Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Shudder

You can't have one without the other...



Joan Burton in a recording studio. The Government are clearly, clearly not thinking of the children.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

16:04

Things from the last few weeks...

1) I made a conscious decision to quit blogging, and to just leave that last nothing of an entry as my parting gift to nobody in particular. Then, much like snooker gobshite Ronnie O'Sullivan, I unquit by writing several entries that will stay in the drafts and decided to go the opposite way entirely. More Radgery, all the time, wittier and witherier than ever!*

*Not a guarantee.

2) I discovered the wondrous world of the smoothie. Foolishly, I believed that banana - a fruit that would cause me to die or just explode a little bit - was a crucial ingredient but this is not the case. This is not the case and I'm happy about it, and my strawberry something from Zumo in the Jervis Centre made me quiet and happy for 12 glorious minutes last Tuesday.

3) I turned the age of Jebus and got spoiled for the feat by herself.

4) I worked highly irregular hours, at shorter and shorter notice, making me crave some job security and the life of a man on daily nodding terms with the same faces, at the same minute past 8am, on some office clad city centre street. Then I accepted my lot and gloried in recorded Masterchef at 2pm of a Thursday.

5) I slowly muddled, and keep muddling, my way through The Given Day by Dennis Lehane. Why am I so easily distracted from literature?

6) I got a little bit very fucked up over the death of Gary Speed.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The spot on my nose

Total cholesterol is 6.3... this should not exceed 5.0... LDL cholesterol is 4.2... this should not exceed 3.0... HDL cholesterol, which is the good cholesterol, is at 0.9... ideally this should be between 1 and 2...

I get it. Stop with the cheese and the Twixes and the roast beef breakfasts. Make nice with the walnuts and the sardines and the myriad salad leaves that hide from you in the chilled food section.

What a bunch of old bollocks, this spreading of I Can't Believe This Tastes So Bland on my toast and the accession to exercise that I'd rather not do. My body, my doctor, my fasting bloods don't take into account a need for taxi driver stories to kickstart this ailing weblog.

Like the other day and the man that told me he had decided at 18 to never worry a day in his life.

"That was 31 years ago and I just figured, if I spend today worrying and I don't wake up tomorrow, I'll have spent my last day on earth tying myself up in knots for no reason."

I liked that. I told him I liked that and I'd never heard that before, and he said it was his own and that I could use it away. A nice man. A clean car. Fiver for the fare and some gratis life coaching. I can't give that up. I won't give that up.

Time for some porridge.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

A nonsense of a film

It's done. I've moved. It's over and there was nothing a deluge, an early call to exit the old place, two unplanned shifts in The Journal and the bastard Dublin traffic could do to stop me.

It feels good now that there's a decent shape on the place and my stuff is mixing with hers. Looking around the sitting room it remains a case of my stereo and her everything else, but she'll tell me what's mine is hers anyway.

The house avoided the flood like it knew somebody was moving in the next day - every other residence on the road is still dealing with the fallout but she guarded her place well, wringing out towels and handing out cups of tea to the neighbours. No damage done save for the affliction of boy where all sorts of nice things used to be. Ha.

Other things this week?

-Frequented Darwin's restaurant on Aungier Street by way of celebration. I don't recall a better meal.
-Watched 'Hanna' - a nonsense of a film.
-Drank fine wines on Sunday night, amid stories.
-Cursed my way through a rugby shift while others were being social and warm.
-Watched 'Big' in bed until the hour got ridiculous.
-Found it odd that certain people, in town on Saturday night, were not dressed as warlocks or Bosco.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

I wish they'd take it down..

The smug looking eejit surveying Dame Street from above the front gate of Trinity - who he? Anybody able to enlighten me?

I've heard it's the new provost but the interweb fails to back that up...

The first to answer correctly wins a great big bag of kudos.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Speaking fluent dentist

"Who does the dentist's teeth?" "Is there a discount?" "Where would a barber get a haircut?"

Questions to drift in and out of my head with every scrape and drill and injection of beautiful, sweet, weird anaesthetic. Three fillings. One hour. A comfortable chair to move up and down electronically and the thought that I won't be watching 'Marathon Man' any time soon.

I can't escape bad popular music.

Today FM and Katy fucking Perry's teenage dreams or whatever she's on about. I need this like a hole in the head, a pun I absolutely fucking intended. Dr. Greg ceases the drilling for the news for a moment and makes a quip about dead despots, then asks me why my cheeks are so hot.

"Do you get sinusitis?"

I was wondering how long it would be before he'd ask me a question, with seven shades of implement vying for my tongue.

"Uuuuggghhurrrhhuhhhh... Urh? Ughagagahhhh..." I responded.

"Thought so," he said, speaking fluent dentist. "That can also manifest itself in tooth pain."

Back to the scraping and the imaginings, the inability to figure out the time that had passed. He told me I'd done a great job with the flossing since my last visit and I took that with a pride I haven't known since third class.

I didn't mention the nauseous stomach I had or the fact that I could hear his, gurgling with the promise of his lunch. I just waited for the endless invasion to stop so I could head for the outside and feel all lopsided.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The price

"Jaysus, the costa' Costa Coffee coffee... And no, the joke isn't old yet."

At €3.30 for a Flat White I feel I'm allowed to labour the point, drag the arse out of a quip I first made six, seven, eight weeks ago. She'll be tutting in company for years to come but these are the breaks. The drawbacks. The prices you pay for picking someone who still laughs at funnies from 1986.

I curse the absence of a window seat as it was the only reason I chose this gaudy, faux homely café in the first place. I like to look at Dame Street, to quietly judge the suits, the dealmakers, the people who can't look anywhere but straight ahead for fear of wasting time.

Pearl Jam plays in my ears, then Sinatra, followed by something that makes me tap the fast forward button six or seven times. I settle on Ludovico Einaudi so I can marvel at my own eclecticism but then the drowning comes.

I later discover it to be Rihanna and a ballad about king size beds. The volume is way up and my coffee at about €2.70 of its full value. I turn off the iPod, resign myself to the emoting overhead and try to lip-read the conversation at the next table.

He looks like Diarmaid Ferriter and she's heading to Chicago on the day of the election, so whatever business they have must be concluded "pow wow" or else going forward the world will collapse, or have fewer shoes, or whatever. I lose interest.

I make a note in my phone about HR people and what they go home to, how they live their lives when they're not going forward, whether they manage to shake off their awfulness before crossing the threshold. I file it away.

The window seat empties and I take its space, taking care not to spill the contents of my coffee cup on something that should be wood but probably isn't. I stay where I am because I'm afraid of my couch, my telly, of Ivan Answer and his call centre capos, of the fact that I'll find nothing to do on this day off but find things to shout at, and eat sweets.

I think of the move. Of my stuff in the wardrobe. Of my duvet and iron and other pieces of my life to be discarded and thought about and, yes, discarded anyway. I think of my teeth and the three fillings needed. I think of my eyes and the new glasses needed. I think of my head and the MRI needed. I think of my stuff and the new life that's needed.

I think that I'll write something again, third person it, make it not me and that I'll do that as soon as this coffee is done. This pricey bastard of a coffee and its reminder of so much to make happen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

1

You could tell the tourists by their shoes. Tennis shoes or hiking boots, baseball caps, big beards and even bigger accents.

One woman thought it would be lovely and kitsch to wear an outsized farmer's cap with her pink rain jacket and Californian bob. It really wasn't and spoke only of them speaking down to us, the cute Irish gombeens.

We accented our Dublinness at every point, visitors but not too much so, fitting in while the gawds stood out.

Driving over the Connor Pass, under fog, in fear; eating chips on a wall in the daytime and sober; walking by water, through the town, two or three times; drinking coffee beside a garden shed while the owner played guitar; the smell of the cheese shop, which smelled like a cheese shop; secretly cursing the B+B owner for being too handsome, too rugged, too Kerry, in her presence; a charm, one year on, as a keepsake...

Two swapped starters and stories over wine, new ones, that never run out.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Sound

Job the third has started, just another ruse to keep me from myself, from Frasier or those terrifying Loose Women. Jesus but they scare the knackers off me.

Job the third. I'd call it a 'gig' if I didn't want to facepunch anyone that refers to a job of work as a Pink Floyd concert. Fuck that.

