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Seamus The magazine for the modern Irish man

Weight Watching Diet groups aren’t just for women

Gadget Guilt

Will the recession force us to give them up?

Festival Fever We review the best, and the quirkiest

Going for Gold

Who are our Olympic hopefuls?

Interview: Mark Pollock The first blind man to reach the South Pole returns

JUNE 2012

EURO 2012: YOU TELL US YOUR TRAVEL PLANS


Welcome to Seamus We’re glad you could make it

S

Paul Hyland Editor

o here we are. You are now holding an insight into the Irish male of 2012. Well, according to what the male-dominated daytime MA in Journalism class thinks anyway! Within our group we have young and old, experienced and inexperienced. Weathered by life and with a contagious enthusiasm. We are single, partnered and married. We, as a collective, are all of these things. We are different and the same. The one thing we have; the one thing that is indisputable is that we are the Irish males of today. We have opinions about what it means to be the male of the species in the times of constant flux in which we find ourselves. As we’re told daily of our impending doom and our teetering on the precipice of disaster, we continue to live our lives. We like what we like, talk to who we want to talk to and, despite the grey clouds which have taken up residency overhead, even manage to have some fun from time to time. We are Irish. We are male. We are Seamus. For those of us who are sports fans, we have a fantastic two months to look forward to, and Seamus is there to get you to the start line. For the latest on our best Olympians, check out Danny’s analysis on page 18. If the Euros are your thing, Kevin has some invaluable advice on the do’s and don’ts from some Polish and Ukrainian locals on page 22. Yours truly has spoken to two of Ireland’s biggest football fans about their hopes and dreams for the tournament. They also have some pretty unique travel plans which will add to their European adventure. Give them a wave off on page 24. They say your health is your wealth. With the way our country is currently, it’s just as well. Mark gives you a heads up on how to keep your weight down with WeightWatchers for men. It’s tipping the scales at page 27. For problems below the belt buckle, we may not have the cream you need, but Alice can point you in the right direction on page 28. If you’re finding it hard to stay focused and your troubles are mounting, Mark Pollock has a dose of motivation waiting for you on page 10. Take his advice daily, and chin up. It’s good being alive in 2012, in spite of what you read in the papers. If you’ve got a time capsule, stick this magazine in and bury it (once you’ve read it to death, of course). When we’re long gone, the archaeologists will look back on the Irish male of 2012 and think to themselves: “You know what. These guys were pretty ok.” I hope you agree.

Editor: Paul Hyland (@pauliehyland) Deputy Editors: Kevin Fagan (kfagan10@hotmail.com) Niamh Kirk (@NiamhKirk) Chief Designer: Mark Commins (@markcommins)

The

Team

Chief Subeditor: Rónán Hutchinson (@ronanhutchinson) Assistant Designer and Subeditor: Neil McCann Advisors: Janice Gaffey, Lizzie Gore-Grimes, Darren Hughes, Paula Mullooly, June Wright

On the Cover Weight Watching

p 27

Gadget Guilt

p 12

Festival Fever

p 16

Going for Gold

p 18

Mark Pollock

p 10

Image: iStockphoto / Thinkstock

Contributors: Conor Boyle Mark Commins Kevin Fagan Alice Hodgson (alice.hodgson33@gmail.com) Rónán Hutchinson Paul Hyland Niamh Kirk Eanan Lynch Neil McCann Danny Murray (@danjomurray) Brian O’Reilly (brianoreilly2012@gmail.com) Printed By: Spectrum Print Logistics Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure that all information is correct, Seamus can accept no responsibility for incorrect information. The views expressed in the articles contained herein are those of the contributors, and do not reflect those of Independent College Dublin. JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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Contents

Your Guide

6 People 6 Is chivalry dead? We asked.

7 Can blind love see past weight?

8 Booze-free banter. It’s true!

10 Mark Pollock inspires us.

We held an online survey, promised anonymity, and waited. The results proved interesting. Check it out.

Beer bellies and bingo wings. Most of us have them, but does anyone care? Alice and Brian weigh in.

Just how much do you need booze to enjoy a night out? The ups and downs of being sober and on the town.

We chat to Mark Pollock about his hardships and his never say die attitude. What can he teach you?

12 iWant it but can iAfford it?

12 Unplugging the Internet.

13 So close and yet so far.

14 Appy to make money.

Does being in recession mean that we need to give up on our gadgets? We delve into the facts to find out.

What if the Internet disappeared tomorrow? We list the 10 positives of living in a world without the web.

Apple products get a whole lot of things right, but what do they continue to get wrong, and why won’t they fix them!

Mobile apps are big business. All you need is a good idea and some knowhow. We’ll show you how.

12 Tech

26 Health

One to Watch: Travel 4

SEAMUS JUNE 2012

26 Making the gym fun.

27 Watching your weight.

28 Scratching that itch.

30 Aren’t you only gorgeous.

Going down the gym doesn’t have to be all sweat and no fun. There are characters all around you.

With the numbers of men who are overweight increasing, where can you go to shed those pounds?

Male sexual health is no laughing matter. Giving yourself a once over is easy and worthwhile.

Women have been using make-up for years. Marketers now want you to start. Are you going to bite the bullet?

24 European adventures. Liam Doran and Davy Keogh are following Ireland to the Euros. They tell us of their madcap travel plans.


Neil McCann asks . . .

22 Travel 22 Staying safe in Trap’s army. Are you following Ireland to Poznan and Gdansk this summer? We tell you what you need to do to stay safe.

18 Sport 18 Going for gold in London. Ireland has many potential medal winners heading across the water. We rate the best before the Games.

What have Irish men got that others don’t? Name: Roisin Glynn Age: 23 From: Clare “I could tell you a million things! Their sense of humour is very hard to find abroad. They like a good bit of banter. They are able to drink. They do have a good heart but sometimes they are a bit too laid back. They are not as in touch with fashion as they could be. A tracksuit and jeans can only go so far!”

Name: Gavin Duffy Age: 22 From: Clare

15 Music 15 Oxegen takes a breather.

16 Summer of festival fun.

We’ve been there, done that, and bought the plastic cup. Now on a year off, what were the highs and the lows?

There are a ton of festivals in Ireland over the summer months. We tell you about some of the best, and quirkiest!

“The women would have a lot to say about this. We’re up for the craic and a bit more laid back. We have a great heart.”

Name: John Robinson Age: 31 From: Mayo “A true Irishman always knows when it’s time to go home to see his mother. When an Irishman meets another man for the first time he’ll greet him as a man but not as an equal.”

Name: Danielle Mullane Age: 22 From: Limerick “Oh God, what will my Scottish boyfriend say? The charm, beyond a doubt. I’ve seen it. They’ll make you laugh. Other nationalities can be a bit sleazy. Irish lads will wait a while before they’re sleazy!”

Name: Bernadette Dunphy Age: 23 From: Laois

The word on the street

“I think they are deep. The ones I‘ve met anyway. They are of substance and of character. I have an Irish boyfriend. He’s not a typical Irish male. They are cautious, quite shy and a bit cowardly.” JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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People

Your Say

Is chivalry dead in modern-day Ireland? Online survay Survey: Eanan Lynch Image: iStockphoto / Thinkstock

I’d have to say yes. Men in Ireland are too consumed with making their mammies happy that they don’t pay attention to possible future companions.

Yes, it’s dead. Was it ever alive in modern-day Ireland?

Yes, unless they want to F%$* you!

Yep. Lads are so full of themselves. They think they deserve women.

59%

Not really. Unfortunately I think it’s somewhat on the decline, however that may be some way due to the fact that women are becoming a stronger, more independent sex than in older times.

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SEAMUS JUNE 2012

NO

79% NO

Nope. Women think it is. Then when a bloke is chivalrous, they think it’s because he’s after something. UNTRUE (a lot of the time).

No but a lot of guys could do with a refresher in it though.

It isn’t dead. Just less common, but women are losing their manners also. You don’t even get a thank you from some when you hold a door open for them.


The Battle of the Bulge Beer bellies and bingo wings – is love really blind? Seamus asks Alice and Brian for their views Words: Alice Hodgson

Words: Brian O’Reilly

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M

“What woman hasn’t perved over the lads in 300?”

iddle-age spread, it affects both sexes differently. The biggest enemy of the ageing woman is gravity. Yes, we men do suffer from the same pull downwards, but the effects are far more dramatic on the fairer sex. The arms form bingo wings, the neck begins to resemble a turkey’s and the boobs end up closer to the hips than the shoulders. That’s not to say that we men aren’t immune to ageing either, and the effects are also significant. That lush head of curly hair becomes a dodgy comb-over. The six pack that took countless hours in the gym becomes a beer belly, brought on by a different type of six pack. And, well, let’s not forget the moobs.

