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 https://twitter.com/BogmansCannon and https://twitter.com/Kparkspoet. 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|
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) https://twitter.com/hanestulsterman 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.