Life After the Hipsters

11 Aug

Still stuck in the hipsters?  Sorry, but that stopped being alternative the minute Paul Galvin appeared with a beard and skinnies. As trend-setters look around for the next big thing, I tell you how to change your beard, house, career and clothes to make the grade in post-hipster Ireland. Or if that seems like a lot of work, there’s always Hipster Tourism.



Two words for anyone who thinks this hipster lark still has legs. Conor McGregor. He’s started dressing like you. McGregor in a waistcoat is definitely game over. Unless you want to share a social movement with someone who likes to be known as The Notorious? Which you don’t. He doesn’t just use his hands to make a living. He uses his feet as well. It’s like a boxer crossed with a soccer player. How working class. He probably watches the darts on telly, just because he enjoys it. It’s time to draw a veil over your hipster years. (It doesn’t matter what kind of material is in the veil. You can stop obsessing about all that shite now that you’re leaving the hipsters.)

You’ll need a new wardrobe. Prepare for a culture shock when you go buying new clothes in mainstream stores. Say what you will about the charity shops you shopped in for the last seven years, but at least the people behind the counter were over the age of 15. Step into Gap or H&M now and you might wonder if the world has been taken over by children. You’ll also be entitled to feel nervous in case you bump into someone from the old hipster days. You could always wear a disguise. We hear the high street stores in Dublin and Cork are choc-a-bloc with ex-hipsters in balaclavas. It’s like backstage at a Sinn Fein Ard Fheis in the 1990s.

Still, there is so much to look forward to. Like, not getting up at 3 am so you can get your jeans on in time for work. (Those hipster skinnies were a bitch.) And not throwing out a pair of perfectly good pair of shoes just because you saw someone wearing them on the bus. (It was the driver. You cried all the way home.)



It turns out there is property available outside Stoneybatter in Dublin or Albert Road in Cork. They have these things in the suburbs called semi-detached houses. You know all about these because you grew up in one. That’s why you’ve spent the last ten years trying to make out that you are edgy and alternative.

Anyway, you might want to move back to one if you have kids. That doer-upper in Stoneybatter was great when you were single, particularly when all the poor old people in the area died off. (They kept saying hello to you. What was that all about?) But it’s not really a great area to raise kids. You don’t want them exposed to street loads of adults on skateboards. They might form the impression they never need to grow up and then sponge off you for life. Yikes.

A move to the burbs should be well within your grasp. Obviously you won’t be able to get a mortgage. Even during the boom, Irish banks wouldn’t lend to someone who put Mushroom Forager next to Occupation on the application form. Luckily your stupid, square parents had a thing known as a ‘job’ back in the day and they should be able to cover a deposit.

Some things you should know about the burbs. Some of the properties don’t have a yoga studio on the ground floor. Imagine! Most of the back gardens have grass rather than a micro-brewery. Your local butcher will not describe himself as artisan so he can put 20% on the price of a chop. And people will feel sorry for if they find out that you are eating haggis.

Don’t worry, you’re not moving into enemy territory in the burbs. Chances are that your new neighbour will be a retired hipster just like yourself. Just picture those long nostalgic chats over the fence in the evenings. It won’t be long before he says, “Do you know what I hated from day one — Pale Ale. It makes me fierce gassy.” It’s like he says what you think.



Never in your wildest dreams did you imagine that your black-pudding and Jonnie Onion Rings cupcakes would end up as global franchising sensation. Turns out you were right. Not even the Yanks were going to go for that. And they’d eat anything.

This is, of course, good news. There is only one thing worse than failure for a hipster businessman. And that’s success. The merest hint that you are in touch with ordinary people is a red card from the hipsters. The buzz word here was to run your own Micro Business.  The problem there is you make micro-profits. (Even if it’ a kale smoothie bar with stuff written up on a blackboard? Yes.) That means you end up with a micro chance of landing one of those hot posh ones who hover around your stall at Farmers’ Markets and stare at your Macaroons. (They’re a type of small circular cake. Don’t be so smutty.)

if you want one of those ladies, you’ll need to get something that actually pays. Don’t worry, you have great experience.  All those internet start-ups around town are mad to hire retired hipsters for their corporate videos. It’s a useful way to lure in gullible nerds.  Your role will be to sit on your arse for hours on end and do absolutely nothing. Sure didn’t you get plenty practise for the role when you opened a shop that sold Cadet Cola and Wagon Wheels.?


Who knows, you might even get what’s known as ‘a career’. That’s a way of getting money other than bullying your friends into crowd-funding a Pop-Up humorous ice sculpture gallery called Ice Lols. Here’s some good news on the job front.  The fact that you know how to use Instagram means there are at least seven companies in the Docklands who want you on board as their Associate Vice President for Social Media Leverage, South East Asia. Or as it’s known in some circles, 70 grand a year and free ice-cream. Take it while it’s going.



Here is what will happen if you don’t deal with your hipsterdom. You’ll be so passe that you’ll end up like Jerry the Mod. He’s the 53-year-old guy you’ll find in every town in Ireland. His hairstyle is the kind of thing you’d expect when you walk into a rural barber and say, “Give me a Paul Weller.” It’s not a great look. (It’s not a Paul Weller either.)

If you feel you can’t change your ways, we recommend you go on the Hipster Trail. That’s where you trawl the world looking for places where hipsters are still considered exotic. First things first. People in the Third World aren’t too gone on zealous, bearded Irish men in sandals. The Catholic missionary priest thing left its mark. (And plenty foxy kids, says you.)

A lot of so-called cool cities are infested with hipsters.  Berlin is pretty much over-run at this stage. Who would have thought the Germans would embrace a fanatical movement where everyone wears the same clothes? Again.  Anyway, it’s gone so bad now that they host a thing called the Hipster Olympics. (Really. They do.) That sounds like a ridiculous spectacle. (But enough about all the horn-rimmed spectacles.) They actually have events like Vinyl Record Spinning and a Tug of War with Skinny Jeans.  That sound about as cool as Tommy Fleming. Which means they’ll probably have him playing there next year.

There wouldn’t be much for you to do on the career front in Asia. The last time we were there it was already full of pop-up Asian Street Food restaurants. It’s like they are on every street. We can’t see you breaking into that market.

Large swathes of America remain untouched by the hipster curse. Judging by the support for Donal Trump, these parts might soon pass laws making it compulsory for folk to have sex with their guns. There is also a sense that these folk don’t take too kindly to strangers, particularly when that stranger has a beard.

So that leaves Australia. (Antarctica is cool, but not in way that you could show off a tweed waistcoat.) Bad news. There is only one sub-species more numerous than Hipsters down under. And that’s pissed up Irish culchies in GAA jerseys. You’ll end up envying Jerry the Mod. It’s that bad.



Fancy cursing your head clean off? Try getting a baby into the back of a two-door Vauxhall Viva from 1986. That car has to go. Unless you want your toddler to go around repeating the c-word. (It’s all a great laugh until someone calls social services.)

The question is what car you should buy. Dealers all over the country are offering incredible finance deals to help you get a new car. Easy access to credit after a massive crash would be a worry in any other country. But this isn’t any other country. So buy yourself a people-carrier with a long warranty, whether you need it or not.

You’ll still need a Music Festival car. The golden rule for hipsters is that, while they are all for sustainable living, their favourite cars are about as eco-friendly as Texas. (Ironic, innit.) A 1993 Volvo station wagon should hit all the right notes there. This will ferry you en famille to a field in the midlands, where you’ll spend the weekend with other lapsed hipsters watching shite Arcade Fire tribute bands. There will be lots of agreeing that you’re all still very cool. (It’s not as tragic as it sounds. It’s far, far worse than that.)

And then there’s the bike. You probably haven’t noticed all those middle-aged men in Lycra whizzing around on racers. Sure look, you were probably trying to get a glimpse of your reflection in a shop window.  Narcissists are always the last to know what’s going on around them. Anyway, long story short, you’ll need to go down the Lycra, biker route to keep the man boobs at bay. It’s not cool, it’s not alternative. But then neither is cycling around Dublin on a retro racer wearing a tweed waist coat. So you’re not really giving anything up on the cool front.



Your resignation from the hipsters is a great chance to declutter your home. You will feel the need to hire a decluttering consultant. (Look, you’re a hipster and therefore inclined to make some poor life choices.) A decluttering consultant will usually issue a 4-step guide to clearing some space in our life. 1: Make a list of things you’d like to get rid of. 2: Show the list to a decluttering consultant. 3: Now write a cheque for 1500 and hand it to the decluttering consultant. 4: Say goodbye to the decluttering consultant.

The truth is you don’t need a decluttering consultant. Getting rid of your all your retro tat is a lark. Hipsterdom is basically a Ponzi scheme. It works as long as there is an influx of new eejits who are willing to pay good money for a disposable camera from 1987. The bubble hasn’t burst yet on that front. It’s true that every hipster in Dublin and Cork has a full house.  But hit the motorway any weekend and it should be a cinch to find an Upcycling Market full of gullible culchies who will take that retro Hoover off your hands.