Marriage

Image: iStockphoto / Thinkstock

s Peter Andre slid his hands over his greasy six-pack and splashed through the ocean to his hit, Mysterious Girl, I was flummoxed. Even as a nine-year-old I was resistant to the popular allure of oiled, ripped bodies – they looked silly. I like to think that not a lot has changed. It’s easy to believe that we’re immune to the shallow yearnings for a ‘perfect’ partner. That said, what woman, in all honesty, can say she hasn’t perved over the mind blowing bodies of the lads in the movie 300? While I’ll stubbornly shake my head at the suggestion that these sculpted physiques are preferable to my partner’s, if one of these burly fellows were actually on the market and attainable, would it be a different story? Dissatisfaction with your other half can creep up from time to time, and it’s hard to know how it will manifest itself, or how we’ll react when it does, especially if age and physical appearance are the issues that start to cause couples to squabble. For those who don’t care about looks, they can drift on through life, indulging in the comfort of her bingo wings and his beer belly, while paying no heed to the fragility of some other relationships. For love to conquer all would be great in theory, but the reality is that love can be fleeting. It’s not love being blind that allows for saggy arms and squidgy bellies, it’s a mutual, mellow acceptance. There is no magic injection that can vaccinate us against the superficial yearnings for the firm and perfect bodies that we see on our screens. As I looked on at Peter Andre with a childish disdain, I was already utilising my ability to distinguish between what could be good for me, despite popular opinion. I’m not sure all conquering love is something I’d wish for anyway, despite my bingo wings.

Let’s be honest, the old adage about men ageing better is true, so we have less of an excuse. The husband, tired of his middle-aged wife, will wish he had Georgia Salpa or some malnourished 20-something on his arm. Women don’t even need to look beyond those in middle-age – George Clooney, Pierce Brosnan and even Sean Connery still retain the allure they always have. So does love really conquer all? Can we really see past the physical changes? The romantic view is, of course we can. Most marriages fall apart in the first few years, usually before nature has taken its cruel course. There are many happy middle-aged couples who are still madly in love, despite comb-overs, bingo wings and all. Of course, there is an equally cynical view to balance this. The reason couples stay together longer, having hit middleage, is simple – nobody else wants their saggy, age-ridden bodies, so having another fellow ‘victim’ to cuddle up with perhaps provides some form of comfort. There’s a form of mutually assured destruction – “If you leave me, I may not find anyone else, but neither will you, you fat fossil.” All things considered, I think I take the romantic view. I have to. None of us are immune to middle-age spread. It’s just a matter of time! JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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People

Social Thinking

Off The Drink A night off the booze isn’t such a bad thing every once in a while. Here are some of the reasons why

Words: Paul Hyland, Conor Boyle & Rónán Hutchinson Image: Stockbyte / Thinkstock

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SEAMUS JUNE 2012


Going the distance and paying the price So usually I dance . . . a lot. My body appears to take on an unhealthy flexibility that I can never replicate sober, or maybe it’s because I never feel the need to. And there you have it. A short, succinct summary of drunk Paul vs sober Paul. My sense of humour is dubious and infantile at the best of times so there is little to distinguish here, apart from whether the usually unfunny vulgarity is accompanied by Stallone-esque slurring. North County Dublin is not small, but it is far, far away. Living there, I’ve found myself driving to an increasing number of social occasions. Large bottle of mineral in hand, thoughts of nibbles remain my best hope of gleaning any kind of enjoyment from the night out. At house parties, where I have yet to find myself ever dance - even when in my flexible state - this makes me even harder to spot. Should I remain perfectly quiet in response to the jokes that you believe to a) make sense and b) be funny, well then you’ve cracked it. I’m sober, and more often than not, I’m not too happy about it.

Do I get grief when I don’t drink? Rarely. Unless you count the grief I give myself inwardly each time the cocktail sausages have been packed away and all I have to look forward to for the rest of the night is not laughing at the jokes I’ve been told. I usually stop short of self-flagellation with thoughts of a previous drink fuelled excursion which saw me attending a BBQ in Dalkey. I proceeded to drink every one of my cans before the cooking had even started, rendering me drink and sausage-free in equal amounts. Slurring my excuses, I made my way to the DART. What never fails to keep me awake on the train home is my music. The music on my iPhone. The iPhone with the dubious battery . . . which ran out . . . which caused me to fall asleep . . . and which caused me to wake up in County Louth. It was the early hours before I presented myself with a “Honey I’m home,” having spent over €100 on a taxi for the pleasure. Carlsberg don’t do crappy drink-fuelled nights, but if they did . . . Paul Hyland, North Dublin

Want to save money? Stay off the booze As someone who would describe themselves as “not a massive drinker,” nights not drinking have never been much of a problem. I am not a big fan of beer. There is something about the taste when it hits the back of my throat that makes me feel a bit sick. I usually stick to the cider — not the really crap stuff, but the good stuff — Bulmers. But let’s face it. For a long night drinking with the lads, this isn’t exactly the cheapest of options. Nevertheless, it’s my poison of choice. Even when there are special promotions on other drinks, I hold off, until I move onto spirits, that is — Jack Daniels, or maybe vodka. JD is probably my favourite tipple but I wouldn’t drink it the entire night, unless I had a death wish. If drink is off the menu completely on a night out, I usually console myself with 7-up. Sticking to soft drinks isn’t really that much of a big deal for me. If money is in short supply, it’s by far the cheapest option. In my usual haunt a Bulmers costs me just over €4 whilst the 7-up is nearly half that. A JD will knock me for €3.20 and that’s without a mixer. On an average night drinking, I’d

rarely down more than three bottles of Bulmers and two JDs. Having the same night out without booze easily saves me €20. For a student this is quite a significant saving and whaddya know, I can still remember what happened the morning after the night before. Sticking to minerals, or even the dreaded tapwater, a night out in a city centre can end up being as cheap as chips, not forgetting, of course, to leave money for said chips. After all, what night would be complete without them? My group of friends are used to me not being a big drinker, so it comes as no big surprise to them. By my own admission I am something of a lightweight when it comes to drink. It makes me feel quite tired and hunger usually follows (hence, the chips) — none of which are ideal symptoms when out for the night. Like many others, the morning after can be even worse, but I don’t want to put you off your dinner. And to those who say you need to drink to enjoy yourself, maybe I’m just one of the lucky ones. You can’t beat having a great time while saving money. Conor Boyle, Derry

High spirits on booze-free nights out Personally I have never been someone who needs to drink on a night out to enjoy themself. I’ve gone off it a few times — sometimes for months at a time — but traditionally the people I’ve been out with have not been too supportive. In the past I’d received reactions like “you’re so rude for not drinking” or “how’s that sobriety working out for you?” etc. I remember one night in particular when I went out without drinking — a house party last December. There were people at the party that insisted I was being rude for not drinking. The consensus there was that I was being antisocial for not drinking; I won’t be in a rush to see them again. The last time I stayed off the booze, however, I didn’t get any of the usual jibes over not drinking. That night was full of the usual banter you’d expect. Everyone was in good spirits (no pun intended) and they didn’t make me feel like a leper for not drinking. After I’d had two pints of Coke I was definitely starting to feel giddy, probably more

so than any of my friends that were drinking. Starting to behave like a bold five-year-old, I switched to water. Sugar has a lot to answer for where I’m concerned. If I had been drinking, I would’ve made sure that rounds of shots were had every few hours. But because I was sober, I wasn’t really prepared to shell out for everyone else to spend the next day wrapped around a toilet bowl. That didn’t stop me from egging them on every five minutes to get another one for themselves, of course! It still turned out to be a great night. Everybody seemed to enjoy themselves and it was filled with the usual banter and slagging that goes with it. And the best part? At the end I could just jump into the car without any need for a taxi. I have come to the conclusion that for me at least, a good night out is a good night out. You don’t need a skinful to be able to enjoy it. All you need is good company and a location that lets you act like a bold child. Rónán Hutchinson, South Dublin JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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People

The Big Interview

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Standing Tall: The Man Who Won’t Be Kept Down

ark Pollock was flying high. Work in an investment bank loomed as he finished up his Business and Economics degree in Trinity. Away from academia, rowing had largely been his life. Having taken the prized Gannon Cup back off of University College Dublin in the midnineties, the ex-Trinity College Dublin rower had been Captain as they completed the hat-trick in 1997. There was to be no four-in-a-row for Mark in his final year in college, however. Fifteen years later I met him on the water’s edge as he cheered on Trinity’s rowers of 2012, through eyes that can’t see and on legs that he can no longer feel. Despite being sworn enemies on the day, both colleges had joined together to help raise funds for Mark’s ongoing rehabilitation. Imagining the feelings of loss that the day’s boat race must have conjured up, I felt sorry for him. During the course of our chat, however, it would become clear that it would be the last thing he wanted. Born in Holywood, Co Down, in 1976, Mark had put his small town on the map long before Rory McIlroy golfed along. At just five years of age, eye problems had caused him to lose the sight in his right eye, but life went on, albeit with the later avoidance of contact sports in order to preserve his delicate, but stillfunctioning, left eye. His pragmatic approach to his visual self-preservation was to come unstuck when he lost his sight completely, aged 22, just two weeks before he was due to race in his last Gannon Cup. “Before I lost my sight, I had a particular life, and the life that I was leading was fulfilling, was exciting and I felt was worthwhile,” he tells me.

