Wednesday, December 22, 2010

"He barely even mentions the snow."

Echinacea. Never held much truck with it before but the on-set of male pattern coughing, spluttering and snoofling took me to Boots the other day.

Lash one of those lads - they look like purple Berocca - into a mug of hot water and watch it go. It's a delightful little blackcurrant potion that, coupled with industrial amounts of Exputex, should see me right for the Christmas.

I'm also a few days boozeless and that can only be a good thing after last week. All that brilliant carnage. Why blog when you can drink and eat and drink again, in Bowe's and Neary's and The Globe and all those places I seem to end up in spite of my liver and my self?

Yep. Did myself a right old damage, lurgy and stomach-gah, but the form is good and why wouldn't it be? It's been a good year, as they go.

Home: August, and the move from 'Withnail and I'-style rusticity to grander pastures altogether, surrounded by people and restaurants and a supermarket that's only a slippery, slidey walk up the road away.

Work: Much the same - bit and bobs of paid employ to keep my head above water - and I've been writing more, here and in the drafts and in places not yet visited by others. The recent paper piece might also spawn some opportunities, it is all good.

Football: A black spot. A shite World Cup and even shiter Liverpool. At least we're hopeless at rugby again, taking the 'Leinster! LEINSTER!' saps down a peg or ten. You can't get tribal over a province, to my mind.

T'other thing: I do not miss waxing on and on and on again about the perils of internet dating.

Food: I went from olive-like to olive-love, picking them off the plates of unsuspecting co-diners and strangers alike. Yoink. After the cholesterol scare of 2008 I still haven't fully embraced the myriad cheeses this town has to offer, but I'm getting there. We're here for a good time, not a long time.

Pubs: If you don't know where to find me by now, you haven't been paying close enough attention.

Drunkening of the year: Myself and Fitzbollix, the morning after a stag. What started off as an eye opener and a bite to eat turned into The Stag's Head, The Long Hall, The Long Stone and somewhere on the quays, before he pissed off a bridge. That is to say he urinated from a conduit, nothing to do with invoking its ire.

Sky Sports News presentress of the year: Millie Clode. As ever.

Blogs of the year (in order of handiness from my dropdown menu): Andrew, Regina, Twenty, Shiny, Therese, Kitty Cat and Rosie. Oh, and not forgetting Jennikybooky.

Birthday of the year: Birthday of all my birthdays.

Film Of The Year: 'Another Year.'

The 'Wouldn't Have Him In The House' award for the most annoying tossbag shat forth by Satan in 2010: Brendan O'Connor. And there you were thinking it would be Barry Egan.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Extra!

A piece for the Herald on Tuesday, my second time in newspaper print after a botched art exhibition review for Ireland on Sunday in 1999. This is also my 700th post.

You'll forgive the departure from my usual expletive flecked, too-tired-to-be-cynical style.

= = =

I was single last Christmas, and for the 30 before that, so the prospect of shopping for the new girlfriend has filled me with dread since we started dating late in the summer.

It’s not easy being a man in these situations. The wrong gift, or gifts, could have me trawling the dating sites before the last of the snow has cleared. Worse still, it could bring about a return to the single life and nights spent inside watching ‘just one more episode’ of Entourage.

The full piece can be seen here, should you be inclined to read on...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

As Kieron Dyer once wrote....

Sitting on a clinic tablebed, barefoot, for over an hour will certainly put manners on a man. It will lead to the most minimal of dementiae akin to a flotation chamber. I've never been in a flotation chamber, mind you, but The Simpsons did a pretty handy mock-up back in the year.

Just me, behind a curtain, waiting to get my paw-knack seen to amid all sorts of imaginings. Radge as a soldier in Iraq. Barefoot. Radge in Eddie Rockets, waiting on cheese fries. Barefoot. Radge getting rained on at Mass of all places. Barefoot.

Weird.

Fuck all to look at, you see. Just that same white curtain, a skeleton picture and the growing need to go for a piss. Half an hour of listening to the nurses' footsteps going up and down and up, but never in to see me, had me reaching for my socks and my shoes and...

"Where are you off to?"

"I just need to use the bathroom..."

"Turn to the right, first door on your left. I'll be with you now in two minutes."

'Now in two minutes' actually meant thirty five minutes, I'd just given myself a Freddie Ljungberg haircut circa 2001, done my warm-up and was fixing to enter the fray at Wembley when the curtain opened and she walked in. Bernie, the doctor.

Doctors shouldn't be called Bernie. Professor Bernie, maybe, but never just Bernie.

She was nice. She had a good mosey around the gaping wound on my foot and told me I didn't need an x-ray. She had another look, calling her colleague in, and told me that no, I definitely didn't need an x-ray.

"Just bandage it up every day until Friday, and then go in to the Mater where they'll make sure it's ok."

The fucking Mater. I was only down there today, in Smithfield, so I wouldn't have to go near the North Circular Road and those that have shat themselves to within an inch of their lives, before going for a nice dip in the Canal.

The fucking Mater. Friday. I'll be bringing a book and an empty bladder.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Damn, it feels good to be a gangster

Andrew has tagged me with a meme about the particulars of my first kiss.

I let a miniature groan out of me when I saw it in his comments while, at the same time, being glad of the opportunity to write more than a list of half thoughts and nonsense.

Why the groan? Well, it arrived late to me, is all.

I spent the teenage years thinking that first kisses and all resultant gropings were things that happened to other people, while I listened to Dave Fanning and fantasised about the girl on the bus.

I was all over the Smashing Pumpkins, in love with my own sadness, while the lads were making up stories (some of which turned out to be true) about moochings at band practice. Bastards. A boy without a hobby and a student of the Jesuits, where would I meet girls?

Not in Kev's back garden, that's for sure. I was 16 or 17 and she was a couple of years younger, Ciara was her name, when I finally made the move to tentative hand-holding.

Score.

Such was a marker of my fear. Pearl Jam t-shirt, a brown suede jacket and shit scared in Glasnevin while drinking stolen Bulmers.

So it went, and went, and went with plenty of teenage keening until one night in the Back Gate. I'd recently shaved my head for the first time and the epiphany of 'Budweiser as piss' was just around the corner.

Fitzbollix's reign of terror had just begun and a troupe of us headed for Cathal Brúgha Street, where I'd definitely get in because I was of age, of a sudden, still without anything to tell the lads about.

She was from Gort, her name was either Marion or Marian, she wore glasses, she was a friend of a friend. It was grand. I spent more time making sure the boys could see me than I did registering the good and the bad of it.

I made some joke over on Rosie's blog about MC Hammer's 'U Can't Touch This' playing in the background but that was a lie, it was Nick Berry's 'Every Loser Wins,' which you don't hear nearly enough on the wireless nowadays.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Seven things

Here, look, avoid Dundrum. Just avoid it. If Windy Arbour is your Luas stop of choice then you're in for a world of hurt. I'm just saying that you should seek alternative housing for the winter because there's no way those paths are going to give you any purchase before April.

=

I'm a paper writer, and by that I mean I've a feature in the Evening Heddled next Tuesday. Seeing as most (all) of my published writing takes place on the transient bastard that is the interstream, this is a great source of pride to me. Until people read it and mock me, anyway.

=

I have nothing at all to do tomorrow, bar go to the shops, leave down the bins, ignore the paparazzi, wash my tracksuit bottoms, eat cheese, read Empire, be horizontal and yawn. Actually, I'll be quite busy.

=

Puff pastry or sweet pastry mince pies? I'm siding with the former but never underestimate how divisive this topic can become. So many family feuds spawned by this debate.

=

Gripe 11,838: When you're on the inside seat of the bus or the Luas and the person beside you simply shifts to the side to let you out, as opposed to standing up. It makes me very accidentally elbowy in the face. Ha.

=

Danny Trejo's in the new episode of Modern Family, which I'm watching instead of giving much attention to this blog. Danny Trejo. Modern Family. Incongruous.

=

Cricket. I'll just never get it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Shanks

From 'The Little Book Of Liverpool,' a birthday present from Mook...

"There are two great teams in Liverpool: Liverpool and Liverpool Reserves." Bill Shankly.

"If Everton were playing at the bottom of my garden, I'd draw the curtains." Bill Shankly.

"Don't worry Alan, you'll be playing near a great side." Shankly to Alan Ball, after the latter signed for Everton.

"When the ball's down the Kop end, they frighten the ball. Sometimes they suck it into the back of the net." Shankly.

"Mind, I've been here during the bad times too. One year we came second." Bob Paisley.

"There's Man United and Man City at the bottom of Division One. And by God they'll take some shifting." Shankly in 1972/73.

"I was the best manager in Britain because I was never devious or cheated anyone. I'd break my wife's legs if I played against her, but I'd never cheat her." Shankly.

"They say he's tough, he's hard, he's ruthless. Rubbish, he's got a heart of gold, he loves the game, he loves his fans, he loves his players. He's like an old Collie dog, he doesn't like hurting his sheep. He'll drive them. Certainly. But bite them, never." Joe Mercer on Shankly.

"One of my great regrets is that I got the chance to speak to Bill Shankly only the once, John Toshack took me to Shanks' house to meet him. He gave me two pieces of advice: Don't over-eat and don't lose your accent." Kenny Dalglish.

"We never bothered with sand dunes and hills and roads; we trained on grass, where football is played." Shankly.

...and my favourite...

"Take that poof bandage off, what do you mean you've hurt your knee? It's Liverpool's knee!" Shankly to an injured Tommy Smith.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Boom!

"We need to de-Scrooge this guy."

Has there ever been a more malignant series of television advertisements than those spawned by Meteor? This one may not inspire the bile of our friend with the beard from last year, but crikey. Jesus swept.

How come I can never find a clocktower when I need one?

Enough of that kind of thing, though, this is no time for rancour. This is the good time, the time for ridiculous woolly hats in the beerlight and lowering liquor in appropriate places.

My fridgeful of fine cheeses runneth over, a weekend off to be endorsed with my unique brand of gusto and Jameson.

It pleases me, therefore, that I can still muster some form of disdain borne of Harvey Norman slogans and people I wouldn't have in the house, those whose sole purpose in life is the whoring out of mobile phone networking with 12% national coverage.

It pleases me because it puts the good stuff in greater focus still.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

32

Snapshots of a birthday.