Anyway, yeah, it's the one where I walk into a room, dab at my liquid face, gabble on about my chosen subject and hope I won't get caught.

I used to be one of this particular group, I formed part of the same undergrad clique back in the late 1990s.

The fear comes from the freshness of my memory, knowing the freedom of sitting-looking-up as opposed to the sweat of standing-looking-down. Doodling cartoon boobies instead of a lesson plan, mind drifting to thoughts of the pub and some unattainable sort from the Interior Design course, the sheer liberty of not being the teacher.

Happily, ten minutes in I remember myself and all it takes is a curt "no talking when I'm talking, please."

From then on it's plain bluffing, just me and my monocle, my pointy stick of justice and 15 blank, blank faces.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Mike Scott's hat

It's taken longer than I thought it would to get to 750 posts, but a slowdown doesn't mean a stoppage.

Once I whittle this old life of mine down to one source of income, one place of rest and a handy little scribbling desk I'll be able to pay more mind to old Radgery and give this here interlog a proper talking to.

I'm here now though, some dental work that went awry leading to a broken head, a proper ouch of an ear infection and the ringing in sick to work. Proper sick but proper bored, the guilt of an early morning call to the boss offset by his understanding and my own need to poke and prod at the sore bits in peace.

"Stop at it! Leave it alone!"

Here now with the telly off, with the window open, with the tinnitus ears and a half drunk coffee, weakened by too short a spell in the French press.

I'm thinking about Mike Scott's hat, which I encountered on Saturday in the Italian place off Nassau Street. Just myself, herself, Mike Scott's hat, Mike Scott and some boring dolt of a young one accompanying him.

Why a Waterboy should have to sit and listen to the witterings of a Krystle-faced chickenhead was beyond me, but there they were at the next table, his attentiveness and Scottish brogue matched by her tales of how she fancied some young fella but he was paying no mind.

She was guilty of not asking questions, just prattling on while Mike Scott's hat (featuring Mike Scott) took it all in, until a good hour later when she queried about his favourite place.

He paused a while, considered it, before saying that he didn't know. Different places held different charms for him, but as I waited to hear him expand on the point she came back in with tell of a 'text message from that dick Steve.'

Theirs was an incongruous lunch date.

As I got up to leave I turned and told him I liked his music very much, when all I know are the hits, and he thanked me for the compliment. I felt like a fake fanboy gobshite but turned it to my advantage when I met herself outside.

"Fuckin' Mike Scott," I said. "He just asked me if I was THE Radge, or radgery.com fame. I told him to go fuck himself."

She laughed, did Shiny, where few others might have.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Writing home about stuff...

Ever hear the one about the man with two homes, two part-time jobs and a stop-start case of ear knack? No, me neither, and were there to be a punchline it would likely be unwieldy and confusing.

Two homes. Two jobs. A stop start case of ear knack and the things I nearly blogged about, but didn't, such as a visit to the dentist and the fact that co-habitation looms.

Because I've just started what I'm certain is my eighth year of blogging and I have to dash home for a night of purest sitting, I'm going to revert to an old favourite.

Things I don't give a shit about this week:

Jessie Wallace's marital woes.
How long it took the Ireland handball players to get to New Zealand.
The fact that the dentist wants to thieve almost 300 of my europounds for fillings.
The fact that I should have flossed more.
Pink wafers.
The early retirement of Anne Doyle.
Soup.

Cheese of the week is Jarlsberg.

Monday, August 15, 2011

St Patrick's Cathedral

The middle of town and it's a wasteland for lunch spots. Clanbrassil Street.

In two months I'd eaten soup among the Racing Post cognoscenti, a stale ciabatta on Kevin Street, something with beetroot on Aungier Street and far too many Subway inches served up by a man who told me I looked tired, angry and fierce with the world.

Fuck you, Londis.

I'd gone hungry also, shy to eat among new colleagues and have the smell of my soup waft all over their nice weekday afternoons, but there was a degree of success today on a sandwich run to a place with 'Bite' in its title.

The waitress dared me to eat all of the sandwiches, holding each up and telling me of the delights within. I was hungry and opted for something with salami and tomato that made the bread a bit soggy. No matter, it did the job, and I enjoyed her Dutch chatter with the 'sh's giving her away.

I'd wasted just 15 minutes of my break so walked around the park beside St. Patrick's Cathedral, settling on a bench in the piddlings of rain. I only remembered being there once, when I was in third class and obsessed with finding the grave of Robert Emmet.

When my country takes her place among the nations of the earth, then, and not till then, let my epitaph be written.

I half recalled the words and wondered what led me to stop being so intrepid, what grabbed me about his story in the first place and how I equated a field trip - eating cold sausage rolls in my father's car - at nine-years-old with this park.

I thought on other snatches of things before the rain started falling that bit too hard and I wandered back to the main road, past the Spar, the black Londis at Fumbally Square, around the corner and to a computer that had me logged elsewhere.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

The 77

"They're turning a mountain into a molehill, Bernie, they're makin' far too big a deal out of it altogether..."

"Are you sure you don't mean..."

"Exactly, Bernie, that fuckin' bitch is exaggeratin' and making stuff up and she's not even her baby..."

"But mountains, Mary..."

"That's right Bernie. Social fuckin' services she's sayin'. Social services me granny! Those children were the best behaved children in Coolock..."

"The thing is..."

"I know, you're right."

"No, the thing is..."

"What is it Bernie?"

"You MAKE a mountain out of a molehill. You don't turn a mountain into a molehill!"

"Ah jaysus! Is that what I... Ah jaysus Bernie. I'm some eejit. But that's what they're doin'. They're turnin' a mountain... Which is it again?"

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Euro and Euros, both correct, but don't you just hate Euros as a plural?

Seven bottles of wine on the floor.

The Indian man in the Londis on Clanbrassil Street who always says 'how's it going' in a brassy Dublin accent.

Me, blank screen staring, for fifteen illicit minutes during Bank Holiday Monday. Not even hungover. Just not giving a fuck.

Talking to a 60-something woman with a lived-in face about The National and music in general.

Taking a different walk to work on differing days of the week.

Staring at the ceiling on a day off, and not bothering to care until much later on.

The red result of a forgotten pair of swimming trunks, and outside hot-tub sitting in Meath.

Realising it had been over a week since a blog, and not bothering to care until much later on.

The goat's cheese trial going well.

Telling the story of a 'dopp' and not really claiming it as my own.

Not being too sure if it should be goat's cheese, goats cheese or goats' cheese, and the loss of my perspicacity.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lisbon in numbers

No fanfare, no tickertape, no topless cakesprung models greeted myself and Shiny on our return to Terminal 2 last Saturday night.

We were met instead with wipey eyed toddlers screaming for their beds, a round man with an overbite storming through the airport like Arnold Schwarzenegger on crack and his vacant faced and long suffering spouse to be. We'd have pitied her had it not been for her steadfast refusal to blink or change expression.

I couldn't place a single difference between T2 and its older brother, by the way, given the fact that I stare at airport floors like a pissed off teen until I get on that plane, or out that glass door, to freedom.

So, Lisbon in numbers...

0 - The number of books read by either myself or herself, save for the ever present tourist handbook and accompanying map. We'd brought six between us.

1 - Sagres beer. I stuck mainly to the Super Bock.

2 - The number of balconies in our modest, yet perfectly appointed, apartment. One for the drying, the other for the basking.

2 - Steak dinners in Docas.

2 - Cocktails drunk by me. A Mojito by the sea in Estoril, a strawberry concoction on the last night.

4 - Cocktails drunk by her.

7 - Nights spent under the lovely whirr of our air conditioner.

9 - The number of times I made her laugh out loud.

92 - The number of times she'd have me believe she made me laugh out loud.

10,454 - The number of shops we found closed on Sunday, our first full day there. This frightened us until we remembered that days of the week also exist while on holidays.

2.5 - The number of days it took us to find the central squares of the city, which we celebrated with much beer, sitting and the second city bus tour of my life.

10/10 - What we'd both give the Piri Piri Chicken we ate on nights Tuesday and Thursday. I don't recall the name of the restaurant, I stayed on 'big picture' duty while she got us from A to B to P to back again to A.

120 - The amount of street sellers who tried to get me to buy herself a rose, some sunglasses, a hat or some shiny contraption that kids wear as headbands.

