Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2009 - The Year Dermot Ahern said 'NO' to 'JAYSUS'

The Woods of Aherlow - Happy New Year!

Before I sling disdainful words at Mr. Ahern and his anti-blaspemy legislation of 2009, a resounding word of thanks to all those who emailed, txted and telephoned me with their reactions to my last blog. The diversity of response and interpretation really excites and my head is on fire with possibilities... from film to play to short story...etc. Think whatever the form or shape, it might begin with the end...she might be on death row... possibly in the electric chair...then again...she might just have dreamt the whole thing...crumbling marriage etc...etc. Four years ago, when this idea came to me, George was most definitely dead...now I'm not so sure...hence her waking from nightmare ( which was added last week!) Most respondents did not get the 'hope' in it, however! I thought the 'corned-beef sandwich' signalled that...there you go...interpretation or misinterpretation of the written word...fascinating stuff! How could anyone think they possess the ultimate comprehension of the Bible! It has been revised and translated more than any other work (as far as I know)! With each revision, each translation, there has to be minute shifts of nuance and emphasis, if not integral moments of intention and action.

I was dubious, initially, about putting something so dark out there... that it might perhaps be a little too graphic for some tastes. I was brought up in a rigidly strict household, where 'army belt' ruled! Didn't do the whole 'rebellious teenager thing'...it was all about conforming, as I suspect, was the case, in most households during the 50's and 60's. So hopefully, I'm now catching up on all that mad stuff now (2nd childhood and all that ...haha!) However, that said, I don't believe in outrageous for outrage's sake, but I am just starting to believe that it's OK to express in some shape or form, what arrives, often quite unexpectedly, into head and heart, so long as it doesn't involve intentional hurt. Which brings me nicely back to Dermot 'Dick' Ahern! (Sorry about 'dick'...it just landed there!)

A Real Step Backwards
Found these stones in Connemara. Thought they were interesting!

So glad that my friend, Alex, feels like I do...pissed off (although he would be more polite than I) about a piece of useless, pathetic, retrograde piece of legislation drafted in by Justice Minister, Dermot Ahern last April/May...the anti-blasphemy law! At the time, I could not believe what I was reading! What...in the middle of possibly the worst recession that this island has seen, when the country was waiting for the publication of the Ryan Report, which proved to be not only a damning indictment of the religious bodies of this country, but also the government of this nation... a country that prides itself in the care of its children...well...according to the constitution, anyway! The citizens of this country are drowning in distrust of its Church, its government and its financial institutions and we are expected to believe that this piece of ludicrous legislative material, (which, in my opinion , would be more useful in the loos of Dail Eireann), is for the good of the people...well...isn't that what legislation should be about! Who really gives a 'f--k' whether anyone says 'Jaysus' or not? The country...the world is in turmoil...threatened on so many fronts by terrorism, starvation, a global climate crisis, mass unemployment and an aging population that needs to be cared for in health and sickness!

The Sheer Horror of Kilmainham Gaol Cells!

Did the Freedom Fighters of 1916 envisage this kind of Ireland!

My Daughter, Katy's 1st Holy Communion Day

The innocence of both young and old faces!

When I studied the libretto of HMS Pinafore, a smile crept from ear to ear. Sir Joseph Porter, the Lord Admiral of the Navy takes enormous exception to the blaspemous words of Captain Corcoran and takes him to task in a song that he sings with male and female choruses. Captain Corcoran has uttered the word 'damme' to Ralph Rackstraw, an ordinary seaman, who has been discovered in his attempts to elope with the Captain's daughter, Josephine... so obviously 'above' poor Ralph's station. Gilbert and Sullivan were responsible for the Savoy Operas, satirical works about the British establishment at the turn of the 20th Century. HMS Pinafore was having a particular 'go' at the class system, the incestual nature of the upper classes and the hypocrisy of the British government. Sir Joseph Porter was supposedly based on the real Lord Admiral of that time, Mr. W.H. Smith, appointed by Mr Gladstone, who had never been to sea in his life! Gleefully, I saw this as my chance to have 'go' at the hypocrisy of this inane Irish anti-blasphemy bill.