Her arrival at the apartment, the same time as a hamper from Elmo. The finest cheeses available to humanity, here and now, crackers and biscuits and smoked salmon and ham. Her with a suitcase ("You needn't worry, I'm not moving in!") and stuff for the day that she'd taken off work. My back turned towards the making of coffee and back around for more presents.

The DART out to Dún Laoghaire, switching seats so she could be seaside.

Two pairs of cold hands walking along the pier, two lunatics out in the weather. Her mother wouldn't have let her if she knew. Sitting on the benches when we reached the end, the waves coming to catch us out.

Stumbling on the footpath, her worried face. "I'm fine, not a bother."

The Queen's pub in Dalkey and our own private cranny, an overposh lounge girl who spoke of smowked salmon and tomat-ow soup, two barely stifled laughs and the VH1 Christmas Countdown. No Shakin' Stevens.

"What are you looking at?"

A text from Fitzbollix, finding Leffe in the fridge.

A medicinal Hoegaarden, a shower, a fix up, a clean shirt and out again.

Pichet and a seat by the window, looking back and looking forward, remembering my cock-up on the first first date and all the stuff that managed to happen anyway.

"You."

Coffee in a throwback hotel, earlier in the day, and a covered up pool table.

The corner snug in The Stag's Head and a toast to the end of Movember, the barman Pat doing his best Clark Gable and not quite managing the effect.

Sleepiness, hers, and headblogging, mine.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Not the full story

-He came back in, two friends this time, 'mates' long gone. Talking shite over long lunchtime hours, throwing good money after pints of stout. More big plans from the corner. More big talk, bluster and the forgetting of himself.

-A young one, 22 maybe, shouldn't be seen in a place like this. A kind faced girl who'd ride him later too, if he stayed just about on the right side of bastard.

-Walked in, headed for the jacks, ordered a glass of water and set it to one side when he remembered something about a pint. Another one after that. No companion, or a paper, just somewhere to sit and to sup and to never be seen.

-Saw him leaving, arse over tit over the rest of himself, spilling guts on the street and heading off to find more.

-I sat with him, two stools down, saying nothing, staring at the football, the signs and the bottles on the bar. Two of a set of shadow drunks, eyes tracing the door for the next set of ourselves.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Opened it, read it, said they were suckers...

The stars, upon hearing of Ireland's gubbermental and monetary woes, quickly revised their weekend plans.

Lindsay Lohan had been planning a coke-fuelled sex romp with Shane McGowan in one of the rooms over Bruxelles' pub, but decided to stay in and watch a James Bond marathon instead with three three-packs of Snickers ice-cream.

Documentalist Michael Moore had planned on a weekend break visiting relatives near Knock but, instead, will be heading to Washington DC for some target practice on the White House press room.

Grace Jones had hoped to complete her takeover of Sporting Fingal but decided against it, opting instead to go deep sea fishing off the coast of Finland.

Dannii Minogue had intended on pulling a sickie from The X Factor in order to do the Viking Splash Tour of Dublin, but was worried that 'mocking is catching' and she'd end up with proper flu knack.

Gordon Ramsay had a serious jones for a lamb shawarma from Iskanders, but will instead be loud and shirtless somewhere on the continent.

Bruce Willis had pencilled in a night playing strip chess with Mary Hanafin, but she texted him tonight to say, "Sorry Brucey babes, rain check, 'kay?'

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lorraine Keane

Lorraine Keane launched her memoirs last night.

"I don't know of any book that has produced such controversy before people saw it. My God, did this book produce controversy," said John O'Connor, managing director of Blackwater Press, publishers of 'Working the Red Carpet'.

As Fitzbollix - who sent me the link to this dreadful little nothing of a story - put it:

'Generally high ranking politicians, highly successful individuals or military leaders write memoirs as they are more relevant to events in public rather than private life, not some dipshit little snatch with a personal gripe against some pissant TV station who produce endless reems of dross on a daily basis.'

I doubt I could put it better. And where did this all take place? The new 'Pink' nightclub which must be on Harcourt St. Fucked if I'm looking it up. And who attended? Something called a Claire Byrne and various other....

Ah here, look, hopefully there's a better blog waiting to be written, away from this detritus.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Gaby Roslin post

Moreish. No no no. I'm not having that as a word. It's one of those made up English fuckers that gives me quite the ire, along with snog, corrrrr!!! and barnet.

Also, the adding of -licious to words that aren't delicious, and even 'delicious' itself is a little too Rachel Allen for my taste. Yeah, that'd get it, my stick of justice.

= = =

I was examining the Red Tops for work purposes this morning. The Sun, The Star and The Mirror all carried front page leads related to The X Factor, with news of the country's impending bankruptcy relegated to the sidebar under the fold.

'Ireland: Ah Sure, It'll Be Grand.'

= = =

A septuagenarian taxi driver last week had just attended the christening of his 21st grandchild. An outrageously entertaining and brilliant man, he was the sort to pronounce beautiful as beautyful. I love that.

= = =

It's a long time since I've had occasion to try a new cheese.

= = =

I think Gary Barlow looks like a fat Gary Barlow.

= = =

I've dabbled in Smithwick's before, but I think it's going to take hold this time around. Brownest of the browns apart from heroin, which I hear is browner still and makes one all sleepy. I'm far too interesting for drugs.

= = =

I saw Black Roy and his White Wife down The Feathers last night.

= = =

I always thought Gaby Roslin was a cracking show host, and it's a travesty that she's currently slumming it for BBC Radio Kent while Phillip Schofield maintains a prominent televisual presence. I can only hope she does an Alan Partridge and bounces back.

= = =

Rooney.

= = =

Another mild headcold borne of tapas, ale, sandwiches, sex cake (not as bawdy as it sounds, but very tasty), late nights, triangulated sandwiches, Neary's and not enough fresh fruit and vegetables. Luckily, December's usually a quiet month.

Oh Jaysus.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Awareness Awareness Month

I do love Awareness Awareness Month.

For eleven months of the year the unaware trundle along, stepping on dog shite, tripping over cracked pavements or spilling coffee on themselves while trying to sidestep the homeless.

Not in November, though, no.

Awareness Awareness Month will, hopefully, see a rise in carefulness and result in the eradication of absent minded wandering in our lifetime.

"The goal of Awareness Awareness Month is to make people more aware of their awareness and to curb on-bus-snot-hocking, queue jumping and loud chewing in the cinema," said AAM spokesperson Donald True.

"And that's only for starters. We feel that people getting lost in their own thoughts can bring on all sorts of awkward social situations, such as that thing where you try to move out of someone's way and, in so doing, you end up stepping right-then-left-then-right at the same time as them.

"Running into someone more than once in the supermarket aisles is another symptom of AAD (Awareness Awareness Deficiency) and, if AAM is successful, the phrase 'we really must stop meeting like this!' will never have to be spoken again."

So, how do people spread awareness of Awareness Awareness Month? I asked Mr. True.

"Shave your face," came his response. "Shave it all off. The very fact that you don't have a moustache will make you stand out from the crowd and instantly make people aware of how aware of your awareness you truly are."

Monday, November 08, 2010

Click. Save.

I don't know how I'm up. I've normally taken to the bed with my pipe, slippers and puppy-eared collection of Ireland's Owns by now but there's no sleeping in me, just snatches of Sunday and the refusal to miss the storm.

I want to be awake and alert when Hurricane DavidMcWilliams breezes past and spirits Mary Harney off to her eternal Liffey cot. 'Floodgate,' some wag will dub it.

I get snatches of the day coming back to me.

The showing off of my DVD collection, at last, and admiration replaced by, "I'd love nothing more than to alphabetise that, and what is Jade Goody's autobiography doing in your wardrobe?"

The stirring of coffee in Spar and something wonderfully droll, followed by, "you're making a note of that for your blog, aren't you? You're going to take credit, you fucker."

"Yes and yes."

Bringing biscuits in to the lads in the office, Cadbury's Fingers, eating only five and then forgetting where I left them.

The watching of football when I should be covering the driving, two loud hip hip hoorays and arms raised.

Gusts on the quays and me, stood there like a shivering idiot in my summer clothes, waiting forever for a taxi. The arrival home to fish fingers and waffles and warmth and things that need to be washed.

Finally, 'Crazy Heart' and the line about how bad she made that room look, how he didn't realise what a shithole it was until she walked in.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

The forgetting of keys in the Tenners..

"They change the access codes to the apartment complex every three months," Fitzbollix told me when I moved in. That was three months ago, as it goes, and in a tempest of moving and clearing and putting things away I gave him scant notice. There was probably drink taken too.

Cut to tonight and a taxi down from the even numbers, I tip the driver 80p and shimmy over to the door all botherless like. I put in the code. Door stuck. I put in the code again. Door stuck. Fuck. I move up to the next block and figure I'll get access around the back. Stuck stuck stuck, and then his warning about the access codes comes back into my brain.

11.40 at night, I try the property management company and then a number for emergencies.

The phone rings out. Bollix.

I try it again. It rings out again. Fuck fuck fuck. I start eyeing the pavement slabs as a mattress, pruned hedges the pillow, the wind and the rain and the shite of this disgusting November pelting my cold and heaving body in the small hours, my bed and my tea and my notes for the morning unattainable overhead.

I know there's a cot for me from whence I came, whether she'd like it or not, but I give it one more go and, finally, an answer. The woman at the other end verifies me, makes sure I'm not after the good china, and calls to me the new code. The door opens, the rain starts pelting, I drop inside my door and wonder how to craft a blog out of this smallest of dramas.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Spotted in Dublin

People I've spotted around Dublin while doing very little of anything productive in the last week:

Supreme Masterchef chef Michel Roux Jr. walking down Capel St. while eating a packet of cheese and onion Hunky Dorys, which he deemed to be just on the right side of flavoursome.

Mike Murphy and Will Smith holding hands and feeding the ducks in St. Stephen's Green, before heading off to Nude for something containing lemongrass.

Carly Simon preening herself to within an inch of her life in the ladies' toilets of Davy Byrne's.

Juan Sebastian Veron getting destroyed in McDaid's, before being refused entry to Bruxelles (of all places).

Orlando Bloom with a documentary crew outside Super Valu on Aston Quay, before seeing me and legging it.

Paul Gascoigne climbing out of the Liffey, before jumping back in.

