Posted by: ralphmexico | August 24, 2012

CHARIOTS OF IRE: WHEN THE WATER-HOLES ARE DRY, THE CHATTERING CLASSES SEEK TO DRINK AT THE MIRAGE

 

Heaven Knows Mr. Morrissey was miserable when he said “I am unable to watch the Olympics due to the blustering jingoism that drenches the event.  Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism?”  He went on to liken Olympic-crazed Albion to Nazi Germany.  Hmmm.
 
To paraphrase Joe Strummer: “London 2012, Yes I was there too, And you know what Moz said, Well some of it was true”.  But mostly I have got to disagree with Morrissey’s statement.  The jingoism displayed at London 2012 was much, much worse than Nazi Germany.
 
The Union-jackulating was sickening in its relentlessness.  Ye olde colonial power gloried in its Olympic success in a way that was utterly vile.  We are used to British sports fans having to endure defeat, so now seeing them celebrate in victory was a chance to see if they were good winners.
 
They weren’t.  Team GB gave me the hee-bee gee-bees.  So it goes.
 
And this is no tawdry, mean-spirited anti-British rant.  The conclusion was arrived at after living amongst the triumphalist flag-ulation for three weeks.  The bloated solipsism and self-regard was harrowing and so, so tedious.  “Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”, indeed.  These were Scoundrel Days (A-ha!)  Grim.
 
What made it even worse was the dullards realised they were being unspeakably offensive with their self-congratulation, yet it continued unabated.  Numerous newspaper articles referred to the “understandable jingoism”.  On radio, a Five Live presenter read out a listener’s complaint castigating the myopic. xenophobic coverage.  The presenter finished reading out the comment, said nothing, then launched into another “Rule Britannia” spiel. 
 
When the British mens football team ended up in the obligatory penalty shoot-out, every South Korean kick was greeted by a cacophony of boos.  Again, the commentator opted to ignore the racket, as going off-message from “ra-ra what a great sporting nation are we” would have been breaking the despicable brit code.  Oswald Mosley must have been pumping his cold, dead fists with joy at all the carry-on.
 
In fairness, some medal winners seemed like decent sorts.  Mo Farah came across as a good egg, and I’m not on about the shape of his head.  However, any joy at his glorious achievements were diluted by the preening crassness of the conceited, smug cheerleading of the BBC and other old empire forces.  Once a bullying coloniser, always a bullying coloniser.  The brainless subjects of the laughable House of Windsor were braying “More, More, More”.  No One Shouted “Stop”.  A little humility goes a long way, y’know…
 
Fed up to the gills with the nauseating little englanders, I found refuge in an Irish bar to watch Cork play Kildare in the All-Ireland quarter-final.  More by blind luck than cunning judgement, I ended up in The Dolphin in King’s Cross.  It was Heavenly.  Back amidst my people.  Back among my swans.  Back with sophisticates who were saddened by the death of Con Houlihan the previous week.  Back (almost) home. 
 
Now, calling an implement used for digging “a spade”, I’ll concede that The Dolphin was not a classy joint.  The landlord, from Mullinahone Co. Tipperary, was a dour, crotchety, old misanthrope.  In no way, shape or form were the clientele in any sense hip or cool.  The pub’s interior decor consisted of a pool table, a picture of Richard Stakelum hoisting a cup in 1987, and a clapped out jukebox.  Still, I needed a port in a storm.  The Dolphin gave me shelter.  And strong cider.  And fed my soul.  Which was nice.
 
Once my Cork and G.A.A credentials had been established I was in like Liam og O’Flynn.  A man from Athy, who’d spent forty years living in London, sat beside me and it turned out he knew people from Churchtown (outside Athy) whose wedding I was at in 2006.  A fitter, originally from Dublin, said he’d heard as fact that they had to dig up a section of the Olympic Stadium after neglecting to install a gas-line for the Olympic Flame.  We all laughed.  Everyone stood when the National Anthem was played in Croke Park.  Rounds of drink were bought.  Good times.
 
The sole english accent belonged to a Del-Boy-type young fella who worked with the Dublin fitter.  He was trying to stir things by raving on about the glorious gold medals won by the brits.  He was asking the landlord had he been watching Mo Farah’s win in the 10,000 metres the night before, “or was there some big hurling game on the tv?”  “Actually”, Moody from Mullinahone replied, “we were watching Mayo versus Down and Dublin against Laois in the football championship.  The only Mo I know is Mo Mowlam”.  Not a squeak more was heard from Del-Boy-lite.
 
At some stage in the Kerry/Donegal match a Mayo lad got a text with the result of the Olympic tennis final.  He informed the bar “The bollocks Murray has won”.  There were a few curses muttered; then a Kerryman roared at the tv “Come on The Gooch”, and someone (who may have had a Cork accent) shouted “Gooch me arse, Come on Donegal”.  All was good with the world. 
 
The hypocritical brits had the temerity to lambast the U.S ladies football team for a lack of class when wearing ill-judged Nike t-shirts after securing gold.  My own take on it was that the slogan on display was not a reference to the winning of a tournament, rather a shout out to a certain Irish bar with a sea animal name.  The controversial t-shirts read “Greatness Has Been Found”.  It sure has – across the road and down a lane from King’s Cross railway station.  Truly, a pub to “Inspire A Generation”.
 
 
They Put Up The Posters Saying “We’ve Got More Than You!!”
Ralph Mexico
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