'll sort out the gas guzzlers from the planet savers. Let the games begin, and enjoy your half-mile drive each month in your 7 litre, 8 cylinder ¤125,000 Hybatsushi Continental Invader.
Me? I'm about to strike fear into the hearts of all ye drivers out there by dusting off and climbing onto my bike, so look out for a Silverback with attitude on two wheels under man power.
Saturday 23 February 2008
Many thanks to John of Renmore, who suggests that as I feel so strongly about Irish sporting attitudes, why don’t I drag my lethargic and critical arse off the sofa and onto the field of play?
He points out that I spend a great deal of time writing about sport, but zero minutes on a pitch.
Fair point John, and how are you to know that, quite apart from the fact that my 47 year-old body is just a tad past its perfect physical peak (I think I hit that in the 4th month in my mother’s womb), there is a personal and substantial reason why, whilst I love watching team sports, participating in them might catapult me back to painful times.
As a boy I was sent to an English Public School, that being the Private and Tom Brown variety, ancient, and to me, horrific.
Inasmuch as the S.A.S., Delta Force and other élite army forces undergo training so severe that recruits are crushed and pulped to smithereens and then rebuilt in the mould of indestructible killing machines, so too the boys who enter unto English Public Schools are blasted and bombarded by physical and psychological warfare, ripped apart in body mind and spirit, until deemed ready to be reborn as candidates suitable for Oxford and Cambridge universities.
Trouble was, the teenage Adley was not built for speed. Indeed, although I mocked myself before, my body is now in way better shape than it was back then.
Streamed into a year of exceptionally gifted lads, I found myself, for the first time in my life, at the bottom of the class. When this new nadir was swamped by a 13 year-old hormonal tsunami that wiped out every nano-nodule of self-confidence I possessed, my body reacted by getting bigger, and I ended up being a 16 stone 16 year-old.
My classmates were not only highly intelligent but also fit and strong. At Public School no greater glory could be gained than to play for the school in the ‘Rugger’ First XV or the Cricket First XI.
The Second XV or XI might still be considered worthy, but beyond that, you were absolutely worthless.
And thus was born the Adley fightback.
While my close friends trained hard and dreamed of team glory, your colyoomist spent vital classroom hours working out how to avoid sport altogether.
My school had a straight driveway that cut through the playing fields for about three-quarters of a mile. Being Public Schoolboys, we had to attend classes every Saturday morning and play ‘games’ all Saturday afternoon.
Six days a week I travelled to school in a grey uniform. Weekdays, pupils from rival Comprehensive schools boarded the bus in their masses, clad in either purple uniforms or green uniforms.
“Look lads, he’s different to all of us! Quick! Beat up the little shit!”
Even if I managed to escape a beating all week, I’d be guaranteed a hammering on a Saturday, because, clad still in grey uniform, I looked like an Amish child way before anybody in London knew what an Amish child looked like.
So each Saturday lunchtime I dashed as fast as I could for the school gates at the far end of the long drive, in an effort to make my escape before the Prompters and Monitors arrived to guard it.
Entrenched in arcane manifold layers of school hierarchy, somewhere above mere Prefects, yet below Masters, Prompters and Monitors appeared to a junior oik such as myself like demi-Gods, boys yet men.
It is no coincidence that Dementers fly around J.K. Rowling’s reconstructed English Public School.
I knew my Dementers by name.
Delightfully complicit in this arrangement was my beloved Dad, who set off for Finchley Road Tube Station, just as I made my frantic (and yes, most athletic!) dash down the drive. A half hour on the Metropolitan Line later, I met him, waiting in his car, and then scrambled about in the car to change out of my school clothes and into my Chelsea clobber, arriving at Stamford Bridge just in time for kick-off.
Brilliant! After all, hadn't my House Master told me to act on my own initiative, and take and active interest in team sports? Hadn’t I passed on both accounts?
Each year, come the Summer, I would persuade my Mother to persuade the family doctor to write a letter, explaining that my chronic hay fever must allow me to be excused from all outside sports, whenever I was suffering.
This dream ticket from sciving heaven worked well for two or three years, until some wiseacre noticed that I had never actually played cricket in any capacity for, or in, or around the school at all.
With my metaphorical tail between my legs, I was sent to play in the Meadow League, a dreadful collection of losers and misfits who were generally unable to tie their own shoelaces or breathe and blink at the same time.