Adventure Seeker

Mark Pollock will be one of the carriers of the Olympic Flame through Ireland this summer. This is just the latest adventure for the man who continues to overcome life’s hurdles. Words: Paul Hyland Photos: Courtesy of Mark Pollock

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SEAMUS JUNE 2012

Mark’s post-sight life could easily have been viewed by outside parties as being more exciting than it had ever been before. In 2002 he won silver and bronze medals for rowing at the Commonwealth games before his profile increased even more to include adventure athlete, professional speaker and author. For you to view Mark’s adventures with envy is only appropriate if one of two things is true: you, too, are blind or you would, for some reason, be willing to trade your sight for what Mark’s life had since become. “I certainly don’t thank the blindness in any way for sending me on that different track. I would much prefer to be able to see, even today,” he says. Despite this, he made it work, creating a brand that was him, that was his story, and, perhaps, most marketable of all, was his outlook. “After I went blind I went on a particular path, which was doing all those adventure races and taking part in experiences to feel involved in life again.” Whereas we often hear of the heightening of one sense to counter the loss of another, Mark had instead heightened his awareness of life, and all it had to offer. In one of his last adventure races, he became the first blind man to reach the South Pole. You may have seen the


documentary on RTE entitled ‘Blind Man Walking’. By the time it aired on September 6, 2010, however, Mark could no longer walk. Just two months earlier, he had fallen from a second floor window, in a tragic accident which left him with a fractured skull, broken ribs and a broken back. His life had changed forever – again. “When I had my accident, I thought life was over,” he tells me of the event. “Combining the paralysis with the blindness, I didn’t know, and I perhaps still don’t know what the rest of my life will be like. I certainly had times when I wasn’t sure if there was going to be a life worth living. With the support of other people, I realised that it was still a worthwhile life to stay involved in.” Fighting endless infections kept Mark in hospital for a long time. First it was seven months in England before ending up in rehab in Ireland for a further eight months. Mark’s now-famous determination remained intact, however. “There was a need to explore what options were out there beyond paralysis to give myself hope that it could be different in the future,” he says. Pragmatism was also required in order to help maintain perspective. “It was very important to accept that I was paralysed; that I was going to be in a wheelchair and that I had to learn the skills to be as independent as possible as a wheelchair user. I had to accept that. That was the first step. When I started to be comfortable with that, I felt the need to give myself some kind of hope that something could be different.” It was this hope that brought Mark to the Project Walk Spinal Cord Injury Re-

covery Centre in California. Its exercisebased recovery program has helped him to prevent his tendons from shortening – a common issue experienced by wheelchair users due to their seated position. But wheelchair users spend the rest of their lives in seated positions, don’t they? Not if Ekso Bionics, a Californian company which develops exoskeletons, or robotic legs, have their way. Project Walk has allowed Mark to maintain the natural walking position required to allow him to stand straight within the robotic suit – and he has walked once again with its help.

Robotic Legs In February Mark successfully trialled the robotic legs, becoming the first person in the world who suffers from both blindness and paralysis to have done so. “There has to be a commitment within us as individuals, to want to move forward, and to try to take risks. To have a go and make things happen,” he tells me. The robotic legs still have some way to go before being completely fit for purpose, however. “The important thing with any new technology is that it doesn’t make the situation worse,” he says. Incredibly, Mark’s outlook regarding his paralysis is more positive than when he went blind. “You can’t train yourself to see again. In a sense that was easier. The choice was whether I was going to

Above: Mark (left) competing in the Everest Marathon Below: Mark (centre) when he rowed for Trinity College Dublin Left: Mark when he reached the South Pole

“I had times when I wasn’t sure if my life was worth living”

look backwards to a time when I could see or look forward to a life as a blind person.” Mark has some advice to readers of Seamus who are facing their own struggles in 2012. “While I was lying in my hospital bed, all the support showed me that I am not dealing with this on my own. I have never dealt with anything or achieved anything on my own. It may sound clichéd but it’s very very real to me. You have to make a decision to accept that help and that you need the help, which was difficult for me, and difficult for men in particular.” “There’s always lots of help around us but it’s a question of putting your hand up and saying ‘I cannot deal with this on my own’.” Truly invaluable advice from someone who knows. If you want to help Mark, you can donate via http://markpollocktrust.org.

JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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Tech

Customer Service

iWant it, but can iAfford it? The cash-strapped Irish may not be so hard up after all, as more and more continue to spend their money on luxury gadgets Words: Rónán Hutchinson Photos: Rónán Hutchinson Images: iStockphoto / Thinkstock

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ince the recession took hold in Ireland, hardly a day passes without the words bailout, troika, NAMA etc in the media. The curious thing — during this time of financial crisis where retail reports have indicated that people are not spending money is the number of people on the street using an iPhone or some other ‘smart‘ equivalent. What is striking about this phenomenon is their expense, with the iPhone and iPad costing hundreds of euro apiece. This still hasn’t stopped consumers, however, in spite of the current economic climate. The new iPad, which was released in March, once again brought people out in their droves on launch day. The iPad is the most expensive tablet currently on the market. Yet despite its exorbitant price tag, people were still queuing outside the Apple retailer on Grafton Street in Dublin long before 8am, which is when I arrived. I admit it, I’m a gadget freak too! By that stage there were about 50 people in the queue and by the time the store opened an hour later, they had been joined by another 30 to 40. Supply failed to meet demand, as some who had queued longer than I went home empty handed. Fortunately I still managed

net Inter oblems r P

Internet, schminternet. You don’t need it, and here’s a list of why

The Internet is a serious tool, giving you all the information you could ever want at your fingertips . . . and yet we insist on using it for shopping, Facebook, Twitter, porn and illegal downloading. Are we really benefiting? Danny Murray imagines life without logging on.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 12

No social networks, just social lives. Imagine the fun we could have meeting up, going out for pints and getting up to all kinds of hijinks . . . maybe actually poking someone and not just Facebook “poking” someone . . . The generation gap grows wider with every day. My Ma has “The Facebook” now; she’s trying to be a youngster again and uses things like “LOL” “OMG” and “The awkward moment when . . . ” only now, she posts on people’s walls calling it an “awksy momo”. Make it stop. Books and knowledge – people would read again. Properly. College students would actually have to look things up, and actually step into a library to learn . . . instead of using Wikipedia and claiming they went to one. No more embarrassing photos – we all have that one photo of us tied to a midget wearing a fake beard with our pants at our ankles, well I do . . . and it’s out there, somewhere . . . Piracy would still be limited to recording off the radio – there would be no SOPA or ACTA and we could all sit with two fingers hovering over play and record waiting for that song to start . . . innocent times.

SEAMUS JUNE 2012

6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Less broken hearts – let’s be honest, we’ve all engaged in the slightly stalker like activity of checking that one person’s photos and page over and over . . . imagine how easy it would be to forget them if it wasn’t there? We’d all be healthier – Internet + recliner + online takeaways = super huge morbidly obese people. Nothing wrong with having a chipper or Chinese, but there is a lot wrong when the heat of your laptop is making your ass groove kinda sweaty. GET UP, GET OUT! Internet Shopping – remember the good old days of going into town to get clothes for Christmas or whatever the occasion? Tickets for concerts didn’t sell out before you could click on the website. What you saw was what you got and it was a simple transaction. The Pink Evening Herald – oh it was a thing of beauty… every Saturday it would come out full of all that day’s scores and results. It’s no surprise the Pink Herald died when t’Internet really started to go high-speed, damn it! No more cyber-bullying – a huge problem in the land of the WWW. It’s far too easy for people to abuse online, in some cases even adults are guilty of this. For shame.


to get my hands on the version that I wanted. Others hadn’t been so lucky. When the iPhone 4 launched on July 30, 2010, Ireland was in the midst of the worst recession it had seen in almost thirty years. On launch day, however, retailers had queues out onto the street for several weeks afterwards. In shopping centres the queues were so long that in some cases they blocked the entrances to other retail stores. There were similar scenes when the iPhone 4S was launched last October.

Extremely Popular Debra, who works in a mobile phone store in Dublin and is an avid iPhone user herself, spoke to Seamus about the recent launch of the iPhone 4S. “It was highly anticipated. I think we had seven pages of people on a waiting list with about 20 people on each page,” she said. “Business was extremely busy, but we often ran out of them about halfway through the day, so then we would just be turning people away,” she continued. Ali, an American who recently returned home to the US after spending six years living in Ireland, has been an iPhone user for some time. “My employer at the time bought iPhones for all of the management staff. After using it for a matter of days, I was converted. I’d

never go back to using anything else.” Eoghan, a Dublin man in his midtwenties, has been using an iPhone for the past nine months. “I chose an iPhone because of the sheer number of available apps,” he said. Mary, a young woman from Cork who’s also in her twenties, is currently on her second iPhone. “I really like its design and ease of navigation. The iPhone has more features that I use regularly and is more easily customised.” The iPhone isn’t, however, the only handset on the market that has people shelling out large amounts of their hard-earned cash. Search giant Google has also started to challenge Apple in the smartphone arena by developing the Android operating system (OS). Android is similar to iOS, which is the OS used by Apple in all of its iDevices, and is now considered the OS of choice by a growing number of handset manufacturers the world over. No matter how bleak things appear to be in Ireland, it would seem that the public have no intention of giving up their gadgets anytime soon, despite the increasing pressures on their bank balances. Debra — who’s on her second iPhone — has no intention of giving up adding to her collection. “Am I waiting for the 5?,” she asks. “Yes.”

