Friday, November 19, 2010


Quote of the Week

The best way out is always through.

Robert Frost

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


BellX1 Acoustic Gig in The Pavilion

BellX1 are currently on an acoustic tour to celebrate the ten year anniversary of the release of ‘Neither Am I’ their first album. They played in the Pavilion in Cork last Saturday night. I like hearing BellX1 play their stuff acoustically because it puts a different slant on the songs for me. The band started off the night with ‘Pinball Machine’ from Neither Am I and later played ‘Slow Set’ from the same album. It felt a little magical when BellX1 played ‘Rocky Took a Lover’ from Flock and the audience joined in. I loved the feeling of the crowd singing along unobtrusively and feeling part of it. BellX1 did a great version of ‘Flame’ with a sort of Country and Western twist. They were excited about playing some new songs and played one called ‘Sugar High’ from their new album due out next year. A resounding rendition of ‘The Great Defector’ was enthusiastically shared between the band and the crowd, each trying to politely outdo the other. To finish up BellX1 played ‘I’ll see your heart and raise you mine’ and towards the end Paul added in some lines from ‘There is a light that never goes out’ by the Smiths. It’s funny how he has managed to fit so many different lyrics into the end of this song. I kind of liked the addition of ‘And if a double-decker bus crashes in to us, To die by your side is such a heavenly way to die, And if a ten ton truck kills the both of us To die by your side, well the pleasure, the privilege, is mine’ to the other lines that have been used in this song. The band played a good encore and as always left the crowd wanting more.

Friday, November 12, 2010


Quote of the Week

I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end.

Margaret Thatcher, in Observer April 4, 1989
British politician (1925 - )

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Today's Special

The Corona Cork Film Festival is on in Cork at the moment it started on Sunday night with an opening gala in the Opera House showing Never Let Me Go. I went to the Slow Food Gala which showed the film Today’s Special in the Gate. Despite the fact that there was a long queue just to get in a bit of waiting when we made it into screen 1 we received a little box of canapés by the canapé company ( The company is from Midleton and the food provided was delicious! We all got a duck wrap, a vegetarian bruschetta, a salmon canapé and a small chocolate pot. There were also glasses of prosecco available too. The film was a story about a young Manhattan chef who doesn’t get what he thinks he wants, a job promotion or a trip to Paris but does end up being closer to his parents and re-igniting his passion for food through his own heritage. There are some good laughs and overall it is an engaging story. The whole evening was a lovely experience with the canapés, a few words from the director and an enjoyable film.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


When Comics Do Economics...

This was in today's Irish Times and is all about humour and economics.

Economists and comedians come together tomorrow for Kilkenomics, Ireland’s ‘first economics festival’. We ask some participating economists for their best jokes – and the comedians for their economic theories


David McWilliams, economist and author

My joke : Irish government’s latest policy response to the banking, economic and financial crisis – “Quantitative Cheesing”.

My pet economic theory : When your rugby tickets are too expensive, your spanking new stadium will be half-full. The first lesson we learn about economics is that when the price of something goes up, the demand for it goes down. By extension, when your cost structure is so out of kilter you feel you have to charge over the odds for tickets, you have two choices: cut your costs and prices or suffer empty stadiums.

Nothing encapsulates the state of the Irish economy more than the empty seats at the Aviva Stadium. Here is our best national team in years and fans can’t afford to see them. We are not playing some Mickey Mouse outfit; we are hosting the World Champions.

The economic truth is simple: set your prices to suit demand. There is always a price, despite the recession, where the market clears. As we try to compete and export our way out of this crisis, the Aviva Lesson is one that should not be forgotten.

John Lanchester, author of ‘Whoops!: Why everyone owes everyone and no one can pay’

My jokes : A sandwich goes into a pub and says to the barman: “I’ll have a pickled egg, please.” Barman says: “I’m sorry sir, we don’t serve food.” Badoom-tish.

