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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Eustace McNally Unmasked READ NOW this blog article will self destruct in exactly 24 hours

It's time to come clean. Though clean is perhaps the wrong word. The past few months has been a time of great fun for me, and hardly any of it has been what you'd call clean, though much of it has been darkly political, in a way that calls to mind one of my heroes, Lord Edmund Blackadder. What has been most enjoyable has been the ongoing spectacle of that sick political animal, the pretend Irish liberal, becoming slowly more enraged at all this carry on. They are sensitive souls, you see, pretend liberals, especially the literary variety, and tend to react to suggestions that people like Fintan O'Toole and Michael D. Higgins are not, well, God, as angrily as your Auntie Mamie would have had you smashed a statue of Padre Pio to bits in front of her. It has, to be fair, been a difficult few months for pretend Liberals in these parts, what with our President being publicly disrespected and the possibility of Sinn Féin being part of the next government, or at least the government after that. For those pretend liberals in the Irish poetry world, the sort who like to comfort themselves with the thought that Cork's Gerry Murphy is Ireland's second most interesting satirical poet after Paul Durcan, things are not as cosy as they used to be.

In the lead up to my re-write of the 1916 Proclamation the question was, after that, what else could I do to get under the thin skins of those secret believers in Fine Gael - the Home Rule Party, with a little bit of Labour (or the Green Party) thrown in? 

My initial preference was for a Lord Haw Haw tribute band. 

My first ever poem published in Poetry Ireland Review, in Autumn 1999, featured both Galway's leading National Socialist and President Mary Robinson. And Haw Haw (real name William Joyce) is buried in the same Galway Cemetery as my late Mother. 
I have long been a fan. But my plan was vetoed by my only potential collaborators; it was something to do with Joyce having been a deranged Nazi. Another example, I'm sure you'll agree, of political correctness gone mad.

After much soul searching and punching brick walls, I came up with an evil plan in which I could involve a couple of others only slightly less deranged than myself. Enter and After a series of emails, all of which, unlike the Watergate tapes, have now been destroyed, Eustace McNally was born. Yes, we three are she. 

The persona we invented for Eustace was based on an idea tiny Cal Doyle once came up with during a particularly strenuous session on his prospective father-in-law's downstairs toilet. Eustace had to be edgy in the way that Fine Gael TD Simon Harris was considered by some to be an edgy wit during his brief time as a member of his University Literary and Debating Society. 
Eustace had to appeal to those who pretend that they think the Irish poetry world is "boring" but actually want it to be even worse than it is, and harbour an almost pathological loathing for topical poems which lots of people actually read

We knew that Eustace's appeal would be niche, but that her followers would be fanatical as a member of TCD Labour Youth using one hand to Tweet in support of Water Charges and the other to twiddle himself off into an egg cup.

A key moment was when I posted this photo of Lady Jane Grey and suggested that our invented nemesis, Eustace, might meet a similar fate.
I knew that this picture would get the junk-feminists of the Women Cool Writer / Irish Ní Haircut / little Cal Doyle variety going. You see, the pretend Irish liberal is horrified by the picture above. But has nothing at all to say about this.
Water charges protester injured yesterday by Gardaí
Or this

Tiny Cal Doyle is, word has it, currently working on an epic Haiku about the above mentioned recent examples of actual violence against women carried out by the Irish state. It will, we hear, appear in some future issue of the Poetry Bus. 

Only joking. He'd never be that brave; and Cal thinks that water charges are "ethical".  His likes love the Gardaí. When they're not turning themselves on looking at pictures of Joan Burton...

...they're fantasing about big, burly cops dealing firmly with gurriers and Provos. 

We expected that Cal and co would become big fans of Eustace's empty pseudo-satirical rantings, which the three of us took turns at writing. Fooling him is no achievement at all.

What we did not expect was that the allegedly serious critic Maria Johnston also leapt in to become an advocate for Eustace's 'satires'.  We thought that Maria Johnston was a serious person. But the other day she Tweeted the following: 

"I valued @EustaceMcNally for her knowledge of Irish poetry, sense of humour, sharp wit & eye for nonsense, pretensions & pieties."

Maria now apparently plans to write an essay about the importance of Eustace McNally.  Any further comment from me would be superfluous. 

Our point proved, our campaign has been stood down and Eustace has been put safely beyond use. Our Northern Command Prof. Rank Formsby (real name Harry Kirkpatrick) has gone his own way and vowed to fight on. We respect his idealism and vigour but refuse any responsibility for his future actions.

To celebrate our success we three now plan to celebrate by each buying a new car on what was once the Western Writers' Centre website.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Aborted babies heating British Hospitals?

Cora Sherlock, Vice Chairperson of the Irish Pro-Life Campaign, is, as the Weekly Standard once said of Sinéad O'Connor's ex-boyfriend, John Waters, "one of the most original thinkers in Europe right now".  

On April 1st Cora issued the following audacious Tweet 
Despite the date, it was not an April fool, at least not consciously so. Indeed it's nothing Cora hasn't said before. When Cora said similiar on Twitter late last summer, it let me to write 'Renewable Energy: Cora Sherlock’s Excellent Suggestion', a constructive contribution to the ongoing abortion/renewable energy debate, written in poetic form. It was originally published on Chris Murray's always lively Poethead site. 

Cora's April fools day resurrection of the issue on Twitter resulted in this article, in which both Cora's excellent suggestion and my poem feature, being published yesterday on the U.S. based left wing political blog We Know What's Up.  

It appears that Cora is a bit miffed by all this, and thinks I'm joking. 

I can assure you Cora, me auld mucker, I am quite, quite serious. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Ode To Ian Duncan Smith - a second poem for the UK General Election

My poetic tribute to Ian Duncan Smith (IDS) is published today here

The British General Election campaign kicked off on Monday. IDS is the Minister for Welfare Reform, and  Member of Parliament for the constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green, in North London, which neighbours Edmonton, an area I used to live in, and about which I published a poem on Sunday.  

Today was a very emotional day for me, politically. This afternoon Edmonton Labour Party began following me on Twitter
This momentous event comes twenty three years, six months and twenty days after I was expelled from Edmonton Labour Party's ranks for membership of The Militant Tendency and "sustained activity likely to bring the Labour Party into disrepute" because of my involvement in the anti-poll tax campaign.

It is an emotional day for all concerned, obviously. I may even have privately shed a small tear. 

Monday, 30 March 2015