Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hard Times Return to Erin - And Could Be Here a While

Another classic budget from the legendary Minister for Hardship!Brian Lenihan swung his axe yesterday, and the steel bit home into an Ireland that had been living beyond its means. Worst of all, this is not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning. The future looks bleak for quite some time. Fast forward four years and seven weeks, to the Late Late Show of December 1st, 2012...

The titles roll as the owl takes his customary flight over the credits. The cameras go live to studio 4, where host Pat Kenny comes out to the cheers of the studio audience. The lights are flickering slightly, and Kenny doesn’t look quite as well groomed as is his wont; during the show, he keeps tugging at the collar of his suit jacket, as if it itches.

PAT KENNY: Hello and welcome to the Late Late Show, sponsored by Lidl – remember folks, turnips are only five Euro a pound in Lidl for the happy hour this Saturday, from four to five, be sure to get their early, and dress for battle – and what a show we’ve got for you tonight. But let’s get right to it, and welcome my first guest, the fabulous Caroline Morahan!

Wild cheers. Caroline comes on stage, waves to the crowd, sits down, bats Pat’s paw smartly away from her shapely knee, and smiles radiantly – or as radiantly as radiantly gets when a few choppers are missing.

PAT: Caroline! How fabulous you look!

CAROLINE (whistling slightly, due to the gaps in the teeth): Pat, you’re too much! Ah hah hah hah!

PAT: Caroline, what is your secret? How are you getting through the recession and remaining so fabulous?

CAROLINE: Well Pat, I was going to keep it to myself, but I can’t not share it with the sisters, ah hah hah hah.

Laughter, hissing from the audience. And a strange smell, truth be told.

CAROLINE: You see Pat, the secret is soup.

PAT: Soup!

CAROLINE: Yes Pat. Nettle soup.

PAT: Nettles! My goodness. Tell me more.

CAROLINE (forgetting herself, and leaning into him): Well Pat, one thing I think we neglect in this country is our traditional Irish cuisine. I mean France is famous for its cuisine, it’s impossible to think of Italy without their fabulous pasta dishes, so I thought: why not get back to good old Irish tradition?

PAT (as the paw snakes across the desk): Why not, indeed?

CAROLINE (wise to the play, sitting smartly back): Exactly! So I got on my bike and cycled out to Dunsink, where you can get the most beautiful nettles, and I spent an hour or two picking them and popping them into my basket. Home then, and I popped a big cauldron on the open fire and just threw in the nettles. Six hours boiling – and don’t forget ladies, boiling also heats the room – on the embers, drain and serve a nourishing broth for all the family.

PAT: Well, it’s certainly suiting you Caroline. Your skin looks simply radiant – do you find nettle soup good for the skin?

CAROLINE (through gritted teeth): You’ll never know, Pateen my boy.

PAT: Let’s have a big hand for Miss Caroline Morahan, ladies and gentlemen!


PAT: Caroline is off now, as her shift with the taxi company starts at half-ten. Well, it’s all go. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our first musical guest, all the way from the ‘sixties, it’s The Who!

The camera pans across to two old men, one with a guitar. He raises his right high in the air, slashes down on his Rickenbacker – and all the lights go out.

GUITARIST: Wot the fack is this?

PAT: Ah, Jesus! Where’s the floor manager?

AUDIENCE: What matter as long as we’re indoors! It’s so cold! Brr!

PAT: What do you mean, meter? I don’t know anything about any meter? What? Well, you bloody cycle it. I don’t care how long it’s been since you’ve eaten – Christ, some people can only think of their bellies. Get peddlin’ – we need the light!

Pat slowly comes back into view. It looks a little like a daguerreotype of the 19th century, but beggars, choosers, talk to the hand, yada yada.

PAT: And now, a harrowing real life tale. Please welcome my next guests, Dan O’Hara and journalist Liz Bennett.

Two guests walk on, Dan and Liz.

PAT: In 2008, in the first year of the Depression –

AUDIENCE: Oh God between us and all harm, the Depression! Will there every be joy agin in Erin?

PAT: Ah, keep the head, will ye? Or else it’s back out in the snow. Now, where was I? Oh yes - in the first year of the Depression, Dan O’Hara was sold by his father into slavery. Now, with the help of journalist Liz Bennett of the Daily Mirror, Dan’s story is finally told. Welcome Dan.

DAN: Thanks now Pat, thanks.

PAT: Dan, your father sold you into slavery back in 2008. Is that true?

DAN: Oh it’s true Pat, yeah, not a word of a lie.

PAT: And what price did he get?

DAN: That man sold me for three hundred Euro and two hundred worth of parts for an E class Merc.


LIZ: It’s shameful!

DAN: I’m very ashamed.

PAT: Oh dear, oh dear.

DAN: I’ll never forgive him. I mean, I was a big, strong boy. He could have got eight hundred, even a grand cash, if he’d a only tried.

LIZ: Dan’s father proved, time and again, to have no head for money.

DAN: No head at all, at all. No good with the cash.

PAT: Dear oh dear.

LIZ: Pat, you have to remember, slavery was still underground in 2008. It was a sellers’ market, and this man settled for a mere half brick. It’s a scandal, and it's time that this story was told.

DAN: No good at the sums, like.

PAT: Dear oh dear. Dan, Liz, thank you for coming, you’re both very brave.
And that’s all we have for you this evening ladies and gentlemen. We hope that you enjoyed the show, and don’t forget, next week, it’s the Late Late Toy Show!

Pat gives a big wink to the camera.

PAT: So don’t forget to tune in and join all the wonderful boys and girls as they work their little fingers to the bone making cheap tat for sale in Laos, Myanmar, and Bhutan. Until then, good night!

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