When you are a child, and you’re poor, and you live next to other people who are poor, you never think of yourself as being poor.
Around a month ago I read an entry on Omaniblog about this book, up until then I hadn’t even known that George Hook had a book out. But that post caught my attention. George Hook is probably best known in Ireland for his rugby punditry. Together with Brent Pope and Tom McGurk, he analyses rugby for RTE in an entertaining, honest, blunt manner. He also has a radio show, but I’m not big on the radio so haven’t heard him enough to comment on that. In many ways I suppose he is the Eamonn Dunphy of the rugby world.
But I know him primarily from his rugby comments, and his constant promises that Munster will lose, and that the likes of Stringer shouldn’t be playing. I disagree with him, but am well aware that he is very knowledgable about the game. And in an entertaining way.
But when I started reading this book I was very surprised at it. From Omani’s blog I’d heard that it wouldn’t be all easy reading, and he’d only gotten to page 4. But I wasn’t aware of the depression, the debt, the fraud, or many other things that this book brings to light. And all the while he is describing his “Black Dog” and his running from trouble into strife, it is always so very readable. And if it wasn’t for the subject matter you’d have to say likeable. Still, it took me longer than I expected to finish it. Mainly, I think, because I wanted to pay attention to it, so I didn’t read it if I thought I might be distracted by the telly, or the radio.
I’m not a big reader of biographies, but I’d recommend this to anyone. And it is on 3 for 2 in Waterstones.
His voice irritates the hell out of me. He pronounces every word as if it had just been coined. Or as if he's reading from a teleprompt he can hardly make out.
Also I don't like the way his radio station advertises him, placing a stress on his belligerence and confrontationalism. Why has rudeness become so celebrated?
You can't imagine him being photographed for an interview reading a book about early Auden, like Eamonn Dunphy. Or quoting Betjeman in an article about sport, like E.D.
But they used to have a big huge advertisement of him, Eamo and Orla Barry around Donnybrook. Orla Barry looked very lovely on it, although I've just looked at the Newstalk site and the same picture there isn't nearly as catching as it was in monochrome. Still, I was sad when they took it down. It brightened my journey.
I don't think it is his rudeness they are celebrating Mal, rather his bluntness. That is simply his style. And I think he is far more honest than Eamonn Dunphy, Dunphy is much more belligerent if you ask me.
How is Eamonn Dunphy NOT one of your 'people I hate because I hate the modern world's celebration of rudeness'! He's SO rude, aggressive, opinionated… It makes for great telly, especially when he starts on the English football team, but he's in no way anything other than confrontational. He can quote all the poets he likes but that's not changing any time.