Needs must when the Devil drives, and rising to my new challenge, I became temporarily exactly what the Powers-That-Were had wanted me to be all along.
Teams in the Meadow League were divided along House lines, and so I appointed myself White House Captain, and put a notice upon the prestigious ‘Today’ board in the main cloister, requiring all those eligible to play for White House in the Meadow League to attend a vital meeting in room 33.
From that moment my job was easy. I acted like a little Napoleon, dishing out positions of play, batting orders and tactical schemes, making sure I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my newly-won and completely illegitimate power.
I can still see my teams’ forlorn faces when, with only two overs (12 balls) to be played, and a chance of a rare victory over Mulcaster House very much in the offing, having allowed myself to bowl whenever I wanted and put myself to bat at No. 3 (everybody’s favourite), I decided to pull stumps, throw in the cricketing towel, because I needed to catch a train to meet up with my normal mates from normal schools who were going to a disco.
So there you are John. I love watching team sports, but I will always adore avoiding the playing of them, having metamorphosed into a nasty little fascist for a while, whilst in their thrall!
Friday 15 February 2008
It's not just you Irish who are upset about the whole Partition thing. There are English men such as myself who, when settled comfortably on the sofa in front of their tele, have been known to swear and curse and damn the Six Counties, their very existence and all they ever were, are or might very well be.
But it's not really their existence that does my head in. It's the BBC and their dark evil mind games.
There's Gary Lineker on Saturday night's Match Of The Day, building the hype for the big England game, which is live on BBC1 on Wednesday at 7.30.
And well it might be, if you were living in England (see, I didn't even call it 'The Mainland').
At the consigned hour, with beer, whiskey, pizza aplenty and lads agog, we are cruelly transported to another game, involving a team from what appears, somehow magically, to be a different country to both the one I'm living in and the one I'm from.
You could argue that I should be grateful; that going by recent form, Northern Ireland have become a more entertaining prospect than England, but that's missing the point.
We don't belong to our sporting tribes because we really think our respective teams are the best.
When the die-hard fans at Accrington Stanley sing:
"We're Accrington Staaaanley! Accrington Stanley Efff Ceeeeee! We're by far the greatest tee-eeam ...the world has eeeever seen!" they know they're not really.
Sporting tribes are like families: the most important thing is to belong. That's why we tend to choose the ones we grew up amongst.
Certainly, speaking personally, where national sporting tribes are concerned, I don't give a monkeys on any deep or spiritual level. In my heart and head I wear the colours of so many different nations, cultures, creeds and tribes that I'd never be able to give too much of a damn for any one in particular.
But that's no fun.
So instead I proudly and somewhat loudly raise the White Ensign, and come on all blimey guv'nor how's your father, because that guarantees a reaction in the Republic of Ireland.
Well, no, that's not true either.
Yes it gets a reaction, but no, I do not go to pubs to court antagonistic wind-up lightly disguised as Irish wit.
I go to watch the game, and hope to goodness it will be a good spectacle.
So, a few months back, when England played Russia in a Euro qualifier, I toddled off to KRCMA, the Eastern European bar in Salthill.
Surely there I might find myself at worst a neutral crowd, at best a friendly supportive bunch. After all, what had Russia ever done for them? Wouldn't it be another case of 'My enemy's enemy is my friend'? Not to mention the small matter of the English lads who died to kick the Nazis out of their countries.
No, that doesn't work either. Not when you consider the 29 million Russians who died in the Second World War. Yeh, that's right: seven times the population of this country. It was neither the Stars and Stripes nor the Union Jack that defeated Hitler. Not getting too serious on you here now, but I've always felt that the enormity of the Communist Russian sacrifice was swept under history's carpet by the Capitalists who wrote our history books and printed in our school Atlas world maps with Mercator Projections, designed specifically to make Russia look vast and threatening to our little 1960's kiddy minds.
Anyway, the game was a disaster for the English, and this Englishman. My footballers underestimated the Russians and I misjudged the locals.
I was curious to find out why one young woman, who had earlier told me she was Latvian, had been shouting so energetically and vociferously for the Russians.
What might a Latvian love about Russia, beyond the fact that ultimately they gave them their country back?
