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Sunday, August 7, 2011


    On a Sunday I'm always left with a quandary about when to go to the flix or not.
    I'ts not them I'm deliberately side-stepping Horrid Henry, Cars 2 or Mr Popper's Penguins but the idea of tinies shouting in my ear is a little unappealing.
    And, on Sundays, there tends to be a lot of them.
    So, I've tried something new and paid £3.49 to watch a new release, Knuckle, on Lovefilm.
    Ian Palmer is the man behind this documentary about how bare-knuckle fighting settles scores in the world of the Irish travellers.
    Palmer first came across the feuds and the punch-ups when video recording a wedding in 1997.
    For 12 years he followed a family called the Quinn McDonaghs and, in particular, their fighting champion James and his less successful brother Michael.
    These are dangerous people in dangerous times.
    Part of their family's feuds began when another brother, Paddy, killed a man. James, himself, aside of the knocks he has taken during bouts, has been shot in the leg in a pub.
    The footage is dramatic and incisive. It shows the action but also the contradictions in the way the families live.
    James, for example, is constantly saying he will never fight again but always seems to have one more match-up left in him.
    On the face of it, he seems a quiet sensitive man. However, he takes fighting seriously and has a training regime similar to that of a professional boxer.
    And while bare knuckle fighting may appear barbaric, there are actually very clear rules which are adhered to by the letter. The clans discuss fair play after fights as if they have just been watching a cricket match.
    Because it lifts the veil on a world which is on our doorsteps, Palmer should be congratulated.
    My problem was that once I'd seen one fight and heard one traveller talking about the honour of the family name I felt like I'd seen it all.
    Thus, even 92 minutes seemed to drag a bit..
    Nevertheless, its good points outweigh its bad and I'll rate it at 6/10.

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