- 01 Jun 20
It doesn’t take a genius or a wizard to see that the world is in a state of chassis. But we need all the fantastic wisdom we can get, to find a way out of coronavirus lockdown. So who better to turn to than Artemis Fowl himself?
Dear Young People of Ireland,
It is I, Artemis Fowl II, your leader, writing to you from my family villa on Dalkey Island. Of course, the Fowl abode cannot be seen with the naked eye as I have been forced to drop a camouflage shield over the entire building to dissuade the gawkers, one fellow in particular who is forever hanging around the forty-foot dragging his Supervalu bag behind him. One hears that the lout is some class of a movie star, but he does have, to use the vernacular, a big Wexford head on him.
I refer to myself as your leader because even though the Republic is ostensibly being run by the politicos in Leinster House, we all know where the real power lies. There are four true centres of power on this island: a shady group in the South-West known only as the Flat Caps, who travel by donkey in the dead of night like highwaymen of old. A televisual mogul matriarch or perhaps patriarch and her boys from Dublin City who broadcast subliminal messages through the airwaves and hold massive rallies for the faithful in the 3Arena. A shadowy food emporium known as Avoca which, like the pony express of old, will go to all necessary lengths to keep Southsiders’ refrigerators stocked with Pinot Grigio and the finest pesto.
And the fourth centre of power is, of course, the Fowl family of Dalkey Island.
Our influence is such that I have been running the government of Northern Ireland from my smartphone ever since the assembly collapsed in 2017. It started as a school project, but I think it’s going very well. Of course, I could never run the government of the Republic on my phone. For that I would need a tablet. One can only hope that the current talks will devolve into chaos and I can step in to save the country. Again.
I am writing to you, my peers, because too often in times of crisis our concerns are ignored. This pandemic was patently none of our doing and yet we are the ones who will pay the price. Graduations are cancelled, exams are postponed and our one haven where no mature adult would dare venture is written off. I am, of course, talking about Longitude, which is forbidden to grown-ups. Though I did hear reports of a certain Ross O’Carroll Kelly stumbling around Marlay Park asking passers-by whether or not they had seen his ‘Doobs’. The man obviously thought he was at Electric Picnic.
LICK DOOR HANDLES
So, what can we do to ensure that the youth emerge relatively unscathed from these gloomy times? Firstly, I would urge you to keep yourself informed, but take your information from reliable sources. The national broadcaster is one such source, and I know this because my four-year-old brother, Myles, writes most of the reports. Social media is unreliable as an information hub. It is perfectly fine for Epic Fail videos, which are my guilty pleasure, but for scientific updates steer well clear. Another undependable source is your Uncle Mick. Studies show that almost every child in Ireland has an Uncle Mick, and while Uncle Micks are generally expert pool players, who insist on wearing bootcut jeans well into their forties, they are not cut out for imparting wisdom. It is perfectly acceptable to be fond of your Uncle Mick but do not turn to him for Covid updates.
The second measure we, the youth, can take is to make sure the nerves of our parents are pushed to their limits, for this is how historically children have kept their elders vital. Parents are accustomed to being vexed by groups of teens and possibly feel that dealing with smaller numbers should be, to employ a popular phrase, a doddle. It is our duty to disabuse them of this notion. It may seem a big ask, to drive your parents to distraction on your own, but with some forethought and planning it can be achieved. Here are some suggestions:
1. Conceal drinks containers behind various cushions throughout the house.
2. Place handprints on all reflective surfaces, especially ones that you have no reason to ever touch.
3. Never ever put something back where you found it. This is both the sign of a lazy mind and a missed opportunity.
4. Never admit so much as a single sun ray into your bedroom no matter how many times your grandmother refers to it as: God’s Light.
5. Hold your parents personally responsible for Covid 19, asserting several times a day that your father is delighted with the lockdown and that the Leaving being cancelled is a dream come true for him.
6. Drive your parents demented several times a day by asking virus-related questions such as:
- Can the lads come up to my room for a Fortnite marathon?
- Are we still going to Greece on Sunday?
- Is it alright to lick door handles?
- Is it two centimetres or two metres we’re supposed to stay apart?
- In what year did Covid 19 show up?
If you follow these guidelines, I assure you that our parents will stay sharp for the duration of the lockdown. They will not however be any less embarrassing but at least they will have enough awareness to feel shame.
In conclusion I would urge you, my fellow teenagers, to keep your noses to the grindstone. This phrase, I must point out, is an expression. Please do not place your actual noses to any actual grindstones. I do apologise for stating the obvious but recently there have been a lot of people taking things about bleach literally. So, when I say keep your noses to the grindstone, I mean keep yourselves mentally engaged. Read your books, listen to your music, watch every episode of the historic documentary Vikings, and Zoom your confederates, especially the one who is sometimes left out, because being left out hurts.
And when this is all over, we will emerge energised from our cocoons and rush to the nearest Grafton Barber for a quick Peaky. Thus, properly groomed we can take our rightful places in the Eddie Rockets and Costa Coffees of this fair country and engage in our clandestine conversations. And remember, should some intrusive adult inquire as to the nature of this conversation they are easily bamboozled: simply tell the inquisitive adult that you are making a TikTok about Love Island and they will run for the metaphorical hills.
Except perhaps your Uncle Jack.
• There are eight novels in the Artemis Fowl series. The full list reads: Artemis Fowl (2001), Artemis Fowl and the Arctic Incident (2002), Artemis Fowl and the Eternity Code (2003), Artemis Fowl and the Opal Deception (2005), Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony (2006), Artemis Fowl and the Time Paradox (2008), Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex (2010) and the most recent, Artemis Fowl and the Last Guardian (2012). All are still available from good bookshops. Artemis Fowl, the film, which draws on the first two books in the series, debuts on June 12 on Disney+.
The new double-cover special issue of Hot Press is available to order online now: