Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

4 August 1999 Edition

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Television: Summertime blues

By Gilbert O Lughnasa

Programmes reviewed:

Knightrider (RTE)

Cuimhní Ghaeltachta (Teilifis na Gaeilge)

``I've been drinking 16 years on de trot and dere's not a man in this townland that can keep up with me.''

So said the vomit-smeared adolescent at the local dishco , not aware that his fellow accomplished gangly comrade was piddling on his shoe. The sinks were occupied by slick Joe lashing the gel onto his quiff, polishing his slip-on shoes and squeezing his spots, before tackling Mary on the dancefloor; and some other poor misfortunate tending his wounds after clashing with the men from Ahascragh - ``he'll not spill my fuckin' pint and get away with it.''

I edged my way past the assortment of Hairy Marys, Make-Up Mollys and greasy Johnny, the Lowlife Proprietor long used to relieving his customers of their loot and filling them with watery lager.

I stood in the rain for 20 minutes outside the generator-driven chipper, waiting on my spongy chips and heart attack onion rings, listening to the local wags passing crass remarks about the shape of their sausages.

Deep depression had by now set in, as I reassured myself that I was above this neanderthal existence of inane gossip, booze and Hugo Duncan symphonies - I was either too intelligent or simply anti-'bloody'-social.

A further hour of concealment in the back of a minibus, as local teenagers swallowed each other's tonsils (and worse) , left me at the fuschia covered cottage, where I consoled myself with cold toast and the latest re-run of my hero, `Knightrider'.

Michael Knight would have fitted in well under the crystal ball, with his leather flares and Kevin Keegan looks, but alas he was too busy saving blondy Ricki from the evil clutches of the local millionaire, who was attempting to eliminate her and her elderly Uncle Fred (her parents were killed in a car crash previously), for refusing to sell their 40-acre ranch.

Michael and his talking car saved the day, frustrating and in turn arresting the cowboy-bonneted baddies and winning the heart of the blonde damsel, only to be reminded by his jealous motor that his future belongs with him - intriguing stuff!

Yet another swashbuckling hero and fashion victim, Alan Dukes, was revisiting Coláiste Chonnacht ins An Spideal, in the Gaeltacht (Gael-tocked if you're from Dublin), where, like legions of teenagers before and after him, he spent teenybopper summers learning the language and of equal importance, getting his first kiss.

Dukes, featured on T na G's Cuimhní Ghaeltachtaí, was one of thousands of Dubs who descended on the West each summer before the powers-that-be cut back on grants, thus denying most working class juveniles the experience.

Dukes and his colleague, who was so famous I forgot her name, reminisced on the ingredients that constistute a Gaeltacht summer - stone walls, bean an ti's who threaten to throw boiling water on any boyfriend that enters the house;


three-mile walks in the rain to An choláiste;

Oró sé Do Bheatha Bhaile;

Mary Mandy Minnie, Jimmy Tomaisín Phats and Rosie na gChips with their no teeth and inaudible singing;

the first pangs of loneliness being separated from family for three weeks and the marvellous sense of independence that follows this;

constant hunger and teas that usually consisted of three portions of white sliced pan, beans and tea;

that first kiss at the back of the Ceili Hall and the embarrassment the following morning on wondering what to say to your new `girlfriend';

more stone walls and long walks;

the cúpla focail and the sagart paroiste ranting from the pulpit on the dangers of fornication;

girls with lipstick and red lemonade;

the first dawning of self confidence;

More stone walls and bean a tís and `going out' with Mary in the turf shed at midnight;


grants and more grants;

and a realisation somewhere in the recesses of your mind that this would be better appreciated in future years.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1