The sad tale of Roberto Mussi and the Labour Party

In his hometown of Massa, Roberto Mussi is still viewed with hatred and derision. People spit on him when he walks by. Shopkeepers refuse to serve him, and little children cry when his name is mentioned.

Mussi played right-back for Italy in the 1994 World Cup Final. Although he had a solid career, he wasn’t celebrated and few people would have selected him for a starting position.

Mussi will always be remembered for Roberto Baggio missing a penalty kick, thus handing the World Cup to Brazil. From his position at the bottom right of the pitch, Mussi spectacularly failed to prevent Baggio from missing the penalty.

Continue reading “The sad tale of Roberto Mussi and the Labour Party”

Let’s not pretend the 1916 Rising was about water charges or smashing the patriarchy

Which moment of the 1916 Rising will you most celebrate: the bit when The O’Rahilly charged down Moore Street shouting about Irish Water, or the bit when Padraig Pearse used his last breath to berate the British for the lack of gender balance on the firing squad?

As we get closer to the centenary of the 1916 Rising, the list of causes the Rising leaders stood for will steadily grow.

We got a taster of this last year when it was claimed that the passing of same-sex marriage would be a fitting way to pay tribute to the Rising. The passing of the referendum was a hugely important moment in Irish social history but it does seem questionable to claim it as the legacy of former Ancient Order of Hibernians member Sean MacDermott.

Continue reading “Let’s not pretend the 1916 Rising was about water charges or smashing the patriarchy”

Does anybody care about the end of the world?

Armageddon movies generally involve flames, guns and lots of panicked people running through the streets as buildings collapse around them.

There’s usually a pretty girl, a heroic man (American, naturally) and occasionally a loveable dog. The threats facing humanity vary but all these movies share one common theme: the people in them are really, really worried about the end of the world.

What you don’t usually see in Armageddon movies is a completely disinterested population flicking through their iPhones and generally doing their best to ignore the impending collapse of civilisation.

Continue reading “Does anybody care about the end of the world?”

Paris to Malawi – can the world grasp its moment of hope?

We drove for two hours from the nearest town, canoed down a crocodile-infested river and took the last few kilometres of bumpy dirt track by motorbike to reach the village.

This was the Chikwawa district of southern Malawi; the remotest part of a remote land, a place where you stand on a hill and see nothing but barren, dusty landscape for miles.

News from the other side of the world still travels slowly in places like Chikwawa and so it was the following morning, powered by patchy wifi back in the town, that we learnt of Paris. The Malawians we told reacted as we had: a stunned silence and a look of horror, sadness and utter bewilderment.

We had come to Malawi with Paris in mind. From November 30th to December 11th the French capital hosts the UN Climate Summit. Malawi is a country with a lot riding on that summit and in the villages of Chikwawa we wanted to see just how high the stakes are.

Continue reading “Paris to Malawi – can the world grasp its moment of hope?”

Let’s stay together: Why can’t Irish people just get along?

Jeremy Corbyn’s election as leader of the Labour party has led to sniping between the ‘New’ and ‘Old’ wings of the party. While this has been a touch unedifying, the remarkable thing is that both wings exist under one umbrella in the first place.

It is inconceivable that two groupings with such an ideological gulf and intense personal dislike of one another would stay together in Ireland. They would have long since exploded into 16 parties, 12 alliances, 11 working groups, 45 independents and six armies.

Continue reading “Let’s stay together: Why can’t Irish people just get along?”

Giving ourselves a plaque on the back

Sports fans are prone to wild exaggeration. It only takes the emergence of a fresh-faced 19-year-old with the ability to kick a ball accurately over 30 yards for millions of otherwise sane people to declare a new deity.

The Superbowl may be one of the world’s leading sporting events, but it is the Hyperbole that unites most sports fans.

rugby plaque Shannon
Possibly the wildest exaggeration since Joe Lapira was heralded as the new John Aldridge.

Even taking this into account, a new sculpture in Shannon Airport is quite something. Commemorating a rugby game between Ireland and England, the plaque which accompanies the 20-foot statue proclaims the event to have been “the day that changed Ireland”.

Continue reading “Giving ourselves a plaque on the back”

Turning vegetarian to save the humans

I’ve come to realise that the reason why vegetarians take energy supplements has nothing to do with the absence of meat from their diet, it is to allow them spend 16 hours a day answering the “why did you become vegetarian?” question.

After almost 34 years of devouring every animal my supermarket could get its hands on, I turned vegetarian in March. Since then have been asked the “but why?” question more times than I’d had hot steak dinners.

Continue reading “Turning vegetarian to save the humans”

The sport that dare not speak its name: The curious history of the League of Ireland

This weekend sees the resumption of one of Ireland’s most curious seasonal events. Across the country people will gather at various locations to scream and shout at institutions whose foundations pre-date the State.

If the kick-off of the 2015 League of Ireland season isn’t in your diary, you are far from alone. In a country where hurling and Gaelic football are the mammy and daddy of sport and rugby is the over-achieving favourite son, domestic football is the estranged cousin who turns up drunk to family occasions, starts a fight and then falls down the stairs with their trousers around their ankles.

Continue reading “The sport that dare not speak its name: The curious history of the League of Ireland”

Reflections of a rugby rebel: What next for Ireland’s anti-rugby movement?

During my time in secondary school I founded a subversive, underground organisation whose members were sworn to secrecy and vowed to use all means necessary in pursuit of its goal.

We were determined, passionate and idealistic, traits born from a genuine sense of injustice, as well as an increasing fondness for cheap Dutch lager.

Ours was a band of brothers tied together not by political or economic ideals but by an assault on our collective sporting senses.

We were D.A.A.R: Direct Action Against Rugby.

Continue reading “Reflections of a rugby rebel: What next for Ireland’s anti-rugby movement?”

Fake IDs, fallen governments and an unstoppable drum machine: Carter USM say a final goodbye

It was my older brother who introduced me to Carter USM. When you’re 11 it’s generally your older brother who gets you in trouble.

The year was 1992 and the smell of revolution was in the air. The Cold War ended, Yugoslavia imploded, Los Angles burned, and I was getting ready to move to big school.

These were crazy times.

As revolutions raged, cities fell and my primary school classmates and I prepared to go our separate ways into an uncertain future of French classes, extended school days and the very real prospect of being beaten up behind the bike sheds by the older kids, there was a desperate need for heroes.

In the anarchy of a world yet to discover Coldplay, a CD with a blue and yellow cover and ten short songs was about to change everything.

Continue reading “Fake IDs, fallen governments and an unstoppable drum machine: Carter USM say a final goodbye”

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: