Monday, April 26, 2010


I went there looking for somewhere to live, the third house on my list, I hadn't been looking long.

The first was a stinking studio on the South Circular Road and I wasn't ready to live alone, to live in a kennel on a couch that folded out into a table that somehow called itself a bed. I declined.

The second home was a revert to student life. Accountants, I recall, and a nifty little shack where the rugby ball had its own place to sit. They weren't prone to making an offer and it was for the best, they had the whiff of clique and I was never going to break it.

That took me to Harold's Cross, to Mount Argus. An old man met me at the door, I was to share it with his son and a girl from New Zealand. Well appointed, leather couches, a clean kitchen, decent sized bedroom, all mod nonsense, decent rent. Not just that, but a park and a stream and trees and... sold.

There was no great drama to that place at first, living there was a slow regret despite a first night conflict over milk, or 'mulk' as she said it in her accent.

She wasn't the kind of girl to leave for work at an appointed minute every morning, to measure out her Corn Flakes by degrees, to sit in watching the E! channel every night for a week, and another week, and then to bitch endlessly about the noise from my own television overhead. No, she wasn't that kind of girl at all. She was that girl.

He, though, he was the nastiest dredge of muck you could ever wish to meet, a class of man who brought malevolence with him like a second skin, a coat unremovable.

When he wasn't sulking he was moaning, when he wasn't moaning he was talking about her, about how he was going to kick her out and report her to immigration. An ugly racist with a Dublin 4 affectation and a sports utility vehicle. Menacing and monied.

They never spoke, never shared the same room, never crossed paths but it was still the most uncomfortable living space in time so I spent most of mine in my room listening to music, watching DVDs, staring out the window, writing words that had nowhere to go.

Fourtet frames my time there. I bought 'Rounds' on a rainy evening in January because I liked the cover. I didn't know who Kieran Hebden was but there was something about the typeface that grabbed me. I put it on as soon as I left the shop, found a coffee shop and pressed play on my discman.

I've never been able to listen to 'Hands' without being back there, in that café on Wicklow Street with the whole world turning sepia. A strange colour for vital music, but that's what it was, that's what it became, and that was the moment I decided to move out and away from two people whose paths I've never crossed again to this day.

Fourtet did well by me then, does well by me now.



Kath Lockett said...

Beautiful, Radge. Not your ex-housemates but the description and the music. I've been there too.

Conan Drumm said...

Well, the writing's going places these days. And that landlord's son is probably the landlord himself now. And the Kiwi's probably blown home, or working in London. And the music is a perfect soundtrack for all the days dropping away between then and now.

Radge said...

Thanks a lot Kath. They certainly were not beautful.

Dropping away, I like that Conan. That piece of music's from the new album, bought yesterday. It's a cracker.

Kitty Cat said...

Really enjoyed reading that. Great descriptions of awful housemates.

Holemaster said...

A dredge of muck.

I work with one of those. Menacing, repulsive, nasty to the very core. Every word premeditated.

Radge said...

I've never had awfuller, Kitty Cat.

Holemaster - My sympathies, it's taken a while but I (mostly) live a dickhead free life.

This Limbo said...

Deadly Radge. I'm going to start setting you tasks of describing mundane objects because I truly think you could make word music out of anything.
I must check out this band you speak of too.

Radge said...

A DJ actually, Regina, not normally the kind of thing I'd listen to but he's brilliant. I'm humbled by what else you said, thanks.

Therese Cox said...

Something about your story - the simple pleasure of popping a CD into a Discman, poring over the cover and liner notes, and thinking of collections of songs as albums - makes this extra nostalgic.

I used the word "Walkman" in front of my university-aged students once and they looked at me blankly.

Radge said...

I used the words 'O Captain, My Captain' in front of mine yesterday. Blank faces. "From Dead Poets' Society?" More blank faces. Kids these days, Therese.

goldmaster said...

Really beautful piece Radge, Without upside down girl and Daddy's boy in your face life and your writing can only get better and it IS.
Flatmates are like liquorice, you get allsorts.

Radge said...

Surely you mean Downside Upgirl, Goldmaster?

Green Of Eye, Sharp Of Claw said...

Radge, your writing scratches a particular itch of mine.Love it.

This is why i live alone- flatmates can be a quick descent into the 7th circle of hell.

Jackie said...

Really-- beautifully written. I'm particularly taken with the idea of "slow regret." I don't think there's a worse kind.

Radge said...

Green of Eye - There was a happy ending to that particular experience, but only after I moved in with some drug dealers for three and a half weeks. I was rescued, thank fuck. Thanks for saying that about the writing, means an awful lot.

Jackie - Inspiration for this one came all the way across the Atlantic. That's where the best words have been lately.

Jackie said...

awwwwww. Thanks so much! That made me giddily happy. (From all the way across the Atlantic.)