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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.