4 - The measures of whiskey poured into my glass by the kindly waiter beside the boats. I drank most of it on a stomach of wine and beer and bespoke strawberry cocktail, and this did not go unpunished come 5am the following morning.

2 - Garments wrecked by sun tan lotion, which she is salvaging as I type.

10,222 - Moments of pinching myself, thinking that Holemaster would hate me to be this happy.

1 - Beach visit, including ice cream, fine food and graceless barefoot stomping through the sand.

5 - Encounters with an insane Indian singing man. The last day we saw him, he'd clearly run afoul of some angry youths as he was on crutches.

2 - Sintra pastries, while watching the filming of a Portuguese soap opera on the steps of the local basilica.

1 - Time getting lost before ending up in the Lisbonian Ballymun. All ended safely and drunkenly.

5 - Ice creams consumed, though this stands to correction (and doubtless will be).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Nobody ought to be that poised

"Should I bring a towel?"

I picture her whipping around her place, frazzled to a state of befustification, packing and unpacking and making things smaller than they should be, and thinking it is one of the most stupid text messages she's ever received.

She was gracious though, my girl, and just replied to say something about a turban.

She refrained from, "I'm fairly certain a fully equipped apartment comes fully equipped with towels to dry oneself."

In ten months, it seems, I've earned the right to be an idiot and to have it overlooked.

I fucking hate packing so I got it out of the way early. I secreted away too many black t-shirts, checking and double checking that the hard drugs I've never even come across in real life hadn't made their way into the zips. Not a sign, just some old receipts and an empty Extra chewing gum wrapper.

I gave up at one point, distracted by something on the telly, and now it's officially the day where I have to come face to face with my biggest enemy - the dreaded sky clown* - in the name of some time in a bubble. I see clothes hanging about the place and can't summon the will to fold. Time enough, I blog instead and it's soon to the cot.

I don't imagine I'll be in touch and I'm not one of those smiletalking fuckers who'd promise anyone a postcard, but I do ask that you keep away from yourselves until my gloriously broken return.

*Air hostesses. My greatest phobia. Nobody ought to be that poised.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Drop

They wanted a short story. They got a short story. They wanted twee and unthreatening. I gave them twee and unthreatening. They proffered ten grand. Another piece won it.

Careful scribe that I am, I dared not publish a word of it before the winner was announced. I allowed myself fanciful thoughts of some monetary idyll, a trip to New York on the proceeds, but it turns out I didn't mention the product enough.

It may as well do something, so here it is. Be kind or be quiet.

= = =

"Come here," he said. "Come here 'til I talk to you for a minute. I've wise words to impart."

There was no shorthand in my grandfather's language.

"Do you see this seat?" he asked me. I saw the seat.

"I've sat here for 56 years, with my father, your father, your grandmother, even your mother from time to time and I haven't been able to reason a better seat in a better pub in Ireland. Your father had his first pint with me here, where you're sitting, and I was with him whenever he fell off it."

I couldn't imagine my father falling from a chair. He wasn’t a man for toppling

"We've set the world to rights over and over again and he's the better man for it. Remember this: Never worry. Worrying never solved a problem. Tough times always come without a warning and as long as you sit and take a drop with the people that love you, you won't go far wrong.

"You’ll lose jobs, you’ll get them again. You’ll think you’ll have fallen in love, maybe eight or nine times, before you find someone who thinks you’re an eejit and stays with you anyway. You’ll have governments try to take the arse from under you and then they’ll do it again for good measure.

"Those who practice jealousy as a hobby will run you down and never think twice about it, but the simple truth of it is this: Be in good company. The only thing in life that matters is other people, good people, surround yourself with them. Those boys up there…"

He pointed to the three lads, hovering over a single pint and two soft drinks, bought as decoy.

"…those are good boys. Stick with them. Hold no truck with those other boughsies up the road. You’ll be here with your lads long after I’m gone, to keep each other straight."

I was waiting for the 'one more thing.'

"One more thing. Tell Jim you’re getting your grandfather a Powers."

I hadn't spoken a single word to him but that was often the way of it. I just got him his drink, sat back down and hid his words away for later.

Later turned into now, later is fifteen years since that night and fourteen since he died, head bowed at his Irish Times in my grandmother’s bed. I sit with my father at his father’s seat, take in the three half supped pints at the bar, and we raise and tip our spirits "to himself."

"Come on," says my da. "Lads!" he calls the three boys. "This day won’t marry itself. She’ll be pulling up soon."

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

All I wanted to do was just about enough

This place gets louder in the evenings, when the Casual Fridays head on home to their glasses of Casillero del Diablo and tales of what Sorcha told them in the kitchen.

There will always be left a straggler, invariably the biggest dickhead of them all, staying late to 'box things off' when he's really avoiding the wife. He'll gab away on the phone, munch on an apple, hock and snot and sigh and moan and talk to anyone that enters the room. Except me.

Two years in the same office and he never learned my name. Suppose he never had to.

Because he's the loudest man in any Dublin room I don't need to eavesdrop, his tell of 'training with the lads' and going for a barbecue on Saturday is slicing through my headphones. All I wanted was to do an adequate job at low, low prices.

His life is in my brain and I can't help wondering why he's here. He normally smiletalks his way out of the office around 4.30pm, the erection borne of a game of golf only barely disguised by bulk-bought pants on the wrong side of tight.

I imagine his wife never curses but she did last night, she told him he can fuck right off if he thinks he can saunter in at 2am on a Monday and expect her to comply. I see her flicking through his phone, annoyed to find nothing incriminating and giving him hell for the loyalty.

So he stays late, and annoys my invisible head. He fidgets and fumbles and jigs around his keys, does a dance with his jacket and eventually, come quarter to eight, heads out the door to face down a perfect domestic storm.

Friday, July 01, 2011

I think a drink

Scant time for this kind of thing lately, which is a pity because this kind of thing might just be one of my favourite things to do.

But, no, scant. A man moves cautiously through this recession but it suffices to say that good things have been happening, as well as something to do with the sinuses that have made the brain fuzzy and focused on only things immediate.

That's something of an update and I do plan on writing more next week, but who has the time?

For now, I think a drink, don't you?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dope

"What would a man... who's looking down on us all... from 200 miles up in the sky... think of us? Us here tonight... this nation... these countries without borders... all our conflicts muted..."

Oh shut up, Bono.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Waiting Room

I don't fall sick that often, I just seem to write about it whenever I do. I'm pretty sure I wrote about something a few weeks ago that left me, then came back, then left again.

Then I drank it back into myself, or tempted it back up with one of those great weekends of wellness and love and the best blinkin' rib eye of my life, because yesterday I felt like death.

The ear, you see.

Herself hates an earache above all other things and says that nothing feels more invasive. I could relate so, this being a week where I need my brain for the actual pursuit of professional recovery, I rang the doctor's office on Suffolk Street and begged for a review, cheaper than a consultation.

I ouched my way up to town and walked up the stairs to the surgery. My usual waiting seat by the window was taken so I sat beside a hock snotting rugby dick of the highest order, all lime jumper, pink shirt and guttural abomination.

I wish I didn't hate strangers so easily, so quickly, but jaysus I took against this lad before my arse met the chair. He was sitting there, hocking and sniffing at three second intervals, and not so much turning the pages of his Metro Herald as doing war with it.

It was his obliviousness that got to me, the noises coming out of him without even the slightest idea of other people in the room. I wondered if punching him in the nose might soften his cough, or if I should simply just take the box of tissues from the window sill and jam it down his craw.

I did neither, of course, because I'm happier holding on to my anger and rolling my eyes like a disapproving grandmother.

A woman with a baby came into the room and I offered up my seat, which she took, before the musical chairs continued and I managed to snaffle the window seat.

I was facing him at this stage. The chair beside him was now free but instead of offering it to one of the three or four people who came in, looked around and walked back out again to stand in the hallway, he just used it as a resting spot for his discarded supplements, leaflets and free morning newspaper.

The receptionist came in to ask if he could remove the papers and free up the seat but he just ignored her, staring out the window, dreaming no doubt of Mother Leinster. She had to fangle her way around him and clear up his mess herself, while I silently defenestrated the prick from across the room.

I blame the parents.

