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.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Workshopping

I only went four or five times out of the thirteen allotted two-hour sessions, and I'd have gone a lot less if I hadn't paid 600 euro for the privilege.

These writers' classes, these shams. 'Get It Written' - a class for those who wish to see a novel through from inception to publication. I knew I was in trouble from the get-go, I figured it was not for me with each new-age whelp from teacher.

Teacher told us to access our inner critic as I accessed my inner vomit. Teacher told us to eschew all sorts of lovely things like television and friends and life for our "verbal music." Teacher told us we'd have to quit our day jobs and live penniless on the couches of the friends we were not allowed talk to, "for the sake of the words on the page."

We were told to do the morning streams every single day, free writing on four foolscap pages (front and back) before we could even start to dream about coffee or erections. We were to find an hour a day to start with, and increase it, all the time taking in the world around us and all the while shutting it out.

She spoke the way that artists don't and she said these words to a room of middle aged women and one man, wrongly placed among lunching ladies whose inner novels were all of sexual repression and tea with the clergy.

I gave it a go and wrote a chapter or two of something (long since consigned to my twenties), reading out an excerpt in class with all the gusto of a flat tyre. I shoehorned in expletives on the spot, made up words like 'cludgefingers' and 'arsepiss,' purely for my own amusement before Miriam from Clontarf gave us a polished version of her own tome, which could have been called 'My Day Out With Doris.'

There was no applause, and even those closer to my own age fiddled with their shoelaces and had the look of anywhere but here about them. We had just the throat clearing, the crickets and lovely, stargazing teacher saying, "OK, that was, ehm, who's next to read?"

I remember leaving the building on North Great George's Street and walking towards Parnell Street with Bridie, who had a question for me.

"What's your book actually about? I tried to understand it but I'm afraid it was a little bit over my head. You use very, eh, salty language."

"It's a thinkpiece, Bridie, in which the protagonist is viewing the world from the position of the world's most arrogant asexual, while maintaining the sensibilities of everybody else in the room but himself. It speaks to everything and nothing all at once, while the 'umbrella' motif is in there for a reason."

"Oh, well. Yes. I think I get you. See you next week?"

"You won't, Bridie."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Turning into something else

I couldn't be a nine to five person, fixing myself to a presentable way at stupid o'clock for a repeat performance day after day after day until Friday night pints, a Saturday cowering and a Sunday counting down to the water cooler.

It wouldn't suit me.

I think I did it in a former life, I have some recollection of a routine around 2005 but it's nothing more than a foggy notion now. Did I or didn't I?

I try to look back on old posts for clues but I turn away gagging after perusing one or two.

A case in point:


'Anyway, they all went off to get fed and myself and Phinnaeus went to the Palace. Couple of jars there and it was back to mine with Beelzebub and more ale. Then myself and Phinnaeus toiled away in Neary's and Kehoe's all day Tuesday, just like the old college days - especially when his ex Persephone showed up. Left them to it around six and came back out home to watch the fitba.'


Bleuch.

(I do detest when I'm with someone and they talk about their friends, people I've never met or even heard of before, and they refer to them in the first person. That was this blog for the first four years or thitherabouts, an assumptive mess. Avoid the archive.)

Where was I? Oh yeah, work. Nine to five. That old nut. Not for me, not even on these days where I switch on and off the television and settle on something as vapid as King of Queens ("seen it") or Tom fucking Dunne on the wireless.

I'd still take it over seeing the same chump at the same bus stop at the same appointed hour, before sitting in the same traffic, picking up the same bagel, same regular latté, same banter with the security guard and an identical set of barbs about the weather and Celebrity Jungle House.

It's in the post, though. Money is tightening and my current ration of irregular shift work can't hold me in this state of disgrace for much longer. I may have to become a person, just like other people, and come intimately to know the opening times of all the local coffee shops.

I need an idea.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hans

The couple overhead, those of the squawking arguments and furniture dragging, they're moving out.

I've quietly seethed at them without ever engaging either of them in conversation and assumed awful things like rudeness and diffidence.

They've been upstairs for the last year and a bit and I'd barely passed them, living as I do in digs accessible by side entrance.

He cornered me yesterday in the garden when I was at my least sociable, hoping he would just go away while I finished taking in the clothes from the line. I prayed he would finish his cigarette without the need for more than a passing hello, but no dice.

He approached me with a handshake and we must have spoken for twenty minutes about this, and about that, and about everything from our shared respect for the landlord we're about to leave tenantless to his struggles with money, with work, with his life in Ireland, with his lust for home, with the idiot students next door, with no camaraderie.

He was a gentleman, a man equally inquisitive about my life.

