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I’m pickin up good vibrations….she’s giving me excitations…

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Mayo Mary couldn't understand why no one had told her about the fireworks display in the village

Mayo Mary couldn’t understand why no one had told her about the fireworks display in the village

“Imagine that…there were two earthquakes off the coast today” Tracey the man-barmaid announced as she read the newspaper on the bar counter down in the club. “Did the earth move for you Tracey me darlin…..did the vibration tell you I’m bringing sexy back?” my chum Biffo Boyle said, throwing her a wistful eye. “There would have to be a much larger earthquake than that before you’d ever bring sexy back Biffo” Tracey replied, folding the newspaper in disgust “that’s if you ever had it the first place”.  “I’m mortally offended….I’ll have you know I was renowned for throwing shapes in my youth” he said, trying to spin around on one foot but his weight only succeeded in him making a half pirouette. “I wondered where that song…Murder on the Dancefloor…came from…now I know” she replied, snorting with laughter to herself. “She has you there Biffo” Spike Righteous added “you’d clear a dancefloor faster than a Kerryman in Cork”.  “I know you’re trying to hide it Tracey…but I could be your Mr Right” Biffo said, unshaken by her response. “Well you might be…..but you’re just not Mr Right Now” she said, slapping the bar counter with her hand. “Don’t lower yourself Biffo” I said with annoyance at the verbal exchange “it only encourages her….what’s far more shocking than any earthquake…is being turned down by Tracey….which in itself Biffo should mean immediate expulsion from the club” I said solemnly. “You’re just jealous Thackeray….Tracey’s just got eyes for me” he said abruptly, following her up to the other side of the bar like a lost sheep. “She’s only got… A… eye Biffo…remember that when you’re asking her to see if a car is coming” I shouted after him.

“We’ll have tsunami’s next with all these earthquakes Thackeray….it must be the end of the world” Spike said, sticking his head in his hands in horror. “Never fear Spike” I said optimistically “earthquakes have been occurring in Ireland for centuries” I said with a sigh. “That’s just mad Thackeray” Spike said with surprise “I thought they only happen in them foreign parts”. “Precisely Spike….namely Roscommon and Mayo…they’ve been experiencing earthquakes since the dawn of time….hence they have no notable architecture of any kind” I said theatrically. “Because they’d fall down Thackeray?” Spike asked with eyes wide open. “Well originally yes….from hundreds of years of them building sheds to live in and continually falling down…genetics engineered the natives to tunnel instead….it’s no surprise that only Ros-Commoners and May-onnaisians were used to build the underground in London” I said nodding to Spike to get another round in if he wanted to hear the rest of the story “virtual moles they are…a later version of Hobbits as far as I know”. “Jaysus I didn’t know that now” Spike said, shaking his head “I watched that film The Hobbit you know….they have big hairy hands and feet…and very poor eyesight to boot”. “Exactly my point…who do you know from that neck of the woods that doesn’t fit that description….I didn’t want to say this before but it’s becoming blatantly obvious to the astute mind…..such as myself….that our chum Biffo here is a throwback from his third grandfather once removed…..and rarely talked about in the family…..the infamous….Burrowing Biffo from Mayo village…..note the big hairy paws and claw like nails…and his earlier assertion to possessing a hairy back….which in Roscommon is a sign of fertility….especially the women”. “Now that you mention it Thackeray” Spike said, his eyes screwed to observe Biffo in more detail….hair does seem to creep up over his collar…and as a Guard….he does dig for clues”. “There you have it…and Tracey…with her one good eye….ideal for burrowing underground…..they could fasten a torch onto the bad one…..must be like Helen of Troy to poor Biffo”. I said with a wry smile. “Isn’t it queer what brings people together” Spike said with a sigh “they’re right when they say love is blind”. Bringing sexy back…still it seemed like a good idea at the time…

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We’re in the money, c’mon my honey, lets lend it, spend it, send it rolling along

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When her husband John asked for a cup of tea instead of a beer, Mary knew the marriage was over

When her husband John asked for a cup of tea instead of a beer, Mary knew the marriage was over

