Friday, February 23, 2007

Can Somebody Please Turn Off that Infernal Racket? Thank You

William Butler Yeats - probably glad he's deadThe Lake Isle of Innisfree is one of the great poems in the English language, written by one of the language’s greatest poets, our own WB Yeats. It’s a poem about finding peace and quiet in a busy world, where the only sounds are those of the “bee-loud glade” and “evenings full of the linnet’s wings.”

It is not hard to extrapolate, therefore, that a visit to either a convenience store, run by either Spar or Centra, or a doctor’s surgery, or any public place at all, would now result in the misfortunate poet being driven to an even greater state of dementia than he was moping about after that lady of notoriously high maintenance, Miss Maud Gonne. Were the poet to visit Spar, eagerly seeking another Troy for Ms Gonne to burn, his delicate poet’s ears would be assailed by the unspeakable muck that is 98FM or FM104 as played in this city, perpetually, from what your tearful Spailpín can figure out. The sound of one million millions of empty vessels clanging and booming and making most noise is as peaceful as the water lapping with low sounds by the shore of that very Lake Isle of Innisfree compared with some cretin named Rick! or Jonny! or Tim! who feed a slow, spirit-sapping and soul-crushing drip drip drip of imbecility into the ether.

An Spailpín is safe at home, as every radio in the house contains, in order of greatest emergency, a channel selector, a CD player, and, if worst comes to worst, an off switch. However, if one is at a doctor’s surgery, say, as would be the case of an Irish airman who foresaw his death and was wondering if he could get a potion of some kind to postpone it for fifty bloody years or so, one’s already delicate mental balance would be tipped past the melting point by the misery of having to listen to Gerry Ryan talking about how much pudding he ate for his tea last night, or RickJonnyTim!!! asking his congregation to text in their carefully worked-out opinions on whether or not a young woman who’s lived with a camera going through her garbage for the past ten years, post binge, post divorce, post shaving the hair off her head might-maybe-would-you-think have a few issues. I wonder would she, she would? What do you think Natalie?

At this stage, of course, were the poet Yeats in the surgery, he would have taken his cane to the wireless, showing that he too had picked up some of those violent ways that La Gonne was teaching ignorant men at the start of the last century. But some welterweight of a nurse would come out from behind the counter and take the cane off the puzzled poet, and tell him that he can wish for the cloth of heaven as much as he bloody likes, but the waiting room will listen to Cap’n Gerry and that’s the long and short of it.

When I play on my fiddle in Dooney
Folk dance like a wave on the sea
But why they can’t quiet that bastard
Seems damnable strange to me

Mutters the poet sadly to himself, and An Spailpín can’t blame him. Why can’t people just sit quietly once and while? Would it really be so hard? If you want to listen to the radio, can’t you buy headphones, and not drive a Nobel Laureate – and two-time Irish Blog Award® nominee – demented? Please?

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