Thursday, March 24, 2011

"Dear Frankie" & the wonder of agony aunts

"It may not be your problem today, but it could be someday"

Given how irresistible I find the "agony aunt" page of my favourite Sunday newspaper and the comfort I gain from knowing others have worries besides me, the Five Lamps Theatre Company production of "Dear Frankie" was one not to be missed.

Frankie Byrne was an iconic agony aunt who broadcast to a massive listenership on Irish radio from 1963 to 1985. Those of us of a certain age will remember her drawling, lived in voice, each lunchtime as she read and answered the personal problems of the nation. Practical advice was doled out on problems that ranged from interfering mothers-in-law to reluctant-to-commit boyfriends. Advice was consistently followed by a Frank Sinatra song.

What made Frankie's personal story stand out was the extent to which her personal life was filled with as many problems as she spent her days solving for others. A long running and ultimately heartbreaking affair with a high profile married man and battles with alcoholism dogged her life and the production deftly slipped in and out between the two sides of Frankie, allowing us to hear her dole out her rounded, streetwise advice while her mind was hijacked with personal demons.

Well worth a look, especially for its bird's eye view on the alternate side of an agony aunt and to highlight how the experience gained from living life to the full was harnessed through the medium of her daily radio programme to give comfort and sensible, practical advice to others.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Bad things are good for you

I just LOVE reading cheerful articles about the bad stuff I eat and drink being good for me.

Beer and wine (in moderate quantities) help your heart.

Chocolate (dark) can lower blood pressure, prevent strokes and act as an antidepressant.


Sunlight (despite all those warnings) does boost your mood

Coffee is a major source of antioxidants, helping to prevent cancer and lower the risk of diabetes.

Most cheerful piece of news of all, and my top favourite, doesn't involve eating or drinking. I can get as mad as hell because it's REALLY bad for my heart to bottle it up. Scientists now reckon that getting angry is good (after telling us for centuries to keep a lid on it) as you could EXPLODE from the sheer pressure of holding it back.

Don't you just LOVE when research tells you what you want to hear?


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Hail glorious Saint Patrick

Here's to the sun shining and the temperature rising,
to the town turning out in brightest green,
to the parade that showcases the finest our locality has to offer,
to meeting and greeting neighbours and friends,
to the celebration of another year lived safely and well.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Shane Ross - A Terrifying Read

Two terrifying books read during my formative years.

My reading of Jay Anson's (supposedly non-fiction) account of the Lutz family's stay and subsequent flight from haunted Amityville made the inside of my flat never seem safe and cosy again.

The image of the demon possessed, ephithet spewing, skin rotting, crucifix-flagellating, head-spinning young girl followed me around for weeks, or should I say, months, after I finished reading William P Blatty's seminal "The Exorcist."

Many years later, it's this Shane Ross account of cronyism, old boy networking,blatant conflicts of interest and arrogant ignoring of the economic warnings, that has induced spine chilling shivers.

Most worrying, is that not one of the mentioned individuals, and Ross resolutely name drops all the way through, has made any attempt to refute the author's account of their role in Ireland's meltdown, adding to the general alarm I felt while reading. Especially as I worked in banking (albeit on the lower echelons of the corporate ladder) for nearly three decades. A sobering realisation that all this stuff was going on while I was beavering away, thinking I was doing a great job. C'est la vie.

Our newly instated government have pledged to bring change. Shane Rosses "Bankers" is required reading, if only to remind ourselves of where it all went wrong, lest it should ever happen again.

Monday, March 7, 2011

e personality/alter Ego?

Are you a mere shadow of your R.S. (Real self)?

Do you adopt an A.P. (Alternative persona) while on line?

The phenomenon of the E-personality was neatly outlined in a thoroughly interesting John Harlow article in yesterday's Sunday Times

Using research conducted by psychiatrist, Elias Aboujaoude, Harlow writes that the e-personality is driven by "delusions of grandeur, is an entrepreneur never a drone. On dating sites, nobody is less than hot..... with almost clinical levels of narcissism." Dr Aboujaoude is treating hundreds of people suffering from compulsive disorders as a result of online activity.

It is HUGELY tempting to use the persuasively sweet convenience of the internet to project a finely honed, nasty-bits-edited-out, persona, onto the unsuspecting blogosphere.

For example:

A happy-clappy person writes this blog.

While in R.L.(Real life) she crashes and burns, a cranky mum, a whiney wife and a bossy, control freak pal.

There, it's out now. Feeling better already.
Similar confessions, greatly welcome!