“Sales of alcohol up nearly 8%” Spike Righteous declared, shaking his head as he sipped his double brandy “would you believe that….and the country broke”. “I can’t understand it at all at all” Biffo Boyle replied, sucking his pint of “Snakebite” up through a straw “I mean where are people’s priorities gone….it should be way higher than that”. “Over €6 billion a year we spend on booze” Spike added, reading down the newspaper and gulping back his drink to lessen his disbelief “there’s only one thing for it….people will have to cut back on other essential items….if it wasn’t for what we spend on alcohol….the show wouldn’t be kept on the road at all”. “I believe you’re looking at this the wrong way chaps” I said aloofly, removing the umbrella from my martini “I think what the headline is stressing…is that…the country is spending too much money on booze”. “That’s an outrageous statement to come out with Thackeray….this time you’ve just gone too far” Biffo said, stomping his foot in disgust. “I have to say Thackeray….I agree with Biffo on this one….you’ve crossed the line now” Spike added, shaking his head.

“Yet again….you two fail to get a grasp on the larger situation at hand as only I can…as an accountant” I said clicking my fingers for Tracey man-barmaid to fetch me another martini “get this one right Tracey….the last one was stirred not shaken…how many times do I have to tell you that Thackeray Bond drinks his martini’s the other way around”. “You’ll take it whatever way it’s given to you” Tracey answered abruptly “you’d drink it out of a shoe by the end of the night”. “You see Tracey here is a typical point in case of what I’m talking about” I said, sighing heavily “you have to understand the psychological reasoning behind the classes of drinkers in Ireland….Tracey here…like most of the sweaty masses to which she is a fully paid up member of….drink more alcohol in times of recession….to drown their sorrows….whereas the professional classes…like myself…drink in order to think….so that we can find new ways of getting the commoners back to work”. “Rubbish Thackeray….you come straight out of a comic book” Biffo answered crossly “are trying to say that only the professional classes should be allowed to drink….you don’t know the depression people feel because of the recession”. “I most certainly do Biffo my old chum” I said standing upright “I only know it too well….it’s a recession when it happens to you…and it’s a depression when it happens to me”. “By God Thackeray….you have a strange way of looking at things” Spike said, drinking from the glass in each hand “if the commoners weren’t spending everything they had on booze….then how else could we pay for bailing out the banks….or paying the highest salaries in Europe for our politicians….not to mention the €220 million in Troika fees…..the drinkers of Ireland are the backbone of the country”. “Well said….you’re the Spike…you’re the Spike….you’re the Spike” Biffo shouted, slapping his chum on the back and nearly spilling his drinks “the buck’s gotta stop somewhere”.  “As always” I said, putting my head in my hands “I am shaken by your reasoning and never stirred”. Drink less booze….still it seemed like a good idea at the time….

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We will…we will…rock you

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Seamus swore he'd never again go looking for a pub in Leitrim

Seamus swore he’d never again go looking for a pub in Leitrim

“Do you know Biffo that if you moved to higher ground….you’d lose weight” Spike Righteous declared down in the club yesterday evening. “What on earth are you saying Spike….or inferring to be more precise?” my chum Biffo The Guard Boyle replied grumpily. “Oh I’m not inferring anything Biffo….heaven forbid that I would ever imply anything” Spike answered, throwing up his hands in innocence “I’m merely saying that the earth’s gravitational pull on your body would be less the higher up you go and so you would actually weigh less”. “I’ll say it Biffo” I interjected, taking a swig from my “Body Shaker” cocktail “never let it be said I’d give a compliment when an insult is at hand….if you went up somewhere high….very high in your case…like Mt Everest then you would be fractionally….juts fractionally mind….lighter than you are now”. “I know what you’re trying to say” Biffo said, eating from a basket of cocktail sausages on his lap “anyway I’m not overweight….I’m just big boned”. “So was the T-Rex” I said impassively “ and look what happened to him……you should be more like me Biffo…if I went to the summit of Mt Everest….I’d probably levitate…with my slim and toned physique”. “No you’d probably turn to dust Thackeray” Biffo answered with certainty “those fragile claw-like bones of yours would disintegrate altogether no doubt”. “Jealousy Biffo….jealousy is a terrible trait….simply put…I’m built for speed not for comfort” I said with a sigh. “Not when you’re ordering a round Thackeray….you have the gravitational pull of Australia on your pockets when it’s time for you to cough up” He’s got a point there Thackeray” Spike added with a snort of laughter “you’d wouldn’t exactly win the fastest wallet in the west competition”. “How dare you….a Thackeray’s word is his bond….that’s why my surname is Bond I’ll have you know” I said with disgust. “Burn the Bondholders” Spike shouted out loud but everyone in the club suddenly threw evil glances at him.

