As Time Goes By - March 1983

Garret FitzGerald is ruining the art of conversation. Was a time you went down the pub and you chatted about work and movies and music and people you knew and what was on the Late Late last week and guess which TD I just saw throwing up inside in the jacks. Must have been all the words he's had to eat since the last election. That kind of thing.


Nowadays people don't seem to have the time or inclination for that sort of chit-chat. It's all Garret and his thick coalition. Consensus seems to be that Garret FitzGerald is the worst Taoiseach we've had inflicted on us since Charlie Haughey.


What did we do to deserve these 'people? Okay, own up - somebody, somewhere broke a mirror, right? Seven years bad luck.


FitzGerald seems to have an unhealthy fetish about children's feet. He got to be Taoiseach in 1981 and he put VAT on kid's shoes. So they threw him out. He mended his ways, said he'd leave the kids' feet alone so they put him back in. And first thing he does is threaten to make the kids walk miles to school. Some say it's monetarism - but down in the bar of The Oasis last night we concluded that the guy has simply got a kink about kids' feet. If he can't get the shoes off them one way he'll try another. This is a man who needs deprogramming.


The only other subject of discussion last night was The Great Loss To Our National Culture - I refer, of course, to the RTE decision to drop the Eurobar Castlevision International "Song" Contest. Seems the dirty rotten public objected to paying a £96 increase in licence fees in order to finance that fine cultural event.


Poor RTE. How can they be expected to maintain standards when already their meagre budget is tied up in such homegrown epics as Feach, The Angelus, Cross Country Quiz, Nightlight and We Apologise For This Short Break In Transmission Ad, Meanwhile Here's Some Music?


Having done some research into what we're going to miss, it is with a humble (one might even say grovelling and sleeveen) demeanour that I present here a preview of the contestants in the Eurobar Castlevision International "Song" Contest - in the hope that Garret might change his mind and grant RTE another increase.


The set will be draped in gold lame, with lighting in subtle shades of orange and purple. Music is by the Maurice Dazzle Swing Quartet, direct from their last engagement (Clery's Ballroom, '1965). Ah, but, the songs, the songs ....


"Love makes the money go round", performed by Baab. This group, four blondes - two male, two female are in the Scandinavian genre. They were scheduled to appear in last year's Eurobar but two hours before the show they realised they had been so busy rehearsing the facial choreography and producing the video that they forgot to actually write the song.


"My music and me (and love)", written and sung by Dave Sincere. Dave is also the composer of Me and my music, Music is my life, My life is music etc. He plays a six-string two-stroke Yamaha acoustic and wants to be John Denver when he grows up. His song tells of how he wants to "reach out" with his music and "touch" the world, thereby easing tension in the Middle East. Dave wears a denim suit, runners and a thoughtful expression. He is 17 and always will be.


"When you came", sung by Rock Bicep. Rock dresses all in white and wears a gold medallion shaped in the initials RB on his hairy chest. Rock, who was 37 some years ago, had his greatest hit in 1967 when his single You are my woman went to number 46 in the English charts. While some would say his best years are behind him he can still earn a crust singing to racially segregated audiences in South Africa.


When you came was, according to the handout, written by Mr Bicep. However, I can reveal that the true author is Agatha McCrum, a 47-year old ex-schoolteacher originally from Borris-in-Ossary. Ms McCrum has anonymously authored 92% of all the original songs recorded in the 26 counties over the past 18 years. She turns them out by the yard and has made a fortune in the process. It is rumoured in certain circles that Ms McCrum was the "source" of the £100,000 which would have been "made available" to Ray McSharry had he stabbed Charlie Haughey in the back. She takes her politics from her mother, who personally handstitched all of General O'Duffy's blue shirts. Ms McCrum is - in her own quiet way - a raving fascist and is known to have financed, in April 1981, an abortive attempt to blow up Jim Larkin's statue in O'Connell Street. She is a founder member of SPUC (The Society for the Propagation of Unrestrained Catholicism). Her hobbies include flower arranging, draughts (playing them and sitting in them), baking jam tarts and making obscene phone calls to prominent presbyterians.


"Peace", written and sung by Nada, a sweet wee lass from the North. Nada was born in 1954 and again in 1976 and is a charismatic in her private life (which means every TV chat show between here and Melbourne). She prefaces all her songs with a homily on respect for traditional values. She usually wears a white wet-look t-shirt and red jeans made of clingfilm and often the audience is visibly moved when she employs her familiar mannerism of stroking her inner thigh during the middle eight.


"Girl", sung by Stroppy. Leader of the band You Who, Stroppy is the acceptable face of rock. A personal lifelong friend of Garret FitzGerald, Stroppy is, between band tours, political advisor to the Cabinet. This laid-back 15-year-old recently used the profits from his first LP to purchase the Phoenix Park. With the help of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail councillors he hopes to have it rezoned for industry.


"Snot", by Julie Atrocious. Julie, the rage of the Dublin 4 punk scene, Daughter of Lord Mountfred (a personal friend of Garret FitzGerald), Julie ("Rather daring" - RTE Guide) returned from finishing school last July and knocked them dead in The Bailey and in Joy's after her maid accidentally left a safety pin in the collar of her blouse. (Julie sacked the maid for carelessness. The woman, a deserted wife, mother of seven, subsequently hung herself. Julie wrote a song about the incident and had her first big hit - Life's a drag.)


"Rise (about noon) and follow Charlie (down to the pub) TOOT-a-loo", by the Hairy Brothers and Arthur Davis. Enough said.