What’s the difference between a stoat and a weasel? One’s weasily recognisable, the other’s stotally different.

Why are there no aspirin in the jungle? Parrots eat ’em all.

My pet economic theory: There are quite a few to choose from – though perhaps not as many as there are half-truths and outright falsehoods. My favourite is a piece of advice my father used to quote. I’ve seen it come true society-wide several times. “It’s easy to be an investment genius. All you need is a short memory and a rising market.”

Ha-Joon, author of ‘23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism’

My joke : Three castaways on a desert island find a crate of canned food. The first, a theoretical physicist, comes up with a model of a machine that can open cans with astonishing efficiency, then realises there is no material to build the machine. The second, an engineer, tries to open the cans with everything available – stone, stick, coconut – but all in vain. The last one, an economist, steps in and starts: “Let’s assume that we have a can opener . . . ”

My pet economic theory: Economists are known for assuming all sorts of things. When some argued that Ireland should deregulate finance, they assumed giving maximal freedom to the private sector was the best way to maximise wealth. When some argued that there was nothing to worry about the property bubble, they assumed market actors are always rational. When they later said the Irish Government should cut spending, they assumed there is a repressed private sector gearing up to rush in to fill the resulting demand gap. If only economists stopped assuming there to be can openers, we may be living in a better world.


Colin Murphy, comedian

My pet economic theory : Who knew stock markets had emotions? Every financial report on every news bulletin insists on telling me how the stock markets are feeling – most days I don’t know how I’m feeling. They seem to have very simplistic emotions too, for such a complex system. “Depressed” is mentioned often, as is “nervous”. I’ve seen Facebook status updates with more in-depth emotions.

Why are the markets being given emotions anyway? Is it an attempt to get us to look after the markets, like a moody goth at a house party? And even when there is positive news, the best you will get from Mr Moody Market, is “buoyant”, not “happy” or “ecstatic” or “delighted” or “over the moon”, but “buoyant”. What the hell kind of emotion is that? With the financial news as bad as it is, a few more detailed emotions might be called for. The markets could, “be sobbing” or “have taken to drink” or “sitting on the stairs and staring into space” or if things get really bad “be standing in your front garden, crying, singing Westlife songs at the top of its voice”. Remember, the stock markets have feelings too. Apparently.

Colm O’Regan, comedian

My pet economic theory : If this is a global village, then Ireland is standing in the garden watching all the neighbours talk about us. Every so often, we have to endure a visit from one of the local worthies dispensing advice. Telling us how to run our house. We’d love to tell them all to feck off but we can’t. We still have to go to the shops for bread on tick.

There’s one group of neighbours that annoys us more than anyone else – the credit rating agencies. There wasn’t a peep out of them during the boom. Now they’re leaning over the hedge, watching us try to fix a lawnmower, while asking for their strimmer back. Standard and Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch. Who are they anyway? (I’ve heard of Fitch. All the same, I’d like to know what Abercrombie thinks.)

We’ve been downgraded from AAA+ to AA-. What does that even mean? Before, we were a battery for the remote control; now we’re only good for a Walkman?

It’s time for a new ratings agency one that understands how the Irish people feel and reflects that. It’s time for Moody and Poor.

Neil Delamere, comedian

My pet economic theory : We face financial Armageddon. Selling the Book of Kells on the Antiques Roadshow should be a last resort. There is one more thing to try.

We get the Irish Secret Service to scan the population for women good-looking enough to be supermodels. Then – like the KGB did – experts train them in the art of seduction. Every day they get closer to the perfect seductress. They learn the offside rule. They are taught to despise foreplay. They master control of the circulation in their hands and feet so they’re not freezing when they get into the bed. From that group the ultimate temptress is chosen.

Now consider: Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim is worth around $60 billion. And pre-nuptial agreements are not legal in Ireland.

Our agent seduces her target, marries and divorces him here and gives the money to the State. Boom. We’ve just paid for Anglo.