They're moving out, I am too. He asked me if he and his wife had ever been too noisy overhead, as he knew what it was like to live on the ground floor.

"No, Hans, you're fine. You've been a good neighbour."

He shook my hand one more time and said he hoped to catch me again before we all move out. I took my two faces back inside to finish the dishes and silently wish them well.

Monday, July 12, 2010

One born every minute

An unsolicited email to my inbox this morning...

= = =

'Dearest one,

'Please do not be offended by the way or manner i came to you, it is about the only way i could get to you after going through your profile and I prayed over it and selected your name among other names due to the nature of my proposal,which requires a reputable and trustworthy person. Someone who will be kind and sincere to me.

'l am Miss Lady*urs Gri*es, the only daughter of late Mr and Mrs G*imes Johnson. My father was a very wealthy cocoa merchant in Abidjan here, the economic capital of Ivory Coast, he was poisoned to death by his business associates on one of their business meeting. My mother died on the 22th may 1991 and my father took me so special because l am motherless...'

Further down, it reads...

'I am now ready to do all these since my father my bread winner is no more. l am honorable seeking your assistance in the following ways.

'(1) To serve as my guardian in your country while I will depend on your expert advise since l am a girl of 19 years.

'(2) To make arrangement for me to come over to your country in order to further my university education and to secure a residential permit for me in your country.

'Moreover , l am willing to offer you 15% of the total sum (USD3.4million) as compensation for your assistance in the transfer of this deposit to your country.'

= = =

The temptation to write back and correct the frequent spelling errors and grammatical inadequacies is great. She doesn't stand a chance of getting residency if she can't tell her adverbs from her adjectives.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

...a big PM Dawn fan

It isn't easy, seeing the rolling news wires with tell of Raoul Moat and his commando-ing in and around the hills and forests of Northumbria.

It isn't easy because it brings back memories of my own flight from the law.

There may have been no Sky News, no internet, no iPhone applications, no nothing apart from the late edition of the Evening Press but it was all too real and terrifying for me, and for the people of Dublin.

If you're over 25 you'll remember it, I'm sure. 1992 it was.

What started as a quick bit of shopliftery in the Virgin Megastore turned into the greatest manhunt the State had ever seen.

Sniffer dogs and psychics, Russian experts and CIA agents were brought in. President Robinson kindly handed over the keys to the helicopter. Finger searches fanned out from Liberty Hall for a radius of ten miles. A curfew was put in place and plans for the Millennium clock were iced, due to the funds being put in place for my capture.

They had the CCTV footage but that was all. My mate Kev, with me when the deed was done, wouldn't breathe a word about my whereabouts. He kept schtum no matter how many electrodes were attached to his pubertine balls because of the pinkie swear we'd made in the cubs, in the church hall, that time.

I initially evaded capture by tying my belongings to my leg before covering myself with a couple of bin-bags.

I used what bus fare I had to pay a homeless man to cause a distraction as I clambered down into the Liffey and waded through 800 yards of shit smelling awfulness, Andy Dufresne-style. 800 yards of sludge, man muck and detritus to safety by the abandoned tunnel that connects Heuston Station to Connolly.

Disoriented, disgusting and ravenous I took a rest on the tracks as the net closed in. I could run no longer, I had nothing left, I was spent and I was ready for whatever punishment was coming my way. The Special Branch found me, alerted by the outflux of rats from the tunnel - they couldn't take the stench.

I did two years in a youth detention facility and lost all sorts of innocence therein but a part of me feels it was worth it. Given the opportunity, I'd steal that cassette single of 'Set Adrift On Memory Bliss' all over again.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The move

There was no dramatic moment involved when it was decided I would stay in Dublin as my parents moved to Limerick. No cliffhanger, no great sit-down, nor an announcement made at some family meeting. We never had family meetings.

One day I was moving with them, I was to attend a new school and make new friends and have my own room and get to know a new area, and then something shifted in the air and I was to move next door with my grandparents in Glasnevin instead.

I like to think that the final decision was made by my folks quietly, decisively from the flick of a kettle switch to its boiling point.

When they told me I was going to live with my granny and Finghín, all I could wonder was how quickly I could get on the phone to tell my schoolfriends that I'd be seeing the Leaving Cert through with them after all, while my folks made plans for my absence. Not only that, but the absence of my older sister who was about to start college, and how to separate us from my younger sister, twelve and starting secondary.

It's funny how a teenager thinks.

"Will there be girls at my new school?" became "I want the big room next door." "Will they have uniforms?" became "I can go drinking up the back lane and I won't get caught." (Their hearts breaking.) "I'm going to pull sickie after sickie and they won't have a clue." (Their hearts breaking.) "I'll drink anything for a bet. Let's watch The Word." "Why can't Kev come to the pub? I got him that fake ID from that fella in school. Kev's gay." Their hearts breaking.