Film director James Cameron queueing for a ticket to Athy in Bus Aras, wearing an Abyss t-shirt, a Lincoln City scarf and a bomber jacket.

Simon Cowell in Neds of Townsend Street every schoolday morning for a week, for a bet, which he won.

Marty Morrissey and Glenda Gilson being indiscreet in the Horseshoe Bar.

The actor John Cusack waiting for Frank Stapleton at the front gate of Trinity College, looking impatient and fiddling with his iPod.

Marian Finucane rolling down the hill, at the Papal Cross in the Phoenix Park, in the pissings of rain.

Friday, October 29, 2010

'With yer man, from that film...'

I'm in an empty apartment, just after watching Wednesday's episode of 'Mad Men' on BBC4 (Don's gay, who knew?), wearing a t-shirt with a slogan on it.

'Apostrophe's! Extra apostrophe's! Use 'em for plural's! One dollar!'

I like this t-shirt, and I don't usually wear sloganised garments.

= = =

A pisspoor day outside in the outside, what with the rain falling and general windy bastardry of a Friday. 5X is home from Paris to stay this evening and I have ne'er a slice of brown bread in the house for him. These two factors will come to meet, but I think I'll keep with the sitting for the time being. As vignettes go, you will have glossed over this one.

= = =

My stint on Celebrity Love Jungle was ill advised, at best, and only got worse from the get-go. Mr Producer, who must remain nameless, saw fit to maroon me with both Cat Deeley and Natalie Imbruglia. After 'that' night in Ryan's of Parkgate Street he really ought to have known better. That was one bitchy sandwich.

= = =

Is it wrong to eat mushroom soup with garlic bread?

= = =

Please, nobody tell me what happened on Masterchef. After a whirlwind week of meetings, greetings, teachings, pukings, drinkings and worryings I'm going to leave Tuesday's and Wednesday's episodes until tomorrow or Sunday.

= = =

Don isn't really gay.

= = =

Does anybody know when the second series of 'In Treatment' can be seen in Ireland? It's pissing me off that there's no sign of a DVD release, while 3e seem more concerned with the likes of 'Glee' and 'Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum.'

= = =

Back to that. 'Young, Dumb and Living Off Mum.' I'd like to meet the kind of person that would watch that, shake them, feed them six bottles of Duvel, spin them around 18 times, lead them to deepest, darkest Leitrim and leave them there, naked, save for my aforementioned t-shirt.

= = =

Rooney.

= = =

If a tree fell on Barry Egan in the woods and there was nobody around to witness it, would anybody suspect me?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All beer and no food makes something something...

My headsong is alternating between Take That's 'A Million Love Songs' and Phil Collins' 'Sussudio.'

I'm pleased with neither of these, knowing that I must have heard them drunk on a beery Bank Holiday Monday yet I'm not able to place the where.

They don't have music in Kehoes and, by the time Round Two came along in the Ferryman, the lights shone a little too brightly and I was just sitting there pretending not to be steamed.

I was. Muchly.

Gary Barlow and Buster have terrible things to answer for as I sit here at a remove of two days, at a capacity of little more 63%, silently willing the songs to stop their looping whirr.

Why didn't I eat? A bowl of Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes does not an iron constitution build and I spent Tuesday cursing the folly of ten beers and no sustenance.

"I'll be grand."

I wasn't grand. I won't make the mistake again.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

'Take Me Out'

I've seen it, I have stared into the abyss and it is not good. The most scarifying piece of television ever to be transmitted and it's called 'Take Me Out.'

"You let a girl into your life, you have to expect some bad TV."

Indeed.

She clued me in on the premise.

A boy walks into a studio and is met by a congress of approximately twenty girls, lined up as they do on 'Deal Or No Deal.'

They each stand behind their own technoplinth and, as the fella reveals more and more bits about himself they can either a) switch off their lights if they're not interested, or b) keep their lights on if they think the subject is suitably 'ripped,' which is a word I learned out of 'our Charlotte from Clondalkin' last night.

Hopefully, come the end, there will still be three or four lights left on and then the power transfers to him as he straddles the spotlight, takes a look at what he sees and turns off the lights of all but one. His chosen one. Then they go on a date. And report back. Then the whole process begins again.

Things worked out well for some boy from Cavan whose name I never learned as he trotted off to bump uglies with a blonde sort from (probably) Leitrim, but the second fella had an awful time of it. A ginger from Belfast, he'd matched his belt to his shoes and this worked for Chantelle from Naas, but eventually he talked himself into a hiding and all the lights were out before he could even choose a date. The poor fucker.

Ray Foley, at least, couldn't keep his hands off our dejected Nordie friend and offered him solace after solace before sending him off with a goodie bag, while the girls just waited there for the next prey.

All I could think back on was my worst of the first dates, back in yore, and multiply it by 20, one light going off after another. It was a horrible half an hour that will be repaid in football, and plenty of it.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

She's in fashion

Dolores and Jimmy, sitting in their kitchen in Crumlin. Dolores is pottering around, doing a bit of tidying up, while Jimmy's just finished his Teatime Express coffee layer slice and reading the Independent.

Dolores: "I think I'll get one of them hoodie things."

Jimmy: (Nothing)

Dolores: "Jimmy! Should I get one of them hoodie things?"

Jimmy: "What bleedin' hoodie things?"

Dolores: "I always hear people go on about these hoodies, they're 'in,' or so they say. I seen a load of women wearing them on the South Circular Road yesterday. They're in fashion, like."

Jimmy: "Far from fashion you were... Throw on that kettle, will yeh?"

Dolores: "Throw it on yourself ya lazy bollix. I'm serious, though, I think they look lovely. They're real exotic."

Jimmy, putting down his paper: "Exotic? What are they? Describe them to me."

Dolores: "Well, they're these long black dresses and they have these hoods that you can only see through a slit, like."

Jimmy: "Jesus Christ woman, you're talkin' about a burka!"

Dolores: "Oh is that what they're called? Oh I love them, I think they're smashin'."

Jimmy: "But... they're what those foredners wear to cover themselves up so's fellas won't be lookin' at them. You can't get one of them!"

Dolores: "Are you sayin' you want fellas lookin' at me Jimmy?? Is that it? You tryin' to tell me somethin'?"

Jimmy: "I'm trying to tell you that only women of a certain ethnic background can wear them! The Muslims, like. You can't be going around in a burka for the love of Jaysus."

Dolores: "Oh but they look lovely and warm."

Jimmy: "You're losing the plot entirely woman."

Dolores: "You haven't a jealous bone in your body Jimmy Brady! Fellas do be ogling me all the time. I just think they look lovely and elegant and I'm getting one, right!"

Jimmy: "Look, do what ya want as long as I get a fuckin' cup of tea before next Tuesday!"

Dolores, distracted: "I wonder if Penney's do them. Here, Jimmy... JIMMY! If you get lucky I'll flash you a bit of eyebrow!"

Jimmy, despite himself, laughs.

Word of the day

I have this idea that actors in training have to use just one word to convey a series of emotions. I'm sure I saw it somewhere. They pluck one word from the English language and bend it this way and that to elicit sympathy and laughs and joy and fear and what have you?

Our word was 'recession.' Our word is now 'Rooney.'

"Rooney Rooney, Rooney? Rooney roo roo Rooney, once Rooney, twice Rooney, Rooney! Oh Rooney."

Look at him, just look at his gurrier head spitting all over my lovely shiny Sky Sports News. Smoking, drinking, prostitution and ugliness, that's all that is. Sure all he does is kick a pigskin around a...

Fuck it, I'm getting up out of bed.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Blue Monday

I do hate sneezing, the hearing of it and the doing of it.

The hearing of it: The idea of somebody's innards becoming somebody's outwards, the sudden explosion of snot in my airspace. Too few people cover their noses.

The doing of it: I sneeze about four times a year, except when I'm met with a headcold. This is that time and comes only three weeks after my last one. I'm normally the picture of medium-sized health, two colds a year maximum, so this is as surprising as it is unwelcome.

If there's a bright side it's in the knowing that this isn't a bubbling under, there-but-not-there half virus, it's a glorious thwack of a blizzard and will be gone the quicker for it. There's also the hope that this comes in lieu of my yearly Christmas cold, meaning I won't have to scoff down Maimie's glorious banquet with the aid of a gallop of Uniflu and several hot whiskeys.

There's that, at least.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

...in 360

I was somewhere called Smock Alley to see something called a Hugh Hughes this evening.

Normally, the closest I come to banging elbows with culture involves a mid-afternoon slumping in one of the upstairs innards of the Savoy, away from the Big Beatbox of the Savoy One and whatever Zac or Zak Efron is starring in this 'Fall.'

Old Hugh. A Welshman, the whirringest of dervishes of fellows. Affable, frenetic, looks like Jose Mourinho on a Revels rush.

I'm no fan of slapstick but the sight of this forty-odd-oddman lashing into the stage wall, repeatedly, did for me like Benny Hill never could, and he had some interesting thoughts on the nature of friendship.

All quite strange, and all very terrifying given the level of audience participation. I'm no heckler, I'm no showman, I'm a passivist and it is my ambition to remain as one. Show me a jester eyeing up the audience as bait and I'll show you squirming to its highest degree.

He was looking to conduct a fake marriage ceremony and started separating the twos from the singles in the audience. How the alarm bell of my face, ringing red, didn't alert him is beyond me but he picked out Anders from Norway and his nondescript German missus. They handled it well. I would not have.

Awkwardness avoided, show finished and dignity somewhat intact we took on our bag and baggage and headed for Brogan's, leaving Hugh Hughes behind to hand out buttons with a slogan about perspective.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

...and on and on...

The snug in Kehoes, a dangerous place. I'm sure it had a red light back in the day, which records show was 1998. It's been replaced with a standard and sickly yellow hue but it's all the better for drinking in. And drinking in. And drinking in again.

The folly of it, following up Tuesday night pints with Wednesday day beers and nervously introducing the Thurles lad and his belle to the cat's mother. Good craic, mind you.

It needed to be worth it, given this morning's early start and the shaping of eager young minds.

This is me, mildly broken on the couch amid rememberings of slaggings and couch talk, writing my little addled mind off before another trek out into October and all its useless beauty.

Logs off. Steels self.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I was never the something after that fateful something

In the absense of anything interesting or, more to the point, printable, I'll try to remember Saturday in a vaguely interesting way. As this day only happened to me yesterday, its recall should not be too great a stretch.

