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The Scum Gentry journal - An Alternative News Source
Satirical news articles, social satire and political satire Headlines.

Fair City Stories: the Carrigstown Review - satirical news article by Ross Breslin

A new year is upon us, bringing with it new aspirations and commitments, as well as fresh directions entirely, to follow up on now that both the digestive and the withdrawal periods of Christmas have passed thankfully behind us. After spending the last year penning in-depth, occasionally even pretentious, reviews of artsy movies I decided that I needed a new journalistic vocation to occupy me for 2014. Something with the common touch, more down to earth and accessible, something that could be gripped with the rough skin of my own two hands and crafted in the traditional sense. And so it happened that while flicking through the UPC one evening earlier this week I stumbled upon that old staple of Irish television, the Dublin soap opera “Fair City”, when I was struck with a terrible idea. I was in a particularly good mood that evening and I immediately took to piss-taking in my head and lampooning the pantomime onscreen before me and I thought to myself: “Yes, from now on, every week I’ll review all four episodes of Fair City for the Scum Gentry Journal. That will be a good auld laugh.” Indeed.

I do not hate myself and am therefore rarely inclined to engage in the habits of self-torture that must surely follow such a poor appraisal of the self. As such, I decided to watch all my Fair City in one sitting, so that for the rest of the week I would not be subjected to it. After the morning’s work on Friday afternoon I put my feet up in the living room and plugged in the laptop to log on to the RTE Player and my weekly dose of Fair City. What follows is my own subjective interpretation of the past week’s actions in Carrigstown.


Episode One: “The Unknowable Greyness Within” – Originally broadcasted on the 5th of January 2014


It’s been a long time since I watched more than a scene or two of Fair City, though my recollection of it (although hammy at the best of times and, yes, even shite) was that it was, in terms of story development, often a fairly rip-roaring thing, with steamy affairs, subplots set in gangsterland, this one lad with curly white hair and tiny beady eyes (like an evil elf), and these college students who once pretended to be Satanists to freak out Eunice. It’s fair to say that I did not know what I was in for.

As the show began I was mildly concerned that, in returning on a whim years later, I would now be a stranger in Carrigstown, an astronaut from the future in a planet of apes, and as such I was pleasantly surprised to recognize a pair of familiar faces strolling down the street. Paul and Nicola and I even recalled they were once a “thing”.

They talk about the test results of some unknown female other, it is not specified what the tests study or convey but there is a whiff of despair about the whole thing. My brow furrows. They stop outside a Tapas Bar (Tapas?) and I am lost. I am in Bizarro World.

Next some unfamiliar and tired-looking doctor arrives on the scene and Paul tries to glean information from her regarding the tests (for a “Jane” apparently), which she refuses, citing her Hippocratic Oath. Exit Paul, Enter Doctor—Enter the Tapas.

In Tapas (this is modern Carrigstown) the first person the Doctor meets is the hitherto-addressed Jane herself. Now the doctor presses Jane about these unspecified “tests” as she too apparently knows nothing about them. Jane brushes her off, preferring to suffer in silence. Nothing is known.

After that another familiar face appears in the Tapas Bar, the dodgery auld fella Charlie, who approaches a younger vaguely recognizable woman who tells him that her phone-calls to somebody (?) have all been rebuffed, to which Charlie replies something along the lines of “I’m getting worried, it’s going to be very lonely for Bella’s anniversary if nobody shows up”. A wave of unexpected sadness washes over me.

The next scene is in a psychiatrist’s office. A woman, Yvonne, appears locked in an iron cage of her own personal torment, unwilling to engage with the counselor who seems to me wholly unsuited and even uninterested in the position and says deeply jarring and unsettling things like “So tell me, who are you?”, even though she already knows it’s Yvonne. This is becoming unbearable and by the five minute mark I have decided that two episodes of Fair City a week will suffice this undertaking.

Next we meet the third focal point of the episode, a doting old woman, a baby, and a chipper young fella who is revealed to be the child’s father Jay. The woman informs him that she can’t mind the baby tonight (though she would like to) and as such her friend will have to babysit for them. However, she insists that she will pay for it herself as the young lad probably can’t afford the cost, despite his protestations to the contrary. At least there’s a bit of warmth here and when she sends him out to buy the baby nappies she insists he buy the expensive kind to stave off the dangers of nappy rash.

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