Some Assembly required…

We have the late arrival of last Friday’s Irish Times column from Newton Emerson… and his fictional vox pops of the opening of IKEA at the Holywood Exchange….By Newton Emerson

The peace process reached its logical conclusion this morning with the opening of Ireland’s first IKEA superstore on the outskirts of Belfast. Huge crowds are expected as people from across the North come together in an orgy of shallow consumerism, Scandinavian social posturing and moderate physical violence. Some Assembly may be required.

Shantelle McWilliams, 34, from Lurgan in Co. Armagh, set out last night for the back of the queue on the M1 to be first in the queue for a Halibut Oggsandbacon modular pine-effect stacking system.
“I believe that we can go on shelving things forever,” she said.

Rupert English, 29, from Holywood, Co. Down, has his heart set on a Sekure Ocrat wicker basket bathroom set with matching soft soap holder.
“I need somewhere to hide my dirty laundry,” he said.

Ian and Martin, a same-sex couple from Belfast, have their eyes on a Bjorn Tchukilbruther fold-down sofa-futon with optional his-and-his flowery cushions.
“We want to get into bed with each other and still keep our seats,” they said.

Considerable interest is also expected from South of the Border, where a planned IKEA store on the M50 has been delayed by all the unplanned stores on the M50.
Bertie Ahern, 57, an experienced decorator from Dublin, is heading North to look for new open-plan living ideas. “I want to create the impression of two rooms merging into one without having to do anything structural,” he explained.

IKEA’s arrival in Northern Ireland has been welcomed across the whole political spectrum, especially the soft pastel end. Republicans believe it will demonstrate that most things which are put together are destined to fall apart. Unionists believe it will demonstrate that most things can go well with a nice border. Everyone else believes it will demonstrate that Northern Ireland has become quite sophisticated, preferably without demonstrating the desperate parochialism behind this belief.

“We’ve got an IKEA and you don’t!” one Ballymena shopper told the Irish Times yesterday. “Celtic Tiger my arse.”

Privately, insecurity experts hope that IKEA’s arrival heralds the final decommissioning of leather suites, mirrored wardrobes, divan beds and other disturbing features of the North’s domestic landscape.
“The decision to dump armchairs will be particularly significant,” an NIO source confirmed.

Preparations for this morning’s opening have been going on behind the scenes for some time. Secret talks began late last year to discuss splitting IKEA’s single design philosophy into two separate but identical design philosophies. The main sticking point was delivery, specifically on evenings and weekends. Hardliners were eventually persuaded by the soft lines of a Smorgasbord fitted kitchen with built-in appliances.

In September, IKEA sent out a colourful brochure to every home in Northern Ireland entitled: “Wouldn’t it be great if it looked like this all the time?” This was followed by an advertising campaign which very carefully avoided any mention of Stockholm syndrome.

Surveying the new Belfast store, which is the size of six football pitches or four GAA pitches depending upon your design philosophy, IKEA area manager Alan Key was simply hoping that today would go well.

“All I want is for the people of Northern Ireland to come through our doors, see the wonderful things on offer and think to themselves ‘A-ha!’,” he said. “Although, of course, A-Ha are actually from Norway.”

  • Cormac


    Bertie Ahern… “I want to create the impression of two rooms merging into one without having to do anything structural”

    Brilliant!

  • The Dubliner

    Agreed, Cormac – even though it should be “I want to create the impression of two rooms [i]in two semi-detached houses[/i] merging into one without having to do anything structural.”

  • Printemps

    Newt really is losing his knack. Unfunny, forced jokes that ram home the point rather feebly.

  • Quaysider

    Well, I laughed

  • Mick Fealty

    Prin,

    You know, someone always says that everytime I’ve posted anything to do with Newt, from PDN onwards. And that covers nearly six years. What I’d like to know is, when was this ‘golden age’ when everybody thought he was always funny?

    Here’s my favourite:

    Ian and Martin, a same-sex couple from Belfast, have their eyes on a Bjorn Tchukilbruther fold-down sofa-futon with optional his-and-his flowery cushions. “We want to get into bed with each other and still keep our seats,” they said.

  • susan

    I laughed, too.

    And an end to mirrored wardrobes would be a dividend I hadn’t dare hope for.

  • Nevin

    “Did you hear the one about the mattress, the cooker and the sofa” .. IKEA UK website

    Is Newt on the payroll? 😉

    NI Executive Suite: Sofa Sogood

    Marty’s Meatballs – £1 Week Day Offer
    *Excludes IKEA Edinburgh, Coventry and Belfast

  • Hercules

    I thought it was quite funny. In addition to the Ian and Marty bit, I liked

    ‘Rupert English, 29, from Holywood, Co. Down, has his heart set on a Sekure Ocrat wicker basket bathroom set with matching soft soap holder.
    “I need somewhere to hide my dirty laundry,” he said.’ and

    “The decision to dump armchairs will be particularly significant,” an NIO source confirmed.

  • Printemps

    Okay, Mick fair point. He was mildly funny when he was doing Portadown News (about a 60/40 split) but now so many of his articles are filled with such sneering that is just isn’t as funny anymore. Now it’s more like a 30/70 split the other way, ie towards the eye-rolling rather than belly-laughing. It’s just rather obvious – like NI comedy is so often broad farce, usually glaringly obvious and rarely wryly amusing. I know it’s a piece of piss, but someone actually pays him to write this crap and then it’s repeated as if it’s something more than a clever sixth former could churn out. It just encourages him.

  • Shore Road Resident

    I think it’s more likely to be winding up people like Printemps that encourages him.

  • Mick Fealty

    Prin,

    It’s too, too easy to get satire wrong, but I reckon Newt gets it right a lot more than goes wrong. The PDN’s been out of production for two years now, and you will still find it on blogrolls of some of the best blogs around the globe.

    I’m not saying he doesn’t have off days. And he may have a shelf life (Rory Bremner’s getting pretty insufferable after 20 years). But humour is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Shore Road Resident

    I don’t know how anyone could get so vexed over what is obviously just a little bit of harmless fun. Problems with the author more than with the content, perhaps?

  • Printemps

    Yep, probably – although I would hardly call myself vexed. I’m not going to start a petition to the PM on it. I guess I’m finding Newt’s humour a bit hard to swallow with his recent right wing/libertarian rants, so I accept that point. But it annoys me generally that stupidity and mediocrity get rewarded!

  • The Raven

    The exchange over what’s funny and what’s not is proving equally amusing.

  • Long John Silver

    Think this little article has the odd good moment, but alot of the jokes just don;t hit home. Although I have to admit, I really have come to dislike Newt. He comes across as a terrribly nasty arrogant individual in alot of his columns in the Irish News.

  • Roisin

    What I’d like to know is, when was this ‘golden age’ when everybody thought he was always funny?

    Never existed. Personally I never found him funny; at best mildly amusing on the odd occasion.

    As for those who find him funny, it’s a matter of personal taste, but I think many people would agree that the bar is pretty low these days.

  • willis

    Nobody is forced to read Newt, I think it is pretty good to start a humorous website in your own, ok ok and in your company’s time, make it a success and move on to bigger and better things.

    As to the thinness of the material. Have you seen some of the re-heats that Simon Heffer gets away with?!

  • Ciaran

    “but someone actually pays him to write”

    Which rather sets him apart from you lot, doesnt it?