9.35am: I wake to an immediate work or teaching panic. As a cloudy remembrance of Brogan pints, whiskey and a stolen piece of cardboard hits me, I reach for an empty plastic bottle of water and finally come to realise that I'm off for the first Saturday in an aeon. No football has its plus points.

10am: After lying for twenty minutes, trying to figure out what film I've seen Don Draper's rival creative director in before, I give in to the need for a piss and clean my teeth.

10.10am: I see Wardrobe Girl having a smoke on the balcony opposite. I name her Wardrobe Girl because she never appears in the same garment twice, throughout a day. I think there may be six of her.

10.10am - 1.20pm: I watch recorded Masterchefs from the week, cultivating blog ideas, as well as the end of the bespoke episode of Mad Men. Better than last week's. Betty has gone from an 'I would' to an 'I mightn't after all.'

1.20pm: I wonder what the smell is. The smell is me. I shower at length.

1.22pm: Well, at length for a boy, like.

1.40pm: I walk across the river and buy a sandwich from the girl with a bad limp. I feel sorry for her because she looks utterly, painfully miserable.

2.05pm: The LUAS to Abbey St, where I pass the Octoberfest. Or is it Oktoberfest? I decide I don't care. Many drunken heads.

2.20pm: Cinema. 'The Town.' It occurs to me I haven't been to the cinema since seeing the old women from Offaly, which I didn't like as much as I was supposed to. 'The Town' is very good, reminds me of 'Heat' and 'The Departed.' It's not as good as the former but better than the latter.

4.30pm: Leave cinema. Walk home, except for the fact that I actually get the LUAS again, rendering the words 'walk home' as a lie. I pick up the kind of fish and chips you throw in the oven, as opposed to a fat bastard's fish supper.

6pm: Realise I've just spent the last hour looking at, and for, nothing on the internet. The internet has taken a day off save for Status Updates from people I wouldn't have in the house.

6.04pm: Discern her whereabouts. She's in a taxi on the way to County Swords, as it's now called. She likes her taxi driver. He doesn't like County Swords.

6.20pm: Eat dinner, and come to the realisation that I'm as bored writing this post as you will be reading it. And there are still five hours until bedtime.

Highlights of the rest of the evening: American Beauty ("Something tells me you're going to remember me this time.") - The word 'bawdy' used for its own sake - Wardrobe Girl entertains a young man, though I think it might be another version of her - I eat the forgotten Magnum in the freezer - I note countless references to something called a 'Mary Byrne' on Facebook - I remember I forgot to buy the new Empire - I take up the whole bed.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

A fear every man knows

I do the check, pressed for time. Left leg pocket - phone. Inside jacket pocket - iPod (public-blocking-out-device, Apple in origin). Right leg pocket - packet of Blackcurrant Fisherman's Friends.

No wallet.

A minor 'fuck' at this stage, it must be on the couch. Not on the couch. It must have slipped down the back of the couch. 50p and a layer of dust, but nothing. The table. No. Back to the bedroom. Not on the bed. Back to the couch. Checked there already.

The fear growing. Wore tracksuit bottoms to the shop, must be in the zippy bit. Not in the zippy bit. In hoodie. No.

FUCK. It must have slipped out of my pocket.

Check the corridor outside the apartment. Not a thing. Check the bathroom, could have left it there while having a shower. No. Check the bed.

YOU FUCKING CHECKED THE BED ALREADY.

What's the number for Mastercard? How do I cancel? My Laser! My health card! My social services card! My 1995 USIT identification! My three-years-out-of-date press card! My receipts! My gym membership!

My what now?

Panic. Fuck. Check the fridge. The milk needs replacing. "FOCUS for the love of Beethoven!" Not in the fridge. Check the inside of the microwave. On top of the radiator. Behind the telly, which is raised on the wall. The freezer. The cupboard. The washing machine. Fuck fuck fuck. Late late late.

The couch again. Losing mind. Behind the couch. All sorts of imaginings. Inside the bin. Smell is rank.

Fitzbollix's room. Not a hope. Back to my own. Giving up. Inside the laundry basket. Last chance saloon. Nothing there either. Life is over. Sweating and heaving. Life in ribbons. Bank account hacked. Someone's flatscreen. Someone's trip to Ibiza. Somebody's drinks are on me. My finances plundered.

Then I check my arse pocket.

"Ah. Grand."

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Damage is done

I've let you all down, and I am sorry.

On a bleary walk towards Pearse Street this morning, where those evil Lucky Leopard red lights touch the sky at the Grand Canal Basin, was seen the makings of a television ad.

There were booms and lights and vans and people stood around eating tin foiled sandwiches, and there were the wheelbarrows full of snow.

"Fuck," I said to somebody in particular.

"What?" was said back to me.

"I'm willing to bet it's the fucking Meteor fucking Christmas fucking ad. I bet that it is. I can stop this madness if... I... can... only think or speak all coherent like."

I couldn't, though.

I could only form thoughts of the cot and even the sight of Frank Kelly standing around couldn't rise the revolutionary in me, couldn't fathom me up the will to walk up to him and say: "Here, Jack, have a word with yourself. Don't you remember that gimp with the beard and his carol singing wankathon? Or his 'Merry Christmas babes' Vodafone equivalent?"

It's all very well writing it now but at the time I just grimaced, held my tracksuit top a little tighter to myself, cursed the coming winter and went back inside.

Monday, October 04, 2010

50/50

Reasons to be cheerful:

1) Look at that day. Just look at it. Sun blazing and not a bead of humidity. Winter soon. I loves me a winter.

2) I finally understand matchplay. This has been the mentalest of mental blocks for me down through the years, but 6&5 now reads like sense to me.

3) The washing is done.

4) No work today.

5) My mind has finally stopped playing Florence And The Machine on loop.

Reasons to be cheerless:

1) A mild hangover borne of pints with Neuroskeptic in John Mulligan and the other pair in Neary's.

2) Ian Poulter's eyes are giving me the willies.

3) Still to be paid.

4) My fridge is sadly lacking in fine cheeses, and there isn't a Twix to be found.

5) Liverpool. Twenty two years a supporter and this the lowest moment.

Friday, October 01, 2010

All he needed was a 'booyah!'

Well, there was something about golf and rain and a lot of stress over things going live but, while I was in the office, I certainly was not of the office.

Not today.

I'm a headphones man and this ought to surprise nobody, given my pencil thin tolerance of sales drones.

They moved up to our floor a few weeks ago, giving it Glengarry this and Glen Ross that.

They have no sense of humour, saving all their bonhomie for their hostaged pub owner down the phoneline. Poor fucker, having to listen to that scripted shite and vague questions about how his wife or same sex partner is doing.

One lad, one of these sales boys, was even heard to shout out "that's how we. make. THE MONEY!" after one of his pitches hit the spot. Geebag. He's the one who steals our papers without asking.

Also in the news, a good week. Coppinger Row for the second best black pudding starter of my days, a Black Thursday spent boozewards, debates over the colour of Tuesday and a few tongue tied moments spent on a couch that's new to me.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bernard

I liked this fella, old school.

I flagged him down on Harold's Cross, immediately twigging the smell of freshly extinguished cigarette in his taxi.

"Where to?"

I told him where I wanted to get to and he asked me which way I'd like him to go.

There was something about Cowen and the shambolic state of the country while we drove down the canal, but I was busy spotting hobos and too uninterested in yet another diatribe against the state of everything.

Then his about-turn.

"I've just heard myself, sorry about that."

"Sorry about what?"

"Sorry for being the usual moaning bastard of a taxi driver. I do my best not to go in for it."

Bernard was his name.

"You're alright. I don't mind." I did mind.

"We're an awful bunch of cantankerous fuckers, aren't we? We bang on about working 80 hours a week when we're lucky to have jobs, we're our own bosses and, I'll say it again, we're lucky to have jobs.

He continued, "I'm taking someone to the airport at 7.30 in the morning and four years ago I'd have said no fuckin' way was I getting out of bed at that hour. Now I'm happy to do it, not just because of the money but it's good to get out of bed in the mornings."

"Do you not meet some awful messers?" I didn't want to say fuckers, for some reason.

"C'mere, you meet them in any job, don't you? All I'm about is getting you where you need to go as safely and as quickly as possible, to be pleasant, to take the route you want and to... eh... that's the story of it. And I'll tell you another thing, any bastard that starts banging on about how shite his life is, while you're sitting in his taxi, needs to remember that you're the man paying his wages."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lucidity

It's horrible really. You dream of a man who was dying, not long from a coma, and he's regarding the world in a sickly funk of a way. Yellow carpet tones but nothing too specific.

Then it changes to something repetitive - it could be the worst kind of looping Beyoncé balladeering - and the sickness builds up and up and up until you're finally awake and realising that you could be about to puke without the aid of refreshment since 1993.

Too tired to get out of bed yet so sick that any moment could see an explosion, you consider spoiling the sheets before some clarity comes, you feel your way to the bathroom for a dry heave and a bleary broken look about the place.

The nausea passes with a glass of water and a sip of cough medicine and then it's 4.48am, you're on your fourth paragraph of barely getting the spelling right and you, you above all people, wonder what it might be like to go jogging around the Grand Canal Basin, metaphor made flesh.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Nook (reprise)

I headblogged a lot of the way through our conversation, pieces of her life, my people and a look into each other's stories. I headblogged her hand on my arm where others have baulked. My big reveal but, I suppose, not so big to her.

In the drafts on my mobile phone is written the line 'I had you dead' which is something the cool kids would say "you had to be there for."

That seemed to be the way of this weekend, all that stuff of checking the watch to reveal hours gone past in minutes. Quips, curses and the frequent, terrifying thought that I might just come to know that nook after all.

I defy anyone to defy a Sunday spent on the green couch in Neary's ordering same again after same again, wondering if work in the morning is so important after all.

This is me, cocky and called a sap for the crime of it. Neary's, her hand on my arm and my head in the writing of a new craft of blog.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Quattro

There's a lot being made of this 17.59 thing.

I already know where I'll be - on the Luas between Milltown and Cowper, wondering if the girl halfway down the shiny silver carriage is giving me the eye before realising that she's laughing at something funny on the radio.

I know that there'll be one tossbag who'll shout out 'To Arthur' while the people around him shuffle slightly away, deciding whether or not to alight early.

