Saturday 30 July 2011

30 years ago. 3 young men. 1 west London flat. 5 songs - Welcome to Non-Stop Jeep!

Non-Stop Jeep are/were:
David Rainger - Guitar, Bass, Vocals, Production, General Genius.
David Ramseyer - Saxaphone, Vocals, Backing Vocals.
Charlie Adley - Chinese drum, Percussion, Backing Vocals.

Songs: The Driving Instructor; Regardez Cette Montagne La-Bas; Hymn To Beer; Rocking Instrumental; Welcome To The Island.  With thanks to Bob Newhart and Gerry Anderson's Thunderbirds

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Everybody Hates A Told-You-So #2: This iconic colyoom was onto the iconic abuse of the word iconic before it became an iconic way of iconic life!

On a lighter note, but no less iconic than the collapse of the single currency, You Read It In This Colyoom FIRST Productions reveals my iconic finger oh-so early on the iconic pulse
Wish I’d been wrong, but way back on 17th March, 2009, this colyoom declared:

It’s official. The word ‘iconic’ has just become iconic. It’s an iconic word. Pure iconic.

Our 21st century culture craves ultimates as if there indeed is no tomorrow. The God of Greed no longer sits up high on Mount Olympus, so you need to find a new inspiration, seeking hyperbole and exaggeration where adjectives and a varied vocabulary used to do a fair job.

It’s no longer sufficient for anything to be unique, special, vital or extraordinary.
If it’s not iconic it’s not worth a busted light bulb.

In the past few days I have heard Salt and Vinegar being described as an iconic crisp flavour; Granny Smiths declared an iconic apple variety, and Charlie Haughey referred to as an iconic leader.

Tell me pray, where does cheeky Charlie’s iconic photo fit on the iconic Irish dresser? Somewhere between the Pope and Jacks Kennedy and Charlton?

Everybody Hates A Told-You-So #1: Your ‘umble scribbler predicts our dire predicament a year before the Euro!

You Read It In This Colyoom FIRST Productions reveals now that your ‘umble scribbler predicted our dire predicament in print a year before the Euro became Europe’s single currency. From the annals (yikes!) of my dusty files, here’s a piece I penned for the Irish Post in February 2001. For those of you with short attention spans, the last paragraph says it all...

(Thanks to the Irish Post.)
Is the Celtic Tiger and Endangered Species
Mary from da country is on an RTE radio phone-in, giving out to Georgio, an Italian official from the European Union.

“Oh yes, Georgio, we hed some verra verra haird toimes in this conchee, so we did, back in da Aytiz, but do you know what we did, Georgio, do ya, do ya?”

Poor Georgio doesn’t quite grasp the rhetoric inherent in Mary’s question.

“Way-all, Mary, I donna hexackerlee-”

“Well, Georgio, oil tellya what we did. We pulled in our belts, and we pulled up our shocksh, and we ate bread and water, and we worked like divills, and we went without holidays to Shpain and da like, and gradjally...gradjally we made it to where we are today, the most succeshful conchee in da world, which we are, I think you’ll find. And now, soon as we have got ourshelves out of the gotta, and made some money so’s we can go on holidays to Shpain and da like, you lot in Europe come along and tell us that we are doing it wrong. Do ya know what I says to dat? Do ya? Do Ya?”

By now, poor Georgio is just the slightest bit wary of Mary and her rantings.

“Er, yes, I mean no, so, we are hall very ‘appy for hireland’s success and-”

“Do you know what I says to dat, Georgio? I says you have no right, dat’s what I say. Joss because your Euro is so patettic and all that, and you haven’t done as well as we have at making a go of it, you can’t shtand seeing the little cunchee doing well, can you? Dat’s da trobble widjall your brossels broorocrats.”

At this juncture, the radio show host jumps in, but sadly fails to bring any sense to proceedings.

“So, Georgio, you can see the feeling in the country is running pretty high. Answer me this, Georgio, on a scale of one to ten, how does Ireland score for unemployment?”

