Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Got No Money? Feeling Peaky? It's No Problem, Just Send for Twiki!

RTÉ’s Prime Time made an extraordinary editorial decision tonight. They had a special edition devoted to discussing the recession, which was correct – anyone that isn’t bricking it over the recession isn’t paying attention. And then they had a panel discussion about the recession, during which George Lee was suitably biblical.

And then, for reasons that still have your faithful correspondent shaking his head, more in sorrow than in anger, they had a ten or fifteen minute film about hope for the future. And this was based on interviewing people who are running start-up companies with the idea that the country will rise on the backs of these like a phoenix from the ashes.

Well. That is a relief. An Spailpín had been getting worried.

Then they had another studio discussion. Alan Aherne of NUI, Galway, and Richard Curran of the Sunday Business Post remained determined to tell things as they are, rather than as Mark “Give Us Hope!” Little’s vision would dictate. There was also Padraig White, who could have done with a haircut. And then there was Aileen O’Toole, from a company called AMAS.

AMAS, we were told, is a company that helps people use the internet. Everybody reading this blog is using the internet. Using the internet isn’t that hard. This is grand sort of stuff fifteen years ago, when people could say with a straight face that learning html was an easy intro to learning a computing language without getting laughed out of court. If people have to be taken by the hand and told “this is a browser, this is a mouse,” then the best thing to do would be to say “this is the door, this is my shoe.” But perhaps it was just sloppy editorial. What did Ms O’Toole think the future held?

“We are in the right space in terms of going forward,” said Ms O’Toole. How John Murray would love to meet her, and take her out for dinner. He could take the necessary notes on his sleeve during bathroom breaks.

Ms O’Toole's big marrow did not win first prize from Evelyn Waugh, however. It is only fair to point out that An Spailpín Fánach is the same man who hooted with laughter twenty-five years ago when Geoff Read told Gay Byrne on the Late Late Show that he was going to make a mint selling bottled water, so I could be wrong here.

But if Mr Andrew Deegan thinks he can turn serious coin making little model robots, as demonstrated to Mark Little during the film, he may need to think again. It could be the program did him wrong; some quick googling tells us that Mr Deegan is in a venture called Breakout Gaming Concepts and gaming, though your correspondent understands not its appeal, has a future. Prime Time should have brought this to the front, instead of choosing the bizarre “we are an entrepreneurial nation” approach it did.

Because An Spailpín’s only thought, watching Mr Deegan measure some piece of a plastic with a set square – a set square! – was to think that the only way that buckeen is ever going to get a month off the dole queue in the next twenty years is if they make a movie version of Buck Rogers, and the call goes out for a brand new Twiki. Beedi-beedi-beedi readers! I’m going to drink a lot of whiskey now. It’s the only way I sleep anymore.

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