Monday, June 06, 2011

The who, the what, the where and the when

I wish I was in a John Hughes film, running amok through these corridors and setting small, inconsequential fires to things. Affecting some kind of war cry and flirting with Molly Ringwald, every last gingery bit of her.

I'm not, though, and the fun of that rebellion is killed by knowing that I'm allowed to do whatever I want in this place. There's no Skinneresque presence to ratchet up the detention with brusque abandon and I'm, sadly, far too grown up to be a teenager.

I'm in work, and there's nobody else here. I swear I'd doss if the best way to pass the hours wasn't just getting on with it, filing one lovely piece of journalism after another and coupling it with the grunt work. The racing results. That pox of a thing.

This, at least, is the time where I eat that limp little Spar sandwich of turkey, stuffing and a bit too much squeezy mayonnaise and let myself write without quite so many rules.

Typing without the who, the what, the where and the when.

Bring on 5pm and the freedom to, once again, seek a better station for myself and worry when it doesn't happen immediately. Freedom to see and speak to human beings who don't curse every time a Bank Holiday rolls around without the lure of double pay.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Saturday stereotype

I sat down beside him and his Powerade bottle on the Luas and I dreaded to think of the concoction therein. Is methadone distributed in sports bottles, mixed with the fluourescent dregs to give birth to some lovely, numbing potion?

I decided I didn't care.

He looked like an IKEA lamp, a rake thin shaft leading up to something bulbous and gap toothed. Dressed in some ripped, grey tracksuit bottoms with a dirt and yellow trim, he didn't smell of anything.

As people filed on and off - Smithfield, Jervis, Sráid na Mainistreach - I started noticing other things until he shuffled beside me, touching off my shoulder once or twice before he produced his iPhone 4, replete with handset.

He ran his heroin fingers over the touchscreen with a nimble ability that freaked me right the fuck out, before fixing the earpieces in and waiting for his call to be taken.

"Hi Simon," he said. "I'm just heading down to The Point now. Yeah... Yeah... Sorry I'm late dude but you focking have to go to Bloom. Seriously man, you will NOT regret it..."

Simon says something.

"... yeah... yeah... Phoenix Park. In fairness the Neven Maguire expo was fucking wedged but totally worth it dude. I'm heading back down tomorrow, you on?"

I'd say that Simon, given the gusto displayed by my emaciated friend, was very much on but I had to get off the shiny train and go back about my day of nothing much at all.

May they wear their Factors 15 with pride.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Closed on Sunday's

'No eating or drinking on the premisis.'

Oh my gentle Jesus.

Without getting into the whys and the wherefores of my approximation to this dose of broken English - let's call it an office in some outsourced version of hell - it gave me great comfort and I texted herself immediately. If you think I'm pernickety...

"Get off that premisis, you might fall into the abiss," came the response and I chuckled among the sickly faces, the form fillers and the Casual Fridays.

The times are lean enough without students to admonish and corrections to turn red, so I figured if I became a sign fixer for twenty euro a pop I wouldn't have to ration out the Special K quite so frugally, I would not need to rewash and recycle those J-clothes to within an inch of their tattered lives.

A sign fixer, yes. A rediscoverer of absent apostrophes, a restorer of reputation to the businesses that really ought to know better, a quieter of pedantic bastards like myself who love nothing more than to frown on the stupidity of others. A good career.

"He was a fine man, he knew his plurals from his possessives and he was fondly thought of because of it."

The worst I ever saw came a couple of years ago. There I was, reciting the Greek alphabet to myself on a sunny Sunday on St. Stephen's Green when I double took like I've never double taken before.

"What the fuck?" I what the fucked to myself.

"Ah here, ah Jaysus..." and I took a picture to prove how I'm far cleverer than a billboard.

Shanahan's restaurant, that place of quality moo for a small remortgage, had a sign in its window, white on black, that would have had my grandfather spitting and blinding at The Irish Times' letters page.

"We are closed on Sunday's."

I will do it, please let me do it, please let me fix up Dublin's typographical errors for a small fee, a daily lunch allowance, the price of a red pen and a brand new stick of literary justice. I will not let anyone down.

Monday, May 30, 2011

An empty cup of Brian Dennehy

She looked at me with sympathy, the kind doctor with the soft tones, and she hid well the horror of having to look at my ten-pin leg and dire case of foot knack, once again.

December was the last time that she sent me for an x-ray I didn't end up needing, and now I was back with vague instructions about how I've had a headache in my paw for the last four days, and a dreadful dose of crapness to go with it.

"Describe the crapness," she didn't quite say.

"Well, Davros made a funny in work yesterday and I barely raised a chuckle, while I've been cracking old man noises in reaching for a glass of water. I nodded off briefly at my desk and my head's been a-rattling like a sailor's sock."

"A sailor's sock? I don't get it," said the doctor.

"No, I don't either, that's just the problem. Whatever the fuck this is, well, it's making me dole out the bad analogies like Ryan Tubridy on a slice of Calvita."

"Open your mouth and say 'aaaaah...'"

I said 'uuuuh' by mistake.

"I'm just going to have a look inside your ears."

"What for?" I asked. "You'll find neither money nor sense in there. It's like an empty cup of Brian Dennehy."

"There's a bit of redness in your right ear but how that corresponds with your foot ouch is anyone's guess. Your throat's a bit red too. Blood pressure and temperature are normal, mind you."

"So?"

"So it's most likely a viral infection. Keep taking paracetamol, drink plenty more water and give me fifty five of your hard-snoozed europounds, please."

"Oh very well but I'll have you know this is just like the time Jerry Seinfeld played Snap on his own in my granny's kitchen. Nobody wins."

"I don't quite follow."

"Goodbye doctor. I'll see you in time for Christmas."

Monday, May 23, 2011

Topics proffered by other voices

I used to open this page and write whatever came out unbid, then wonder how people could respond with positivity, glibness or even a lovely invitation for me to cop the fuck on and realise that love wasn't just something that happened to other people.

I seldom knew what I'd write about before opening the browser and that's why I've never taken to being offered a subject on which to blather, topics proffered by other voices.

Funny things, blogs, for their breadth and their untidy ramblings, for the links that have migrated to Twitter and for the occasional gold that remains.

A funny thing to a comment whore like myself, vomiting words for words to wake up to, but it's all got a little bit lost since I've realised that one set of eyes seeking me out in a room is enough, for any man, and the once cherished (3) of a Gmail account is the most anti-climactic thing in the world.

I remain, though, I persist. This is not a giving up. I still get mornings like the one that happened today, sitting on a bus for an hour and a half in the rain while Dublin shuts itself down so a man can drink a pint.

Mornings like this one on Clanbrassil Street where I look out from the 19A and a phrase hits me that I'll probably never use, but I like the thought that I can, and the comment whore inside me will get his end away. I may have lost some structure but I'm trying to get it back.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Always the danger of Twink

Things I wouldn't watch on television...

The Queen's visit: Plane lands, old woman gets out, decides it's much the same as England, walks around a bit, searches for her pills, likes the blue ones, takes out a Murray Mint, wonders why nobody came to see her, goes home.

St. Patrick's Day parade: People walk, twirl stuff, get drunk, get sick and go home.

The Late Late Show: I actually don't mind Tubridy, but when you know he's been combing the halls of RTE on a Friday afternoon for somebody to sit on his couch, it's getting a bit tedious. Plus, there's always the danger of Twink.

Sky News: Or 'The War Channel,' as herself puts it. Breaking News ceases to be Breaking News once it's broken, as opposed to 46 hours later when they're still floating that delightful yellow ticker below our noses, telling us that Bin Laden got got.

Rugby.

Budget coverage: Just a load of people sitting around and telling me how drunk I can't get and how many Twixes I'm not allowed to buy.

Election coverage: Just a load of people running over themselves to see who can be vague and non-committal with the greatest of alacrity.

Formula 1: Cars driving.

EastEnders: I swore I'd never fall into the trap of calling it a show full of miserable bastards, but it really is just a show full of miserable bastards.

Grand Designs: They rope you in, they end the show with no pay-off, leaving you wondering for days whether that yacht ever made its transition into a magnificently appointed Tuscan villa.

Anything with the word 'Extreme' in the title.

