George Hook's blog

Have these lunatics nothing better to do than protest the fake shooting of a TV cat? George Hook sympathises with the RTE complaints department.

18/10/13 at 12:37 PM | 0 Comments

Never argue with an idiot. They lower you to their level and beat you on experience. 

RTE doesn't have such luxury. As the national broadcaster, it is obliged to respond to every Tom, Dick and Harry that makes a complaint. 'Damn right', I hear you say. 'I pay my license fee!'

Fair enough. But I do feel sympathy for RTE at times. Take the first episode of Love/Hate as an example. I sat down to watch it last Sunday week and I must admit I thoroughly enjoyed the resumption of one of the most successful Irish television series ever made.

The story lines are engrossing; well written and utterly addictive. The writers and directors seem to have struck the perfect balance between plot development and character exploration. The scenes are fittingly dark and tense, with room for comedic license and light relief when the going gets a bit tough. 

They say time waits for no man, but time on the rugby pitch seems to move fastest of all, says George Hook

11/10/13 at 09:59 AM | 0 Comments

The frivolity of youth is probably best epitomised on the sports field. Here, one can witness inexperience working to a player's advantage. Unshackled by the weight of burden and expectation, a youngster can carry himself solely on the whim of his talent and his instinct. If the fear of failure is absent on the field of play, the subject is open to moments of unsculptured brilliance. 

In modern day sport, we have become accustomed to the domineering manager figure, protecting his young from the pitfalls of success. For with success, comes responsibility. And with that responsibility, there is an onus on players to overrule their own natural talent in favour of doing what is best for the good of the team. 

The anguish and grief of stolen innocence, never to be retrieved, leaves an indelible scar, says George Hook

04/10/13 at 09:33 AM | 0 Comments

It begins in an instant, when a father holds his little girl for the very first time. He cradles her close, smoothing her cheek lovingly with a trembling finger. He kisses her forehead. She seems so tiny in his hands. So vulnerable. He marvels at every inch of her and he cannot remember ever seeing something so beautiful and so wonderful. He whispers close, promises to love her, to mind and protect her at all times, for as long as his heart beats strong.

But he can't. The realisation soon dawns that it is impossible to be in two places at once. And he must let go, a little with every day. He must place his trust in the world and hope that his faith is rewarded and that his little girl will be safe.

"Will you catch me when I fall Daddy?"

"Of course I will, my darling. When you feel pain, I feel it a thousand times. When you cry, your tears sting me more fiercely than a thousand angry bees."

Childhood is supposed to be about innocence and education, not mascara and bikinis, says George Hook

27/09/13 at 09:55 AM | 0 Comments

Ever heard of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo? Neither had I until a few weeks ago when I accidentally switched on the entertainment channel TLC. No, "Honey Boo Boo" is not some new preserve made by crying bees, it is a reality television show starring a seven-year-old girl in the United States. The girl, her hyper obese mother and her slack-jawed yokel extended family spend their time rehearsing for and competing in child beauty pageants near their hometown in Georgia. With an average audience of 2m viewers per episode, the yanks seem to lap it up.

The programme is as disturbing as it is tacky. Honey Boo Boo's mother bears an uncanny resemblance to a paper mâché head that I made when I was five. None of her features seem to fit in the right place and she always looks like she is suffering from constipation. The rest of the family wouldn't be out of place in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. 

As politicians return to their benches, George Hook suggests a refresher course on The Three Rs

20/09/13 at 09:05 AM | 0 Comments

Yes, it’s that time of the year again when our hard working politicians must return from their summer recess and reapply themselves to the business of mastering the “3 Rs”. No, not the “Readin', 'Ritin', 'Rithmetic” of our school days. It’s more the stuff of domestic economic programs like those that were introduced in the United States between 1933 and 1936 by F. D. Roosevelt in his “New Deal”. That is, of course, the politician’s ‘3Rs’ of Relief, Recovery, and Reform: Relief for the unemployed and poor; Recovery of the economy to normal levels; and Reform of the financial system to prevent a repeat recession.