- - -

The fourth series of Mad Men, three episodes in, is vastly exceeding my expectations. Down, down, deeper and down into the mind of Don Draper, not to mention the son of Richard 'Richard Harris' Harris. Exceptional.

- - -

Normally, a free class comes about when the teacher doesn't show up. This leaves the kids alone to throw around paper airplanes, replete with amateur breast etchings and tell of someone being gay, before the substitute comes in to break up the fun.

What do you call the kind of class where no students show up? Empty, I suppose, save for this lonely brave soul sitting quietly alone and trying to unlearn his lesson plan.

John Recession, as I've decided to name him, gets the blame for everything.

- - -

I'm looking forward to seeing 'This Is England 86' on DVD. I gave up recording it on the UPC box, Channel 4 showing repeats of episodes intermingled with the new ones to the point of too much confusion. I did catch ten minutes of it, though, and it looks like something seminal. It also introduced me to the music of one Ludovico Einaudi.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Academia

Much as I'm tempted to linger on 666 posts for a bit, hoping the Satans align to visit their demonic bent upon Glenda Gilson's eyebrows and whoever came up with those cretinous Ivan Answer ads, I'll move on.

Back to school today.

Back at the head of the class looking down, pretending confidence and authority and experience in my teachings before the sweet release of half past eight, some sweet and sour chicken and the Rumbelows Cup.

On such things Tuesday nights are to be built for the next three months, by Christmas I'll have become so drunk on the sound of my own Socratic orations that I'll have milked myself of all that useless humility.

Yes indeed, I'll be Mr. Funky Teacherman with a scarf that's barely there and those big bad black glasses that still seem de rigueur. Apples and plaudits and bowings to my brilliance, before I find a lowly, scowly janitor to mentor because I see myself in him.

It will all fall apart, run aground on the banks of my hubris before you can shout 'CUT!' but fuck it if I don't want my own Elliott Smith soundtrack. And a Fields Medal.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Little victories

And suddenly, ar nós na gaoithe agus go tobann, I found myself to be drunk at the counter of Rick's Hamburgers ordering chips and garlic sauce.

"Andaquarterpounderwithcheese. If you don't mind."

Disgusting. I'm still eating it at a remove of 24 hours and my theory that alcohol kills off the noseknack virus goes unproven too. Sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.

I was, at least, symptomless for a few Saturday night hours spent amongst the great and the young. I queued in an honest-to-jaysus nightclub (the one with the foosball table) for pints that probably cost six quid and I didn't even mind, glad as I was to be out-and-doing as opposed to in-and-writing-about-wanting-to-be-doing but having a fucking bastard behind the eyes instead.

Apres Match Live in Vicar Street, it was, and any disappointment at the sameness of their act came dulled with sweet lady liquor and lots of talk about... I don't recall, exactly, but I didn't fall over once.

A good night wasted, you take the little victories out of life.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Throne sat and tittering

Liveline makes for a great laugh.

I had a listen yesterday, it's pure gold really.

Tommy From Inchicore You're On Liveline thought that "Twitter should be banned, Joe. All these new "moderen" things on the interweb only make bad situations worse, Joe. Sure if we didn't have Twitter none of us would be any the wiser, Joe."

Joe: "Yeah, yeah, sure, sure, yeah, right. Derek From Maynooth you're on Liveline."

Derek From Maynooth You're On Liveline had another take on it. "Cowen should have just come on Morning Ireland and said he'd a skinful the night before, that he wasn't at his best and that he was away home to bed to sleep it off for the day. That would have been the decent thing to do, Joe."

Joe: "Ah now Derek I'm not sure the leader of a country can come on and say he's off to bed of a Tuesday afternoon. Yeah, yeah, sure, sure."

Cue me, throne sat and tittering.

The things we choose to get riled up about.

Not Anglo, not hospital waiting lists, not the bones of dead children, not Ratzinger.

When I say 'we' I don't really mean 'we' because I couldn't give a continental bollix about how late he went to bed. The man's a dithering puppet at the best of times, he's the new low in Irish politics, and all the strategic apologies in the world won't make up for his reign of ineptitude. This is just a sideshow, yet uncomplicated enough to invoke mass hysteria.

Monday, September 13, 2010

You know you're sick when...

1) You watch 35 minutes of Fearne Cotton meets Mischa Barton.

2) You don't laugh at Fawlty Towers, the one with David Kelly in it.

3) You get a Chinese even though you've just spent 50 quid on groceries.

4) You crave the sweet release of death.

5) You let the dishes pile up in the sink, unwashed, because you never let the dishes pile up in the sink, unwashed.

6) You hallucinate the presence of Bobby Davro in your sitting room.

7) You do that revolting snot hocking thing that so disgusts you normally.

8) You open the blinds bollock naked, forgetting an entire office block surrounds your bedroom.

9) You substitute your evening Budvar for an evening Blackcurrant Lemsip, which surely should be called Blacksip. Or something catchier.

10) You can't muster the will to kick something every time Maxi Rodriguez appears on the screen, being present yet utterly anonymous.

11) You find yourself agreeing with Top Top's football punditry.

12) You have no interest in seeing what the fancy sort in the apartment opposite is up to.

13) You take a bath with eucalyptus-infused bath salts, which prove utterly inconsequential.

14) You wear the same pair of tracksuit bottoms for three days in a row, ignoring the funk beneath.

15) You throw half the curry out.

16) You start mainlining Olbas Oil.

17) You tell people on the phone you only have a headcold when you're pretty sure you're on the way out, because you want to appear stoic. You bristle at the term man flu. (Turns out you only have a headcold.)

18) You write lists. Lots of lists. You like lists. You shun narrative.

19) You watch your first episode of EastEnders in roughly ten years.

20) You get to twenty and you run out of breath.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine years

"Tyler Durden, perhaps?"

I remember exactly where I was when I sent that text message, leaving UCD for a bus into town having visited my sister Elmo in her new digs. It's easy to be glib when you're 22 and thousands of miles from the fog, easier still to frown back at it at a remove of nine years.

I'd been summoned with my colleagues to a meeting in work that morning.

Captain Bollock and his crew took us into the boardroom, where great plans never made it to fruition, and told us that we were being phased out. We'd maybe get another month's work and then head for the dole queue.

I was off that day so, having headed down to indulge in some gallows humour with the huddled garage smokers, I got on a bus out to Belfield.

She didn't have a television yet, Elmo, so we were just chatting about my upcoming unemployment when my father rang to tell me that one of the Twin Towers had blown up. We found a radio, sketchy details, hearing 'terrorist attack' and 'hijacking' and about things that were burning up.

Empathy, upset and that dreadful change would come later but what I remember of the afternoon was a strange exhilaration.

Wanting to find out more and more, checking whatever there was of the internet back in 2001. Ananova.com and the faces of foreigners gathered around small screens in O'Neills, Things Mote, Davy Byrnes and up Grafton Street. I stole into one pub after another without stopping for a drink, just tapping people on shoulders and asking for developments.

As the day got darker I got the first fear that someone I knew could have been in New York at the time, but that was dispelled with a phone call or two.

I'd arranged to meet a friend of mine in MacTurcaills (when it was still something of a pub) and the only things that come to me now are the yellow walls, the crowdlessness and the fact that we were mostly without words. For the first time in ten hours, or so, I remembered losing my job.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Waga Mama

I think I hate Waga Mama.

It's not the food, I love a Yasai Gyoza as much as the next man, it's the school canteen communality of the place that hands me the ire.

Whoever came up with this idea needs to give themselves a good talking to. Whoever decided that separate tables at restaurants were, like, so 1995 needs to be sat next to the pint sized gimp I shared my lunch experience with yesterday.

He came in, all 19 or 20-years-wasted of him, with his friend Trudie.

Before he had even sat down he was all like yadda yadda bish bash bosh and she was all like ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod so he was like I KNOW I COULDN'T BELIEVE IT EITHER and she was like whatever you so don't need her in your life anyway she's such a bitch.

Earphones.

There is nothing like the fear of a badly placed shuffle in such circumstances, when the iPod hits the irony setting and spits out the likes of Low, mandolin-era REM and James Taylor to leave you scrambling like a dervish to find something, anything percussive.

Then the battery dies.

I thought about using a second set of chopsticks as earplugs but that would just have looked odd, so I resigned myself to this boy's abrasive little caterwauls and let him puke inanities all over my Yaki Soba, all over my Tuesday afternoon, the repugnant scrotum.

"Do you know that it's ok to take a breath?" I nearly said before my da's words about me being an intolerant fucker at the best of times came back to me, so I bit down hard and thought about Mother Gargle.

My point, and I do have one this time, is that these shared benches are a bad idea. They can do one, and so can the trendy waiting staff, the electronic pens, the code for the bathroom and the mid-meal, mid-chew, mid-noodles-hanging-from-face enquiries ("Is everything ok today, sir?").

I'm after Paolo Tullio's job, in case you hadn't guessed.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Rank hum

There's a funk on Eyre Square that's hard to shift. I'm on the train back to Dublin writing this and the smell of sewage hasn't left the nostrils.

Some would say it's the stealth farts blasting forth from my innards, a body treated to a return to Guinness for the last two days. I'm not some, though, and I'm blaming the stench outside the hotel that stretches the length of the square up to Dunnes and beyond, sticking to clothes that need to see the inside of a wheel.

What of the city itself? Too many rugby club brigades with their soft 't's and their chinos. Too many hens wearing plastic tiaras. Too many beggars eyeing me with arousal before being told to go on their beery, beardy way.

Add in the stench and the horrible hotel humidity, piped-in Coldplay muzak and Robbie Williams covers and you had a man who could only seek solace in Naughtons and a trip to Spiddal, and beyond, with Goldmaster.

Not the Galway of my youth, then, but the best made of an untidy town in the finish.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Tribesman

What delights await me in Galway?

One thing is for sure, I will not drunkenly go underwear shopping in Brown Thomas before getting kicked out of a Butler's Chocolate Café.

I know that much.

Nothing to see here for a couple of days, but nothing new in that.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Namedropping

People I've met...

Des Cahill: Made me a cup of coffee with too much milk.

Jean Claude Van Damme: Passed him on the beach in Bray. He did a double take when he saw me, and then decided not to risk saying hello in case I wasn't the person he thought I was.

