In which I agree with John Waters

John Waters has described sleepless nights, losing a stone in weight and how he is afraid to go into Dublin's city centre at night in the wake of the Pantigate controversy.

Don't ask me what this "pantigate" thing is all about.  I [and everyone else bar John Waters] has forgotten all about it.  I gather he made some homophobic comments on television?

In his first interview since the event, the controversial columnist also defended his €40,000 settlement with RTE – saying he believes he could have received €4m from the national broadcaster if the libel proceedings had gone to a full hearing.

"What is the great crime in taking money off the state broadcaster?" he asked, in an interview near his holiday home in Sligo town yesterday.

No crime at all if you are greedy enough to get your snout in the trough of taxpayers' money.

"Let me tell you this, if this had gone on, it isn't €40,000, I would have got €4m out of RTE."

Four million?  I suppose we can all dream?

Mr Waters also took the opportunity to reinforce his stance on gay marriage and adoption.

If you have inveigled your way into a newspaper you might as well use the opportunity.  Right?

"This is about free speech. It is about the rights of people to speak about what is important without being demonised," he said.

No it's not.  It's about a has-been hack trying to bolster his ego yet again.

Waters told the Sunday Independent he has been left fearing for his personal safety.

What?  Is there a baying mob outside the front door?  Are they burning a crucifix on the front lawn?  Or is this a weency bit of an exaggeration?

"I won't go in to Dublin city centre at night. When you have that kind of toxicity generated out of nothing, what are you going to do? It's not worth it."

Well, at least Dublin City centre is off the hook.  Any chance you can widen your no-go area?

"I was walking down the street and a guy on a bicycle shouted 'you f***ing homophobe' at me before cycling on. I was in a coffee shop on another occasion and a woman waddled over to me with a pram and told me I should be ashamed of myself before walking off. They are cowards, they shout something and keep walking, they don't want to engage.

Count your blessings.  At least some of your relations are still talking to you?

"I was frightened almost in a metaphysical way, that people could be so full of hatred. That, in accusing me of hatred, they could manifest a hatred infinitely greater than anything I could possibly imagine."

Oh for fuck's sake!  Get a fucking grip.  What the fuck is a "metaphysical fright" anyway?  Do you even know what the word means or do you use it because it looks impressive?

Asked if he had become depressed as a result of the national backlash, he said, "I don't believe in depression. There's no such thing. It's an invention. It's bullshit," he said, "it's a cop out."

Phew!  That's OK then.  No such thing as depression.  You'd better immediately get onto AWARE and all those tens [if not hundreds] of thousands of people who are under the delusion that they are depressed?  Mind you, for someone who is so scared of the mob you don't half like stirring the shit?  Whoops – the shit is stirred.

He also described how the backlash had taken a personal toll on his physical health: "I lost nearly a stone in the first few weeks of this. I didn't sleep."

Write a book about it.  There are thousands who would love to lose a stone or two.

Mr Waters said he gave serious consideration to quitting journalism and is still considering leaving Ireland to work elsewhere.

So there's still hope?

"I have no friends in the media anymore."

Aw Diddums! You still seem to get into the press though?

Describing the lowest point, he said it was the realisation that no one would speak out in his defence.

Maybe because you're indefencable?

"You have a certain hope that somebody, somewhere knows you for who you are, you kind of have some kind of naive hope that one of these people are going to stand up and say 'hang on, this is wrong, this is not this guy' and that moment never came."

But we do know you for what you are.  That's your problem.

In a passionate interview, Waters also defended previous statements he made on gay marriage and adoption which have landed him in hot water.

Questioning gay adoption, he drew parallels with two brothers taking paternal responsibility of a child.

"If two brothers who love each other in a particular way decide 'we would like to adopt a child' this society would regard that as an absurdity, they would laugh them out of court.

"Yet if two men who are involved in a sexual relationship go forward to adopt a child we are told now, that should be okay? I find that really hard to understand, intellectually. Why is it that it is okay but it is not okay for two brothers or two straight men? I think that's a legitimate point."

There is a world of difference between homosexuality and incest.  For someone who tries to come across as a well-read intellectual, you can be remarkably dim at times.

He went on to describe as 'satirical' the fight to introduce gay marriage, when the core of the traditional family unit remains so broken.

"There is something fundamentally wrong to go off then and to come up with a peripheral issue, which gay marriage is in my view, and to deal with that first, when the raw bloody core of our family law and our family life in this country . . . that is satire. It is a mockery of reality to actually deal with something so peripheral and marginal, when there is such a wound at the heart of our culture. So I make no apologies for calling it a satire. It is satirical."

So we can only handle one issue at a time?

