Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Everybody's fuming in Drogheda and in County Louth generally. The smallest county in Ireland and 50 years since it won the Leinster region final of the gaelic football championship and this year it reached that final and was winning until the final minutes of injury time. Then, in a melee in front of the Louth goal, the ball trickled across the line. However, no-one had 'played' it to that end which, under the rules, makes it invalid. But the referee awarded a goal to Meath, the other side, and hence victory in the match. He later admitted he had made the wrong decision and it was an invalid goal but too late. Fans invaded the pitch and punched him to great outcry. The governing body said there was nothing they could do. The Meath management committee debated requesting a replay but decided against. The decision stands. Hence the inevitable feeling of "We wuz robbed!"

On a quite different tack. I recently read Robert Harris' "Imperium". I had previously disliked his "Pompeii" immensely with its boring cardboard characters, unexciting style and regurgitated chunks of Pliny the Younger sometimes as straight quotes not to mention major implausibilities. 

This account of the early career of Cicero was completely different. Naked power politics with menace, so exciting I could hardly put it down to go to bed. The battle for power between dynamic and ambitious individuals and factions with real historical characters who came to life as totally real. 

Whether all the incidents actually happened is another matter - if they did Cicero must have been an incredibly brave man to have said some of those things in the those places - but it reads as completely plausible. I can hardly wait to read the next instalment "Lustrum".

I have been very erratic in maintaining this blog so far, so lets hope I can make a fresh start now.

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