Thursday, May 28, 2009

Control Z

My laptop's been a bit of a bastard of late, cutting in and out of its internet connection.

I just wrote something that was a long time in its execution, a painstaking and broken story borne of a headspace not quite my own at the minute.

Upon its completion I decided to copy all the text, and as the blackened prose got near to the top it disappeared entirely. I noted the autosave function at the bottom. No panic, it'll be in the drafts, my mind said to me.

I hit Control Z for the sake of reassurance. Nothing came back.

I went to the drafts. It was in there alright, under 'Untitled Post'. I clicked. The autosave had kicked in at the very moment all of this story had disappeared. One second earlier and it would have saved.

Instead I got a blank white page.

Gone.

I let a loud and yelping 'FUCK!!!' to the flat and punched the table. I have just applied ice.

This happened just once before, to another true story about another dark time. That day I got drunk, that night I met a friend for the first time, it was a good consequence but this time I don't know what to do because a drink is the last thing that I want.

Use Notepad, folks.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

No, Ray, not today

Last week I made reference to the fact that my garden put me in mind of 'Apocalypse Now,' what with its overgrowing sticky-back plants and abundance of weeds and dead cows on the lawn.

If not quite ready for the next edition of House and Horse, or Hound and Home, or Horses for... anyway, yeah, it's been resolved. Thank fuck. There's a lovely greeting of freshly shorn grass outside the door to my flat. Neighbours have been sipping Pimms in its gaze since Fred the landlord got the lawnmower out, so neat and trim is its visage. This pleases me.

A lovely man is Fred. I've been here for two and a bit years now and only met him a couple of times, but he's come good for me. Lowered the rent, sorted out Toiletgate or whatever I referred to it as at the time, kicked out the Polish masseur who never... seemed... quite... right to me.

He tells me now that mine is the only flat in the house that hasn't been refurbished and that he'll be happy to do it, we'll work out the details anon.

Of more immediate concern to me will be the disappearance of my couch - the loan deal runs out next Saturday week - but Fred's footing the bill for a replacement to the tune of 200 notes. If anyone has a decent and easily mobilised sofa that they're not needing anymore, drop me a mail.

Anyway, a lovely man is Fred.

= = = =

Other random thoughts, each unrelated:

I will never understand cricket. It occurs to me that it's beyond the ken of any ordinary Irishman, sports 'journalists' included.

Tonight, one hour before I left the office, the pall lifted because worrying has never solved a problem.

The new newscastress on Sky Sports News has a beautifully symmetrical face.

First of a week of 3pm-11pm shifts today. It coincides nicely with my penury. I'm running low on money, so couldn't afford to have a life anyway.

'Waltz With Bashir' is... is... no, I'm still not ready.

Hang on, I think I've got it. There are six balls to an over and eight to an inning wicket.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In Nearys we trust

I knew it was all over when we found the half empty ground floor of Nearys. We sat at the couch on the end beside the men's toilets, cheering the fact there was no television broadcasting disgusting rugby union all over our lovely Saturday evenings.

Come 7pm I was afraid to leave, imaginings of the Leinster hordes outside, so we took another pint and another pint again.

The process repeated itself to the point of drunkenness, Bewleys and then a burger and now I feel like the ghost of a trace of a pale imitation of a man.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A quiet word

The Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse has found that abuse of children at the hands of members of the Catholic Church was 'endemic' in Ireland from the 1940s to the 1980s, that there were thousands of incidents reported, and criticised the Department of Education for its handling of said complaints.

The report calls for a memorial to be built and inscribed with the words of Bertie Ahern, who apologised in 1999 to victims of the abuse. Bertie Ahern, the former Taoiseach, who spent almost eleven years at the head of the Irish Government, at the helm of all governmental departments. Education included.

The report reveals that the Christian Brothers Order - the most culpable though far from the only responsible religious body - was defensive when confronted with complaints, though they have now issued an apology, saying, "we are deeply sorry for the hurt caused. We are ashamed and saddened that many who complained of abuse were not listened to."

So that's alright then.

All of this is reported on RTE, who make no mention of the fact that, because the Christian Brothers sued in 1994 to keep the identities of all its guilty members from being mentioned in the report, the victims of this abuse will not be able to bring the perpetrators to court.

RTE does not give a voice to those who attended this afternoon's press conference and protested at the fact that there will not be any prosecutions as a result of these findings.

Instead they print a series of apologies, empty admissions of shame and guilt, apologies given safe in the knowledge that no single member of the clergy will do time for these disgusting acts of terror.

Instead we get a plaque with the words of Drumcondra's most famous flesh-presser making everything alright.

As for Brian Cowen, who may or may not have had a word in the ear of the Irish broadcaster, well, he's said that the failures of the State have to be anknowledged and lessons learned. We haven't heard that one before.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Schenectady

I went to sleep last night dreaming of a warehouse within a city within a warehouse within a city.

