Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

The Edge of Bird

Tabloids are much more fun to read about than to actually read.
For example, Charlie Bird's love life is a subject of great fascination for the Ireland on Sunday hacks, so much so that they sent out their courageous photographer to find a juicy pic of RTE's favourite chief/special news correspondent with his new love. Charlie responded with a diatribe on Joe Duffy's Liveline (good to know that Charlie's famous flexibility extends even to making appearances on other RTE shows) saying that his personal life should not be subjected to such scrutiny...fair enough Charlie...I think most sensible people would emphatically deny any interest in Charlie Bird's love life, personal life or social life...come to think of it, most of us can barely muster up interest in Charlie's professional life and he's the one we turn to for his incisive and exciting coverage (RTE translation=Charlie's own opinions and speculations) of every "big" news story.
The other punter subjected to tabloid examination is the Edge - details of a family illness were published in the Sunday World and a court injunction was obtained by the Edge. The Sunday World's defence was that this story was in the public's interest due to the possible effect it could have on U2's Vertigo Tour. Coming from someone who just about obtained 1 seated ticket for Croke Park on the Saturday and has a desire to stand with a number of friends, my public interest would be much better served by a Sunday World investigation into whether or not there will be a Sunday gig (please let there be!).
Naomi Campbell's victory in the English courts over issues of privacy will probably be repeated by her former boyfriend's bandmate's challenge in the Irish courts.
The legal wranglings of this are not particularly interesting to me but the social milieu from which the tabloids feel that they have a mandate to fearlessly investigate the minutiae of celebrity's lives is. I normally obtain my celeb gossip from friends, a trip to the hairdressers and perhaps a broadsheet review of the tabloids (the Sindo is particularly talented at this!) I don't actually buy VIP/Hello/OK/Heat etc - I like to keep my celeb watching local.
Our interest in the Joneses up the road is no longer. Most of us in apartmentland/new suburia hardly know where the local church/community centre is let alone who our neighbours are. But we are painfully aware of Brad and Jen, Posh and Becks, Big Brother randomers, D4 solicitor/socialite types and possibly overaware of Charlie and his Bird.
My humble suggestion, in the manner of William Buckley of National Review, standing athwart history and shouting "stop", is that we re-acquaint ourselves with our real neighbours. That is the people who live next door to us, on the same road and seek juicy nuggets of their lives. Shutter lens and rubbish bin sorting are of course optional but rather fun I would think. Because it is in this age old tradition of indulging our voyeuristic/gossipy side, we build community. The bridge of gossip is one that Mary McAleese should consider adding to her platform of engineering excellence. And then the Edge and Charlie Bird would be left in peace to produce great albums and report on wars from the bird's eye vantage point of a neighbouring country.
And I would eventually find out what that dodgy couple in number 14 are really up to.


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