George Hook's blog

Whether you think something is a sport or not is irrelevant, says George Hook: It’s all in the game.

19/12/14 at 11:20 AM | 0 Comments

You have to hand it to Barry Hearne, the sporting events promoter. The man sure knows how to sell a product and hype up the machine. There was a time, not so long ago, when darts was consigned to the outer reaches of the BBC television schedule; a bit–part pastime for beer swilling bar boffins with steady hands.

Now, the PDC World Championships take centre stage in the Sky Sports Christmas line-up. The big push is already on this year to attract the numbers in. It even has its own dedicated channel!

Hearne deserves a lot of credit for taking a mediocre sideshow on the sporting calendar and transforming it into a party time festival of large crowds, loud music, and exciting darts. It is amazing what one man with a clear and well thought out vision can achieve. Know your market, right?

What do Victoria’s Secret models, Hozier, hosiery, George Hook’s undercarriage and the lovely Ingrid’s laundry all have in common?

11/12/14 at 11:49 PM | 0 Comments

I am probably the last person in the country who would be invited to a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. I appreciate feminine beauty in all of its forms, of course, but I am a married man in my mid seventies. What in god’s name would I be doing at a lingerie fashion show?

Unless I was planning on investing in the trade, or setting up a new knickers range, I would have absolutely no business gawking at a bunch of twentysomethings parading around in their underwear.  

In fact, were I to turn up at such an undie extravaganza, you would be well within your rights to point me in the direction of the nearest Spec Savers or call the police and have me arrested.

This is George Hook we are talking about. I am a grandfather several times over, for crying out loud. I thought Victoria's Secret was something the former queen of England kept to herself on her deathbed at the turn of the 20th century.

There’s more to Christmas than gifts and food, says George Hook, but even the spiritual side of the season must give in to change and financial pressure

05/12/14 at 12:05 AM | 0 Comments

The smell of Christmas whistles through the air this week. I can almost taste the festive mood as families flock to Santa's grotto and consumers bustle to fill their bags with the magical ingredients for a perfect day. Social invitations fly through my letter box and the urgency of preparation creeps up behind us all.

I often think that the build up to December 25th is more enjoyable than the day itself. It certainly lasts longer and I find that the anticipation of the day is almost always better than the reality that unfolds. Still, even with this knowledge, I look forward to what is to come.

There was a time when Christmas was but a blip on my radar. So consumed was I with keeping my head above water that the thoughts of Santa Claus and presents was but another financial obstacle to be negotiated; another cheque that had to be bluffed.

Katie Taylor’s astonishing devotion, discipline and dedication are ideals to which we can all aspire

28/11/14 at 02:12 AM | 0 Comments

Katie Taylor’s astonishing devotion, discipline and dedication are ideals to which we can all aspire, says George Hook, who counts the boxing world champion among the finest athletes Ireland has ever seen.

The margin between success and failure at elite level sport can be measured by the width of a strand of hair. Pádraig Harrington once described the key to his success on the golf course as 95% perspiration, 5% inspiration. The three-time major winner, as one of the most dogged and disciplined in his field, was suitably well qualified to comment.

So, when the scope for genius is reduced to a mere fraction of the overall performance, we can safely deduce that those that are willing to put the work and time into the pursuit of excellence will be better placed to take advantage of whatever inherent talent they possessed at the outset.

There is a line across which, even at the height of fervour, decent people must not go, says George Hook. When peaceful protests become violent, that line has definitely been crossed.

20/11/14 at 11:58 PM | 0 Comments

The borderline is an invisible line between right and wrong; an undocumented barrier to anarchy and an important marker between respect and intolerance.

It’s a wavering line that serves as a hidden separation between two frustrated parties and it provides a subconscious division between what society deems to be acceptable and what it does not. Without such a borderline, society's morals would be fudged into confusion and lawlessness.

The defining characteristics of this line in any one individual are determined by a number of factors, including education, integrity, empathy and the subjective power of conscience.

Where the latter is concerned, a show of restraint in the face of overwhelming anger and frustration might allow two sides to engage in a meaningful and productive debate that may not have otherwise been possible.

We are becoming a nation of softies, spoiled and cossted by modern conveniences and ruined by the ‘quick fix’, says a highly evolved George Hook.

