Brand New Retro: 'Cheese is manfood. Serve a man cheese. And win his heart.'

Little Museum of Dublin’s latest show reveals "a pre-internet Ireland, another world where men had unfeasibly thick heads of hair and people took pills to put on weight

Do you like sexism? Do you think we need to get Ireland back to values that matter from, say, around 40 years ago? Do you look at Britain in the early throes of Brexit and think, while puffing on your pipe, that it seems like a smashing idea?

Then step this way, white, middle-class, leather-elbowed sir, we have just the show for you.

There is no reason for the rest of you to be alarmed though. Brand New Retro, everyone’s favourite repository of a time most of us would like to forget, is curated by Bryan McMahon. He is bringing part of his vast collection to the Little Museum of Dublin for an exhibition that looks at Ireland’s pop culture through the portal of magazine clippings and advertisements. It all starts in the glitzy optimism of the 1950s before winding towards a more sober take on life in the 1980s.

Of the selection, Little Museum curator Simon O’Connor says it “shows us a pre-internet Ireland, another world where men had unfeasibly thick heads of hair and people took pills to put on weight. It captures a nation trying to burst its way into the modern world, a society that is picking up the radio signals of American and British pop culture and transforming itself accordingly.”

Our favourites include Johnny Logan smouldering his way across the boot of an Opel Senator; the gang of no-good beatniks getting down with some topless painting in the ad for Dingos jeans (clothing filth merchants from Co Louth); and the Honda CB500 with its “thrusty four stroke”.

As for that sexism? There are the lads having pints and a good auld letch. There is the Triumph Spitfire that is “Strictly for the birds”.

But best of all is the ad that promises that “Cheese is manfood” and that the best way to “win a man” is to “use a little cunning. Serve a man cheese. And win his heart.”

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