Pat Kenny: Asked me very politely to type something out for him. It was the first time I had ever typed anything. It took two hours.

Glen Hansard: I bought him a pint in my college bar, post interview. He didn't reciprocate.

Niall Quinn: Didn't look offended when I asked him to get me Steve Staunton's autograph.

Carol Vorderman: She was working as a greeter in Peg Woffington's at the time.

John Bowman: Bought me a dark chocolate Kit Kat before explaining the etymology of my surname. Reminded me of Finghín.

Lindsay Lohan: Found my wallet on the Cabra Road, searched out my number and called me. I gave her a tenner for her troubles.

Kobe Bryant: Was selling or buying tickets to Travis outside Vicar Street around 2002. I offered him face value but he figured he could do better.

Diana Ross: In Rick's Hamburgers after a feed of pints in the Dame Tavern. I, on the other hand, was stone cold sober.

Dan Quayle: Sat beside me on the train to Athlone. He asked me if he could borrow my copy of the Daily Sport. I told him to work away.

Gay Byrne: Almost knocked me down on South William Street, somewhat ironically given his road authority mandate.

Pat Ingoldsby: Wrote 'Love, Pat' on his book for me.

Orlando Bloom: I got him in a headlock outside the Virgin Megastore.

Dustin Hoffman: He knows why we don't talk anymore.

Claus Lundekvam: Stayed on my couch in 32A, circa 1998.

Zooey Deschanel: Stayed in my bed, circa last night.

Robert de Niro: Asked me for a light outside Arnotts. I told him he should quit the fags and he told me to go fuck myself. I think he thought I thought he was gay.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Soap opera real estate

Why do people buy soap opera real estate?

It seems like folly to me, heading off to live in Weatherfield or Walford or wherever Fair City is based. It may come cheap, you may even win your brand new home in a game of poker or as a bribe from the local loan shark, but it wouldn't be worth it to my mind.

Why so because? You're just after unpacking all your stuff and about to head upstairs to christen the place with the missus. The doorbell rings and stands there a man. He says something like 'alright bruv' and then some percussive theme music plays as if from nowhere.

You have, up to this point, lived happily brotherless but now that you've bought some soap opera real estate you have to make nice, put the kettle on and shield this sham artist from the police. This is all fair enough, you get fairly used to having him around until you come home one day and catch him having a safe pre-watershed grope with the wife. Your wife, like.

Who needs the hassle?

Buying soap opera real estate also entangles you in the lives of the neighbours and you'll be invited to every christening (that turns into a wedding), every wedding (that turns into a funeral) and every funeral (that turns into a pub fire) on the street. Fuck that.

No, I'm not having that. Odious places to live. Dangerous too. You just know that the wife - having just overcome a three-week bout of alcoholism, crack addiction and trick turning - will get lamped in the face by some falling building site debris.

She'll die, you'll only be allowed to mourn her until the end of the story cycle and then you'll feel like you have to take a contract out on the brickie who failed to use 'best practice' on the job.

This means getting caught up with the local gangster who absolutely WILL need a favour some time, and you'll need eyes in the back of your head until his character arc reaches its shocking conclusion over Christmas week.

I couldn't be doing with it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Archive: Finghín

He's been particularly prevalent in the last few days. My grandfather.

Finghín.

-

Tissue paper hands, a round big belly and a bald head was Finghin, my grandfather. He had a good face, and my granny said that was why she married him. He had a great voice but never sang, a warm heart but I never saw him kiss. He was as stubborn as older gentlemen had every right to be but whatever she wanted, any thing she needed, he gave to her.

When I think of him now he's reading. It infuriated me as a child. I'd walk into that kitchen on the other side with a packet of Eclairs, offer him one, and wait five minutes until he'd looked over every last ingredient, carbohydrate percentage and best before date. I used to think Corn Flakes boxes were written just for him.

He's in my earliest memory, my hand in his, walking around Funderland. I must have been four or five. I used to fall asleep to the sounds of his tummy while he watched Highway To Heaven with her, and constantly harass him to bring me for drives.

"I'm bored!" I'd say. "Read a book!" he'd say. "But I'm only SEVEN!"

"Let me tell you something. Throughout your life, as long as you have a book to read, you will never be bored."

Then he'd relent and bring me to the Phoenix Park with a stick for conkers, or elsewhere, but he never did it without playing the book card first.

He made furniture, the best of which a great big desk that resides in Limerick now. It had four drawers on each side, and a middle one for lighters, pens, ink, papers and nonsense. He even fitted it with a clandestine hideaway for his whiskey. It was so secret that only he and my da knew where it was. My granny's blind eye turned to it. She was gone to bed by then.

He'd come back from "Superquinn's" with random rubbish that would never be heard from again. There was a can of Spam, two unopened cans of McArdles ale and a single packet of Smash in their utility room as long as I knew them.

We used him, myself and the girls, for homework duty. He could never turn us down. He'd start off by trying to talk us through it, but in the end we'd just come back and collect it when he was done.

He got older and weaker but the books and the steady hand remained until the end. The best intellect I'll ever encounter too, even if I live to his eighty years.

He passed away in Limerick on the fifth of December in 1996, five months after my granny. He was in his bed, reading, when it happened.

Friday, August 27, 2010

"You're gonna have to face the music!"

I can't decide if I'm currently listening to 'Avalon' by Roxy Music out of irony, the pressure to be interesting or because I love a good sax solo accompanied by a perfectly pitched female falsetto.

I'm unable to stop playing it and it's making me think of the closing credits to Romancing The Stone, where Kathleen Turner and Michael Douglas ride a boat down the street. It's not even the right song, but it fits the scene in my head.

Moving on to Terence Trent Darby, whose name I'm 97% certain I've never written on this blog before. I've gone all standard and put on 'Sign Your Name' when I should have searched for the one he sang with Des'ree, but I can't remember the name of it.

'Sign Your Name' brings to mind the film Mona Lisa and seedy Leeson Street nighthaunts circa 1986, when I was mostly seven.

Moving on again, and my mind takes a leaf through 'Look In' magazine and The Pasadenas. 'I'm Doing Fine Now' is the song and I haven't heard it since I was 8 or 9. Turns out it's, well, it's really terrible. Just because it's retro doesn't make it good.

Back to Terence. 'Wishing Well.' More like it.

As is Black's 'Wonderful Life,' which I'm sure was incongruously used in an ad for chocolate when it should have soundtracked something starring Martin Kemp, when he was still in Spandau Ballet. Quiffy.

People love 'True' and 'Gold' but, to these ears, nothing screams the Spandaus like 'Through The Barricades.' Such cloying majesty. "We built our love on waaaaaasteland... through the barrrricades." I haven't the foggiest fuck what he's on about but listen to Tony Hadley emote. Only Level 42's Mark King can touch him.

Oh yes, Level 42. Anyone with even a passing interest in all things Radgery should know that I consider 'Running In The Family' to be the best song in the history of Top Of The Pops and, by extension, music itself.



Look at that one-handed synth work. Mythic stuff.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Brought down to size

A letter to a menswear shop.

=

To whom it concerns,

Earlier this afternoon I was passing by the branch of your store on O'Connell Street in Dublin. As most of your clothes are advertised at discount prices outside the premises I decided to see what was on offer.

After browsing through various jackets, suits, casual wear and shirts I pulled out two t-shirts and brought them to the counter.

There was one person on duty, a young man in his twenties.

As I put my clothes down on the cash desk to be scanned in, the shop assistant in question was sending a text message on his phone. I had to wait one minute while he sent his SMS, after which point he put the phone under the till.

I received no apology for being made to wait while he took care of his own personal business.

After I got his full attention, the assistant took stock of the two items I wished to purchase. One was a large, plain black t-shirt and the other item was a grey, patterned t-shirt with a button up collar.

He then asked me if I was sure I wanted to purchase the grey t-shirt, as it was a "slim fit."

"Excuse me?" I replied.

"This is a slim fit and, looking at you, it's definitely going to be too tight on you. It'd look a bit stupid. The black one should be ok but not the grey one, not on you."

At this point I put my wallet back into my pocket and told the gentleman in question that I would be buying neither item. I told him that I'd have considered it had he not been more preoccupied writing text messages when he should have been serving me, before leaving the shop. As I walked out the door, I heard him mutter something in my direction but I wasn't able to discern what he said.

Some questions arise from this incident.

1) Do you encourage your staff to use their mobile phones to send text messages when they should be available to tend to the customers' needs?

2) Do you encourage your staff to decide for the customers what they should and should not wear?

3) Do you encourage your staff to imply that the customers that choose to enter your stores are overweight?

It is beside the point, but I must state at this point that I have never been advised that I have a weight problem. In fact, on a recent check up I was told by my general practitioner that I was not far off the perfect weight for my build, and the same GP advised me not to alter my diet in any way.

I do not have a hang-up about my weight, but I worry that another customer with body image issues might enter your outlet on O'Connell Street in Dublin and be met with a similar response. This leads me to another question.

4) Does each member of your staff double as a healthcare professional, with the necessary expertise and qualifications to deal with a customer who suffers a breakdown due to being insulted over their appearance?

In the past I worked on the cash register in a Dublin city restaurant, dealing with hundreds of customers per day.

My final question is this.

5) Should I have been allowed to keep my job if I had asked a customer who approached me with, for instance, a sausage roll:

"Are you sure you should be eating that?"

I also wonder if the staff in your O'Connell Street branch is encouraged to treat the public with no respect whatsoever, simply because the clothes contained therein are cheaper than in your flagship outlets?

I have shopped at **** for years and have only been treated with the utmost class. The excellent treatment I have received up to this point only serves to highlight the crassness of how I was dealt with today.

I look forward to your response.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Nook

I headblogged a lot of the way through our conversation, vignettes about her life and people I would never meet. I headblogged all the times I've been sat in this seat, in this room, in this situation pretending to be the best version of myself, letting some table candle frame my face to look interested.

In the drafts on my mobile phone is written the sentence: "You can't compete with somebody who knows the nook."

That seems to be the way of things on these interdates, a constant battle against somebody's history and her own tussle with mine. Back, forth.

This grapple with the past and with drink, with questions, nodding, smiling and looking concerned, with being off-hand, confident and self-deprecating, all the factors of another blind encounter getting rougher and rougher to the point of frustration.

