The Last However Long

This time last Sunday, I was curled up in a bed in Cork City watching RTE One. Now, I’m in my own living room watching a really, really old Miss Marple. It’s from 1985, according to The Great Wiki.

I miss Ireland so much that I actually started missing it about six hours before I left. Anyway, I had a perfectly nice time although I didn’t do as much as I wanted to. Holidays on your own are a bit weird, also, but I liked being able to do exactly what I wanted to.

*

Went to some movies while I was in Dublin. I started off thinking I’d just go see The Mummy 3 but it was so awful that I ended up marching straight back into the box office and getting myself a ticket for Mamma Mia also. Then the next day I was so knackered that I killed some time by catching The Dark Knight a second time.

The Mummy 3 is so absolutely fucking awful that for the first time ever I considered leaving the cinema. I didn’t, if only cos I’d spent 9 euro on the ticket. It is so beyond bad… Remember what we all loved about the first two movies? It was ALL thrown out of this movie to be replaced with absolute tosh. Alex is so absolutely different (in all sorts of bad ways) that he might as well be someone else. Maria Bello is all right but not exactly awe-inspiring… and somehow insipid next to the old Evy O’Connell.

When we were first introduced to Evy Carnahan, she was a dowdy, clumsy librarian to be sure… but she had her dreams and her aspirations. She knew she was going to have great adventures, and went after them. I loved her in The Mummy Returns because she’d blossomed into this wonderful, feisty, successful lady. It was a mark of how interesting and rounded she was that when it turns out she was the reincarnation/descendant of an ancient Egyptian princess, it made a certain amount of sense. It was OK, you know? Not Mary-Sueish.

Maria Bello’s Evy was… suburban. I found it hard to believe that this Evy had been a spy or whatever during the war. She exhibited none of the spark of the ‘real’ Evy… and none of the depth of knowledge, the sense, that the old one had. I don’t think it’s entirely Maria Bello’s fault – the story and the script were the kind of cack you’d expect from anything else, not the Mummy movies.

Rick was OK. He was the same old, same old. He was fine, although doesn’t seem to have aged at all since, you know, the thirties!

Alex. This is what made me really, really pissed off. I don’t care that they skipped ahead so that he was basically an adult now. I don’t care, really I don’t., What I really hated though, was that they took the once precocious, intelligent, thoughtful little boy with an English accent… and turned him into a gun-loving, brutish dolt with no sensitivity and an American accent. Where’d he pick that up, exactly?

I could almost believe that Rick and Alex had some sort of falling out, or drifiting apart since the second movie – but Rick had no problem showing the old Alex affection. Clearly Rick knew that the New Alex was an idiot and wanted the old one back.

Add in a few tired cliches: the handy pilot that Rick already knew, the mummy’s henchman – and some new nonsense: the chemistry-less romantic subplot, a vaguely interesting subplot between the general and the witchy woman – and it’s basically shit.

There were a few things I liked, but they weren’t used – they were at SHANGRI-LA and they just switched to the Great Wall instead! The General guy was there, brought back, and yet nothing was done with it except to explain why those mummies don’t kill Rick and ‘Evy’.

It was one of those movies that basically shouldn’t have ever been made… but to make it so badly is unforgivable.

: DON’T WATCH IT!!

*

Mamma Mia was OK. It took me a long time (at least half the movie) to get into it. The singing was adequate but not excellent, the dancing was lacklustre and the scenery was the best thing of the whole movie. I didn’t dislike it, certainly.

I have issues with Abba anyway. When I was about ten, I really got into them – I wanted that red spiky hair that Frida had in the latter days. I even saw Abba: The Movie more than once. Problem was, at the first music lesson we had at secondary school we were asked what music we liked. I said, without shame: Abba. This was 1993 and they were not held in the esteem they now possess. This was 1993, before they became cool again, before Mamma Mia and dozens of shit weekend TV programmes featuring ‘celebrities’ talking about and performing Abba songs. This is before they were on the cover of MOJO magazine and before they were being called ‘perfect pop’.

Still, this was before X-Factor and Popstars, so there wasn’t anything truly, truly heinous to compare them to.

This would be fine… except that this one answer to one question shaped, more than almost anything, the way my scholastic career was to pan out. ‘Abbafan’ became a great insult and it was flung at me time and time again. Sure, my wearing of shocking pink baseball boots a few weeks later was to make things worse… but that one answer to one question set the scene. I’m sure I would’ve had a miserable seven years even if I’d answered ‘rave music’ like so many of the others. At the time I remember thinking: “You’re eleven fucking years old, you don’t go to fucking raves, you lying fuck.”

Incidentally, those shocking pink Chuck Taylors now retail for £45 in the shops. I have a new pair, too. Those sneakers are fashionable (to a point) and Abba are ‘cool’. I was fifteen years ahead of the curve (or indeed, thirty behind it)… and unfortunately, Abba have borne the brunt of this. I can’t listen to them anymore without feeling the pain. I have a couple of their songs on my iPod actually – the depressing stuff – The Winner Takes It All and The Day Before You Came. But I don’t know where my copy of Abba Gold is, even though it was one of my first ever CDs (as opposed to vinyl or cassette). I was a little surprised by the fact I still knew all the words to all the songs in the movie… but Abba will inextricably be linked to a time in my life I’m still trying to recover from.

