Thursday, April 29, 2010

"WMD. Got that WMD right here, yo."

These overheard bus-stop conversations, these snatches of dialogue from women of an elderly age that I've never known in my life, they're becoming more and more... nuanced, let's say.

"Ah, how are ya Margaret?"

"I'm grand Mary. The back's at me again but, sure, same old, same old."

"Don't TALK to me, I'm havin' wicked problems with my..."

"Sorry to interrupt you, Mary, but did you hear about Paddy Curran?"

"What about him?"

"He only went and got himself got, so he did."

"Jesus! You're joking me. Who done it?"

"They don't know. He was found down by the railway tracks, near the Navan Road. Oh he had an awful death."

"What did they do to him?"

"Well, you know he had the bug? But he was doin' an awful lot better with it. He was keepin' away from the hoppers and the like. Rumour goes, though, that he was shavin' points off the package..."

"The divil, Margaret. Where was he gettin' his re-up?"

"Sure nobody knows, Mary. I reckon it was the lad he used to go around with, Jimmy Days, that got him back into it."

"That lad was always trouble Margaret. I mean, we all love a taste every now and again, but he was well into it. I never went near the Blue Tops, sure they came from Drimnagh. As long as I know it's good, clean product I'll indulge of a weddin' or a christenin', but jaysus you couldn't be messin' with the WMD and the like."

"Oh those Southside fuckers, Mary. They'd have it cut with all sorts of shite. Hot shots an' everything."

"Word, Margaret, word. C'mere to me, how's your Tommy?"

"Oh he's prone with the gout, Mary..."

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.


I can see the calm pull chaos

"It'll be great. I'm doing a curry and there will be wine. Bring your own beer if you want to.

"Oh, and there will be at least ten single women there for you, each more combative for your affections than the one that passed before. They will sway to your utterances, pique to your crystalline wit. They are ripe for the plucking if you'll forgive me the vulgarity. You will not want to miss this."

Turns out I'm not most men.

The feigned ouch in my throat, some fabricated headcold, freeing me from the down-up-down of a Saturday night party where I sit in a corner fixated on the fact that I didn't iron my collar properly, some splashback from a korma, or that I think I'm seen as the awkward one of the group.

None of it true from the outside but all of it playing as loudly in my head as whatever's on the speakers, some ironic Roxette (the '90s music revival made flesh), or something vomiting next door. Organised fun has its place but its place doesn't have me. It didn't have me last night, anyway, another Saturday where I did the opposite, where I felt as I did when my mam would let me stay home from school.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Look at them, look at them there getting all vexed up over 'profits' and 'bailouts' and 'recognition of losses' and... well... just please don't let Joan Burton speak again because she sounds like a tape machine with the battery running out.

This is the thought that strikes me as I watch 'The Frontline' because tonight I don't have an enquiring mind.

My peeny little brain can't process this country's woes as the hour gets to midnight, there's just too much of it and too many men with (honest to jaysus) moustaches getting all cross with each other about guidelines for economic recovery.

Maybe, at best, I could get my head around 'Sexy News 24: The Mountain Dust Crisis' or some tattle about Sharon Osbourne having her fake jabs removed, but slapping this tired face with a cloth full of fiscal conundra just won't wash tonight.

It takes longer and longer to get over a drunkening.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Leppings Lane

Before drink, before the Jesuits, before failing to talk to girls, long before The Wire, before almost everything I formed a deep and unforgiving attachment to football.

A Panini sticker album did for me.

Prior to the European Championships I had no interest in it, when the kids in Scoil Mobhí asked me who I supported I just bleated out 'Liverpool' because that, to me, was the codeword for getting out of these awkward situations.

My eight-year-old me hadn't a clue who played for them or what the First Division was or even where Liverpool was located. It could have been in Sligo.

Then the sticker album, and the collecting, and the learning of names like Dave Langan, John Aldridge, Niall Quinn, John Anderson and Kevin Moran, and then Ronnie Whelan's spinkick against the Russians and then sweet, sweet addiction. Child heroin.

The following season was my first as a proper Liverpool supporter. I knew the players, the dates of birth, the former clubs, the positions, the nationalities (mostly British at that time, with a hint of Zimbabwe and Jamaica) and the form.

Videotapes caught me up on past achievements, and having four Irish lads in the team was the badge of honour against those nasty Manchester United supporters, with their Peter Davenports and their Ralph Milnes.

We were good back then, very good. The previous season, when I was still ignorant of the game, we had won the league but lost the FA Cup Final to Wimbledon. The Cup was the top of the game because English teams couldn't compete in Europe. We were used to winning the First Division title but to win the Cup was the pinnacle, at least to my mind.

I used to watch the matches in my granny's sitting room. They lived next door, herself and Finghín, I'd just go around the back and through the kitchen, ignore them completely, walk into the room and switch on the television. Squatter's rights.

An FA Cup semi-final was a big fucking deal. A huge deal, but I said that already. I imagine myself in that green armchair with a smuggled glass of coke and some Rolos, switching between the RTE and BBC coverage. Liverpool v Nottingham Forest at Hillsborough in Sheffield.

The teamsheets came up. The Irish lads were in, including my favourite player Steve Staunton (no sniggering). Happy days. I'd been building up to this all week.

My da was working as a jeweller at the time and he operated from a workshop in the back garden. He saw me coming out of my granny's and asked me what was wrong. He tells me now I had a face like thunder.

