Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Out of his way! He's gonna blow!

I sit here scuppered by the chicken goujons I had at lunch. What about the six pints last night?

No.

Definitely the goujons.

Anyway, the nice people at culch.ie have asked me to join their coterie of reviewers, a role I plan to take on with all the zeal of a man frantically seeking a City Centre throne in the middle of the afternoon.

Brings me back to my days doing the old 'Loop' reviews. 10.30am in the Savoy or Denzille Lane or Fairview, mixing the tepid ('Veronica Guerin') with the good ('21 Grams') with the doggerel ('Cradle 2 The Grave'). Many more besides.

Every single film turned into a three-hour epic as I'd shimmy back to my office chair in the middle of the afternoon, pretending that this business of critiquing was the ultimate chore, swatting at my brow like the Earl Of Rochester himself.

I'm going to enjoy this.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Siobhán?

"Do you think we'd be good together?"

"Well... Ehm... What's your name again?"

"You know my name. Now answer me."

It's been one of the stranger weekends.

From Shirley Bassey-impressionistas to garden party pubbery, from the daytime to the nighttime chicanery of a barely populated Blanchardstown party, it's been one of the drunker weekends.

"No I... I don't think so. Bye."

Saturday, June 27, 2009

The actress Eva Birthistle

If you're reading this and your name happens to be 'the actress Eva Birthistle,' please contact me using the email address thither.

Come on 'the actress Eva Birthistle,' let's be appalling.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Fresh claims

I expected something wholly different. A maelstrom of Antos, of babies in strollers, of wailing mothers, of Nigerian men and women, of the whole fucking country seeking to talk to cynical, evil drones speaking through the glass. I expected to be there all day.

I got there a minute before midday, took a ticket, sat patiently for half an hour before I was beckoned to a window. The place, while hardly empty, was occupied by no more than six or seven waiting dolers, myself included.

When I told the girl behind the microphone that I'd worked for Setanta Sports, she took on a look of greatest sympathy and asked me if I was OK?

Turns out I was.

She was efficient, kind, friendly and chatty but not in an obtrusive way. She asked me what I thought of this Michael Jackson business, she'd hoped to get tickets to see him in London. She was going to bring her kids. I was sadder for her than for him, than for me.

"How long can I expect to wait?"

"Ah, about two weeks."

"Really, heard it'd be longer."

"They breed us different up here, Radge. We do our jobs."

I asked her what her first name was, it was Anne, and bid her a very good day.

I walked home down the Cabra Road and checked my mail.

Finally, finally some word from the office saying my letter of redundancy had been issued to the correct address. I'd had to email the company's head accountant as my importunes to the HR person - a raspy little jobsworth urchin who said she'd give us all the help we needed just three short days ago - had yielded no response.

I thought he'd have more important things to do than write to a (now) former employee, things like saving the rest of the Irish operation, so his small note of guidance meant a lot.

As for her? She can do one.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The king of slop

Michael Jackson is, at the time of writing, probably maybe definitely dead.

His glove designer, his official photographer, his hair shiner, his dog walker, his childhood best friend's other best friend, his milkman, his nipple tweaker, his Uri Geller and 17 Fox News reporters have been on expressing their sadness at the demise of the oftimes singer, sometimes performer and nevertimes pederast.

Oh mercy.

Meanwhile, not one media helicopter has circled my flat wondering why I haven't been seen outside since my trip to Spar at 6pm. Not one. There hasn't been one report of my demise on Newsnow. Not one. No lovely ladies wailing at my gate. Not a fucking one. And I can't tell you the last time a candlelight vigil was held in my honour.

I'll be having a strongly worded conversation with Max Clifford.

You shake it all about

My second day waking up to unemployment, my second day waking up hungover (though mildly in today's case) to unemployment. I'm checking the post at ten minute intervals for my letter of redundancy so I can go and meet my new friends in the dol.. in the Jobseekers Allowance emporium.

Oh what magical things happen there. I can only imagine. Put me near a ticketing machine and watch me grow giddy at the knees.

I cancelled the dentist. One hundred and forty notes is better off in my pocket in the here and the now, I can't be doing with the scraping neither. DZZZZZZZ... (you should be looking for a job, not sweating bloody gums all over this man's nice non-latex gloves).... DRRRRRRNNNNGGG... (he said something there but I can't hear him because he's drilling throughout my face).

