Today we’ll return to our revival of Raymond Williams’ Keywords, with a couple more definitions that illustrate modern Irish life.
Conspicuous consumption – as in billionaire bookie JP McManus staging a €10m wedding – yes, that’s ten million euro – for his daughter. As Terry McGeehan pointed out in yesterday’s Star, the affair would not have disgraced Imperial Rome. This involved flying in Billy Joel and Lionel Richie to personally sing to the blushing bride. McManus, by the way, lives in tax exile in Switzerland and is legally unable to spend more than 60 days a year in Ireland, so he flew in especially for the big event. The only thing to add is that the McManus wedding was exceptional only in quantitative, not qualitative, terms. Almost every week you read in the Turbine about some ridiculously lavish society wedding.
Cultural sensitivity – I couldn’t resist this story flagged up in the local press yesterday, of British soldiers of Norn Iron extraction holding a Twelfth parade in Iraq under the rubric “Rising Sons of Basra LOL No. 1”. Our inventive soldiers even did a mock-up of a sash-wearing Osama, and deputed some of their number to play the part of tricolour-waving nationalist protesters and RUC men in riot gear. Yes, there’s a small part of Iraq that will always be Norn Iron.