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sure and begorrah

Oh dear. Michael "Orangina" Flatley was on Radio 4's Midweek, speaking in the Irish accent he has mysteriously managed to aquire in less than a decade. Aren't we Irish peasants lucky that we have Michael to tell us about ourselves? He told of how he went to Ireland and (I'm only slightly paraphrasing here, seriously) "the people were so full of love, and laughter, and pain, and divilment [sic], and joy, and misery...." Wow, thanks Michael. I always thought that I, like the rest of my fellow paddies, was merely full of misery, cabbage and booze, but apparently I was actually a normal human being like everyone else on the face of the planet. Thanks! You, of course, are just full of crap. Anyway, the reason he was informing the world about what we're all full of was because, with all this bubbling away inside of us, poor Michael couldn't believe that we "danced without moving our arms."

Yeah, I remember those dark days, the time we now know as "B.F" (Before Flatley). You'd go out clubbing and we never put our hands in the air like we just didn't care, because Michael hadn't shown us the light. We'd just keep them rigid by our sides while we hopped about the dancefloor.

Oh wait, he meant Irish dancing! I see. Of course, he obviously confined his observation of traditional dancing to feiseanna and other formal talent shows, because if he'd actually gone to a ceili - the place where you'd actually see ordinary people performing traditional Irish dancing in a spontaneous way, not in a fucking concert populated by ringleted freaks in velvet frocks - he would have seen people swinging from the bloody rafters, because set dancing is all about using your arms, and bouncing about the place linked with other people. It's absolutely fantastic fun, too. But apparently my days of lepping about the place in Irish language summer colleges (so well documented in the national press) never happened. For Flatley says it's so! And he, if Libby Purves and her guests are to be believed, is an expert in all things Irish.

Because fter this nauseating display of arrogance and willful ignorance, we were treated to the sound of the idiotic guests saluting this orange-faced buffoon like he'd dragged Ireland out of the dark fucking ages. "Wasn't Ireland a very strict, conservative country then?" asked one. I mean, Riverdance debuted at the Eurovision in early summer 1996. It was the end of my third year of college, and believe me, if you wanted to know just what a repressed conservative country we were back then, you should have looked outside the Pav on a Friday night. Or rather, at all the used condoms in the murky corners at the edge of the cricket pitch. But no, apparently we were all praying to the Pope every night and having a baby every five minutes when we weren't at Mass or chained to the kitchen sink. And so the nation was shocked - shocked, I tell you! - by Flatley's daring. Especially his outrageous "arm moving", which if he is to believed was headline news for months on end, something which has definitely escaped my memory (and actually, I'm not sure he was even the choreographer, and he certainly wasn't the only dancer, but hey). Anyway, we were all tradition-bound peasants, but what we needed was an orange-faced American to tell us what to do, and it worked because look, now we're Europe's economic success story! And we owe it all to Michael Flatley. Thanks Michael!


Apr. 5th, 2006 04:13 pm (UTC)
And I read a bio of him where his brother said, "Hey Colin, we've been in the US for 20 years, and I don't have an accent, and you didn't used to, so what gives?"
Apr. 5th, 2006 04:20 pm (UTC)
Hmmm, his family all live in Dublin - he's from the same neighbourhood as friends of mine, and he went to school here. I know his family have publically laughed at him for putting on a more "tough" accent, but he definitely wasn't brought up in America.
Apr. 5th, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)
Well, AFAIK he's younger than me, and went to drama school here, and I think his first "hit" was Ballykissangel (awful mid-90s BBC drama series set in Wicklow), so it seems rather unlikely that he's been in the States for twenty years.

I'm no great fan of his, mind, but he definitely has more of a right to an Irish accent than the prancing Flatley...
Apr. 5th, 2006 04:25 pm (UTC)
I haven't heard Michael Flatley speak in a long time, but I have to step in in possible defence (though I reserve the right to withdraw my defence if I hear him diddlyIrishing) -- it's very easy to pick up an accent without realising it, especially if you have a vaguely musical ear. The way I talk is anything but a product of a put-on, and any time I hear my voice recorded, I recoil in horror that it might actually sound like one.
Apr. 5th, 2006 04:45 pm (UTC)
Heh, me too. My vowels don't tend to change too much (consonants do a bit), but I pick up rhythms like nobody's business. It does make you easier to understand in Forn Parts, though.
Apr. 5th, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC)
Me toooo! This is why I should never live in a place that speaks a different sort of English than my own. At least if I pick up an accent in a different language it's less embarrassing.

But also, let's get on that cheese statue idea. I'll bring the crackers!!!
Apr. 5th, 2006 07:12 pm (UTC)
Yeah, but Canadians have strange accents anyway. For example, say "out"...

Apr. 5th, 2006 08:54 pm (UTC)
One of my 9/11 memories is of the late Peter Jennings (news anchor for a major network), having done non-stop coverage for an entire day, becoming so tired that his polished American accent dropped and his Canadian out-and-abouts started slipping through....
Apr. 5th, 2006 04:58 pm (UTC)
BALLYKISSANGEL! Aaaaaiiiiieeee!

:covers mouth, flees from room:


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