Saturday, February 28, 2009

"Who's got the Polo Mints?"

Once, just once, I'd like to be asked for ID when buying a pint or walking into a pub. The last time it happened I must have been 20 in the place that used to be called Drumms.

"Can I see some identification, please?"

"I'm sorry, what?" I laughed in his face. Even then, it had been a couple of years since I'd been required to prove my drinkability.

"Some ID. Please."

"Right, eh, here." And that was that. He produced the liquor and I laughed back to the lads, and it hasn't happened since.

It was doubtless a shit encumberance at the time, but I remember the strategems involved in getting served at 14. I'd be told to walk in with Ronan, he was the oldest and I the baby, and Mick and Kev and Austin would follow us.

"Always make sure you're talking to each other when you walk in."

That was a cracker. As though John P. Beast wouldn't stop us for fear of interrupting an extollation of the virtues of Sartre, or 'Gary Speed v Ryan Giggs: Who's Welsher?'

Sometimes it worked. We did nonchalant as well as we could, and for the rest I had the bum fluff masquerading as serious-grown-up-facial-nonsense.

My first pint was in the place that used to be McGraths. It wasn't known as an underage aleing house, that was Fibbers around the corner, but we fluked our way in. It would have been '93, the autumn of grunge, the summer of Euro Pop.

With 'Mr. Vain' blasting above me I tried to affect to myself that of a serious Guinness drinker, hiding the grimace of porter as a yawn, trying to look cool as fuck in my Pearl Jam t-shirt and hiking boots.

There was no great drama. I didn't fall over, fall asleep, fall in love. Instead we just got the bus home and each pretended we were in a library or a church saying devotions.

My kingdom for such subterfuge, now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Lost In Europe.









Photos from my trip around Europe last summer. I had totally forgotten about them until the other day when I replaced the batteries in my camera.

What these four have in common is that I haven't a clue where any of them were taken. Choose from Paris - Marseille - Strasbourg - Heidelberg - Salzburg - Vienna - Brussels - Bruges - Antwerp.

Any help appreciated.

The real me.

So I arrived home before her, kicked off my shoes and turned on the football. I put on my Liverpool jersey because that's what men do when they're watching the football, and cracked open a can of Carlsberg.

Next thing I heard the lock going, she was fiddling with her keys, so I turned off the telly, put on my apron and happened a spatula to my grasp.

She walked in.

"Hi Honey!"

"Oh I had the hardest day. And look! I'm drenched."

I gave her a cursory peck on the cheek and told her to get out of those wet clothes. She went into the bedroom and I to the bathroom. I lit all her candles for her and ran her a nice hot bath with Radox bath salts (now with micro-scrubbing-actimides for extra relaxability).

"Aaaaaaahhhhh. That's nice...." I heard her say as I opened up the Erin Soupfulls, that's E.R.I.N.S.O.U.P.F.U.L.L.S. and deposited the contents into a pot to simmer away at a time to coincide perfectly with my love's washing, repeating, rinsing and pruning.

Her bathing complete she dried herself off, leaving her hair all lank and damp and cute and lovely, and walked into the magnificently appointed kitchen-cum-dining space where I had set out our meal on the Ikea dining table with a nice bottle of red.

I reached for the remote control to switch back on the footy before she playfully slapped my hand away from it. I could do nothing but take a satisfied swallow of my beefy mixture and smile wryly at the camera.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Never call a doctor by her first name.

Pain. Discomfort. Grumble. Ear infection. To close my mouth fully involves darts of displeasure to my skull. To open my mouth does this unpleasantness unto others.

The swelling's getting worse, glands throbbing under the suit of a camouflaging beard grown over the course of the week. It grew as did the heavy, hot, deafening ache on the right side of my face.

I met a new doctor today and immediately presumed to call her by her first name. She didn't seem to mind before she asked me to repeat my aaaaahhhhhs 17 times. "Just open up one more time," she for fuck's saked.

Sadism has a new visage, which is exactly what I need.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Living the dream.

As a child I always had a pretty good idea about what I wanted to do when I grew up.