“I don’t know what you’re shouting about Spike” Biffo said, looking in Spike’s direction “with those two twigs hanging out of your shoulder sockets that you call arms…the trouble with you two feeble felons is that women like real men….someone they can….hang onto….there’s simply more of me to love….isn’t that right Tracey” he said turning to Tracey bar-maid who was slouched against the counter listening. “You know I have to stick a needle in my eye every morning when I think how lucky I am to be gazing at such fine specimens of masculinity each day” she said, shaking her head. “Well said Tracey” I replied coolly “and I hope you realise it’s only through our good graces you’re here at all….. you should be careful with that needle though…..you’ve only got one good eye left…..anyway heaven forbid anything serious would happen to you….50% of deaths are caused by….accidents in the home”. “I knew there was a reason why you existed” Tracey snorted in reply. “Enough of your lip” I said with a sneer “Three brandy’s on Biffo….he’s trying to lose some weight and we’re nowhere near Cavan for him to find a rock to stand on”. Weight loss….still it seemed like a good idea at the time…

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She was lovely and fair as the rose of the Summer…

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The Rose of Tralee Brass Band were renowned for their inventive way of playing instruments

The Tralee Brass Band were renowned for their inventive way of playing instruments

“Who will win the Rose of Tralee Biffo?” Spike Righteous asked as he went through all of the hopeful entrants on his I-Phone “I fancy the New York Rose myself”. “No…it can’t be New York…they won a few years ago….I reckon it’ll be Germany since Kenny is going for the Euro Job and we need more money off them….or else maybe Australia or Canada as we need them to give more visas for the thousands that are emigrating there every week” Biffo replied knowledgeably. “Do you mean to say that you think the Rose of Tralee is rigged….like our county council elections….what a terrible thought” Spike answered, utterly appalled by the suggestion. “Well now…it may not be as bad as the elections….sure you couldn’t find a pen between them that would write straight….no I just think they play it cute….and there’s no one cuter than those Kerry hoor’s”, Biffo answered and everyone in the club nodded. “This is Ireland chaps” I said with a sigh “the reason we’ve have the highest cholesterol in Europe is that we have to take a bucket of salt with everything we hear”. “The old patriots would be turning in their grave to see things the way they are now” Biffo lamented. “They wouldn’t want to….they’d be charged property tax if they moved an inch” I scoffed “romantic Ireland’s dead and gone….tis with O’Leary in the grave”. “I didn’t know the Ryanair chief was dead….when did that happen?” Spike asked, getting up from his stool and looking around him as if a Boeing 747 was about to land. “Never mind Spike” I said shaking my head “have another Giggle Juice”.

“You know I often fancied myself as one of the Rose of Tralee Escorts” I said coolly “with my debonair good looks and impeccable dress sense…I’d have the pick of the bunch I’d wager”. “Pity you have the head of Benjamin Button as a child though” Biffo answered with a guffaw. “Well I don’t recall too many Guards being escorts….they’d understand it to drive them around on a motorbike all day long at 150mph” I retorted angrily. “I was an escort once” Spike said suddenly, stirring his cocktail with his comb before using it to side-part his hair. “You what” I shouted “YOU were an escort Spike…don’t you mean you owned a ford escort”. “No Thackeray…I mean I WAS an escort” Spike replied with a sigh “I don’t know why you find that so hard to believe. “When Spike…and where?” Biffo asked, putting on his Garda hat to emphasise his question. “If you must know I was an escort at the Aherlow Attractive Ass Competition in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety seven” Spike said, nonchalantly taking a sip of his drink. “Attractive Ass Competition” I bellowed in disbelief “why haven’t I heard of this before….I should have been a judge….I gaze at ass’s every day”. “Well it’s not very well known I suppose and it’s very difficult to organise it” Spike answered honestly. “I bet you’re right” Biffo answered smacking his lips thinking about it “I suppose those women’s lib enjoyment crunchers would be protesting all the time”. “What did it involve Spike….did the proverbial ass’s have to be manhandled so to speak to check quality and substance” I said, gulping back my brandy to keep my temperature down. “There was some of that certainly” Spike answered, nodding his head “but it could be very troublesome as we had to lead them onto the stage with a rope and sometimes they’d resist”. “Good God…I knew they were backward over there…but leading them with a rope…brilliant idea…but….I mean how did they actually get away with it?” I asked dumbfounded. “Well donkeys are generally placid creatures but sometimes you’d come across a fiery one” Spike answered matter of factly before howling with laughter. “You’re a cad and a scoundrel Spike Righteous….a cad and a scoundrel”. Being an escort….still it seemed like a good idea at the time…

