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Posts Tagged ‘anecdote’

Three years ago, rumours surfaced that Samuel L. Jackson, one of the coolest men on the planet (Snakes on a Plane aside) was a lifelong fan of Bohemian FC.
The information initially came from a paragraph on his Wikipedia entry which read:
Jackson is an avid basketball fan, and especially enjoys the Harlem Globetrotters and the Toronto Raptors. Jackson is a lifelong fan of Eircom League soccer side, Bohemian F.C, and he can often be seen at home games at Dalymount Park with his family. He is well-known and respected among the club’s staff and fans.
Within a week, there was a media frenzy; The Biography channel took this information as fact and mentioned it on an hour long special dedicated to the Pulp Fiction actor. Irish radio picked up on it fairly quickly and ran competitions with questions like “Where do Bohemian FC play?” The Sun featured a half page article and a photo-shopped picture of Jackson wearing a Bohs hat and scarf. Even the Teflon Taoiseach got in on the act and piped up that he’d be attending the next Bohs game. A Bohs spokesperson was forced to admit they were unaware of any link at the time. (Rumours abound that Shamrock Rovers were set to announce Danny Glover as a lifelong fan were never confirmed. )

A Scouser? Don't make me laugh...

But others were not so quick to believe. The statement disappeared from Wikipedia, and with Jackson set to appear on The Late Late show, an intrepid Bohs fan made contact with one of the researchers on the show and asked about bringing the subject up. The response was:
” The audience, least of all Samuel L. Jackson, wouldn’t know who or what Bohs is.”
As Johnny Logan has proved several times (see here and here) since then without need of prompting, this statement is complete rubbish. A letter appeared in The Irish Independent saying Jackson could not be a Bohs fan, as he had never been seen in the stands at the home of Irish football, Dalymount Park. One sharp Bohs fan living in Belgium retorted with:
“He can still claim to be a Bohs fan in the same way thousands of Irish people claim to be fans of British clubs like Manchester United, Celtic or Liverpoool, and yet have never set foot in Old Trafford, Parkhead or Anfield. Maybe Samuel watched Bohs in an Irish bar in downtown Washington  decided that makes him a “fan”. “
It’s been a long time coming but maybe heres the proof that the naysayers need; A poster on www.thebohs.com provided us with a picture this week that closes the argument once and for all- Samuel L Jackson is indeed a Bohs man. (Or if he wasn’t, he certainly is now!)

Proof at last that Samuel L. Jackson is a Bohs man. Photo credit LA Bohs.

(A big shout out to all at thebohs.com for the info for this piece!)

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They say it’s a fine line between genius and madness and I reckon Behan made a good attempt at finding the middle ground.

Now here’s a good one; I have few heros (or, as Public Enemy said,  “Most of my heroes don’t appear on no stamps,”) but I unashamedly pronounce Brendan Behan one of mine. Never one to be shy, he announced freely in the media that he was an unavowed and unabashed communist. Now, I suppose this was likely to draw some deal of attention to him considering the second Red Scare was in full swing in 1957. What you wouldn’t expect is for him to be bugged by MI5. But bugged he was, as records released today show and I’d love to hear some of the recordings as the man himself was pronounced as “A little mad, or a little drunk” by the officer investigating the case. We, of course, know that he was a good dollop of both.

Mona Lisa

An Fear féin

It was a call to Barbara Niven, editor of Communist Party of Great Britain’s paper, the Daily Worker that attracted MI5 attention. The MI5 officer consistently misspells Behan’s Christian name as Brandon in the transcripts.

“He said he had his mother with him. Did Barbara understand him? Barbara said she did not understand him. Brandon said he was going to give a subscription to the Daily (Worker) for a year.”

“Barbara said that was wonderful. Brandon said he understood that canvassing was very bad. Brandon said could he call around to see her. Barbara said she was very busy as she was writing something which had to be finished by that evening.

“Brandon said he wanted to give the money to her himself and he wanted to see her because he was a first-class man and no one would call for him. Not even his own class would talk to him, he said,” the officer wrote.

“He said he had got the embassy working for him. He hoped that they would get him a plane.”

“He wanted to go home to Ireland where he lived. His brother Brian had dragged his name in the mud by his interview in the Daily Express,” the officer wrote, adding, “I assumed Brandon was either a little mad, or drunk.”

As well as songwriters and storytellers, the Behan clan were always great painters and signwriters.

I can only imagine a high paid civil servant sitting in a top-secret office somewhere in London trying to decypher the conversation; was it some form of uncracked code? Who is “mother“? And what of this “embassy“? I wonder how long it took them to realise the man was just twisted and leary. They say its a fine line between genius and madness and I reckon Behan made a good attempt at finding the middle ground. And I doubt many will disagree.

(Míle buíochas le mo dheartháir Liam chun fáil airteagal seo.)

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Master at work…

As told to me by a gentleman of high standing in a local hostelry a couple of weeks ago…

McDaids Bar has always done a brisk passing trade, being off one of Dublins busiest streets, while at the same time maintaining it’s regular and staunchly loyal customer base. Now, this story is set in the late fifties/ early sixties, and Ireland at that time was not awash with cash, and this regular and staunchly customer base was not shy of asking for a couple of half ones to be “put on the tab,” or of looking for a way to cadge a pint or two.

On an Easter Monday, sometime around the turn of the sixties, the owner of the bar decided to take himself and some close allies on a trip to the races, leaving the bar in the not so capable hands of a new, young (and very naïve) barman. Away he went on his jolly way, and not long after he was gone, one of the locals (who, as the story goes, was a notoriously nice man, but a terrible one for not having two shillings to rub together,) spotted his chance for a day on the gargle. A carpenter by trade, he still had his toolbelt on him when he came in the door. Up to the bar he went and asked the barman for a pint of plain and a Créme De Menthe. The barman, only in the job a couple of weeks, looked nervously around him before saying, “I don’t think we have that sir.” “Oh, sure of course ye do. The boss keeps it down in the cellar; to keep it cool.” The barman looked around him undecidedly but deciding rather than face the wrath of the boss for annoying a regular customer, took the chance, swung open the cellar door and darted down the ladder. Not wasting any time, the carpenter hopped the counter, slammed the door shut and drove several six inch nails into it, fastening it shut and promptly started dishing out the scoops.

Needless to say, word travelled fast that McDaids were having an unwitting free bar and the place very quickly filled up with Dublin’s finest. Whiskey and Porter were being thrown across the counter at a ferocious pace, with little to be seen of money passing the other way. Of course, our carpenter friend drank his fill and promptly scarpered…

So, after a grand day at the races, a few shillings up and all the happier for it, the landlord turned off Grafton Street and started up Harry Street, towards where his pub was, and still is, situated. He was only too delighted to see the place full to the gills, people staggering around outside and inside. I’m sure he thought all his dreams had come true… Until he got inside… And recognised none of the people behind the bar. With a roar, he made his way through the fast-emptying pub and got the strangers out from behind the taps. With the pub now empty at this stage, he noticed the cellar door crudely nailed shut, and heard the feeble knocks that emanated from within. He took a jemmy bar to it and managed, after a time, to prise it open. Upon opening it, a very dazed and anxious looking barman hauled himself out of the hatch and asked “No Créme De Menthe then?”

As with all Dublin stories, I’m sure this one has sprouted legs but sure who gives a toss. These stories are the ones that will soon disappear unless we tell them, and keep re-telling them…

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