not a member? click here to sign up
Helen freezes over
Or how Helen Mirren, formerly a feisty republican, sold out for the Queen’s jewellery. words Eamon McCann
Eamonn McCann, 27 Mar 2007
It was the announcement that a date has been set for Helen Mirren to take tea with the Queen which caused my anxiety levels to rise. Will Tony Blair soon be claiming to have seen Mousey? If he does, I’ll smell a rat.
Me, I once saw Mousey Brady run through Jackie Milburn’s legs with the ball. You wouldn’t want a footballing memory like that stolen by a gouger like Blair.
The possibility of Blair robbing my memory of Mousey first stirred when Blair – or, rather, his Official Spokesman, whom journalists are not allowed to name – made a grab for the glory of Ms. Mirren’s Oscar victory a month back. “It took a very special actress to take on a role of this kind, and to do so to universal acclaim,” Tom Kelly intoned. The Prime Minister, he solemnly announced, had considered the Oscar “richly deserved”.
He’d taken time out from his busy schedule murdering Muslims to see the film, then, had he? Well, no, Kelly admitted. Not seen it. “Not as such”. But he had heard about it.
What had he heard about Michael Sheen’s performance, one mischievous hack wondered? But Kelly the Boy from Cultra – a devious cove, used to work in Belfast – believed he had spotted a trick question. The PM may not actually have seen the movie, he sniffed, but he was certainly aware that Michael Sheen wasn’t in it.
Mr. Sheen was, of course, much the best thing in the slurpy piece of bumsucking toadyism, turning in a perfectly creepy performance as the unctuous Blair.
The exchange recalled a 1997 Football Focus interview in which Blair spoke of his life-long infatuation with the game, mad eyes misting up as he fondly recalled that his “teenage hero” had been Newcastle United’s Jackie Milburn, whom he would regularly “watch from the seats behind the goal” at St James’s Park.
Milburn played his last game for Newcastle in 1957, when Blair was four years old. There were no seats behind either goal at St. James’s Park.
One of the multiple differences between myself and Blair is that I did see Jackie Milburn play. It was the glowing twilight of his career, admittedly, during his stint as player-manager with Linfield. And thus it was that I was perfectly positioned in the Brandywell when Mousey ran through his legs with the ball.