iPerfection? t Not quiteadyste when ill has issues

e new iP are sh player? Th wn to a hardw e Where’s the fla ing flash. This isn’t even do pl Ap n ee nn opinion betw it comes to ru iDevice difference of st a te d la ea r st ei in th t limitation, bu to run flash on ot being able and Adobe. N own. t-d u is still a real le That is, until yo unparalleled. nearly imposis ad iP w ne the en is The display on In bright sunlight the scre display appears rs. es, the ss la ng take it outdoo su g in landscape When wearin sible to read. mode but can still be used t ai rtr po blank in about. mode . . . just g an easy dandy. Havin would be just new iPad rt e th po f of SB d U an rd A standa fer media on ns ppy martra ha d un an e p th s locked in way to back-u er us g in ion. av at ic le ist, unes appl still doesn’t ex the dreaded iT d an em th is riage that ad. While m the new iP also absent fro ction kit available from Apis ot sl rd ca An SD m Conne iPad Camera and videos fro there is a €29 e user to transfer pictures SD an if t ea gr th en s ple that allow would have be the laptop isn’t to the iPad, it an SD card on ight into the device. Maybe stra slot was built yet! st ju ad de quite of its e same as that can u new iPad is th e yo th lt su on re rt a po r iDevices. As The charging and all the othe u’re out and about, unless yo predecessors n mhe w r a croppe to have the co still come up r. , just happens ge es ar at m ch ’ ur is th yo you, or one of o-one else but Apple uses , ‘n pletely unique

Queues in Dublin for the launch of the new iPad

JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

13


Tech

Tutorial

Money making Perhaps there’s an income lurking right under your fingertips Words: Mark Commins Photos: Mark Commins Images: iStockphoto / Thinkstock & Hemera / Thinkstock

I

f a 12-year-old boy from Cork can create one of this year’s best selling apps, PizzaBot - the Space Invaders like shoot ‘em up - then why not you? It’s a billion dollar industry and it’s there for any of us to take a bite out of. So where do you start? The two main platforms for app development are Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android. These hold a 30pc and 46.3pc market share, respectively. However, when it comes to apps, Apple has been favoured by developers. Stocked with over 500,000 apps — 25pc more than Android — the Apple store recently hit 25 billion downloads and offers a trusted and easy to use way to sell your app. Furthermore, apps will often appear on iOS first. Kieran Hamill, an app developer from Dundalk, County Louth, says; “Apple was first on the scene but, in my opinion, they also have the best development tools. So maybe this is why they are more popular with app developers.” Apple’s hardware is also quite standardised, while phones running Android come in all shapes and sizes, which can cause programmers difficulty. To develop an app for the iPhone or iPad, the first thing you’ll need to do is get an Apple computer, or “Mac” as they’re known, which start at €999. Next you’ll need to download XCode, Apple’s development environment. This is free, but before you can release your app for sale you’ll need to enrol yourself as an Apple Developer; “That’s another €79,” smiles Kieran. “It is important to keep note of expenditure,”says accountant Sandra Quinn. She reminds us that any profit earned must be declared to the revenue commissioners. “I would advise speaking

“Sometimes coming up with a good idea is nearly as hard as making the app” 14

SEAMUS JUNE 2012

to revenue and setting up as a sole trader or company. You’ll then need to keep a record of all your income and expenditure for the trade, and depending on your personal circumstances, tax may be due on any profits — while losses may be offset against other income or can be carried forward and offset against profits of the trade in future years.” If you decide to take the Apple route you will be predominantly using a language called “Objective C” to build your app. There are classes available from the likes of BigWave, which teach you how to use the programs needed. These can be expensive, however. Selftaught Kieran says, “You can find a lot of books on it and Apple provides some tutorials online. I have a programming background but I never worked on apps before.” Speed is also essential in app development, if you have a good idea it’s best to get it out there before someone else beats you to it. Once an app is complete it can be submitted to Apple for testing. This is a process all apps must go through to ensure they don’t contain any viruses, that they follow Apple’s guidelines and that they actually function as described. If passed, you then choose the price and the countries you’d like to sell the app in. Kieran notes, “Developing for Android would be quite similar except you don’t need a Mac and the language used is called Java.” All that’s left to do then is watch the money roll in. Whether you choose iOS or Android, they will take 30pc of the sale price, with the remainder being paid to the developer each month. “Sometimes coming up with a good and unique idea is nearly as hard as making the app,” Kieran laughs. “I’d suggest picking something you’re interested in for your first app. That way it should make it an enjoyable experience and hopefully your enthusiasm will pull you through.” As apps like PizzaBot have shown, it could be the start of something big.

Above: Kieran Hamill’s home office


Festivals

Can Ireland’s summer breathe without Oxegen?

Music

Looking back, my enjoyment of it changed for two very simple reasons – atmosphere and music – and it’s easy to see how the two affect each other. First: the music. During 2006-2009 or ‘the golden years’ as they have become known, Oxegen’s line-up was second to none. It was a proper music festival. The headliners were all superstars of the rock world. The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Strokes, Kings of Leon, Blur, The Killers, and Rage Against the Machine all headlined. That is a set of bands that would be the envy of any European festival. And they did envy us. Oxegen won the award for Best European Festival in 2008, beating off Glastonbury and T-In-The-Park.

Headliners

Seamus delivers an obituary for the twice-crowned European Festival of the Year

Image: Photodisc / Thinkstock

Words: Kevin Fagan

W

hen I first attended Oxegen as a wide-eyed 17-year-old in 2006, I was convinced there was no better place in the world. In 2011, as a festivalweary 22-year-old, I believed that the once great event of the Irish summer had been spoiled for me. Gone was the delightful mix of campsite craic and world-class rock. Instead, I felt that it had turned into an intimidating wilderness; crazy and drug-fuelled. I had felt that a nasty atmosphere had taken hold in the fields of Punchestown.

While it was the same venue, for me it bore no resemblance to the festival that I had gone to in previous years. Under these circumstances, I wasn’t sad to hear that this year’s Oxegen festival would not be going ahead. Organisers say it will return in 2013. I, for one, hope that its reappearance can rekindle the love I once held for it. In the past few years there has been a seachange in opinion towards Oxegen.  It was once the must-go event of the Irish summer. For me, it ended up being the must-avoid.

Then, in 2010, eyebrows were raised by Oxegen veterans when the headliners were announced. Alongside Arcade Fire and Muse, Eminem, Jay-Z and The Black Eyed Peas joined the bill.  Suddenly, I felt that the credibility of Europe’s top rock festival was under scrutiny. I feared that a totally different crowd would accompany the different headliners and it seemed to me that those fears were wellfounded. The atmosphere had changed with the line-up. And what of the atmosphere? During the golden years, the campsite at Oxegen was one of the giddiest, funniest places to be in the whole country. Almost everybody was friendly, and anyone who wasn’t was quickly turned by the sheer goodwill of everyone else. The atmosphere was perfect; it was a wonderful Irish weekend. Even sloshing through the horrendous mud of 2007 wasn’t bad. The camaraderie of people hauling each other out of the mud was infectious. Everyone had a funny story from during the night; Jimmy fell asleep in the nip, Johnny had a wash in the girls’ showers, etc etc. I myself had a penchant for donning a balaclava and pretending to be a friendly IRA ticket tout. “Anyone buying or selling weapons,” I would shout at the busy thoroughfare between Red and Blue campsites, before the balaclava was sadly confiscated.

Changed Atmosphere But the jovial nature of the campsite began to ebb away in 2010. My experience had changed. If it was trickling away in 2010, the magic had left for me in 2011. By the time the weekend was over, there had been 90 arrests in connection with the festival, including 28 for drug dealing. There were also eight arrests made for assault, 12 for theft and 15 for drunk-driving. Pile that on top of slower than usual ticket sales, and I wasn’t surprised to hear the news. The knock-on effect of no Oxegen won’t be known until the summer. MCD have applied for seven Phoenix Park gigs to attempt to fill the void. Friends who are heading to Electric Picnic this year have expressed concerns about the resultant increase in crowds at their hipster utopia. Either way, I believe that it was about time that Ireland took a break from Oxegen, and came up for some air. JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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Music

Festivals

Festival Fever Small festivals are on the rise in Ireland. Seamus checks out some of the more interesting ones Words: Paul Hyland & Niamh Kirk

O

ver the past 10 years Ireland has seen an upsurge in bespoke and small music festivals. The tally for 2011 came in at approximately 106, a 45pc increase on the 2010 total. Small is the new big – and many of these niche festivals are booking acts that wouldn’t be amiss on the bill for Glastonbury, Coachella or Benicassim. In the wake of the recession, one prediction that cultural clairvoyants got right is that music and arts are thriving as people seek avenues to perform that will cost neither they, nor the audience, a big buck. And this silver-lining is most welcome as all over the country small-scale festivals are cropping up and offering more intimate and interesting ways to spend the summer weekends. With the selection of city festivals and the more traditional ‘festival in a field’ on the increase, we dug through the pile and selected some of the most promising of these boutique events.

Body and Soul Festival

Harvest Time Blues

When: June 22 – 24 Where: Ballinlough Castle, Clonmellon, Co. Westmeath How Much: Weekend and Family tickets €99, Sunday Day ticket €55

When: September 7 – 9 Where: Monaghan Town How Much: Between €15 - €20 per day.

More than just a subsection of the behemoth that is Electric Picnic, Body and Soul is very much its own entity, and is a byword for chilled. While the organisers trumpet that it’s “not just a festival” (not that there’s anything wrong with that), Body and Soul really does have a vibe that you will struggle to find elsewhere this summer. But enough about that! What’s the line-up like? Mercury prize-nominees Villagers are one of the big draws, where lead singer Conor J. O’Brien will once again show just how good the band he fronts really are. With their second album due this summer, fans will be hoping to get a sneak peek of their new material. The Herbaliser are a small bit of everything that’s good, having honed their craft since the mid-nineties. Their mix of hip-hop, groove, funk and jazz will have the sampling gods smiling down on them. Let’s hope those same gods know how to bring the nice weather to Ballinlough Castle.

If you love blues you’ll want to reach for your credit card right about now. The only tents you’ll find here are the ones in which the artists are performing. You can grab two nights B&B in one of the nearby hotels for around €100 per person giving you something resembling luxury on a budget. Already confirmed for this year is Wayne Baker Brooks from Chicago. The Windy-City native knows his way around a guitar and is a talented songwriter. Lazy Lester will be gracing the stage over the entire weekend. Far from lazy is his mishmash of musical styles, so if you find yourself going, you need to see him. After all, they don’t induct just anyone into the Blues Hall of Fame.

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Sea Sessions

Castlepalooza

When: June 29 – July 1 Where: Bundoran, Donegal How Much: Weekend ticket €88.50, Day Ticket €50

When: August 3 – 5 Where: Charleville Castle, Tullamore, County Offaly How Much: Between €50 - €77 for a 3-day camping ticket.

Combining (hopefully) sun, sea, surf and good tunes, it’s hard to imagine a better weekend spent than in Bundoran this summer. For those who like a festival with something truly different to offer, the Sea Sessions is the one to go for. The contrast in the range of activities compared with other more traditional music festivals is as refreshing as the Atlantic air. As a result it has the making of a weekend that promises to be crammed full of adrenaline-fuelled delights. This year the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) is holding its only speciality event in Europe at the festival that blends the wave riding action with on-shore revelries so well. But as day turns to night, festival goers have a sensational line-up to look forward to with the newly reformed Happy Mondays making one of only a few festival appearances this year. The Kaiser Chiefs, beat-boxing extravaganza Beardyman and Choice Music Prize perennials Jape are also set to take the stage.

“The best little music festival in Ireland” is how the Sunday Business Post has described Castlepalooza. While not quite little, this festival sure is one of the best. With recession-busting ticket prices, you’d be forgiven for thinking that they have started to cut corners on the acts, but not so. While The Charlatans get top billing, there are some fantastic Irish acts on show here. Jape, the only band to have won the Choice Music Prize more than once, are also riding high on the bill. Dublin five-piece Little Green Cars are firmly in the up-and-coming category, and with their debut album imminent, are worth your time. Elayne Harrington AKA Temper-Mental MissElayneous is also on the bill. Championed by Irish music luminaries Jim Carroll and Nialler9, if Irish hip-hop has a future, she’s probably it. Check her out. A ton of non-music delights also await you in County Offaly, so why are you still reading this? Go buy your ticket. JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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Sport

Olympic Games

London Calling Seamus weighs up our Olympians chances as they round off our summer of sport Words: Danny Murray Photos: Courtesy of www.inpho.ie

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L

ondon 2012, the pinnacle of sport, the dream of every athlete, the history, the pedigree, the prestige – the Olympics symbolise the best of the best in the world of sport. Despite being a small island nation of just over four million, Ireland will be looking to grab some gold and show the world how good we are. Since 1924 Ireland has competed at every Olympics, with the exception of Berlin in 1936 due to political reasons. This will be Ireland’s 19th Games and so far we’ve taken home 23 medals eight gold, seven silver and eight bronze. Whilst training methods have advanced with technology and certain sports have come and gone, some things never change. Ireland remain a massive underdog as they look to add to their haul. Irish athletes will compete in no less than seven events at the London 2012 Games, and with over 25 athletes representing Irish sporting ambition, we at Seamus thought we’d take an in depth look at some of the best hopes Ireland have for medals this summer.

Swimming

Olympic hopeful Grainne Murphy in action

Swimming has not traditionally been a strong point of Irish medals. Despite being surrounded by the sea and having plenty of loughs, when it comes to a swimming pool we’re more comfortable with armbands than Speedos. The four medals Ireland have in swimming were earned in Atlanta 1996, when a young redhead by the name of Michelle Smith captured the heart of a nation and the suspicions of the swimming world. Accusations of drug taking were never proven and to this day, Michelle Smith remains Ireland’s most successful ever Olympian with three gold and one bronze medal. Grainne Murphy (left) will be hoping to emulate — if not better — Smith. The 18-year-old Wexford native has been making waves, splashing onto the scene in 2009 when she won three gold and one bronze at the European Junior Swimming Championship. At senior level Murphy brought home the silver in the 2010 European Aquatics Championship. Murphy qualified for the Olympics back in December 2011 at the Dutch Open Championship where she took the bronze medal in the 800 metre freestyle event, an event she will compete in at the Olympic Games. Grainne holds several Irish records for her times and was voted Texaco Young Sportstar of the Year in 2009. So what records has she broken? Two European junior, four Irish senior and 10 Irish junior records – including the gold medalwinning time of Michelle Smith. Murphy will be competing in five events in London, including the 200, 400 and 800 metre freestyle and 200 and 400 metre medley. At only 18 she will do well to cope with the pressure of an Olympic competition, but here at Seamus we believe the youngster will be well able to dive in… even at the deep end. JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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Sport

Olympic Games

Without question Ireland’s most successful sport at the Olympics is boxing. Over half of Irish medals have come from living up to the name ‘The fighting Irish’. 12 of our 23 medals have been won in the ring, three of which came at the 2008 Beijing Games. Kenny Egan won silver in the light heavyweight division, while Paddy Barnes and the late Darren Sutherland won the bronze in the light flyweight and middleweight divisions, respectively. Ireland will be hoping to punch their way to more success in London, and leading the charge will be Beijing medalist Paddy Barnes. The Belfast born Barnes will be looking to improve on his bronze from four years ago and top the ranks of the light flyweight division. At a qualifying tournament in Turkey in April, the modest Barnes said: “They fear me, and they should. I’m the best in the world. Some boxers run from me. I think they want to qualify for the Olympics in running, not boxing.” Barnes is European and Commonwealth champion and is fighting like a man possessed; he eats pressure and is one of the most naturally gifted competitors going to the summer Games. His eyes are set firmly on the gold medal and none of us at Seamus are going to tell him it won’t happen.

“Irish athletes will compete in no less than seven events at the London 2012 Games”

Darren O’Neill has established himself as a great contender at middleweight since dropping from light heavyweight three years ago. The Kilkenny native is a European gold and silver medalist and was captain of the Irish boxing team for the 2011 European Championships. The 26-year-old primary school teacher who is on a ‘career break until after the Olympics’ was the first Irish boxer to qualify for the summer Games and moved up to third in the world rankings by doing so. O’Neill has every chance of helping Ireland add to the haul of boxing honours. Helping him is 2008 Olympian, John Joe Nevin. Nevin was part of the Irish team in Beijing but at just 18 he arguably lacked experience and lost out in the round of 16. Since his Olympic disappointment Nevin has remained at amateur level and has become the first Irish man to hold two world championship medals. The Mullingar native also has a gold and silver European medal at bantamweight and will be a serious contender for gold in London. Nevin suffered a double fracture to his cheekbone during a March bout, but the 22-year-old has assured fans that it will not affect his Olympic prospects; “I’m blessed that I’m only out for four or five weeks. It could have been a whole lot worse,” meaning ‘Double J’ will be back in the ring and fighting fit by the time the Games come around in July. Ireland is also hopeful of seeing gutsy performances from Michael Conlon and Adam Nolan. Conlon is just 19 going into the Olympics but could be a serious contender. Under the guidance of headcoach, Billy Walsh, the youngster could see himself surprise a few members of 20

SEAMUS JUNE 2012

© www.inpho.ie

Olympic Hopefuls

the boxing world. Meanwhile, Garda Adam Nolan took gold at the Amateur International Boxing Association (AIBA) European Olympic Qualifiers to book his ticket on the plane the London. The Enniscorthy native had given up boxing back in 2004 but made a return in 2008 after he moved station to Bray, Co. Wicklow. Under the watchful eye of the legendary Pete Taylor in Bray Boxing Club, Nolan has come into his own at just the right time and will be quietly confident of his medal chances. There is someone else from Bray that the whole of Ireland will be placing their gold medal expectations on, however — Katie Taylor. Katie Taylor is one of Ireland’s top sportspeople – and to be quite honest, she could probably box the head off anyone reading this. Not only is the 26-year-old Bray native a world class

Above: Katie Taylor (left) fighting Helen Falk in 2011

boxer, winning 13 gold medals in 11 years, including four world championships and six European, Taylor has represented Ireland in women’s football at under 17, 19 and captained the side at senior level. It is little wonder she has been recognised as one of the country’s greatest ever sporting icons.

World Champion The weight of a nation’s expectations may be huge, but pressure is not something that affects her all that easily. In May, Taylor claimed her fourth world title in a row by defeating the Russian southpaw, Sofya Ochigava, at the World Championships in China. It was a title that many thought of as a foregone conclusion, but Taylor had to make at least the quarter final stage in order to qualify for the Olympics. Once that was


© www.inpho.ie Paddy Barnes (right)

to allow women ‘the right to fight’. In 2008 women’s boxing was denied a place in the Games. This triggered a massive PR push from Taylor and her fellow fighters to prove they deserved a place on the world stage. Taylor took part in exhibition fights across the globe and in front of the Olympic Council. Their sales pitch worked, and for the first time ever, women’s boxing will be taking place at the summer Games. The AIBA president, Dr Ching-Kuo Wu, has said that without Taylor, women would not be boxing in the London Games this year. At Bray Boxing Club, just over half of the members are now female, a reflection of how bright Katie’s star is shining. Training twice a day, six days a week, she embodies professionalism and is an inspiration to all, not to mention a fantastic role model. There is no doubt that Taylor has already made the history books, but if she can take home a gold medal, we here at Seamus will be leading the charge to have a street in Bray named after her. The Olympics kicks off on July 27, a few weeks after the European Championships, so get working on that arse groove and make sure you’re comfortable. Irish hopes will be high this year so you won’t want to miss a second of it.