I defy anyone in the midst of these interviews not to wish themselves at home watching old episodes of Dragon's Den on Dave, sucking the last biscuity bits from a Cadbury's Yellow Snack packet and wondering if it's too late to put on a wash.

Even on the good dates this is me, quipping for all my life's worth and being all lovely, listening intently while silently and painstakingly holding in a piss.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Post 650

More starts of blogs that never came into being, or simply haven't yet...

= = =

I think the rapper Skee-Lo said it best when...

=

Look at him. Look at Jeff Wode. Imagine the size of his balls...

=

Tonight I discovered the term godhusband and, by extension, godwife. It occurred to me that there are many things I do not know yet.

=

Take one grapefruit, slice her up, pour some brown sugar on top and put it under the grill.

=

The Globe is the perfect first date pub. Dark enough to hide the previous night's shadows, vibrant enough to not let things get wooden, sexy enough to put the sex thing on some rickety table. Staropramen on tap. Get it done.

=

The contents of her sock drawer surprised me, where really there should have been no shock whatsoever. I had come to meet her idiosyncracies with indifference.

=

That is one magnificent beast.

=

I headblogged all the way through our conversation, which was really just a series of vignettes about her life and people I would never meet. I headblogged all the times I've been sat in this seat, in this room, in this situation pretending to be the best version of myself, letting some table candle frame my face to look interested.

= = =

That last one could be a runner, actually. I may go back to it when I've kicked the arse of this mental block.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Drinking FIFA

I'm in the office but I refuse to start. I want to be at home, playing 'Drinking FIFA' with Fitzbollix*.

Take one copy of FIFA '98 (it has to be FIFA '98), have at hand 24 bottles of Stella Artois, set aside two cups that hold about a third of a pint of beer, drink one cup every time a goal is scored against you.

Things got particularly messy when we'd fix the match on a 3-3 draw and head for a penalty shoot-out.

*I'm hoping he reads this and cranks out the Playstation, the original of the species.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Clothes shopping

A man calls to the house, my da answers...

"Excuse me sir, what do you do with your old clothes?"

The aul' fella: "I wear them."

The man goes on his way.

I can relate. There is no fresher hell than shopping for clothes, at least not that I can think of.

With my black t-shirts now frayed and charcoal, my jeans gone at the crotch due to my gargantuan appendage, my shirts shedding buttons like Bosco on a drinking frenzy I took myself to town to get it all over and done with.

What a rotten experience.

I went to five shops, with the selling staff getting more and more trendy as I got more and more broken down by life. A sweaty curmudgeon buying young people's clothes, that was me, doing everything I could to avoid seeing myself in profile through the dressing room mirrors. I hate my profile.

TK Maxx was the killer. I went in hoping for some cheap knock-offs and left cursing and blinding and tripping over the buggies of children eating ice-cream, their mothers chattering away to each other and caring not one jot for the tightness of the aisles. Fuck that. Fuck TK Maxx and its row upon row of polyester pulchritude.

Weighed down like some photo negative Pretty Woman I panted my way down Grafton Street and into the nearest taxi I could find, hoping against hope that some poor damsel will marry me before I have to go through this again.

I am my da.

Monday, August 16, 2010

The horrible noise

Just when I need a visual aid, no visual aid will come. I'll have to wing it.

I just switched on E4 in the hope they'd be showing Big Brother as I haven't the faintest, foggiest notion what form of sub-human effluent is vying to win. They're showing 'Gilmore Girls' instead.

If memory serves me from those disgusting five minutes I spent watching it three weeks ago (while lying on my couch with the mother lode of hangovers) the 'house' is/was inhabited by an Irish girl, a black girl with long hair and glasses that says 'proper mingin'' a lot, 17 gays, some boy who's good at maths, a pre-op transsexatrix, a fat Geordie builder with a lazy eye and a former member of Bros.

Craig something.

Yeah yeah, I made most of that up, but that's beside the point.

I think Big Brother is responsible for 90% of the horrible noise that society makes. It is a disgusting blight on our ether and I can't wait for its demise.

I will grant it that it started out as an interesting idea, albeit one lifted from an earlier BBC incarnation called 'The Living Soap,' itself a rip-off of MTV's 'The Real World.'

However, whereas those shows were condensed down to half an hour a week, Big Brother went the 24-hour route and I'll admit to some initial curiosity about the effects of cabin fever and such. That soon abated when the producers started cutting out the good stuff, replacing it with the sound of crickets, and it died a death when some boy called Nick was hung, drawn and quartered for talking about nominations.

It grew a deep hatred in me, one I'd never quite tapped into before, and it only got worse as it entered my working life.

Some years back I had to run a Big Brother micro-site for Vodafone's mobile web content, so I had to become au fait with the nonsense of it all and pretend to be enthralled by how many times Chantelle went about her daily ablutions.

Thankfully, the Vodafone site went tits-up and I got back to writing injury updates from Wolves v Bolton, meaning I could give Big Brother the berth it deserved. A great big yawning chasm between us.

Still. Still. How can one REALLY avoid it? Not when its stars are gurning off the pages of Heat and Closer and Stalker and Yowza magazines. Not when they're hawking their latest tell-all stories in the tabloids/on the internet/at signings in Easons. Not when I meet their haircuts on every second teenager I try to swerve on Suffolk Street. Not when I overhear the latest 'ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod' stream of studenty antivescence on the bus.

One of the worst things I've ever seen on telly was a portion of the final a few years back, when the lad with Tourette's Syndrome won the thing.

I think his name was Pete. Watching him yelp his 'fucks' and his 'shits' and his 'cunts' while Davina Dyspepticpig McCall fawned all over him - telling him how cute he was - made me sick sick sick because I knew that this scene would cut to a year later and he'd be there, in his pyjamas in his mam's house, still yelping away and biting his own face off in nostalgia, probably teary. Can you remember his surname? You can remember fucking Chantelle's.

Deep breath.

I'm glad it's finishing but my pleasure is tempered by the knowledge that what it started can not be stopped. The idiotification of society as spawned by Endemol has taken on many forms since, and I dread to see what next summer has in store.

It won't be pretty.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Anniversaries

It's Brain Day today, eight years since Mr. Nice Neurosurgeon decided to crack open my skull and gorge on the delights within. Well, for 'gorge' you can read 'splice out something unsavoury.'

A fibrous dysplasia, it was, so named because of the displeasing cut of my head for a month afterwards.

Will scare children for negotiable fee.


Brain Day was born two years later, as viable a reason for a session as reasons come. Palace Bar, whiskey at dawn, the start of the football season, Porterhouse North and a two day raising of hell that was chronicled in one of my first ever blog posts.

It was to become a yearly event but we only really resurrected it once in the oft-derided and overly commercial 'Brain Day 2006: The Stag's Headening.'

As the years have rolled on and taken me further and further away from Beaumont Hospital's sexy nurses, Brain Day has taken on many forms.

Three years ago, a couple of quiet jars in Bowes.

Two years ago, Doyles and a free pint from the lovely barmaid.

One year ago, I went to see the first 'Mesrine' film and trundled home for a tug.

Today, lemon and cracked black pepper mini-fillets from Marks and Spencer and, if the urge takes me, maybe a spot of dogging.

I'll report back.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Rear window

The telly, it turns out, shows exactly the same shite as it did over in the odd numbers, so I find myself inclining my head slightly to the left to discern the activities of my neighbours.

It's all very voyeuristic but I can't help it.

As we're situated here in Radge Towers we're facing another apartment block directly across the road.

While I like to think that I'm just being a good soul and looking out for my brethren, I know that it's the same nosey gene that had my granny glued to her front window in Fairfield Road...

"That's the third time Mrs Loughman has been up and down the road today. I wonder where she's... Oh, hang on, there's Kay...." She hurries out to the front door. "Kay! Yoo-hoo! Kay!!! How's Nuala?"

...and it's a slippery slope that's going to lead all the way to Specsavers' special brand of night vision goggles.

Still, I'll be laughing all the way to the publicity pages when I catch yer man from two floors up, three windows to the right beating his missus to death with a vase.

You'll all want to know me then.

Monday, August 09, 2010

New digs

My hands smell of chemicals. Dettol and dirt, dust and soap and some generic bathroom cleanser from Tesco.

Having moved yesterday, I had to go back to the place that housed me for three and something years to clean up, to hoover and wipe and rid the place completely of myself.

There were buckets of sweat in the scrubbing but not a wistful sigh to be heard.

Shorn of my stuff the flat was just a shell and it's hard to get nostalgic for a place without people, a place with paper thin walls and fighting couples overhead and students next door and... That's all well written by now.

Anyway, it's led me to this, back to living with Fitzbollix.

I have counted the tea bags, the slices of bread, the nice chocolate mini-dealies from Marks and Spencer. I have taken inventory and consider this a further warning to the man directly - stay out of my underwear drawer.

It's for your own good.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Cuss words

I received an email today to tell me I use too many cuss words in my blog.

Seeing as it wasn't Sam Elliott's eloquent moustache passing on this piece of unsolicited advice, I despatched it with a peppering of invective and went back about my day, which involved watching the hours tick away while I thought about packing away my DVDs and collection of deerheads (without doing any of it).

I don't think this is a profane blog but I do reason that a good fuck, every now and then, throws a lovely emphasis on things.

I'll call a hideous bastard a hideous bastard as opposed to a 'not very nice individual,' and if the occasion ever comes up to label someone a 'wankpallet,' consider it bandied.

They're only words, a series of harmless letters arranged in such a way as to spell out 'cockhead,' for instance, or 'John Terry.'

Would that I should asterisk out my saltier musings? Fuck and, indeed, that. I asterisk for no man.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Gimp of Satan

McCabe's delicatessen, George's Quay, 12pm, not too busy.

Two men in suits stand in the queue, waiting to order their sandwiches. Suit number one takes a bag of crisps from the stand, turns to suit number two and says, "I'm focking storved."

He opens the crisps and proceeds to munch on them. He approaches the counter, all the while chomping through Burt's finest handmade kettle chips, prawn cocktail flavour.

The girl behind the counter asks him what sandwich he wants to order.

"Give me a minute." Chomp. Chomp. Crunch. He's still eating the crisps, looking at the meats and cheeses and salads on offer. He puts a crisp in his mouth and, before swallowing, he barks out his order. Bits of chewed potato hit the glass below.

"I want cheese, tomato, ham and mustard, pronto."

