Water Demo Organizer’s Uncommitted Approach To Pronouncing `30´ and `40´ Blamed For Turnout Figure Confusion


Many? Lots of? Definitely several people at yesterday’s Water Charge demonstration.

Difficulty in establishing an accurate figure for the attendance at yesterday’s Anti Water Charges demonstration in Dublin has been blamed partly on the unwillingness of certain protest group spokespeople to physically voice certain numbers, it has been learned.

Chairman of Dublin-based protest group H2-Whoa!, Mark Byrne, admitted after his live interview with local radio station Spin103.8 that the estimate of “at least 20,000 righteously indignant citizens whose voices will not be silenced” he quoted for his interviewer had certainly erred on the conservative side.

“We’d all agree it was definitely more than twenty thousand, that’s for sure”, he said.

Bleedin’ Low-ids

But I just have a hard time listening to myself pronounce ‘thirty’. I mean, I don’t think I pronounce it wrongly, per se, but whenever I say ‘thirty’, it feels to me I get stared at like I’ve two heads. I suppose I just need to settle on one version and then stick with it, no matter who I think is listening.

Depending on the audience it can go anywhere from a classic soft English ‘Th’ with the soft Irish ‘t’ all the way through to a hard ‘th’ followed by the American-sounding ‘urdy’. Ugh. How am I meant to be taken seriously?

I’m hardly going to go down the ‘tourty’ road, am I? Come on.

“Don’t get me started on ‘forty’, either. Fawrdy? Forshy? Fowerthy? No chance I was going there. Thing is, it probably was about forty.”

Foy-iver De Tree Tobler-owins

Byrne explained his nervousness about pronouncing particular numbers was then compounded by the desire to retain his credibility as a person capable of counting.

“Fifty I’d normally have felt relatively safe with, and it wouldn’t even have been a big exaggeration. But yesterday for some reason, right when they asked me to comment on the turnout, all those wrapping paper sellers on Henry Street suddenly flashed in my head and I got worried I’d be alienating a chunk of people by not saying ‘feefty’.

“Don’t ask me why.”

So that gets us to ‘sixty’ which nobody can mess up. Put ten random Irish people in a room and they’ll all say ‘sixty’. But there was no way there were close to sixty thousand people there, right? People would have thought I was nuts.


“Though I wish there had been, it’s just one of those perfect numbers we all agree on. Or how about a simple ‘half a million’. Yes”, he said.

“That would’ve been even better.”

Byrne stated that when he writes up his post about yesterday’s events for the H2-Whoa! blog after work this evening, he’ll probably put the number at around 43,000.

Byrne also outlined plans to emigrate to Spain in 2017, shortly after he turns 29.

Meanwhile, a representative of the Gardaí Síochána this morning put yesterday’s attendance figure at “Bouha couple ha hunderd, now fuck off”.

Supplier Pulls Entire Line Of Rugby Enhancing Drugs From Southside Chain.

‘Roids Jaw can be stashed behind a beard. But beard doesn’t always mean ‘Roids.

The manufacturers of a well known brand of rugby-specific performance enhancing drugs have pulled their entire product palette from the backrooms of a new chain of Sports Nutrition shops in south Dublin today after disagreement with the owners over pricing levels.

A spokesman for athletic chemicals provider Rugged Industries said the firm had sought “personal guarantees” from new arrival to the Irish market, TotesRipt.co.uk, that Rugged’s “Rugger” range of steroids, amphetamines and morphine-based painkillers would not be surreptitiously slipped into plastic bags with a nod and wink below the manufacturer’s notoriously high recommended retail price.

“On the surface, it could look to most people that the chemical structure of our Beta-2 Agonists should almost by definition be identical to that of any other less expensive product also describing itself as a Beta-2 Agonist”, said Gonzaga alumnus and Brand Manager at Rugged, Kyle Farquharson. “This may, or may not, be the case.”

Punching Each Other In The Changing Room

“But rugby players have a strong collective emotional attachment to our products”, he continued.

“We find it wrong that TotesRipt would try to discreetly offer Rugged-brand vials of EPO, HGH and synthetic testosterone well below the semi-official going rates to someone standing there at the cash register in a Leinster jersey with two kilos of whey powder .”

Farquharson claims that most people who choose Rugged place huge store by the fact that they’re not “slumming it with the League of Ireland Juicers”, or the majority of city nightclub doorman who anecdotally part with significantly smaller sums for their legal-to-buy-illegal-to-supply muscle building needs.