He defended his use of the word 'buggery', questioning why anyone would take offence to the term.

"People are selectively finding things offensive to suit themselves. But what is so offensive about the word buggery? I mean it's a phenomenon, it's a word to describe a physical function. My definition is anal penetration by men. It is very clear what it means. It is a term to describe a physical function, end of story. Why is it offensive? If the act is not offensive to people, why should the word to describe it be offensive?"

And here finally, we come to a point of mutual agreement.  Buggery is just a word and people can choose for themselves whether to be offended by it.  Just as "egotistical", "self-obsessed" and "cunt" are just words.

Speaking about the international attention the controversy had attracted, he questioned the interference of high-profile figures from both and home and abroad.

The "International attention"?  Headlines in the Washington Post?  Guest appearances on Oprah?  Back page of the Sligo Tribune?

"I don't spend a lot of time thinking about Madonna but people should mind their own business. Just like Pat Rabbitte should mind his own business.

I don't spend any time thinking about Madonna.  Got a thing for her, have you?

"He chose to intervene in this at a critical moment on an entirely one-sided basis. He is the Minister for Communications, I was on the BAI (Broadcasting Authority of Ireland) for three years while he was minister, we are the authority, the people who form and implement policy. Not once in that time did that minister come to sit at our table to discuss anything with us. So I would suggest that he does his job rather than interfering in issues that had nothing to do with him."

Mr Waters said he feels as though he has been "tarred and feathered" and "put on trial" for his beliefs.

If you keep coming up with bullshit ideas and courting controversy then what do you expect?

"Enda Kenny used to be against gay marriage and now he is not. Not one journalist has asked him to explain the trajectory of his change of heart."

Because no one could be bothered asking a politician how his mind works.  It's murky territory

On his history of legal disputes and settlements he said each one: "went to the very core of my being and my spirit."

Then stop wasting the courts' time with your petty whinging.

Egotistical self-obsessed cunt.

The Flight of the Bumble Bee

I just had a rather surreal experience.

I was sitting here at the window, idly contemplating nothing in particular, as one does of a Sunday afternoon.  Penny was asleep on the couch opposite me snoring gently.  All was quiet and tranquil apart from a blackbird singing in the trees outside.

Net thing – PUFF!  A Bumble Bee flew through the room.

Now you may think this is normal and may be wondering why I should even bother mentioning it, but believe me – it was fucking weird.

You see, the bee commenced his flight in the middle of the room.  He didn't take off from anywhere.  He was just there – flying.  One instant there was nothing and the next instant he was flying at full throttle mid-air. Where the fuck did he come from?  He made both Penny and me jump.

Those of you who are familiar with Bumble Bees will know that they aren't exactly sophisticated flying machines.  They have one speed which will not vary until they smack into a window pane.  They also tend to be noisy so you can always hear them approach.

I therefore discounted a theory that this bee had approached in silent mode and had then slammed on the afterburners mid-flight.  Unless they are developing stealth warfare, I think that was unlikely.  For the same reason I also discounted the theory that he had been flying supersonic and had just decelerated below Mach 1 in my sitting room.  Anyway I would have noticed the sonic boom.

Another theory that crossed my mind was that God in his infinite wisdom had edited the film badly and had introduced a continuity error in the film of life.  A bee that wasn't there in one frame appeared in the next.  I discounted that also as there were no other breaks in continuity.

That left me with only one possibility – I had witnessed time travel first hand.

Someone in the future [though it could have been in the past?] will be fucking around with a time travel machine, and for the lark will decide to zap a Bumble Bee and transport it back to 2014 whereupon it materialises mid-air in my sitting room, wondering what the fuck just happened.  It's the only plausible explanation.

If that's the case, then that's fine by me, though I would rather get a little warning in advance.

I'm just worried my time travel friend will start experimenting with elephants.

Nanny State encourages canibalism

Those mean minded health obsessed busybodies have their targets set on grandparents now.

'Granny factor' link to obesity in children

Why can't they just fuck off and leave us alone?

Where are these obese children anyway?  "One-in-four Irish children is already overweight or obese by the age of three" they shrill but I haven't seen any of 'em.  Are they all stacked up on shelves somewhere in some gigantic Amazon warehouse?  Babies tend to be a little on the pudgy side anyway so calling a three year old "obese" is just nonsense, deliberately designed to whip up enthusiasm for their "cause".

Even if the kids are a bit overweight anyway, it is none of their damn business.  How I treat my grandchildren is between me, the kids and my daughter and anyone who thinks they have a right to tell us how to behave seriously deserves a crowbar through the teeth,

One of the joys of being a grandparent is indulging the grandkids a little.  When they come here, they have a fine time playing in the garden, exploring in the woods and getting stung by nettles.  When it comes near going home time we feed 'em loads of sweets, chocolate bars and sugary drinks.  If we get the timing right, the sugar-rush hits just as their parents come to collect them.  Great fun.  We all have a ball [except maybe the parents].

