Despite total media saturation in the preceding weeks, reports confirmed that all of Tyrone refused to recognise the celestial phenomenon of the solar eclipse, with 100% of its inhabitants going about their daily business without looking up or even talking about it.
Journalists from BBC, Sky and UTV were said to be disappointed after being despatched to various vantage points in the county only to be chased for ‘meddlin in things that no good will come from’ and with ‘there’s no money in that dung’ ringing in their ears.
Despite worries earlier in the week of possible pagan stirrings, the county proved to be a eclipse-free zone with schools and businesses issuing sanctions against anyone wishing to view the astronomical freak show.
Gareth Kenny, a 9-year old primary school pupil from St Ronan’s in Omagh, was clear as to why his school didn’t participate in the excitement:
“Sure it’s a pile of shite”
Dungannon, whose hill is a prime spot for viewing skyward events, was populated at full eclipse by three women and three dogs, who of whom were mating. When questioned on the lack of recognition of the sun/moon dance, one of the women explained:
“Sure it’s a pile of shite.”
At 9:31 am the clouds parted to show a full view of the 94% eclipse, despite predictions of a clouded non-event. A Sky News 24 reporter in The Moy described how the whole event passed off without recognition:
“This glorious occasion, with lighting considerably dulled and birds retreating in silence as well as a noticeable drop in temperature, went unnoticed in the sleepy hamlet of Moy. I heard one man, who was spitting furiously into a drain, exclaim ‘it’s dark, boys’ before giving a passer-by the 2 fingers.”
Meanwhile, Owen Mulligan confirmed his ‘full moon’ backside baring competition in Mulligan’s Bar on the same day was a raging success.
An Omagh cupboard fitter has issued a stark warning to UTV’s weatherman Frank Mitchell that he’ll ‘take his head clean off‘ if it doesn’t snow heavily over the next two days after forking out £12 on a new shovel and three small bags of road salt.
Pat McMahon (66), who was caught out three years ago by a heavy show shower and got soaked right through to his vest and pants despite many fore-warnings from BBC and UTV, maintains he could have spent the money on scratch cards or drink but didn’t want to be called names again after the last time.
“The local wags labelled me soaky-knickers and stuff like that after I got drenched in a blizzard whilst out daylight lamping with my pet labrador Bubbles. I didn’t heed Mitchell the last time but on this ocasion I’m ready for it. I’ll be annoyed now if it doesn’t come. In fact I’ll bust him if it doesn’t lay at least 7 cms. Head clean off with the shovel.”
Tensions are already high in Omagh regarding the same weatherman after he was accused of not trying hard enough to create a decent cryptic clue for the town during his ‘Where Was Our Weather Watching Camera?’ segment. For the 9th time in six years, Mitchell has told the viewers ‘what you say when your mother passes wind‘ whilst showing a picture of Omagh in the background, before excitedly answering ‘Oh, Ma!’ and laughing heartily to himself.
‘He’s not even trying now. That’s three times this year he has used that same cryptic clue. What about ‘it sounds like you’re in Armagh but not quite‘ or something deadly hard like that. Come on Frank – a bit of respect like.”
McMahon had reportedly still not used the shovel as of 7pm.
Residents of Greencastle have been asked to return to their houses after the reported flying cow news story turned out to be a hoax. Government officials confirmed there’ll be no claim forms for this.
Photoshop experts from Dungannon Tech confirmed that the image captured and shared by Frank Mitchell on UTV Weather Watchers was a really poor computer job by a B-Tech IT student and not a real depiction of cattle hurtling towards the Sperrins.
Dermot O’Devlin, an esteemed local historian, remains sceptical:
“Well, I think I know that cow from my Christmas party shenanigans. The lights on it are a give away. Anyway, I’m not heading back to my house until I know there are no livestock casually hurtling about in my locality and them weighing a few hundred tonnes. If there’s a claim, I’m in though.”
