Sunday, March 23, 2014


There was a time...

when you'd never see a sight like this in an Irish pub. Back in the 70's, people would have been embarrassed to imagine the wall of a gents toilet displaying a comprehensive array of -- cleaning products.

Seriously, in the good old days, condoms were a luxury item, sold only by revolutionary members of the Students Union and avaricious lorry drivers returning from the Parisian meat and veg markets.

It took some of the steam out of a romantic situation if you considered the origin of your Durex: The pocket of a pimply UCD student, or a Scania glove compartment, tucked away behind the Yorkie bars and the B&W porn.

Back before expiration dates, condoms were like loaves of bread, you had to give them a little squeeze to check for freshness - If they felt brittle and breakable, you returned the pound note to your wallet, and cancelled the plans for love.

Life back then was not cheap.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dumb In Any Language

I don't hate many words, but there's one that really manages get my back up.

I lived in France for three years and never once heard the word 'entrepreneur', but this morning, on RTE radio, it burst forth at least forty times.

A couple of men were blathering on about the exciting, challenging, adventurous, lonely and not always properly rewarded, life of the entrepreneur. They spoke like a couple of battle hardened soldiers. Their wives understood. Their families made sacrifices. Such is the life of an Irishman with a career denoted by a French noun.

An entrepreneur is “A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk” according to And this should never be confused with “a man regularly employed in business, especially a white-collar worker, executive, or owner” or, as we used to call him, a businessman.

From now on let us try to use French words wherever possible. “Bacon et le chou” - bacon and cabbage. And there are more. Possibly millions.