Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Whatever Happened to the Millennium Clock?

The Millennium Clock. Now, does that ring a bell?
The unfortunate “Time in the Slime”?
Oh, spare me a moment in which I will tell
Of a wicked and dastardly crime.

A long time ago, back in old ninety nine,
The people of Dublin were reckoned
To warrant a timepiece encrusted with brine
That counted down each shagging second.

What joy! What happiness! What ecstatic bliss!
What wonderful cause for elation!
A bloody great clock in a river of piss,
All thanks to the brave Corporation.

At O’Connell Bridge people queued up for days
To watch the red seconds descending,
And, though it was viewed through a yellowy haze,
The queues for it seemed never-ending.

Problems and troubles were all washed away,
When faced with this wondrous invention,
And as the big numbers got smaller each day,
We got pre-millennial tension.

But then, one fine morn, the damn thing wasn’t there,
The Liffey was no longer ticking,
Though people continued to look down and stare
And Japanese cameras kept clicking.

Oh, well I remember that terrible day
That Dublin’s proud timepiece was taken.
Grown men found it tricky to keep tears at bay,
So lost and forlorn and forsaken.

Old men hugged each other, and little girls wept,
With consummate grief and self-pity,
And all through the afternoon, dark rumours swept
Through the north and the south of the city.

The media circus surrounded Wood Quay,
Demanding immediate answers,
And, scenting a story, reported with glee
That the men in the Corpo were chancers.

At length came a spokesman, along with a brief,
Imploring us all not to panic.
The clock hadn’t sunk; there was no need for grief –
It was hardly the shagging Titanic.

The Liffey was manky, he went on to say,
Exceedingly grubby and dirty.
It needed some purification but they
Didn’t get enough money from Bertie.

The Millennium Clock, he imparted with force,
Had been subject to regular screening,
And, due to the slime, as a matter of course,
They had taken it off for a cleaning.

The people all breathed a huge sigh of relief
That everything seemed as it oughta.
And all throughout Dublin, there was the belief
That this explanation held water.

The Millennium Clock never surfaced again,
The people forgot all about it.
The story went round that they’d cleaned it in vain,
And no-one had reason to doubt it.

But now is the time for the truth to be sold,
No need for misrepresentation.
For it was a pup that the city was sold,
With meticulous prevarication.

Two men, late at night, from the edge of the quays,
Pushed a dinghy out into the river.
The cold, icy breeze made the older man sneeze,
And the younger one gave a sharp shiver.

They paddled away by the light of the moon,
Though both of them chattered and trembled.
They worked very carefully, and very soon
The Millennium Clock was dissembled.

They floated downstream to the Custom House Dock
Where a black hi-ace van with a skylight
Stood waiting to whisk the two men and the clock
Away into Dublin’s bleak twilight.

The Corpo decided, Jack Nicholson-wise,
That the truth was too awful to handle,
And so they concocted a tissue of lies
In order to stifle a scandal.

The mood of the mob was uncertain to gauge.
Imagine the wild accusations!
Far better the lie that would dissipate rage,
And so, the mundane explanations.

But, hold on a minute, I hear you butt in,
How come only you know the truth?
Well, that’s not quite true, I reply with a grin –
There’s my son, a remarkable youth.

We live in a semi in Dublin’s North Wall,
I oftentimes wish it was bigger.
But when we admire our big clock on the wall,
I find it so hard not to snigger.

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