Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Silvio’s back

You can’t keep a good man down. And, it seems, you can’t also keep Silvio away from a bun-fight. After telling the world that he had enough in June, the dude is now back, Back, BACK! This is going to …

Mon, Sep 14, 2009, 09:40


You can’t keep a good man down. And, it seems, you can’t also keep Silvio away from a bun-fight. After telling the world that he had enough in June, the dude is now back, Back, BACK! This is going to be better than the Orbital reunion. No, scratch that, this is going to be better than the Planxty, Horslips, Thin Lizzy AND Moving Hearts reunions.

What Silvio brings to Lisbon Two is the kind of razzle-dazzle which has been sorely missing from this whole darn campaign to date. Yes, yes, yes, he also brings a heap of unanswered questions from the last time around about where the money is coming from, the complete failure by Silvio’s Libertas nutters to be taken seriously by any European electorate back in June and the feeling that his much vaunted organisation is really just a vanity project to keep him out of the office, but let’s leave keep our eyes on the showbiz side of things for the next few minutes.

So far, Lisbon Two has been as exciting as watching paint dry on one wall while taking wallpaper down from another wall. The No side resemble the MK Dons of political activism – poor Joe Higgins in a muddle over two words in the Treaty, the daft-as-a-brush muthas in Coir, the increasingly irrelevant Sinn Feiners, the Al Murray Pub Landlord characters of the UKIP (the latter two being the sort of bed-fellows to make any well-meaning Irish patriot turn over and groan in the grave), Jim “I Hear Things” Corr and various other luders. On the Yes side, you have the mainstream political parties behaving themselves for once, assorted businessmen in ill-fitting t-shirts and lots of that fuzzy, huggy, feel-good, smiley activism last experienced when Ken Kesey was loading up his bus. There has been very little friction or buzz and certainly nothing to make you look forward to the next Lisbon debate with any sort of relish.

Enter Silvio. Like a Gideons bible evangalist clutching his wares, Silvio naturally brandised a copy of the Lisbon Treaty for the cameras at every opportunity at his comeback love-in at Dublin’s Shelbourne Hotel yesterday. Under a series of oil paintings depicting various battlefield generals from the 1700s on and off their horses (there was a subliminal message in that juxtaposition, but I’ll leave it to the conspiracy theorists to untange it), Silvio said his piece and the assorted media folk rubbed their hands with glee. Don’t worry, they did this under the long table so you couldn’t really see it on TV, though RTE News deadpan commando David McCullagh could barely disguise his toothy grin. It’s showtime, baby.

For proof of this, listen back to Silvio’s phone call to the Marian Finucane Show yesterday morning. The first 30 minutes of the show had featured permo-no dude Robert Ballagh droning on and on over the airwaves. Like a small child complaining that he didn’t get the last Rice Crispie bun after scoffing two dozen of them, Ballagh kept whining that people weren’t discussing the real issues. Of course, the reason for this glaring lack of discussion came down to the fact that they couldn’t get a fecking word in sideways with Ballagh foghorning on. Dude must take forever to get an aul’ painting done at this rate. As radio goes, this was about as stimulating and original as a Chris De Burgh tribute band.

Enter Silvio and, bang, a different bunch of hackles are raised. While many of us disagree vehemently with every single word he has to say, Silvio gives the No campaign the kind of articulation and attention it has been missing for the last few weeks. He makes his points, he interrupts with aplomb and he cackles like the evil witch of the west. It’s box-office.

We await with interest to see who the Yes campaign will now send to man-mark him. Make no mistake, Silvio will get his own marker this time out. One of the successful traits of the Yes campaign on this occasion – well, aside from the fact that there actually is a Yes campaign on this occasion – has been their ability to call foul on various No campaign claims as soon as they are made. It certainly won’t be George Lee TD who will be given the job of shadowing Silvio (Lee sounded as clueless, inept and out-of-touch as he has sounded since getting elected when ear-to-ear with Silvio yesterday morning on the radio) so maybe it’s time to send in a hairy bacon bruiser like Dick Roche or, better yet, Willie O’Dea to get busy. Now, that will be fun.

Better still, let’s do the whole reunion gig right here in the middle of road. Silvio’s old mucker Naoise Nunn is now in the Impressario game and would be the ideal man to host Leviathan: The Headbangers Ball. Support from Chris De Burgh and Peter Crawley. Main draw Silvio v Dick Roche (no holds barred, mud provided). Music from Jim Corr. Croke Park anyone?