Local Photoshop guru, Jack McKinless, labelled the picture ‘one of the worst Photoshop jobs’ he’s ever seen.
The Greencastle flying cow story follows on from the Kildress Old People’s Home incident which lamented the loss of 44 elderly residents who blew away ‘northwards’ during the high winds. Worker Patricia Hurson maintains she saw them fly off ‘towards Derry’ whilst out for their morning walk.
Shortly afterwards, workers applied for a grant which caters for Act of God bereavement stress amongst their staff.
Derrylaughan, Derrytresk, Brocagh and Clonoe have issued a joint statement asking for Clonoe Parish residents to stop watching UTV until Frank Mitchell features one of them in his weather watching camera segment.
The segment, which occurs at the end of the 6pm News, sees Mitchell give an almost impossible obscure cryptic clue to accompany a photo of somewhere in Ulster. Examples this week have been: ‘tired of donating to charity’ (DUNGIVEN), ‘American money’ (KESH) and ‘what you do in school’ (LARNE).
Spokesman for the parish and Fermanagh native Duckie Bogue defended their stance:
“Let’s be clear about this. Mitchell is acting the bollocks here. He has featured Coalisland SEVEN times in his bit. Seven times! Like how often can he come up with clues about coal and an island? He’s rubbing our faces in it and he knows it.”
Bogue went on to declare Clonoe Parish as a Frank Mitchell-free zone and warned the radio presenter that he’d be burned out of it if he’s spotted anywhere near East Tyrone.
“It’s not as if Derrylaughan or Brocagh are particularly hard to create clues for. I can’t think of any right now myself but sure I’m not paid to. He’s meant to be the wordy genius. We exist, Frank, we exist.”
Meanwhile, Mitchell has been accused by viewers of not even trying any more after putting up his 15th picture of Greencastle and stating ‘It’s a castle that might be green‘. Avid watcher and former Armagh footballer Jarlie Byrnes ranted:
“if he’s not going to make the effort any more I’m turning over to the BBC slightly early to prepare to watch the local news again”.
There have been overnight riots in Coalisland, with three cars burned, two off-licences raided and bricks thrown as far as
the metal bridge, in scenes not witnessed in the town since the height of the troubles even including the year the international music festival turned nasty.
Residents of the town have struck out, with all rational thought dispersing like a plume of smoke, following the reporting on UTV news that Coalisland Silver band, a bedrock of the local community, is no more than a common brass band. Not one of the instruments tested was found to contain silver although almost all members tried to plead the case by sowing off various sizes of miraculous medals.
All band members have been ordered to “hand in their badges and mouthpieces by noon Friday” by the town’s mayor and band’s leader Des Conway, who has marshalled the troupe since 1968. The Tyrone county board are allegedly shocked at the news and have suspended the band from any further performances at St. Enda’s Omagh GAA pitch on match days, despite the fact the band is yet to play at any GAA functions.
Unconfirmed reports suggest the band owes the town’s Credit Union up to £35’000, mostly thought to be on a concept for its new uniform which has remained unchanged since 1968 apart from the time it reverted from black to green for the trip to France in the late 1990s, and back to green again when they got home as the green uniforms had to be sold to pay customs and excise debts for smuggling bangers and flick knives.
The drummer of the band is understood to be housebound, while one young trumpeter has been stuck in his room since the start of the riots, playing the theme tune to The Sunday Game over and over and shaking his head whilst saying “ah naw”.
Local business owner Fabio Landi has shut up shop to band members and told us that there will be no more private late night openings for the band after their trips away to places like Dungannon, Killyman and even Cappagh.
More Power To Your Elbow front man Dixie Wrecker (real name Paddy Quinn) revealed the disgust in the local community following the news and subsequent civil unrest in the area.