'Synecdoche, New York' is really very invasive and the theme tune is still squirreled in my skull. It's a tremendous film, critics are calling it 'just like Ben Hur but nothing like that. At all.'

Monday, May 18, 2009

Scorn not their simplicity

We sat upstairs with the mural of Con staring down at us, his words imprinted on the wall giving me an idea for a blog that isn't this one.

We took pints and shifted seats three times to make room for the band. The loud sneezing man had an impressive, powerful lilt. Finnegan's Wake the high point and I said to Ollie, I said, "we should be paying for the privilege."

Then the Americans came in. Three separate groups of fifteen with cameras snapping and gums displaying, so the band started into the standards of paddywhackery.

We went downstairs when Hal from Houston decided to get his jig on to something Mary Black once covered. The name of it escapes me.

"Too many tourists, lads?"

"Fuckin sure. Guinness and a lager beer, please."

"Coming up."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

The eight meme

Another meme, this time from Maxi Cane. Gonna try and keep it short and snappy, which probably means it'll be long winded and stodgy.

Before I start, repetition from earlier blogs is very likely indeed.

Eight things I like:

Sushi.
30 Rock (bought it yesterday, Alec Baldwin provides comedy gold).
Very strong coffee. Black. No sugar, sugar.
The smell of blackcurrant.
The Screen.
Correct use of single and double inverted commas.
That should always go outside the full stop.
Ah here, just read my entry '50 Good Things.'

Eight things I did yesterday:

Bought sushi.
Wrote an article about Down football manager Ross Carr.
Purchased 30 Rock and some wine.
Watched six episodes of wine and drank a bottle of 30 Rock.
Almost went drinking with a timebomb, but thought better of it.
I blogged while drunk. Oh Graham. It's fucking genius.
Got pissed on. Rain, not urine.
Wondered what I'd do tomorrow on my day off. Tomorrow is now today.

Eight things I wish I could do:

Paint.
Play football.
Predict, with great specificity, the stock market.
Spell. She told me I can't but I think that she lied.
Drive.
Write a script as good as 'Withnail and I.'
Cook a roast.
I realise now that some of these are attainable. Happy days.

Eight things I don't like.

Wrongly inserting 'so' into a sentence. As in, "I so would like to do her."
Cucumber. Most hated of the umbers.
The fact that my garden resembles the set of Apocalypse Now.
The frisson of fear in the office.
The recession of my hairline.
Max Clifford.
Eggs.
Maxi Cane for doing this a lot better than me. Sunday Morning Coming Down.

OK, that's that. I'm not going to tag anyone.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Oh Graham

"What is it, Gordon?"

"Well, it's a Curico Valley Shiraz. It finishes well, doesn't it? Doesn't it finish well?"

"It finishes really well."

"What time is Graham arriving?"

"He said he'd be here around 8. What time is it now?"

"Quarter to nine."

"He'll be here soon. I'll text him."

"He's always fucking late."

"Yeah. So, tell me, Brian. Still in high yields?"

"A fucking pummeling yesterday dude. Don't even talk to me."

"Recession."

All: "Recession."

"Where the fuck is Graham?"

"What's the story with him anyway? He loved up yet?"

"You know Graham. Always the opposite. We're all single and he's going out with Katie for like, seven years or some shit. We all get hitched and he's like swearing off women for good."

"Graham."

All: "Graham."

"This Shiraz really finishes well."

"Fucking tell me about it. M+S. Twelve yo-yos. We'll get it again, won't we Susan?"

"We should definitely get it again. It finishes..."

The doorbell rings.

"Hi dudes."

"Graham. Late. As ever!"

"Sorry. I totally hooked up last night and, well, you know..."

"Oh Graham you fucking hussy."

All: "Oh Graham."

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Has it come to this?

I hate seeing them like this, these wonderful, outgoing people. Feuding is not their way. These lovers, not fighters.

They were the pair I looked to in my singledom, an example of the purest kind of synergy. The couple every other couple wanted to be. In the pub, in my kitchen or over in Max's den, it seemed nobody else was there.

He'd start a sentence, she'd finish it. "You guys make me sick, pass the bucket!" I'd say but they'd just carry on. I didn't mind, I was happy to see them living out a life that I knew would be the envy of many a man.

Sure, they seemed to the outside world to be all about the aesthetics. Both vain, both beautiful and both a little too fond of the finer things in life. She loved to have her photograph taken and he'd be the first up when we'd take to the karaoke. But at its heart was two people in search of their other half in this world and to be around that was a privilege.

The trouble started, or so I thought, when we were on a night out in London. He got a little too drunk and flirty with some blonde seven years her junior. She didn't even notice, so wrapped up was she in her putting it about, and he lashed out.

