Christmas Co-op

© Youtube

‘We’re out of ice,’ one guy says then turns to his housemate. ‘How can we have a party without ice?’ prompting his housemate to purchase ice from the local Co-op store whilst negotiating the hazardous icy path.

As he goes to the shop, he notices an elderly neighbour opening his front door. The neighbour looks out and decides that it’s better to stay in.

At the shops, the housemate makes numerous purchases, as well as the all important ice, and walks home.

What happens next is quite touching. He leaves a shopping bag outside his elderly neighbour’s house, knocks on the door, and walks home.

I’m not nor ever have I been a lover of Christmas, but this simple yet beautiful ad made me think there should be more of a campaign to make sure your elderly neighbours are looked after well this Christmas. Even if there isn’t a broader campaign of care for elderly or infirmed neighbours, make sure they’re looked after this Christmas. And not just to look after them for Christmas.

Titanic Season

Image

The cast in shock to learn that they die a slow death of four episodes.
(Photo courtesy of digitalspy.ie)

It is the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic and there are many TV programmes to choose from.  It would be impossible to count how many programmes there are but one that comes to mind is Julian Fellowes’ not-so-imaginatively titled ‘Titanic.’  Twitter has already dubbed it ‘Downton Abbey at Sea’ and has more imaginatively titled it ‘Drownton’ – a hashtag worth checking on Twitter.

In the four-part series, the boat is already sinking and we, the audience, are left to think that there we have to get through four episodes of a sinking boat, there cannot be anything else is there to add.

This got me thinking.  Is there really anything else to add?  Why did Fellowes decide to sink the boat in the first episode?  Is it going to be worth watching the rest of the series?  I am edging towards ‘no’ as there are only a certain amount of flashbacks I can take and ‘Titanic’ is too similar to other dramas to warrant further interest, although my interest in the subject will not wane.  I fear this version will sink like the ship itself.

Another question popped into my mind; my ‘writerly’ mind asked, what would I do?  There are so many similar takes on the Titanic theme, so my curt response to myself was that I needed to come up with something from a completely new angle.  Oh well, back to the drawing board.

It’s a Dark World

The 1930’s and ’40’s, dystopian and dysfunctional worlds pushed films and books towards a certain direction – melancholy, pessimism and alienation. Polytomaic conceptions of the linguistic and stylistic worlds where chiaroscuroed cities were stylised as allegorical, atmospherically decorated books and films.

The contagious mood infected protagonists and villains. This mood suggested that modernity corrupted the modern individual. Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler were the pioneers of noir books that mirrored the age of American writers writing during the Great Depression. In doing so, these books and films comment critically on the politics on the city where the economy offers little prospects.

Similar economic circumstances have arisen worldwide in 2010, here’s hoping for a resurgence of noir novels and films.

No Helpline at the end of Fair City

The central storyline in RTÉ’s mainstay soap, Fair City, centres on domestic abuse between Damien Halpin (Maclean Burke) and his wife Suzanne (Sarah Flood). As a programme that attracts 645,200 viewers on average (source: http://tvsales.rte.ie/insights/topprogrammes.htm), I was surprised that RTÉ did not put a Helpline at the end of the programme.

Admittedly I missed the beginning where a Helpline was possibly aired, but for such a serious issue, surely RTÉ should air a Helpline at the end too.

The BAI in Action Today

The Limerick Leader reports the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland has rejected an appeal of a James Clark that Dara O’Briain blasphemed on The Late Late Show last November regarding a stump at Rathkeale. Clark suggested that O’Briain’s comment was ‘blasphemous, insulting and showed his clear lack of knowledge.’

O’Briain was promoting BBC‘s Three Men in a Boat when he stated: ‘I kept trying to steer us away from things, like they kept on wanting to go to Rathkeale. Do you know what’s in Rathkeale? The Holy Stump, the bit of a tree. I can say this now. It’s a tree. It could look like anything, a bun in a tree. It looks like isobars. I had to keep steering them away from this.’

RTÉ responded to Clark’s statement that ‘most people in Ireland today would be highly sceptical of claims of apparition and would find nothing wrong in such claims being satirised or treated as suitable subject matter for jokes,’ and added no other complaints of this nature were made.

Furthermore, RTÉ added ‘If upsetting one viewer was sufficient to uphold a complaint, many programmes would regularly find themselves in breach. No one was harmed by this gentle and unmalicious joke.’

Clark suggested in his complaint that O’Briain did not know ‘its (the stump’s) importance to Ireland.’ I’m not sure which is more laughable the complaint, or the suggestion that a stump is of religious importance.

In another matter, Tom Dunne today on Newstalk apologized for comments by Nell McCafferty made on air yesterday (11th March 2010) who made personal derogatory remarks about the Mary Harney, the Minister for Health. On a lighter note, Brenstrong, on Twitter, suggested ‘No one should apologise for nellgate. That way, Mary Harney will understand the frustration of no one being responsible.’

The Simpsons – An Irish Allegory

‘The Simpsons’Homer the Smithers

Smithers blames himself for neglecting Monty Burns due to Lenny’s over-boisterous drunkenness leaving Monty Burns in a sociophobic state in his limousine.  As a result, Monty Burns forces Smithers to take a vacation.  Smithers hires the most incompetent employee he could find in the Springfield power plant – Homer Simpson – to show Mr. Burns that Smithers is needed.

Homer’s willingness to help Monty Burns is a hindrance, as he continually botches his ‘home-help’ job.  Monty Burns thus becomes more self-sufficient to stem the Homeric disease.  Smithers returns hoping to find a disgruntled Monty Burns, unfortunately finding a fitter version of his mentor.

This episode up to this point allegorizes Ireland as Monty Burns, a decrepit nation forced into self-sufficiency due to a holidaying Smithers – The Minister for Stefan Dennis lookalikes, Noel Dempsey.  Admittedly the Irish nation didn’t force Noel Dempsey on holiday, although that may not be a bad idea, as it suggests that Noel Dempsey may not be needed anymore.  I guess in my surmising that the allegory for John Gormley is Homer Simpson.  Perish the thought!