Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Well, I’ll be a son of a gun!

Spotted John Rocha on Exchequer Street, Saturday morning. He was wearing clogs and holding an enormous cigarette holder. Someone told me RTE are doing a countdown of the all-time greatest Irishmen. Well, I’m gutted J.R. didn’t make the cut. Because we are nation of chancers and bullshit artists. And this guy is beating us at our own game. Now I have no idea what John Rocha’s day job is. I think he designs shoes or something. And I’m sure he’s very good at it. I’m more concerned here his sideline as our all-purpose guru-in-chief. This is the role in which I have come to revere him.

He first came to my notice in this capacity a few years ago. I was waiting for someone in a bookshop, when I happened to skim through his introduction to the Kilkenny Shop Book of Irish Cooking. He said, basically, said that Irish people have had a long relationship with food and food preparation, and that recent socio-economic and cultural changes were being reflected in our diet.

I was awestruck. This was the kind of thing I’d always tried to write in the Leaving Cert when I’d written down everything else I had a clue about, but still had one question left to answer. He’d really knocked it out of the park though and he probably got about ten grand for it too. He was my idol.

A couple of years later, my father and I caught him as a guest on the Late, Late Show. (Or maybe it was newspaper interview. I can’t remember now.) But he was talking about how he liked to wash his hair each spring in the lakes and rivers of the west of Ireland. Everyone lapped it up. The interviewer almost achieved orgasm.

Well, we laughed and laughed. You had to hand it to the guy. He didn’t give a fuck.

There was an interesting postscript though. About a year later, one evening, my father was swimming in Urlar Lake. He was threading water in the middle of the lake, when he looked back to the shore and saw a swanky car pull up. Out jumped a chubby Chinese man. He ran down to the water and stuck his head in. Then he hopped back into his car and drove away.

The entire thing lasted about fifteen seconds. My father started to wonder if he was losing his mind. Then he remembered the Rocha interview. Now, I’ll admit, my father didn’t tend to talk this way. But if he did, I bet he’d have said “Well, I’ll be a sun of a gun…”

April 12th, 2010.

18 Responses to “Well, I’ll be a son of a gun!”

  1. massey Says:

    He also fishes in the Moy too you no?

  2. Denise Says:


    ” I think he designs shoes or something.”

    He’s a fashion designer – come on even you must know that!

  3. Eoin Says:

    @ Massey – yeah, so I believe. He’s a chameleon alright…

    @ Denise – close enoguh!

  4. Cormac Says:

    The chancer is also credited with the interior design for the Morrison Hotel. Their website states “John Rocha is responsible for the Morrison Hotels East Meets West theme”
    I can only assume that by “East” they mean bed sheets, and by “West” they mean matress. Because from what I hear, that was about the extent of his involvement.

  5. Eoin Says:

    Haven’t really the facility to censor comments here Cormac – I’m in the middle of my Summer-of-Eoin thing here (reading Vanity Fair in Trinity) – so if that’s libelous… there’s not a whole lot I can do about it.

  6. massey Says:

    You should be grand Eoin as long as he doesn’t find out your worth MILLIONS!

  7. Eoin Says:

    @ Massey – as long as he doesn’t find out Bill Gates is my Dad. Yeah, that’s the worry.

  8. Colin Says:

    You’re our John Rocha, Eoin. Known for your enlightened musings more than your fashion, of coure. Though pretty sure I saw you wash your scalp in the Corrib once. Might have been the gutter by Spanish Arch, but all streams lead…

    Also, see Conan O’Brien signed on with TBS, it’s cable, so less restrictions. Fox will be reeling from this kick to the privates for the Summer. But since yer a twitterererererer, you’ll be in the know.

  9. David Says:

    Just found out about the TBS thing, I think it’s a great move. With no mass audience to satisfy, he can be as irreverent and original as he likes. Then in a couple of years, maybe take over from Letterman.
    Do we know any details of why the Fox thing didn’t come through?

  10. Eoin Says:

    Yeah, but what kind of guests will he get? How many of his writing staff will keep their jobs? I presume the band are out of a job since there’s no mention of them…

    Saw this on Twitter from Aziz Ansari:

    Just heard a crazy rumor that the George Lopez Show on TBS might be losing its timeslot? WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? ANYBODY?!

    The irony!

  11. alan Says:

    I heard the band were going to Leno?

  12. Colin Says:

    It is crazy that Lopez has been bumped to midnight. Story is being spun that this was all partly his idea to have Conan at the network and that Conan as lead-in will provide a ratings boost… Lopez dubbed it “Lo-Co”.

    Fun times ahead.

    @David: Fox thing didnt happen cause they were having problems selling it all to affiliates who are happy just to run old tv show repeats. And they were playing a tougher money game. TBS gave Conan EVERYTHING, he has a lucrative 5 year deal and actually owns the rights to the show.

  13. Eoin Says:

    @ alan – well Kevin Eubanks is stepping down and there was a rumour Max Weinberg was interested but really couldn’t see that happening…

    @ Colin – re: George Lopez, there’s obviously an element of PR spin, but it does sound plausible that he’d be happy to trade his slot for a better lead-in

  14. Colin Says:

    @Eoin: Yeah, there’s some spin, here’s hoping for good sustained ratings this time, though TBS will certainly be a lot more patient.

    They don’t waste any time, short video promo – http://www.tbs.com/video/index.jsp?oid=214157

  15. David Says:

    To be honest I’m not too worried about the quality of the guests, I’m sure when he signed he was given assurances that he’d have some kind of a decent budget to do a show he’s happy with, and therefore I’m also happy.
    Interesting about the band, apparently Max is actually a bit of an asshole, who knew!
    And I’d say the Lopez thing is genuine enough, I’m sure he knows his place on the comedy ladder and is just happy that he’s inevitably going to get a serious ratings boost.

  16. alan Says:


  17. Eoin Says:

    @ David – I think I just read the same article you did. Yeah, feck him so. Max is an asshole.

    @ Alan – Well that wasn’t particularly funny, was it? I hope the rest of the show was better!

  18. alan Says:

    First four minutes are here and not that great either but reviews were good

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