Friday, May 06, 2011

A moody bunch

They crack me up, the scumbags outside my office. They've migrated down to the water from Townsend Street or Tara Street or wherever the jaysus, they now live on one of those marble benches that looks straight across at the IFSC.

Fascinating noises and gestures come out of them, a stone's throw from where Gráinne and Samantha discuss their weekend plans with the goys while out having a smoke break.

Fascinating noises altogether.

They don't converse, they bellow. They take on the form of three or four arguing, gnashing coat hangers with their screams and their tears and their cans of cheap piss.

I can never, of course, make out a single thing they're saying to each other (such is their volume) but I like to think of them getting all strung out and worked up about the best way to make tiramisu, the vagaries of the Croke Park agreement and the merits of the IMF bailout.

"SHURRRRUP JOSIEEEE!!! I'M TELLIN' YE! BROYAN LENIHAN WAS TO BLAME WHEN HE BLEEDIN' PUSHED FOR THA' BLEEEEEEDIN' BANK GUARANTEE!!"

"STOP IT MACKORRR!! IT WAS AN INEVITABLE CONSEQUENCE OF THE FOOKIN' LAVISH SPENDIN' A' THOSE WAAANKERS LONG BEFORE LENIHAN EVER TOOK OVER THE BLEEDIN' FINANCE PORTFOLIO!"

And so on.

Be sure of one thing, never get them started on whether to use sherry or brandy in the bespoke Italian dessert. Things will get volatile.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Tourists

I was much more for the doing, and less so for the writing about the not doing, this past week.

A few days free from Mother Internet.

I got back to it yesterday to catch up on the football stories I'd ignored, the financial irregularities in my online banking, the work I'd put off for three soulful days and the blogs I hadn't commented on.

My head, however, stays fixed on the few days of holidays we shared in her house, in Portobello and Howth, in the only Select Bar we know how to drink in and even Temple Bar. Temple Bar, with hats gaudier than a R***l W*****g, hilarious and terrifying but far more the latter.

Now for a redrunkening. Anon.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

State visit

An indoor day, sporadically watching the snooker and dipping into my book about a shit-infested Balinese prison. A tremendous read entirely, 'Hotel K,' and it's distracting me from a minor bout of throat-ouch and, most importantly of all, myself.

I had a thought about the queen's* visit to Ireland. They're down to visit Croke Park and the Garden of Remembrance and Coolmore Stud and the Guinness Storehouse and Trinity College and fuck knows where else on their three-day jaunt.

You'd be knackered after all that. I'm tired even thinking about it, and I have no involvement whatsoever.

"Fuck this, Philip, look at this itinerary."

"What is it NOW, dear?"

"Look what they're having us do, where they're making us go. Here there and fucking everywhere, Philip."

"Language, Liz, language."

"I'm riled up Philip. I'm 85 tomorrow and they're having me stand around in horse muck and shaking the hands of a bunch of West Brit haircuts."

"Well what do you suppose we should do about it, dear?"

"I believe we should go, as intended, and just sit in our hotel rooms and order one of those frightfully good pay-per-view channels."

"Oh they ARE frightfully good. Yes, I like them."

"Or, Philip, you could see to it that someone ships over the DVD player from the entertaining den. We could finally get into that 'House' box-set that Camilla gave us. That Hugh Laurie is frightfully good."

"And a frightfully nice chap too."

"Oh Philip, let's. Let's jettison all that State visit shit and stay indoors. They have those Domino's pizza pies in Dublin too according to the computer box."

"Have it your way, dear."

"...oh? What's this? Philip. PHILIP! Wake up! They're trying to get us to pay our own way! What a fucking dis..."

"LANGUAGE, dear! Look up Trip Advisor and be done with it."

"Very well, Philip. Very well."

*I capitalise for no monarch.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Archive: Leppings Lane

Given the anniversary, I decided to post this again...

= = =

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 13, 2011

Square one, and life's great pleasures

1) I'm allergic to bananas.

2) I can't think of many other foods I wouldn't eat, except for eggs.

3) I can't stand the sound of an apple being eaten. It sounds like leg break to me.

4) I dislike people who don't ask questions.

5) I recently considered applying for a job in sales. Honest to jaysus, sales.

6) I don't think I could give up coffee, black, no sugar, never instant and strong.

7) Life's great pleasures #1: Walking into a busy pub, standing room only, the seat beside you becomes free.

8) It is fifteen months since I've been to my favourite place.

9) The only drug that interests me is Exputex.

10) My favourite smell could be Olbas Oil.

11) Life's great pleasure #2: Kehoe's on a Monday afternoon.

12) If I read more, the words will come.

13) I miss writing about the bad dates, but I don't miss the bad dates for a single second.

14) I'm happy, so very happy, that Fernando Torres is now a poor man's Geoff Horsfield.

15) I've watched 'When Harry Met Sally' more than is normal for a straight man, and I apologise to nobody. I'm making herself watch it soon.

16) Life's great pleasures #3: Mussels.

17) I drank far too close to a phlegm of Leinster supporters last Saturday, in O'Neill's of Pearse Street, and lived to tell this tale.

18) I wear black t-shirts a lot, seldom white, never grey.

19) I despise getting a missed call from a private number, with no message left.

20) In the last month, I have started eating porridge with great regularity.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Everyone loves a cartoon penis

You know how you'd be of a Saturday night.

You finish work around 8pm, a tough day of unseen match reporting, news correlating and discriminate copypasting, and you make the short walk down the quays towards home amid thoughts of reheated chilli and something, anything to drink.

Something, anything to drink turns out to be the three-quarters full bottle of red wine that's been resting beside the microwave for a week or two now. You pour it as the pot bubbles up and the rice does something, swimming in a bag. The wine tastes fine but is just the promise of acid to come. You'll finish that wine tonight.

You switch on the telly and it goes to RTE2, it goes to Ryle Nugent narrating the handball with his unique brand of nasally Leinsterness. It disgusts you, grates on you, fucks you up but you keep watching because this is what supposed sports journalists do. They watch the rugby even though it makes them sick and they're off the clock.

You need to build up the tolerance, you see, because next week brings more of the same. More trips up the quays to the land that good manners forgot, to the oiks in the suits who don't hold the door open and who piss without locking the cubicle.

"No time!"

You need to build up that tolerance so you listen to Ryle, figurehead to the Casual Fridays, for the duration of the second half as lads try to rape each other for the sake of an egg and the young lad, who's actually 43, kicks Munster to a win.

Handball over, chilli ready, wine poured and sitting, you check your phone for a text from a hen party but that will come later, will probably come drunkenly, and will come appreciated.

You're not really watching the telly, you're just thinking about the week gone by and the signing of the card.

You hate when the card gets passed around, hidden inside a paper folder so they won't see it. Some lad in accounting has seen sense and decided to do one, and you're asked to post a message like all the other oiks saying "best of luck!" and "I hope it works out for you!" and "you'll be missed!" even though the only memory you have of the man is something grunted during Cheltenham.

You doodle a cartoon penis instead.

You give a little chuckle to yourself on your Saturday night couch because it's still funny at three days' remove.

You let yourself a smirk as you finish the chilli and award it top marks, even nicer a day later, and you sup the end of that first glass of wine.

The phone is off noise, but it's not lighting up, and you wonder if you should have taken that offer of Neary's, but it's close to ten o'clock and there's a DVD player, Fitzbollix's big screen TV and the wine to be finished.

'The West Wing' cranks up and you get horizontal. She texts, she's fine, she's dancing or about to. Bartlet and Toby are having a row, the wine's settling nicely, the quiet is broken by a crowd of ten outside. Onto the balcony and you see a young one or three swigging straight from a bottle of vodka and you just know that's going to smart in the morning, you know she's going to puke as you sup your red wine all smugly from on high.

Back to the couch and the end of the story, you click back on the telly and remember the nagging thing, an unchecked Lotto ticket in your wallet.

Inputting the numbers is a highlight, same for most in these carbuncular times, and your soul takes a leap for that split second between seeing 'Congratulations!' flash up and the small print, informing you you've won a euro on the Lotto Plus 2.

You finish the wine and give the evening up, switching back to silent and belching off to sleep.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Until an idea comes along....

Recent events include:

Eating the best bit of fillet beef of all my days before I tasted the rib eye, which was better again.