While the rest of the lads had their hearts set on playing for Dublin, on becoming firemen, on joining the circus, on penis puppetry, on the stage and on drugs, I had but one aim in life. I wanted to write goal alerts for Ireland's most popular mobile phone network, via Ireland's most popular sports broadcaster TM.

The lads would be down the end of the road kicking stones and balls into the laneway.

"Moran shoots and scores!" and I'd be perched at the side, notebook in hand.

"Sorry Kev, stop wheeling away in delight. Could you give me a minute on that scissors kick?"

"Yeah, no bother Radge, 78 minutes."

"Sound," my ten-year-old would say and I'd start jotting.

'Goalflash: Kev 2-0 Ronan. Moran '78.'

"What are you writing down? Why don't you go in goals or something?"

"Quiet," I'd counter. "I'm providing my users with an up-to-the-minute goal service direct to their mobile phones."

"Their mobile whats?"

"Their mobile phones, Ronan. In 2009 people will carry phones around in their pockets and information will get sent to them as things like goals happen y'know?"

"My ma carries her post office book, my post office book, her pills, my da's post office book, the shopping list, her lipstick and her butter vouchers around. There's no fuckin' way she'd fit a phone in her bag."

"That's the beauty of it lads. They'll be so small you'll hardly know they're there. You'll only become aware of it when you hear the beep for a text message or when someone calls you and you hear Beyoncé or Crazy Frog..."

"The fuck are you talkin' about? TEXT messages? Bouncy frogs? Fuck off."

"I'll explain later. But, lads, I have a dream. Some day I'm going to sit at a desk late at night while you're all in the pub, watching matches and as soon as something big happens like a sending off or a goal or a broken leg, I'm going to write it down into a computer in less than 140 characters and then people who subscribe will get the beep and they'll know and it'll be brilliant and yis are dopes!"

"Don't listen to him Ronan," Kev would say. "I'm 2-0 up."

I'd get thick. "You know nothin' anyway. Kevin Moran would never score a scissors kick. I'm going home!"

Well, twenty years on, I showed those cunts.

Monday, February 23, 2009

OK. Enough misery.

Apparently there's a recession on. No, me neither. I hadn't a clue until today, when I was accosted by a scurvied youth with a bin liner where his trousers used to be, a single skipping rope around his loins, panhandling for my shekels.

I laughed it off, naturally, keyed his plasticated pants to a happy little rip and sauntered back to my full-time job of copy, paste and thwack.

Something rankled, though, so I did some research and 18 back episodes of 'Prime Time' later I can see the bind we're in. The Celtic Tiger has done one, scurried back to that great corporate industrial estate in the sky, leaving us with a great gulping void of phrase for our predicament.

Some terms came to me.

The Lepered Lion.

Fuck it, The Lepered Leopard.

The Hibernian Heatrash.

The Plunging Penguin.

The Silent Parrot.

The Crying Carwash.

The Emerald Coffin.

The Credit O'Crunch.

A little help, here? I'm trying to steal a march on McWilliams.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Gonzo.

I've been staring at the 'Create' page for thirteen minutes now. This doesn't happen to me.

I wrote an entry. Saved it. Started again.

I wrote a second entry. Saved it. Blank page again.

Now this.

I don't hold any truck with drafts. I have one or two among the hundreds, three at most. What I write I tend to publish and bedamned with it.

Now there are two fresh unseen posts, blogging about blogging, that most unsavoury of subjects.

What I will say is that I can't shake the feeling that I'm going to run out of stories, ones I can tell anyway, soon. The ones where nobody gets their feelings hurt.

Maybe it's just another one of those nights, or too much coffee, or the need to retch something out from me but I've been thinking more and more that there has to be a full stop to these stylings.

Posting about bread advertisements? Something has to give.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Pigged.

Pigged.

What's pigged? Hungover. That's what pigged is. That's what I am today. I lost count at eight pints of brown, then brandy, then the falling over on my exit. No kind of grace.

I laboured today at work, laboured until six o'clock belched me home in a fugue of my own undoing.

It was badly needed.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Twelve steps to Radgery.