Sir Joseph Porter ( a fictitious 'dick'!

Wish I was clever enough to stick Dermot Ahern's face onto this image!

The ladies of the chorus rush out onto the deck when they hear Sir Joseph's distress at the blaspemous words of the Captain. I decided they should carry on with them, hidden in their skirts, hand mirror-sized photos attached to pieces of two-by-one, of Dermot Ahern, which they produced, when it was their turn to join in with Sir Joseph's condemnations, ' He said 'Damme'!' There was a sea of Dermot Ahern heads on stage! I loved it, because I got it! Sadly, I don't think most people did, and even when I explained...it didn't impact one way or the other. It was like...'SO!' So ...Alex, I was delighted to discover that I have at least one fellow anti-anti-blasphemer friend! Seriously it is such nonsense. I'm really like a dog with a bone over this one. Down, Maureen, down!

Hanging On In There!

Let's face it, 2009 was a dreadful, dreadful, dreadful year from a national and international perspective. On a personal level, its important to hang on to the positive and this year was a good one in many ways. I graduated from UCC with a First in Drama and Theatre Studies and a high 2.1 in Italian... chuffed about that! Directed HMS Pinafore in Clonmel ( and have been asked to direct their show in April - Oklahoma. So I must have done something right!) I continue my work in schools, my own group and my studies in psychodrama.

Received the best compliment of my life from my nephew's son, 9 year old, Daniel this year. We were extremely fortunate to have him and his 3 year old sister Thi stay with us for the Halloween weekend. What fun we had marching all over the house, 'Left... Left... I had a good job and I left!' for hours ... and hours... and hours, while the adults drank their wine by the fire! I had to go to rehearsals on the Sunday afternoon and Daniel wanted to know when 'Moejoe' (that's me) was coming home. It was suggested to him, that I was mad and his response was, 'Yeah... but she's class!' Obviously going to grow up into a man of great taste (haha!)

Tides of Change

I love to be next to the ocean at New Year... tide taking away what you want to let go of... and bringing in new adventures and dreams, new friends and new solutions to old problems. I had hoped to get to West Cork for a few days, but Katy fell off Mel on St. Stephen's day, fracturing her pelvis in two places, so that was the end of that. She's doing great, she's home from hospital and not grumbling too much about not being able to climb the beautiful snow-capped Galtees.

I need a new car, or should I say a different one. Scared of 'too new' cars. Rita (that's her name) has been acting up... preferably a four-wheel drive, so that I can take Katy right up to the edge of Lake Muskery. Get a load of this!

Innisboffin Island Mode Of Transportation

One more payment and she's mine!

Thursday Morning.

Put on Sky News to check out weather conditions... Emma is flying back to London today. (She has been at home for almost a month and I will miss her constant chatter and good-humouredness.) Looking at the conditions in Britain, I was reminded of the big freeze of 1963. We children thought it was just the best fun. Cream sticking out of milk bottles like candles, burst pipes, robins coming closer than ever, ice-skating on the lake in the Queen's Park (which I'm sad to say looks more like a bomb site at the moment. It was always the one place I returned to, revisiting my 'first kiss' behind an enormous, all-seeing, all-knowing oak tree.) We had a slide running from one end of the avenue to the other. I hit my head on the road during one of my turns to 'go for it' and suffered temporary amnesia, which required medical attention. Some people might say... well...that explains it then....the madness!

Emma and I went for a last walk down the boreen with our dogs this morning and the snow covered pot-holed road positively sparkled, reminding me of the golden glitter I used to spread over the timber floor at Christmas in The House of Merlin (my shop, which is now closed), and then pictured my mother, bent over a brush, sweeping it up, as if it shouldn't be there... and I smiled!

In uniting us, as unexpected arctic conditions seem to do, it feels like a process of purification or even disinfecting is already underway, preparing us for 'a newness', a way forward, from the horror stories of recent times.

Finally I would like to wish all my friends a year filled with magic, hope and love! Let's all try to make this is a year of smiles!

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