Thursday, November 27, 2014

The other Arthur from Dublin

Mad Mary wasn't the only character to grace the centre of Dublin as we were growing up.

We also had Arthur Fields who graced O'Connell Street and particularly "Carlisle Bridge" from 1930 to 1985 taking and selling Polaroid photos of the passers-by.    The photos were developed by in a nearby studio by his wife and it is estimated that he took 182,000 over the course of his photographic career.

These photos have now become a cultural and historical treasure chest recording as they did Dublin life in its' simplest form over a period of 50 years.

An online archive is now being established of the photographs taken by Fields, whose real name was Abraham Feldman and who was born into a Ukrainian Jewish family in 1901 - the family fled antisemitism in Kiev and moved to Dublin in the early 1900s.

The online archive of Fields's work can be seen at

and while the site is not easy to navigate or refresh, it is an interesting browse if you wnat to while away a half hour or so.

Well done Arthur and to think we always thought you were a useless old dirty codger ripping off the public - your time has well and truly come.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I'm all right, guys

The stupidity and arrogance of John Delaney continue to both amaze and infuriate me. How the FAI can continue to leave him in place as the frontman on an organisation with ten of thousands of members while he buffoons his way around the pubs of Europe adopting serious double standards and insulting so many defies belief. But then how can we be surprised at the timidity of an organisation in dealing with this minor problem when it has excelled over the years at pure ineptitude. Maybe they're well suited to each other.

Delaney's denial that it was him singing the Republican song in the pub last Tuesday, only having to retract the denial when the youtube footage was produced says it all. The old Irish political ruse of denying it with a brass neck until you're actually rumbled. And maybe that the kernel of the problem - Delaney is more of an old-time politician than a businessman - stroking a deal from Denis O'Brien (which may be what's keeping him in a job) yet destroying the FAI's finances via the Eircom Park fiasco and the failure to pre-sell Aviva debentures (well done IRFU).   He wasn't wholly responsible for the Bertie Bowl but he was influential. 

And wouldn't the FAI's current debts of €50 million be a lot healthier if they hadn't being paying him his fat salary of €360k (after a 10% voluntary reduction at the end of 2012) - let's face it ten years in the role is a combined salary close to 10% of the associations' current outstandings.   And what did we get from his tenure - sweet fuck all, one miserable trip to Poland and managers like Steve Staunton and Giovanni Trappatoni. Laughable.

So we've got him on the back-handedness and gombeen-ness, adding to that hopeless business skills and inappropriate managerial appointments.

Let's turn to his personal judgement and behaviour. Church Door has already highlighted his mis-judged behaviour at the Euros in Poland.

This latest episode is a further example of his inability to behave in a way that is expected of someone in his position. We've just negotiated a potentially politically charged encounter in Glasgow (with evidence a few days later of some inappropriate chanting by English fans -for which the FA immediately apologised) and we've got the same coming again with games against England and Scotlandnext year at the Aviva. Throw in the rising spectre of Sinn Fein left-wing Republicanism and the approaching emotions revolving around the centenary celebrations around 1916.  Hardly a time for our front-line team to be chanting Republican songs in public you would think.   But what does Delaney do - he responds by laying into the sly user of the cellphone who recorded him singing "Joe McDonnell" by the Wolfe Tones, seeing this a graver evil that the singing of the song in the first place.  Kind of think you missed the point there, John.   You prick.

And to round it off some words from the song, written in memory of the hunger striker who died in 1981 in the Maze.

Oh may God shine on you, Bobby Sands
For the courage you have shown
May your glory and your fame be widely known
And Francis Hughes and Ray McCreesh
Who died unselfishly
And Patsy O'Hara, and the next in line is me
And those who lie behind me
May your courage be the same
And I pray to god my life was not in vain

And though sad and bitter was the year of 1981
All was not lost, but it's still there to be won.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The curious case of Nigel Owens

The continuing debate as to the differences between soccer and rugby; and their attendant fans; received a curious tweak this week with Nigel Owens the rugby referee publicly complaining about the homophobic treatment he received at Twickenham (England v New Zealand) from a section of the crowd. Owens unfortunately receives more media attention for his homosexuality rather than his significant refereeing skills.

On my part there is an element of schadenfreude in reading of his problem. In January 2012 Owens attained notoriety in the rugby world by telling Treviso scrum-half Tobias Botes that "This is not soccer!" implying a better level of behaviour is inherent in the oval-shaped ball game. Maybe now Mr Lewis will recognise that his game as just as many bigots; trouble-makers; racists; and anarchists as soccer does. Ok, well maybe not anarchists – no need for a political revolution for the sheepskin coat brigade. They’re doing quite ok as things are.

Despite my smugness at his current predicament for the reasons outlined above, the issue at hand is one at which he has my complete support. I can just see the offenders – alumni of Oxford and Cambridge; now corporate bankers; Burberry raincoats (with hip-flasks mandatory); a lunch at some institution’s expense and plenty of gargle swilling around in a developing belly which the (trophy) wife has been going on a bit much to him about. Have I been there when I was there age? Yes arguably but I never resorted to insulting queers of poofs because the penalty award went against us.

Owens predicament was probably also experienced by John Blankenstein, the seasoned referee who officiated in 502 FIFA professional games, 88 of which were internationals on the 1980’s and 1990’s. Simultaneously he was a tireless campaigner for the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation. Blankenstein refereed the UEFA Cup final in 1993 and was in the panel for the 1992 European Championship. In 1994 Blankenstein was selected to referee the 1994 UEFA Champions League Final between AC Milan and FC Barcelona, to be replaced only a few days before the match.

The official explanation was never made public (a failing in itself but maybe understandable for the time), but Blankenstein believed it was it was said that it was because the Italian club distrusted him on account of him being openly homosexual. An alternative reason for their objection might validly have been the fact that Barcelona were managed and captained by Johan Cruijff and Ronald Koeman, fellow Dutch nationals.Once has to hope the official reason was the latter, but viewing the non-transparency cynically, one has to think it was actually the former.

Returning to the issue of Owens, one has to hope that the RFU will eventually address the horrible problem that has plagued their game for years (laughing out loud) and deal with the homophobics responsible for this abuse.

A website for Mise le Meas

Here's the standards that you've got to aspire to, Mise.