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It’s a champagne supernova in the sky…

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Though he could never prove it, John the Farmer was always suspected that Betsy the Cow knew more about his missing dentures than she was letting on

Though he could never prove it, John the Farmer always suspected that Betsy the Cow knew more about his missing dentures than she was letting on

“Do you know we drink the least amount of wine in Europe” my chum Spike Righteous announced with surprise down in the rugby club as he sipped a glass of Chardonnay. “There’s so much pressure on us to be world leaders isn’t there” Biffo Boyle grumbled, as he drank a pint of Giggle Juice “I mean we’re already doing all we can to consume the most Guinness, brandy, vodka, cider, whiskey, bacardi, rum, absinthe, dykewater, etc….we can’t lead the world in everything you know”.  “Yes I suppose you’re right Biffo in one way” Spike agreed “but it’s unlikely we’ll lose our top position in the WADF (World Alcoholic Drinkers Foundation) while other countries are making the mistake of concentrating on useless things like technology, oil exploration, finance and architecture…they’ll never hope to beat us that way”.  “It’s tough at the top alright” Biffo replied with a heavy sigh, ordering a round of “Shock Absorbers” i.e tequila and jaeger cocktails. “There’s something sophisticated about drinking a nice glass of wine though chaps” I mused, leaning against the bar “I mean…it’s not a commoners drink is it….it’s more for the professional classes…like accountants…..I suspect Clare people for example would be happier with a slab of Castlemaine XXX”. “Oh they wouldn’t know anything about wine at all at all” Biffo “The Guard” Boyle added “I reckon they got that “Hawkeye” drunk on poteen against Limerick…sure he couldn’t see a thing…most of the points that went over the bar…he was too plastered to see them”. “True Biffo…true….its Croweye….that thing should be called” I said tutting “another €250,000 down the drain for that technology….we must have made that ourselves with an old CCTV camera attached to a hurley with a packet of chewing gum”. “Don’t worry Thackeray….the GAA will make it back next year” Spike said optimistically “they’ll arrange for 3 or 4 matches to be replayed…..or they’ll add a sidedoor option as well as the backdoor one”.

“I suppose all the mucksavages will be up in the capital for the final” I sighed “80,000 corn-beef sandwich and broken flasks of cold tea bullock wrestlers arriving at Croker…eyes wide in amazement at seeing cars for the first time….sleeves rolled up to their shoulders in case they come across a sheep lambing on the side of O’Connell Street”. “And not a cow in the country milked” Spike added, shaking his head “I’ll have nothing for my cornflakes on the Sunday”. “What do you mean Spike….I worry about you sometimes” Biffo said dismissively “sure everyone knows milk comes from a carton….cows make cheese….the laughing cow is on the telly all the time saying that”. “Jesus wept at the cretins that surrounded him” I said sadly turning to Tracey man-barmaid “rugger is so much more of a civilised game don’t you think…plenty of connoisseurs of fine wine amongst its supporters”. “Three pints of stout and three whiskey chasers lads” Tracey man-barmaid answered jovially as she landed the round on the counter “you rugby lads are pure class alright”.  Being civilised…still it seemed like a good idea at the time…

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I’m lookin at the man in the mirror….I’m askin him to change his ways…

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It came as a surprise to all James Bond fans when Lidl's won the clothing contract for Daniel Craig

It came as a surprise to all James Bond fans when Lidl’s won the clothing contract for Daniel Craig