Alternatively, you could just put all your junk into a pre-distressed trunk. (We know you have one.) Farewell East German camera, leather man-bag and all those jam jars you used to serve cocktails.  Tie up the old trunk with an old belt and put it up on DoneDeal as a Hipster Starter Kit. This won’t just free up space, it should raise enough money to buy a few pairs of socks. You’ll need them now that you’re re-entering polite society. At least people won’t leave a space around you on the DART any more. The bang off your feet. Jesus.




The tattoo says so much about a man. Like my body is a canvas and I don’t care for convention. Or, I got pissed on a stag do in Amsterdam and now I have West Brom tattooed on my todger. (Of course you tell the ladies that it’s West Bromwich Albion. Dishonest.)

Tattoos have a chequered history in Ireland. There was a time when they meant you either spent some time in England or in prison. That ran up to about 2005. Then the hipsters came along and we got a peculiarly Irish slant on things. There was a lot of Celtic imagery and symbols. As a result, most Irish men aged between 25 and 35 look like an Enya album cover. That probably wasn’t the intention.

Let’s face it. The hipster backlash means the next generation of Irish blokes will stick with their clear, pale white skin. In ten years’ time, your tattoo collection will say ‘I thought I was cool once and now I’m 45’. That’s got a number of implications. You having an affair with the hot Italian one in account support isn’t one of them.

You could be looking at laser removal. Yes. it’s painful, but still better than a stranger spotting that you have “I love Nationwide” inked on your arm.  (And it seemed like such an ironically good idea at the time.)

There is one other alternative. Wear your clothes all the time. This might seem crazy. But if you had to pick one country where you might never get a chance to take off your shirt again, then you’re living in it. You see, Ireland is the best little country in the world to be Post Hipster.




Some hipster notions are hard to shift. (As are hipster women apparently. A lot of them are more interested in talking about the Dutch arthouse cinema scene.) The main hipster notion is that craft beer is always going to be cool. There’s only one word for people who believe that. Satzenbrau.

You probably know it as a retro beer-mat you bought for 20 quid at an auction for gullible hipsters. But before that it was a beer aimed at 1980s women who wanted flavour and sophistication instead of a dirty old pint. Sound familiar?

The wheel is already turning on craft beer. We’d give it two years before it’s about as hip as 2FM. The question is what are you going to do about it. The answer has been touched on already. Dirty old pints.

And we don’t mean pints of plain. A lot of post hipsters are already going for Guinness with auld segosha Dublin accents and making out like they were involved in the 1913 Lockout. That’s a half-way house. You need to go for broke. We’re talking Budweiser here. Pints and pints of it. Or maybe Coors Light if you’re on a diet.

Come on. There is only one place to go if after ten years of Micro and Retro. And that’s Big and American. You won’t be able to go to America, because Donal Trump won’t let you in. But you can always stay here and irritate stubborn hipsters with an homage to middle America. That means lots of pints of Bud. (Call them suds.) And we’re also thinking white runners and a red sweatshirt with U.S.A emblazoned across the front.  You can wear them to both Springsteen concerts in May. Can you picture it? Yes you can.



OK, so it’s your first night out of the hipsters. Now what are you going to do? Here’s an idea. You can go to a restaurant that you’ve been to before. Imagine!

Gone are the days when you can’t be seen in the same place twice in case people think you’re an accountant. Or the restaurant isn’t there anymore, because it turns out there wasn’t a market for a place serving crispy pancakes vol au vents and it closed after a week.

So now you can go back to that Italian place that was amazing, even though it didn’t have a concept or a large blackboard. You can go there again next week if you like, just because you like the food.

Obviously you will post photos of your meal up on Instagram Old habits die hard. Bear in mind your old hipster friends will stop following you the minute they spot you’ve been in the same restaurant more than once. (There isn’t a setting on Instagram to do the unfollow automatically. That’s a surprise.)

You should continue to share photos of all your meals. You are not just showing family and friends that you are doing very well for yourself above in Dublin, eating out three times a week. You are also showing the Californian nerds who control our lives that we Irish still buy into their view of the world. That’s important, because those guys are billionaires. They might decide to stop employing Irish people to sit around in funky offices playing with their space-hoppers. Bye bye all the restaurants. Hello eating toasted specials in pubs once more. And not ironically either.



It doesn’t necessarily have to go. (Unless you’re a woman. Seriously, what were you thinking.)  One popular choice is to let it grow wild. This transforms you into what’s known as a ‘Neckbeard’, which is a hipster insult. (Along with Square and Gainfully Employed.)  The beauty of being a neckbeard in Ireland is people might mistake you for a trade-union official or a poet. Either of those could be enough to get you a seat in the Seanad. Ker-Ching.

Still, we strongly recommend you get rid of your facial hair. It hasn’t been a badge of coolness since Gordon D’Arcy went to town with one a few years back. You know you’re not killing it on the alternative lifestyle front when you could be confused with a rugby player. (Unless he’s French. All the laws of cool are inverted when it comes to the Frogs, as you might want to call them to show you’re more relaxed about life since you stopped being a hipster.)

So it’s back to shaving. Great news. Most guys are allergic to the notion of the morning shave. But a narcissist like yourself will just love guaranteed mirror time every day. (We were amazed you gave it up in the first place.) The only issue now is what kind of razor to buy. There was a time when the answer to that was an ivory-handled, cut-throat beauty that you picked up in a virtually unknown part of Antwerp. Luckily all that old bullshit is behind you now, and you can just pick up a bag of disposables the next time you are in SuperValu.

You could even get your beard shaved off for a good cause. Blatant self-promotion dressed up as a meaningful gesture. It doesn’t get much more hipster than that. What a way to go.


Spoofers Guide to Fashion

11 Aug

Big knickers are back, men are doing all sorts with their hair, there’s fringing everywhere and a good chance you’ll end up looking like a hooker in 1970’s New York. Here’s a look at what’s hot for 2016, with essential tips to help you avoid any fashion faux-pas and news on what the celebs are wearing as we head towards spring.

Hair for Her

Sitting down? Good. Women are giving hairdressers actual cash-money to put glitter on their grown-out roots. It’s not for charity and it’s not some kind of bet. We can only assume it is the latest attempt to get back at their mothers for having them in the first place. It could be nice to think we could stop this, but it’s already a thing on Pinterest, so that’s the end of that.

Here is the low down on Glitter Roots. If you are old enough to afford it at the hair salon, you are too old to wear it out in public. There is a thin line between keeping in touch with youth culture and looking like you’ve been attacked by a toddler at a make-and-do play date. Don’t cross the line.

In fairness, the glitter thing can look stunning even if it is difficult to understand. A bit like Cheryl Fernandez-Versini. Which brings us to braids. Cheryl is one of many celebs who will keep braids in the limelight this year. Obviously you will want to copy this, because only good things happen when you pretend to be someone from the telly.  There are plenty ‘How to Braid’ videos on YouTube. Having looked at a few of them, here is our two-step guide to better braiding. 1: Become a famous pop star. 2: Hire someone to braid your hair every day because could you be bothered? (No.)

There is one more hair trend we should cover. A lot of people are talking about Rihanna’s top-knot as an inspiration. If you’d like your daughter to copy one thing about Rihanna’s appearance, this is probably the way to go. Unless you’re a big fan of the sentence, “You’re not going out in that.” Or, “Does anyone know why there’s a gang of 16-year-old boys gathering outside our front door?”



Hair for Him

Fashion forward men are going for a 1940s look. You might look at one such man and say he reminds you of the guys out of Australian World War 2 drama, The Sullivans. This means two things. You are well over 40. And therefore too old for a trendy haircut. Brad Pitt can get away with this retro style haircut, because women remember him when he was hot.  You, on the other hand, might as well get ‘Mid Life Crisis’ carved into your frankly ridiculous looking beard. (Don’t do it. Even the hipsters won’t appreciate the layers of irony in that one.)

This throwback 1940s hairstyle is known as the Fade. It is basically clean-cut around the neck, with all the action on top of your head. Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish is a prime example. People were surprised that Jack opted for a Fade. It’s so unusual for a Premiership footballer to have much going on up-top.

A quick note on the new trend for side-parting. There is no point in being fashion forward if you remind people of Hitler. Enough said there.

The other style we need to talk about for 2016 is the Man Bun. Fashion forward people call it the Mun because they don’t have time for two syllables. They wouldn’t have the brain either, says you. The Man Bun is where you grow your hair a bit longer and tie it up on top. It is popular with men who want to look like David Beckham but end up looking like that guy Gary who dropped out of school and is now working on reception at your local bowling alley. Evidence now shows that the Man Bun can give you a condition known as traction alopecia. This is more commonly known as baldness. Or ‘serves you right for trying to pretend you are Harry Styles’. The message is simple. Put down the hair and nobody gets hurt.



