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A Different View

The price of everything – and the value of nothing

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GMIT Mechanical Engineering students Sean Murphy and Jane Egwari pictured with Cathal Curran from Colaiste Colmcille, Inverin, as they examine a 3D printer at GMIT's recent Open Day.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Now that they’re taking small copper coins out of circulation, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate just what qualifies as currency – and why we covet goods that are actually utterly useless to our daily existence.

Why, for example, is gold worth so much when nobody ever spends it?

Grand – you’re happy to cough up for an engagement or wedding ring, or the odd bit of sparkling jewellery for a special occasion.

But presuming you’re wealthy enough to even worry about this, what earthly good is a gold bar to you, other than to give you something else to concern yourself with in the event of a burglary?

Would you take it out and admire it – or use it as a doorstop just to show how ostentatious you are since you hit the Euro millions jackpot?

In its defence, at least gold is recognised as a form of international currency, something that holds its value while real money goes up and down – but who can explain why do people spend fortunes on rare cases of wine that they’ll never drink?

Surely the whole joy of fine wine is to savour it – not to leave it hidden on a dusty shelf away from prying eyes or thirsty wives, but opened, breathing and ready for a big glass?

Otherwise it’s like allowing a child into a sweetshop, but insisting on them wearing a straitjacket.

And then there’s the mysterious world of high art, where millions are spent on works that might have been crafted by the paint-clad paws of a pup chasing a kitten.

Why is it are paintings worth so much more over time that they ever were when the actual artist sold them?

Is it that the buyer sees something that everyone – the original artist included – missed in the first instance….or is it just another form of currency?

The sad thing is that those who own masterpieces rarely display them; they are hidden in a vault or loaned to a gallery, so you end up paying a fortune for something that you never see.

Which is an experience the rest of us can only relate to when it comes to rearing children.

But if you get more pleasure from that famous poster of the female tennis player scratching her bottom than you do from some abstract curiosity produced by the latest enfant terrible of the art world, does that automatically make you an ignoramus?

Take it a step further – when did half a dead cow floating in formaldehyde come to be worth a multiple of a thousand live ones that might at least provide you with decent steaks or burgers?

The truth is that they are all seen, not for their taste or aesthetic value, but rather as a new form of currency; something that appreciates in worth for reasons not entirely known to the rest of us.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

If you don’t know who you are, the door staff have no chance

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The only time in your life that you should ever utter the words: “Do you know who I am?” are if you’ve just had a bang on the head or you are unfortunately suffering from dementia.

Because, otherwise, the phrase ‘do you know who I am’ only serves to make things a whole lot worse.

Normally, the phrase is unleashed towards late night door staff on a wave of alcohol – and never once in the history of time has it produced the result the utterer had intended.

The doorman may well know who you are which is often the very reason you’re not getting into the place in the first instance – or if he doesn’t know who you are, he won’t be unduly influenced when he does, unless you’re a famous movie star or his long-lost cousin.

‘Do you know where I am?’ might often be closer to the phrase you’re looking for, because that would serve you well when you’re looking for a taxi.

‘Do you know who I am?’ is a threatening phrase that in truth wouldn’t frighten the cat. But if you’re anxious to dig the hole a few shovels deeper, you should follow up with ‘I’d like to speak to your manager.’

Managers can be elusive at the best of times, but they’re normally rarer than hen’s teeth when it comes to the small hours of the morning – and even if they’re there, they are most likely watching proceedings on CCTV…just so they know who you are, in case you yourself can’t remember.

‘I’d like to speak to your manager’ suggests that you and he or she are from the one social sphere which is several strata north of the one occupied by door staff.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Eurovision is just a giant party that could never cause offence

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

As it turned out, we were much closer to a Eurovision win than we could ever have imagined – not Ireland, of course, because we’ve now mastered the art of just sending cannon fodder to be blown out in the semi-final.

No, this was just two of us – myself and our eldest – who were lucky enough to be at Anfield for the Reds’ recent win over Brentford, where positioned in the seat right in front of us were four happy lads from Finland.

One of them, we now know, was Käärijä, the singer of the catchiest song at Eurovision, Cha Cha Cha.

But just a week before 7,000 people sung his catchphrase at the Eurovision Arena, he and two his mates – accompanied by an older bloke who had to be either his dad or from the national broadcaster – sat anonymously in the same corner of the lower level of Anfield’s Main Stand.

He was utterly unknown to us as well of course, and the only thing that saw him stand out was his green nail varnish. Live and let live, of course, but it still ensures that you make an impression even if it looks like you were just very late for St Patrick’s Day.

Käärijä may well be Liverpool’s greatest Scandinavian fan, although the bar for that is set fairly high, given that they invade the city in greater numbers every two weeks than the Vikings did just once during the first millennium.

Equally, he may not be a football fan at all – although, as the rest of the week proved, he sure loves a crowd.

Positioned as we were in the corner of the Main Stand, the next section to us, around the corner in the Anfield Road Stand – currently adding a top layer – was occupied by the visiting Brentford supporters.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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Connacht Tribune

Tapping is contactless – but it’s soulless too

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Contactless payments reached a record €17.9 billion in Ireland last year – up by 31 per cent on 2021, as people came out from under their Covid shell and appear to have left their cash behind them.

Figures from the Banking & Payments Federation found that – despite the cost-of-living increases – the Irish public made three million contactless payments a day, worth an average of €53 million in the final quarter of 2022.

Given that there are 3.8 million people in Ireland over the age of 18, that means that almost every single one of us tapped the card every day last year.

And again, on the presumption that there are a few who still prefer peeling a fifty off a wad of notes, the true figure may be even higher, as we eschew actual money every time we go into a restaurant, bar or shop.

Then comes the monthly morning of reckoning when you open your statement – electronic of course because, like paper money, banks don’t deal in paper statements anymore either – and your guilty secrets unfurl like a rap sheet before your very eyes.

Five taps of a Friday night in the local, followed by a five-ounce burger meal on the way home.

And just why did you need a family-pack of crisps when a small bag would have done? Was all that beer and wine really for a party, or a night in just for one?

Cash provided plenty of dark corners to ignore your profligacy, but there are no hiding places in the contactless world.

Worse still, until that morning of reckoning arrives, you’ve no clue how much you’ve spent, and handing over the card doesn’t hurt half as much as parting with hard cash.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

 

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