Not for me. I'll go back when I'm financially viable.

Also coming to the fore is my love of 'too soon' jokes. A fella in the pub on Tuesday offered me the coppers from his pocket. Owen showed up last night with a bottle of Cava that has still gone unpopped. The rest of the gags I pre-empted myself, the best of which...

Johnny, looking in my cupboard: "You don't seem to have any..."

Me, quick as something quick: "Job?"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

World keeps turning

"And your sisters married and you sat there, pint in your hands, lovely shirt and sacked."

OK, well, he said nothing about the shirt but I wanted to put rumours of my sartorial elegance to bed before they got out of hand. It WAS a lovely shirt. Call off the scribes.

Those words fell from Jasper, they were said with all the Irishness of another man who lost his job yesterday. 19 of us in total told to settle any business by the close of the day, hand in our ID cards and "get the fuck out of our faces, we're receivers don't you know."

We took it to Mulligans and made it our own, the entire Irish business stopped by to wish us well, knowing that they too could be out of jobs today or tomorrow or, I don't know, in a month.

Emails and comments and text messages and calls and tweets have been forthcoming in masses, many thanks but as I said to the Latvian girl from accounts who I'd mistaken for a Pole.

"Who died?"

She said something back in perfect English but I don't remember what it was now. We spoke for a while before I handed my seat over to Brian from sales. I think they'd make a nice couple. Matchmaking in a recession.

There were other garbled words and declarations of ardour, there was talk of times past and countless examples of my office irritability ("look what happens when you read over Radge's shoulder. It's really quite something. Wear protective headgear.")

There were tears but they all belonged to the office admins and the accountants. We're a stoic bunch, we journalists, we cry in pint form.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Whiskey. Straight up.

Life. Oh life. Oh life. Do do, do do do.

A positive message from Des'ree, you'll all agree.

A positive message like the one I was writing not 15 minutes ago for all your gorgeous consumption before my attention was called to Facebook, and the Status Updates, and one of the lads confirming to his mates that we'd all lost our jobs.

As ways to find out, it was pretty gratuitous. The phone calls to confirm straight afterwards?

Uglier still.

(At least there'll be no more posts about the impending doom of it all.)

Gray, I'll take that drink now.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Next? Mary from Greystones

"It's abominable Joe. I've been driving a bus for 26 years and I never seen anything like what I seen last Saturday. It was... I never seen anything like it in my life... Buses stopping on the side of the street letting people off to VOMIT... and URINATE..."

"Go on Peter..."

"...and DEFECATE on the side of the street!"

"Ah now Peter, were things really that bad?"

"They were Joe. They WERE. I never seen... I tell you something Joe, I've met Lord Henry Mountcharles and he's a gentleman and he has a right to put on these concerts and he's not the problem..."

"No, Peter, no, go on..."

"No Joe. No. Do you know where the problems lie, Joe?"

"Where Peter?"

"It's with the DRINK CULTURE in this country which is completely... abominable."

So. Well. Mystery solved.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

449 not out

"Want to come back to my flat and throw cans at old people?"

"No, but I will come back and throw old people at young people."

Good comeback, I thought.

= = =

Look at Ronaldo. Look at him, the fucking cut of him. He's on Sky Sports News wearing a white vest and pink Burberry hat.

= = =

Yesterday, even though I was off, I wrote a feature for the homepage of the site. '20 Steps To A Football Transfer.' I figure the hits are coming in thick and fast given the current turmoil, so it's good to have something up there on display. It's also, if I say so myself, some of my best work.

Twelve hours after its posting? No comments.

= = =

At what point in his life does a man say to himself, "do I really need that Duck and Orange Paté?"

= = =

R+B is the worst kind of shite, isn't it? It is, yeah. Look at this cunt Ne-Yo on the ringtone ads. This is the point where Meadow tells me to switch off my television.

= = =

I still think I'd make a good funeral manager. Must learn to drive/comfort the grieving.

= = =

Will I still go to Dingle if I lose my job for a four-day session to celebrate the quare fella's 30th? Pricey but so, so enjoyable.

= = =

I saw the film 'Last Chance Harvey' yesterday in the Screen. It was... nice. Dustin Hoffman wears it well. In his 70s now.

