Why Rubberbandits Matter…

It’s high time the comedy hip-hop stars were given credit for their insight and intelligence.

YOU MOST LIKELY KNOW Rubberbandits for something daft. It might be that ‘Horse Outside’ video, their numerous appearances on RTE’s ‘Republic of Telly’, or an episode of ‘Rubberbandits’ Guide To…’. You might even remember their channel 4 outing with the ‘Almost Impossible Gameshow’. In the latter, they had contestants complete ludicrous mini-games like ‘groin croissant’, in which the frustrated participants had a few seconds to shake free a plastic pastry attached to a certain part of the outside of their jumpsuit with velcro.

They are, in short, quite exceptionally silly. But their satire also has a tendency to shine a light on Irish society. Put aside the croissant shaking, or songs about ‘Spastic Hawks’, and some corners of their professional output is subtly but brilliantly political.

They take a satirical look at race relations on ‘Black Man’. ‘Spoiling Ivan’ documents the friendship between a grown man and a child, playing off the inbuilt societal assumption that labels such a friendship as somehow wrong. There’s even an ode to holding off on sex, and its relationship benefits.

Far beyond the music, their use of social media, and public comments on sensitive issues have stretched in scope and become ever-more assured. It’s a trend that seemed to really kick off when Blindboy Boatclub called into Joe Duffy to debate the drug references in ‘Horse Outside’. In doing so, he absolutely shredded an irate caller, confidently explaining the duo’s thinking in the process.

On Same Sex Marriage and Irish Citizenship

yes equalityI’m a straight, married man, but the same sex marriage referendum in Ireland moved me to tears. Now I’m thinking about applying for Irish citizenship…

It’s ten days since Ireland voted to legalize marriage between two men or two women, updating the constitution to read “marriage may be contracted in accordance with law by two people without distinction as to their sex.”

You could be forgiven for asking why something like that would interest me all that much. Sure, I’m pretty liberal as political viewpoints go, but I’m also a straight, married man, so you could argue that it has very little impact on my life.

In practical terms, it doesn’t, though in abstract kind of way being an equal institution makes my own marriage feel stronger. On a more philosophical level, I’m blown away.

My view of Ireland as a place has changed dramatically. I see hope beyond the conservative parties that dominate Irish government, beyond the still-substantial influence of an invariably counter-progressive church, and beyond the ‘backwards Ireland’ label that’s never well sat with my own experience here.

Now I feel hope.

Fears, tears and a weekend of hope.

It was hard not to feel really involved in the marriage referendum. It’s coverage in the weeks running up to the event was all pervasive, and while the polls kept saying there were ‘undecided voters’ and around a third voting no (which was certainly expected to be much more come polling day), how anyone could fail to feel moved by the pleas of the gay population is beyond me.