Gerry Feehily

Break A Leg France

World News, “Ireland Fans Voice Their Disappointment” (19 November, 2009)

As you can imagine many Irish people are still having trouble not feeling furious that during the World Cup in South Africa, France is trotting out onto the field instead of… end of objectivity starts here… us.

But Ireland, whose history has been punctuated by defeats at the hands of the English, the spuds (of course they have hands too, as everyone knows) and the quick, deft ones of Thierry Henry, can at least console itself with pizzas.

Yes, Pizza Hut in Ireland is offering a free “pizza” for every goal scored against France during the tournament. It suffices to sign up to the chain’s Facebook page to get one delivered to your door when a ball hopefully flies into the French net. Given the pre-Cup form of the French team, which limped past the mighty Costa Rica 2-1 in a friendly and lost to the football genius of China, the Hut has put a ceiling of 350 orders.

I’m surprised that the makers of unreal pizza should be that worried about financial health in an unreal country. Currently, the Irish government is swearing blind that Ireland has “turned a corner.” Indeed, it has. It has turned a corner into mass unemployment (13.7%) for the sake of better credit ratings. With corners like these, there should be a Thierry Henry at every one of them, saying “I will be honest, it was a handball… It would have been better to do it in another way.”

The goal that eliminated the Irish and saved the French (WC Qualifier, 11/09)

Yes, Thierry, maybe you will be honest one day in another way, but never mind. All Europe, apparently, is headed into this terra incognita, so in the spirit of solidarity, I would like to extend a warm European merde to the players of my adopted country.

Sherpafry, “Hitler Reacts to Henry Handball” (Hitler Meme, 2009)

Pursuing this Latin fondness for things cloacal, I wish them in Spanish, a buena mierda, a good shit. I also take take my cue from Germany – Hals und Beinbruch, Poland – połamania nóg, that I hope they break a leg, or as in the Czech Republic’s zlom vaz, that they break their necks. Like a Romanian I wish them Baftă, or blind luck, with an emphasis on the blind bit. Or as in Holland, I will say Toi, Toi, Toi, as if I were spitting on them. Let it never be said that the Irish aren’t good losers.

La Chanson Du Dimanche, “Thierry Henry” (November, 2009)

– Gerry Feehily

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Gerry Feehily is Europe chief at Parisian weekly Courrier International. Based in Paris since the 1990s, his articles on literature and politics have appeared in The Guardian, The Independent, New Statesman and the Irish Examiner. He is the author of "Fever" and "Gunk."