You’ll have noticed that a lot of people have been taking their fashion lead from the 1970s recently. This ranks up there with taking relationship advice from Kerry Katona.  But it’s not your place to question these things. So just buy the brown zip-up jumpsuit and get over it.

Judging by the catwalk trends, there is a slight twist on the 70s theme going into spring 2016. The good news is that suede and minis are all in. The bad news is you’ll look like a hooker in Kojak. Still, you’ll be a trendy hooker, so you’ll get asked to all the best parties.

If you’re stuck for conversation at this party, you should talk about crochet. It was all over the New York shows for summer 2016. (It was certainly more popular than underwear, judging by the photos we’ve seen.) One word of warning on the crochet front — don’t call it knitting for lazy people. That’s an immediate red card. You can’t laugh at something when it’s in fashion. Wait until crochet is about as popular as normcore and then get stuck in. (Normcore was that brief moment in 2014 when everyone dressed like an accountant from Thurles. It won’t be back. For a while.)

Another Boho 70s trend to watch out for is fringing. This remains hot in 2016, even if it does sound like a gay sex act that wouldn’t be for everybody. Fringing is in fact decorative tassels hanging down from your clothes or accessories. It was very popular with American Indians in the old westerns, along with mascara and always getting beaten in the end. Taylor Swift wore spangly fringing on her World Tour last year. So prepare to spend 2016 looking like a Christmas decoration.


The Bags

We’ll start with the backpacks. They are in for 2016. So are elaborate beards that make a fella look like he might be from the Middle East. These are nervous times. You can see where this is going. Frisking. Lots of it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can be a lonely old world out there if you’re not getting the swipe-rights on Tinder. A bit of a feel-up from a security guard on the way into a concert is better than nothing.

But anyone with an active love life (or even a tactile aunt) will probably want to make a choice between the beard and the backpack. The word on the street is that 2016 is Beard Backlash year. You could wake up one morning and find you are further off-trend than a Volkswagen driver at a Green party fundraiser.  So we recommend getting rid of the facial hair. (That goes double for you, ladies.)

Handbags? The Mini-Bag craze is tipped to continue well into 2016. All the designers have bags that measure around 6 x 4 inches. Don’t be the one to point out that’s just a purse with handles – nobody likes a smartarse. Trust us, you won’t be calling it a purse when you see the prices. (The Fendi Peekaboo Micro for €1200? You’ll have no money left to put in your purse with handles.)

Let’s face it, the rise of the Mini-Bag is great news for men. Research shows this could shave 18 minutes off the time it takes their partner to get out of the house.  That’s due to the reduced search area for keys, lipstick, phone, a packet of mints from 2011 and another, smaller handbag for reasons that aren’t immediately clear.



If you think this has something to do with the latest fashion in safety pins, then there are still a few places left on our introductory social media course, ‘Everyone is Laughing at you on Twitter’. You should be able to free up time to attend if you stop logging into Myspace. Seriously, move on.

Pinterest is really where it’s at in social media.  Facebook is good for stalking, twitter is good for nob-ends, but Pinterest can be great for fashion ideas. The ‘can’ is important here.

It works like this. You are browsing the internet at night when you see an article about shoes that you like.  You don’t want to waste your time reading it there and then, because who reads stuff at home they you could read it at work? So you bookmark it to your Pinterest account and there’s most of tomorrow morning sorted. This way you build up a selection of things that interest you under categories known as Pin Boards. You can see other peoples’ Pin Boards; they can see yours.

It’s a handy way to get fashion tips from industry legends. Or a colour-blind teenage boy from Ohio. So make sure you know who you are dealing with. It will also suggest content based on your web searches. Bear that in mind when you Google ‘Female Traffic Warden in Bondage Gear’ for entirely legitimate research purposes. Particularly if you still live at home and share an iPad with your Mammy. You don’t want to find a Post-It on the back of the device saying, “Would you ever just get married?”

The final point about Pinterest is the main one. People have actually disappeared into Pinterest. It makes Facebook seem about as addictive as Cod Liver Oil. There is no point in being up with the latest fashion if you never get to leave the house in your new clothes. So maybe just keep an eye on what people are wearing on the bus and take your inspiration from there.


 Lingerie and Underwear

The things Life Magazine does for its readers. We looked up lingerie trends on Google and now the internet thinks we’re a pervert. We can’t even browse our favourite websites without someone popping up photos of a gorgeous young one in her knickers. It’s virtually impossible to get any work done.

Anyway, lingerie. A thong is so wrong. But then it always was. Big knickers are back in apparently. They’ve even been given the seal of approval by Elle McPherson. She has her own underwear line. That isn’t a private line she uses to dry her knickers because the guy next door is a bit of a perv. Or maybe it is.

A word of warning for the ladies. Don’t wear big knickers in the hope that your man friend will think you are some kind of Elle McPherson. He’ll just be reminded of all the times you made him sit through Bridget Jones’s Diary. That’s unlikely to end in sex.

In other news, designers want their lingerie to be worn out in public. And not just by English rugby teams on a night out in Temple Bar. The slip-dress and baby doll mini-dress were all over the Paris runways recently, along with the tongues of any men in the front row. So if you see some ladies out in satin slips, you know the kind of people they are. Fashion Forward. And freezing.

Some news for men.  If you feel the need to buy new jocks (i.e. you just got divorced), you should know that performance boxers are still all the rage. This has nothing to do with sex. Performance boxers are what middle-aged men wear while doing an extreme marathon before breakfast in the hope that young ones will give them the eye. So maybe they have something to do with sex after all. Or the lack of it.



A good rule of thumb in this life is to steer clear of anyone in a hat. Particularly when you are in Galway. Life is too short for a conversation about crystals.

A disturbing new hipster trend reinforces this rule. The trend is in man-hats and it’s called helixing. It involves wearing your beanie towards the back of your head, with your ears sticking out. The idea being that warmth is mainstream and you are too cool for that. That’s what passes for an idea these days. Helixing says a lot about a man. Particularly if he is over the age of 21, where it screams, “Sorry, I don’t get it, self-awareness, what’s that again now?”

The only good thing about helixing is that you can’t wear a flat cap at the same time. (This doesn’t mean hipsters won’t try. They’ll stop at nothing.) If you are approached by a man in a flat cap in a city, we recommend you do a legger. Otherwise you’ll just end up talking to a hipster who doesn’t realise that the flat-cap is done and it’s all about the porkpie hat these days. (Flat cap is literally old hat.)  The one thing sadder than a hipster is a hipster who isn’t even in fashion. So make a run for it. He’ll never catch you in his leather hobnail boots. (Nobody told him he should have made the switch to Oxford brogues. The poor eejit.)

In other hat news, there is still no getting away from the Fedora. It’s hard to resist. The Fedora promises to turn you into a cross between Marlene Dietrich, Humphrey Bogart, Sarah Jessica Parker and Frank Sinatra. It might work in other countries. Not here. Wear a fedora out in Ireland and people will reckon you’re a property developer or involved in the racing game. Either way, they’ll think you crooked. So keep it for a fancy dress party.



You know the way you feel sorry for people wearing flares and boot-cut jeans because they obviously come from the country. Well now they’re laughing at you. In your low-waisted skinnies. And not due to your builders crack either. It’s because you’re bang out of fashion.

Take a look at the fashion runways during the shows for spring 2016. Skinnies were extremely thin on the ground. A bit like any model who slipped and fell, says you, wondering how the jeans stay up at all.

The word from the fashionistas is that you are allowed to wear skinnies as long as you go for a high waist. This sounds like the kind of arbitrary thing a seven-year-old girl would say.  Maybe the kids who make your jeans in China are designing them now as well. Don’t think about that for too long, it will only wreck your night out.

A lot has happened since you last wore flares. Here is a brief reminder of some rules. Don’t wear them if you are under 5 foot six. You’ll just end up looking like a wigwam. (That’s what tents were called before the travel industry realised you could charge 500 pc more if they called them a yurt.)

Don’t think it’s OK to remedy any lack of height under flares with platform heels. Bono barely gets away with it and we tend to give him a lot of leeway on the fashion front.

Don’t rush out and buy a new pair of jeans in Ireland. That’s very 2012. The cranes are back up around town. Fly to New York and buy a suitcase full. We are so back.


Shoes for Him

Bad news guys. Suede shoes are here to stay for a while. This is fine for southern European types, who live in countries where human beings can expect to live a meaningful life outdoors. Design a shoe for life up here on the soggy rock and it would look like a cross between a welly and a flipper.

We’re just not ready to take that on board. There is something irresistible about a pair of dessert boots in a dry, warm shop. It almost as if they whisper, “Wear me and get away with making outlandish passes at hot women, because that’s Italians for you.” As against the truth, “You’ll be back in next week to buy another pair when the suede gets discoloured from the rain.” There is no point in fighting this. Just buy the shoes and keep an eye on the weather.