Naturally, poor Georgio evades a direct response to such a crass line of questioning, but our host continues unabashed.

“Okay, so Georgio, on a scale of one to ten, how does Ireland rate for old age pensions? How do we rate for education spending?”

Poor Georgio states the obvious, that it is pointless to score points in this manner, but our host, (and Mary, whose continued presence on the line is heralded by her 40-a day wheezy breathing) are in the mood for a scrap, and any European foreigner will do.

“So Georgio, tell me, would you like to take back the tax cuts? Would you like to stop the old people getting a rise? Tell me, Georgio, which bit of our success would you like to put a stop to?”

I can’t take any more and turn the radio off.

What on earth is it that possess the Irish when they talk about their economic progress? Everyone, from Mary out on the bog, to Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy, chooses to behave like four year-old children, if that’s not being completely unfair to toddlers.

Personally no, Mary, I don’t understand what you’re saying, to be honest, because, to use the vernacular, you’re talking absolute bollocks. As a child I was taught that when one friend tells me I’m wrong, I’m right, but when five friends tell me I’m wrong, I am wrong.

Charlie McCreevy recently came out of a meeting where all 14 European Finance Ministers admonished him for his inflationary budget, and just like Mary, Charlie stuck his tongue out and shouted

“I’m the King of the castle, you’re the dirty old rascals!”.
Then he ate some mud and was sick on the carpet.

Well, no, he didn’t, but he might as well have. Instead he adopted the same infantile argument as the radio host.

“Is anyone suggesting we take £500 million from health? Is anyone suggesting that we don’t go ahead with the very necessary roads infrastructure?”

No, Charlie, I’m not. I’m just taking a look at all those new roads, and Ireland’s improving infrastructure, and appreciating the billions of pounds that Europe have invested here over the last few years. Everywhere you go in this country, huge signs proudly fly the European flag, informing us that European funds have helped build this hospital, that road, this causeway and that airport extension.

What planet is Charlie McCreevy on? Given the billions of pounds of Structural Adjustment Funds that pour into Ireland from Europe every year, how can he have the gall to say
“Over the last five years we have not received any particular favours from the EU. Anything we got, we got on its merits.”

Right, and I’m Napoleon Bonaparte. Why do Charlie and Mary both fail to realise that far from wanting to spoil the party, the European Commission is trying save the Irish from rampant inflation, a misery that affects the poor worst of all?

You can’t expect kazillions of pounds in investment without some notional rules of control. You can’t sign up to a single currency, and expect everyone else to follow your lead.

Do the Irish really imagine that the Celtic Tiger economy has been built on Irish sweat and Irish money? People seem to understand that American multinationals bring jobs and money, and then leave Ireland to invest somewhere else where the tax breaks are better. So why do they imagine that they can take the European money, run away, and pretend it never happened?

It’s great that the inflation levels are slowing down, but it’s like a balloon. Slowing the rate of inflation doesn’t actually stop the prices going up. Next year the Euro arrives, and every single price in the European single market will be converted, and then rounded up to the nearest figure. Two years from now, the balloon will burst, and everyone who is now whinging about European interference will be running around with empty wallets, asking why it was allowed to happen. Why didn’t the EU do something?

The Celtic Tiger is a fragile, imaginary beast, more of a chameleon really, fed by American investment, protected by the camouflage of European subsidy. Until the Irish see that their success is very far from homegrown, they will have to mature quickly and answer to those who make their good lives possible.

©Charlie Adley

Tuesday 26 July 2011

The Lost Nolan Note!


Just back from England, slightly discombobulated, and there awaiting me on my office desk is a card upon which I've scrawled the word


Evidently I wrote it as a note about something, but have no memory of when or what it was about. In fact, you out there have as much chance of knowing what it means as I do. So does anyone have any ideas?

Monday 18 July 2011

Did you hear the one about the helpful friendly banker?

