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A Different View

Keeping track of changes in the world of fashion

Dave O'Connell

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That one, Daddy.....picking winners is a family affair at the Galway Races. Photo: Iain McDonald.

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

You wouldn’t often find yourself in the same camp as Michael Flatley – but it’s hard to find fault with his mystification as to why people, who are clearly not in the midst of exercise, would go out of their houses wearing tracksuits.

Unfortunately for the Lord of the Dance, he drives a horse and four through his argument by then revealing that his Friday night ritual for dinner in the formal dining room of his Cork mansion involved wearing a suit and tie….or a tuxedo.

And like a bad movie from the fifties, Flats takes his time to prepare the perfect martini and listen to some Frank Sinatra while he waits for his wife, Niamh, to sweep down the stairs in something that presumably doesn’t have Juicy written in large letters on the ass of her tracksuit bottoms.

Flatley’s sartorial regime wouldn’t even permit him to wear sweat pants in the comfort of his own home, which might be taking it a step too far given that some men lounge about in their underpants and string vest.

But he’s definitely got a point about wearing tracksuits on the streets; unless you are an athlete in training, you should have more self-worth than to wander about in an outfit that is one small step from pyjamas.

Obviously if you’re a teenager, the mere fact that parental protocol would rule this outfit out would be good enough reason to wear nothing else – and in fairness, teens do get away with it.

Tracky bottoms – either traditional shiny nylon or comfortable cotton – are the trousers of choice for the younger members of our household and you’ll really only get them into jeans for very special occasions.

One of the lads is spending a few days stocking the bars at the Galway Races and he had to get black trousers and what were described to him as black dress shoes for the occasion.

These are two items of clothing that we can confidently predict he will never wear again – unless the cheap shoes become welded to his swollen feet and have to be surgically removed at the end of the racing festival.

But rest assured, as soon as the last glass is collected in Ballybrit, it will be back into the sweat pants and football tops until the school uniform is de-mothballed for the beginning of September.

So teenagers, given that they might actually be on their way to a sporting event, can get away with wearing tracksuits on the street – less so, adults whose playing days, if they ever existed, are now long behind them.

Certainly if, like me, you take a size that’s the wrong side of medium, wearing sweat pants might lead people to believe that you couldn’t find anything to fit you that didn’t have an elasticated waist.

And matching it with a replica top from your favourite football team is only piling ridicule on top of ridiculous.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Exam points are not the only measure of education success

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

By now, the next batch of around 60,000 students set for third-level education are over a week into the Leaving Cert – the exam that will determine what course they attain a place in for the new academic year.

Their success – added to the performances of their class-mates – will determine their alma mater’s position in what are commonly known as the school league tables.

This is a calculation of how successful a secondary school is, based entirely on the number of its Leaving Certs it gets into third-level education.

In turn – based on this – parents will choose where to send their little bundles of joy when the time comes for them to make the transition from primary to second-level.

And it’s such an arbitrary method of determining the relative success or failure of a centre of education, because it leaves so much out of the equation.

Firstly, it means performance is entirely based on the numbers who go on to third-level, ignoring those who gain apprenticeships or go straight into the workplace.

Admittedly, that’s not a large cohort these days because Careers Guidance seems to begin and end with helping you to choose the right course, not the right career.

But more fundamentally, getting a good student to pass his or her exams and gain a place in college isn’t the ultimate test of a teacher; getting a student who is struggling with reading or writing to a level where they comfortably do both is a far better achievement for any teacher.

Bringing a student who is in danger of failing mathematics, for example, to a position where they pass their exams – but more importantly understand how it works – should be recognised in any measure of performance.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

How will we acclimatise as we ease out of Covid?

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Back in the world before Covid, a mention of Corona either brought to mind a beer or a rock band – but, as we ease our way out of dire straits (another rock band, as luck would have it), we might require a different kind of acclimatisation.

Because what will the evening be like when no more deaths are flashed up as a statistic on the Six-One News?

Who will the world turn to if we have no more Fergal or George or Zara giving out the daily update in a funereal tone?

What will happen to all the people who used to go to the Department of Health press conference at tea-time in the same way the rest of us once headed for the pub?

Like Pavlov’s Dog, we’ve come to expect an evening illness update, taking consolation in it being two less than yesterday or taking fright if it’s two more.

Nobody told us who these poor people were, unless the local paper carried a tribute a week later – for the number crunchers and bean counters and prophets of doom, they were today’s statistics, to be flashed up for a few seconds every night.

And we took these figures as we got them, never questioning if a person died from Covid or with Covid; if they were described as having ‘underlying conditions’, we seemed to accept that as a very broad church.

We listened intently as Fergal or George or Zara told us what the mean age was, breathing a small sigh of relief if it remained a good distance into the future from our own age now.

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

Home ownership should be a prerogative – not a pipedream

Dave O'Connell

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Half of our 18 to 34-year-olds fear they won’t be able to buy a home in next ten years, according to a new survey. That’s not the shock – it’s the fact that half of them think they actually will.

Because the truth is that owning your own home hasn’t been as much of a pipedream since the days of feudal landlords; indeed many of them will find it a job and a half to even come up with the rent.

And that’s a sign of just how critical our housing crisis has become in the space of a single generation.

We thought that things were bad in the eighties when unemployment levels were way ahead of our pre-Covid figures; when the boat and the plane were the best 0or maybe only – chance for many to secure a job far from home.

But for those who were working, owning a home wasn’t a farfetched concept at all, because there were plenty of starter homes being built and the cost of them still bore some relation to your income.

There was a time before that, when the bank had a simple equation to decide the size of the mortgage they’d give you. It was two and a half times the combined salary for those buying the house – in other words, yours alone if you were a sole purchaser, or double that if it was yourself and your partner.

On top of that, there was no point turning up in the first place unless you had a ten per cent deposit – so it was a straight-forward calculation to find out what you could afford. And house prices, for the most part, kept within that equation.

Of course there were always homes you coveted and couldn’t afford, but you could still buy a roof over your head for a price that only took 20 years to pay back.

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.

 

Continue Reading

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