In an attempt to get away from pop culture references and bread advertisements, I'm going to embrace some randomness before the pre-'late shift' shower and shave. Sarah got the ball rolling on this, but I'm refusing to call it a m**e.

1) I like to combine breakfast cereals. This probably goes back to my childhood (doesn't everything?) when I'd be brought to the cinema by my da or my uncle Michael. I wouldn't care so much for the film on offer as the chance to concoct a sickening mixture of Coke, Fanta and 7-Up in a large cup, pretending nobody else had ever chanced such a thing. Now it's Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes and Weetabix. Muesli too if I want to push the boat out.

2) The first girl I kissed was from Gort in County Galway, in the Back Gate on Cathal Brugha Street. I had waited a long time and forget her name now.

3) I've never done drugs. OK, scratch that, I smoked hash a few times in my adolescence. The better experiences involved feeling like a brick. The worst, and last, time saw me puking in a bath, naked, and having to be carried home.

4) My first pint was in a pub called McGraths on O'Connell Street. It was Guinness. The pub is now called Frazers (or has there been another name change?) and is a haven for Celtic supporters and Americans.

5) I was born with Spina Bifida and it never had the good grace to go away. It's very mild. I walk and am very lucky to be able to do so.

6) A Twix is my favourite confectionary.

7) I used to have a 'Cheese Of The Week' on this blog, in the days when only Terence, 5X and the lads read it. I haven't had a good cheddar since the doctor told me not to. I'm scared to rebel.

8) I have eight grey hairs on my head. None down there.

9) I usually forget to floss, and haven't been to the dentist in many years. OK, almost seven. I should really make an appointment but I don't sense any decay.

10) The only poem I can quote verbatim is DH Lawrence's 'Tourists'.

'There is nothing to look at anymore. Everything has been seen to death.'

It's not a tough one to recall.

11) Longest relationship? Four months. I ended it.

12) I'm generally the first one to leave the pub, and will quite often disturb my gullet with an artery-clogging burger with extra crap. This is not earth shattering to any degree.

Right. Where's my loofah?

Morning cheer.

I laugh every time the Johnson, Mooney and O'Brien ad comes on. The two farmers at the wall. "Skinny latté for me, thanks... No I've got my pilates tonight..."

It tickles me. I'm thinking of switching brands.

And I don't hate everything.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Review: He's Just Not That Into You

Yeah, right.

I'd rather have my balls massaged with a handful of sharded glass.

Gordon Brown is on television, all impressive combover and blame-apportioning.

George Pascal Watson of The Sun has just asked him if he has any words of encouragement for Jade Goody?

Brown wishes her well and knows that the whole country will be worried and anxious about her health. Not the economy. Not the noises coming from North Korea. Not the fact that one of his stealthy little submarines bumped uglies with the French (alors!).

I can feel it coming. The public wailing. The live coverage of the funeral. The comparisons with Diana. The tributes from Davina McFuckingCall. From Graham Norton. The endless repetitions of her best moments on E4 and Living TV. The appearance of her new husband on Celebrity Big Brother. The OK! magazine interview with Shilpa Shitty Sic. The posthumous doctorates!

She'll get them all.

Her primary achievement? Sitting in a garden, shouting. Twice.

I feel unusual. I think I should go outside.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Apply within.

Polarising musical interludes aside, I'm here and I'm dealing with the onset of a headcold. You know the one - itchy all over but nowhere specific, sweating and chills, sniffles and shakes. Fuck sakes.

The early rising didn't help. I coughed out of bed before 7 for an early shift. One cup of Berocca later and I was nicely placebo'd, doling out the League of Ireland news at a rate of two or three a day.

Checking email here and there, wondering about Red's beard, greeting Terence, gassing about until 4pm and the bus home.

I sit now in the dark with the sheer white blast of the 'Create' page playing havoc with my senses, blogging about fuck all interesting because these are the only words that will come.

Anyone up for the job of 'muse'?

Applicants will require a sharp wit, an evasive nature, a calming quality, a pair of breasts and the capacity to drink red wine.

Short cover letter to the stated address.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Gutter Press.

