Twenty Major's last post

 

SMALL PRINT:HIS TAGLINE was “still smoking in Dublin bars” but he’s no longer blogging in them. Twenty Major, Ireland’s most infamous blogger, has hung up his keyboard ending a seven-year stint of delighting and disturbing the tens of thousands of readers he accrued online.

Twenty’s crude nihilism endeared and offended in equal measure, mixing a heady cocktail that traversed Joyce via Withnail and I, as he charted the adventures of his friends Lucky Luciano, Jimmy the Bollix, Stinkin’ Pete, Hairy Mickey, Splodge and Dirty Dave as they shot the breeze in Ron’s Pub, with occasional appearances from his dog, Bastardface, and cat Throatripper.

He became an unlikely darling of the Irish blogosphere and the anonymous poster boy of online Irish writing.

His dominance at the Irish Blog Awards, netting seven trophies in three years, led to him ruling himself out of nominations by 2009. By then, he’d almost outgrown blogging, having become the first Irish blogger to sign a book deal in 2007. The Order of the Phoenix Park was published by Hodder Headline in 2008, followed by Absinthe Makes The Heart Grow Fonder published by Hachette Books a year later.

Last week’s final post, titled Do Not Insert Coin, gave a simple farewell – “I’ll miss the chat and the laughs but that’s life” – followed by the inevitable use of the C-word, which was in many ways his trademark.

The retirement of possibly the finest writer in Irish blogging leaves a substantial deficit in a genre that has also lost its award ceremony when founder of the Irish Blog Awards Damien Mulley recently announced he would no longer be holding the event.

As for Twenty’s next move, he remains active in the retirement home for Irish bloggers that is Twitter, and hopefully creates a gap for some new prurient genius to fill.

Una Mullally

Beer, lemonade, doughnuts - and other ill-advised diets

SIMON HARRIS, a 30-year-old web designer from Newcastle, Co Wicklow, claims he has just lost one-and-a-half stone (9.5kg) on “the lemonade diet”, a liquid fast which supposedly cleanses the body of toxicity.

For 10 days, his sole source of energy and nutrients was a drink made from freshly-squeezed lemons, purified water, maple syrup and a dash of cayenne pepper – topped off in the evenings with laxative tea.

Though Harris “nearly cracked” on day four, his stockpile of maple syrup compelled him to see it through. Now he’s glad he did. “People at work said I look brilliant,” he says. “The danger is: how do you get back to eating? Right now I’m battling with that, trying not to stuff myself.”

Lent can bring on a bout of extreme dieting – and not necessarily in a good way. The allure of a quick fix draws some towards the unconventional, even the unsafe, in a bid to shed pounds. Iowa blogger J. Wilson is on a 46-day diet of water and beer, inspired by the Trappist monks of Germany who, over 300 years ago, drank calorie-packed doppelbock lager during Lent.

So far Wilson has, perhaps unsurprisingly, experienced headaches and a diminished interest in beer. But though he claims his four-a-day regime is a “historical study” rather than a way to take the edge off his job as a newspaper editor, he says he’s lost 6.8kg.

Even more extreme was a 10-week diet of Doritos, Oreos, doughnuts and Twinkies undertaken by Mark Haub, a nutrition professor at Kansas State University, last November. His theory was that calorie counting mattered more than nutrition.

By limiting himself to 1,800 calories a day (rather than the 2,600 a man of Haub’s size would normally consume) supplemented by multivitamins and protein shakes, Haub lost 12.24kg. His “bad” cholesterol even fell by 20 per cent.

The permutations of novelty diets are endless. There’s sticking to one food type (eggs, pizza, bacon), pre-empting hunger by spoiling your appetite (drinking apple cider vinegar or olive oil), even combining daily hormone injections with a 500-calorie intake (as on one increasingly popular diet in the US). All of the above are irresponsible, unbalanced and short-sighted, says Dr Eva Orsmond, the nutritionist behind the Orsmond weight-loss clinics. Your body goes into ketosis (starvation mode) after three days, she explains, whereupon your appetite naturally vanishes and you begin to burn lean muscle. After five days, there are significant health risks.

“People are continuously trying to find a quick fix which does not exist,” she says. “I’d like to see one person who has lost weight with any of these diets while maintaining their health.

“They’re not sustainable and you learn nothing. Within three to six months, they will have put the weight back on.”

Cian Traynor