"Grandparents naturally enjoyed giving treats as they had grown up in an era when they were a much rarer occurrence, said Ms Foley-Nolan."  Talk about fucking stereotyping!  I suppose all grandparents were poor as kids as we all grew up during the war?  Bollox!  There were plenty sweets around when I was a kid and I was healthy enough.  There were fat kids and skinny kids and everyone minded their own business and no one, least of all the state would have gone around pointing fingers.  This "obesity epidemic" only started within the last couple of years anyway.  Five years ago, no one had ever heard of it, but suddenly all children are "obese"?

"'An element of indulgence is reasonable and healthy, but we'd encourage grandparents to also do other things – such as playing games with children, or cooking with them,' she said."

You can encourage all you like and I shall ignore you because it it none of your fucking business.

As for the last bit – I tried that.

They won't fit in the oven.

Offensive laws

So they have struck down the law of "offending modesty"?

Damn fucking right.

I would go so far as to say that it is impossible to offend modesty or anything else for that matter.  There should be no such thing as "giving offence".  "Taking offence" is a different matter but that's up to the individual.  People can hurl all sorts of insults at me and that's their prerogative.  It's entirely up to me whether I choose to be offended by it.  In fact they don't even know what I might take offence to.  Take for example the word "slope"?  To me that means something that isn't level, but apparently others take grave offence to the use of the word.  That is insane and utter bollox.

Then there is the pair who brought the case to the High Court.

Mr Curtis removed his penis from his trousers as groups of females walked past him.  Maybe he fancied giving it an airing?  Maybe he just forgot to zip up?  If he had removed a banana or a cucumber from his trousers would anyone been offended?  I doubt it.

Then there is the case of Mr McInerney who decided to play Bash the Bishop while sitting in his car.  Now I have wasted many hours sitting in a car while Herself is in the shop trying to make her mind up.  It is an intensely boring thing to do, and if Mr McInerny decides to pass the time by flicking off a quickie then fair enough. It is maybe not the height of good manners and I certainly wouldn't advise it at the dinner table [especially in someone else's house], but if you are offended, just look the other way.

These people who take offence so easily should just be ignored.

They're just a shower of wankers.



The end of another era

I had a moment that was tinged with a drop of sadness yesterday.

It was the end on an era.

I got a letter from my car insurance company the other day reminding me to renew my policy at the end of the month.  As usual it had hiked considerably in the last year.  That really pisses me off.

My tactic is to flit around the various companies on line and get quotes off them.  I then phone my lot, give 'em the lowest quote and threaten to leave if they don't drop my premium.  It usually works and I end up with a large discount.

My quote for this year was €494.69, for fully comprehensive and a few extras thrown in.  I spent the last couple of days trying various quotes with various on line companies that I had never heard of.  I even tried that company that has some ghastly American kid in their ads who really annoys me.  I got a range of quotes that were more or less in the ballpark of my current quote.

There was one company that I nearly missed out on.  It's the company where I have the house and our Penny insured.  I gave them a tinkle.

I got onto a very pleasant chap who had to go through reams of questions.

"How many years no-claims have you" says he.

"Forty one" says I.

"Fuck me" says he.

"Impressed?" says I.

We went through the whole lot.  Haw many years had I been with my last company?  [42]  How may points had I on my licence? [None.  Not on the one I'm using at the moment, anyway].  How many miles did I drive a year [a couple of thousand]  And so on and so on.  At the end of a very long series of questions he finally gave me a quote – €330.26.

I phoned my lot and discovered they had a faulty phone system.  I had to try about eight times before I got through.

I introduced myself and pointed out I had been a customer of theirs since 1972 [it even says that on my reminder] and that I wanted a really good deal.  She said the deal I had was the best she could offer and it took my loyalty into account.  I told her I had found a quote that was over €160 cheaper.  "Hold on and I'll check with the manager" says she and she vanished for about ten minutes.  When she came back from her discussions she offered to knock €100 off my premium.

What pissed me off was not their high premium or the fact that she was prepared to knock twenty percent off, it was the ease with which she was able to drop the premium without any concessions.  She pointed out all the benefits they were giving me.  I pointed out I was getting all those from the other company.  She ran out of steam.

I told her to cancel my account.

I'm sorry to leave a company after this length of time.  I must have been one of their longest standing customers.

But I ain't going to lash out €60 a year just for the sake of sentiment.