“Aye, she’s tara altogether hi. The Antiques Roadshow are for the ‘island next Sunday and the band was due to do the theme tune live for them – you know, that lovely wee E Flat number with the horns. She’s a quare hannalin alright because we’re getting shipped in to give them a dig out, and sure we’re gonna try and ream her aff on the fiddle an the spoons. Its just lethal hi… who wouldha thunk it? I mean there’s all sorts of jokes coming from Clonoe about ‘heavy metal music this’ and ‘there’s more silver in the lough’ that. They’re saying there was probably never even any coal in Coalisland, and they’re calling it “Turf-town” out of pure badness. The towns a tip now with no lampposts still standing and bad words drawn all over the barracks, and not a windee in ‘er.”
With the news reaching towns as far away as Feldkirch in Austria, young women, who at earlier stages of their lives paraded round the town and caused many fights, are now receiving free counselling to cope with the shock. Trocaire and SVDP are also outraged and want to give all the thousands raised for them by the band over the years back to the people who gave them the money in the first place outside the chapel on Sundays for years. They will be handing out fivers after mass this weekend.
The manager of the local old people’s home has also told Tyrone Tribulations ‘they can go an shite’. Coalisland Parochial Centre is holding a sit down protest this Saturday at 3pm. The church has advised that there will be triangle sandwiches, and very strong tasting orange cordial. Patrons are advised to bring their own seats.
Pay per view broadcaster SKY TV has reported that it haemorrhaged just under 500 million pounds since 2001 in ‘lost or stolen revenue’ in County Tyrone. Most of it is thought to be attributable to trade in illegal counterfeit box units.
An East Belfast based representative for Sky, Mr Philo-Farnsworth Jenkins, has told Tyrone Tribulations of the frustrations the Rupert Murdoch owned media company has had to face around mid-Ulster.
“We believe that the Carrickmore area is by far the worst offender for copyrighting issues. Only 3% housing we visited have actually admitted to even owning a television set, never mind pay per view packages. The majority even had dishes on the roofs. Our presence is hardly sustainable at this rate. When issuing notices to conform, we have received house-owner names such as Michael Mouse, The Man From God Knows Where, Napoleon Dynamite, Sean South, Vladimir Klitschko, Rupert Murdoch, Rupert The Bear, The Pope, Oz McCallan and we even had a Tiger Woods. It’s really not that funny.”
Jenkins has also spoken about the threats and unsafe conditions his drivers are facing in some parts of Tyrone.
“In the past four months, we have had a penis drawn on Homer Simpson’s forehead on one of our vans, and posters of an Irish footballer called Patrick Spillane stuck to five different windscreens. We’ve also actually had a van clamped by a youth of no more than 13 years of age – from where he got the clamp is still a mystery to the authorities. One of our employees conducting a door to door survey was even threatened with a gigantic wooden spoon as well as a hurling or shinty stick, and told to get out of the area. What is going wrong with NI youth these days? “
Mr Jenkins went on to say that typically the highest TV traffic bracket – week day mid-morning – is associated with a plethora of students and unemployed sitting at home drinking tea. He conceded that 97% of Tyrone homes not having a TV in this day and age is simply not credible:
“When you look at the nationwide viewing figures for Dr Phil, Jeremy Kyle and even Deal or No Deal, if it weren’t for the unemployed these programmes simply would not be on television. They would be replaced with more Homes Under The Hammer type stuff and yet Tyrone bucks the trend completely, with no one watching TV… You can laugh all you like but it is a serious matter.”
Also, despite the fact that GAA clubs throughout the island of Ireland have been offered a discount of some 30% to install a SKY box, only one GAA club anywhere – the PSNI Gaelic Athletic Club – has come forward to apply, though the club’s subscription money remains to be paid.
As local channel Ulster Television prepares to go south of the border, with first programmes due to air on January 1st 2015, UTV are preparing to install barriers and water cannon at their premises. They are expecting loitering and crowds to gather outside UTV house on the Ormeau Road over Christmas, as this can often be a quiet season for protesting.
Government officials have urged all affected Tyronians to stay calm and think of their favourite place after news emerged that all Garth Brooks concerts have been cancelled.