"S'cuse me there. Didn't you tell me you were Latvian? I was just wondering. Were you shouting for Russia, or against England?"
"Oh no. I am Latvian, yes? Russian from Latvia!"
"Oh right, I see. Thanks!" said I, less than none the wiser. Seems to me there is almost an infinite number of ways to dislike the English, and being sadly human, that serves only to make me prouder of being English. Not because I am proud of being disliked or dislikable, but because I know better.
Like duh. Some of us English are evil and some of us aren't.
Just like you.
Just like everybody, but again, that's no fun, so we construct illogical emotional sporting tribes, and have a larf, a shout, a swear, a wee tear and then jump around shout and cheer and yell louder and longer than we would were a child just born.
We can let ourselves go because, at ve hend of va day, Brian, it doesn't matter either way.
We avow and bestow an undying lifetime of loyalty unto our sporting tribes, and breathe deep the ecstasy when they are, for a brief exquisite moment, like Accrington Stanley, by far the greatest tee-eeam ...the world has ever seen.
Girlfriends boyfriends pets and parents come and go, but your tribe is your tribe. Sure, the Irish know better than anyone, because your GAA parish teams are as hardcore as it gets anywhere in the world.
Right now the hype is flying about the Six Nations Rugby, and even though I would love to sit and share verbal craic and quippy bon mots with the local Irish, I will stay at home to watch the England games, because it's not worth the hassle.
When the Irish are playing anybody but the Auld Enemy, I shout for the boys in green, but what kind of sad pathetic man would I be to sit in the pub, as the barrage of anti-English artillery comes flying my way during the game, to negotiate like a wrung-out flaccid liberal flannel:
"But but but I thupport your team too! Yeth I do, honetht. Come on you boyth in green!"
So even though I do indeed yell for my host country, when the white rose of England is on the field of battle, I keep my support to myself.
Yes, hoh baby, even as I write that, an image builds in my minds' eye, and the Jingoist sporting bile rises in my throat.
Friday 8 February 2008
Every year the arrival of Valentine’s Day divides us into two self-indulgent and equally unattractive camps.
There are those cupply-wupply types who become lost in a misty fug of lurrrrve, staring dewy-eyed into each others’ eyes as they revel and indulge in nauseatingly treacle orgies of luvvy-duvvyness, tonsil tennis and dry humping, oblivious (or perhaps, only too aware) that they are very much in public, thus inflicting their swapping of goo-goo shnooby-dooby-cutey-pooty-wooty pet names on all us others, forced to look on whilst desperately trying to look elsewhere.
Then there are the humbugs, the grouches, both single and married, tethered and adrift, for whom spontaneous romantic behaviour is as alien as truth to Fianna Fail ministers. They stand arms folded, huffing puffing and snorting their contempt at the tackiness of it all; the massive waste of time and money involved; the selfish exclusive cruelty of our couple-oriented society.
Now, however, we can jettison that unhappy brace of attitudinal stances. We can leave behind the issue of whether you are in love with another human or not.
All you need to do is get a pet, and send it a Valentine instead.
It is no coincidence that around Valentine’s Day, the personal columns are full of messages that read like:
‘Bear seeks Small Burrowing Creature’.
‘She-Puppy loves Big Doggy-Woggy’
We have to say out loud and pretend inside that we want a partner who is all human, but really, what many people seek is a pet; something that will ask nothing but to be loved, upon which we can then project our dreams and ambitions.
Despite the threat posed by ‘Intelligent Design’, we in Western Europe have stuck firmly to our belief that we are nowt but animals. Naturally, we’re not any old animal.
We’re a highly-developed mammal with a stuttering consciousness and maybe even a soul.
But animals we are, and thus fulfilling our natural propensity for being a pair-bonding species, we love each other.
So it’s no surprise that we love other animals, and choose to ‘own’ them, and keep them as pets.
And boy, do we love our pets? In 2007, Americans spent an estimated €33.42 billion on their pets, more than the gross domestic product of about 120 nations.
So decadent has the West become that one of the best-selling items on a top pet gift website was an exceptionally vulgar-sounding ‘$250 crystal-encrusted dog collar made from python skins with a matching $190 leash.