I started getting Hot Press back in 1995. Andrea Corr was on the cover and my 16-year-old wanted to discover the sex in her company.

So I bought it, making sticky the pages with her lovely self emblazoned, and therefrom grew my grá. Good writers, music and film reviews, Declan Lynch (and later Jonathan O'Brien) writing about football, Barry Glendenning, Olaf Tyaransen pre-becoming-a-cocaine-spouting-about-cunt, Niall Stokes pissing off politicians.

It was my publication of choice.

In my final year of college, I applied to be the Hot Press representative for Griffith. I was happy to be chosen and resolved to go about my task with vigour. We were asked to organise events to be sponsored by Hot Press, make sure the local shops stocked it, write about our experiences, build up a network of willing fanboys and girls.

Of course, I lost interest as soon as I got my free phone at the launch and did none of those things, but I still bore the title, the title that bored the shit out of my friends at its mentioning.

Then it broke. Q Bar broke it. Cocoon broke it. Cocaine broke it. Eddie Irvine broke it. Gavin Lambe Murphy broke it. The Dice Bar, Renards, cappuccinae, Brian O'Driscoll, Katy fucking French. Broke it. Broke it.

The Lillies Leopard of our economic boom broke it and turned it into the Hitler Youth of the Sunday Independent. The first Boyzone cover made me die a little inside.

And look at it now! Muck. There's some bird called Lady Gaga on the front. She's like a Blondie for the recession generation, kids, and aren't we the lucky ones to have been granted an audience? Bollocks.

The Mad Hatters Box. A TV presenter called Mark Noble (not the moderately talented West Ham footballer) takes on the questionnaire.

His favourite food? 'Anything from The Troc,' he writes. The fucking Troc? Trocadero? Yeah, that's it loike, but you know me and the goys call it The Troc and they do, loike, a SERIOUS halibut on the pre-theeter menu. Loike.

Cunt.

Then you have Anne Sexton telling us, her frigid little playthings of vicariousness, how to have sex.

'With a sinking feeling I looked in the mirror. My chin was sporting a lovely red patch about the size of a euro and as subtle as a traffic light. Hello, beard rash, my old friend.'

I need to gather myself a minute.

OK.

If I find the whole thing so distasteful I ought to spend my €3.50 elsewise, you may say. In my defence I've weaned myself down to about four issues a year and to paraphrase Armin Tamsarian, I'm only in here looking for a way out of here.

Ice breaker.

I'm sure everyone has had the fantasy where they fashion a blade out of ice, stab their boss 17 times in the back of the face, only for the murder weapon to melt away leading to sweet, sweet exoneration?

No?

Well I have. The thought occurred to me this morning in defrosting my fridge. Getting a new one delivered this morning, you see, so I'll have the use of a freezer compartment for the first time since I moved in here.

My hands hurt, I had to use a fork for a chisel, and my flat is like the set of a Kevin Costner vanity project.

Still, I'm doing it for the Fish Fingers, for the steak I don't want to eat right away, for ice cream (fuck the cholesterolic problems), for frozen vegetables which, apparently, are healthier than the fresh variety.

Bring on the country mix.

As I type, there's a basin of hot water working its magic inside the old ice box, I'm hoping that that last tricky bit of frozen water divorces itself from the wires at the side and I can proceed to wait patiently for the delivery men, and wait, and wait.

Maybe I'll just skip town, go here and meet the quare fella.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Dubya.

Kath has tagged me with a meme. I'll take her challenge of trying to work through the morning crapness to come up with ten things about me that start with the letter 'W'.

Right.

Waster - I am a waster. I waste food, waste money on frivolities, waste my time chatting up the wrong women. In fact, I waste my time in general. My blog was recently dubbed a glorious waste of bandwidth by Johnny. But he still reads it.

Wankers - People I dislike disproportionately include Kevin Gildea (gnome on The View from time to time), Jimmy Carr (who has made a career out of looking surprised), Lee Evans ('comedian'), Gerry Ryan (King Wanker), Jade Goody (no, I don't care).

Words - I like new ones. Patting myself on the back, I was pretty happy with 'wonderslag' there recently.