You’ll still need something comfortable for your holidays next year. Which brings us to some shocking news from the States. Wearing socks with sandals isn’t just a thing. It’s a good thing. The trend was started by professional athletes who suddenly started wearing the dreaded combination in public. Apparently they are highly influential trend-setters. So it’s OK now to take buckets of drugs in order to do your job properly.

A lot of models were socked and sandaled at the fashion shows last year. So you’re next. Here is what you need to know. Sandals and socks look interesting on a 17-year-old Austrian called Rutger who had four cigarettes and a triple vodka for breakfast. You are a different matter. You won’t just look like a tourist. You’ll look like a German sex tourist. So give it a miss.


Shoes for Her

Look at that one in her stilettoes. It’s like she popped straight off the runway from the 2012 Urlingford Fashion Show. Which is round-about way of saying that block heels are in. And having a pop at the fashion scene in north Kilkenny. If there is one.

The return of block heels is good news for anyone who has had to endure the walk of shame in stilettoes. It’s hard enough to keep your balance when you know people are judging you. One slip on the ground and they could also be judging you for losing your knickers. Talk about pressure.

Over-the-knee boots are also very hot this season. Comfortable, practical and stylish, it’s hard to imagine a better way to attract creepy men on a night out. (Except for maybe a Young Fine Gael sticker on your lapel.)

There is a debate raging as to how high up the thigh you can go before men stop you on the street and ask how much for a happy ending. We don’t want to be prudish here. But if you find you need to take your boots off when you go to the toilet, there is a good chance you have gone too far.

A quick word on wedge sneakers. No. That was quick. They were a thing there for a while. Unfortunately, those young ones in America who write fashion blogs when they should be doing their homework have decided that wedge sneakers are the new Nokia. (They are so, so over them.) So you better do what you are told. These same young ones have decided you should be wearing Normcore-style, plain white sneakers. This contradicts other fashionistas who say that Normcore is over. Talk about a crisis. It might be best to stay indoors and keep an eye on the internet until they sort this out. Otherwise you might end up wearing something that is so over. Imagine! 




Spoofers Guide to Social Media

11 Aug

Turn your phone off for an hour these days and you’re way behind the curve. Technology never sleeps, as the nerds who control everything now, look for new ways to take over our lives. Here are the latest apps, technologies and trends that you need to stay ahead of the curve. And why you should never type the the word knickers into Google.



Hang on a minute. Are you seriously suggesting you never posted a photo of a freshly baked strawberry roulade up on Facebook? We pity you for being so last month.

After some early messing around with photos of snotty kids, Facebook has finally found its purpose in life. It is the place where you use baking to make friends feel inadequate. This is all down to The Great British Bake Off. Talk about an unlikely success. Who knew that so many people could bear to watch live baking. Or Sue Perkins?

That said, the Rise Of Baking makes sense. It’s a nerdy, prim, solitary pursuit that was popular 60 years ago. The hipsters were bound to stumble on it sooner or later.

And now it’s all over Facebook. They must be thinking of renaming it Facebake. (People with D4 accents always pronounced it that way, says you, bitter that you’re not one of them.)

It’s like a blood-sport for people with young kids. You’re risking a visit from social services these days if you don’t post a photo of a three-tier banana cake for little Jack’s birthday, along with a breezy message. It’s important you get just the right amount of breezy.  ‘I baked this. Up Yours’, is just a little direct for what you’re trying to achieve. ‘I got this in Lidl’, is out. You’re not allowed to joke about baking any more. It’s a serious business.  ‘Look what I threw together in my spare time for Jack’s birthday’, is about right. And so passive-aggressive. But that’s Facebake for you.

This baking boom won’t last forever.  Facebook has plans to introduce a Dislike button. It’s supposed to enable users to empathise with bad news. Now that’s hilarious. It will end up being used as a blunt way to say ‘you suck and so does your post’. The Dislike button could be just the thing to use against yet another dodgy tart. And no, we’re not talking about your friends.



Do you remember the movie Minority Report? Tom Cruise’s character is walking along when a talking billboard says, “John Anderton. You could use a Guinness right about now”. It seemed so weird back in 2002. And not just because we all imagined Tom talking to the pint in his Far and Away accent. “Come over here, me darlin’ pint of plain.”

13 years’ later and that kind of advertising doesn’t seem so weird anymore. The Big Tech companies know our every move and are desperately trying to flog us stuff off the back of it. You’d be afraid to google the word knickers these days in case a prostitute arrives at your front door and shouts ‘I know what you’re thinking’ in the letter box. It doesn’t matter how easy-going your neighbours are. That’s not a good look.

Of course it’s all your own fault. All bets are off since you clicked ‘I Agree’ to the Terms and Conditions on some new game for your phone. Never mind that item 3, paragraph 67 of the contract reads ‘Dodgy Marketing Inc. reserves the right to send a person into your house to watch you sleeping.’ So what? It’s a very good game and it’s free. And there’s nothing on the telly any more except for maybe Gogglebox. So you need something to do in the evening before crawling into bed.

Clicking ‘I Agree’ means that nothing is private anymore. It allows marketing companies to deploy specialist software that can scan through the photos on your phone and glean incredibly accurate information about your lifestyle. So if you get a Facebook ad for genital wart removal cream on a Sunday morning, don’t tell anyone. Not even the stranger next to you in the bed.



There is a new app in town. It’s called Peeple. It lets you rate your friends. And you thought nothing good would ever come out of the internet.

Peeple hasn’t actually been released yet. It’s currently in beta testing, which is tech speak for ‘Please iron out the problems in our app for free, we’re too busy becoming trillionaires.’ Early reaction to the app is fairly negative. Critics say that Peeple will be used to bully, harass and spread false rumours about people.  We say it will fit right in with all the other social media apps.

Peeple is going to be huge. Come on, there’s nothing worse than having to stay friends with someone for life. That is so 2011.  Just because you sat next to someone in college shouldn’t mean you have to buy presents for their kids. Unless you ended up marrying the person and they are your kids as well. (Maybe get them something small.)

Peeple, which insists that people use their real names, allows you to send a clear message to your friend. The message being ‘find another friend’.  This is where it gets a little tasty. A negative review of someone is sent to that person, but isn’t posted on-line for 48 hours. This is to give you and your friend time to work through your issues, according to the people who wrote the app. Americans are hilarious, aren’t they?

48 hours later, all going well, you are rid of a friend who didn’t cut the mustard anymore. If you have the bandwidth for a new friend, just log on to Peeple and see who’s hot this month in your area. Seriously, this app changes everything.



Are you honestly telling us you still use email? That is so 3:40 pm last Thursday week. It’s time to get with the program. And the program is an instant-messaging app called Slack.

Slack currently only has about 750,000 users. That might seem small, but most of those are hipsters working in Silicon Valley start-ups. Which is another way of saying our Lords and Masters. We’ll all be using Slack soon and going around on hoverboards. (It’s a skateboard for hipsters.) There is no point in fighting these things.

Slack is marketed as a powerful productivity tool for busy hipsters. Ironic, innit?  Companies desperate to recruit talented nerds are dangling a Slack account in front of them, along with stock options and a free Space Hopper. It’s that attractive.

And now for the bad news. The whole idea behind Slack is that you only get to see work-related communications when you are in the office. Which, when you think of it, is shite. No more looking at a video of pandas going down a slide on company time. The Silicon Valley crowd won’t rest until they have turned the office into a place of work.

You’ll still need to play along. It might be an idea to mention Slack the next time you are doing a job interview. That’s a clear signal you are on-board with the march of progress. Just remember to take account of the age of the interviewer. Asking anyone over 35 if they use much Slack in the office could make you look like a complete tool.  “We don’t actually use open fires to heat the place at all” replies your interviewer, scribbling “Crazy??” down the side of your CV.



Sorry. Using LOL and OMG in a message is actually an embarrassment now. You might as well put ‘stop the lights’ and ‘groovy Julia’ in a sentence. You need a lingo refresh.

There is a new resource promising to do just that.  The British government recently launched a website called It claims to have the lowdown on the acronyms the young crowd are using on-line today. For example, IRL means In Real Life. Unless it was on the back of a car in 1980s Ireland. Back then it meant we went to France on the ferry, ooh-la-la.

IWSN means I Want Sex Now. There is only one thing worse than catching your teen saying that to someone. And that’s catching him saying he doesn’t want sex in a hurry. Let’s face it, you were practically rubbing yourself off a tree at his age. Hopefully there isn’t something wrong with him. KPC is short for Keep Parents Clueless. There are lots of way to fool the old folks according to The best way is to direct them to a Tory government website that claims to know what kids are up to. So steer clear.

Here’s some news for you.  The word chill no longer means what you think it means. Particularly if it is preceded by the word Netflix. Asking someone over to watch Netflix and chill is the modern equivalent of asking someone in for coffee. Seriously, chill is the new word for sex. Or ‘how’s your father’ as anyone over 40 in Ireland calls it because we’re bigger prudes than we’d like to admit.