"How come you weren't totally fucked off when I was talking to that girl?" he asked.

"You do what you want. You always do."

"You're drunk."

"What's your fucking point? Go home. I'm staying out."

He looked sad. He didn't like confrontation.

The next day all seemed fine again but he told me that this had happened before, that he'd talk to other women hoping she'd fall to pieces and it would never come. She'd just belittle him and send him home while she'd, well, he didn't want to say it but I knew what he meant.

A couple of months ago it all came to a head.

"Cockbreath," he called her, all playful.

"What's that supposed to mean?" she asked.

"Your breath smells like cock. Get some, did ya?"

"You're bang out of order you fucking pig!" she said and broke three plates off the Mexican tiling.

He stormed out and she just lay there quivering in my arms, sobbing about not wanting to end up like so many other couples. Her friend Kerry had been through exactly the same thing, she said, but she'd never touch drugs because "drugs is filth, innit?"

"It in," I replied. "It certainly in."

Fast forward to today and there's mud everywhere, a sickening tar that I can't bear because when two snakes mate in the jungle it's meant to be for life, innit?

Buns

Angry Pensioners: The Scourge Of Irish Society.

They're going to tea us to death, I swear it. Last night in a Parish Hall in Athlone I fell afoul of a rather angsty septuagenarian, vexed as he was that I was standing a little too close to the tea and cake stand.

He started off quite politely, lightly ushering myself and the boys towards the makeshift bar, but the end of his sentence belied a rage that comes from being close to the cloth.

"Sorry lads, I couldn't just get ye to... MOVE LADS! G'WAN! MOVE!"

"My apologies. I never know where to stand at a funeral."

We left shortly afterwards.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Radio GaGa

Some young fellas got on the bus this afternoon, singing the hits of the day which I gather are performed by names such as Rihanna and Lada GaGa because, y'know, I'm all about the pop culture, me.

I quickened on my earphones and played me some Debussy because, y'know, I'm all about the classical music culture, me.

I got to thinking about work. Specifically the blog I write for it. I'd written a short piece on golf which was no small accomplishment given my allergy to most sports unfootball.

There was one comment from some punter who called himself ZZZZZZZZzzzzzz and the words he left were simply...

'And your point is...'

I thought about the unctious little bedroomed toerag with too much time and a fine line in question-mark-forgetting and, coupled with the Poker Face Quartet below, got more than a little gloomy.

Then it struck me that there are far, far more important things to worry about. That these silly little trivialities matter nothing in the scheme of things, that far too much is taken for given and that I'd better join the fuck in.

So I did. But under my breath, of course.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday

The birds are shining, the sun is singing, it's a glorious day to be outside.

For some.

Others, meanwhile, go dusting around the flat, drink far too much coffee, watch manifold episodes of Six Feet Under and tap fingers busily...

Saturday, May 09, 2009

DNA



When Ollie says, 'let's meet for lunch,' what he really means is 'you will fall afoul of a very, very poor tattoo artiste.'

But it will be fun.

Friday, May 08, 2009

We dream in opposites

I woke up nervous today and can't figure out why. It's a nothing day, off work and myself to myself, but I have that feeling in the pit of my stomach normally reserved for first dates or annual reviews or uneasy meetings with a friend I haven't seen in a while.

When I was young my mother used to call them 'growing pains' and I would think she said 'groin pains'. "But there's nothing wrong with my groin, it's my stomach."

Kids.

It's a tightening to the core, borne of a bad dream. We were all let go. In reality we had a fairly encouraging meeting in work yesterday, in my head the alarm bell won't silence so I dreamt we were given five minutes to vacate the building while the company owner lay weeping and swaying in some made up corner chair.

Hopefully we dream in opposites, and definitely I should not have watched 'Manhunter' last night when I got back from the pub. Those fucking synths can only lead to foreboding.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

It's rollin' round the bend

We stand around, huddled, worried.

"Don't like the look of those media reports."

"No sirree Jim. Don't like the look of them there media reports one little bit. Packed lunches in future. Those eight euro ciabattas are gonna have to go mouldy. Spam sandwiches for me."

"I hear sardines are cheap."

"They smell fucking rank."

"They do smell rank. But what's a little bit of odour when we have media reports such as these, Jim?"

"Worrying, Jim. Lots of closed office doors. There's conspiracies a-bein' conspired."

"You paranoid dipweasel."

"Have you not read the reports? The media reports?"

"The fuck have we been talking about the last five minutes? And what's a dipweasel anyway?"

"It was your insult."

"True dat."

"And why are you all 'hood now? A minute ago you were Texan with your conspiracisin' and your drawwwl."

"That was you. I think we need some narrative. A framing device."

