Monday 20 September 2010

Forget Arthur’s Day - Celebrate Barfer’s Day!

Oh spare us and save us from Arthur’s Day. I love a pint of Guinness or three but I’ve never woken up thinking ‘Thanks be to you, Arthur Guinness, for allowing me to pay you for my beer!”

30 years ago I was a marketing whiz-kid. Now there lingers within me a begrudging admiration for good old-fashioned subversive marketing techniques. 

But when it comes in the form of mass crass manipulation, it turns my stomach.
Guinness want us to thank them for their product?

Sitting at the bar of a country pub with a 3-fill pint of Guinness chased by a couple of Jameson’s is a heavenly experience, laden with poetry and sustenance for body and soul. But it’s one I worked for, to be able to pay for. I’m well aware there’s a profit margin involved.

Who knows the damage that Guinness has done to the Irish? One of the most successful brands in the world, Guinness singularly defines the Irish nation to the international community, but how good is that, especially when your Taoiseach/Prime Minister gives drunken interviews while the country goes down the pan?

Oh sure it’s all a bit of a larf ‘cos ye lads love a good drink, but unlike America, where my alcoholic friends were identified simply by the fact that they never drank alcohol, here in Ireland all my alcoholic friends live in the constant agony of being either ‘On the drink’ or ‘Off the drink’.

In truth it’s a pretty harmless auld affair, this Arthur’s Day, with free gigs and no doubt a token charitable donation to the Orphaned Children of Illiterate Mountain Gorillas needing Cataract Operations Fund, so no harm there.

But please, don’t be led out there into the packed streets. Don’t be a brainless consumer, led by the nose to donate your hard-earned green folding to the Corporate Gods. Don’t hold aloft your pint of Guinness at the prescribed time. Don’t let them see how easy it is to make us perform like monkeys with money. Don’t shout and roar and cheer for something you don’t give a damn about. Keep your shouting, roaring and cheering for precious personal moments.

Yes I love Guinness, but I couldn’t care about Arthur’s birthday. 
I love eating eggs, but I eat chickens. 
I drive a car, but it never occurred to me to give thanks to Messrs. Daimler, Benz and Ford.
Why would I give thanks to the inventor of the production line?
Come to that, why would I give thanks to the inventor of a beer?

When I was a barman at the University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, I had to serve pints of Guinness and blackcurrant to thumb-sucking 1st year Engineering students. In the mornings I worked as a cleaner in the student Halls of Residence, where I’d find the very same vile purple pints I'd served the night before, vomited by those same students into their washbasins.

I served it; they drank it; I cleaned up their purple barf.
Hardly 'Veni Vidi Vici' is it?

Aha! So at 17:59 on September 23rd, instead of raising a glass of your lost hard-earned wages in the form of a pint of Guinness to toast a long-dead industrialist, just empty the contents of your stomach and raise some toast for Barfer’s Day.


Paz said...

It was clever the first time around when they were celebrating the anniversary. ITA with you a bit much, unless they have it the day after Tayto Sunday and Kerrygold monday.
But its more a pity the idea is not original, I remember someone trying to change Jif lemon day to Pancake Tuesday, that never caught on;P

Charlie Adley said...

Yes, as a one-off it was justifiably fun, but now it's just an excuse to make money and promote the brand worldwide.

The Irish have no problem coming up with their own authentic holidays, from the Celtic festivals, the Catholic Calendar, the arts, the horses and even the ploughing! You don't need to be told how and when to celebrate, and when you do, you might just drain a pint of Guinness, because that's your choice!

Ciaran said...

With you on this one, Charlie.

I enjoyed Arthur´s Day last year because it seemed like totally chaotic and random fun on Quay Street, and Naughtons were selling the black stuff for a ridiculously cheap price for about two hours.

Now it just seems like a cynical marketing ploy. It made sense for the 250th anniversary, but hardly for the 251st.

You are right about Ireland, a country with a serious alcohol problem. I would say I was going on 40 before I learned how to drink like people do in Spain, Holland, Italy, etc.

And as for our Taoiseach, what a joke! He´s considered óne of the lads`when he and his cronies have been responsible for the worst gluttony and mismanagement the country has seen since independence.

Charlie Adley said...

As far as i have been able to make out since moving here, Fianna Fail are exactly that:'The Boys' havin' da craic at the bar, whereas Fine Gael are The Bores, sitting quietly at their table supping half pints.

And there I go, being a hypocrite - using the pub as an analogy for Ireland's political landscape. There is no escape.