Walking up Marlborough Street to the removal of my former English teacher, under cover of darkness. Part of me wanted to go into the school to see which of the teachers might disremember me first, the sensible side of me kept walking, steadily, with my head down and my eyes alert for the many I hoped to never see again, and the one I hoped I would.

Drinking on Aungier Street, and in Ranelagh, in the Ocean Bar (a many headed shithole) and just up from the canal.

Interviewing for a job I have fuck all chance of getting.

Staring at the 'New Post' page before catching myself on, switching the computer off, and going outside to play.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Gerry Haugh: RIP

Gerry Haugh, my English teacher for six years, passed away on Saturday night. A great and generous man, I last saw him a few months ago from the top floor of a bus and lamented the fact I wasn't passing him by foot so I'd be able to say hello.

He looked well and, sad as the news this weekend is, it's good to know that his illness was short and his death was not prolonged.

A brilliant director of plays and musicals, a soft spoken man that you never thought of crossing, a thoughtful and decent person. I suppose the best thing I can say of him is that he took a month off for himself every year, the other eleven were for us.

May he rest in peace.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Limey innards

It was the first St. Patrick's Day that I wasn't either in work or at home watching dogeared episodes of The West Wing or Six Feet Under.

I hold no truck with this day, Temple Bar opening its gob to cover the entire city in a technicolour yawn. Young ones passing out at DART stations, lads getting all nice and fighty with each other, fairground attractions and people forgetting that this is Dublin and it's not going to run out.

I don't like to drink when I'm told to, you see, and I certainly had no intention of 'painting the town red' or 'larging it up' with the suits from the office and their briefcases full of cliché.

Still, the ghosts of previous Beer Days don't stand a chance when it comes to her and our six months of firsts.

= = =

After a glorious banquet consisting of twice made coffee, Special K and a great big dirty gap where the rashers should have been, we headed for the outside. Pearse Street looked like a normal Thursday until we got to the Tavern past the Holiday Inn, apocalyptic scenes and torn up Cheltenham slips.

We first met the leprechaun hats on Westland Row and followed them up to Merrion Square where the very thoughts of a magic carpet ride made me grip her hand that little bit tighter. Remembrances of Funderlands past. I could be the very first man to look right, into Government Buildings, on quest of calm as the buggies and the American accents made it a bad day for agoraphobes everywhere.

The crowd bested, she took me on a tour, an odd thing for a Thursday in my home city.

We're devils for the details, the tiny moments of our lives, spelled out in day long email threads. Devils for the details so she put recognition on her lunch spots, the places she strolls to get out of the office, the Tesco where she buys her fruit and the shop where she has, so far, failed to win the Lotto.

The smell out of O'Donoghues put the want of a pint on me but that was resisted. We walked down Stephen's Green, meeting flurries of kids with hidden cans and scumbags climbing the gates of the park.

We looked like saps, looking to the left and the right at each other and then at the top of Grafton Street, a maelstrom, a mess. I lamented my Neary's taken over by the part-time drunks and gave a nod, just a nod, to Kehoes as we turned left and towards Harcourt Street.

That was deserted, by comparison, save for the shiny trains and their limey innards. We thought of paying a fare but kept walking instead, to Ranelagh, briefly thinking of a pint on the wall by The Barge, but no.

Starving, we found a café. We ate club sandwiches and drank coffee while the child at the next table dipped his elbow in ketchup and the waitress said he was lovely and cute.

Enough of that, the bill was paid and we found a seat, an actual seat, in Birchall's pub and sat there drinking until the second pint had run out. The second pint had gone dry and we had to make like a taxi and scram for the perfect finish of a roasted dinner, the craic, and some quiet, sober reading on her couch.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Numbers, statistics and foie gras burgers

Foolishly, in my cups, I opened up the calculator on my phone. I factored money coming in against money going out and slept no kind of a sleep afterwards.

Don't do that. Please don't ever do that, it will only depress you if you're a man like me that enjoys the fine things in life. Fine things like beer and cheese, the odd cinema trip and occasional mini burger with foie gras and truffle mayonnaise.

Catching a hold of myself, I resolved to go on a budget for a few weeks and eschew the all too frequent taxi jaunts over to, and back from, hers in place of sitting with Joe Public on the 19A and some honest to goodness ambulation.

I resolved to seek out some new employ and got my first invitation to 'kindly fuck off' in the post last week.

It didn't piss me off, this rejection of an interview, because I know that I'm a few steps away from being the CEO of a major overseas investment firm. I'm more than a couple of rungs down that ladder but I'll start off by getting the suit dry-cleaned while I brush up on my bullshit bingo.

Soon enough, and I'm a patient man, but soon enough I'll be briefcased up to the balls and my gurning face will greet you from a plinth in Citywest. I'll tell how you can do it too while doling out the synergy like yet another unwieldy analogy.

Oh yes. Corporate Radge. Gizza job. Giz one, go on, help me to help you.

Until such a time as my accession to First Class, however, I can be found here, and there, feeding my newfound porridge addiction and worrying about the price of McCambridge's finest.

Friday, March 04, 2011

In the fall season...

I sent my sister an email earlier, I thought I'd colour her day with some of my purple prose. Well, not purple prose, as such, but the details of a new sitcom starring our friend with the God complex from across the water.

'One And A Half Radge.'

In this ribald tale of one man's journey through life, Mr. Sheen plays my good self in a series of elongated stories from my time on this Earth.

-Like the time Joan Collins delivered me a Four Star Pizza while doing research for a part in a James Woods-scripted mini series called 'Eight Slices Of Life.'

-Like the time I went around the pubs of Glasnevin to show off a perfectly preserved snot in the shape of Martin McGuinness's head.

-Like the time I owned up to my mam about mitching off school with Angeline Ball from The Commitmentettes.

-Like the time myself and Fitzbollix were so drunk we thought we were pissing up a wall. We were, in fact, pissing on a statue of Julie Andrews having sex with Ronan Keating.

-Like the time I accidentally elbowed Cilla Black in the nuts, before being kicked out of Coppers.

-Like the time I jelly wrestled with Brian Kerr, John Ritter and LaToya Jackson. Funny story actually...

-Like the time I commissioned Larry David to write a sitcom about Aaron Sorkin writing a drama about George Romero directing a horror based on my six years with the Jesuits on Great Denmark Street, before things got far too complicated and we shut up shop.

-Like the time I ran out of things to say and employed Gerry Adams' unemployed voiceover artist to do my talking for me in a stern Nordie brogue.

Yep, it's going to be good. And for those of you wondering why it'll be called 'One And A Half Radge,' it's partially as a paean to Sheen's last day job, and partially because I figured the midget from 'In Bruges' would make a deadly narrator.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

1.15

I'm back in a phase of starting and unfinishing blogs, saving to drafts and deleting entirely while I get distracted by tell of Adonis DNA and Tigers' blood.

Charlie Sheen is a very entertaining man, even if 'Two And A Half Men' is roughly as funny as a drillbit to the loins.

'I expose people to magic. I expose them to something they’re never going to see in their otherwise boring lives. And I gave that to them. I may forget about them tomorrow, but they’ll live with that memory for the rest of their lives, and that’s a gift, man.'

I wish I'd come up with that, though I'd have left out the superfluous 'man' at the end.

Beyond that, I have nothing. I've come to recognise these thoughts of ending the blog as routine, it's just a block, but I'm not going to write stories about taxi journeys and disappointing fish dinners just for the sake of them.

Until such a time as something can't go unwritten...

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Karma come lead me on...

The bottom of Grafton Street, today, 4pm.

I was in the queue at the Ulster Bank ATM behind a well dressed blonde woman, late thirties, who had a pursed lip and a hassled way about her.

She finished her transaction and walked away before the cash machine had spat out €150.00, leaving me holding the cash with the greatest gombeen expression of 'what the fuck?' I could come up with.

I figured it was a pretty little windfall before my bastard of a conscience kicked in and I made chase, catching up with her on Suffolk Street.

"EXCUSE ME!!!"

She turned around and I thrust the cash into her hand.

"You left this behind you..."

She looked relieved but didn't smile, just said thanks and walked away.

I was texting news of my do-goodery not two and a half minutes later when a bird shat on my head and my jacket and my glasses on the corner of Harry Street.

