Friday, 7 December 2007

Do the ba-ba-ba-Bertie - it's all the rage!


Nostalgia ain't what it used to be. Sadly it seems it doesn't matter how many times the Irish state broadcaster extract the urine from us licence fee payers by repeating 'Reeling In The Years'; I'll still watch it.
Maybe I just can't resist the incredibly low level of effort required to enjoy the mix of music and newsreel.
So there I was, audiovisually drifting back into the early 1990s, when looking back at me from my telebox appeared our ignoble leader: one young and fresh-faced Bertie Ahern as Minster of Finance, talking away to the journalist on RTE News.
My, but what an eloquent and lucid chap he was back then.
Yet, somewhere along the line, he developed a sig sig sig significant speech impediment.
While never being a slave to the ridiculous dictates of Political Correctness, this colyoom does not seek to ridicule anyone but the ridiculous.
People who have a stammer are not ridiculous.
People who choose to affect a difficulty with their speech are, however, certainly ridiculous: oh so very worthy of ridicule.
Ba-ba-ba-ba Bertie has, over the years, cultivated a brilliant way of buying time. In the old days, politicians just used to procrastinate, prevaricate and do their imaginative loathsome best to avoid difficult lines of questioning.
They used to buy time by saying:
"Ah yes, I'm really glad you asked me that, because..."
Another favourite tactic of our political yesteryears would be the use of twisted rhetoric:
"But that's not really the issue on the minds of everyday people, is it?"
"But surely what we need to do right now is focus on the family."
My own personal favourite snippet came from the mouth of Michael Dobbs' terrifying Ministerial genius, Francis Urquhart:
"You might say that; I couldn't possibly comment."
We all resignedly accept that politicians need to find a way to avoid having to give an explanation as to why their government department had spend 562 million quid on a weekend fact-finding mission to a five star hotel in the Seychelles to study parking meter innovations in the Indian Ocean.
What we don't accept is a strange stammer that is there now, that wasn't there before. Ba-ba-ba-Bertie's oral bounce is rapidly becoming the latest fashion accessory. In the last week, I have heard a TD who used to rattle out words like farts in a colander and a local councillor who shall remain nameless stalling for time with ba-ba-brand span-span-spanky new and sig-sig-sig-significant speech impediments.
They wouldn't affect a limp, or pretend to need a wheelchair, and yet, by following the trend set by ba-ba-ba-Bertie, they are mocking the afflicted, and so we now mock them.


While we're dealing with affectations of speech, let's pause to ponder the swear word.
The phone rings.
My Dad is unwell, and my life here is instantly put on hold as I once again dash off to England. This unfortunate and sadly regular state of affairs has many detrimental effects on my head, not least of which being the way it wrecks my sleeping patterns.
Whilst staying at my sister's, I sleep on a sofa, my mind racing with all the emotionally testing events of these long days in hospital.
This time, however, my brain decided to take a head start, and kick in with some full-on mental nonsense before I'd even left Ireland.
After packing, I spent the evening half-watching 'Gordon Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares', while the other half of my mind wandered to England; my family; my Dad; just how long I might be away this time; oh woe woe and thrice woe type of thing.
By the time I went to bed I had succeeded in totally messing myself up.
That night, I took the 'Nightmare' part of 'Kitchen Nightmares' a tad too literally.
Unable to sleep,I lay tossing and turning for hours, tormented by waking dreams (which is, I suppose, a posh way of saying 'hallucinations').
Somewhere in my consciousness I became surrounded by TV chefs.
(What is the collective noun for chefs, I wonder? A passion of chefs? A sweat of chefs? More likely, an expletive of chefs!)
Anyway, there they were, crowding my addled insomniac brain: Gordon himself, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Heston Blumenthal.
Thankfully, even in my sleeping state, I can exercise some critical judgement, and Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver, who have sunk to self-parody, were happily absent.
There in my poor head these three famous chefs were engaged in an extremely heated argument about how best to fry an egg .
With his usual enthusiasm, Gordon Ramsey grabbed a big fat brown hen and, whilst staring the poor beastie in the eye, raised it in his hands.
"This is how you make a fucking fried egg! You take a fucking chicken and - mmmrgghhfff - squeeze it hard, here, on its fucking belly!"
At this point the poor chicken squawked and struggled and wrestled, fighting for its freedom, but chef Ramsey held it firmly in his grip.
"Look! See! The egg is about to drop out! Then - mmmgggrrrdfff - one more squeeze, out comes the fucking egg into your hand! Crack it into the fucking pan, a little olive oil and boomph, the perfect fucking fried egg!"
Trouble is, just like ba-ba-ba-Bertie, all Gordon's 'fuckings' are affected and false. On his American TV shows, there's barely an F word to be heard!


If speech is powerful, then song must reign supreme.
At the time of writing, there rages debate as to who might be the best soccer coaches for Ireland and England.
Aside from the fact that Steve McLaren was incompetent and the English footballers played abysmally, there was in fact a very good reason for England's loss to Croatia at Wembley.
This colyoom can now reveal why the lads from Croatia played with such fire in their bellies.
It's all down to Tony Henry.
"Who he?" you cry.
He was the excellent gentleman who sang the National Anthems before the game, and he who injected a little too much machismo into the Balkan footballers' steps.
You see, instead of singing:
'Mila kuda si planina',
which, as you all know, translates as:
'You know my dear (country) how we love your mountains'
the opera star belted out:
'Mila kura si planini', which offers a slightly different, and where men are concerned, most encouraging meaning:
'You know my dear, my penis is like a mountain!'

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