It's St Patrick's Day today. I have no great attachment to the day to be honest. To be brutally, unpretentiously honest - no Irish blood, no connection; I'm no hypocrite. More spleen-venting here, of course, but if you're eager to see me in a more charitable mood, here's an Irish judge from the Judge Dredd universe, hailing from the small Brit-Cit controlled territory of Emerald Isle. And it's a lady - trust me.
With a theme park mentality and a capital christened Murphyville you'd be a fool to expect anything less than a stereotype here, but, as seems the frequent case in the Dredd stories, the truth is stranger. Emerald Isle first appeared in the story of the same name during the run of Dredd largely overseen by the then up-and-coming writer Garth Ennis, and the look of the Irish judges - all harps, tricolours, shamrocks and pints, by fellow Irishman Steve Dillon - an artist whose style was for some time something of an early model for mine. The story's played for laughs, with spud guns on three settings (mash, chips and full-on taters), and yer man Dredd a grumpy fish out of water among a small band of the Garda who are largely in it for 'the craic' and aren't used to his big-city ultraviolent ways. Carnage ensues.
Murphyville's Judge-Sergeant Joyce returned for two further stories and then, with his creator, slipped the magazine with a fellow Judge - er, 'Wilde', I think (gosh, Mr scriptwriter Mark Millar, that's punching above your weight in the names department) filling in.
Enough grumbling. I actually like the Murphyville Judges, particularly for their levity in the face of an absurdly unfair world. That's probably another stereotype there, sorry, but that's the Dreddworld for you. And now for a confessions: so parochial were the early 2000ad stories of Mr Ennis that I genuinely and erroneously suspected his name was actually a pen-name, as no writer of Irish origin would seriously have a real name that so resembled the name of his homeland's national beverage.
Oh, look - more space! Okay then. A video - and here it is in honour of the day itself, the first wholly-Irish music track (and video) to totally blow me away, back in 1988. With, as any fule kno, additional crucial content by William Butler Yeats: