The annual mortification of us Irish takes place on Sunday 17th March, St. Patrick’s Day. As a nation, the embarrassment is largely self-inflicted. A number of other nations humour us by shining a green light on their best known landmarks thus promoting both the quaint Irish and their own tourism economy at the same time.
Our most senior politicians travel abroad to ‘represent’ Ireland at festivals and parades around the world while we languish here under the yoke of austerity, calmly repaying bondholders, at premium rates, for their investment in our failure. Continue reading →
I dedicate this post to innovation. Our advertising business is now a broad communications company because we have been innovating like mad over the last few years. If we hadn’t, it would have gone the way of hot metal (I am long enough at it to remember the compositors in the Irish Times, Irish Press and Irish Independent newspapers outputting the lines of type from molten lead on huge noisy typewriter like machines.). Those skilled craftsmen are now a part of publishing folklore as will be the UX Specialists of today (User Experience to ye outside the know). It’s all about change management and innovation. This is an excellent thing because it keeps us mentally agile, interested and hopefully, interesting.
My friend Michael Houseright asked me to guest post over at The Blissful Adventurer while he was away in Italy last month. I thought I should throw it up here too. (Visit Michael’s new blog or he will kill me for reposting without telling him.)
My tale begins 127 years ago. The story goes that Giuseppe Cerve came to Ireland from Casalattico in central Italy. He came here with very little, to find a better life for his family. He began selling potatoes cooked in oil from a barrow. We Irish liked it so much that he soon opened Ireland’s first ‘Chipper’ where he began selling fish and chips. An Irish Italian tradition was born.
A rare photo of Giuseppe Cerve’s original Chip Shop. This image from the collection of the late Barbie Borza.
In our advertising agency business we try to maintain reasonably high ethical standards. We like to get paid for what we do. We like to pay our business partners in a timely fashion and we don’t expect any special treatment. We don’t approve of inducements.
For you fans of Don Draper in Mad Men, please note that he is showing how it was back in the 50s and 60s not how it is today. I know this because I was around for the tail end of all that. It was a daft business back then. Standards were not what they are today. Continue reading →
I’m an Irishman and proud of it. I am married to an English lady. These are both good things on a number of levels: She has put up with me for over 20 years. We have two mostly wonderful daughters. Because of her origins, I can get away with stuff others can not. I can talk in slightly derogatory and jocular tones about ‘The Brits’ and excuse myself by admitting to being happily married to one. Continue reading →
I am a creature of habit, most of the time. My Saturday morning usually involves a trip to Lidl to buy the vegetables followed by a visit to the guys in John’s Meat Co for the red meat and then a call to George’s Fish Shop, both in Monkstown Farm, (it has not been a farm since before I was born), in south County Dublin. Last weekend, I blew it by staying in bed drinking tea for an extra hour. I abandoned the Lidl trip on the grounds that the place would be full of ‘oul wans’ fussing over the fennel and cribbing about the cabbage. When I got to George’s, I was greeted with cries of “We thought you weren’t coming.” and “Why are you so late?” This threw me off my stride and rather than choosing from the range of wonderful fish on offer, I succumbed to suggestion and left with the last 9 fresh scallops and a big bag of frozen 8/12 size prawns. Continue reading →
For centuries now Fortnum & Mason have made and sold some of the most delicious foods available on these islands. They even pioneered some populist fare. A number of decades ago, that bastion of fine British food was the first retailer to stock and sell Mr Heinz’s now ubiquitous baked beans. Continue reading →