= = =

Last night I watched 'The Class' ('Entre Les Murs') on DVD. Worth the fuss.

= = =

The honeymooning couple keep taunting us with pictures on Facebook. Idyllic. I think I'll gatecrash.

= = =

I have never, in my 30+ years, woken up in a cold sweat. I've never experienced a cold sweat. I think it's made up.

= = =

I really do hate an unclosed bracket, or an unfinished quote.

= = =

I'm dragging the arse out of this post now. Time to stop.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

The biographer

The 3-11 shifts in our place are a right royal bitch, and a week of them leaves no less a mortal than me in a dirty little headspace of cossetting myself and gently rocking on the floor in my flat, yearning to be a normal person like other people.

It's a once-a-month occurrence on the work roster and next week it falls on me. I'm in Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

You go in armed with the dregs of the sandwich stall from McCabes at 2.58pm, sit down and eat said dregs, then die a little inside for 15 or 20 minutes. Then a cup of tea. Then the starting of the work.

You check through all the articles written throughout the day for typos and factual inaccuracies. There are rarely factual inaccuracies but there are always typos.

An unclosed bracket is my greatest bugbear.

Once that editing process is finished, you move on to whatever sport has been left unattended by the early-shifter. I like when that's football or golf. I don't like when that's rugby or GAA. I don't mind too much when it's horse racing.

Then, as evening comes and the colleagues are headed to the pub or the cinema or the couch or to The Gate Theatre, you might wander out yourself to get a tease of the evening. Seeing people in their going home state leads you to stop a moment at the gates of Trinity, gather yourself, proceed to the place where the food is got, then it's back to the office.

It's 7pm now. Still so bright but the lights are on in the office, the air conditioning off. Then, if you're lucky, there will be some live match coverage to see you through to 9.45 or 10pm, and then just an hour to mop up and take care of any breaking news that's happened while the match has been on.

Next week, that will be me, only it probably won't be me. More fucking waiting, and this time the signs are ominous because yesterday the Premier League terminated their contract with Setanta Sports.

I have, of course, been stuck to the job sites but there doesn't seem to be much, if anything. Yesterday I found that a North Dublin home is looking for a funeral manager. I was over-qualified except for the fact that I don't hold a full, clean driving licence. I can't drive at all. So that's out. It'd probably be nothing like Six Feet Under anyway.

I'd like, ideally, to be a biographer of someone tall.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The Mexican Sex Beast

Me: "I got shouted down for my 'Wicker Man' blog. 5X was most vocal. Have you seen it?"

El Tolteca: "Was that the one with Kevin Bacon?"

Me, after a few ruminatory seconds: "No. Ehm. No, that was 'Hollow Man.'"

El Tolteca: "Yeah. Saw that. Wasn't bad."

Me: "No, 'The Wicker Man' is the one where an officer of the law goes to a Scottish island to track down a missing girl only to be greeted by an island of deranged, Godless heathens."

El Tolteca: "So nobody went invisible or anything?"

Me, another pause: "Another pint?"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review: The Hangover

I chanced a couple tonight, and by that I mean 'an Irish couple,' which means three pints of stout in the darkest pub to be found in the vicinity of the Savoy Cinema.

The Sackville Lounge welcomed me back to drink with racing overhead and the boys in a heated throwdown over Robbie Keane's impact at Liverpool. My contention? I didn't really have one, or if I did even I didn't care. I just wanted something to distract me from my first dental visit in years multiplied by a factor of ridiculous.

He gave out to me, the dentist, whose name was Greg. He gave out to me and I was cheered by this because I've never had a dentist not give out to me.

I'll be good, I promised. I'll floss, I promised. I will, I promise.

The film we'd seen was shite. 'The Hangover.'

I don't know if it was too close to the bone given my dying state over the last days gone by, or the fact that it was shite, but it was shite, really.

My humour comes from 'Withnail and I' and from 'Venus' and from, well, it turns out I don't have that much of a sense of fun when it comes to slapstick American romps.

The pub was good craic but.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Too much faith

I tend to put far too much faith in the restorative powers of a large glass of cold milk.

Makes fuck all difference, in truth, but I do like to use the word 'panacea' at least twice a day in conversation with myself.

DTs

I have a bruise on my wrist and no recollection of its getting.