Suit number two inches away from him, pretending not to know this cretinous bastard and looking awkwardly around him.

"Here, Morgan, wait 'til I tell you who I saw at Lansdowne..."

The girl behind the counter interrupts to ask him if he'd like his sandwich cut in half.

"Yeah, like, whatever," he responds, before announcing how he got the best focking seats in the stadium for the previous night's friendly match between the Rags and the part-timers.

He then elbows me out of the way in order to pay for his food, before handing the empty bag of crisps to the girl who'd made his sandwich.

"Get rid of this, will you?"

...

...

May he die roaring of galloping knobrot.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

At the risk of repeating myself

I thought I'd heard it all, I thought my well of bullshit bingo hath runneth over until I got an email from Mirabilis today.

'I have to go to a HR Huddle today. A HR Huddle? What is that?'

I replied thusly: 'I can't even begin to think of how to imagine what that might be.'

She rang me afterwards, after she'd escaped.

"It was a meeting. No more nor less."

I never felt so sorry for her in all my days.

While I sat on my floor uncarefully boxing off my CDs, wondering how I got from a Christy Moore box-set to Hundred Reasons to Johnny Cash to Underworld, she was interverbing about flagpoles and things that need to be reconciled. All very standard business nonsense if they hadn't tried to paintball it, or umbrella it, with the term 'HR Huddle.'

Whoever thought that little cracker up needs to stop liaising quite so intimately with his or her own arsehole.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sex gong

RTE One: Saturday Night With Miriam.
RTE Two: Rugby Union.
TV3: The Medallion, a comedy thriller starring Jackie Chan.
TG4: An Aimsir Laithreach.
3e: Saturday Stunt Show.
BBC One: Casualty.
BBC Two: BBC Proms 2010.
UTV: An Audience With Take That.
Channel 4: Big Brother.
E4: The 100 Greatest Scary Moments.

This surely counts as one of the latter, realising my DVD player is on the fritz and, because I took a bellyful of The Palace Bar and Grogan's last night, going out is not an option.

I long for 'Knight Rider' or its cousin 'Street Hawk,' a bit of 'Spitting Image' or even Erika Eleniak-era 'Baywatch' to salve the senses on this stickiest of Saturday nights. No dice. There's fuck all on and I have no energy for the outside.

Even the internet is moribund, nobody blogs on a Saturday. At this point I realise I'm only writing this to consign the last entry into history, by degrees.

(Approaches DVD player, uses excessive force.)

Zing! It's working. Hale And Pace box-set, here I come.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mea culpa

Reckless, feckless things, blogs.

You go through a spell where you blog and you sit and you wait, you moderate and you do quite little else, really.

Then you have to go out and do stuff to feed the beast, whether it be the cinema, for a walk, to the pub or, in many cases, to the pub.

You write about this, that and the other and you're careful not to name names, and certainly none in a negative light. Friends and family take on pseudonyms, situations are embellished or, in certain cases, they're just complete flights of fantasy.

Then, there are times where you think you're staying just on the right side of coy when, in fact, you're 'opening that door' just a little too far and somebody ends up getting hurt, however ill intentioned.

I'm coming to the end of my seventh year of posts and it's only happened twice (that I can think of), and both times I really ought to have known better.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The skip (Mister Zero)

I loaded it carefully. Sundry knick-knacks and formerly personal things like old birthday cards, torn up letters and tat on the bottom, out of reach. Then three bags of clothes for the second layer. Then some old rug and flat pillows to top the thing off, the neatest skip in Dublin.

Then I went to town for a potter, something to eat and some afternoon refreshments with the barely accented one.

I got home around 7pm to find two people, a 'man' and a 'woman' drinking cans around it and making a bollix of my system.

"Lads, eh, what the fuck...?"

I shoo'd them off with the bribe of a can and the threat of the guards, throwing good liquor after bad.

Fuckers came back. Of course they came back.

I went out this morning to check on it and saw bits of me everywhere, in no particular order.

One page of a horrible diatribe, on display. The single ESB bill that I threw out by mistake, on display. Cards and clothes, cases and remnants of nights out, of nights in, of three and a bit years on display.

I set back to work and tidied it up through a hoor of a headache, and I'm writing this now while waiting for Mr. Celtic Jersey to pick it up.

Mr. and Mrs. Scumbag are at the bottom, under the throwaway carpet. Don't fuck with Mister Zero.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Falling into each other, sexually

I should really know the portents by now.

If I can hear them out in their back garden around 7pm, talking about 'who rode who' and 'who fancies a nice felch?' I may presume it's the traditional pre-pub preamble.

If it all goes lovely and quiet in the midnight hours, and I'm dreaming about everything from becoming manager of Queens Park Rangers to the smalls of Millie Clode's smalls drawer, they're getting their kebabs and heading for home, all 28 of them.

If I'm throwing off the covers in a successful attempt to find a new sleeping nook, they're searching for their keys and the front garden, simultaneously knocking over bins and falling into each other, sexually.

If I'm woken to the words 'THE DOG DAYS ARE OVERRRRRRR' it's because the loud one doesn't know any other songs, she just wants to be Florence And The Superfluous Machine, and it signals another night where I drag myself to the couch at half past four, seek out Lyric FM on the digibox and wait for the blue screen to fade to black, drowning them out and letting me kip.

Yes, if they're throwing a party (I remember parties) it means I'm working of a Sunday and today, dear equally bitter and lonesome reader, was that day.

However let this not be a signal of my miserability but an opportunity to let one barbaric 'YAWP!'

Let it resound to the high skies that this is my last week here, alongside them, them that used to be me, them that could be me ten years ago 'cept that I wore nicer clothes.

I'll be leaving them a six pack and a little note.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Lost in Stoneybatter

My head. My lovely, sweary head, is in ribbons. It happens.

A very public apology to Annie for missing the launch of her book but it wasn't for want of trying.

I explored the by-ways and lo-ways of Stoneybatter in an attempt to find The Joinery last evening, but no dice. If there's a 'fuck you' in here, it goes out to Google Maps and a taxi driver who kept trying to bring me to Capel Street.

"No, no, COWPER Street. COWPER... Fuck it, let me out here, I'll go by foot."

A mini-market, a row of bungalows, an angry looking Manchester United fan but no conglomerate of blogging sorts.

Bested, I ended up in Kehoes and John Mulligan and concluded this week of bar-room hopscotch with a curry chips and cheese, with a side order of spice burger.

My body is a tempest.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is that it?

I have no appetite, none at all, and now face another night on the prowl with nought but an apple, half a grapefruit and a Danone Actimel (strawberry) for sustenance.

Into the breach...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Death by confetti

How long before the clergy start getting heckled?

I was at a wedding the other day and the priest drove me to stupefaction.

He started off, this bargain basement version of Fr. Fintan Stack, by speaking into the microphone in a stacatto Stephen Hawking impersonation.

What he took as humour - pretending that the PA system was breaking up on him - I took as a man having a stand-up fit of epilepsy, ended only by his screeches of laughter and the nervous twitches of his audience.

He had some other crackers, like pointing us to the four exits marked 'EXIT' and reassuring us that the groom had long since noted their whereabouts, and telling us not to throw confetti for 'Health And Safety Reasons.'

(Health and fucking safety reasons? Health and we're too lazy to clear up after you mucky bastards reasons, more like.)

My ponderings of a screenplay called 'Confetti: The Silent Killer' starring William H. Macy were broken up by his sermon on marriage itself.

"I see marriage as very much like a game of football. If both sides go into it 50-50 you'll get a terrible match. In fact, the crowd would be right to ask for their money back. However, if the two teams both go into giving 100% then you're going to have a cracking game.

"That's what marriage is. Both people have to go into it willing to give 100% to each other, allowing in no outside distractions. They have to listen to each other and ask 'how was your day?' The men can't say that they don't feel like doing the washing up. Rather, the couple need to do it together, to share everything equally."

Abort! Abort!

The gathering lapped this shit up in between being told when to sit, to kneel, to stand, to applaud and to be very, very quiet so that God can listen to us all. They started to laugh along at all his putrid little jokes and asides while the happy couple lit candles and waited for the 'I do.'

I was happy for them and the very best of luck to them but a little bit of sick came into my mouth when, after all was said and vowed, the girl sitting next to me queried: "Wasn't the priest gas?"

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another 50 bad things

I'm at the start of a week off and it's shaping up nicely, plenty of extra curricular drunkenness on the cards, but I'll shoo off the positivity for the length of this, this little corner of vitriol.

1) Jamie Redknapp.

2) Penguin wafers.

3) Joe O'Shea.

4) The unkindly Dutch woman next door.

5) Dishes in the sink, notes on the floor, mountain of laundry, smell in the jacks.

6) Brenda.

7) The fact that Sky Sports News is still dissecting England's World Cup exit.

8) Humidity.

9) The kids next door.

10) Hocking snot.

11) Bigface from the office.

12) Tara Street junkies.

13) Lying Airtricity bastards.

14) Two And A Half Men.

15) Sex And The City 2.

16) John Terry.

17) The World Cup Final.

18) Male pattern baldness.

19) Everybody Loves Raymond.

20) Wretched drug pig Lindsay Lohan.

21) Wretched former drug pig Amy Winehouse.

22) Cucumber.

23) Eamon Ryan.

24) Padraig Harrington's voice.

25) AIB ads, especially the 'salon in Rathmines' one.

26) The relentless positivity of many Twitter posts.

27) 'Fail.'

28) The Facebook privacy conundra.

29) Not getting one's round in.

30) Parsimony.

31) The repetition of a McDonalds burger, twelve hours later.

32) The thing that Gazza became.

33) Nagging.

34) The loud laughing wankbag from the office.

35) The Sunday Independent.

36) Chris de Burgh.

37) LOLz. ROFL. LMAO. OMG. etc.

38) Those who forget that we've actually had a pretty decent summer.

39) 'Innit.'

40) Katie Price and her geebag husband.

41) Selective bin collection.

42) Anywhere you have to take a ticket, sit down and listen to people coughing for two hours.

43) Alan Shearer.

44) Eggs.

45) James Corden, post 'Gavin and Stacey.'

46) Harcourt Street nightlife.

47) Moaning/whingeing. Gah!

48) Live to work.

49) Tom Hicks and George Gillett.

50) Clothes shopping.