Just a fluke … and a septic mange mite. With a side of rhynchosporium to go

Harry Molloy takes on the Dune spice worms

There was really nothing to match the particular quirkiness of dinner time in an Irish household in the 80s. It was a time when spaghetti bolognese was the very pinnacle of cuisine-based daring and you were urged to eat every single thing on your plate lest the poor children in Africa psychically know food was going to waste via some Catholic church-based mind link (probably), and weep even more tears of suffering.

And then, of course, there were the ads on the radio for liver fluke. The wireless was constantly tuned to RTÉ Radio 1 at ear-bleed levels in McDermott HQ. This meant every main meal was a welter of fluke-based terror, and appetite would die instantly as a solemn, disembodied voice would lecture in the ad break – mid extended weather forecast – as to the dangers of rhynchosporium, bovine fasciolosis, septic mange mites and other horrible things involving the bowels, arses and intestines of sheep and cows.

Jesus, what to do to fix this dire prognosis! Apparently something along the lines of a dose of Triple A Golden Maverick, ably advertised on TV to a soundtrack of the theme tune to spaghetti western Il Pistolero Dell Ave Maria and starring Harry from Fair City, and all would be well again. Ok, so it’s actually a milk-replacement product for calves but hey – I had to get it in here somehow.

And why dinner time? Easy: the farmers were all in post-milking to listen to the weather news, and ever tuned to the art of market segmentation, the fine bucks at Peter Owens and their ilk block-booked all the ad space for dinner time to catch them at their tay. Well I mean, how better to get into their brains as they supped than by planting the idea of the exact right brand for their particular sporocyst, eh?

What, you thought it was just a fluke? Never.

(by Kirstie McDermott)

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13 thoughts on “Just a fluke … and a septic mange mite. With a side of rhynchosporium to go

  1. iamreddave says:

    Calves gettin’ scour was mighty vexatious

  2. kirstie says:

    Scour! How could I forget!

  3. Cacamilis says:

    And the 10 10 20 !

  4. nlgbbbblth says:

    “Scour” is still used as an expression in Wexford to describe an unpleasant (human) bowel movement.

  5. Nam Citsale says:

    Thank fluke, i thought we were to be subjected to posts on football for the duration of the Eurovision Soccer Contest. Do such ads still exist or has the gradual bourgeoisification of Ireland meant they’ve disappeared from the airwaves? Also i can’t recall much in the way of televisual equivalents, beyond the dimly remembered image of the awkward buccal sluicing of a calf with an implement like the nozzle of a petrol pump. A seditious opportunity missed by some Don Draper-like ‘creative’ to pay revolting homage to David Cronenberg after the Angelus, i reckon.

  6. Kirstie says:

    I was biting the top off a meringue as I read the words “awkward buccal sluicing of a calf”.

    Gone off it now.

    It’s like dinnertime in 1984 all over again.

  7. Nam Citsale says:

    The ad with Billy isn’t ringing any (cow) bells but i’m intrigued by his slow-core voice. I picture him humming songs by Codeine and Slint to lull his ailing livestock to rest. Apologies Kirstie, i’m almost ashamed to admit i knew just how distasteful the phrase was as i wrote it. If it’s any consolation, the mention of meringues unfailingly makes me shudder. In any case, economic conditions being what they were,it was probably a good thing to be put off one’s dinner in 1984, as Winston Smith might confirm. I seem to recall being served rather more cow liver and heart than the human digestive system had evolved to cope with at the time.

  8. fústar says:

    About 6 months ago a (farmer) friend of mine told me about the time he was caught in the firing line of…an exploding mastitis-infected udder. I’ve only stopped screaming in the last few days…

  9. Kazzikat says:

    hoose, don’t forget the hoose.

  10. fústar says:

    I’m afraid to look any of these terms up for fear of Google images flinging nightmarish images in my face.

  11. Lorna says:

    And the Nilverm 🙂

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