Beyond the price lies the evident and unsettling truth that some folk have lost sight of their priorities. Check out the baloney in this advert and the follow-up customer testimonial from another website, offering more moderately-priced pet gifts:
“Small animals instinctively depend on hiding as a natural form of defense. Your pets will feel more comfortable and relaxed when you provide them a cozy spot to hide, cuddle up and rest. Pamper your pet with a plush pillow-soft place to sleep. Critter Cuddl-E-Cup is the only foam-free bed created to be super safe for your favourite furry friend. It's the perfect place for your pet to nap, rest and nest!”
Customer gm22 responds: My bunny loves this!
"My little boy bunny loves his cuddle cup! He sleeps in it all day! I love it because I know it's nice and comfortable for him. Also machine washable!"
The first time I read that I had a vision of her happy dappy super-nappy bunny wunny staring terrified and wide-eyed out at me from behind the glass of the washing machine door as it spun around at 1200 rpm, foaming swirls of Persil, Oxy-Poxy stain remover and saffron-flavoured Comfort fabric conditioner shooting up and into its orifices at all ends.
Then I realised that she was talking about washing her Critter Cuddl-E-Cupp.
Then I thought about that Critter Cuddl-E-Cupp, which aspires to ape a natural place for a small creature to sleep, and I wondered how incredibly stupid we can be, where other species are concerned.
Mostly hardy beasts, they evolved to do nothing but survive. Homo Sapiens may play a dominant role on this living planet, but we are nowhere near being the strongest, fastest, hardiest or most remarkable animal around. We should therefore stop talking down to ‘little critters’, and award them the respect they deserve.
For starters, there are more of them than us. There are over 200 million insects for each and every one of us humans. And it’s not just about numbers.
Sure we have our famous opposable thumbs, and so can pick up a spanner and lop the top off a boiled egg, but can we freeze our heads?
If yer Chinese alligator couldn’t freeze his bonce in a ball of ice for months on end, he’d never make it through winter.
Butterflies taste through their hind feet. Mouse sperm are longer than elephant sperm and mice testes are some of the largest around (around what, one wonders?).
Snails can sleep for 3 years to survive drought, (enjoying benefit even without actively seeking employment) and lions can get it on with lionesses 50 times a day, when they are in the mood.
Most incredible, to me at least, are the albatrosses, emperors of the skies, who only land once every couple of years, when they need to breed. Swooping over the world’s oceans, they can travel hundreds of thousands of miles on each flight.
So no, I don’t think your poochy-woochy is a lesser being. Yes, we have our good points, as do all other species, and therefore, if we feel we deserve to be lavished with love, why would other animals deserve less?
I don’t think your pet ferret really needs a Critter Cuddl-E-Cup. Consider this: were you to be extracted from this planet and kept as a pet by aliens in a galaxy far far away, which would you prefer? To be swamped with fluffy pink gifts that betray a gush of misguided love and misplaced affection, or simply, to be set free?
Go on, forget the girlfriend, wife, hubby or man in your life. Show how much love you have in your heart: give the gift of life this Valentine’s Day, and liberate your animal.
Return Fido unto the woods. Put Petey the Python down the drain. Leave Gerry the Gerbil in a field, and let nature take its course.
What gift can be greater than freedom? Beats the hell out of chocolates and champagne!
Saturday 2 February 2008
Apologies to Dionne Warwick, but if you see me walking down the Prom, walk on by ... just walk on byyyyy ....
Upon meeting a fellow walker, Prom etiquette requires only that you perform one or two of the following three social tricks: raise a hand; a smile; a “Howya!” or somesuch greeting with the minimum possible syllables.
There need be neither a slowing of pace nor change of direction.
There need be no prolonged staring into the other person’s eyes up ahead. That’s not being grumpy or unfriendly. That’s pure health and safety measures, that is missis, wot wiv all the squelched dog turds strewn over the concrete like swarms of World War Two Nazi U-boats in the North Atlantic .
Don’t go getting the hump if I don’t stop to chat. Of course I still like you, but I’m doing my thing, and despite appearances to the contrary, a chunk of that is going on beyond my physical realm.
While my eyes might look vacant as I stride along, inside my brainbox a steady trickle of what some might consider ‘thoughts’ are throwing off their duvets and brushing their teeth.
Y’see, while you find doing the normal day to day life thang relatively easy, I struggle through it, often feeling like a stranger in a strange land.