Wonderslags - Twenty Quid, Apparently Too Tall Elaine, Gemma. You know about those three if you've been paying any kind of attention. Plenty more where they came from, yet I persist in the loving of...

Women - Let me take this opportunity to 'in' myself, even though I must confess it has been such and such since my last such and such.

Who what where when why - Throwing 'how' into the mix, the six factors that should make the opening paragraph in a news story. I have flirted with journalism, you see, for more than eight years. Others do it far, far better.

Right, that's my ten. You may call me a cheat if you want, but the well of plenty in my brain has run dry.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The trespasser.

He's tried to break in before. He'd been out drinking and stopped off for his usual feed in Abrakebabra in Phibsborough. On the walk home He turned off into Charleville Road and tried to climb over my locked gate.

He didn't trust that alone I slept that night, and wanted to catch me in an unwholesome act, given a recent precedent.

Happily for me He couldn't negotiate the climb, or the lock, as He was locked himself. I only learned of it later.

Yesterday the barrier to His entry broke and now there's nothing between me and Him but the window to my room and the door to the flat, easily flattenable. So I've called the locksmith, he's due any minute which could turn into days. I just hope it's fixed before He takes a drink again.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Cunning stunt.

I had a boss back in the day so in love with himself, so free of humility, so damn cuntish he would have made your head itch.*

This Cavanic epitome off all things vile was, and is, a good friend of mine. I took pints with him then, I take ale with him now, and he grabs every opportunity to remind me of those days when, shudder, "I was your BOSS!"

They were the days when I was the Entertainment Editor in Setanta Towers. I'd piss off at random to film screenings while the rest of the oiks would be stuck writing up match previews. I'd review albums sent me to me by the nice publicity people while my colleagues scribbled down injury news for the masses.

It was a pretty sweet number, even if I did have to cover the daily Britney Spears briefings and Must See TV listings. Rough with the smooth.

I was sat opposite him, the Big Boss Man, and we'd gas about our days and poke fun at the sorry excuses for journalysis sent to him by willing, opportunistic yet barely literate college leavers.

An idea struck me.

With Liverpool stuck in a perennial funk under Gerard Houllier, I fixed upon an idea for a football feature that might fit well on the site. Under my own guise it would probably go up straight away, even though my brief had moved on to the arts, and I'd never know if it was any good or not.

With that, and a crippling need for validation at all times, in mind I wrote the piece and sent it to Big Boss Man under a pseudonym. The pseudonym was Paul Stafford.

I clicked send and waited. And waited. And waited until I studied himself. His face was clearly fixed on the article.

About ten minutes later he called for my attention.

"Radge, I've just been sent a feature. I think this lad may have something about him. Will you have a read and get back to me?"

I feigned indignation, like I was too busy to be doing his donkeywork, but agreed to take a look.

"Mail it to me, I'll have a gander."

I tutted through it, frowned a bit, smiled in places, gave it the once over. The twice over, even.

"I think it's pretty good."

"Yeah, I think so too. A bit basic in places ("basic? BASIC??? You cunt!") but it might do for us."

I waited again. I had Paul Stafford's email account open in front of me, hitting refresh for all I was worth until, finally, a response.

He offered me (Paul) a job. "Come in and see me," said Big Boss Man. "We'll work something out." He couldn't offer much, just a shift or two for sussing out purposes, but a job nonetheless.

My face being a dead giveaway, I bolted straight for the jacks and a quiet, jolly tug.**

I went back to my desk where the realisation came to me that I'd have to turn the fucking job down, having applied for it not an hour earlier. I made up some bullshit about not being able to work until the following June, and let it lie.

Weeks later, I asked Big Boss Man if he'd followed up about that article, the one about Liverpool being shit.

"Yeah, I offered him work and he gave me some bullshit about finishing a fucking course first. Why you'd apply for a job if you're unavailable is beyond me."

Snigger.

"Some people!" I spat.

"Some people," he replied.

- - - - - -


*Falsehood.

**OK, not a tug, just an overwhelming whoop of mischief and artfuldodginess.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Benjamin Buttonitis.

