The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Monday, January 18, 2016


Melia Paddy: Deceased January 2016. Irish theatre director, wit and impressario. In the 1960's he became well known for his productions of John B Keane dramas. During the 1970's he established Impact Films to distribute movies in Ireland. In search of a box office success, he gambled at the Cannes Film Festival purchasing the distribution rights to a film no one else wanted, a French weepie atrociously dubbed into English, called The Last Snows Of Spring. It became the surprise smash hit of the season with audiences queuing down O'Connell street in Dublin to see it. He also brought a series of blaxploitation movies to Ireland including the eponymous Cleopatra Jones which certainly created something of a cultural splash in a country largely unused to such fare. With profits rolling in, he built a magnificent house on a promontory above the sea in the fastness of rural Ireland, and decorated it in various shades of green. This uniquely Hollywood building in the heart of old Ireland was eventually lost in a fire. From the early 1990's he became an integral part in the revitalisation of drama (on and off stage) in County Kildare with a series of rollickingly comic productions that put moribund theatres in the towns of Kilcullen and Newbridge back in profit for the first time in decades. He once told me: "I started out poor. I became rich. Now I'm poor again." I was pleased he was my friend. Ar dheis De go raibh a h-anam dhilis.

Gruber Hans: Deceased January 2016. British actor best known for playing Alan Rickman in the Bruce Willis movie Die Hard. The movie is objectionably violent but still about the best terrorists-get-their-come-uppance film ever made. It is somewhat marred by the conventional formulaic fight to the death between Hans and Bruce at the end. But this is a quibble. Another nearly good movie that Hans made was when he appeared as himself in the Kevin Costner vehicle Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves. This was a classic nearly good film. Not nearly as good as Die Hard, you understand, but nearly good nonetheless. It fails for several reasons. There isn't enough wit in the script. The character played by Hans, the Sheriff of Rickmaningham, is brilliantly done though not as brilliantly as the conformist, taste challenged, pseud media critics are now suggesting. There is a misplaced evocation of supernatural evil in the Hans of the Robin Hood film. The movie's depictions of Hans' character's involvement with witchcraft are grotty and out of keeping with the discursive mood of the film. In any case Kevin Costner the co star, never matches Hans in the acting stakes. Not all Costner's fault. He is blown away by a lack of good lines rather than just a failure to assert himself opposite Hans. A Robin Hood with a Californian accent was always going to be a stretcher. The script was never solid enough. It did not have the verve or vitality of a truly well written film. The legend goes that many of the scenes involving Hans Gruber' Sheriff of Rickmaningham were actually cut because he was overshadowing Costner so much. This is not a fault in Hans' playing either. Bruce Willis had no problem with it in Die Hard. The weakness of the script, the limitations of the director and the insecurity of Costner (if the legend is true) probably debawled Robin Hood of it best moments. They should have tried giving Costner a few good lines rather than sabotaging their own product by concealing the treasures Hans had given them. Hans also did a turn in the Harry Potter movies but I could never accept him there as I kept waiting for him to snarl at Harry Potter: "Get me those detonators."

Bowie David: Deceased January 2016. English singer who had five good songs. The rest were fillers. Best known for Space Oddity and its follow up a decade later called Ashes To Ashes which I find just as eerily magnificent as the original hit. Now receiving slavish plaudits (apparently merely for dying) from the aforementioned conformist, taste challenged, pseud media. They should honour the man by taking a critical look at the louche destructive mores he often advocated to the detriment of humanity, vis a vis drugs and promiscuity. He's a big enough star to stand a good insightful opinionated scrutiny rather than the sad worshipful atheistic dross the newspapers are exuding over his memory. There should also be some assessment of the meaning of his occasional flirtations with fascistic imagery. In his early career he had a song called The Jean Genie which still works. In the eighties there was Let's Dance. His best work, in spite of its shamblingly amoral depiction of drug use, was a moment of pure poetry called This Is Not America, produced in collaboration with a combo called the Pat Metheny Group.

Craven Wes: Deceased 2015, American film director. Famous for a horror film in the 1980's that had a resonance in its evocation of evil that one liberal atheist described to me at the time as "a little bit too close to the bone." I would be concerned that Wes Craven knew more about those things than he should. I thought his film was very damaging.