And so these ARE worrying times in the media fold, what with the manyforementioned reports and rushing suits up and down the corridor, clutching their briefs as they would a sick and starving infant.

Who's gonna hold me when the hour's notice comes?

Liquor, prob'ly.

The International

I was in a Frames video once. Myself and McMuck had interviewed Glen Hansard the previous week for college radio, and went for a pint in the bar afterwards.

A capital fellow, old Glen. It's fashionable and very, very Irish to slag him off but he was a gentleman. Shameless name dropping out of the way, as we parted he invited us to be part of the video for their single 'God Bless Mom.'

They were filming the following week upstairs in the International Bar, so myself and McMuck took our stools an hour or two shy of it for a couple of crafty eye openers. We rang my friend Stef.

"Here, want to be in a music video?"

"Meant to be going down the country but yeah, fuck it."

It wasn't a very interesting day, we just sat lotus-like on the floor while the song played over and over and over again.

At roughly 5pm we legged it. They were only half way through filming but the early morning pints had put a want on us. We put it down for a loss.

Only last week did it occur to me to check out the video on YouTube. It's in there, and you can see McMuck a couple of times, but I'm just a vague shadow beside him.


(I had posted the video here but, after checking back in at my work desk, it suddenly morphed into some Eminem wank. I've removed it.)


Last night I returned to that room for the first time since. Hasn't changed a bit. The comedy mish-mash was on and that's exactly what it was. Some good, some bad but definitely worth a fiver of a Tuesday night. And I didn't have to sit through a United victory.

Win win.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Be-beep

The text message read: 'I can't take any more you/taxi driver stories. Enough.'

Quite.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

To serve and protect

I flagged him down on Suffolk Street. "Take me home," I said. "To Cabra."

I got an unfair whack of booze as soon as I sat in. He barely spoke but anything he said came with a slur. No identification on the dashboard, a drunken chancer.

I'd been here before, only weeks earlier when I accused another of driving while drunk. Ugly scenes, he said he'd call the guards and perform a breathalyser, so this time around I figured I'd keep my counsel.

He veered awkwardly towards Blessington Street, the Mater, up the North Circular and on to my road.

I paid him a tenner and got out of the car. He was belching and glassy.

I took note of his licence number.

When I got inside I looked up the number of the taxi regulator.

"If you want to make an official complaint, print out the form from the website and we'll look into it upon receipt of..."

"But that'll take days. He's clearly been drinking. He's out there now."

Their hands were tied.

So I rang the guards.

"What is your complaint?" he asked in his finest Templemore.

"Well, I've just been dropped off by a taxi driver who's clearly drunk. I'm worried that he'll crash and kill himself, or others, or himself and others."

"Have you had a few yourself?"

"I'm sorry?"

"Have you been drinking yourself?"

"Well, I don't see how that's relevant but no. I haven't. I've just come from work. I have his plate number. Do you have a pen to hand."

"No."

"Would you like me to hold while you get one?"

"I suppose so, for all the good it'll do."

Jesus.

I quoted the number to him and waited for him to tell me he'd alert, well, whoever he might alert in this case. Instead...

"And where was he going once he dropped you off?"

I put down the phone and poured myself a whiskey.

Is that the kind of thing that you think you might be into?

Not my busiest evening in work, spending a lot of time with YouTube while the golf plays itself out, acquainting myself with these lads.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Page 190

I saw myself in the paper the next day. You look revolting, I thought. Like Miss Piggy's librarian sister.

Jack said he liked my hair shorter and Bobby said no when I asked him if he liked my new look, but at that stage I really didn't care what anyone thought. It was different and that was all that mattered.

I kept the extensions for about a month until I finally reached the end of my tether. And I nearly made myself bald in the process. I was at Jen's house with Carly one night and we sat there until about 3am pulling out each strand. Problem was, it was all glued into my scalp, so I almost ended up with less hair than Bruce Willis. We tried everything to get the extensions out, but nothing was working. We put nail-varnish remover on the roots and that was no use. Jen even went downstairs and came back with some pliers. We went on pulling and yanking until I looked like I had alopecia. I was crying at one stage because it hurt so much, but then I realised there was no point and started laughing hysterically instead.

Eventually, we got most of it out but now it was shorter than it had ever been. And without wanting to sound like a mad person, it was like getting rid of all that hair was the start of getting rid of the rest of the mess in my life - Jack.

After we lost the baby we never fully recovered and I was getting more and more fed up with his lack of oomph.

We were at breaking point.

Friday, May 01, 2009

In the post

I arrive home between drinkings to discover post. Bulky post. I've never had bulky post before.

Play.com.

"I didn't order anything from Play.com," I say to nobody. "...the fuck?"

I tear it open. In a hurry. Have to get to the pub.

'Jade: Fighting To The End.'

Last May I was best man to him, and he does THIS to me?

Some people.