I 'what the fuck?'ed again before finding myself in the nearest pub jacks, washing away the avian faeces, then making absolute haste to the nearest Lotto depository. Some good must come of all this.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Moleskine

The blue book:

Gone now, the big blue book of my youth. A4 sized, as far as I can recall I managed to fill it halfway with teenaged keening about a girl I'd never speak to. Flame red hair and a scowl. She had half a book written about her, and all she had to do was stand, wait for a number 19 every morning and ignore me. Her aloofness was key.

I lost it at a house party in Cape Cod.

I'd gone away to Boston in the summer of 1997. A day or two before I was due to fly back to get my Leaving Cert results, the lads were invited up the coast. With no time to pack, I just grabbed my bag, left a few clothes behind me and headed out the door. At some point in the night the satchel walked out, along with my plane ticket, my passport, any clean socks and the blue book of Avril.

The red book:

Similar size, different colour, this one took me through the college years and lived down the back of my bed in the box room. It lived away from the lads and the gargle and the not having sex. It recorded everything unrequited about my college experience, as bad teenage poetry gave way to punitive free writing and drunken declarations of ardour.

Declarations that I'd show to people in the beerlight before pretending it never happened, for my own sanity. A spilled beer saw its riddance.

The red book (2):

The Obsessive's Handbook. I still have it. I dare not open it. 'She' is all over it, that lovely vague pronoun that masked a series of those who looked the other way while I was looking at them. It makes me uneasy, whole pages scratched out through murderous red biro.

The little black book:

This one was pocket sized and more of a journal. I'd date the top of every page and write inanely of things I wanted to do when I grew up, while I was growing up, interspersed with the odd invective about shorthand lectures and stroppy bouncers.

The new entry:

I bought one last week. My skittling brain keeps forgetting the small points, the fine details, the moments and the bits that I want to frame in some small way in ten words or less. With this in mind I took to Eason's, handing over ten quid so I could see myself in reverse.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

I won't follow you into the rabbit hole

It's the gall that gets me, the 'attack is the best form of defence' manifesto that will probably see the crooks get back in.

People are fucking thick.

Yeah, it's the gall, it's Mary Hanafin saying the media "needs to cop on" for questioning politicians' St. Patrick's Day jaunts.

"To promote the country."

Jesus.

Never mind the fact that we're bound up in the IMF's gimpsuit, on a chain, in a room, on an island on the edge of a continent. Never mind the feeding of a beast that shites out the likes of David Drumm and his (to this day) contention that he's owed bonus payments from A***o I***h B**k. Never mind the fact that our current Taoiseach promotes the country as well as Brendan O'Connor promotes likeability.

What kind of a country is there left to promote?

Pay little mind to all that, though.

What gets to me is that Hanafin comes from the same party as a man who ran up travel expenses of €126,000, while she was inching forward from the back benches. We have longer memories now that we're mired in the shit, now that we've "copped on."

Taking an interest in how much a limo costs from Terminal 1 to Terminal 3 in JFK has become our imperative.

If I stay away from this kind of thing usually it's because the sound of grown men and women trying to outlie each other on national television, day after day, and calling it all a vision for a brighter future is sickmaking in the extreme and I find it all quite hard to take in.

I find it harder still to believe that one is less craven than the other.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Get Stung!

Famed blogger and former model Radge has admitted he was bullied at school over his looks.

The stunning 'Apparently Too Tall Elaine' writer hated his big eyes, chiselled cheekbones and legs that just... didn't... know.... where to stop as he frequently drew jealous taunts from his classmates.

He said: "I was always the looker in the class, and the other boys couldn't handle the presence of a peer of such superior pulchritude. I was like Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Donnie Darko,' though without the spooky Tears For Fears soundtrack and psychosis."

That wasn't all.

"I also got the shit kicked out of me for using words like pulchritude."

Leaving school at 16, The Face Of Radge was discovered, in May 1995, by noted model scout Madeleine Beauvier Twowilliger outside Supermac's on Dublin's O'Connell Street in the early hours of a Sunday morning.

"There was something about the diffident way he consumed that Mighty Mac," she famously stated in 1998.

Radge takes up the story.

"Finally I was surrounded by people I could relate to, young men unsullied by acne and awkward teenage shaping. I could finally be confident in my own beautiful skin. I was in all the top magazines - Cosmo, Vogue, Just Seventeen - and suddenly the bullying turned to praise. I had silenced those schoolyard chants. I had won."

Radge had won.

He became the Assets agency's hottest property as the 20th century gave way to the year 2000, fronting campaigns for 'improved recipe Cadbury's Smash,' Stinger Bars (tagline: Get Stung!) and 088 mobile phones.

"I was riding the crest of a wave, as well as Katie Price before she became grotesque mess Jordan before she became grotesque mess Katie 'Jordan' Price, but there were black clouds on the horizon."

Radge's Magnum White addiction was the stuff of tabloid legend and saw his retirement from the modelling circuit at the age of 23 and a half, but he has bounced back with the 43rd most popular website in his parents' bookmarks, and he has no regrets.

"I don't have a single regret," he lied.

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Musician

I thought I wouldn't be able to go. I woke up feeling fine on Saturday but got progressively weaker, more lethargic, as the hours went past in work. At one point I pushed the keyboard away from myself, put my head down, groaned a small groan and took a minute's sleep.

It did no good.

Whatever crapness had come over me began to wane on the walk to Mayor Square, to the Luas stop to meet herself. We had a quiet night, few words, both of us drained from the day (hers good, mine bad) and I was worried that the ire would mean a cancelled flight.

We took it easy, had some pizza and a long sleep.

I woke up better on Sunday, far better, and put it down to a 20-hour bout of misery. We caught up on the laughing we hadn't done the night before, pottered somewhat, told stories about nothing at all and killed the time before the packing that would take ten minutes, the shower that would take four minutes, the 'misplacing the keys' that would kill two minutes and the locking of the door behind us.

She met my dad for the first time at Bus Aras and he professed her to be a 'dote,' which is a word I never use but there was no arguing with the sentiment. Goodbyes said, myself and the aul' lad headed for the airport, a pint, a meatball panini and a flight boarded on time with the minimum of effort.

=

He greeted us at the central bus station in Stockholm, this man that none of us had seen in fourteen years. My father's younger brother, my uncle, The Musician. Rounder of belly than before and still with that beard and long and greying hair, he didn't look the sixty years he would become at midnight.

It was a spartan hotel, with no lift to our third floor room. Two single beds and one that pulled out from a couch, my second uncle was waiting for us when we returned with a few cans. The four of us supped Swedish beer and chatted but the hour was late, I'd been ill and people were tired. We agreed to meet The Musician the following morning at 10.30 and he'd show us his Stockholm.

So it passed. We walked for what seemed like miles as he pointed out the school where he'd worked, the places he'd played, the people he knew, the landmarks we'd read about. We took an early pint and some lunch before heading back to his flat in the centre of the city, not far from our hotel.

Whiskey poured, he told us stories of his days in Paris and Stockholm. Meeting Sean Connery and Claudia Cardinale, George Best and his other footballing heroes. Walking empty streets on his 40th birthday, twenty years ago to the day. Fending off Arab youths who had tried to steal his guitar. Missing a trial with Arsenal. Strumming and picking and drinking and smoking.

He showed a phenomenal memory for a man who'd met with such trouble, a singer who treated every bit of tumult with remarkable serenity. He could tell me in great detail about the time he sang for me and my sister in the back bedroom, when we were tiny and bold.

I really took to him, all over again. This disappeared uncle who, through all the reminiscing, matched me factoid for factoid on the transfer window lunacy.

The next day, I let them off on their own.

They took a ferry; I read my book; they visited a museum; I went for a walk; they took a jar; I sat with a coffee watching a different city going past; they came back, and we headed back out for the last night of catching up before a 4am start and the trip back to Dublin, back to her grasp, back to the impression that I may have dreamt the whole thing up.

Leaving him behind was tougher than I could have imagined, but it won't be left another fourteen years.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Gonzo

I'm leaving the country on Sunday, all of three nights away somewhere cold and northerly and Stockholmish.

While I'm looking forward to it, the prospect of Dublin Airport at any time fills me with the fear.

It's more a resignation to my fate, a realisation that soon will come baggage checks and charges, queues and queues of bastardly queues, carousels and passports and the fear that I've lost my boarding pass.