I know this colyoom has been erratic and occasional of late, but as some of you know recent months have presented trying times on a personal level. That period is now over and life is moving on, unlike the Irish economy. 

So if you've tired of old pieces represented here, breathe deep and enjoy patience, my loyal colyoomistas. 

A return to regular new material is on the way, but until then here's a piece from Auguat 2008 that I'm dedicating to all the lads and lasses employed to wear and carry sandwich boards and signposts for local businesses.

Galway City Council has decided that times aren't hard enough on the high street and has taken action to ban them. Tidy up the streets by making people redundant and limiting advertising for local traders. We're on the right track in Ireland, oh by Jiminy so we are.

August 2008
I’ve been trying really hard not to write about the financial crisis blah recession blah economic downturn blah blah, because if you’re anything like me, you’re fed up to the back teeth with it. If you lost your job or can’t find a new one, the only thing you need less than the sight of failed bankers and corrupt politicians talking at you from your tele is yet more printed matter running past your eyes going oooh errr isn’t it awful.

Yeh, you’re probably as bored of all the excreta that has already been dribbled about this banking crisis as I am, and yet there’s one gripe inside me, like a mental tapeworm, niggling my thoughts, growing off my annoyance, biting into my anger, becoming gigantic gorging on my outrage.

The only way I can stop this parasite popping its head out of my mouth and sinking its chomping great fangs into my head is to dump it on you, so here goes.

Did you hear the one about Paddy O’Reilly? A few years ago, at the height of the Celtic Tiger boom, Paddy wanted to start a business, so off he went to his bank and filled out all the forms, after which he was given a whacking great loan.

Trouble was, Paddy’s inflatable pineapple business went down the pan. Exhausted and depressed, Paddy applied for another loan, got it, but instead of using it wisely, he proceeded to blow the money on fast cars and slow women. Unable to make the repayments, Paddy went to see his bank manager, asking for money to pay off the loan.

His bank manager said that the bank would be delighted to give Paddy all the money he needed. The bank would pay off the loan, no strings, and in fact, the bank would add a bit extra, like, do ya know the way, like, to make sure that Paddy could get back on his feet after all his troubles, maybe buy the missis a nice day at the spa.

Paddy was over the moon. He walked away debt free, with a wad of cash in his pocket and a present for the wife.

What was that you said? You didn’t hear that one?


Well no, neither did I, because it never happened.

Coming soon to an Inferiority Complex near you, Robin Hood Through the Looking Glass, a classic tale of robbing the poor to pay the rich. From the makers of Recession, directed by people who told you that you lost your job in the name of efficiency, comes the sensational idea that to boost the economy, governments need to rob the public and give their money to banks.

You can try to blind me with financial science; twist my brain with explanations of short selling; contort my consciousness with talk of derivatives and send me hoolallly noony trying to justify hedge funds ‘til you’re blue in the face, it’ll make no difference.

We get it. We understand. We know that we, in good faith, gave banks our money, which they gambled greedily and lost. We know that our money doesn’t really sit in a vault at the back of the branch. We know that banks don’t even own the money they loan as mortgages, which begs the question: how are they able to repossess our houses?

What’s more, we now know that there is no real money at all, but instead electronic signals that rise, fall, or sink without trace at the drop of a noodle in Tokyo, or a flash of sunspot activity.

We know that if we lived our lives budgeting in the same way as governments and banks, we’d all be broke, jobless and licking the pavement for something to eat.

So given all that, here’s the niggling thought that has eaten me up for months:

Why do we have to give up our heard-earned wages to save failed banks? When did banks become more important than people? Why do we need to be the medicine? The idea of them doing the same for us, of banks being there for us normal human beings when times get tough, is as ridiculous as Paddy O'Reilly's tale.