Police have already had to contend with an outbreak of unpleasantness with reports of bonfires being set alight all over the county, with fans burning excess cowboy hats and boots as well as old CDs of Brooks’ greatest hits. They have urged anyone looking to wreck anything to phone their special Post-Brooks Stress hotline, a condition quickly diagnosed by a doctor in Coalisland.
Brooks fanatic Marie Herron admitted she was at her wit’s end:
“I just can stop running around and screaming. What the hell are we going to do now this summer? That’s not just the summer ruined, it’s the whole year and possibly the decade. I’ll wait to see how I feel tomorrow.”
Screaming and running about seems to be the first sign of Post-Brooks Stress Disorder, before it turns violent and victims begin to wreck and burn things. In Kildress, it has been reported that nearly everything not tied down has been set alight including cattle and trailers. UTV cameramen have confirmed they have footage of three men in Carrickmore crying valleys of tears at the news, before punching each other.
One, a talented electrician, told them:
“I’m not bothered about Brooks. It’s the side effects. I’ll have to tramp around Dublin Zoo or something now with herself that weekend.”
Local politicians have called an emergency meeting of all elected councillors to decide on their next move, with talk of a march to Dublin high on the agenda. They have also set up a fund-raising committee to help pay for those out of pocket because of the £1 handling fee on Ticketmaster.
Meanwhile Mickey Harte has called on his players to ‘Do It For Garth’ this Sunday against Armagh. County officials have also urged supporters to bring their cowboy hats and shoes to the game and pretend it’s the concert they were supposed to be going to as it might be their only day out this year.
Facebook status updates regarding weather conditions have resulted in two prominent celebrity weathermen becoming worryingly disgruntled and fearful for their profession. Both UTV and BBC bosses have issued a public apology for all those affected by the recent projected weather forecast job cuts and promise to move Frank Mitchell and Barra Best sidewards into presenting ‘animal or motorbike shows or something’.
The decision has left over 150 people potentially out of work, including the woman who shines Barra Best’s head five minutes before going on air. Many others within the meteorological industry are worried about their future after it was decided that neither company really required the service any further. Both stations believe Facebook status updates are to blame for the devaluing of the traditional end-of-bulletin weather news.
Linda Hoey, head of BBC Weather, issued the following statement via Facebook this morning:
“We are extremely sorry but sadly there is no demand for weather forecasts in 2014. It seems Facebook has taken over in regards predicting immediate weather patterns. Last week, I counted nine status updates in the space of half an hour from the same woman in Cookstown, each one informing me of the chances of rain and whether it’ll be a cold one tonight or not. How can the BBC compete with that?”
Sally Eastwood, the Tyrone woman in question, refused to accept accountability for the job losses:
“Aye, dead on. Best and Mitchell are just caught out. Just because they have deadly posh accents means people thought they were weather gods. Well, Facebook and Twitter have turned the tables on them boys. Anyway, when was the last time Mitchell had Cookstown as his weather watching camera? He had Charlemont the last day. Charlemont, like?”
Four hours after the decision, UTV’s weatherman and all-round celebrity Frank Mitchell was spotted semi-naked around the Ormeau Park area in Belfast in a mildly-excited state. Police later fired a tranquiliser dart and captured the disgruntled Down man, who is reported to have exclaimed, “Sack me? Sack me? I’m Frank Mitchell! I made the UTV!”
Tyrone Tribulations can exclusively reveal that the queue for Garth Brooks tickets in Dungannon has set off a county-wide queuing addiction encompassing all manner of entertainment, in the hope of making it onto the news.
Our west Tyrone reporter Jasmine Cat revealed the extent of the phenomenon around the Strabane area:
“As we speak there is a queue of about 4o pensioners outside the front door at Strabane Parish Church for Sunday’s Mass at 10am, four days away. Fr Bollan is seen as someone who says a good quick mass and numbers are limited. Missing out means attending the noon Mass and it usually lasts the guts of an hour. There’s also a good size queue for the Strabane Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender drama night on Friday the 14th. That’s a quare wait for them; the majority are married farmers who just want to attend anything that might be free and for the chance of getting on TV.”
