Written on: 10. 8. 2011 in the category: news


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Leave your bed at first light on an August day as I did yesterday: you will hear no birdsong and no morning chorus, just the dull frantic cheeps of sparrows who realise that they’ve got another twenty days of this terrible month, and they’re not sure if they’re going to make it. August is the mensal unit without any real character of its own: it is a nonth. [stet nonth]



August is naf. August is a cane-toad in your bath. August is the fat boy in the class that picks his nose and eats his discoveries. August is the flatulent teenage girl that pulls wings off butterflies. August is a fish with athlete’s foot. August is a pineapple with a tape-worm. August is a cat suffering from potato-blight. August is a grape with rabies. August is a train with no railway.



August is toxic blandness. August is being stabbed to death with a teapot. August is being mauled by vegetarian tadpoles. August is being stuck in a Chinese library for a hundred years, and no-one to explain the script. August is a vegan suicide-bomber. August is an armchair without a seat. August is uncooked rice, and no water. August is a Bugatti without a steering wheel. August is Bach’s double in D, by two giraffes. August is a nursing home run by Michael O’ Leary. August is a sperm-bank run by the Little Sisters of the Poor. August is Rwandan brain-surgery. August is a month of sermons by Cardinal Michael D. Higgins. August is Enda Kenny choosing a tie. August is an ethics lecture by Michael Fingleton. August is a five course banquet cooked by Jackie Healy-Rae. August is a talk about an uncle’s duties by Gerry Adams. August is Ratko Mladic giving embroidery lessons to the blind.


August is a cow without udders. August is an English Wimbledon hopeful. August is a thorn without a rose. August is a huge saucepan of hot soup without a ladle. August is a Mercedes convertible with a flat tyre and no jack. August Mary Robinson talking to the working classes in a canteen. August is hurling with condoms. August is cricket between Poland and China. August is an eagle with one wing. August is a field of many kinds of mushroom and no guide. August is a grey rainbow. August is a seafood-chef in Roscommon. August is Ryanair, as run by Bertie Ahern. August is Christmas in North Korea. August is an Irish Olympic bronze in needlework. August is the poetry of Padraig Flynn. August is a crèche run by Bishop John Magee. August is an egg without a yolk. August is the Hungarian peak-climbing season. August is Charles Haughey’s monograph on early Irish monasticism. August is Eamon de Valera on the love life of Michael Collins. August is Churchill on Tibetan peace-poetry. August is flower-arranging amongst the Eskimos.


August is people who insist on saying Inuit instead of Eskimo. August is people who say “faux” instead of phoney or bogus or false or mock. August is people who say “de nos jours” instead “of our time”. August is people who say “entre nous” rather than “between ourselves”. August is people who say “jus” instead of “gravy”. August is people who say “spokeswoman”, and “spokesperson”, but not “spokesman”. August is people who pronounce aspirated English words as if they were French, as in RTE’s favourite, “an horrendous crash”. August is people who pronounce foreign words and names as if they were speaking the original language, most spectacularly and tragically “Valencia” being rendered “Haghghenththia”. August is any of the great literary festivals of the Orange Order. August is Seamus Heaney and Stalingrad: a fusion.


August is Dalkey. August is the Seanad. August is Dail expenses. August is Michael Lowry. August is AIB. August is a candle without a wick. August is Pat Grace’s Famous Fried Chicken. August is the Shrine at Knock. August is unsalted roasted peanuts. August is why we say roasted peanuts but not roasted beef. August is a rugby workshop run by the National Women’s Council. August is a stranger who unsolicitedly seeks to share his opinions with me in a bar. August is any sort of folk-mass. August is a mass with guitars. August is a clergyperson. August is a funeral where the clergyperson declares: “We are here not to mourn the passing, but to celebrate the life of …” and the congregation applauds. August is a minute’s “silence” in which people clap. August is phoney-ecumenism: the Apprentice Boys miming Fauré’s Requiem.


August is the Angeles on RTE. August is yet another book on the GPO and the Easter Rising. August is windpower. August is wavepower. August is instant coffee. August is crunchy, pink, potato-tasting objects being sold as peaches in Tesco. August is crunchy, red, potato-tasting objects from the US being sold as strawberries in Tesco. August is “sustainable”, said joyously. August is “air-miles”, said disdainfully. August is digitally-enacted parentheses, supported by facially-imitated irony. August is, “I’m like”. August is “Omigod no way”. August is boys who can’t whistle. August is the home of the Dundrum-American dialect, the LUAS-A.


August means the last days of the summer holiday. August means school soon. August means fear. August, frankly, is death.

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