Paddy Mayne: brogue hero
A modern day Cú Chulainn
Finale update – Steven Knight’s feet of clay
Antony Beevor was right in praising the rock and roll swagger of the full series, but as a vehicle for popularising Mayne’s legacy, it stank. By the end of it, he had morphed into a full-blown asshole that pissed comrades off with his every utterance. Jim McDonald was back with a beard and a bone to pick. Such a tedious caricature wouldn’t merit that film I forecast. Boy, was I wrong!
It didn’t have to be like this. Mayne was complex, but in this muck, he is the Incredible Hulk with some serious sand under his foreskin. Knight has done good work such as Locke, but as someone who didn’t rate Peaky Blinders and rolled his eyes through most of Taboo, I say Knight’s made a camel’s arse of portraying a folk hero – the man deserved a lot better than this hyrax dung.
Hero or villain?
Debunking the myths
Valour until Valhalla
No country for old men
Shine on you crazy diamond
Observing the Sons of Ulster on Sunday
Four weeks into the BBC series and they are lazily tagging Mayne as a snarling lunatic. This is one of several inaccuracies. Mayne in the series talks like a Belfast docker whereas he had a low-key soft Ulster accent. His departed friend was made to sound like an extra from The Commitments. He too had a much more refined accent and his name was pronounced ‘Ian’, not ‘Owen’.
Another Ulster colonel on a neighbouring Sunday slot has also been pigeonholed for TV. Dick Strawbridge’s super sharp analytical brain has been reduced to him being a docile project manager for his missus, Matt Lucas’s lost twin, Angel. Escape to the Chateau started off well, but has since become a toe curlingly twee house makeover show for the girlies. Opposite ends of the spectrum, but neither persona is doing Ulster’s finest fighters any favours!
*All Irish men in the British Army were referred to as ‘Paddy’, something Blair Mayne had no qualms with. I decided to stick with Paddy for the sake of consistency with all of the videos I’ve attached and for ease of reference for anyone looking for this article on a search engine.
A few tunes to salute the man
** If you are going to read up on Blair ‘Paddy’ Mayne, here’s 14 hours of songs and poems to accompany your discoveries. Like a true Irish wake, it’s also a party – as he’d have insisted on – complete with random Percy French numbers, poems and SAS favourites thrown in for good measure. Sláinte!
Dead Poets Society
Mayne adored poetry, both to read and to write. When in Co. Down, visit fellow poet Louis MacNeice’s grave in nearby Carrowdore, a truly stunning location.