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words // DANIEL GRAY picture // HUGH COONEY Nobody likes Mondays. Even on the night of a public sector strike (wahey, no work tomorrow!) this town is coming like a ghost town. All the clubs, as the man said, have been closed down. Dublin’s most warped video artist 2.0 Hugh Cooney, the boundary-crossing cross-dresser with a Handycam and a heart of pure evil, is clever enough to spot a gap in the market. The city is as silent as a gagged lamb, but South William Street’s Pygmalion sounds more like a slaughterhouse – a small, but dedicated troupe of Dublin’s bravest have trucked their way up for an hour in the company of the incomparable Mr. Cooney. For the uninitiated and undernourished: Cooney makes postmodern oneman black comedy videos not unlike Chris Morris’ erstwhile Jam TV series. His videos are dizzying and disorientating, bewilderingly hilarious and hilariously bewildering. He relies on absurdism and repetition almost to breaking point
– see his infamous ‘Accessorise’ Youtube clip for the formula. Hugh, in lipstick and tousled hair, sits with another lipsticked, tousled Hugh in a café, discussing, ad infinitum, the importance of accessorisation – before one of the lady-Hughs starts coughing up water, and, bizarrely, beans. Constantly chanting ‘acccessssorrrriiiise’ all the while. On a lower budget than Brian Lenihan, Cooney ekes all the lopsided charm out of lo-fi video-trickery that he can. So how does a weekly live show work, when his sickest moments are available at the click of a bookmark? Don’t Like Mondays takes the post-modernity to a new level, with real-life Cooney interacting with projector-fed Cooney from his DJ box – ad libbing, rap-like, over the earlier recorded ‘samples’. He croons his uproarious cabaret song Pigs On Wheels, live-reports for ‘Cool Newz’ (which, keeping in the Chris Morris vein, is like Brass Eye, but with the word ‘mickey’), and
yelps his bizarro catchphrases (‘gimme me hoover! gimme me hoover!’ is the night’s finest), all segued with electro intervals. His gathered audience which, though small in number fills out his quarter of the otherwise-empty Pygmalion, are rapturous, disciple-like. Some mouth along with classic lines, everybody else bruises their ribs with bent-over uproar. The sweetest part of the deal is that the night is entirely free. Combined with its status as pretty much the only enjoyable thing worth doing in town on a Monday at 9pm other than chase rickshaw drivers with a fire extinguisher, and the sense that Cooney’s star is very much in the ascendance, Don’t Like Mondays is as essential as accessorisation.