Anyway, if someone invites you in to watch Netflix and chill, forget about House of Cards and make sure to wear your scoring underwear. On the other hand, if you asked someone over to chill without realising what it meant, now might be to time to clear things up. In that spirit, I would like to apologise for the confusion Sister, and I hope everything is going well above in the convent.



A recent Ipsos MRBI Social Messaging Survey told us something we already know. Irish people are fierce liars. How else can you explain that only 5 pc of adults admitted to having the dating app Tinder on their phone? Irish people are clearly swiping away like Billio.

Step in to any café or bar now and you’ll spot at least three couples on a Tinder date. You can’t miss them. She is not looking at her phone the whole time he is talking. There will be plenty of time for that when they get married. He’s boasting about how he uses Photoshop at work. She’s thinking ‘so that’s how you got rid of the acne on your profile photo.’ They both check out the other’s ass when they go to the jacks. It’s like being in the monkey house in the zoo, but with a stronger smell. (Irish men are still getting to grips with aftershave.)

Here are some things you should know about Tinder. They recently introduced a new premium service. It’s as seedy as it sounds. You pay extra every month to search for partners when you are overseas. Try and say that without thinking ‘sex tourism.’ This is where it gets downright insulting. This premium service costs three times as much if you are over the age of 28. Why 28? Desperation. That would appear to be the age men first start to hear the words they dread most from younger women – you remind me of my Dad. Oh Jesus, make it stop.

Tinder recently introduced a Super Like option that you can only use once a day. It’s a way of signalling to someone that you really fancy them. It also suggests you might be a relentless stalker. So be careful if you get one.



Think about it. You work in a massive social media company with a job title like Person in Charge of Coming up with New Stuff. You sit looking at the freeway outside your pod (a.k.a. office), weeping at all the people not using your app because they have to keep their eyes on the road. The solution? Make you own car.

Both Google and Apple are well down this road. Their new self-driving cars have every chance of success. Particularly now that diesel is considered about as safe as smoking an asbestos burger. Rumour has it that Apple will call their version the iCar. If you didn’t already guess this, you will never be Person in Charge of Anything in the new economy.

Rumour also has it that the iCar will be released as soon as 2019. That should be fun. You can imagine the queues of nerds around the block wanting to get their hands on the first edition. And then pushing their new iCar down the street because they spent all their lives playing Minecraft and never learned to drive.

In fairness, learning to drive could soon be as obsolete as a selfie stick. (They’re last month. Did no one tell you?) Google’s self-drive car means your nerd can just step in and say, “Take me to the nearest Star Wars convention.” (You’re never far from that kind of thing these days.) The Person in Charge of Coming Up With New Stuff has won the day. Again. Finally, all of us can spend all our waking hours on social media. This is good news for two classes of people. Tech billionaires who won’t be happy until they have all our money. And people who specialise in treating those suffering from chronic loneliness.  They’re going to be very busy.



Picture the car salesman of the future. There is no point in having an iCar salesman in a shiny suit, offering to throw in a set of mud flaps and a stereo. That would be as stale as watching reruns of The Bill. There is only one thing that appeals to your younger consumer — shiny gadgets with no obvious use.

This is where the iRing comes in. Apple has patented a wearable device for your index finger. It even has a touchscreen. It’s unclear yet whether the device comes with a knife so you can pare your other index finger right down in order to use this tiny touch screen. Some say that people would never do something so excruciatingly painful just to look young and hip. We say tattoos.

It gets better. (Or worse, for anyone who reckons wearable technology has gone to a place beyond bonkers.) The iRing can be used to control other devices like iPads and iPhones. You point at them and click your fingers to issue a command. Just like an American in a restaurant, says you.

The iRing gives you voice-activated control of things like your central heating. You can imagine people sitting on the bus, issuing commands to their index finger when it starts to snow. One or two might ruefully add, “Is this really progress?” At which point the ring will probably reply, “Of course it is. Stop thinking about things too much. By the way, the chicks would love you in an iCar. We’ll throw in a free earring that can turn on the oven. That would make you happy, wouldn’t it?”

Not really. Walking over to turn on the oven is the only bit of exercise I get these days. Technology is making me huge.



You’ll see a lot of ads these days promising to speed up your smart-phone. Ignore them. Just follow this simple advice. Ditch your nerdy friend.

You know, the bloke who went from Skype to Snapchat to Viber to WhatsApp over a period of three weeks. In five years’ time he’ll have some syndrome named after him which can be cured with a course of electric shock treatment. In the meantime, your mobile phone seems to be going slower than an episode of Nuacht.  That’s because you installed eight instant-messaging apps so you could stay touch with His Nerdiness.  You’d uninstall them if it wasn’t for the condition known as FOMO. (That’s Fear of Missing Out. If you are not bothered by not knowing what FOMO means, then you don’t have it.) You need to ditch that nerdy friend before he makes that nine instant messaging apps. It shouldn’t be difficult. It’s not like he’s hard to contact.

Two problems remain. You still belong to 23 groups across four instant messaging apps. This is very dodgy, given the percentage of Irish people who reckon it’s a good idea to use your phone after seven vodkas (100 pc). The bad news? It’s only a matter of time before you send a photo of your genitals to your three aunts in Roscommon who never married. The good news. You live in Ireland and everyone involved will pretend it didn’t happen.

There is another issue. These apps are now being actively targeted by scammers. Viber users recently got a message saying they had won a new smartphone and all they had to do was pay a small admin fee to collect their prize. It didn’t work here. There are only two classes of people who insist you pay arbitrary admin fees in Ireland — bankers and gangsters. Actually, make that one class of people.



I would like 40 million people in India to open up Facebook one morning and say, “I bet the Irishman was not expecting that to happen when he proposed to his girlfriend on that big cliff?” Is that your lifetime ambition? Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Why would you bother making an eejit of yourself on X Factor, when global fame is just a mildly clever YouTube video away? The funny marriage proposal one is probably over done at this stage. Even if you make it look like your girlfriend was blown off the Cliffs of Moher at the vital moment. And then turn to the camera and say “ah shure, easy come easy go” before heading off to chat up a hot looking Spaniard. (We’ve all been there.)

There is one way guaranteed to make people sit up and take notice in this country. Mammy. Baz Ashmawy shows it how it’s done in his TV series, 50 Ways to Kill Your Mammy. It’s an international hit, even in countries where it is considered creepy to be obsessed with your mother (i.e. everywhere except Ireland and Italy).

You’ll need to combine Mammy with a hot topic. Why not try polysexuality? (I did, says you, but it wasn’t for me.)  Just make a simple video where you tell Mammy that you’re polysexual. She will almost certainly reply, “What, you mean like a horny parrot?” Look at you, the talk of Bangalore, for 15 seconds.

A word of warning. Cut out the bit of the video where she asks if polysexual is the same as bisexual. In fairness to Mammy, that is a reasonable question. But the polysexual community (i.e. anyone under 26) gets very upset when you start using labels. And you’ll need them to share your video around the world. So just leave it end on horny parrot. The good news is you’ll be on The Ellen DeGeneres Show within the week. The bad news is the producers will insist you bring Mammy with you. And she’ll probably try and fix your fringe in front of 4 million Yanks. Ah Jesus, Mammy, stop!







How to Be a Better You

9 Feb

Let’s face it, you suck. Or at least that’s what a lot of people out there in the self-improvement industry would like you to think. Here’s my look at the latest diets, exercises and other fads that promise to help you be all you can be.


You might have heard of Mindfulness. It’s already popular with a lot of famous celebs. And Goldie Hawn.
A key principle is to focus on the task at hand and stop worrying about the future. It is the kind of Buddhism you can practise without other people sniggering at you for being a hippy. There are two sides to Mindfulness. The first is the mindful person, who takes eight self-obsessed hours to wash the dishes. The other side is his family and friends, who have to pick up the pieces because Mr Mindful forgot to pay the gas bill. As the Buddha himself might have said “Someone has to do the worrying. Just make sure it isn’t you.”
Another key principle is to avoid being judgmental. You can see how this might be popular with people who offer Mindfulness courses. Particularly because in some cases they are charging people hundreds of euro and then essentially telling them to chill out. You don’t want people rushing to judgment on that one. At least until you are well out of the hotel and back on the motorway towards your big gold house.
There is a never ending stream of people who will pay good money to hear they are doing it all wrong. Here’s your choice. You can be one of the 20 people sitting in the audience in your local hotel. Or you can be the woman they’re listening to. If you have chosen the former, then our agents are standing by to take your credit card details. If it’s the latter, well done. You understand what Mindfulness really has to offer. The only drawback is that it has been around now for a few years. A true guru will need to give it an upgrade. We recommend Double Mindfulness. It’s where you are truly present in two places at the one time. If nothing else it should be popular with parents of young kids.