Arse pocket.

Airports. Fuck. I hate them so. I have a peculiar phobia of Sky Clowns, them with their remarkable poise and painted faces and 'have a good trip have a good trip have a good trip.' Remarkable poise. Not natural. Freaks me out. Fucking Sky Clowns.

Still, I'm a sucker for a place where winter meets efficiency. A place where a few sheets of snow doesn't mean shutdown. I've never been to Sweden before and it will be good to get away from all matters Kildare Street and the couch, this couch, with its unrelenting grasp of my person.

It's been a long time. September 2008 saw my last time out of Ireland, the culmination of several trips to Europe that had me walking around, alone, pretending to be a lot more interesting than I was, to nobody in particular.

Paris had the best of me then, Vienna the worst, but two years and a bit years down the line I'll be swapping such solitary confinement for the stories of my elders.

It will be worth a couple of airports.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sky Atlantic

I wish Dustin Hoffman would stop taunting me.

Him with his lovely background piano background music, standing on some skyscraper rooftop with that faraway look in his eyes. It's the kind of look I get when I find out there's apple tart in the oven for later, all slavering anticipation and distraction.

The ad bothers me, mainly because I have a problem with my favourite actors chasing the marketing dollar but MAINLY because I want that Sky Atlantic dealie and UPC are providing me with the Living channel and 'Mike And Molly' instead.

I want 'Boardwalk Empire' and new 'Entourage' and the fifth series of 'Mad Men' and that thing with Tom Selleck's moustache in it, not to mention 'Treme,' and I hold no truck with using the interstream for such ends. No Wi-Fi here, just my trusty Vodafone flash drive that's good for the Gmail but not so much for the streaming.

Fuck off Dustin, you superannuated sellout, you've fallen far from Ted Kramer and Carl Bernstein and I'm left waiting for box-sets I can ill afford, but will pay for anyway, to arrive some time around the next November whiteout.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Green sweets

What was I doing in the Westbury anyway? A heaving crowd in McDaid's must have been the reason I found myself supping with McGoo on the nicely upholstered couches, eating disgusting bar nuts and talking about the correct way to swill a brandy glass.

There we were, drinking lager beer for the price of a small remortgage, when he spotted a fifty euro note on the floor beside me.

I bent down, picked it up, discovered it to actually be two 50 quid notes folded up, called over the waiter, handed it over, went back about my drinking.

In these straitened times, more fucking fool me. Too honest for my own good.

=

Cut to today, and town, and walking around with no cares and a high sense of anticipation for our first weekend away. It's a surprise, a delayed Christmas present from myself to herself, and I can't have it come quickly enough.

I keep telling her it's Roscommon, it's Bray(ruit), it's a night in Borris-in-Ossory's Leix County Hotel.

It's none of the above, but I can promise barefoot trekking and religious keening. She'll love it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I said that I love January but I was lying to your face

You'd swear I'd been busy. I haven't been blogging much, or doing much of anything, over the last while. Even my last, lazy, vituperative little missive was posted in place of something much more literary but a lot more private. I'm glad I never sent it internetwards.

A drinkless weekend where I got acquainted with the white leather as never before. The couch, you miscreants.

A drinkless weekend where I swore blind I'd go out and see the world but only after the next cup of tea, the next mug of coffee, the next episode of Peep Show. The next, the next, the next to the point of midnight and not a child in the house drunk.

I did work, I suppose there was that. Golf leaderboards and football score updates. Stuff of my childhood dreams. The stuff of my childhood dreams punctured by a disgusting pastrami melt from the Pig and Heifer and yet more tea and biscuits and banter.

Back home. Friendless for the duration, girlfriendless for the duration, just countless episodes of the bespoke Channel 4 classic and the voices of Mitchell and Webb in my head as I dozed off to sleep in fresh sheets.

I've begun narrating my own life and making great drama for myself out of the washing up, the morning ablutions, the people walking up and down outside my balcony.

I gave myself the willies by watching 'Catfish' on DVD too, creepier than any horror film, and spent too many minutes pondering a Chinese takeaway without ever seeing it through. It would have been a Kung Po, but I always say that, so it would really have just been a chicken curry and boiled rice.

That all turned into two toasted pitta pockets with cheese and sectioned pickle, and the sight of Cowen fiddling while everything burned around him.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bigface

Bigface came up to the office today, you'd want to hear the fuss made over him.

"Oh Bigface, you're so funny."

"Oh Bigface, your face is so expansive."

"Oh Bigface, which one of us would you like to fellate you first?"

They fucking hate Bigface. They told me in hushed tones.

Today, and I shit you not, it seemed that they were in thrall to the man because of a visage that doesn't seem to stop and a six figure salary.

Well, I don't like him so nobody else should.

Monday, January 10, 2011

You go by and you go by...

What a bore of a day. How do I recognise it? When I find myself scanning breakingnews.ie for the entertainment news, then I know my life has descended into tedium.

I can't avoid it. Were I a better educated man, I'd have long since identified the part of my brain that cares - ever so slightly - that Rihanna has reunited with her estranged father. I'd locate that particular piece of matter and get it spliced out, replacing it with the will to go out and see and think and talk about higher matters entirely. Perhaps become acquainted with an art gallery or seven.

This, however, is my lot, this lethargy leading me to know that JLS are starring in their own 3D 'movie.' This knowledge that Frodo is going to star as Frodo again. This seeing of something about 'Deal Or No Deal' being fixed, except that it isn't.

I need a proper job, one that ìnvolves getting up of a morning and becoming a person just like other people. I'd hate it but it would keep me away from myself and give me things, proper things, to rail against.

I work, yes, but it's a three-day-a-week affair that's occasionally punctured by bouts of teaching, of pretending to know what the fuck I'm talking about, of deception. None too lucrative, either, is my life. I nearly had to call the receivers in last week before getting bailed out. For Indian chicken producers or your garden variety Arabian billionaire, read the nice woman at the Credit Union, saving me from fiscal extinction.

Yeah, a real job, like other people. My new mantra.

Fuck, I'll hate it. I'll hate any situation that won't let me chew my own knuckles off to the strains of Sky Sports News but at least I'll be able to afford that iPhone I've been jonesing after, and I'll stop writing blogs about ne'er a nothing at all.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Walk to work

8am. Fuck. Due in at 8am and here I am, mattress stuck and gunk-eyed. Right. I take a shower and wash the last of those 24 hours away from me, 24 hours that felt like the best kind of drinking. They were sober.

I wash those hours away from me, take a drink of water, register the darkness of the hour and head out.

Miserable heads. Properly miserable heads clutching cardboard coffee cups and nobody smoking for at least another three days, when the sameness-as-last-year will hit them and they'll reach.

I don't soundtrack it, I forget about the music in my pocket. I just walk in some middling funk. I forget about the music and the fact that I'm not hungover. I feel like I should be.

The same heads, or at least they could be. I only see suits of a morning, never faces.

I hope I can turn on the lights, on some pretense of being on time, before I realise I don't care. I need a real job anyway. Something non-dickhead but lucrative. I need to resolve but this is no time for resolution, this is just another day where I come in, bang on the headphones, cut myself off and live in an idyll while everyone else treats it as the end of the world.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Three or four minutes, maximum

I'm on the clock here. There's a potload of pasta on the go and it's not that shitty, dried out shite that takes ten minutes to become edible, it's the fresh stuff filled with some sort of wonderful cheese substitute.

Yeah, I'm on the clock before Lloyd Grossman bestows his tomatoey chilliey sauciness on my plate of bland.

So what to write about? I'd typed out a redux in my Christmas cups at some point, but it all was as it always is so I didn't bother posting it. Fewer Roses this year and some controversy over who won the Trivial Pursuit, gifts given and received and... but I'm not writing about that.

Nor will I get to moaning too much about the stomach bug that threatened to scunder my Christmas Day dinner before I bested it before it bettered me again a couple of nights later. Ugly scenes.

I'll probably just write about how I hate the word 'Crimbo' almost as much as I despise the word 'hubby,' and make tell of the fact that today I ate an apple and an orange in an attempt to stop the madness. Wine and whiskey and beer and stout and ale and meats and cheeses and...

Now for the pasta and the factory-processed sauce, my body a temple...