Archive for January 7th, 2009

07
Jan
09

In praise of: Sean Moncrieff

I’ve noticed that the posts here that get the best reaction and generate the most traffic are the ones where I’m bemoaning some unimportant psuedo-outrage. I’m currently getting a lot of attention due to my Beverly Flynn post, which although I think expresses a valid point does have an air of holier than thou about it. I also attracted much traffic with my Gillian McKeith rant, and my most popular post by far is my pathetic attempt to tell Declan Ganley to go fuck himself. Now while I’m grateful for the attention, I can’t say I’m entirely happy about his. I’m really not a negative person in real life, and I didn’t start this blog to be another Twenty Major wannabe.

It is for is reason that I’m writing this post, with a mind to it becoming a regular category where I just talk about something I really like. In this episode, Sean Moncrieff.

When Newstalk gave Sean Moncrieff  an afternoon slot, it was clearly a naked attempted to cash in on the popularity of Ray D’arcy’s show on Today FM, that being a light-hearted show where people engage in Seinfeld-esque conversations about kitschy topic that in the grand scheme of things are ultimately unimportant in every conceivable way. I find it easy to forgive Moncrieff, however, as his presentation and interview style is just so pleasant and agenda-free that it’s a joy to let him into our homes every mid-afternoon. This is in contrast to, say, the oh-so media tarty smugness of The Ray D’arcy Show.

I know I said this was to be a positive post, but I’ve levelled a fairly serious charge there and I feel I should back it up. I recall once being forced to listen to D’arcy while in a doctor’s waiting room (actually, it was an STI clinic, but I wasn’t there because I was worried about anything. I was just, you know, making sure). Kildare’s favourite son was interviewing Bill O’Herlihy, and building up Bill’s status as a ‘legend’ so much that I began to wonder if D’arcy was getting off on it. Anyway, one of the question asked of Bill was, “What’s the secret of your success?” followed by, “hang on, wait till I go to a break and tell me then.” Now I studied radio broadcasting in college (under the caring guidance of Galway Bay FM’s Bernadette Prendergast), and I was repeatedly informed during this course that the golden rule of broadcasting is “do not alienate the listener”. If I tried a stunt like “wait until we’re off the air so we can have a proper chat” Prendy would have kick me out of the class, and rightly so. It’s different for Ray thought because, well, he’s Ray. This exemplifies a self-satisfied smugness with D’arcy that can also be seen when he suddenly thinks he’s Jeremy Paxman and starts harassing interviewees who offend his sensibilities, with his belief that he’s allowed to say “fuck” on air whenever he likes, or when he was doing Blackboard Jungle and would tell all-female teams, “you did very well on sport, considering you’re girls.”

Back to things I like. Moncrieff on Newstalk wins out because the host’s ability interview and discuss topics without being overly judgemental. He knows the show isn’t meant to be taken too seriously, and thus avoids taking himself too seriously. He’s also a naturally funny guy, and can take piss out of most topics without betraying his own agenda.

This being said, Moncrieff’s broadcast career hasn’t been a series of hits. He has been involved in enough shitty television for even Gerry Ryan to say “jaysus, that’s shockin'” He’s perhaps best know for Don’t Feed the Gondolas, which although was often quite hilarious, couldn’t avoided the fact that it was a rip-off of far better BBC comedy quiz shows (it was also the show that made Brendan O’Connor a household name, an unforgivable sin). There was also that weird game show where couples competed to win a house, and perhaps worst of all Good Grief Moncrieff, a summer schedule chat show that every week featured the most uninteresting guests in the history of light entertainment. Moncrieff made the best of this by injecting each episode with his mildly anarchic sense of humour. Nonetheless, he clearly hated doing it.

The thing is, all of this, and I mean every second of televised badness (except O’Connor, obviously) can be forgiven due to Moncrieff’s first foray into television. The End was the kind show that was so fresh and original it was hard to believe it was on RTE, expect of course when they would ironically point out their own shittiness due to being an RTE product. For those who don’t remember, The End was a mid-nineties show that basically was last thing broadcasted on RTE 2 before end of transmission on Saturday nights (there was also a more cerebral Friday night offering hosted by Barry Murphy). Because it was on at a time when normal people were either in bed or out having a life, Moncrieff and co knew they could get away with doing whatever they liked, and frequently…well, frequently didn’t bother. They could get away with that too. One highlight I recalled was when the producer put the entire show on Buy and Sell for a laugh, only for it to be bought by a crazed Australian. It was the kind of enforced wackiness that Saturday morning kids’ shows are known for, except it was for adults and for some reason it worked.