High speed, heavyweight collisions.

Representatives of the new chain, which boasts a list of outlets that reads like the DART route from Westland Row to Greystones were quick to respond.

“TotesRipt stands for giving its customers as much – inverted commas – bang for their buck, as is economically feasible”, said the company’s Press Officer, ex-Mary’s boy A.J. Devlin.

“Look at it, if you like, as partly a response to six years of austerity. From schools through to clubs and beyond, nobody’s rugby should have to suffer just because his exorbitant mortgage, or his parents’ one, isn’t leaving enough over to fund a solid programme.

And even further up the tree, who’s to say that fringe internationals mightn’t be happy beneficiaries of the combination of lax IRFU testing procedures and what until now have been ultra competitive rock bottom deals on Rugged Xenoandrogens?”

Berserker Potion

“I mean, we’re the ones who were taking the hit on this, not Rugged. So if remaining an attractive proposition in the current climate meant us whispering to people in our shops about the hypothetical availability of a Buy 3-Pay 2 course of their favourite brand of synthetic hormones, then go ahead and shoot me.

“No pun intended”, he continued.

While regretful at the loss of Rugged products from TotesRipt’s selection of always expertly concealed berserker potions, Devlin did not rule out the possibility of a mutually satisfactory solution to the impasse for both parties in the future.

“Of course, if price dumping manages to bankrupt our rivals elsewhere on the Southside, we certainly wouldn’t be averse down the line to discussing the possibility of a Rugged price hike. Back up to, say, 80 for 10 mills of Human Grade. Or even higher, no problem – we’d be happy to talk.”

“Don’t hate the player, hate the game”, he added.

Lovely Soft Hands

With opinion divided and no spokesman from the sport’s governing body in Ireland available to comment directly on the case today, at least one rugby playing customer was prepared to express a view on the doorstep of TotesRipt’s Booterstown branch.

U.C.D. Thirds lock, Oisín Kennedy, attempted to sum up the quandary.

“Conflicted, for sure. I’m a big Rugged guy, there’s a cachet that you just don’t get with some of this UG  gear. And in one way the prospect of being able to have their stuff for knockdown prices sounds like the answer to all my prayers. But there’s still a voice in the back of my head, you know? I think it’s what they call a Catch 22.”

“But of course”, he went on, “Drico only said last week ‘Son, if I can give you one piece of advice, never look a gift horse in the mouth’, didn’t he?

“All these different voices”, he concluded.


Me and My Big Mouth.


Just good friends? Of course not. Now read on…

When meditating for more than a moment upon Ireland’s chequered yet in the main glorious industrial past, one’s thoughts will tend naturally to drift briskly towards those twin behemoths of portable, disposable heat and light generation, Messrs. Maguire and Paterson. In Victorian times they famously gave droves of destitute Dubliners somewhere to go during the day, and by the late 1800’s their premises behind the North Quays near Smithfield was regularly rated top in the city by the local Chamber of Commerce, somewhat ironically perhaps, for its almost complete devoidness of heat and light.  Both men also won prizes at more than one Captain-of-Industry-Golf-Day-Out in tribute to their general intransigence where matters of employee remuneration and health insurance were concerned.

Of course all of this is a matter of record. But a lesser known known fact about the two is that Chauncey Paterson and Noel Maguire also happened to comprise, as a unit, the world’s first quasi-openly gay couple.

Both were affirmed agnostics. Neither was possessed of any great board-treading talent. They thus took perhaps the only avenue left to a pair of men keen on spending a lot of time with each other in 19th century Ireland, and formed a business partnership. Precisely what direction their business should take was neither important nor immediately clear to either party, but Paterson had lived in London during the mid-70’s, and professed more than once in public after his return to having found the overall picture of depressing gritty urban realism there “way ahead of here”.

A picture whose grittiness and depressiveness was assisted by the daily swelling ranks of an already flooded match girl market.

The obvious word-play around “match-making” had the effect of functioning as a sign to both, and the circle closed when they resolved one drunken night over the backgammon board in a gentleman’s club on Fitzwilliam Square to “go to work” on Maguire’s wealthy aunt, Margaret.

Venture capital duly flowed, and by 1891 they had established themselves as the second largest employer of semi- and unskilled Labour on the Northside, with Official Ireland content to leave the minutiae of the pair’s private lives broadly unpublicized.