I love people. They fascinate me and amuse me and educate me.
But being with them: that’s the tricky bit.
Even though I might appear personable, polite and on occasion almost entertaining, I am able to socialise only in short bursts.
I love to sit and drink cups of tea in kitchens and whiskies in pubs whilst swapping ideas, listening and learning.
But, and here is my problem: while I’m doing that, I’m running out of steam.
Thankfully, the universe has awarded me a fantastically simple way of recharging. All I need to do is to step out into the natural wold and be alone. The babble of chatter stops and at last I can hear my brain ticking over.
Sometimes, to achieve anything resembling sanity, I need to sit on a rock and watch the tide turn, but most days I can combine my mental massage with a physical workout, and there I am, lost to the world, off with the faeries, stomping like an armoured bear in trackies and t-shirt down the Prom.
In the past I have lived alone for long periods, far from a crowd, and did occasionally attain what felt like a higher level of appreciation.
But now, living in the city, the best I can hope for is survival. A million miles from any meditative Nirvana, my daily Prom walk is my mental reed bed, helping me to filter the cookies from the crap; the pearls of potential wisdom from the pooh that life shits upon us.
Prosaic indeed are my thoughts, as I try to count my breathing, 2-3-4, and use my abdomen, 2-3-4, as a bellows.
On my left I see the hole where the Prom Hotel used to be. Representing as it did the last old and stylish facade west of the Eglington Hotel, I mourn its passing. Now our eyes are left with nowt but bland modern blocks, void of anything vaguely approaching character or style.
Walk on. Look over the bay, to Clare, to the Burren, and breath out, relax.
Destroyed by progress. That’s what my mum’s friend says.
So what’s the story with our roads in Galway?
If I can believe what I read in the papers - including this Noble Rag - and project myself a couple of years into the future, then it will be almost impossible to drive from Salthill to the Dublin Road.
Were present plans to go ahead, they will be digging up Bishop O’Donnell and Seamus Quirke Roads in the Westside; they will be demolishing and rebuilding the Headford Road Shopping Centre, and introducing an underpass/overpass/intergalactical wormhole/ time tunnel at the Headford Road Roundabout; College Road will by then have turned into a bus lane, from town to Monivea Road, via Moneenageisha Cross, making Lough Atalia Road defunct as a way to leave town.
Brilliant! Every arterial road in the city will be jammed or unavailable, and I haven’t even mentioned the fifth bridge and by-pass bollocks, because we already know that the only thing Ring Roads do is artificially stretch city boundaries, bringing yet more cars and more houses built on precious green field and pristine bog,.
So yes, mundane and strange thoughts as I walk, but nothing very enlightening.
Then again, how easy is it to feel wise in the this modern world, wherein Mary Harney lectures us on our obligations to fight obesity and the Pope admonishes his worshippers for having too much money.
Woh! Just when I was about to spoil the walk altogether by leaving my sanity behind, I see the craziest crossbreed dog up ahead.
He’s got a big black body perched on tall thin legs, which lollop and flail around underneath him. The poor wee creature is a Labrador/Lurcher cross, and although he’s horribly cute, I don’t fancy that many bitches will fancy him back.
Mind you, last week I saw a Corgi crossed with a German Shepherd.
Since you ask, it had a low long Corgi body with an enormous German Shepherd head, as spooky a poochy concoction as I’ve seen in many a year.
Like “Go on, punk! Call me a lap dog and vee vill see vot happens!”
Shame humans can’t do that.
I’m thinking Bertie’s body would look so much better with Cate Blanchett’s head on it. How about Dubya’s head and Marilyn Monroe’s body?
Or Dubya’s body and Marilyn Manson's ‘s head?
Or just no Dubya ?
Now I’m past Grattan Road and heading back home, sweating like a ...what is the politically correct option ...hmmm ...sweating like a very sweaty person. I
Being physical is important if I want to stave off death long enough to enjoy the full fried breakfast I’ll need to eat because of the appetite I’ve built up doing this walk.
Got to love that fine manly logic ! It leads to eggs, bacon, bangers and beans, but oh, who’s that waving at me? I have no idea, but they seem to know me!
Walk on byyyyy...do do-dooo ...de dup-dup......
Sorry Ronan mate! Lungs pumping and eyes wide open, but mouth and brain in no way connected