Tuesday, 8 May 2007

'Gone With The Rain' - how YPS stole Ireland from the Irish !

Sure, 'tis mighty the way we're hitting the headlines nationwide! Galway Galway Galway, that's the news these days.
If it weren't for that microscopic parasite burrowing into our guts, there'd be rakes of tourists cluttering up the place, making it impossible to get things done.
Now that they are staying away in their droves, (and let's be honest, who can blame them? Who wants to be the Daddy that little six year-old Seany looks up to as he agonisingly twists his tiny body in contortions of dry retching: "Daddy, Mummy says you huhuhukakakakfleeaaarrrgghhhhhh you you knew the water was bad in in in in in Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaalwweeeeeeeey, ga gaGalway. Did you know Daddy? Did you? Did you?") there is plenty of time to paint the entire city and county yellow.
Yes folks, our old adversary Yellow Paint Syndrome is back with a bubonic vengeance.
From what I understand, the 'crypto' bit of cryptosplitsoredabum means 'hidden' or 'obscure', and although little could be less obscure than the colour in which you paint your buildings, the insidious effect of diseases like YPS is that they remove elements of your country's culture that might never return.
Even though I have spent 15 years going on and on about what I, as English Yiddish Atheist and Rubbish do and do not love about Ireland, I am equally as wary as the Irish about outsiders who tell you what your own culture is really like.
So when I recall arriving in an Ireland where pink and blue farmhouses dotted the land it might well come over a tad too Chocolatey Boxey, but there were and are whitewashed cottages with red, green or sometimes yellow trim.
Now Ireland is yellow, and the only damage limitation left available is which shade of yellow.
YPS has hit Salthill hard, and recently the Waterfront Bar was smothered with a yellow so disgusting that it sears the retinas off my eyes and sends me on my way.
Just up from there, the Prom Hotel facade hangs on as the building behind it has been demolished. I'm hoping the front is protected, not because it is a building of great beauty, but because it is certainly not horrible; is guilty of some style and, most important, stands as memoir to a time when buildings had longevity, shops were individuals, and you didn't have to decide whether to go to the Mocha Beans next door to the Prom, or the Mocha Beans in Salthill, or or or.
Hang on in there Lonergan's Atlantic Bar, and your neighbours Killoran's bar, which is immune to attacks of YPS because it's real and right and already yellow.
I can see where this is coming from. I am mourning the loss of part of traditional Irish culture which is not mine to mourn, but also as a bipolar freak I am a blue person inside a red person inside a nutter, and yellow is where everyone else lives.
Yellow is a nice colour, (and this yellow of which we speak is pretty close to 'magnolia' - oh yeh baby I know you know it is) and 'nice' is a word that my schoolteachers told us meant nothing. Another word was always better, and yellow is that to me.
A harmless, safe, anodyne and completely boring colour, unless natural, on primrose or sunflower or flag iris: anything, in fact, but an Irish wall.
In all other areas, the Irish are having a ball showing off how different they are to each other. Now you're back in the village with yer SDi-Turbo instead of yer mate's NCT Turdo.
I'd have expected this pride in individuality to extend to houses, but homes are strongholds. Maybe YPS, this need to homogeonise, is deep-rooted in colonial fear, from not wanting to stand out from the crowd, and maybe that is hogwash.
I just wish it would stop.
Many years ago, I was battling up Dominick Street late at night, coming down from Mill Street towards Monroe's, as a south-westerly storm tore lashing lung-fulls out of me.
Diving into a sheltered nook by a shop's front door, I suddenly found myself in exceptionally close quarters with a wild-eyed man who seemed to be having far too much of a good time on such a night as this.
Turning to smile and appear peaceful in my intentions, I offered the simplest and what I thought the safest of openings:
"What about that rain, eh? Terrible isn't it!"
We turned to look at sheets of sideways water flying up the street, as if the world was the wrong way up and God was emptying his bathtub.
"Fannnn-tashtic!" he cried, "Fantastic! 'Tis God's gift to Ireland, the rain!"
With that he looked over at me smiling, searching into my eyes, and without a discernible trace of irony continued
"If we had no rain we'd have no Ireland. There would be hotels on every clifftop and towns on every beach. Everything you love about Ireland will be gone with the rain!"
'Gone with the rain'? The man was clearly a genius, but thirst overcame desire to stop and chat with the crazy genius guy, and I was off.
Ireland has not yet gone with the rain. We look at each other with suppressed grins and suggest that after such a good Spring, the Summer should be moity.
We know what nonsense that is. What we do not know is what we have lost to YPS.
This might seem a strange bugbear, a somewhat neurotic bĂȘte noir, but YPS is crypto-cultural disaster. Before we notice, in front of our eyes the changes to blandness continue apace, and pretty damn soon all we'll have is hundreds of Subway takeaways inside yellow buildings.
A few months ago there were adverts on TV for a kit of the Bismarck... 'week by week you build this fantastic German warship, blah blah blah...'
Truly, it looked quite splendid, but it would want to, because it was gong to cost ¤7.50 a week for 140 weeks. And it's not like you can ever miss a week, not when you're building a German warship.
After all, you can't really say you've built the Bismarck if you know the porthole fasteners on Deck 3 are missing a rivet.
Can you?
Who are these people who can afford to spend ¤1,050 on a model of the Bismarck, and should we be scared?

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