Tanks, Middle Fingers And Cancer Fraud: It's This Week's Pub Talk


There'll be a lot to discuss this week in the pubs of Dublin – whether or not you're a rugby fan.

Here's your guide to the six topics that will be on your lips this evening as you sit down over a post-match pint.

Ireland, Scotland, England, Wales… and George

It would take something to beat this talking point today.

On the field, we play Scotland – somewhat in our hands is the chance to defend our Six Nations title, which would be an incredible achievement despite the disappointment of losing out on the Grand Slam after last weekend’s defeat to Wales.

To do so, we’ll have to beat Scotland by five points more than England beat France (if they do so), and hope Wales don’t beat Italy by anything more than 20 points. It’s doable, it’s possible and it’s sure as hell going to be one hell of a party if we pull it off.

Meanwhile, off the pitch, the divisive but always-entertaining George Hook serves his last stint on the RTÉ punditry team. Love him or hate him, rugby coverage just won’t be the same from now on – so lads, let’s get some points on the board for aul’ Georgie.

  • Do say: France, this is your chance at redemption after that incident.
  • Don’t say: Don’t kick for the corner, Johnny – take the three points!

Fun in the sun

Okay, so the eclipse wasn’t the most incredible spectacle of all time, and certainly wasn’t a patch on the 1999 one that saw totality in Cornwall – mere miles south of Ireland – and came on a clear day.

But there was definitely something cool about the darkening skies and cooling air at 9.28am yesterday; certainly enough to explain why people in ancient times feared for their lives when these things happened.

  • Do say: That was amazing! The sky went dark, everything was freezing, and there was a true sense of community amongs my colleagues as we all gazed skywards together.
  • Don’t say: Oh? I just thought it was about to rain.

This front page

It may not be the most popular title on the shelves, and normally we’d be turned off by this soft of self-congratulatory triumphalism… but as renowned media commentator Roy Greenslade said, these guys should simply never have been on trial in the first place. So we’ll allow it.

Either way, this is an absolute marvel of production journalism – a combination of ingenious wordplay, serendipitous timing and celestial design that may never again be matched. A work of art.

Print journalism, you can stick around another while.

  • Do say: “Fun in the PUN, amirite?”
  • Don’t say: “Well ACTUALLY, it’s rather a complicated case, because…”

Belle Gibson

This young Australian won the hearts – and the wallets – of her nation after she emerged from particularly aggressive form of cancer, and put her survival down to a gluten- and dairy-free diet.

She later turned this diet into a paid app and a book, with proceeds going to charity – however now, a number of charities are saying they never received any money, while her former friends are beginning to question whether she had cancer to begin with.

Her story has unravelled in the last week, in what’s one of the most dramatic fall-from-grace/comeuppance stories we’ve ever read.

  • Do say: The charity sector needs to be more closely regulated on a global scale, due to the emergence of international digital markets.
  • Don’t say: Ah sure look, if you can get away with it…

Jeremy Clarkson

After being suspended from the BBC for punching an Irish producer, his co-hosts James May and Richard Hammond have said they won’t continue Top Gear without him – leaving the entire future of the show in doubt.

Meanwhile, supporters delivered a petition to the BBC in the only way bullish and obnoxious enough to suit Clarkson: in an army tank.

You have to admire it, really. We think.

  • Do say: Good presenter. Awful human.
  • Don’t say: Well if you don’t get the talent what they want, you run the risk of getting called out on it.


The Greek finance minister gave the German parliament the middle finger a few years ago, and it’s come to light since his recent election – however, he now claims the whole things was doctored. And a German TV host has admitted to being the one behind it, saying he was trying to prove how easy it was to dupe the media... but some people are accusing the 'fake' story of itself being fake.

Weird, debatable, contentious but also populist… pub talk doesn’t come much better than this.

  • Do say: I'm gonna give this one another week to play out before saying anything, to be honest.
  • Don’t say: I believe him; it was clearly doctored. And the moon landing was fake.
Read More in Feature