So that’s it. I quite like Sean Moncreiff and if you haven’t given him a listen I suggest you do. He’s also a known as a talented writer, with a couple of novels under his belt. I can’t comment on this as I haven’t read his stuff. I can say, however, that this is one more thing that makes him better than Ray D’arcy.

07
Jan
09

So Bev was kicked out of Fianna Fail and this was somehow the taxpayer’s fault: UPDATED

My dole payment today was significantly less than usual. This is because I told the social welfare office that I’d been working over Christmas serving people I hate in an environment that suggests Marx was right. Actually, I didn’t have the nerve to mention the Marx stuff. I just told them I’d been working so my payments should be docked accordingly. I’m pretty sure I would have gotten away with it, but I figured I was better off being honest. The apprehension about getting caught would have been just too annoying, and I was starting to feel guilty every time I heard Cowan or Lenihan utter the words “significant exchequer shortfalls”.

It is exactly this reason that I’m in a boiling rage over Cooper-Flynn and her latest bullshit. She’s claiming a €41,000 annual benefit offered to independent TDs, even thought she’s a fully fledged Fianna Fail member. She can apparently do this because she was an independent when elected, having only rejoined the republican party’s ranks in 2008. The law clearly states that she’s still entitled to the money. So a loophole it be, like the kind she was good at finding when she was at National Irish Bank.

As of now, Cooper Flynn “earns” a €106,581 salary, as well as the numerous expences that TDs can avail of. On top of this she is somehow entitled to a tax-free €41,000 every year until the Dail ends in 2012 (or perhaps sooner than that, if this kind shit continues) for being something she actually isn’t. This is exactly the kind of doublethink that Orwell warned us about.

So what’s Flynn’s justification for this. According to The Irish Times, she told Midwest Radio, “prior to the last election I was elected as a Fianna Fáil TD. I found myself outside Fianna Fáil after the first year and spent the following four years as an Independent. In that particular case I did not receive the Independent allowance despite the fact that I did not have the support of the party structure and had the additional expenses that all Independent deputies have.” This might seem fair enough, except that during those years the country wasn’t facing a recession (which, incidentally, her party let happen) and the government wasn’t demanding cutbacks in every aspect of public spending.

Later this year the government will try to convince us to say yes to something we already rejected. This is a government that is already far more unpopular than it was during the last Lisbon referendum, due largely to the economy. And yet this woman is still banging on about what she’s “entitled” to. Of course we really shouldn’t expect Cooper-Flynn to be concerned with bigger pictures. She, like her similarly scummy father, is an old breed of Fianna Failer, in it for what they can get out of it. Let us not forget why she was expelled from the party in the first place. Now, when you think about it, she actually expects us to pay for this

It takes a particular nasty streak of greed to be Beverly Cooper-Flynn. I’m sorry to sound like an Evening Herald headline but it just so happans that occasionally they’re right. I could give you other examples of her greed related to me by my Mayo sources, but unlike RTE I can’t prove these and she would probably be successful in her libal claim against me. Nonetheless, she is clearly a self-interested bitch who’s only damaging her party and her govenment by being a part of it. The only way Fianna Fail can fix this one is if they once again make Bev a legitimate recipient of an independent TD’s allowance.

EDIT:
She finally buckled. I suppose it was inevitable, really. Still, I can’t help but wonder what it was that did it. I mean, yesterday she was adamant she was entitled to the allowance. Yet today, after a wee word with Cowen, she’s giving it up. What exactly did he say? Somehow, I doubt the word “please” was involved.

Apparantly she was “deeply hurt by some of the media comments that portrayed her as being dishonest”. I don’t doubt it. No matter how dishonest these fuckers really are, they still seem to expect universal awe for some reason. I know it’s unlikely, but I really, really hope that my post was one of the media comments that upset her so. Bitch!

I also had to laugh at the “used to benefit my constituents” remark, How exactly? Did she run around Mayo giving away the money to strangers? One must assume they’re the ones losing out now that the money is gone. No point in worrying about it too much though. It’s just more doublethink.