You’re never going to make it without superfoods. Let’s start with a definition. A superfood is anything eaten by someone who thinks they are better than you. There is no need to ask what these foods are. The superfood devotee will list them out while talking down to you for eating cabbage. You loser. How can you live with yourself without eating a walnut, spinach, sweet potato and kelp salad with some kind of legume from Peru? (Peru is very now on the whole superfood front.)

A lot of people make the mistake of eating some superfoods. That’s all a bit 2013. The trick now is to eat all the superfoods. This brings us to aisle-rakers. If you see someone wincing and farting furiously while standing on one leg, that’s an aisle-raker. They have picked up every known superfood in the veg aisle at the supermarket and blended them into a smoothie. Who knows, the aisle-raker might have stumbled on the secret of eternal youth. But who wants to live forever when it means you can never be more than 30 seconds from the jacks. The kale and the ginger – together they were dynamite.
You want to be more choosy than the aisle-raker. The hottest super food right now is the acai berry. It has been shown to destroy cancer cells in laboratory conditions. So, some great news there if you live in a test tube.
Acai is pronounced a-sigh-ee, as against och-aye. Except in Scotland. The berry comes from South America and people who take it become incredibly confident about their future protect. So it has a lot in common with cocaine.
Still, with an impressive list of health benefits, eating acai berries is the ideal way to stuff it to blueberry fans. That crowd have had things their way for far too long.


And there were you thinking that ballet is for emotionally fragile Russians. This pilates-meets-ballet workout is the new thing. The barre here is the horizontal bar used in dance studios by ballet dancers. You lean on it while doing your workout. There is just one problem. Barre is pronounced bar. That’s grand for Americans, who don’t see anything wrong with telling people they plan to lose weight by leaning up against a bar. Unfortunately in Ireland people will reply “sure Jesus isn’t that how you put it on in the first place.” Likewise there isn’t much to be gained from telling people you are installing a barre in your house. Unless you want them to think you are a modern day Jack Duckworth. Which you don’t.
You could always try and pronounce it bar-ray in a bad French accent. If you want people to think you are about as sophisticated as an old bottle of Cinzano Bianco. Just pronounce it bar and get on with it. The ballet association will give you a bit of je ne sais quoi anyway. We Irish think ballet is sophisticated because we haven’t got a clue what’s going on and it’s popular with the French. The problem is doing it in public. You go along to your first class thinking I’m going to be all Natalie Portman in Black Swan. Until a quick look in the mirror confirms you are more Mister Blobby in a Tutu.
This might be a good enough reason to install a barre at home. If you want to save some money you could always re-purpose that thing you installed in the study to practise your pole dancing. All you ever got from that was a pulled hamstring and really creepy looks from your husband’s friend, Eric. You’re still trying to get over that.


Let’s be clear about one thing. A Mediterranean diet is not necessarily the food you eat while sitting next to the Mediterranean. There are no known health benefits attached to chicken and chips washed down with 18 pints of lager in Rinty McGinty’s bar on the Costa del Sol. Or as some Irish people call it, breakfast. A proper Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, fruit, nuts, olive oil and fish. It often features moderate amounts of alcohol consumed on a regular basis. That doesn’t mean a small glass of wine every half an hour. Ok? It doesn’t.
Now some hard truths. We’re always being told that the Mediterranean diet can add years to your life. A quick look at the latest Eurostat figures shows that an Irish woman can expect to live between one or two years less than her counterparts on the Med. That said, a lot of your Mediterranean mamas shrink away to nothing in later life. We’re not saying this is because of their diet. But do you really want to take the risk?
Irish men can expect to live about twelve months less than their pals down south. Fair enough. But is it really worth eating sheep’s genitals once a week just so you can have an extra year at the end of your life? Sitting around with a dodgy looking puddle by your ankles? You might want to think about that.
Here’s another thing. Your Mediterranean types probably get to enjoy that year sitting out in a warm breeze. Donal and Nuala will spend half of it in semi-darkness watching re-runs of Judge Judy. Is that any kind of reward for a lifetime of sardines? We doubt it very much. Here is our recommendation, plain and simple. There is only one way to enjoy the Mediterranean diet. And that’s sitting by the Mediterranean.


POUND is a workout you do with special drumsticks. And no, we’re not talking about Kentucky Fried Chicken. Sorry for getting your hopes up. The people behind it say you can burn off 600 calories by doing a pilates-style workout for 45 minutes, while drumming on the ground with specially-weighted, neon green sticks. If you think it is possible to do this and maintain your dignity, you probably need to look at some POUND videos on YouTube. The Americans are going mad for this workout right now. No surprise there. When did they ever care about looking foolish in public?
That said, you must give POUND a try. Why? Because self-esteem is a zero sum game. If a friend or relations feels bad about themselves, then your situation has improved without doing a thing. Telling someone you are all over a fad that’s hot in America will make them feel terrible about themselves. (Particularly since they thought they were cool for taking up Zumba.) Look at you there, self-improving like a boss.
First up, you need the drumsticks. You might as well buy the official ones, known as Ripstix. If you think these are very cheap because the founders of POUND are only interested in your health, we will probably never stop laughing at you. Let’s just say you won’t find them in a pound shop. Once you have the sticks, look out for POUND sessions here in Ireland or else buy the DVDs and do it at home.
The final thing to work on is your Eejit Drummer Face. Here is our 2-Step Guide. 1: Empty your mind completely. 2: Smile. 3: That’s it. Now you look like a proper drummer.


No, Crossfit is not the name given to a muscle-man with a short fuse because of all the steroids. But we’ve all met a few of them. Crossfit is in fact a rigorous type of bootcamp exercise regime that involves lots of jumping around, weights and lifting yourself up on bars. It’s popular with celebs like Cameron Diaz and Jessica Biel.
A large corner of the internet is now given over to Crossfit and its off-shoots. It’s the opposite of Fight Club. The first rule of Crossfit is you must always talk about Crossfit.
There are already a good few Crossfit gyms across the country. They’re tougher than your standard gym. You know the ones where 70% of the ‘fitness freaks’ turn up at 6:30 pm for a gentle treadmill jog while they watch Home and Away. (It’s a perfect show to watch with the sound down. You know the hot new teacher is hiding a shady past; Alf would like to get angry with a few idle teenagers but he’s too busy organising a search party; nothing good ever happens in ‘the city.’)
The membership at these places is about 100 euro a month. That’s pricy. But apparently Crossfit gyms are popular with police forces, so you might make some of that back on cancelled penalty points and fines. It never hurts to ask.
You might prefer to try Crossfit at home. The key accessory here is a pull-up bar which you place across a bedroom door. (They will be familiar to anyone who has scored with a well-toned culchie.) You might have noticed on your travels that pull-up bars are freely available in public spaces in cities like Barcelona and Sydney . There are no plans to install them here. Let’s face it, the only time they would get used is by people coming home from the pub. We’ve enough problems with A&E as it is.


Ever get the feeling your morning coffee would be better with a spoon of butter? Then this diet is for you. The guy behind it also says that training is stressful and should be kept to a minimum. See, now you’re all interested.
The Bulletproof diet is hot in the States right now. It is, according to its website, an abrupt departure from what is known as The Standard American Diet. This is a good thing, given what we know about the standard American. (Particularly after we sat next to one on a plane. Or under him, to be more precise.)
A key feature of the diet is you add something called Brain Octane oil and butter to your morning coffee. The diet also involves giving up all forms of bread, cereal, pasta and sugar. So you will definitely need to leave Ireland. It also proscribes a lot of grass-fed meat and wild-caught seafood. So you might want to win the lotto before you go.
Here’s the best bit. You’re not just watching what you eat when you sign up for Bulletproof. You are also becoming a biohacker. This is the good kind of hacker – not the kind who steals photos of celebs in their knickers. It’s a growing trend in America, where people get together to experiment with biology. With the Bulletproof Diet, you are effectively biohacking yourself. Amateur biologists experimenting on themselves. What could possibly go wrong? One theory is that this is the start of the path towards eternal life. Others worry that you could end up with seven noses. The choice is yours.
One other thing worth noting. The diet doesn’t just claim to make you thin. The science behind it also claims to make you smart. On the website, the founder claims he has improved his IQ by 20 points through bulletproof and other biohacking techniques. Maybe it will work for you. Although some might say that 20 points is a 100 pc jump for anyone who puts butter in their coffee. But there’s no need to be so cynical.


