The rocky road to modern Ireland
I especially liked the article's observation that, while ordinary Irish people may not have Seán Ó Faoláin or James Joyce at their fingertips, they speak with a fluency rare in the author's own city of Toronto:
"I'll be accused of stereotyping to say it, but everyone not only answered in full sentences, but those sentences almost inevitably turned into paragraphs, and those paragraphs had structure, plot, characters, jokes, well-constructed self-deprecations and not a single `um,' `er' or `like.'"The man is right. I'm recently back from a trip to Ireland, where no one ever missed the chance to turn the most ordinary, quotidian interaction into a story or a joke or a little play:
Me: "Is that a Belfast train?"My other discovery was that Peter Lennon's 1967 documentary Rocky Road To Dublin is available whole and free on YouTube. I found this by accident when searching for clips of the song of the same name, and all I can say is that it's easy to see why the film was banned in the Republic of Ireland for so long:
Conductor: "Do you want it to be a Belfast train?"
Conductor: "It's a Belfast train."
"We were told that we were the sons and daughters of revolutionary heroes and that our role now was to be one of gratitude, well-behaved gratitude. To criticize the society our old guerrilla fighters had built up was to be a traitor. We were to keep quiet, and they, like jolly but tough old uncles, would take care of us. What they expected from us now was a new kind of heroism, heroic obedience."This is electrifying stuff and will lurk in my mind as I read any current Irish crime fiction that takes even a glancing look at the current state of its country.
© Peter Rozovsky 2008