One to Watch

achieved the pressure was off and Taylor powered through to claim her fourth title, putting her in the history books. With her victory in China, Taylor goes straight to the quarter final of the Olympics, and while that may leave her waiting longer to fight, here at Seamus we quite fancy the odds of her only needing two wins to be certain of a medal and three to win the gold. As the daughter of former Irish champion boxer Pete Taylor, Katie has been surrounded by boxing her entire life and it’s a life that has done so much for the sport of women’s boxing. The 13 time gold medalist has been ranked world number one at 60 kilos since 2006, and shows no signs of relinquishing her hold of that spot. As the top ranked female boxer she worked tirelessly to get Olympic recognition and

Kieran Behan will become Ireland’s second ever gymnast to compete at the Olympics this year. The London born Irishman follows in the footsteps of Barry McDonald, who represented Ireland in the 1996 Atlanta games. Behan’s route to the games hasn’t been without its complications. At age ten he was left in a wheelchair following complications from surgery on a benign tumour on his left thigh. The botched surgery left Kieran with nerve damage and doctors were convinced he would never walk again. I guess they’ll be watching the Olympics with a slice of humble pie. Behan’s misfortune didn’t stop there, however. While he was back practicing gymnastics just 15 months after the botched surgery, Behan slipped when on the high-bar and was left with brain damage. Either injury would have stopped most people in their tracks, but our Kieran isn’t just anybody. Not happy with defying those odds, the 22-year-old also ruptured both of his ACL knee ligaments in separate incidents along the way. Behan’s road to London is one of the most amazing you’ll hear this year. While he may not be considered a favourite for a medal, his fellow competitors need only ask those silly doctors what happens when you try to count Kieran out. Give ‘em hell Kieran!

© www.inpho.ie

Kieran Behan

Kieran Behan in action

JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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Travel

Safety Abroad

A Tale of Two Cities

Poznan’s Old Town. Image courtesy of Lukasz Kryger (flickr)

The bags are packed and the campervans have been painted. The Green Army are heading to Poland this summer to support the boys in green. It’s going to be one almighty party. Or is it? 22

SEAMUS JUNE 2012

Words: Kevin Fagan

W

hen the Republic of Ireland qualified for Euro 2012 last November, the country temporarily dared to dream of an Italia 90-style revival. Nostalgic clips of Roddy Doyle’s ‘The Van’ did the rounds, and a green tinged hysteria began to rumble. That rumble is growing to a roar, and in June, an estimated 50,000 Irish will make the trip to Poland to watch their beloved Boys in Green. This will be Ireland’s fifth major tournament,


and our first since the Keane-McCarthy spat that soured the World Cup in 2002. While the previous tournaments were held in the glamorous locations of Italy, America, Germany and Japan, this summer the Green horde will travel to the more modest climes of Poland. Following the glitz of cities like Rome, Orlando, New York and Yokohama, this time around Ireland will play their games in Poznan and Gdansk. Well what’s wrong with Poznan and Gdansk, you may ask? What’s your beef with these two fine cities, you may enquire? On the surface, well there’s nothing wrong. Despite being bombed to bits in World War II, both cities appear to be thriving. A city council officer in Poznan, who we will get to later, went to great lengths to assure me his city was perfectly safe. And why wouldn’t he? The European Championships are a huge opportunity for both Poland and Ukraine to boost their struggling economies. Indeed, despite Ireland’s worryingly difficult group, the FAI would have been delighted to be drawn in Poland rather than Ukraine. While we will get to the possible problems in Poland, Ukraine would have been a logistical and infrastructural nightmare for fans and officials alike. However, if Ireland do qualify from their group, a possible quarter final against England in Donetsk, Ukraine awaits. What fun that would be.

Party in Poland First up: Poznan. Ireland will play two of their matches here, on June 10 against Croatia and on June 18 against Italy. This means most Irish fans will be based in the city for the duration of the Championships, making day trips to Gdansk for the game against Spain on June 14. Let’s be honest, the publicans of Poznan must have wet themselves with glee when they heard the Irish were pulled out of the hat. Naturally, Poznan has three Irish bars. That’s right, three. Did you expect any less? Brogans, The Dubliner and O’Morgans can expect some serious business come June. Sounds good right? It does to everyone who is going there this summer. But what about those people who have left Poznan? With over a hundred thousand Polish now residing here in Ireland, it seemed wise to converse with them about their fair cities. Marek Jaworski is one such person. Marek is a 27-year-old who has lived in Ireland for almost six years now. He hails from Kozieglowy, a suburb of Poznan, comparable in distance to the city as Lucan is to Dublin. Lucan is where he now lives, in fact, working in the local Tesco. So, why would he ever leave Poznan? “I do not like to make fun of my home city or my country, but, to use an Irish word, I would call bits of Poznan a ‘shithole’. There are certain parts of the city where it is not safe if I am honest.” Marek’s honesty is helpful, but it won’t stop anyone from taking their trips. Is there any advice he would give to the travelling Irish? “Well . . . (laughs) maybe not get so drunk?? I know everybody will

want to party but I know there are some bad guys who will want to take money from all the tourists.” Surely he must agree that the Euros will be a plus for the city? “I am happy because I have a lot of cousins who have got work because of the Euros. Renovations, buildings, things like that. Many of them will get jobs as waiters and in bars. But I am worried a bit for the Irish. I know they don’t make trouble like the English fans, but that might be the problem. They might be too happy and bang – someone’s wallet is gone.”

Location Info

Ukraine – No Problem Let’s head north to Gdansk now. Ireland have just one match here, on June 14 when world champions Spain will almost certainly hand Trap & Co’s collective asses to them on a plate. Lukas Sobczak, 29, moved to Ireland in 2004, and is from the Cmentarz area of the port city of Gdansk. He is less worried than Marek about the safety of the Irish fans, but still thinks they’ll need to be careful. “The Government and the police won’t want any problems at all. If they see any troublemakers they will stop them.” “The police in Gdansk are pretty hard, as you say. I would be more worried about them [the fans] in Poznan. I was at a football match in Lech Poznan’s ground and it was crazy. Crazy men.” Hmmm, ok, back to Poznan then. In search of a more official stance, the Polish embassy directed me to Damian Zalewski of Poznan City Council. While both Marek and Lukas had been in Ireland for years and had almost perfect English, Mr. Zalewski’s email had a genuine hint of Google translate about it. “For two reasons, we don’t have any afraids about safety in Poznan during the tournament. First, most of the local fans don’t pay much attention to Euro 2012, and probably they will went out of town for this time,” he says. “When a journalist asks me this question I always reply that in every city you have a chance to get hurt. I’ve lived for six years in France and it was the same ‘dangerous’ as in Poland. We know how to receive everyone and we know how to manage big crowds.” Hmmm. It’s a difficult one. It seems like Poznan is a fine city, but just make sure you have your wits about you. The possible trouble with that is, we can’t be sure that the travelling Irish will have their wits about them at all times, especially after a long day partying. It is the first time Eastern European countries have hosted a major tournament finals since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Come June, all eyes will be on them. Their Governments will be eager to show what they can do to ensure that the Championships pass without a hitch. Usually they do, and this year shouldn’t be any different. For the Irish, it should be fine. That is unless we qualify for a quarter final in the Ukraine. That could be a little bit tricky for the fans who will want to support the boys. But we couldn’t possibly qualify from a group with Spain, Italy and Croatia. Could we?

Poznan Founded:

1253

Population:

556,000

Attractions:

Oldtown & Rozbrat

Matches:

June 10 V Croatia June 18 V Italy

Irish Bars:

Brogans The Dubliner O’Morgans

Price of pint:

€1.50 – €2.50

Gdansk Founded:

1263

Population:

455,000

Attractions:

Long market & SS Soldek

Matches:

June 14 V Spain

Irish Bars:

Donegal “Irish Pub”

Price of pint:

€1 - €2

Images courtesy of Christopher John SSF (top) and Deepak Thukral (bottom) - flickr

JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

23


Travel

DIY Adventures

Planes, Games and Automobiles A makeshift adventure: the alternative way to Poland Words: Paul Hyland Photos: Paul Hyland

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hile trains, planes and automobiles are all on offer to get to this summer’s European Championships, many Irish fans are trying to keep costs as low as possible. Not much has changed in this regard since the last time Ireland qualified for the Euros, way back in 1988. Back then Ireland was in the depths of recession as well. In the 14 years that have passed, you’d be forgiven for thinking that little has changed. People are broke, back roads have pot-holes the size of football pitches and our politicians are still up to no good. One other thing which thankfully hasn’t changed is our love of following the boys in green as they take on the world. Jack’s army may have been replaced by Trap’s army but make no mistake about it, this small country still knows how to punch above its weight come competition time. One such fan is Liam Doran, from Killeshin in County Laois. A mechanic by trade, Liam is bringing both a Transit van and a caravan to Poland, although you wouldn’t think it. Taking the chassis and body of his ‘97 van, Liam has incorporated a caravan into it, having picked one up for €500. The result? His very own campervan! Despite what the Spice Girls have to say on the subject, making two become one is not as easy as it sounds, as Liam now knows all too well. “These things are a bit harder than they first seem,” he says, laughing, as he describes the DIY project. Once fitted to the back of the van, the next step was making the hybrid habitable. The most important addition has been a fridge – picked up online for €50 – which will help stock plenty of both the cause of and the solution to most of life’s problems, beers and fry-ups. Running water has been another essential

