What is home without Plumtree’s
Potted Meat? Incomplete. With it, an abode of bliss
Reading the Aer Lingus inflight magazine, I was struck by the rhythms of the catechism in this ad:
‘What could be better than Butlers Irish Handmade Chocolates?
Absolutely nothing could be better. Because theres no more acceptable gift than a box of Butlers Irish Handmade Chocolates.’
Leopold Bloom might have been the copywriter; fresh from the potted meat account.
My brain is a stew of words whenever I come back from Ireland. I cant help it: its partly the memories of childhood, when reading was a more powerful act than it is now, and partly the pervasiveness of literature there. Aer Lingus seats are decorated with snatches of poems and prose written in a scratchy fountain pen.
‘We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at [interrupting seat seam]
Bees on a drowsy day/ Suck honey from fuschia.’
Brown Thomas, that South County Dubliners souk, prints similar snatches on its gift-wrap ribbons. And the newly-designed cafe at Shannon airport has longer quotes embossed on metal plaques at the end of every table. These literary snacks are everywhere, like the Irish Writers calendar in all the pubs. I find them comforting, but I wonder if a great heritage has been reduced to design accents. It used to be enough to own books without reading them; now it may be enough to own quote-covered objets.
That takes some of the pressure off, I suppose.