Thursday, December 16, 2010

Welcome to bandit country

"Rubberbandits. Let's reinforce the stereotype, why don't we? Why let others fuck us when we can do it to ourselves?

Nice going lads."

This was a facebook comment from a couple of days ago that generated no less than 105 comments. Some of support, but most of which boiled down to; "For crissake, can you not take a joke?" Yesterday on Joe Duffy's liveline this exact topic was discussed within earshot of the nation in what must have been one of the most bizarre radio programmes that I've ever heard in my life.

The beginning of the programme felt like an ambush, the ex-miniature of d'fence had voiced support of this song, and his support was being interpreted as a shameless bit of electioneering. 'Angry caller' was there to tell us what a disgrace it was that a politician could support the glamourisation of drug abuse. There was two audio sections that they had clearly lined up before the programme; one was the offending line: 'A bag of Yolks' and the other was from the Rubberbandits slagging Willie O'Dea (the third member of the band is known as Willie O'D.J.).

Now it maybe just me, but it honestly felt like a set-up. Here we have a member of an extremely unpopular political party supporting something that refers to drugs and contains swearing: Lets get'm lads!

Unfortunately, for the ambush, the miniature pointed out that he had been mercilessly lampooned by the lads himself before they got a chance to play the audio clip, and even quoted the best line; "I swear on my 'tache,- it's very good hash!"

Also unfortunate, in terms of the ambush, the 'Angry Caller' became less and less articulate, actually referring at one point to the 'usage of druggage'. Then Joe's attack was somewhat rescued by an incensed woman who worked with families devastated by narcotics and didn't find anything amusing about the damage they cause.

Finally they had Willie on the ropes; his comeback "You're obviously from another political party" back-fired horrendously when it became clear that lady caller was a Fianna Fail stalwart who had actually been a Feena Foyle mayor of Dublin.

Cue embarrassing pause.
You'd imagine nobody was getting up from that but Willie was rescued by a bandit.

'Blindboy' of the Rubberbandits was the next caller, to Duffy's chagrin, he stayed 'in character' and maintained his comedy accent. A stroke of genius, it took only a minute before it was clear that the 'Joke-voice' was the most articulate and intelligent one on the air.

Willie came out of it as the champion of humour and good sense and the Rubberbandits increased their likelihood for a Christmas number one by a few thousand sales; Duffy came out of it looking exactly like what he is:

Does Limerick really need some 'comedy-knacks' reinforcing the stereotype set up by Primetime et al? Personally, I think it helps. Because articulate, intelligent and funny are not what people associate with Limerick, and they should do.

Truth be told, the rubberbandits have never really floated my boat, but this single is catchy, and hilariously bad taste. I really hope it is number one for Christmas;if that happens it will not only be good for this town; it might just remind us all why we live in this country in the first place.


  1. Ah, yes, the country that chose Dustin the Turkey for Eurovision shows once agin that its always up for an entertaining sneer.

    I get the humour, some of it makes me laugh, the plastic bag masks are inspired, but all in all, its not for me, it puts me in mind of a modern day middle class minstrel show, 'lets pick a minority group that scares the bejaysus out of us and mock them to make ourselves feel better in ourselves for being better than them'.

    'I'm awfully glad I'm a Beta, because I don't work so hard. And then we are much better than the Gammas and Deltas. Gammas are stupid. They all wear green, and Delta children wear khaki. Oh no, I don't want to play with Delta children... I'm so glad I'm a Beta."

    Then, thats the thing with Minstrel shows, they were an ever-so popular display of vulgar self-serving bigotry but they were also bloody entertaining with some real musical and comedic talent... then again i'm also told that Leni Riefenstahl was a talented filmmaker but i won't be renting Triumph of the Will anytime soon.

    But, what i really find in bad taste with the Rubberbandit-mania is this over the top partizanship of their cause by the Irish media, but, thats part of the game RTE and the Irish media looks after its own... and, fair play to the boys though they worked hard to get there but now they finally can get a whiff of what life is like inside the golden circle of Irish 'celebrity', lets hope they manage to get out intact with some integrity left or a barrow load of luchre.

  2. What an excellent response, thank you testy. The analogies of the Minstrel show,and the Brave New World are interesting, well put, and you make a valid point. I have felt in the past that the Rubberbandit 'targets' were easy ones; but the facebook comment, and the Liveline show pertained specifically to the 'image of Limerick' being tarnished as a result of their success. I don't think it is, (anymore than Dustin ruined the reputation of builders from Sallynogga').

    Thanks again for your comment.

    Also wasn't the final 'Jim'll fix-it badge' scene in Starwars based on a scene from 'Triumph of Will'?I think I remember reading that somewhere.

  3. I'd love to know what minority Testy has in mind. Maybe you could ask him to define who they are.

  4. Everybody knows that folks in Limerick are quick on the trigger... when it comes to defending the city's 'reputation'.

    By way of an analology,

    My old mother used to claim, maybe she still does, that it was important to always wear clean fresh underwear everyday.

    'If you were killed tomorrow wearing an old pair of jocks', she would declaim, 'i would'nt claim the body at the morgue'.

    Now, it might seem strange that the scandal of the possible trace of urinary tarnish on the otherwise pristine primark underpants would take precedence over the tragedy of a child's untimely demise, but, ultimately, no, what really matters is that the neighbours know that you took the time to change into fresh y-fronts that very morning. The airing of dirty smalls in public is apparently the very apogee of shame.

    And so it is with Limerick's reputation, there are folks there who shudder to think that the city's skidmarked apparel should never be acknowledged. Thats my city they'd claim, 'but, only from the belly up'.

    Aye, the Bandits have flown the city's pants at half mast and of course the parsimonious minnies will mutter of impropriety but what are the bandits showing us but what we aleady know that Limerick, like every other town and city, has its shitty side.

    (And yes, i do believe you're right about that Star Wars sequence.)

  5. Testy, you put words together purdier than a twenty-dollar-whore!