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A Different View

Politicians will drive you to drink faster than advertising ever could

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We’re a great nation to use a sledgehammer to crack a nut – an approach clearly illustrated in the latest effort by some politicians to take drink sponsorship out of sport.

Apparently, we cannot be trusted to behave ourselves because the mere mention of drink sends us into orbit like Pavlov’s dog or Father Jack to the point where we can no longer remember our own names.
No, we are so overwhelmingly influenced by advertising that the most tenuous link between a sport we love and a drink of the alcoholic kind will have us pouring it down our necks until our liver gives out.

Our holier-than-thou politicians want to ban the drinks industry from paying out a slice of its fortune to support sport because it’s only a cynical exercise to force fit young sports people to turn to the drink.
According to that great champion of due process, Ming Flanagan alcohol sponsorship of sport is ‘twisted’ – as opposed to having penalty points quietly quashed, which presumably merely qualifies as great oul’ craic altogether.

Ming – the self-confessed cannabis smoker – thinks there should be a ‘total and utter’ ban on alcohol sponsorship ‘whether that be in sport or other walks of life’.

“It is twisted, the idea that you would have alcohol and sport connected,” he told a recent gathering of the Oireachtas Transport and Communications Committee.

Actually, the chances are this sort of political posturing is infinitely more likely to drive the nation to drink than advertising ever would.

This was a meeting to which the Federation of Irish Sport, Horse Racing Ireland and the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland had been summoned to discuss the implications of possible legislation to ban the sponsorship of major sporting events by drinks companies.

Eamon Coghlan was the man to put it into some perspective – a world champion and Olympian who grew up using the Guinness pool for training….and who has only ever drank one pint of Guinness in his life.

In other words, he probably swallowed more of the chlorine in Guinness pool than the barley in the Guinness pint – so clearly the influence of drink isn’t as all-prevailing as Ming might like to think.

Anyway, by the same yardstick, shouldn’t we be protesting at Cadbury’s sponsorship of U21 football championship – because too much chocolate can make you fat and clearly we haven’t the whit to know when to stop.

The value of drink sponsorship was €35 million last year, while, by comparison, the total budget of the Irish Sports Council this year is €43 million. That illustrates the hole that would be left if the ‘sackcloth and ashes’ brigade get their way.

But more to the point, when did advertising become so supremely powerful that mere word association was enough to send us scurrying like mice after free cheese?

Of course it works – or we in the media had better hope it does before we’re out of work – but people are discerning enough to see it with some sense of perspective.

Yes, teenagers buy boots because they’re endorsed by Gareth Bale or Steven Gerrard; they buy clothes that their musical or sporting heroes wear – but it’s not so powerful that it triumphs over free will.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Caught by online fraudsters – and rescued by the bank

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Somewhere in a supermarket in Australia last week, a person or persons spent €57.88 of my money on food or drink and charged it to my Visa card. Hours later they then repeated the exercise at another branch of Coles, the Melbourne-based multiple – but then their mini-spree came to a shuddering halt.

In truth perhaps, they probably didn’t leave home at all; they may not even have been anywhere near Australia, instead carrying out their shopping online around midday local time – and again for around the same amount an hour or two later.

But then the fraud department of Allied Irish Banks put a halt to their gallop and during the wee small hours inquired if I had somehow made it from conducting an evening online transaction in Galway to buying things from a supermarket in Melbourne, in the process inadvertently breaking the sound barrier while I slept.

And when I replied that indeed I had not, my Visa card was shut down and the prospects of the intrepid Australians buying some serious kit from my pocket disappeared quicker than snow on the outback.

Not alone that but AIB refunded the money these people had spent without my knowledge, allowed me to take a few bob out of the bank without a card – but with ID – and then sent on a brand new card this week.

The embarrassing part was having to confirm that online purchases in the run-up to the Aussie shopping spree were legit; it’s like having a list of misdemeanours read out in court.

There was nothing accusatory in the tone of the nice woman from the bank, who merely inquired if indeed it was me who had gone twice to Mace the previous day; if I’d also bought an album online and paid a monthly subscription for a digital newspaper.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

What your taste in music says about your own state of mind

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Dave O'Connell
Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

As Elton John once said, sad songs say so much. But now it turns out so do Adele songs or classics by the Beatles – because surprise, surprise, the music you listen to reflects your state of mind.

That’s what a group of psychologists in Toronto spent their time discovering recently – a reality most of us could have told them for free.

The psychologists divided people into four groups with different approaches to relationships – the rejection-feeling ‘anxious’’ group; the negative and cold ‘avoidant group; the confident ‘secure’ group, and a mixed group.

The boffins then assessed the lyrics to 7,000 different songs based on their variously secure, anxious, or avoidant content, then asked a test group to pick out their favourite tracks.

And they came up with the bleedin’ obvious – song lyrics are a window into your state of mind; they discovered that people who are insecure in their relationship listen to a lot of Adele. Perhaps because you may remember she had her biggest hit, Someone Like You, about a break-up.

Other songs that inspire strong feelings, often sadness, include Joni Mitchell’s Blue; Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine; Neil Young’s Philadelphia, and Ray Charles’ Georgia on My Mind – just in case you’re looking to take it down a notch this New Year.

On the other hand, those who prefer the Beatles’ upbeat Love Me Do are more than likely to be very secure in their relationships, according to the University of Toronto study.

And just for the record, here are some of the songs for happy people, who are secure in themselves and in their loved ones around them.

At Last by Etta James – which sounds more like entrapment than true love, as does I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher – and Wouldn’t it be Nice by the Beach Boys, not to mention Whitney Houston’s 1999 hit I Will Always Love You, which is actually a Dolly Parton song from the early 1970’s. It’s just that Dolly doesn’t give off that same sense of security.

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

Viewing options ensure TV will never be the same again

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Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

Much has been written about the downturn in newspaper sales, and in printed matter generally, on foot of the digital age – but it’s not just reading habits that are changing; because there is more than one generation now that no longer seeks its audio-visual enjoyment in the old-fashioned way.

In other words, the television sector is negotiating the same troubled waters with streaming services and free or subscription videos taking large chunks out of their traditional audience.

There was a time when the lap of luxury was a television in your bedroom, but there aren’t too many under 25s looking for that now – because everything they want to see, they can do it on their tablet or phone.

And while we were slaves to the TV guide, they demand to see their programme choices when it suits them – not when the channels think it’s best to put them out.

We might have come from a generation that waited until Sunday night to catch up with life in Leestown with the Riordans or in Wicklow with Dinny and Miley, but that ship has sailed.

If today’s consumer wants to watch the entire new box set of their favourite drama or detective series in one fell swoop, then that’s how it has to be.

You can see it already with the terrestrial stations across the water even if we cannot benefit from it here. The BBC iPlayer is at least one episode ahead of the channels themselves with any big drama, and very often the whole series of available in advance; it’s the same with ITV.

The RTÉ Player is more of a catch-up facility for programmes you’ve missed – apart from the odd straight-to-digital offering which wouldn’t really cut it on the actual schedule – but they will have to adapt to the British model if they’re to avoid sinking into a deeper abyss.

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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