“Why do we have to go to the Charity Ball?” my chum Biffo Boyle grumbled on Friday evening down in the club “I mean didn’t we give them something last year”. “Because its charity Biffo” I answered with a sigh “we have to be seen to be doing these things”. “Who was it for last year anyway….I forget with all the donations I give” Biffo continued, shaking the jar on the counter marked “Brown Babies Appeal” for some change for the juke box. “I think it was the homeless people of Tanzania” Spike Righteous answered knowledgeably “as a result of your kind benevolent nature….there was 22 more huts built in time for the hurricanes in the Autumn”. “That was jolly decent of you Biffo” I added with a smile “that’s the PAYE brethren for you….just all heart”. “But what about the homeless here at home….do they have a reciprocal charity for them over in Tanzania?” Biffo asked with interest. “Don’t be a buffoon….we’re one of the developed countries….our homeless people are homeless by choice….otherwise why would we have thousands of empty homes all over the country” I said seriously “anyway it looks better for Kenny to help people in Tanzania…it’ll score him great points for that job he’s after in Europe”.

“How much are we expected to give this year then?” Spike asked, carefully removing the cobwebs from his wallet so as not to disrupt the third generation of spiders nesting in there. “I don’t think there’s any specific amount Spike….last year I gave a pair of our canteen luncheon vouchers” Biffo answered proudly. “But isn’t it only Guards that can use them” Spike asked, dropping his wallet when one of the larger spiders growled at him. “It’s the thought that counts Spike…we’re not all accountants you know” he answered crossly. “We certainly are not” I added “accountants…such as myself…really are the chosen people”. “So how much did you give last year then Thackeray…..it was a lot I suppose” Spike asked embarrassedly. “I didn’t ACTUALLY give anything” I said with a low cough “I spend it all on my tuxedo”. “You WHAT” Biffo shouted “you didn’t give a red cent….you cheapskate….and you have the nerve to say that I should be giving something”. “It’s all about perception chaps” I said aloofly “when people see me…an affluent chartered accountant….looking snazzy in my Armani tuxedo….it encourages others to give….it’s a very important role you know”. “Good God Thackeray…that just beats all” Biffo replied shaking his head “no wonder the country is the way it is”. “Once again Biffo…you fail to see the bigger picture” I said with a heavy sigh “when you turn up wearing a tuxedo by De Paul St Vincent….then people are quite rightly horrified and will give nothing….there’s no prestige in it….the charities that do the best…are the best dressed charities….it’s pure economics you see….the more glamorous the charities….the more money they get….just wait for Christmas”. “Isn’t there something very wrong with that picture” Spike asked, scratching his head “won’t there be an awful amount of money wasted that should go to the poor people”. “But they still get some” I answered, annoyed with his line of questioning “after the cost of hiring out The Westbury, the fireworks display, the supermodels, the 40ft hand crafted ice sculpture of a swan, Bon Jovi and the €25,000 bar bill….they usually get enough for a packet of chips each….so I don’t really see your point”. “Well I think it’s a sham” Biffo announced “meanwhile Spike it’s your round….charity begins at home”. Charity Balls…still it seemed like a good idea at the time….

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You can’t always get what you want….but you get what you need…

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The 22 year old from Roscommon was renowned locally for his youthful looks

“Tir na Nog Tom”, the 30 year old from Roscommon was renowned locally for his youthful looks

“A Bolivian goat herder claims to be the oldest man in the world” Biffo The Guard Boyle announced down in the club last night as he read the news from his I-Pad. “What age is he?” I asked inquisitively as I ordered another heart-stopper; a pint and double chaser. “A 123 years old apparently….fair play to him” he answered, shaking his head in disbelief. “There’s chaps in Galway living up in the mountains minding rabbits that are as old as that I’d wager” I responded matter of factly.  “Really Thackeray….there’s rabbit minders that old” my chum Spike Righteous said, his eyes wide in amazement. “Oh yes indeed….the Rambling Rabbit Minders of Clifden are renowned for their long life” I said solemnly “still…they’re not a patch of course on the Templemore Tree Shepard’s or even the Stone Watchers of Sneem”. “Stone Watchers….what do they do?” Spike asked his face agog. “They watch stones Spike” Biffo and I said together, shaking our heads. “Yes….well you’ve no doubt heard of the idiom…a rolling stone gathers no moss…well there’s a reason for that….from a very young age…two or three I think…the youngest male of every family in Sneem are sent out to the mountains….to spend the rest of their days polishing the stones to make sure that never happens” I said impassively. “Jaysus….that’s a new one to me now…you learn something new every day” Spike said astonished. “Stick with me Spike and you’ll learn a thing or two” I said with a wry smile. “You’re a fountain of wisdom Thackeray…I’ll give you that…I’d say you’re in a good spot to overtake that Bolivian chappy ….if he pops his clogs anytime soon” Spike added innocently. “How dare you…I’m in my prime” I answered indignantly, lighting up one of my Monte Cristo No.4’s “I’m like an Aston Martin….a classic never ages”.