"There are supporters on the pitch and they had to call the match off."

I was almost in tears, cursing those fuckers, those supporters who couldn't behave themselves so I could see Staunton rampage up the wing (like he ever rampaged, I know, but I was ten) and throw over a cross for Aldridge or Ian Rush to head home.

Those supporters who ruined my day by spilling on the grass and just sitting there, those ambulances that would tear up the surface something rotten if they decided to just delay the kick off for an hour, those policemen on horses where Steve McMahon should be scything into Steve Hodge.

A face like thunder, until the count went up and up and up and never seemed like stopping.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Quinn fiasco

I have nothing to write about but my hatred of eggs. I detest the fuckers, always have.

As an ingredient, a binding substance, a goopy and essential precursor to cake it gets a pass but as something on a plate, on its own, it can do one.

If I want to gorge on chickenhead ejaculant I'll have me a spell on the DART with the after school crowd, clucking on apace about boys called Gav and bitches called 'that bitch Clare.'

However, culinarily speaking, make like a nice little waiter and substitute me in a grilled tomato or some such, or mushrooms, or even an extra sausage if you're still in denial about the death of the Lucky Leopard.

Cucumbers are crap but eggs, eggs are devil food.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Something utterly incongruous

Listening to Suede's Pantomime Horse in work, while updating the racing results from Sedgefield.

Journalism. Doesn't get better. Than this.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Notes from a bus journey

I don't like reading on buses, the jitters of the road meet the jigger of my grip and the eyes get so very, very lazy and just end up fixed on the travel outside.

Kildare thoughts:

I wonder if Alex Ferguson has ever seen an episode of Entourage.
I wonder if Ryan Tubridy has ever forgotten to pay for a Mars Bar.
I wonder if Bono has ever been to Doyle's.
I wonder if I've already met the next new person, or if there might even be a next new person.
I wonder what will happen if the person behind me snots in my ear just one more time.

Laois thoughts:

I wonder if anyone I know is in Neary's, or en route to Neary's, right this minute.
I wonder about Connie McEldowney, only I wonder about the girl whose name isn't that, and I wonder would it seem weird to get in touch.
I wonder what my sister Elmo would say if she ever had occasion to meet Stevie Wonder.
I wonder what I'd cook on Masterchef, and how scathing the comments would be.
I think about my grandmother for no special reason, and then Finghín.

Tipperary thoughts:

I wonder what the most disgusting combination of two soft drinks might be, and if Rafael Benitez ever goes to the cinema during the day.
I wonder about another date slipping away into memory, where it likely will stay.
I give some consideration to buying crisps on the 15 minute break in Mountrath, before realising we've already stopped there.
I notice there's a person sitting next to me, a young lad with a perm for all the world.

Limerick thoughts:

I think about the office, a little bit, and wonder who's sitting at my computer looking at Facebook.
I remember a funny line about Brooklyn workers and paychecks.
I listen to the last three songs lined up on the iPod - Michael Nyman and Joy Division and something that isn't Shakira.
I ding that bell.

Monday, April 05, 2010

The ReSundaying

When all is lost, go back to the aborted entries (or use that as an excuse to prattle on without having to finish your thoughts)...

= = =

It's just another Sunday, really, isn't it?

'Sunday 2: The ReSundaying.' Tagline: Jesus Day meets Groundhog Day.

Stars: Exactly the same fuckers you saw yesterday, without the football.

The critics say: "Fuck off, I'm still eating chocolate." - "Blogs? You expect blogs? Cop the fuck on, it's still the weekend." - "What's on Comedy Central? Oh, same shit as yesterday, and every other day."

Rating: N/A. This is not a cinematic blog, in any sense.

= = =

If I could splice two words from the English language, they would be 'awesome' and 'epic'.

Does nobody else realise that no self respecting Irishman, woman or child used 'awesome' before Twitter came and ate the world, circa 2008?

'Epic', meanwhile, should only be used in sentences that also include 'David' and 'Lean'. Or, if you're being ironic, 'Kevin' and 'Smith'.

= = =

Will someone please clear up this full stop inside/outside the single inverted comma controversy for me, for once and for all? I'll still fuck it up but it would be nice to know.

= = =

I need to find a niche if I'm to turn my blogwords into a book.

= = =

Yesterday I did not meet the most beautiful woman of my life. I did not take an evocative walk. I did not start and finish an entire book in one sitting. I did not drink. I did not go to work. I did not stay in bed all day. I didn't even go to the shop.

I did, however, watch a film where the narrator says, "most days of your life start and end with nothing meaningful happening in between."

My Sunday wasn't even that interesting. I'm still not sure it happened.

= = =

'Chasing Cars' by Snow Patrol is the best song of the 21st Century, eleven and a bit years in.

At least that's what the talking heads would have me believe. I think it's a bit wet, 'On/Off' is far better, but I've never been on Channel 4 so I don't matter.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

I do digress

"I've become less harsh in my stance against semi-soft cheeses. There are one or two respectable curds. The jury is out though."

He writes good text message, does old 5X. They're generally cheese, whiskey, women or Paris related, with varying thoughts on Shakira and the train system in France, in his capital city, to boot.

I raised a glass to him, as I often do, last evening as I waited on the birthday of another friendship, another one built on words and the organic nature of digression.

Tangents, lager beer and stout in Nearys, it should always be thus even though every good night ends with some form of taxi driver conflict.

A ghastly man in some series of a BMW, but his threats don't deserve a writing.