"My talent is to imbue a project with much more significance and theatricality than it actually deserves. This gives a sort of incandescence to it that makes things that are not all that bright, shine very brightly. I can bring that to the party. But, like it says in Blade Runner, the light that burns twice as brightly, burns twice as fast. How brightly I have shone," he says.
No, this is not me descending (or ascending, surely) into an altogether unastonishing fit of hubris, but rather the words of Gerry Ryan, as quoted in this great piece in the Sunday Indo (you won't catch me saying that too often). Assuming that article isn't lying, and I don't think it is, that quote is taken verbatim from Gerry's eagerly-awaited autobiography, entitled Would the Real Gerry Ryan Please Stand Up.
This raises a few question marks for me, one in particular: where the fuck is the question mark in the title of your book, Gerry? I'm a simple creature who gets all conflustered when confronted with sentences that look like questions, but apparently aren't. It makes me feel slightly ill. One can only assume that Gerry and his publishers are not entirely comfortable with the usage and application of question marks. So, with this in mind, I asked members of the public to devise some sentences for Gerry that might illustrate the many and varied ways in which this radical young upstart of a punctuation mark can be applied.
"Gerry, did some eejits really pay you a hundred grand to write about yourself?"
Finbar O'Crotch, Leopardstown, Co. Dublin
This demonstrates the classic use of the question mark, whereby the questioner expresses doubt about a piece of information they have been privy to, and uses the question format to seek clarification on the matter from a more informed party.
"That fat bollix? I heard he once ate 94 Curly Wurlys in an hour and washed it down with a litre of Baileys."
Seosamh Uachtar-Reoite, Knocklyon, Co. Dublin.
Here we see a classic example of how the humble question mark can be used to transform a simple statement of contempt into a trenchant, rhetorical, interrogative statement used to confirm the identity of the subject of a sentence. The second sentence does little to illuminate our understanding of the issue at hand and can, as such, be ignored.
"I thought he died of gout in 1998? Or syphilis? Something like that, no?"
Francoise McBackalley, Athy, Co. Kildare
An interesting example, this. Here we see the question mark being used to express an element of doubt creeping into what the questioner had previously assumed to be gospel truth. Also notable is the third question she asks. Mrs. McBackalley was originally a native of France, where an upwards inflection, accompanied by the word 'non', is a rather more common form of question that it is in our own country.
"Sure, who would actually spend their money on anything that langer has to say? There's a fucking recession on and Lenora wants one of them dolls that shites itself for Christmas, don't she?"
Billy 'Smeghead' O'Sullivan, Mayfield, Co. Cork
The addition of the word 'sure' here is not technically necessary in order to make this question effective, but does add an extra element of incredulity to it. Mr. O'Sullivan's mixed background gives linguistic colour to these questions, both in his classic Corkonian usage of 'langer' and, more significantly, the way in which a simple whinge metamorphoses into a question through his augmentation of 'doesn't she?' - a remnant of his 14 years spent working as a badger-hunter in Essex, England.
Mr. Ryan, I hope this proves helpful in your ongoing quest to burn like a star. As a simple man I would not deign to comment on the contents of your autobiography past the cover, so I'll leave it to the professionals.