“My father has one of those” Biffo piped up as he continued to read. “You mean to say that your father owns an Aston Martin….why haven’t you said anything of this before” I said, astonished “come over here and have a brandy Biffo….what age is your father again” I said forcing him by the shoulder to the bar. “He’s 85, I think….he’s collected classic cars all his life…..he’s got an Aston Martin DB5, A 1957 Jensen Grand Tourer, a 1956 Porche Speedster…the list goes on” he said matter of factly, ordering a double brandy on me. “And I suppose he’s not well is he….your dear old Dad” I asked with as much genuine concern in my voice as I could muster. “Well he won’t be a threat to the Stone Watchers of Sneem no” he said, a tear coming to his eye. “That’s terrible Biffo…terrible” I said, patting him reassuringly on the back, whilst giving the nod to Tracey man-barmaid to fill us up again “but at least his memory will live on…through his love for his cars….with you as his sole heir”. “Yes I suppose it will…it’s just so very sad” Biffo said, taking a large swig and finishing the double brandy. “Get him another double Tracey…and be quick about it….can’t you see the man’s distressed about the death of his father” I said impatiently. “But he’s not dead yet is he” she said, pouring the drinks. “But its impending Tracey…it’s impending…leave the bottle and be off with you….we’re talking man business here” I said shooing her away with my hand dismissively. “Yes he loved those old cars” Biffo continued, wiping his eye and pouring himself another drink. “Of course he did Biffo…of course he did…when a man appreciates classic cars….such as I do….a bond exists between them that cannot be broken” I said, topping his drink up. “It’s a pity I don’t care much about them myself….maybe I should just sell the cars?” he said, swallowing the drink in one gulp. “No No Biffo….your father wouldn’t want that…he’d want them to go to someone who would look after them like he did…give them the love and respect they deserve” I said gravely.

“Maybe…you’d be interested Thackeray” Biffo said suddenly, turning towards me “I think Dad would prefer them not to go to a stranger”. “Well when you put it like that Biffo” I said getting off my seat and shaking his hand “it would be an honour….an honour indeed…and of course I would compensate you accordingly…..they’re not worth much….but it’s not about money….maybe you’d prefer a case of brandy”. “That’ll do nicely” Biffo answered, cementing the deal with another handshake “Dad would be pleased”. “Excellent…excellent…where does your father keep them by the way….a lockup garage somewhere perhaps” I asked, my voice tinged with a mixture of elation and excitement. “No no….they’re in a glass case beside the porcelain figurines” Biffo answered with a huge guffaw “they’re locked up in the cardboard boxes he bought them in”. “You’re a cur Biffo….an outrageous cur” I said, putting the cork back in the bottle. Wisdom comes with age….still it seemed like a good idea at the time….

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We don’t need no education….we don’t need no thought control…

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Ireland's newly crowned King Puck was due to address the Dail later in the day

Ireland’s newly crowned King Puck was due to address the Dail later in the day

“The Leaving Cert is out today….God I don’t envy them” Biffo “The Gard” Boyle said lamentably as he brooded over a pint of the club brew called “Toxic”. “Did you sit the Leaving Cert Biffo?” Spike Righteous asked quizzically, raising a suspicious eyebrow. “Of course I sat it…how dare you” Biffo retorted crossly. “Oh don’t take any offense….I just didn’t think it was a requirement for the Gards” Spike replied innocently. “Well what exactly DID you think was a requirement Spike may I ask” Biffo asked, taking huge gulps of his toxic drink with increasing annoyance. “Brute force perhaps….a menacing demeanour…that type of thing” Spike replied, shrugging his shoulders. “I’ll have you know one has to be able to speak Gaelige to become a Gard…isn’t that right Biffo” I interjected quickly. “You’re spot on Thackeray….go raibh maith agat” Biffo answered nodding to me in appreciation. “I am impressed Biffo…I really am” Spike said, shaking his head in disbelief.

