50! Where did that come from? I had all these plans to mark my birthday and then they were brought to ruin by events beyond my control. As John Lennon wrote; Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. Happy Birthday John, we love you still.
I am writing this knowing I can’t post it (OK I can post it now, yipee). I have a job offer, but not a contract. I want to hand in my notice, but can’t yet. I certainly can’t post this on a blog. Not yet in any case.
I find the situation very frustrating, because I have to be so careful who I talk to about it. I want to celebrate the new job, which is a dream job as far as the work is concerned. I am a bit relieved to be escaping from the heavy atmosphere of the old job. All those negative vibes are unhealthy to the human psyche. As Oddball said (Kelly’s Heroes) “Why don’t you knock it off with them negative waves? Why don’t you dig how beautiful it is out here? Why don’t you say something righteous and hopeful for a change?”
So, I am leaving the tobacco industry, having worked here for a year and a half. What have I learned in this time? Well, marketing is very difficult when you have a display ban, an advertising ban and almost a complete communications ban. In fact marketing comes down to distribution, availability and price. I have learned a lot about distribution and availability, which is really useful. It allows me to unpick elements of campaign analysis in other industries.
I have also learned that tobacco companies in Ireland are behaving in a highly ethical manner. They are more concerned about being squeaky clean than the regulators are. They are an important bastion for the defence of civil liberties. You may not like smoking, but that gives you no right to impose your world view on adult smokers. In Ireland in particular we need to kill the nanny state mentality that has flowered under recent governments. If we allow the government to run roughshod over tobacco companies then other scalps will follow. The nanny brigade has already drawn up the short list. Alcohol, sugar, carbonated drinks, children’s cereals, children’s TV, girls’ clothes that are too hookerish, dogs that look like they might be pitbull crosses. But it won’t stop there. They want to ban Christmas before Hallowe’en, Easter in Lent, white shoes in winter, traveller weddings, sun beds, spray tan, and on and on until they rule every aspect of our lives. 1984 how are you?
What is it about Ireland? Are there too many quangos for too few issues? The biggest ad campaign running right now, in a crippling recession, when nobody has any money to spare, is telling us to put our gum in a bin. Come on guys! Is this of national importance? Will we be wading through chewing gum swamps within days if the chewers don’t comply? We seriously need to get our priorities straight.
So I am going to finish this bottle of whiskey, pick up my shotgun, dress in my big fat gypsy boob tube, and go down to the church hall with my pit-bull and feed him Coco Pops and Coke. Now, anyone not behind me is in my way!
In case the irony is lost on you, now that I am 50 I have the right to be a grumpy old git.
Poem In October; by Dylan Thomas
It was my thirtieth year to heaven
Woke to my hearing from harbour and neighbour wood
And the mussel pooled and the heron
The morning beckon
With water praying and call of seagull and rook
And the knock of sailing boats on the net webbed wall
Myself to set foot
In the still sleeping town and set forth.
My birthday began with the water-
Birds and the birds of the winged trees flying my name
Above the farms and the white horses
And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days.
High tide and the heron dived when I took the road
Over the border
And the gates
Of the town closed as the town awoke.
A springful of larks in a rolling
Cloud and the roadside bushes brimming with whistling
Blackbirds and the sun of October
On the hill’s shoulder,
Here were fond climates and sweet singers suddenly
Come in the morning where I wandered and listened
To the rain wringing
Wind blow cold
In the wood faraway under me.
Pale rain over the dwindling harbour
And over the sea wet church the size of a snail
With its horns through mist and the castle
Brown as owls
But all the gardens
Of spring and summer were blooming in the tall tales
Beyond the border and under the lark full cloud.
There could I marvel
Away but the weather turned around.
It turned away from the blithe country
And down the other air and the blue altered sky
Streamed again a wonder of summer
Pears and red currants
And I saw in the turning so clearly a child’s
Forgotten mornings when he walked with his mother
Through the parables
Of sun light
And the legends of the green chapels
And the twice told fields of infancy
That his tears burned my cheeks and his heart moved in mine.
These were the woods the river and sea
Where a boy
In the listening
Summertime of the dead whispered the truth of his joy
To the trees and the stones and the fish in the tide.
And the mystery
Still in the water and singingbirds.
And there could I marvel my birthday
Away but the weather turned around. And the true
Joy of the long dead child sang burning
In the sun.
It was my thirtieth
Year to heaven stood there then in the summer noon
Though the town below lay leaved with October blood.
O may my heart’s truth
Still be sung
On this high hill in a year’s turning.