“Fill her full of green diesel and fill her full of beer and on we go” 24

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addition to the set-up, helping as it will to combat both the thirst caused by the fry, and perhaps the dehydration from the previous night’s pint or two. With eight people already on board, a space in the campervan may not be the hottest ticket in town, but it will certainly be one of the cheapest. The home-awayfrom-home even has an oven and a built-in heater, along with a battery from a truck that’ll help keep the show on the road. Taking things perhaps a step too far, the lads have also added a wooden floor and have tiled the bathroom. An unfortunate side-effect is that the Frankensteinlike contraption is now a bit on the heavy side, something that is sure to reawaken the occupants’ headaches with each and every speed bump and pot-hole from here to Poznan. The adventure starts on June 5, with the band of brothers taking the ferry from Rosslare to France, before driving through Germany and onto Gdansk in Poland. Where exactly in Gdansk is still in the planning stages, which appear less than planned. “We’re just going to literally Google it and find a caravan site and just throw her into it and that’ll be that,” Liam tells me with an unwavering confidence that I wish I shared.

Tickets And then he drops the bombshell. They haven’t even got any tickets! “We’ll get over there and set up camp and then we’ll start looking for tickets,” he says, still brimming with confidence. “We reckon we’ll get them over there handy enough,” he tells me nervously. Even if they don’t end up getting tickets, it sounds like getting over there will be an adventure all on its own. Liam sums up his pre-flight checklist in a single sentence. “Fill her full of green diesel and fill her full of beer and on we go,” he says. When talk turns to Ireland’s chances at the European Championships this summer, Liam is just as positive about what both the Irish team can do and what the island as a country desperately needs. “If Ireland could get past the group stages and into the quarter final,

Above: Liam Doran and his homemade campervan

it would give the country some boost. It would be massive.” “We’ve decided that if they get through, we have to stay, despite girlfriends and wives and lads getting in trouble. We’d have no choice but to stay and support them to the end.” Sounds to me like this is definitely a trip worth making. I wonder if they have room for one more.


The camper’s living area

travel legend

Davy Keogh

Davy Keogh says hello, or so his flag says anyway. As one of Ireland’s best known fans, Davy has been saying hello for over 30 years. It was on the trip to Stuttgart in 1988 that the phrase came into existence. “We were trying to match Keogh and the best solution was hello,” he tells me. On that trip, he was one of 13 who slept rough for the two weeks as they followed Jack’s army. Having followed the Irish team for over 30 years, Davy has no regrets. “Following the football team around the world is just amazing - the places you see. I know it costs a lot of money but it’s well worth it,” he says. It’s not only the travelling fans who get something from the experience, the team appreciates it too. “You see it after every game,” Davy says, “they’re down to the fans and they’re clapping.” “Before, we just went away to see them score a few goals and have the craic. But they’re so good now; we’re expecting the team to do well.” Davy’s days of sleeping rough in the name of Ireland are behind him now. Travelling en masse with the Irish faithful, his original travel plans for this championships were very different. “From the start we were going to buy a 52-seater off some guy in Kerry. It was a 1992 and was €5,000. We were going to convert it into a minibus for about 20 people, but I was saying to the lads ‘if this breaks down, we’re goosed. What are we going to do with a 1990 bus?’” With thoughts of ‘what if’ running through their minds, they changed tack. Due to fly to Berlin, they’ve seven minibuses rented. Three hours, and eight stops later, they’ll be in Poznan. From there, it’s off to Gdansk – a four and a half hour journey, before heading back to Poznan. “I think they’re all outskirts, and these places won’t know what hit them when we arrive,” he smiles. “Fellas are so relaxed when they’re away. They’re probably away from their wives and kids and they’re letting themselves run amok. The craic when you’re away is totally different.” And what of those mere mortals who are left behind in Ireland? “Get all the flags out and the bunting, just like when Dublin won the All-Ireland.” Sounds like a plan.

Online Access

Liam Doran Interview

Davy Keogh Interview

http://youtu.be/-g7VCe6EN7w

http://youtu.be/tBKMtW8tqdo JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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Health

Gym and Diet

The Gym It’s a real-life soap opera Words: Brian O’Reilly

Annually Deluded January brings a unique type of member to the gym - the annually deluded. “This year I’ll keep it up,” they say, as they take down the box of still new gym gear from the attic that’s been there for 11 months. Gyms love this type of member; they pay the full membership up-front, believing that if they commit financially they won’t back out . . . again. As February ends they drop off, having resorted to the Irish philosophy - “but sure you could get hit by a bus tomorrow.” The ageing fitness freak is perhaps one of the most disheartening (not to mention disturbing) things to behold. We’ve all been there. The sweat is stinging your eyes, you’re gasping for breath 26

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Image: iStockphoto / Thinkstock

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he loud clank of weights, the repetitive rolling of treadmills and the background noise of 98FM conceal a fascinating look at humanity. It’s all on show at your local human zoo for the low low price of whatever Ben Dunne decides. Just try not to feed the animals. Chances are they’ve already eaten too much. First up we have the muscled up narcissist. Usually male and tank-like, they can usually be found taking it to the max in the weights section. Cardio is not in their vocabulary. After all, why run away when you can stay where you are and snap the other person clean in two? Here you can see them staring at their own hulk-like physique; loudly grunting as they complete their 500th set of 500 reps, with weights bigger than our national debt. The loud thud of the dropped weight at the end serves a simple purpose - it’s not enough for them alone to know how great they are, those around them need to be aware of it too. Not far away you’ll find the middleaged women atop a treadmill, with zero plans of breaking into a sweat. After all, how else is the make-up they spent all morning applying supposed to stay put? A face full of slap in a gym is about as practical as sunglasses at night or Ireland in Europe, but it serves a purpose. When the cougar has her prey in sight, she will go over to a machine and act confused by how it works. Unsuspecting prey who try to help run the risk of turning on more than the machine.

and the water bottle has just fallen onto the treadmill track before launching itself across the room. Yes, having indulged in some medium paced jogging you’re convinced death is close. Devoting your final ounce of energy to your eye muscles, you look around you, mentally waving goodbye. And then you see them, bounding effortlessly - twice your age and three times the speed. Nothing wipes out your new found confidence faster. In an instant you go from feeling like Sonia

Above: The muscled up narcissist down your local gym wants you to notice him

“When the cougar has her prey in sight, she will go over to a machine and act confused by how it works”

O’Sullivan rounding the final bend in gold medal position after 10,000 metres to feeling like one of those people who needs a wall removed to exit the house. Crushed and dejected, you grab your water bottle, apologising for the broken window. Comprehending how many Big Macs you’ll treat yourself to on the way home, you decide to hit the Jacuzzi first. It’s there that you’ll find our last ‘animal‘. The fraudster is the gym-goer that never works out. Instead, they spend their time being massaged by bubbles, baffled that the force of the water jets against their stomach hasn’t resulted in the washboard abs they crave. And there you have it. The next time you decide to visit the gym, leave the iPod at home. All the entertainment you’ll ever need is already there and waiting. Just don’t talk to the cougars.


Diet groups aren’t just for women More and more Irish men are turning to dieting and gyms to bring their waistlines down Words: Mark Commins Image: Comstock / Thinkstock

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ave you seen those billboard advertisements from Safefood? A large belly, a tape measure and a message that says, “If you’re male with a waist greater than 37 inches you’re probably overweight.” If you missed it because you were looking at the McDonald’s ad beside it, then you could be in trouble. An abundance of food, both fast and unhealthy, is causing us to expand to sizes once foreign to these shores. As a result the word “diet” has crept into the male vocabulary and caused the likes of WeightWatchers to respond. Today in Ireland two in every three adults are either overweight or obese, with the majority of these being men. Unhealthy foods coupled with a reduction in physical exercise means that today’s 14-year-olds are about three stone heavier than their grandparents would have been at the same age. In a clear case of denial, less than four in 10 people recognise that they actually have a weight problem. Prof Donal O’Shea, who leads the obesity service in St Columcille’s Hospital, Dublin, thinks he knows why. “Because we have all edged up in weight over the last 20 years, most people who are overweight think they are just fine because they look normal,” he says. You mightn’t think it, but even clothing sizes have grown to conceal the truth.

Taking Action Sean McFall from Dublin was someone who did realise he had a weight problem. At 121kg he signed himself up to WeightWatchers to begin the battle. Learning from the weekly meetings, Sean began to get his diet in order by having a healthy breakfast each morning. “This was totally new to me, but it made a difference straight away to my appetite and my attitude.”

“I focused on my weight loss on a fortnightly basis because sometimes it takes longer than a week for the pounds to drop.” With changes to his diet he began to lose weight and with new-found confidence, he joined a gym. “Gradually I found myself actually enjoying the ex-

Below-left: Sean McFall, who lost 45kg and 50 inches off his waist

perience.” Unbelievably Sean lost 45kg, shrinking his waist by 50 inches in the process, and went on to become a fitness instructor. “We’ve been open to men for 35 years now,” explains Margaret Burke, marketing manager of WeightWatchers Ireland. Men-only classes came about in more recent years, however. “Men will sometimes start by attending the menonly meetings. But they usually change to their local mixed class once they know how it works and that there is nothing to worry about,” Margaret says.