“I think what our right honourable chum Spike was trying to get at Biffo with his imprudent line of questioning regarding your obvious educational merits….was that it is not a requirement for our politicians to have sat the Leaving Certificate… and therefore….he presumed….quite understandably….that the upholders of the law of the land….that’s you Biffo….would not necessarily have to have sat the exam….since those who are actually making the laws….i.e. the politicians….stick with me Spike….don’t have to have sat the exam themselves” I said aloofly amidst puffs of my Monte Cristo No.4 cigars. “No…thats not what I was thinking at all Thackeray” Spike said firmly “I just didn’t think the Gards needed any exams”. “There should be a law made against stupidity Spike” I said, blowing circles in his direction. “Would those be the same laws that say you can’t smoke in pubs Thackeray” Spike asked, spluttering from the cigar smoke. “The very same Spike” I replied “but this is a gentlemen’s club made for gentlemen…by gentlemen…and our laws supersedes the law of the land for the commoners….isn’t that right Biffo” I said, sliding a fresh pint of toxic in front of Biffo’s paw. “I’ll have to consult my rule book on that one” he said unsurely, until he spotted the free pint “but it sounds right to me alright….yes most definitely”.

“You know it doesn’t surprise me that politicians haven’t got the Leaving Cert….some of them can barely speak…not to mention read or write” Spike said, ordering a pint and an inhaler “no wonder the country is gone to the dogs”. “Yes one would think that a prerequisite of being a ruler….would be to be educated to rule….but no…not here in Ireland….we’re too smart for that” I said with a heavy sigh. “All you need here is….neck” Biffo added crossly “or to be a male goat…the English have Buckingham Palace and the Queen Mother…and what do we have as our monarchy….King Puck”. “Well yes….but it has to be said the Queen Mother does look like a goat” Spike interjected and we all guffawed.  “I offer up a toast” I said, getting off my seat “to the land of Saints and Scholars except if you’re a politician….or a puck goat”. “Buiochas le Dia” my chums replied together. “Did you sit the leaving Cert Thackeray?” Spike asked thoughtfully. “My dear Spike….I am an accountant….need I say any more” I said smugly “other than…we are often referred to…as the mostly highly educated in the land”. “By other accountants” Biffo added and they both scoffed. Sitting the Leaving Cert….still it seemed like a good idea at the time…

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Them that ask no questions is not told no lie

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Alright lads....left for station

Alright lads….left for the station

“Whats this about the oil company giving alcohol to the Gardai” Spike Righteous asked Biffo “The Gard” Boyle quizzically as he watched the evening news down the club. “I wouldn’t have the faintest idea what you are talking about” Biffo answered standoffishly, as he gave the signal for the side doors of the club to be opened for deliveries. John The Farmer O’Brien otherwise known as “The Milky Bar Kid” leaned against the door chewing a piece of hay. “Where do you want them dropped off Biffo” he shouted, looking for baling twine to tie up his trousers. “Do be quiet….you’re not down the mart now you know” Biffo responded angrily, pointing to a narrow darkly lit corridor “and be quick about it”.  “My God….they’ve left a farmer into the club” I shouted crossly “quick call security”. Biffo raised a wide paw at my disproval “Now Thackeray…we’ve been through this before….The Milky Bar Kid’s an honorary member….he gave us the land to build the club remember”. Slamming my glass on the counter I roared for another brandy “He wasn’t ACTUALLY supposed to be allowed in though surely….you let one farmer in then they’ll all want to come….and before you know it….they’ll have cattle in here for the winter….mark my words”.  “What’s he bringing in here anyway?” Spike Righteous asked, annoyed with any disturbance to his routine “all this going in and going out…give a man a headache”. “Nothing at all….just some potatoes for the starving people of Louth” Biffo said dismissively “bad crop again this year….if I told them once I told them a thousand times….if the spuds fail….don’t just sit there and starve….go to Lidl’s”. “That’s awfully decent of you Biffo” I said surprised “I didn’t know you were such a benevolent fellow”. “I don’t broadcast it…like some….just do my bit…to see their little faces smiling when they see the spuds….it would warm the heart of a banker” he said blushing with modesty.

