As Jerome (sincere apologies for 'Joel') is obviously a far more efficent
Net-sleuth than I am a hoaxer it's time to hold my hands up, come clean and
ask of the arresting officer "they won't hang me if he's not dead, gov, will
they?" Sorry, for the obscure film reference, but I'm very impressed by
Jerome's sleuthing which gives me reassurance that it is actually possible
to track down Spammers.
Firstly, I must apologize profusely for indirectly involving Kevin Krell and
Philippe Varlet in my scheme. No insult was intended against either person,
both of whose work I deeply respect. The 'method in my madness' was simply
to employ their own methods of dissemination of information as vehicles for
Next, I should apologize to anyone who felt undeservedly abused by the works
of 'Faye Keady', 'Kevin Krill' or 'Phillipe Varlet''. I deliberately use the
term 'undeservedly' as I had specific targets in mind all along and, for the
record, there were no more than five of these (and I'll come on to those
later), so anybody else who feels slighted should take my reference to their
name with several handfuls of salt. Also, anyone perplexed by the 'Faye
Keady' reference should try pronouncing the name in a Ballymena accent
(which should clear up Jerome's particular confusion).
I should also add that I did not post the 'Ira Goldperson' message, though I
have a very good idea who did. Then again the message from 'Nora McNulty'
was also an obvious hoax, but not one of mine, I assure you, though I have
two suspects in mind.
So why did I employ aliases? That's an easy one to answer since it became
clear to me a long time ago that there were certain members of IRTRAD who
wouldn't recognize an actual fact if it were to walk up to them, slap them
around the temples with a wet haddock and announce "I'm a fact". Equally,
there are certain other IRTRAD members who pontificate from on high and
expect everybody else to receive their blessings without question. Then
there's one specific IRTRAD member who is, quite frankly, the most
unpleasant person with whom I have ever corresponded (his last personal
message to me hoped that I would rapidly die of assorted cancers - still,
I'm told his mother loves him and he plays a good bodhra/n).
As for those first four targets, well, let's take a look at Jim Carroll's
> Does anybody give a shit who this half-wit is?
> Jim Carroll
He's always one for politeness, our Jim, to the extent that he named me on
this list as a reviewer whose 'practice' it was 'to insult and misrepresent
traditional performers' without mentioning that I had written a highly
critical review of his and Pat Mackenzie's 'Around the Hills of Clare'
collection for Musical Traditions. However, before Bill Kennedy sticks his
big butt in, I should state that this was a highly critical review of the
booklet accompanying 'Around the Hills of Clare' and not the singers
themselves, as anyone can easily check by reading my review. I know a good
singer when I hear one.
However, that's not enough for our Jim, so he wades into the debate
regarding my Rough Guide (I've actually co-written four and contributed to
several others) and comes up with this gem of a quotation from said book:
"Tom released one album for the Topic label, 'Traditional Songs From West
Clare'............ The stories on the album, along with many songs, were
taped by Tom Munnelly".
Anyone who does not have a copy of the RG might believe that those two
sentences are separated by a few words, but, in fact, there are many words
in between. That Jim is unable to understand the import of punctuation is,
of course, not an unusual event (as the booklet accompanying AtHoC makes
However, there was another reason why Jim Carroll was the prime target of my
attack and it's simple. The man is a complete hypocrite, one who readily
slags off others for views with which he does not concur and highlights the
'errors' of their ways (see his numerous postings to this list), but, when
greeted by the evidence of his own shortcomings (based on his own 'critical'
principles) falls badly short of his own standards.
My second target was Tom Munnelly. Some years back, when the RG to IM was
first published, Fintan Vallely (remember him?) penned an especially nasty
review in the 'Sunday Tribune' which can be summed up in these few words:
'just what we need, a book on Irish traditional music written by two English
people'. The fact that Sue, my co-author, is Scots and that my origins are
(how can I best put it?) not traditionally English seemed to have escaped
Fintan. Sea/n Corcoran wrote a strong letter of reply, to which Munnelly
responded, thus beginning the derogatory 'potboiler' references.
So, if the RG to IM was such a 'potboiler', why did Tom post a message to
this list a while back enquiring whether there were equivalent Scottish or
US versions? Presumably, he was hoping to be able to pen malignancies about
either or both books, if they actually existed, or (heaven forfend) had he
actually found the RG to IM useful in some way?
When I inadvertently posted my personal message to Tom on IRTRAD about the
letter he had sent to Musical Traditions re. AtHoC (and apologized to the
list for doing so), Tom posted his own snide response repeating the
'potboiler' criticism. He has never replied to me personally. Obviously,
he's a lovely piece of work.
I respect Tom's work related to folklore and music, but he has given me no
reason to respect him as a person.
Then, there's my third target, John Moulden, a man for whom that infamous
dismissal of Fred Astaire's talents ('can't sing, can't dance, can't act' or
whatever order they were originally expressed) is simply insufficient, for
this man can't write as well and always comes over, in his IRTRAD messages,
as a modern equivalent of a father in a Jane Austen novel who has just
discovered that his daughter is about to marry a 'bounder' or found someone
trespassing in his lady's boudoir. Personally, I still feel that Moulden's
best work was 'A History of Methodism in Portrush'. Anyone who thinks I'm
being unkind about Moulden's finger not being on the pulse of modernity
should check his website and wonder why it hasn't been updated since 1998.
Moulden also doesn't seem to have a very useful email connection, missing
the Joao Pinto messages (I wouldn't have invented him, John, if you hadn't
unjustly described my review of AtHoC as 'destructive) and the classic
opening paragraph from Faye Keady. So, for John's benefit only, here's the
'The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) today provided further
details regarding the colobus monkey which escaped from Belfast Zoo on
Sunday. According to the PSNI the monkey, which answers to the name of
'Mouldy', is relatively harmless, but should not be approached in bars since
it has a tendency to waffle on about the Irish folk song tradition and its
own saucy underwear company Ulster Thongs. However, if the monkey offers any
intimation that it is about to break into a song, it should be restrained
forthwith and the PSNI contacted immediately.'
Let's be blunt, Moulden could win the 'world boring the pants of anything'
competition at any time. That would be bad enough if it weren't for his
misguided belief that he knows something which the rest of us do not know
about the folk song tradition, but his postings are always encapsulated in a
hot-air bubble of righteous understanding (and often indignation).
Lastly, there's Bill Kennedy who always reminds me of the comment made by
the footballer (that's a soccer player, Bill) Gordon Strachan to a
journalist that 'newspapers shouldn't mention when players have bad games'.
I don't think that the words 'critical theory' and 'Bill Kennedy' have ever
met in a dark corridor and tried to sort each other out with a bunch of
fives. It's a pity.
"Is that all there is?" Well, it's enough.
Obviously, having levelled such personal criticisms and played my pranks, I
can't stay on IRTRAD. So, goodbye to those of you who've informed me and
kept me entertained over the last few years (and, believe me, that is the
vast majority of IRTRAD listers) and I apologize again for any inadvertent
I hope to see Tom and Jim in Miltown and am already polishing my
knuckledusters in readiness.
So long, and thanks for the fish,