My bag is open but the clothes, well, they're not put away yet.

I'm typing to keep my arms from shaking.

Too cold last night. Too hot last night. Too cold last night.

The tips of my fingers are itchy and numb, I thought both were exclusive.

The memories of the weekend flash into me, then out of me before I recognise them.

Emotive affairs, these family weddings.

Once the DTs have passed, I'll write of its glory.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sibling revelry

Encouraging reports greeted me online not 15 minutes ago, when I tore myself out from under the comfort of eleven hours' sleep. Unbroken. Fuck but I was tired.

Anyway, let's see what happens.

This morning I'm partaking of my own version of the office shitstorm, milling around Dublin trying to secure funding for the weekend upcoming. My sister's getting married. T'other one, not the one from last September, t'older one, t'one that used to fight me in my grandmother's sitting room.

We were the precursors to Gladiators, the UFC had nothing on us, until we got to college and realised we were a far greater force as allies than as enemies. She had the looks, I had the hair.

Well, I no longer have the hair, and she's kept her looks (the bitch), and she's marrying the boy Erf in Wicklow.

It's to be an outdoor affair so I want you all kneeling to the sun gods, we don't want a tempest that mirrors the nature of our childhood tete-a-tetes.

= = = =

Utterly unrelated, but I watched 'The Wicker Man' last night. The original version, not the remake starring Nicolas Cage.

Oh my, what an odious piece of filmmaking that was.

At one point, Edward WoodwouldEdward decides to leave the island and, as he's being rowed out to his seaplane, he tells the harbourman (like the rest of the locals, clearly insane) that "you people are all mad, I'm going to leave this island now and return with some more officers of the law."

What did he expect them to say?

"Ah yeah, no bother, work away chief."

Crap. I came very close to throwing my Winter Warmer Soup at the television. At least he got his at the end, though.

= = = =

I'll be back on Tuesday.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

LIVE blog: Endgame?

20:55: Well, I took a tincture with AG, then Johnny and Owen, then a malt whiskey in the pub on Hanlon's Corner called Hanlon's on my own, all contemplative, like. As a result, this is the end of today's postage, I'm none the wiser about my job than when I started this morning but it's been a bizarrely good day.

14:44: Out of here soon, just have to finish off this occursed preview. I pass John Mulligan of Poolbeg Street on my way to the bus stop. I may take a tincture.

14:06: My last hour of work. Note to Niamh B: The world number five won the US Open in 2006 despite being unfancied at the start of the tournament. Getting tired now, the office feels like a Bank Holiday, dead air and regret. Or maybe it's the comedown from one collective caffeine high.

12:39: Away from talk of takeovers and tenders, my cholesterol is almost back to normal levels for a man of my vintage and carriage. Those Yoplait 'Essence' drinks really do the job, big improvement on seven months ago.

Still no lunch, but there could be a burger in the offing. A cheap one, mind. Recession.

11:46: Trying to write a piece about the golfer Geoff Ogilvy and have retyped the same line 17 times, which means it's been written 18 times. Good to see the atmosphere in here hasn't fucked with my pedantry. Incidentally, Kath, the cream cheese is gone and the crisis hasn't been averted, unfortunately. The jokes have stopped and nerves abound.

11:12: We're still in business. Something about 'seeing the glass as half full and there's definitely more liquid in it than there was yesterday.' So that's alright then.

10:40: Five minutes until the meeting. The funny thing is that I KNOW I gave someone a loan of €57million last week in the pub, but I was locked so can't remember who it was exactly. Pisses me off. I'd be able to sort this mess out.

10:27: Note to Red: Not sure that's what is meant by a fire sale. Also, I really should do some work. But probably won't.

10:19: Note to Niamh B: No donuts. I have some cream cheese on my chin and have just written my first article of the day. More and more people drifting into the office, some more furrowed than others. The lads in my section are hungover and humorous.

Gallows humour 1: "We'll get some cans and sit on the fake astroturf, waiting for the end to come. Locked."

09:55: The Chairman is addressing us all at 10:45. I'd better write some journalism and finish this bagel. Nothing to put a hunger on a man like the threat of impending doom.

09.49: I'm blogging the day. A live blog, is it? Anyway, I'm going to try and blog the day because writing injury updates and football transfer rumours seems so, like, the safety of last week.