Just then The Milky Bar Kid gave a roar similar to a bullock coughing “Oi Biffo….those spare ribs in the first crate are the nice ones….and the pork chops in the other two….put them in your deepfreeze….thanks again now for sorting out the tax on my tractor” he said waving his hoof before disappearing into his combine harvester. “Well..well…well..the starving people of Louth must be in for a nice surprise” I said with a smirk “you’re a regular Santa Claus aren’t you…no Lidl for Loutheners now eh”. “What are you insinuating Thackeray” Biffo barked at me, his blushing modesty replaced with anger, as he pulled out a packet of cigarettes marked Customs and Excise Seizure. “Nothing at all Biffo” I responded sardonically “I was just wondering if there was any chance they’re running that oil line by the club any time soon….our stocks of brandy are nearly out”. “That’s a a slur and a smear and…well…it’s a slur” he said indignantly. Just then The Milky Bar Kid stuck his head in the door, a waft of pig manure following in his slipstream. “I told you them sod busters of farmers would be back….they’ll be trying to hold the ploughing competition here next year now” I said crossly.  “Biffo…I forgot to tell ya” The Milky Bar Kid yelled out loud as if he was shouting for a lost sheep “I’ll bring up the Massey Ferguson on Friday with the trailer and we’ll get those crates of Powers dropped off to the Minister by lunchtime”. “Is that what they mean by the strong arm of the law Biffo” Spike asked innocently “you must put up fierce muscle moving all those crates”. Oil exploration….still it seemed like a good idea at the time….

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The minute you walked in the joint…I knew you were a man of distinction

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The Sligo Sun's answer to Page 3 wasn't as popular as they had hoped

The Sligo Sun’s answer to Page 3 wasn’t as popular as they had hoped

“Page 3 is being shafted” my chum Spike Righteous screamed as he read the newspaper out loud in the club last night. Shouts of “Outrageous”, “Blasphemy”, “Poppycock”, “You damn liar Spike” and more colourful euphemisms erupted from all the chaps, a scene similar to when Ireland won the Grand Slam but in reverse. My chum Biffo “The Garda” Boyle was in a state of near epileptic shock, foaming at the mouth, able only to utter the monosyllabic responses he was famed for “Doomed”.  “Well that’s it” Spike finally said, folding the newspaper and throwing it on the counter “the four hamsters of the apocalypse might as well ride into town now”. “It’s the four horsemen of the apocalypse Spike” I said compassionately “but I can certainly see your point….the foundations of Man-dom is being rocked to the core”. “A man can take so much” Biffo said, recovering slowly “I mean…that’s taking this austerity thingy just a step too far….we can take property taxes, water rates, sewage rates, breathing taxes….but removing Page 3….it’ll mean revolution I tell you”.  “And what are your lot going to read now when you’re waiting for the booze to be delivered from that oil company in the West of Ireland?” Spike asked, throwing up his hands in resignation. “The booze was dropped off…not delivered” Biffo said sternly, putting on his official hat before taking a sip from his “Clam Oil” hip flask.

“What about…womens civil liberty to freedom of expression” I said aloofly “I bet those lovely ladies liked nothing better than to articulate themselves the only way they knew how….and by God if there’s one thing I hate….it’s a breach of human rights”.  Tracey the man-barmaid gave a cough similar to a bullfrog belching “But Thackeray…seeing as you are such an avid supporter of human rights….I presume you wouldn’t have any issue with pictures of men in the nude would you?” she asked with a sneer. “Don’t be ridiculous Tracey…..men know how to talk, to converse, to parley…..we have no need to express ourselves physically….when women have something useful to say then by golly do it with your clothes on is my view on the matter…but alas…until then….” I said shrugging my shoulders in a display of helplessness. “You were born in the wrong century Thackeray” Tracey man-barmaid replied, shaking her head “if it was left to you and De Valera….women would still be dancing at the crossroads”. “There’s a lot to be said for it….a lot to be said for it Tracey I agree with you” I replied solemnly. “It’s the Page 3 Girls I feel sorry for” Spike interrupted, with emotion “who’s going to pay for those extra clothes they’ll have to buy now….answer me that”. “It’s a travesty and a sham…and well a travesty” Biffo responded with a heavy sigh. “Still I suppose we can read the rest of the newspaper” Spike Righteous added optimistically. “Don’t be such a damned fool” Biffo shouted angrily “everyone knows the rest of it is used to make firelighters”. Keeping Page 3….still it seemed like a good idea at the time…