In the east of the county we have reports of large queues forming already outside the bru office in Dungannon for Monday’s payouts as well as for the bus at Quinn’s Coach Hire in Ardboe for the Derry game on Saturday night.
Ardboe Cross committee member reckons their queue is the most unusual:
“This queuing craic has to stop. There’s a queue of 200 for the Ardboe Cross even though it’s permanently open. No one is budging past the entrance gate. They’re just waiting til UTV or BBC get here. Sure not even the Mid-Ulster Herald are interested.”
Meanwhile a mile-long queue in a field in Ballygawley has finally dispersed after three days with no one quite clear what they were queuing for.
The Ballygawley strimming war has worsened this morning with the news that a man was seen strimming his hedge at 5am this morning in torrential rain. Reports suggest tensions are beyond repair as news reaches us of women out with chainsaws pruning garden shrubs.
The strimming conflict, which began a year ago to the day, escalated after a man was criticised for strimming his hedge on a Sunday by the PP. A supportive neighbour reacted to the public criticism by restrimming a hedge that was already strimmed the following Sunday night in total darkness. Peter McGlone, a local poet, reckons the village is beyond repair:
“Someone has to shout ‘STOP’. Ballygawley is being ripped apart by this strimming war. People are trying to out-annoy each other with louder strimmers. To see Seamus Kelly out strimming this morning in a holey vest at 5am and it pouring was one of the saddest and most dangerous sights I’ve ever witnessed. It’s out of control. Just last month a man strimmed the whole time during the Tyrone/Mayo game with the strimmer connected up to loudspeakers. I thought I’d seen it all in Ballygawley after 77 years. Madness.”
Mary Quinn, a 41 year old circus ballet dancer, maintains we’ve seen nothing yet:
“Thon bollix Kelly has upped the ante with that 5am stunt. I’ve just been on to a boy in Tattyreagh on Gumtree and purchased a second hand petrol Husqvarna chainsaw for a hundred pounds. He says it’s the loudest yoke on the market. I’ll be out strimming my Cherry Blossoms at midnight tonight. Have a piece of that. Tattyreagh here I come.”
BBC, UTV AND RTE have been chased from the village in recent weeks when trying to report on the skirmishes. However, Ross Kemp was spotted up a tree with earmuffs on just outside Quinn’s Corner.
Brocagh residents last night were said to be frightened, confused and bewildered after new sightings of the mythological Beast of Brocagh were reported around fields off the Ballybeg Road. Fresh rumours of the unidentified ogre roaming the countryside began after Minnie Davidson spotted what she described as a ‘hairy-arsed monster buck-leaping about singing songs from the Wolfe Tones’ whilst she was out wasp-spotting.
“It’s hard to describe. It’s sorta half stooped over and always seems to be drinking from a bottle of Bushmills, completely bare to the world. It has been stalking these parts for 60 years now. I used to think it was oul Mick Quinn on the batter but I’ve seen his arse and it’s definitely not his. I’d be worried about the Brocagh Sports Day next week. It’s be a PR disaster if it won the wellie-throwing competition”.
Several sightings over the last half century has shed little light on what the beast actually his. Some claim it’s something from the Lough, like a man-eel. Others maintain it’s simply Tom McGurk escaping from the pressures of his RTE job once in a while.
“It could be Tom but then a girl in 1988 said she saw it up close and it didn’t have the McGurk head on him. She said it was more of a McGorey or Robinson. Whatever it is I’m locking the windows. The same girl says he had mesmerising eyes and that made him sorta good-looking despite the bloodied teeth, smell of drink and it covered in hair. I’ve had my fill of Brocagh men like that”.
BBC and UTV have sent their cameras down today to see if they can spot the Beast despite rumours that it’s sitting in Dorman’s (Tessies) at this very minute waiting for first orders.