As happens with the cinema, with me, I preempt the film by reading review after review, sometimes to the point of seeing it before watching the thing, if you get me. I come away disappointed more often than not.

With 'The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button' I had low expectations going into the film. Some said it was too long, that Pitt was as wooden as my makeshift ironing board, that it was nothing but a glorified piece of whimsy too yawning with Forrest Gumpitis to stand on its own as a classic.

Well, all the above is true, and it surely is no classic, but I enjoyed it enthusiastically. I can't say why, really.

Maybe for 'long' I saw unhurried.

Maybe for 'wooden' I saw subtle.

Maybe for 'whimsical' I, well, I was just in the correct humour for that kind of thing.

Also, as anyone who read my preceding entry will attest, I'm a sucker for a love story.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Twenty Quid.

Now that she has finally left me to be, I can tell you about Twenty Quid.

In the dating spree of 2006, during the World Cup, I got in contact with a girl from County Kildare.

She was good craic.

OK, scratch that, she was a nurse, a lover of shit music and a chickenhead clucking about Home And Away, but she was friendly and a bit of a looker on her profile.

We swapped numbers and texts, she an LOLer, me frowning at the beep. Still, still, she was persistent and wanted to meet me. After watching one of the England games in County Lucan, I grabbed a lift from Owen into town.

I was already a bit drunk, I'd call it 'tipsy' if that was suitable to a man of my drinkage. She was on time. She was chatty. We got on well, went to The Bank, had some food, a kiss and a taxi back to mine. So far, so 'I can't wait to text the lads.'

We clicked well in the morning time and agreed to meet again. She said she had no money to get home so I put my hand in my pocket and gave her twenty euro. In the passing of the cash it occurred to me that she hadn't paid for a thing the entire time, but she assured me she'd get me back. I told her it was grand, being a gentleman, and we did seem to hit it off.

She went on her way.

= =

I was excited about this one, my earlier impressions had been shot by her winning personality. I texted her the next day, feeling I'd played the politics and the odds perfectly, but got nothing back.

"She probably has no credit." The rationale of a horny man.

I left it another couple of days and texted her again. I suggested doing something that weekend, a week after our initial date.

Nothing again.

I left it there, I was never one to scurry.

= =

Months passed, a few more bad dates, but nothing to match the buzz of our meeting.

Still, I put her down for a loss and went about days unencumbered. That was until she popped up on my MSN one random afternoon in October.

Remember, it had been June since I'd heard a peep, and she'd had the cheek to invade my wallet without so much as an apology in the meantime. Twenty quid is twenty quid, like, I was never over-monied.

Anyway, she popped up with something like 'Aw honey, so sorry I never got back to you. Have had a really hard time.' A quick 'Go fuck yourself' would have been called for, but I was a sad, soft bastard back then and started my textual counselling, saying I understood and hoped she was ok. She wanted to meet me again and I, like a fool, agreed. I was to go to Malahide that very night.

= =

I met her outside some pub or other, she was smoking on my arrival. I went inside to get a couple of drinks in and she started wittering on about her life's woes.

Without the tankful of booze in me, without the post-coital giddiness of the previous summer, with utmost sense of my surroundings I judged her to be a proper fucking twat.

Three rounds, again all me. No mention of the score she owed me. Then she came out with...

"So where are you bringing me for dinner?"

What did I do? I fucking went. I walked with her to the nearby Italian restaurant. I went like a... I went.

Three courses, she'd cost me well over a tonne at this stage. She was shiteing on about coming back to mine, how she was going to "rock my world." She spoke about her ex and how I was a proper man compared to him, how he'd treated her like shit. I thought of how I'd like to get his number, buy the man a pint for his troubles.

= =

We left the restaurant. I told her it was nice to see her again but that I was going to get a taxi back to my sister's (where I was staying at the time).

"I'm giving you a lift," she said.

"No you're grand, I'll just..."

"JUST GET IN THE FUCKING CAR."

I got in. I formulated a plan. Even though Anne was living in Baldoyle, I'd get her to drive me elsewhere and I'd get a taxi back.

