Saturday, May 14, 2011

Hucksters and bogmen

I've just finished reading A Stone of the Heart by John Brady. It's a very fine police procedural set in Dublin and published in 1988. I was struck by the following passage in which a couple in their fifties bemoan the changes in the city in the late 1980s. Little did they know what was coming once the 'hucksters and bogmen' really got going in the 1990s and the city became one big building site.

Dublin had gone to pot in Mary's estimation. Where was the polite and decent society she had grown up in? You'd be run over by cars and you on the footpath even, she had concluded. The clerks in the shops didn't so much as look at you these days. People eating in restaurants and houses being knocked down for shops and offices.

"It's them Johnny-Jump-Ups from outside of Dublin has the place gone to hell. What do you call them, entrepreneurs and the like. Hucksters and bogmen. They take the money and run," Mick said.

The thing was, it was happening all over the world. Like Father O'Brien said in the pulpit; things were changing too quickly. We didn't have our priorities right, he said. That's it, Mary thought, we don't have our house in order, we don't have our priorities right.

We didn't have a priorities right indeed.

Ireland entertained a lot of people with lunatic ideas. Some were even elected to promote those ideas.

Difficult to argue with that given the evidence. I also liked this description:

A face on her like a plate of mortal sins, Minogue thought.

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