14/11/14 at 12:04 AM | 0 Comments

In tandem with the advances in toilet paper over the years, we have all been getting softer with time. Time was, when I was a lad, I could walk into a cubicle in a public house and wipe my backside with the front page of the Irish Express and I wouldn't have given it a second thought.

Today, my delicate posterior wouldn't survive two aggressive scrubs with such coarse material without an inevitable outbreak of piles.

No, today's George Hook is pampered with lotions and oils to protect his sensitive buttocks from the horrors of rash and abrasion. I demand a certain standard of tissue on my derrière and I refuse to suffer an inferior product.

My younger self would consider the present day Hook a snob and a wimp. But today, I am as rational and reasonable as the next alpha male. Society has universally shifted its standard of living from basic necessity to spoiled pomposity in a matter of decades and we are all the softer for it.

The weather has been unseasonably mild of late, but as we face into the inevitable chill George Hook implores us to be mindful of those for whom winter is hardest

06/11/14 at 11:42 PM | 0 Comments

A bitter cold snap is fast approaching. As I write, forecasters frown with solemn faces, warning of change, imploring us to brace ourselves for the inevitable.

By the time you read this, Ireland may have already switched from bright skies and Autumn ease to grey gloom and depressing dusk. Weather, like time, waits for no man and with the passing of the hours and the changing of the sky from blue to grey, we wait in anxious anticipation for the arrival of Jack Frost.

Winter, this year, has waited patiently for long enough. With each passing week since the end of September, we have all been living on borrowed sunshine. It was beautiful and it was welcome while it lasted as the warm glow and extra heat gave an unexpected lift to the country.

'Something is rotten in the State' says George Hook, who has no stomach for the aroma of hypocrisy

31/10/14 at 11:32 AM | 0 Comments

Nothing suffocates the senses quite like the overwhelming stench of hypocrisy. It is a strange sensation, uncovering a hypocrite; like a gush of revulsion seeping from one’s pores. The human system struggles to process hypocrisy because it carries at its core an unnatural shiver and it cuts across the very essence of mankind.

Hypocrites are liars. They say one thing and do the opposite. Hypocrites preach the gospel before supping with the devil. Theirs is an eager voice until their falsity is exposed. And then, like the naked emperor laid bare on the street, the rest of us can see the truth behind the fake bravado; the depressing reality behind the mirage.

Having been MC at Google's Silver Surfer awards, George Hook has a new appreciation for how some members of his own generation have developed a mastery of computers and the Internet that could put their grandchildren to shame.

24/10/14 at 12:03 AM | 0 Comments

Ireland is going to hell in a hand basket as callow politicians are failing to live up to their responsibilities in their frantic need to get elected. There is a generation of Irish men and women who made this country by dint of their application of what are now seen as redundant principles: Living within one’s means; saving for the rainy day; or giving a fair day’s work in turn for a fair day’s pay are considered out of date and old-fashioned.

This week, I was reminded of the great strengths of that generation. I saw their ability to adapt, their unwillingness to give in and above all an astonishing faith in the future, which was inspiring. As regular readers of this column know, I am very strong in my belief that being involved with young people is the only antidote to ageing badly. Sometimes, however one needs a reality check. It's good to see how my co-pensioners are doing. 

The Dáil giveth and the Dáil taketh away...George Hook breaks down the budget and concludes that all is not as it seems.

17/10/14 at 01:12 AM | 0 Comments

Survival in politics is a bit like plotting a way through a night at a casino. Politicians gamble all the time. They study the odds, count the risks and roll the dice in the hope that their calculations come up trumps. Sometimes they win, sometimes they lose, but with every gamble there is risk and reward. Get it right and the rewards come in. Punt the wrong way though, and the house takes all; and you might just lose your seat too.  

Watching the Minister for Finance deliver his budget speech in the Dáil on Wednesday afternoon, I couldn't help but feel that the Irish government was taking a gamble without knowing too much about the form.

The give-aways rolled off Michael Noonan's tongue like chips on a roulette table. Decreases in tax rates here, cuts in levies there...the only ones to feel the wrath of his words were the last of the Irish smokers' club who buy legally.  

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