I got to the office this morning at 7am and was pleased to note my way unbarred by men in suits carrying calculators and truncheons. I had the first coffee of the day, refreshed the email and managed to glean some information from the company's chief accountant. There is some hope, some faint hope, that there might be a saviour at hand.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The static

The office was quiet today. Everything muted. There was no great sense of apprehension, just the sound of static punctured by the occasional sneeze and whisper.

Those media reports I referred to recently have become more widespread and things aren't looking good for the company I've worked for for the last eight and a half years.

There's been panic before, I was even let go on the same day as two planes crashed into the World Trade Centre in New York, but I just kept showing up and nobody noticed until they had to give me a contract.

It's different this time, Setanta has become a household name in the intervening time and, well, the bigger they come, the harder they fall. I usually try not to resort to cliché but I tire from the early start and the sound of nothing happening.

Pint?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Something good happened

Have I written before about the 'Radge Factor' and the 'Radge Line'? To ask is to presume that you lap up every single syllable of my golden prose like a thirsty cat to a saucer of Premier Dairies' finest, but I don't care. It's my blog and I'll play the narcissist if I want to.

Anyway, back in college there was known to be a 'Radge Line,' only it was known by my family name as opposed to my moniker here. The 'Radge Line' was the least amount of college work you could do while still doing enough to avoid summer repeats or censure by the heads of the faculty.

I was one lazy fucker but somehow I always managed to wing it to within an inch of a cat's fingernail. Yes, feline metaphors abound in this piece.

My classmates knew that falling below the 'Radge Line' would mean an awkward conversation with Niall - the big boss man - at best, expulsion at worst.

And why did the 'Radge Line' exist? It existed because of the 'Radge Factor'.

The 'Radge Factor' decreed that I would always, always land my arse into a truckload of feathers, or cat hairs, no matter how dangerous the fall. I would have to seek nothing out, stuff just happened to me. Good stuff.

I was one lucky and lazy fucker, at least until college ended and I had to become a proper person like other people.

Today the 'Radge Factor' kicked in again.

Something good happened. And I'm leaving it at that because I know you'll all be back, you shameless bunch of Radgophiles, even if I refuse to engage in closure.

Meow.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Half spilled and dripping

I go outside on the pretense of a phone call, not able to take the sweat and drumm of the pub for a few short moments. I sit on the ledge and watch the traffic, counting the 09 cars and noting the numbers inside.

Blonde. Foxrock. A present from Daddy.

Blonde. Booterstown. A present from Daddy.

Tall. Crouching over the whell. Glasses. Just made partner.

Family. Picture perfect. Weekend in Wexford.

I make a call, I'm here anyway, but he isn't home. Gone to the shops and he'd call me back. I walk to the traffic lights and back again and to the traffic lights further up the road, and back again.

I return to the ledge, the sill of the public house shell with The Beatles being murdered inside, thinking how long I could stay out here talking to nobody before I'll have to go back and pretend badly, once more, to be interesting.

I note two separate couples drinking outside to my right, the nearest two in the funk of an argument and I can just about make them out to be Welsh.

The other couple are watching me watching people watching the road waiting for me to take to it, to get as far away from this place as possible.

My phone rings.

"Hi. You rang?"

"Yeah, I did, but I forget what I was looking for. I'm just out having the craic, can I call you back?"

"Are you drunk?"

"No, not yet, but I might be soon."

"Well, mind yourself. Call me later. Drunk or not. Will you remember this conversation?"

"Yes, yeah, I will."

"Love you."

"Love you too."

The fighting Welsh have become two glasses on the metal table, half spilled and dripping. I put my face back on and go inside.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

After the goldrush

I ended up with a fix of pints last night and today has seen their rebirth.

"I know you."

"And you."

Heave.

"Oh, and I took much pleasure in drinking you."

The first time I have ever vomited at work.

And I lost my phone.

But, y'know, I'm happy.

Monday, June 01, 2009

And then I went and spoiled it all

Sun and festivities and water-slides and mojitos being supped. Walks in gardens botanical and fading light at 11pm. Romantic candlelit faces from below.

Short sleeves and khaki trousers and Dublin looking salubrious bathed in May and all its springtime shimmer.

This has not been my experience of our four-day summer.

Let us leave it at that.