- About The Phil
Well hello there.
It’s been a year now since the great snowfall of the winter of 2010; we haven’t seen a repeat so far,but fingers crossed. Now that reminds me – it’s that time of year when everyone in Ireland gets in the mood for Christmas, even if you are a dour atheist like myself. The GMB is no different, with the conversation room getting a makeover – tinsel, jazzed up Christmas photos and a little tree – all courtesy of Cat. And anyone unfortunate enough to be caught in her vicinity at the time.
So who came along to pay us a visit on Tuesday but Dominic West? Before he became famous as an actor in American TV series, Dominic was a student at Trinity of English over twenty years ago. Although he had us believe he was a typical arts student, more interested in socialising and women than he was in his studies, he did boast of two achievements – scoring his girlfriend on the roof of the GMB as Ireland made it through to the quarter-finals of Italia 90 and reading Ulysses in one day, before his final English exam.
As guests go, Dominic was very socialable (what else would you expect from a man with such an epic beard?), taking an extensive round of questions and staying around afterwards to talk with people attending and signing DVD sets. Which is why it’s surprising that when he was in college he was afraid of making speeches and so didn’t do any debating with the Phil/Hist. Well, it’s never too late to start, eh, Dominic?
This week at the Bram Stoker club we were visited by unofficial Phil legend Vincent Lavery for a rather riveting talk on the assassination of John F Kennedy. He made a point of not asserting his opinion of what happened and distanced himself from the word “conspiracy”, rather understandable given the crazies that associate with that term. His hypothesis that there may have been more than one person involved was quite reasonable – what’s surprising is that this idea is rather controversial over in America!
The grand final of the Éamonn Ó Coine Memorial Maidens’ Competition was held on Thursday in the chamber on the motion, “That This House Would Occupy Wall Street.” After a long series of preliminary rounds, there remained eight speakers to battle in out for one cup. Who wins? There’sonly one way to find out…
This year’s finalists were:
A debating bingo card was diligently organised for the final, with the phrase of the night being, “Weare the 99%,” whose utterance meant the downing of a beverage, no matter whether it was nearly finished or just opened. Indeed, a matter of seconds from the end of his speech, Ben Butler dropped the 99% bomb, much to the dismay (or delight, depending on the person) of the naggin brigade.
Not-so-maiden speaker Will Dunne had a rather unconventional notes system – in addition to the ones he brought up to the podium, he had some rather sneaky prompts in the audience, with placards on which were written such terms as “Social Contract,” “Harm Principle” and “Leviathan”. I’ve heard the first two a load of times before, but Leviathan is a new one – it could make a nice companion to Behemoth and Tiamat of monster debating.
The Phil maidens’ final has been long overdue a theoretical physics student (alright, I’m just bitterabout last year, OK?), and this year, we got two. First was Andrew Thornbury, a coursemate ofmine who got in via the wildecard of a rather scientific-themed motion about contacting extra-terrestrials. In this speech however, he managed to introduce a Harry Potter analogy – in his opinion,the bankers are like a load of Gringotts goblins, laughing at the rest of the world as it tries to rescue its swindled gold. Number two was John Prasifka (OK, he’s a maths student, but he was a theoretical physics student a few weeks ago, that’s close enough!) Indeed, he pointed out something missed bythe other speakers – we are the 100%! It just so happens that there are a few bankers who sneaked in there too…
The winner of Maidens 2011 was declared to be Michael Coleman, with NaoiseDolan runner-up. And then it was off for some late-night socialising – indeed that brought with it some rather hilarious stories, which may or may not involve the winner and the runner-up falling down a set of stairs and falling through a glass wall…OK, it probably didn’t happen quite like that, but hey, it makes a goodstory, right?