No fucking way was I going to sleep with her. Pride was a long time coming, but it came.

We got to Fairview and I told her she could drop me at the park. I'd walk the rest of the way. She was not having this at all. The girl was out for rode, no mistaking it. She was not having this.

I confessed that my sister lived in Baldoyle but that I'd forgotten the directions, but that I'd be grand in a taxi and she should be on her way.

"I'M FUCKING DROPPING YOU HOME."

Oh Jesus.

She was driving faster and faster, talking wildly and loudly, like a plump Cameron Diaz in Vanilla Sky, and I was shit scared, cursing myself for ever being such a fucking chump.

After an hour we found the house. She asked to come in for coffee. I ran. I just ran. No explanation. I ran inside, turned off the lights, and prayed for the psychotic wonderslag to finally give up and drive off, and she did.

= =

Two years passed, two years of ribbing by the lads. There were many more dates and a four-month romance, but still Twenty Quid remained the stuff of lore.

One drunken evening Johnny promised me 500 euro and a crate of Stella if he could hide in the wardrobe while I sired her, one more time. The next day he told me he was serious, that if the chance ever came he'd give me five-fold what I'd spent on her, and some lovely beer into the bargain.

This was all moot, I didn't have her number anyway, long since deleted. Then, a couple of months ago, she popped up on my screen once more. She said I'd treated her so well, how she understood why I'd run screaming from her terror-car, how she was newly single and how she wanted to meet me.

"Oh right, well, let me think," I responded. "OK, well, do one."

And that was the last of Twenty Quid, reminder of my greatest shame as a man. Happily for Johnny, there isn't enough money in the world...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

I seem to recognise your face...

I'm 17 in a second-hand shop with a girl called Valerie, in town buying a brown suede coat for the gig, my first time seeing them live.

I'm having an outer body experience listening to the intro to 'Release,' clad in that same coat while Kev chats up two girls from the North in the Point, October 26th, 1996.

I'm playing 'Footsteps' over and over and over again in my grandparents' house, and she can hear it from below. She asks if it was me on my guitar. I tell her I wish it had been.

I'm scribbling out the lyrics to 'Jeremy' having asked for more paper in my summer maths exam, third year, aged 15, stumped by trigonometry.

I'm getting a free 'Vitalogy' t-shirt at 7.53am on the album's first day of sale, 1994.

I'm being driven through town, through the Liberties, making my da and Elmo listen to 'Nothingman' rewound ad nauseam.

I'm trying to find the music in 'Stupid Mop'.

I'm seeing them for the second time, June 2000, before going home to set fire to a skateboard.

I'm a teenager writing a fanboy letter.

I'm looking at polaroids of a stranger meeting Eddie Vedder, seething with jealousy.

I'm arguing their merits over Nirvana, using 'State Of Love And Trust' as my prop.

I'm watching 'Black' unplugged for the 716th time.

I'm heading back to Limerick, from Tralee, listening to 'Yellow Ledbetter' for the first time in my thirties.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Toilet.

I've just been listening to the new U2 single, 'Get On Your Boots,' for the first time.

I just, I just, I don't have the words. Refer to title.

I'm off.

Thank fuck for the internet. Thank fuck for it. The bus from Dingle dropped me in Tralee with an hour and a half's wait until the connection to Limerick.

I sat for ten minutes at the station but got royally fucked off when the hippy beside took out some hair jelly and an apple. Each individual munch saw the angry grow in me, every bite rising my bile, every beastly examination of his pomade pack eliciting groans and sighs from me, not even silent.

49 minutes to departure.

I'm a man of many pet peeves, one of them revolves around the humble úl. I like them a lot, don't get me wrong, but I find it hard to be around the eating of one by another.

I've been known to text the Mallow one.

"There's someone eating an apple in my vicinity."

"Run. Go home. Nobody to annoy you there."

Or words to that effect.

Anyway, I took my bag and baggage and hunted down this Internet Café. It puzzles me how coffee is rarely to be found in these places, just an empty Coke fridge, a seasick blue on the walls painted and Prince playing overhead.