George Hook contemplates the end of an era and what it might mean for Irish rugby

13/09/13 at 09:32 AM | 0 Comments

Here we are, then.  The Heineken Cup as we now know it is on the verge of extinction. The greatest club competition in world rugby has been plunged into chaos following Tuesday’s announcement that the English and French sides have given notice to withdraw from the tournament at the end of the current season.  

Months of negotiations with ERC stakeholders over qualification standards and financial dividends has left all parties no closer to resolving their differences.  As it stands, the Heineken Cup is on its last legs.  A breakaway competition for 2014 has been proposed by the English and French clubs, with an option for the Celtic and Italian sides to join.  The clock is ticking.

Jamie Oliver is right, says George Hook, a tight budget is no excuse for a junk food diet

06/09/13 at 07:46 AM | 0 Comments

Jamie Oliver was right. He was bang on, 100%, completely and utterly correct in what he said last week and he should be commended for having the balls to say it.  The reaction he got was typical of the nauseating hysteria that seems to pass for modern decorum these days.

In a radio interview to promote his new TV series in the UK, Oliver said (and I'm paraphrasing) that the main reason poor people eat a lot of junk food is because they are too lazy to put their time into proper cooking. Cost isn't an excuse, he added, because it is actually pretty easy to eat well on a tight budget.

If a man can afford to turn down a job paying €13 an hour, says George Hook, something is rotten in our society

30/08/13 at 08:15 AM | 0 Comments

If the government wants to get unemployed people back to work, it must remove the incentive for them to stay at home. There is very little point putting time and resources into expanding job creation if the very people targeted refuse to sign up.  How do we do this? By cutting social welfare.

The first time I encountered the law of diminishing returns was in the gym. I was a young rugby player bursting with enthusiasm and I had figured out that the best way of claiming my starting place as a second row in the St Mary's team was to build more muscle. I knew nothing about lifting weights so I threw myself into it as best I could.

After about three weeks of furious bench pressing, one of the trainers in the gym came over to me and quietly whispered that I was wasting my time. "Why"? I had asked, slightly taken aback. As far as I was concerned, I was getting stronger by the day.

"The most sexist, chauvinistic piece of clap trap since the dark ages." George Hook is not a fan of The Rose of Tralee

23/08/13 at 08:30 AM | 0 Comments

The Rose of Tralee (insert year here)

Act one, scene one.

(Insert host name here)

"Would you look at all of those lovely girls. There they all are, dressed up in their pretty little gúna's with a smile that would melt butter. Aren't they just wonderful? Oh wait, here comes a song and a dance. Better take off the high heels first! We wouldn't want you falling on your pretty little faces now would we? Hahaha. Off you go, dance away while we all clap. Wonderful! You were super!

Now, on to the serious business. What's your favourite colour? Pink? Isn't that gas altogether! And what's your favourite thing to do on a Saturday? Shopping? Oh aren't you the right little spender! Hahaha!

Have you got a boyfriend? What does Daddy think of him? There he is, hello Daddy!  And Mammy? Sure she doesn't count, eh? Hahaha...

George Hook on Chris Froome's bittersweet Tour de France victory

26/07/13 at 09:02 AM | 0 Comments

The Tour de France finished up at the wonderful Champs Élysées in the middle of Paris on Sunday afternoon. The winner, Chris Froome, battled through three crippling, hard weeks of pain and suffering to claim the most coveted of professional cycling prizes; the yellow jersey or maillot jaune.

His victory was almost guaranteed by the start of the third week. Incredible performances over the first fourteen days set him apart from his fellow competitors.  Froome dominated his rivals from start to finish and together with last years winner, Bradley Wiggins, he gave team Sky back to back victories on the Tour. It was a magnificent achievement for all involved. Thousands lined out on the streets of Paris to welcome the riders in and when Froome made his way to the winners podium he looked happy and relieved that cycling's most punishing race was finally over. The race is now finished, but many questions remain unanswered.

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