As in, for ya pleasure. Yes ladies, we’re talking about sex. This oil is all the rage across the Atlantic. Particularly since they tested it on a group of female volunteers in San Francisco who gave it a big Yes, Yes, Oh Jesus, Yes!
The idea is that you apply it around the genital area and wait 30 minutes before engaging in mind-blowing sex. (The 30 minutes wait is the key reason it’s not so popular with men.) Why can you only get it in California? Well, here’s the rub, so to speak. It contains cannabis. And is therefore only available to women with a letter from their doctor recommending the use of medical marijuana. (There really is no telling what the Americans will come up with next.)
It also contains coconut oil. We’re not sure yet if you can get the same affect using a joint and a Bounty Bar. We’ll get back to you on that one.
Obviously you are not reading anymore, because you are already googling “where can I get foria oil in south Tipperary.” Sorry, but it looks like you genuinely can only get the oil in California. It makes you wonder what was the point of inventing the internet if you can’t get your hands on dodgy sex aids from half way round the world.
Reviewers of the product have made two points. One is that they didn’t actually get high, but their vagina did. We’re not sure what they mean by that. But we are stuck with the image of giggling lady-bits. It’s difficult to shift. Says you.
The other point is the price. $88 per bottle. Sorry, if that’s an anti-climax. You might have to make do with Ireland’s current favourite sex aid. In fairness, there’s great value in a €6.99 bottle of wine.


You know what your problem is? You don’t have a machine to tell you what to do. Don’t worry, the nerds have you covered. They are designing a range of gadgets to boss you around in every aspect of your life. (And not just so the wife can have a week off.)
People who aren’t very good at making up names have christened this new phenomenon Coercive Tech. Maybe they should have called it Mildly Annoying Gadgets. Because it turns out our dystopian future is not like something out of a movie called When Good Robots Go Bad. (An army of cheeky robots are struck by lightning and turn out to be a right shower of bastards.) No, the future is actually getting a small electric shock from a wristwatch because you skipped the gym. That’s what’s on offer from the makers of the Pavlok fitness band. You’d wonder if they have nothing better to do with their time.
Another device — Darma — will nag you if you slouch at your desk all day. There is apparently no truth to the rumour that they have 15,000 advance orders from our civil service. Still, someone should probably look into that. Darma will also monitor your heartbeat and warn you when your stress levels are dangerously high. Think about that one for a while. You are stuck in a traffic jam, dying for the jacks because you had a kale and ginger smoothie, when the car in front of you breaks down. Suddenly, an app on your phone says “Your stress levels are dangerously high” in a voice that sounds a lot like Kirstie Allsopp. There’s the future. Loads of us in cars roaring “tell me something I don’t fucking know, Kirstie.”


Say hello to Garcinia Cambogia. No, it’s not a woman involved in one of Silvio Berlusconi’s bunga-bunga parties. Although we can see why you might think that. It is in fact a tropical fruit grown in Indonesia which might help you to lose weight. There is a real buzz around it right now. Although not the buzz people usually associate with diet pills. (Where you lost two stone because you went raving eight nights on the trot.)
It is rumoured to be popular with celebs like Britney Spears and Kim Kardashian. And who wouldn’t want to be like them? It’s not so popular with some scientific buzz-wreckers. They reckon there is no basis for the weight loss claims and there are certain side effects. For example, one report found that high doses caused testicular shrinkage in mice. This could put off a lot of men. On the other hand it could encourage anyone who suspects they have heavy balls. You never know with men.
Tea is a very trendy fat burner these days. Plain old Barry’s or Lyons still works for a lot of Irish people. You’d be amazed the amount of weight you’d lose when you sit down for a chin-wag. Chi Ya tea is a global sensation. We’re not sure of its weight loss credentials. But given that it’s quoted at one euro a tea bag on the internet, we’re pretty sure it will lighten your wallet.
Another option is pu-erh tea. Rumour has it that Victoria Beckham likes this. Rumour also has it that it tastes like poo. So maybe that’s why we never see her smiling.
Of course you could always just go for good old green tea. You’ll often see people order a pot of it in a Chinese restaurant after polishing off an 8000 calorie meal. It’s fair to say that particular green tea has its work cut out.


Get Nerdy – The Spoofers Guide

5 Dec

We live in the Age of the Geek. If you want to get ahead these days, you need to watch Doctor Who, claim that Michael Collins shared your taste for craft stout and know how to turn a Coke bottle into a chandelier. Relax, there’s no need to be an actual nerd.  My 10 Step Guide will show you how to fake it.


Get Obsessed

First things first. You’ll need an obsession.  A broad philosophy and general knowledge is so Last Year; it’s like ringing someone other than your mother on the landline. It’s a signal that you are the kind of saddo who watches back episodes of Who Wants to Be  a Millionaire on the Challenge Channel. That’s game over these days. You’re much more about the specialised subject in Mastermind.

Some reckon our new-found obsession with obsession is an attempt to replace the void left by religion. This notion lasts until your first time at mass in 15 years for the cousin’s wedding. That’s when you realise the church might not hold the answer to that large hole where your soul used to be. And not just because the priest tried to sneak in a second collection. Although mainly because of that. (Seriously Father, the church roof looks just fine to us.)

There should be no obvious ulterior motive when choosing your obsession. It is not enough to feign interest in the hope of meeting someone for meaningless sex. So that rules out samba dancing classes and tag rugby. Not to mention politics.

There is no point in faking an obsession if nobody knows about it. Facebook is your friend here, allowing you to share a link to pages with names like I Love Extreme Knitting. Now everyone knows you are a person of substance.  That said, under no circumstances should you become a Facebook friend with anyone on I Love Extreme Knitting. Unless you want to get closer to an emotionally fragile woman called Liz who has a t-shirt saying “I’ll have you in stitches.”

A word of warning. There is a good chance your parents will be alarmed at your new obsession. Mammy might even say “you’re turning into some kind of queerhawk.” That’s a clear sign you are doing something right.


Get Crafty

There was a time when the most ridiculed people in the world were members of CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale.) They were generally middle-aged, plump men from England who were easy to outrun. We know they were easy to outrun, because most people who met a member ended up making a run for it. Then the hipsters came along and called it Craft Beer instead of Real Ale. And now it’s the coolest obsession in town.

The most important thing about craft beer is not the taste. It’s actually the provenance. That’s the hipster word for history. So don’t be put off by a craft stout just because it tastes like rusty bananas and makes you fart like a prop forward. If you can say “apparently this is what Michael Collins drank five minutes before he was shot”, then that beer will make you look incredibly exotic. (As long as you can muffle the farts.) Here’s another thing – a lot of craft beers have outrageous names like the Archbishop’s Mickey. It is very uncool to laugh at such names. Nobody has ever laughed at the Archbishop’s Mickey. (Except his housekeeper, says you.)

Bear in mind that craft beers taste nothing like your average lager. The difference being they have an actual taste. That’s great if you want to enjoy them with some food. But not so good when you are trying to skelp ten of them into you, one after the other. Or as it’s known in some quarters, Saturday night. Don’t worry — the hipsters have you covered. The important word here is sessionable. That’s hipster-speak for a milder craft beer that you can skelp in to you. So here’s what to say when you wake up on the early-morning ferry to Fishguard, inexplicably dressed as a slutty nun.  “Enjoyed a fabulous new craft pilsner last night. Very sessionable.” Look at you all du jour and everything.


Get Foody

If we were writing this five years ago, we would have advised you to keep tabs on the foodies. That was when you could still have garnered maximum Nerd Points for your views on the clarity of olive oil from the south-facing hills around the Italian port city of Bari. (You might also have lost a few friends.) But it is now clear that the whole foody thing has disappeared up its own cupcake. Why? Pulled pork.

Pulled pork has been dominating menus for a couple of years now. That’s surprising given that it sounds like the name of sex act.  What makes it even more surprising is that pulled-pork tastes like, let’s see, nothing until you cover it with some kind of barbeque sauce. It doesn’t help that it looks and smells a bit like cat-food. Let’s face it — if pulled-pork is the best they can come up with, then it’s fair to say that the foody thing is done and dusted (with organic cocoa).

What happens next is what happens when any trend comes screeching to a halt. Irony. In other words, everyone heads back to the 1970s. So get ahead of the curve. Put on a cheese-cloth shirt with a pair of Dingos and start brushing up on your beef stroganoff. (Chances are the hipsters are already practising this in a disused warehouse off the M50.)

Remember, the language is all going to change. There’s no need for a commentary on the provenance of the Marie Rose sauce when you’re horsing down a prawn cocktail. A simple “Jesus lads, that fills the gap” will do the trick, as you wash it down with a few pints of Carling Black Label. (Or maybe a Satzenbrau for the lovely lady.)


Get Upcycling

If you think upcycling involves a bike and a hill then we’ve got some work to do. Upcycling is the process of turning discarded garbage into something new and hopefully beautiful. If you think it’s just a new word for recycling without the hippy connotations, then you are probably on to something. If you think it sounds like a trendy label the noveau poor middle-class are putting on Make-and-Do, you are definitely on to something.

As with all the obsessions here, you need to advertise that you are an upcycling nerd. No problem — there are plenty events around the country where you join fellow upcyclists. Under no circumstances should you refer to one of these events as a car-boot sale. A car-boot sale is a place where people off-load their garbage without any pretence they are some kind of artist. That’s not what we’re talking about here.

Upcycling is a great obsession for anyone who is good with their hands. Don’t worry if you’re not. It’s trendy enough right now that it’s also suitable for someone with ten thumbs. Roll an old wire hanger into a dodgy looking necklace these days and your friends will say  that you remind them of a young Salvador Dali. (Particularly if you know Louis Walsh.)