We know how it works with banks.
When you’re in the money they love you, and send you stuff in the post all the time, encouraging you to become beholden to them by debt as quickly as possible.
When you haven’t got money, or when times are hard, banks don’t want to know.
‘You should have been more prudent when you had that cash!’ they tell you.
‘Come back and see us when you have some collateral or capita!’ they say.
‘Why not start a savings account, and try to build up your financial base?’ they ask.
Basically, get lost poor boy, we don’t want to know.

And now, having behaved worse than a bunch of drunken gambling addicts on speed and Daddy’s yacht, they expect us to give them our money.

Many people seem to think that the welfare of banks is more important than that of we, the people. If you know what I’m missing here, please let me know.

In the meantime, I’m wondering if it’s not time for our worm to turn. Why should you be jobless just because some tosspot in a button-down collar decided to short sell your company’s shares? Why are our wages going to pay for the bankers’ bookies bills? What chance would you have turning up at your local bank branch with a failed betting slip from the 3.45 at Punchestown Races, and insisting they give you the money that you would have won if your horse had possessed a leg at each corner. Yes, you admit, you backed a horse that had three legs, but the odds were astronomical, just too good to resist, so give me the money.

Of course it’s absurd, yet no less absurd than banks expecting the same favours from us.

At what point do the downtrodden masses decide that we are as mad as hell and not willing to take it any more? The French, as usual, were first to scent revolution, marching disgruntled (as only the French can) through the streets of Paris, protesting about the way the people were being made to suffer for the sins of the bankers.

Maybe this is the big one. Maybe it’s time to stand in the streets together, and be counted.


Monday 11 July 2011

What's the deal with all the 'P's?

Looked down at my To-Do list this morning and was blinded by ‘P’s.

Pick up Prescription.
Deliver Paul’s Post.
Plant Pots.
Peat free Potting compost.
Print Cartridges.

What’s the story with all the ‘P’s? Is there anything significant in the letter, other than its many appearances being a natural coincidence?
Any ideas, please let me know!

While I was daydreaming about the significance of ‘P’, I remembered a City Tribune colyoom I wrote way back in August 2007, inspired by the Sun newspaper, which had finally solved Pi!

With Murdoch closing down the News of The World, a Sunday edition of his Sun (perchance called ‘SunDay’? Call me a genius if you must!) is inevitable, so this feels like a good time to celebrate the wonder that is Britain’s Brashest Red Top newspaper.

While you’re at it, check out the piece's second section , where I don’t mind saying, your colyoomist was incredibly economically prescient.

August 2007
What a relief - The Sun has solved Pi!
Thank goodness for the Super Soaraway Sun ! Why on earth do I buy a copy of Britain’s best-selling newspaper only once or twice a year?

If only the world’s greatest scientists and mathematicians had bought the same issue that I did, they could all be sleeping soundly in their beds tonight.

For aeons mathematicians, engineers, mystics and artists alike have wrestled with that old conundrum: the relationship between a circle's diameter and its circumference.
Could you put that more simply, my son?

Well, The Sun does ‘simple’ better than anyone. On page 6, they ran a fifty question quiz, rather ingeniously called  ‘Feeling Brainy?’

Possibly looking for their more cerebral readers, the quiz was placed opposite the paper’s Editorial Comment, which, by the way, read exactly thus:

“Load of Bull?
The search for Ireland’s most beautiful cow was unveiled yesterday. They might look the same to some, but for some a sprightly bovine can be moo-tiful. But a sexy cow? Pull the UDDER one!”

Tempted to see if I qualified as brainy for a Sun reader, I stormed in, until I reached question 8, where I have to admit, I became a bit stumped.

‘How many times does the diameter of a circle fit into its circumference?’

All power to the question setter. He or she could so easily have just asked “Imagine you’ve drawn a line from one side of a circle right across to the other side. Now, how many of those wee lines do you think will fit around the outside of the circle?

But they didn’t, because they want to believe that their readers are not idiots. I didn't want to be an idiot. I didn’t want to come up with the wrong answer, and a part of me just hoped it would suffice to say Pi, or even the symbol (π).