No, I can’t really blame Abba, of course I can’t. Perhaps I should blame the cruelty of sheeple children. Perhaps I should blame myself. I don’t know… but I can’t help wonderign what would’ve happened if I’d answered that one question differently………

*

Ronnie Drew
died the afternoon before I went to Ireland. He was 73, had been ill for two years and so it can hardly be considered a ‘tragedy’… but I’ll admit to you I saw the news on BBC News Online and sat and cried. When I tried to tell my mum what had happened, I started crying again… and she proceeded to explain to Mikey’s girlfriend in a manner I considered ‘belittling’. She simply doesn’t understand why I feel so attached to musicians or whatever – she called them ‘celebrities’ and didn’t even lower her fucking voice so I couldn’t hear.

I wrote a post about this while I was in Ireland which maybe I’ll post… but the simple fact is that Ronnie was one of Those Voices as far as I’m concerned. I didn’t talk about him as much as I did people like Jim or Philip, or even your man Flynn… but his is one of the voices I love so much I can’t imagine living without it. I like Luke Kelly’s voice, I think it’s one of the best ever, but I love Ronnie’s.

The only real ‘positive’ I can see to this is that the timing meant that I was in the right country at the right time – Ronnie’s death was covered briefly in Britain but the Irish loved the man and it was everywhere. I must’ve spent ten euros on newspapers over the course of my time there to get the coverage. In fact, this time last Sunday I was watching a Ronnie documentary on RTE One which I’d never have seen on British TV.

Anyway: Jim. Philip. Dino. John. George. Plant. Dylan. Ronnie. Those are the voices I don’t ever want to live without, and I don’t say this because Ronnie’s dead. I was saying it last week. In fact, last Saturday morning I walked to my mammy & daddy’s house from the town centre singing along with him. Four hours later, he was dead.

I hope he’s been reunited with those he loved and who loved him that went before. He deserves naught less.

*

It was Philip Lynott’s birthday on 20th August, and it was one of the reasons I chose to go to Ireland when I did. I was vaguely thinking of not going up to see him… but I woke up early, checked out and got onto the DART. I know it was only half past ten when I arrived at the cemetery (St Fintan’s, Sutton) but there was nobody there! Someone had left flowers fairly recently and there was all sorts of stuff left for him as usual – you can see which is his grave from far away in the cemetery because of all the stuff around it…

But there was nobody else there! It was nice that I was there on my own, just me and my hero… but I don’t want him to be forgotten. Anyway, I left him a note, as I did last time, and as I had a bunch of bracelets on, I slid the little white one off my wrist and added it to the collection of bracelets left by fans. I can live without it, after all. I hope people did go up there later in the day, because he shouldn’t be forgotten. I noticed later that day that the pub near his statue was full of people outside smoking, but they were paying no attention to the statue. Fair enough, but don’t forget him!

 is right – statue does have two left feet, but it’s not totally noticeable. I pointed it out on Tuesday night to some guys stood by it and we ended up conversing about Rory Gallagher, who was from Cork.

I bought myself The Essential Rory Gallagher while I was in Cork, but… I don’t think I can afford to get sucked in by another Dead Irish Musician.

Speaking of Rachel: I must take you to Cork, but also to Dublin again – you’d really get a kick out of the National Museum ‘annexe’ at the Collins Barracks.

*

Speaking of the National Museum, I arrived there on Tuesday, fresh off the train from Cork. There I was in my big, burnt orange (Mammy swears it’s ‘brick’ coloured) rain jacket… my Louise Brooks hair was ruined by not having straighteners with me… I felt exhausted…

And there were the 31 contestants for the Rose of Tralee for a photocall.

Now, I know that I’m no beauty, really I do. But I have never felt quite so ugly as when they trooped past me into the museum. I actually waited to see what direction they went in so I could go in the opposite.

I have never EVER wanted to be part of some idiotic beauty contest before… but I felt so… not jealous but wistful perhaps. Why? Not because they’re beautiful but because it’s about being Irish…

The BNP apparently tried to intercede because this year’s London Rose has a Jamaican father. Quite aside from the fuckwittery of telling a black girl she can’t take part in an Irish thing because she’s black… they’re the BRITISH National Party! What fucking business is it of theirs to dictate ANYTHING to the Irish? That’s what started all the trouble before!

*

I always feel most English when I’m in Ireland. All the rest of the time I feel whatever it is I am (Irish-Anglo, I suppose)… but in Ireland I can feel all the most English traits of mine – being a bit uptight about the time, especially for trains and buses etc, whatever. But then again, i think I developed some of those from my granny, who grew up in Co. Derry, so maybe it’s nothing to do with ‘Englishness’ or ‘Irishness’ at all.

I just… a bit like the Abba question, I wonder what manner of person I would be if I’d been brought up in Galway after all?

*

My friend Louise is back in England for the first time since moving to Australia. I’m off to see her on Thursday and can’t wait…

Other than that, nothing interesting. How about you lot?

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