Therein lies the problem. Upcycling enthusiasts are very supportive of each other, because let’s just say a lot of them are delicate creatures who wouldn’t be a fan of the truth. So don’t get carried away with praise for your creations. Or else you’ll end up on Dragon’s Den trying to convince Duncan Bannatyne that your business making chandeliers out of old Coca Cola bottles is worth 40 million quid. “I’m out” says Duncan, before you open your mouth.


Get Fit

How do you mean you’re not preparing for a half-marathon? The world is dividing into two camps — miserable fitness freaks and contented couch potatoes. Unfortunately you need to sign-up for the first camp if you want to be a winner in the Age of the Nerd. Don’t worry, the endorphin rush will take some of the edge off your misery.

Fitness is no longer about losing weight or looking good. They have surgery for that. The new fitness is all about numbers. (That makes it as attractive to nerds as snapping a selfie with a cast member from the Big Bang Theory. Almost.) The most important number is the number of kilometres you ran before breakfast. That’s why you will often hear the following discussion between fitness nerds. “How you doing?” “15.7.” “Cool.”

Here’s the problem. As a nerd, you own a number of wearable devices connected to the internet. This is because you have fallen for Big I.T.’s business model, which is to make everyone buy the same thing three times. The default setting on these devices is “Tell all your Facebook friends everything about you do all the time.” Try that for a week and the only Facebook friend will be your mother, because she’s worried that you’re becoming a queerhawk.  Here’s a top tip. Your friends are not interested in your morning jog, unless you manage to take a selfie with Bradley Cooper. So change the setting on your smartwatch and smartphone app to “Stop bugging my friends.”

Here’s another tip. Make a video of the steps required to change this setting and post it up on YouTube. When it comes to nerdy points, that’s up there with knowing the name of Spock’s renegade half-brother. Off with you to Google his name now. Unless you know it. In which case you need help.


Get the Right Telly

Life was so much simpler in the past. You’d be having a nice conversation with someone when they’d casually mention that they like Star Trek. You’d leave. Not any more. Nerdy TV is so popular now that there probably wouldn’t be much resistance if Klingon was introduced for the Leaving Cert. If you doubt this, try walking down Grafton Street with a t-shirt that says “I Can’t F**king Stand Dr Who.” You’ll be surrounded by a gang of angry nerds in no time. And not just because you said Dr rather than Doctor. They’ll politely take a few photos and put them up on twitter with the message “Like, seriously. WTF.” That’s a shit-kicking in their world.

Sorry, but it you want to stay relevant, you’ll need to feign an interest in Doctor Who. That means watching every single episode aired since 1963 in case someone asks an awkward question. (You don’t want to be caught by the Daleks.) It will be worth it if you manage to you hook up with a nerd who was a job in IT. We hear some of them even get pay rises. Sexy.

The most accessible nerdy show is of course Game of Thrones. At least they throw in a bit of porn to ease the pain. Make sure to say that you have read all the books. If you can say that in the Dothraki language spoken by the self-righteous blonde one they call Khaleesi, you’ll be inducted straight into the upper echelons of Nerdish society.

There is another nerd-friendly TV show you might enjoy.  Getaways. That’s the travel show on RTE where Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain goes to some gorgeous sun-soaked resort and talks about the local history rather than the best places to get two free mojitos with your full-Irish breakfast. The nerds love that kind of a holiday. Almost as much as they love watching Aoibhinn in her bikini.


Get Genealogical

Genealogy is big for two reasons now. The first is the TV show, Who Do You Think You Are? That’s the one where celebrities say “oh my God” and pretend not to be ashamed that their loser ancestors never did anything to become famous. (Seriously, some of them didn’t even have their own game-show.)

The second thing boosting genealogy is of course our old friend, the internet. The problem with tracing your family tree 20 years ago is that it meant leaving your house. And then heading into the records office, where the nice old lady behind the counter was probably slap bang in the middle of a work-to-rule.  But now that he 1901 and 1911 census records are available on-line, you can stalk your ancestors without getting out of bed.

Be careful how you go. We’re all interested in our own families. Particularly when it comes to figuring out how much we might get in the will. But we’re even less interested in other people’s ancestors than we are in their kids. At least until they mention that their great grand-aunt was the first woman in Mallow to drive a car. Now you’re drawn into the new craze – Competitive Ancestors.

There is one trump card that beats all comers  — an ancestor in the Old IRA. Nothing is more exotic than someone who shot someone else for auld Ireland. Ideally you should be looking for an ancestor who was involved in the Easter Rising. That shouldn’t be too hard, given that half the country was involved by all accounts. Or you could always just say you found hard evidence your great-grand father was in the GPO in 1916. There’s no need to mention that he popped in during January to buy a stamp.


Get a  Side Project

The Age of the Nerd demands that it’s not enough to have a job. You also need a side-project where you get to pursue your passion. Make sure to tell everyone about your passion and insist it is not about making loads of money. Be prepared for them to reply “that’s just as well.”

The Side-Project is big now for a generation of disappointed nerds. They grew up with dreams of being the next Steve Jobs. They ended up working in technical support, trying not to say “it’s above the number 4 you dozy gobshite” to some guy in Iowa who can’t find the dollar sign on his keyboard. That’s disappointment for you.

Obviously the best side-project is an app. This involves a lot of dreaming of becoming the next Steve Jobs, with very little work. In fact, you don’t need to do any work at all. Just say “I’m working on an app right now with some American nerds, but I’ve signed a confidentiality agreement so I’m afraid can’t talk about it.” Excellent. One other thing. If anyone asks about your revenue model, say you haven’t got one. Because if it makes any money, then it isn’t really an app.

The other side project is to self-publish a book. Seriously, who needs some snotty intern in publishing house to tell you there is no market for an erotic thriller about two penguins that is full of typos? Being Irish you might feel an incredible urge to write a gritty story about unrequited love in 1950s rural Ireland. Fair enough, it’s your passion after all. But this is the Age of the Nerd. So don’t forget to add in a couple of gorgeous teenage vampires who are friends with benefits. And maybe a dog with super-powers. Nerds love super-powers. If only they had a few themselves, they would ask Katy Perry to marry them.


Get Current

Some bad news. Politics is back in vogue. There was a time when shows like Tonight with Vincent Browne were for angry old men (and we’re not just talking about the host). Younger people were attracted by more substantial shows like Celebrity Love Island and The Real World. Not any more.

In fact, there is disturbing evidence on twitter that large numbers of young people are watching current affairs programmes when they should be out trying to get off with absolutely everyone. After a brief fun period, it looks like the swots are firmly back in control. That’s what happens when you tell your children you won’t love them if they fall short in the Leaving Cert.

This wouldn’t matter any other time, but it looks like these political nerds will shortly be our masters. They might seem ridiculous but you don’t want to get on the wrong side of the Nerdisentia either. So here is a quick guide on how to fake being a political nerd.

If someone says “we are at a watershed moment in Irish political life” you must agree. That’s the consensus and you’d be a fool to argue with it. Even if we haven’t seen an original thought in Irish public life since someone said “did you ever consider going in to the auld politics” to Brian Boru.

The other key to staying on-side with the Nerdisentia is to remain in a state of Extreme Outrage at the treatment of women. You don’t really have to do anything — just retweet the odd Guardian article about the shortage of female CEOs and say “this makes me sob of into my Fairtrade coffee.” You’ve hit a few right-on sweet spots there.


Get Sporty

There was a time when nerds had no interest in sport.  That’s understandable, given the nightmares they still have about Sports Day at school. But sport isn’t just about playing or watching any more. It’s also about numbers. Here come the nerds!

What do you see on screen when a player is substituted in the English Premiership (other than his tattoos)? You see the distance he ran, the passes completed and a bunch of other meaningless numbers that make you long for the good old days, when someone would just say “the lad done good.” You might also see some pundit say, in all seriousness, that Christian Ronaldo is only 75% fit. You might feel like asking where that figure came from. Don’t bother — you’re just raging against the tide.

The Yanks have had this obsession with sports stats for a while. We’re not suggesting this stat frenzy has led to a nation of super-sized, couch bound spectators— but have you ever tried to fit next to an American on a plane?

Unfortunately you’ll need a few sports stats if you are going to thrive these days.  Here are three for starters. 90% of people who can tell you Seamus Coleman’s pass-completed average know the price of everything and the value of nothing. 97% of nerds dream of taking over the body of Paul O’Connell and wreaking revenge on Fatty Callaghan for picking on them at school.  100% of people who make snide mathematical remarks when a manager says he demands 110% effort have never played sport at any level.

So there you have it. Anyone who says “I enjoyed that game” now will be dismissed as some kind of vague dreamer. You’re nobody these days unless you can rattle off the numbers. That’s the way things work in the Age of the Nerd. (96% of the time.)