It turned out to be all and none of the above. I rebelled in the safest way possible. I never stayed out late, never drank more than four cans. I missed the odd Latin test, I was made to re-sit them. I ate lots of stew, I cried on the phone. I took the train down, I took the train back. Every weekend, regular as Glenroe.

Before my parents left, I could never talk to girls. After my parents moved, I could never talk to girls. Fifteen years on...

This all came to me this evening on my way home from town. I passed a girl on the street and I remembered her from that time. March 1995, a couple of months before the move, and I was doing my transition year work experience over in RTE, sorting through letters for Gay Byrne to read out on air.

There were two girls from Mount Merrion on the same detail, and I remember sitting down with the red haired version one day in the canteen. I recall telling her that my folks were about to move down to Limerick. I was to stay up here because I was settled in school, in life, with my friends and they, my mam and dad, trusted me.

"That's so cool, like," I imagine her words. "You're going to get to have like deadly parties and stuff."

"Yeah, I can't wait, no stupid parents to tell me what to do. Going to be class. You should come to my parties. Make sure you give me your number."

"Oh I definitely will."

As she left, all smiles and Dublin 4 nonchalance, I was left there to sit, stare out the window, finish off my 7-Up and be the most afraid I've ever felt in my life. One small moment I'll never forget.

Close your eyes, count to ten

Does anybody remember that episode of The Simpsons where Mr. Burns is carted off to the Mayo Clinic for tests? He's found to have every disease under the sun, living in perfect harmony, cancelling each other out to leave him still living, still breathing, still thriving.

Well that's this country under Fianna Fáil. So many ills that one overrides the next and leaves us with a behemoth of awfulness that's too great to tackle.

I'm getting pissed off reading things like, "yet we sit on our arses writing blogs about how shit things are, and nobody goes out and protests."

How the fuck can we NOT be paralysed by NAMA? By the Murphy and Ryan reports? By the outrageous shambles that is the Health Service Executive? By leadership heaves that go nowhere and change nothing? By tax after property tax after tax after good money after bad?

How the fuck can we not be paralysed by this raping of our country, and how can the way forward not be to just close our eyes and wait for it to end?

Don't expect protests, riots and insurrection. You need specificity for that kind of thing. We're too much in the mire to try and show truth to power.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

GFY

A day spent getting angry at everything and nothing specific at the same time.

Work and death and Wimbledon, coffee and choking and seeing a fat child eating furtively on the street. Marty fucking Morrissey and humidity and no jacks roll, sweat and neighbours and nothing on the television and the fact that my short term memory has gone, shot to shit. I've started walking into too many rooms forgetting my reason for being there. I don't like the feeling. A torpor.

It's the black dog and it too will pass but for the moment I'm glad I have no company, save for this brilliant verbose bastard on the television, incarnating the horrible side of myself that dares not venture out.

Dylan Moran and his treatment of the word 'awesome,' bilious, articulate and the only thing to make me laugh all day.

He's walking along with his children, frustrated at their misuse of the English language.

Him: "Can we just have some quiet time? Here's some crisps."

Them: "CRISPS! AWESOME!"

Him: "They're not AWESOME, they're CRUNCHY. If I opened them and haggard shafts of light and cherubs and music came out, they'd be awesome, alright? Mountains and rivers and the fact that I'm still breathing are AWESOME."

Someone had to say it.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The helpline

The internet went down today. Horrific scenes of hair pulling, or at least there would have been if I had any to pull, followed by the kicking of presses, the sweats, the hallucinations, the cramps, the crying and the call to the Vodafone helpline.

Shower of bastards.

The call started off by telling me that they'd changed their helpline number to the one I'd just called, before asking me to choose from a menu of 174 options.

I pressed 5 and waited. That voice again.

"Thank you for choosing Landline And Fixed Broadband services. Did you know that you can update your price plan by..."

I put it on speaker phone while I searched for my pills.

Then, eventually, more fucking options.

"If you wish to talk about price plans, press one. For billing, press two. For technical issues, press three."

I pressed three.

"Thank you for choosing technical issues. If you are having difficulty setting your modem, press one. If you are currently looking for something to choke, press two. If you are experiencing connectivity issues, press three."

Three.

"Thank you for..." oh for the love of FUCK.

Finally, my credit bleeding to dry, it gave me the option of talking to an operator or, in this case, listening to something by Mozart while I thought about getting a little bit stabby. For seven minutes. Seven long minutes before the voice, THAT voice, came on again.

"We cannot connect your call at this time." Then the engaged tone, then nothing, nothing but my shaking and foetal remains on the floor.