Classes With classes nationwide six days a week, it’s a very accessible service. Each week a “Leader” will take your weight in private before giving cooking instructions, exercise tips, motivation and portion control tips to the group. Margaret explains, “There are different topics every week which are shown on the website. This week is healthy eating so what a lot of leaders will do is prepare a sample dish for tasting in class.” All foods are awarded ProPoints in WeightWatchers. This is calculated on the four key nutrients in food: carbohydrates, protein, fat and fibre. Depending on height, sex and age you’ll be given a starting daily allowance of ProPoints, with some floating ones for the week. Then as your weight decreases your daily ProPoints will too. No food is off limits; however, indulgences carry a heavy price. On the other hand, fruit and vegetables are point free and exercise can also boost your allowance. Classes cost €10 per week and are free once you reach your goal weight. Sean says it’s worth it, “My Leader, Martina, and my fellow members helped me so much. They have motivated, inspired and educated me. That, along with losing 100lbs, is all I could have asked for.” JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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Health

One Body

Image: iStockphoto / Thinkstock

STIs, swabs and a pain in the nuts Drunken promiscuity and ill-informed judgments are fuelling the rise of a cocktail of STIs, but if you take the reins sex can be safe and fun Words: Alice Hodgson Photos: Everyman Centre

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he days of painful swabs and embarrassing taboos are over men are openly taking care of their sexual health. There’s still plenty of myths to bust before they’re in the clear, however. Believe it or not, a worrying majority of guys out there continue to believe that if they’re not flaring up or sporting a suspicious itch, then they’re in good nick. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case and Dr Tom Kelly, Clinical Director of the Everyman Centre believes this is one of the biggest hurdles to surpass in order to optimise male sexual health. What’s more, Dr Kelly worries that a lot of men judge their sexual partners in a similar fashion. “Men come in saying, ‘well, he or she looked clean, respectable or welldressed.’ A lady once said to me ‘but he was a piano player in a jazz band’, but it doesn’t work like that.” This is an issue that transcends both gender boundaries and common sense. The disturbing rise of Genital Warts in Ireland – the number one STI – should be enough to shock even the most free-spirited jack-the-lads into thinking twice before indulging in unsafe sex. To combat this uncomfortable trend we’ll need more than condoms, however. “Unfortunately the only way to avoid Genital Warts is to abstain from sex. A lot of people carry the virus without ever getting it, so nobody would know. This is a risk when starting a new relationship, as your partner may not be aware that they are a carrier,” Dr Kelly explains. “One night stands are the big problem.

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They’re the most common source of infection. Then, of course, drinking plays a huge part in it. A lot of them come in shame faced saying ‘if it wasn’t for the drink it would never have happened’.” Coming a close second on the list is Chlamydia. One in 10 of Dr Kelly’s patients present with this infection, but only 50pc show any symptoms. Chlamydia is more problematic than Genital Warts, which aren’t a health risk as much as a mental burden. “Chlamydia is more important from a public health perspective,” says Dr Kelly. This is thanks to the risk of infertility if left untreated — a sad price to pay for a bit of rough and tumble.

Increasing Awareness As we become more aware of the dangers of risky sex, oral sex may seem like a satisfying diversion. Not true, according to Dr Kelly. “Oral sex can spread these infections too. It’s becoming an increasingly common way of spreading STIs,” he explains. “There is a common misconception that if there’s no penetration infections won’t be spread, but even with genital to genital contact there’s still a risk.” Before we resign ourselves to the rather bleak reality that underscores our sex-lives, we still have the choice to take control – sex can still be fun. Dr Kelly has recently noticed a marked rise in the number of couples going for STI screenings before having unprotected sex. This proves that some Irish men and women are taking control of their

Below: Dr Tom Kelly of the Everyman Centre

sexual health, which in turn protects them from infection. It also helps them to avoid the embarrassment and guilt of infecting their partner. Helping this is the fact that the dreaded swabs are now a rarity. “In the last few years this has become unnecessary for most men,” Dr Kelly admits. All you need is 15 minutes, a urine sample, bloods and a genital examination. With the fear factor gone, there is surely only one excuse left — the cost. A full screening costs between €100 and €150. As the recession takes its toll, Dr Kelly has seen a gradual drop in footfall at the clinic – which is one of the cheapest in the city. The cost of a night on the town is a small price to pay for a healthy manhood and care-free sex, so pay up. If you don’t owe it to yourself, you owe it to your partner.


EVERYMAN CENTRE SEXUAL HEALTH CLINIC FOR MEN PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL Sexually transmitted infection testing Treatment of sexual problems Treatment of genital problems Male doctor with additional qualification in psychosexual counselling Practising in sexual medicine for over 25 years Morning, afternoon and evening appointments 4 Lower Mount Street Dublin 2 Tel: 01 6788010 www.everymancentre.ie


Health

Grooming

Skin Deep With more men turning to cosmetics and make-up, what does the future hold? Words: Niamh Kirk Image: iStockphoto / Thinkstock

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hen David Beckham’s Armani advert was posted on billboards and buses earlier this year it caused quite a stir. Some complained it was gratuitous while others just delighted in the spectacle of it all. Yes, the male body has been commercialised! The advertising of men’s grooming products is on the up. An even skin tone, defined muscles, chiselled jaw, intense eyes and a heavy brow are the common features of the men that we are seeing every day, and it’s not just on billboards or movie screens either. News readers, TV presenters, politicians, rock stars and footballers all do a stint in the make-up chair before making public appearances. With the increase in the quality of our TV screens anyone who stands in front of the camera stands to have every imperfection exposed. In the coming years we are likely to see the next generations of men start to incorporate the application of make-up into their daily routine. The men’s cosmetic industry is thriving — companies like Clinique and L’Oreal have finally struck gold on an untapped market and it’s an easy transition for them to make. To a large degree, the groundwork has already been laid. For over 100 years cosmetics companies have employed the finest scientists and experts to brew potions and lotions to suit a wide variety of skin types and individual feature needs. A simple rebrand, repackage, and change of marketing strategy and, hey presto, it’s ready to go. Some men argue that because the ideal male physique is rugged and burly that these marketing ploys on vanity won’t work. But that’s missing the point. The aim of the marketers is to enhance these qualities, making them more striking, thus affirming the masculinity. There is an art in applying make-up and its greatest successes are the most subtle. No one is suggesting that men

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will start utilising the rainbow of eyeshades to match their manbag any time soon. Men’s cosmetics are more tactful; it is more about covering up blemishes and the use of shadow to highlight the contours of the face. They have not yet dipped into the more decorative items. The state of play is changing, but perhaps not as quickly as the cosmetics companies would like. The men’s fashion industry in the UK is now worth over €25bn a year and rising, with men’s cosmetics in the region of €870m. The main buyers of ‘guy-liner’ and ‘manscara’ are the under 24’s, with the market expanding. Beauticians are increasingly offering their services to men, with hundreds of YouTube tutorials on how to achieve the no make-up look. As feminists cry outrage over unrealistic images of perfection warping the minds of young impressionable women, the question is what effect are these paradigms of manhood having on young impressionable men? Well the simple answer would be; it’s making them more conscious and concerned about their appearance. Not such a bad thing really. Well not yet anyway. The industry has not yet reached the destructive proportions that marketing to women has had, but the method of delivery is the same. First, convince you that your appearance is inadequate. Second, offer you some quick-fix solutions. The question becomes how will men fare when their insecurities are turned against them and the pressure to look the part becomes the norm? One of the areas where it will really hit is when it comes to employment. There are a host of recent surveys by recruitment companies that say a clean shaven, well groomed candidates is far more likely to gain employment than one who is not. If employment for males becomes determined by looks, you can guarantee that male-grooming will increase. When we talk about the pressures that are put on us to look a certain way it is worth remembering that much of this is self-inflicted. While personal hygiene and general grooming are always welcomed, there is no pride in falling prey to astute marketing and succumbing to the pressures of insecurity and vanity that have been assimilated into ‘femininity’. Just as femininity has changed and adapted, so too will masculinity.

Products

What’s on offer Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat - €32

The female equivalent of this has been a top seller since its release and the pour homme version is every bit as good. It hides dark circles, blemishes and others signs of fatigue. It does not come in a range of shades but that is because it conceals by light coverage and brightening the area, which means it suits a wide range of skin tones.

Shu Uemura

UV Underbase - €35 This is one of the top selling ranges of unisex cosmetics, with many men clued into these products from Japan. It isn’t foundation, but a base instead, which offers much lighter coverage. It’s non-greasy, calms redness and reduces visible imperfections, leaving skin appearing fresh and natural.

Kenman

Brow & Beard corrector - €22 These pencils help sculpt and add definition to facial hair, filling in gaps in beards, moustashes and brows. The effects are subtle provided they are applied with a light touch.

Calvin Klein

Manscara - €12 Manscara comes in a reflective black and adds length and a subtle degree of thickness to lashes. Mascara helps define eyelashes and widens the eyes but regardless of what it says, sweat, tears, rain or any moisture can make it run. All prices are approximate


BBQ & Y STA HOTEL DED! INCLU

! W O N P SIGN U le.com c y c k c o l arkpol www.m

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MARK POLLOCK TRUST.ORG JUNE 2012 SEAMUS

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