43 minutes to departure.

So it's to a couple of days in Limerick, it'll be either 'Benjamin Button' or 'Revolutionary Road'. I've seen most else.

Then back to Dublin, to Charleville Road, where I'll try to make some sense of the Dingle scribblings. The whole page of them. I got distracted by the nothingness, what can I say? My stated aim went to the winds, replaced by the walking and the stew and Guinness. Together and separate.

I'll go back to Dublin and people will ask me if I went to see Funghi. I'll go back to Dublin and people who don't know me will ask me if I went to see Funghi.

38 minutes to departure.

'Woman' by John Lennon on the wireless now. I'm off.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Sorry to see you go, Declan."

There is a man.

There is a man...

Hell, there is a man so cuntfugly that he gives me the ire just to think of him. Him and his 'man of the people' act.

Him and his laugh, so loud it could shatter the souls of the oiks that track him and lean on his every word.

There is a man who doesn't talk to the desk jockeys, he sticks his phone to his ear by way of pretence to avoidance. I wish I had his number so I could cripple his cunting fucking inner ear.

This is a man who promises everything and delivers on nothing, who ogles the breasts of his female colleagues before playing his game of mental jabba-jabba. It plays in his eyes, you see. Because I see.

There is a man, and I hear he is leaving. This sickens me, hurts me, blinds me with rage, because every man needs a nemesis.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A scanner darkly.

The trip down wasn't as fraught as I had expected. Damp on the roads but nothing by way of rain, or sleet, or snow, not yet. That came last night and I woke up to a flurry.

I love this town. I get slagged off for my frequent visits, sometimes alone, at times with others. But it does something to me. I get groans at its mention from those who refuse to come, as though its visiting would offer me an unassailable lead.

This is the only place where a Super Valu sign can give me pangs of nostalgia, of thoughts racing and possibilities, of peace. Those same pangs proving rare these days. It's the first thing you see off the bus. You see.

It's been a bit cold to walk down by the bay so far, I forgot a scarf and I never own gloves. I don't like their feel.

I did slip in and out of one or two pubs, took a drink here and there and sat in the darkest corners I could find.

Not that it mattered, there's nobody here to see me. It's very quiet, whatever pictures you may have of a tourist spot - overrun by Americans and Chinese and returning nationals - can be dispelled right now. Not the time for it. It's deserted.

On two forays out last evening I counted eight people passing on the streets, all local, all saying hello to the cold looking lad in the dark grey coat, scanning around for a fire and a pint.

I have nothing to do here but write and walk and eat and drink and think.

Monday, February 02, 2009

No work today.

No work today, just an early start in a cold flat warming up to two electric heaters.

No work today, just an asexual man crush on Fernando Isobel Torres for what He did to Them.

No work today, just taking pictures of a snowy garden waking.

No work today, just sippings of coffee from an ironic mug, shaped just about right.

No work today, just laughing at the bleary.

No work today, just a trip to town at leisure.

No work today, just happy that the hangover has passed.

No work today, just two great people wed happily and flying.

No work today, just a road trip to the south-west, to the south, to the harbour, to the boats, to Dick Macks.

No work today, just dishes in the sink and an unhoovered floor.

No work today, just a refill, a refuel and a remote control.

No work today, no work tomorrow either.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

A little bit Irish.

Another wedding down, another broken Radge, writing a post-mortem borne of lashings and lashings of ambrosia creamed gargle.

Ah here, you all know the drill. Frocks and suits, speeches and stout. Clappings and jeerings and a personalised greeting from Take That. Actually, that one's new. The rest was as you'd expect, teeming with good will and old men from Leixlip never to be met again.

The wonderings. Wonder if the bridesmaids are game? No. Maybe some of the guests.

Scanning the tables for possible encounters. Be clever about it. The middle of three consecutively seated females is likely single. Maybe have a pop at her later... Or her... Or oh she's a looker that one. I definitely will. Or would.

Or I'm not even fooling myself. Instead I'll get drunk and far too emotional, back in the room and altogether crap. That most jolting of changes.

But we don't like to talk about that.