Maguire’s aunt Margaret insisted on a match named for her as condition of providing the start-up funds.

This seemingly tactful reticence on the National Media’s part was largely on account of the ubiquity of Maguire and Paterson advertising in Dublin at the time. No newspaper could be randomly opened, barely a single public wall could be stared at without the beholder landing upon some pithy phrase alluding to the superiority of Cara matches.

By way of example, it was postulated as early as 1894, that without M&P advertising revenue, the cover prices of The Irish Times, The Independent and Irish Press would necessarily rise an unrealistic twenty-two-fold.

Of course, “Cara” is the Irish word for “friend”, and most commentators have correctly interpreted the choice of trade name as an oblique reference to the love shared by the two. Moreover, the portrait of both men cheek by jowl must surely be worth the proverbial thousand words. But this really only scratches the surface.

Their seemingly prosaic matchbox copy can be exposed under closer scrutiny as a veritable Da Vinci Code of double meaning and bawdy insinuation, and trove of the more profane street argot of the time.

The most obvious questions to pose when examining the packs are.

(a) What is a “safety” match?
(b) Why bother asserting an “average contents”, when any serious person would search elsewhere when presented with such an inexact estimate of cost-per-match?

Our answers are fairly straightforward. The terms “safety match” and “average contents” were simply coined by Paterson as anagrams of various racy aphorisms pertaining to his and Maguire’s sexual predelictions.

Nonce Teargas Vet (Paterson had been a victim of police brutality at a Christopher Street Day celebration in 1863), “Chafes Ma Testy” (Maguire had never forgotten the physically vigorous Scottish Shinty champion Drew McLachlan, who had introduced him as a teen to the ways of l’amour masculine) He’s steamy. Fact. (needs no elaboration), are just a few of the lines Paterson furtively insinuated onto their boxes.

Denizens of the city’s seamy underbelly soon caught on to this Trojan Horse of meaning, and so it was, that by the early 1900s, thousands of visitors to public houses and moonlit parks in the capital were using Maguire and Paterson matchboxes to discreetly signify specific homosexual leanings.

M&P matches quickly became sought after humorous novelty items, and also enjoyed a huge export trade to France and Luxembourg. Competitors promptly decided to get in on the action

Come and get me! An early attempt to muscle in on the Gay Matchbox Market.

Less subtle than Maguire and Paterson’s work, but equally effective.

The practice of producing gay-friendly matches became so widespread that a knock-on market in heterosexuality-asserting matches evolved in its wake.

You were above suspicion (or beneath consideration) with a packet of Robots.

In matters of commerce and those of the heart, however, things rarely stay the same. And so it was over time that the two “cáirde” began to grow apart. Maguire was unwillingly relieved of his stake in the company by Paterson after a devious series of machinations involving hitherto undeclared wholesale purchases of sulphur and sandpaper, which in 1904 mysteriously came to the attention of the Revenue Commissioner.

A punitive settlement was reached, albeit one absolving Paterson of any blame. He retained control of the company name and Maguire struck out on his own, setting up a “boutique” match company. Specializing in limited edition runs of matches with eccentric brand names and unusually coloured heads, he never managed to completely get over Paterson’s breach of trust, nor the change in domestic affairs between the two. Many of his new box designs eloquently reflected his state of mind in a given year.

Chauncey laughed in Noel’s face when he saw this one.

Paterson, revelling in his new-found life as rapacious homosexual singleton, regarded Maguire’s emotional matchbox bulletins as so much maudlin nonsense, and on more than one occasion returned fire in similar vein with a well-chosen and utterly unambiguous composition designed to let Maguire (and the rest of Dublin’s match buying public) know he wasn’t missed.

Maguire repaired to Wexford in shock for six months after Paterson’s “Woodmen” went into production.

Maguire saw out his twilight years in what today is one of the grander stately homes left in Co. Sligo, a close neighbour of the Gore-Booths, who were in turn old acquaintances of his monied aunt. Rumours of an on-off dalliance with one of the family’s daughters Constance (a signatory of the 1916 Declaration of Independence) were never confirmed. He succumbed to injuries sustained in his capacity as spectator at a road bowling championship in Leitrim in April 1934.

Paterson was not invited to the funeral, and outlived his erstwhile cara by almost a decade. He was shot dead by two masked men at the counter of a Finglas pub in 1943.