Just how clever did The Sun want me to be? After all, from the little I understand, (or to be honest, just learned from the internet), as the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter in Euclidean genome, Pi is a mathematical constant and a transcendental and  irrational number.
Also known as Archimedes' constant and Ludolph’s number, its exact size has never been ascertained.

On the 20th November, 2005, a gentleman called Chao Lu became the world record holder for reciting decimal places of Pi, having memorised it to a  truly unbelievable 67,890 digits.
In September 2002, Dr. Kanada’s team at the University of Tokyo calculated Pi to 206,158,430,000 decimal places, and still didn’t get an answer.

Foolish ignorant men. If only they’d had half a brain cell to rub together, they’d have gone down the shop, bought The Sun, some tea bags, milk and a packet of chocolate digestives, and whilst dunking their biccies in their mugs, they could have found out that they had been wasting their time.

‘Cos there it was, in the answers, upside down on the same page.


That’s how may times the diameter of a circle fits into its circumference. There is no need for decimal places. The Sun has released us from centuries of mathematical purgatory; delivered us from scientific  torment and philosophical agony.

It’s official. Pi = 3.
The Sun. We love It.


Actually, I’m being a little unfair to The Sun.
Now, that’s a challenging concept!

Whilst that item about the cow was true, it did not run alone. Above it, the red top ran an editorial about the economic disparity enjoyed and suffered in unequal measure in our so-called Tiger Republic.

Running with figures recently released by the Central Statistics Office, the paper complains quite rightly that our society cannot be called ‘fair’ when the top ten percent of this country’s earners bring home €2,233 each week after tax, while the lowest ten percent earn only €157.

What kind of boom is this, where the rich get richer and the poor become inexorably poorer?
Allow me to introduce you to the Thatcherite boom, just like the one Britain endured in the 1980’s.

Then, as now, small groups of people living within a tiny geographical area became immensely rich, while the rest of us were bombarded with propaganda about the economic miracle in which we were living.

Then, as Bertie and his PD charioteers do now, Thatcher encouraged the marriage of an unbridled belief in the beauty of the free market to a young and hungry population, greedy beyond all precedent.

Then, as now, all you end up with is the disgrace of a society we have today.

If you tell enough people how well off they are enough times, they will start to believe it themselves. They will go out and buy 46” HDTVs on their credit cards, and take on 100% mortgages, because they feel financially secure.

Sure, aren’t we richer than we have ever been?

Watch and wait as the global corporate greed that encourages sub-prime mortgages begins to collapse, bringing us all down with it. Before you can say ‘Negative Equity’, the two most dreaded words in a free market economy, the house you bought is worth less than you paid for it.

Already I dread the start of house repossessions that I saw in mid-’80’s England.
But more than that, I fear for those families (and don’t forget, we’re talking about 10% of the earning population here!) who earn only €158, and yet have to spend €217 each week to survive.

Before we become obsessed with interest rates, bricks and mortar, let’s not forget our neighbours, who lie awake at night full of fear. They might well be worried about their mortgages, but as their spending on simple groceries and utility bills sends them €3,000 into debt each year, they are, more than anything, worried about putting food into their childrens’ mouths.

And there was me, thinking Ireland had left those dark days behind.

You might well laugh when I call myself a Socialist, but the trouble with Capitalism is that the philanthropic dream of a so-called Drip Drip Drip effect of wealth distribution never existed in the real world.

The rich became rich in the first place by hanging on to their money. The poor become poorer, and will stay poorer as long as we turn our heads, vote for the status quo, and sleep happily whilst not giving a damn.

© Charlie Adley
August 4th, 2007

Wednesday 6 July 2011

Come on people - let's hit Murdoch while he's down!

 The world will be a better place without his filthy influence, so click and send a message:
We have 3 days left to stop Rupert Murdoch's media takeover - send your message to Jeremy Hunt's consultation calling for a full review and an inquiry into hacking scandals -- it can make a massive difference!