Paul Mescal needs taking down a peg or two, and I’m the one to do it. He’s far too happy with himself. As somebody said recently, he is possibly the only person in Ireland having a great 2020. Well, feck him. Why can’t I have a great 2020; why can’t we all have a great 2020?
That young Mescal has only gone and hogged all the 2020 joy out from underneath all of us. We should be rippin’, but instead, we’re simpin’. And we can’t even go to Costa del Wherever to get wine-drunk on a beach and think of tomorrow because of the bleedin’ lockdown.
But Paul Mescal is having a great time.
It all started when he was cast as mumbling beefcake, Connell, in Normal People – that ubiquitous small screen drama which all but colonised the public discourse from the very first episode. And what was it about? Horny teenagers. Two doe-eyed, tongue-tied, star-crossed lovers driving around the countryside, pausing every so often to hump in his hatchback. (I wonder did it pass the NCT with that carry-on…). I didn’t watch it. I tried to escape it, really, I did, but everywhere I turned people were talking about Normal People. They were all over the papers, the radio, the TV, the internet. Normal People invaded my family WhatsApp group. Still, I didn’t watch it.
Some very normal people indeed called into Joe Duffy complaining about the amount of sex on the show. I think Joe might have told them not to watch it if they didn’t like it. (Maybe they were watching it through their fingers and they thought their finger was something else… there was male full-frontal nudity and all). For a couple of months at least it felt as though the whole nation – and their holes – were living vicariously through these two fictional teenagers, Connell and Marianne. I cringed viscerally every time I saw an ad for the series – they were played every half-hour by RTE, as if it needed promoting with every poor unfucked fucker in Ireland watching it.
As far as I could gather, Connell was a nice poor lad, sometimes bad at expressing his feelings – hence the mumbling. He had game, too; both on the GAA pitch and off it in a variety of love-making locations, such as the car, the bed, etc. To my eyes, he looked like a slimmed-down Mr. Tayto – harmless, doughy, and a bit wet around the ears. A teenage boy, in other words. He was certainly no match for Marianne, who looked much more sophisticated in the ads and even spoke in full sentences. Marianne was probably based on every pretentious female arts student. You know the type, or, maybe you are the type – she read one Susan Sontag essay, and suddenly she thinks she’s the Sunday in every week. I was an arts student like Marianne, too, except in real life, arts students are messier, ruder, drunker, uglier, greasier, and less well-off. Maybe that’s just me though…
The actress who played Marianne is English, and she’s over in England having a great 2020 also. How dare she be younger and more successful than me. The pair of them – herself and Paul – were interviewed remotely by Graham Norton. They were talking about a chain that Connell wore on the show, which had gained its own cult status. It has its own Instagram account too, which just shows you how desperate people will get over a sex symbol. That’s apparently what Paul Mescal is considered to be nowadays, although nobody told me. People across the globe fancying him. Well, they shouldn’t because he’s too normal. He plays GAA for Christ’s sake; you can’t be sexy and play GAA. Imagine taking someone like that home to your father, he’d be thrilled. So thrilled you’d be a bit worried. Personally, I wouldn’t want someone talking to my Dad about Ballygo-wherever’s chances in the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Final.
Speaking of aul lads, the Rolling Stones went and cast Mescal in their music video for a single called ‘Scarlet.’ You can admire Mick Jagger’s desperate attempt to remain relevant with this savvy bit of casting, or you can lament the death of rock n roll. There’s no more Paul Simenon; it’s all Paul Mescal now. It is nothing short of an aesthetic crime to have an Irish lad in a white shirt like he’s making his Communion starring in the music video for one of the world’s most famous rock bands. Rock should not be about normal people. They should have put somebody with cheekbones and a leather jacket or a tux in that video. Leave Mescal to the Hogan stand. The All-Ireland and a roll in the back of a Ford Focus with a lovely girl is rock n roll enough for that fella.
But it’s too late now because there’s no stopping Paul Mescal’s star ascending. At least that’s what the celeb watchers are saying. He was spotted out and about in Kinsale with a sickly looking famous singer-songwriter whose hair is the same colour as the rest of her. She flew over from the US – in the middle of lockdown – to meet Mescal and gad around Cork for herself. That’s what you’d call notions. Apparently, the two of them are big fans of each other’s work – or something. You might think otherwise, but I’ve nothing against the lad having a bit of fun and enjoying his professional success. I just wish everyone would leave him to it because I am sick to the back teeth of hearing about every little move he makes morning, noon, and night. I don’t ever want to hear a peep about Normal People again. I’m all for Abnormal People. I think 2021 is going to be their year. Oh, who am I kidding, our year. Please God.
And, Paul, if you’re reading this, don’t mind me, I’m only an aul biddy. Fuck the begrudgers; we’re not normal people.