Tim McGarry: Van Morrison saga was parody says Junior — and over the years he has taught me plenty about that

I’m writing this column on Wednesday in the midst of our latest political ‘crisis’.

Thursday, 17th June 2021, 1:59 pm
Updated Thursday, 17th June 2021, 2:16 pm
Tim McGarry, who writes a column for the News Letter every other Thursday.
Tim McGarry, who writes a column for the News Letter every other Thursday.

I’m not saying Stormont will definitely collapse but it does look increasingly like a Donegal holiday home built with mica.

Power sharing is in a critical condition but our waiting lists are so long it will have to linger on for another year before it gets a hospital bed.

And when power-sharing does eventually make it to ICU it will surely to be marked ‘Do Not Resuscitate’.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Van ordered Ian to join him on the stage, shouting "Come on up Junior." Apparently Ian Paisley Junior doesn’t like being called 'Junior'

Meanwhile Ian Paisley would be pulling out the plugs on the life support machine and calling it ‘comedy and sarcasm’.

Ian described his antics with Van Morrison last week as “parody”.

Parody is defined as ‘humorously exaggerated imitation’ which I suppose could encompass screaming hysterical abuse at the one man who virtually everyone in Northern Ireland thinks is doing a great job.

To be fair, when I need advice on parody, satire, comedy and sarcasm the first person I think of is Ian Paisley Junior.

The Irish Language activist Linda Ervine also got an honour. She was awarded an 'Up Yours Ben Lowry'

Oh the laughs Ian has given us all over the years!

If only some of them were actually deliberate.

Ironically, of course, it is not Robin Swann who is dangerous.

It is Ian himself who is a severe danger — mainly to his own party.

As manager of Linfield, David Jeffrey beat my team Cliftonville more times than the Irish Language Act has been delayed

Van ordered Ian to join him on the stage, shouting “Come on up Junior.”

Apparently Ian Paisley Junior doesn’t like being called ‘Junior’ which is why I never call Ian Paisley Junior ‘Junior’.

I always call him Ian Og. ( Editor please put the fada over the O or it just looks weird).

Van was protesting about not being able to do live gigs.

Martina and Elaine Kelly spent five years training to be nuns before their Order was closed down in 2019. So how do two ex-nuns get their day in? Well they become pilgrim guides

Surely Ian could organise a tour of Sri Lanka and the Maldives for him?

The Queen’s birthday honours list was released last week and I regret to say that I have been scandalously overlooked for an honour yet again.

I write for the News Letter.

I mean Jesus Mary and Joseph and the wee donkey!

What more does a papist need to do?

Surely that deserves at least a CBE.

Many people from a nationalist background used to be openly hostile or at best ambivalent about receiving royal honours.

Some people have a genuine moral dilemma accepting an honour relating to the ‘British Empire’.

I mean who has an empire in 2021?

Apart from Jeff Bezos.

The honours system is clearly arbitrary, inconsistent, non-transparent and open to abuse.

On the other hand, a free day out in London would be great.

Whilst I was wilfully overlooked a number of undeserving wasters were honoured including a friend of mine, Paul Caskey of the Integrated Education Fund.

Basically if you think schools shouldn’t be segregated, they give you a medal.

Paul got an OBE for his tireless advocacy for integration and he genuinely deserves his award although his main achievement is to get me to do free gigs for him.

My agent hates him.

The Irish Language activist Linda Ervine also got an honour. She was awarded an ‘Up Yours Ben Lowry’

And David Jeffrey got an MBE.

As manager of Linfield, David Jeffrey beat my team Cliftonville more times than the Irish Language Act has been delayed.

But even I couldn’t begrudge him his award. He is a giant of the local game and his emotional response, his obvious pride and his moving tribute to his parents were truly heart-warming.

And, apart from my late mother, he is the only person in the world who insists on calling me Timothy.

Well done Davy.

• They had prayed to the weather God – Barra Best

When doing stand-up several years ago I used to say that our politicians were so bad that they had turned the BBC’s political correspondent in to a nun, just to get away from them.

Of course Martina Purdy had a vocation but it seemed to me that she preferred to live in silence in a convent rather than have to listen to our politicians blaming everybody but themselves for whatever crisis they had manufactured themselves.

Martina and ex-barrister Elaine Kelly spent five years training to be nuns before their Order was closed down in 2019.

So how do two ex-trainee nuns get their day in?

Well they become pilgrim guides.

Martina and Elaine now run the St Patrick’s Way walks from the St Patrick’s Centre in Downpatrick.

I spent an extremely pleasant day in their company on Monday.

They are a kind of vertically challenged holy double act — Little and Short.

They run a series of walks.

I did the six mile one along the gorgeous County Down coast from Ballyhornan to Ardglass.

The scenery was stunning, the company was great and the crack was excellent.

Martina and Elaine had clearly prayed to the weather God — Barra Best — as he arranged the perfect conditions for a relaxing dander.

The walks are open to people of all religions and none, which is just as well as I’m firmly in the ‘none’ category.

Some people will find it a spiritual experience.

All I can say is that for several hours I didn’t think a single negative thought, nor did I think a single thought about our local politics — and that is surely a gift from God.

Do yourself a favour and sign up for a walk @saintpatrickcentre.com*

( I promise I’m not on a commission. I wanted to be, but the bloody nuns wouldn’t let me)

——— ———

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers — and consequently the revenue we receive — we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Alistair Bushe

Editor