Friday, December 28, 2012

Riposte

Are you having a good Christmas?

Do you know something? I am.

Have you consumed?

Overmuchly.

Do you spend an inordinate amount of time giving out about things beyond your control, TV shows you are supposed to like, social media trends and the decline in quality of mince pies?

I spend an inordinate amount of time moaning about moaning, and the world somehow consumes itself with it.

Do you have a pension plan?

I do not have a plan.

Do you feel really satisfied with life every once in a while and then worry that you're being smug and then worry that the act of worrying about being smug is in itself really smug, or else a mask for many other concerns because you aren't all that satisfied at all, are you?

I actually spend far too much time worrying about the state of others' minds, to give my own too much concern at all.

Do you participate in that ah here leave it out hilarity even though you know it's not really very funny?

I certainly fucking don't. I bristle at it, it disturbs me, it is acid to my sensibility.

Have you ever eaten four pieces of shortbread in alarmingly quick succession?

In my doughier years, quite possibly.

Did it hurt?

Most definitely.

Do other things hurt?

Oh most certainly.

Is it OK to go shopping on the 26th of December?

Anyone who rails against it has too much time to rail.

Is it OK to loudly proclaim your despair with the world over people going shopping on the 26th of December?

It isn't. People love to moan.

Is it?

They can have at it, but I'm over there, ignoring them.

Have you read a book recently and was it good?

I am at the moment and yes, it is good, though I struggle to see its point.

Do you not have time for reading?

I have plenty of time for reading, but I don't use it often enough to read.

Do you watch more than four hours of reality TV a week?

I doubt I watch four minutes of reality TV a year.

Do you believe that America will ever sort its shit out with guns?

No, I despairingly don't.

Do you gripe about auto-correct? Do you jangle your keys? Would you buy a gun if you lived in America? Do you get vexed?

I do, yeah I do, no I wouldn't and yes I absolutely do.

Do you regret a lot of the things you did in your early twenties and some of the things you did last week?

I regret many of the stupid things I've said over the years, some of them recent.

Do you think that foetuses have a soul and can you explain what that might be?

I have trouble with anyone who thinks they can define what a soul is, let alone when it is felt.

Do you ridicule the religious?

No, I don't. I ridicule the stupid.

Are you, the evangelical church up the road wishes to know, the victim of an ancestral curse?

They can fuck right off and mind their own business.

Do you ever pray? If you do sometimes pray do you mentally sign off with "almost certainly not, I know, but just in case,LOL!!"?

I'm not comfortable.

Did you read the small print?

More and more.

Have you claimed your tax back?

Less and less.

Do you do something to break a sweat every day?

No.

Can you touch your toes?

Yes, if I sit comfortably and raise them to me.

Are you aware that this entire concept comes from Padgett Powell's 'The Interrogative Mood', but that this particular dude hasn't read it because writing a whole book like this and getting it published and expecting people to pay for it would be taking the piss, right?

I did not know that, and I'm fairly certain I didn't expect to write this blog either.

Am I wrecking your head?

My head is rarely unwrecked.

Has anyone ever accused you of being a hipster?

They'd soon know about it if they had.

Can you go now?

I can not go yet.

Is it getting better?

It's getting worse, but will get better.

Did you get what you wanted? Do you feel at home? Did you have a good year?

.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Dubliners

"I know you wouldn't think it lookin' at me, love, but I'm a junkie."

Full marks for honesty to her, if not for her powers of self observation. She was a giveaway, telling the strung-out mister to her left - on the back seat of the 16 - that he was "nothin' but a mean cunt, I've hash on me and you're not gettin' any cos you're just a mean cunt y'are."

He was a man of many noises, none of them English, just a stream of groans and nods and the pluralisation of "wharrayaonabou'yatickdopeyeh?"

I wondered myself what she, the thick dope, was on about as getting any kind of sense out of this beard wisp yoke was an exercise in stupidity. He was badly, badly fucked up on smack cocaine or whatever the hipsters don't call it.

She'd turn on him, then turn to us, then turn on him again. All sorts of names, all manner of abuse to a man whose floating head was left back in some squat on Townsend Street, to my imagining.

How he could have flagged down a bus, paid a fare, made his way up the stairs was beyond me. He must have just appeared there, his heroin superpower that of multilocation.

She softened towards him as the bus turned up George's Street, stopped stabbing him with fingers made entirely from bone, even rubbed his head and said repeatedly, "yer alrigh,' yer bird will sort yet out, yer' alrigh,' yer bird..."

She asked him where he was getting off.

"Bleedin' Horse, meet me bird..."

"I'll help ya off the bus. Get ready now," she said to him, but the act of remembering a specific anything had sent him back to unconsciousness, his head hitting the top of the seat in front of him and his mouth slackening out some drool.

"GERRUP YA CUNT!"

Her language was appalling.

"GERRUP OURRA THAT YA PRICK! People on the bus won't know what to make of ya..."

"Euuuuggggggghhhhh."

"Come on, press that bell missus, will yeh? Come on... You've to meet your bird..."

Eventually, she shovelled him up on to his feet, bowled him to the top of the stairs.

"Here..." was the last thing I heard her say to him. "What's your name?"

"Daithí," he said back to her.

"Nice to meet yih, Daithí, I'm Teresa."

Exeunt.


Friday, October 26, 2012

I have a word with myself

She's 30 today, my sister, and I wonder how the hell that happened so bloody soon after we were sending her to the shop on the promise that, "we'll time you."

I wonder what her record time might have been had we not shrugged and told her that we forgot to start the timer as soon as she left the gate, then asked her for the change.

It makes me feel old, a bit, but it's seeded a headblog through town.

A headblog through town where I lie to the lady at the free biscuit stall, telling her I'll be back later to put money where my greedy guts are.

(I do that a lot, fibbing to total strangers, at least once a day if I can help it.)

I walk out to Grafton Street, looking down at my phone, waiting for the world to tell me what's happening. I don't look up to see for myself, and get tangled up in a leash with three dogs, taking my lesson before freeing myself.

I dare the man in the Concern vest to call me 'dude,' but I think he knows me, knows not to, and he stalks another as I pass Tower, Nourish, the place with the cakes and the International Bar. I meet this man but I don't stop. He's talking to someone else so I don't interrupt, just pass on my best and move on.

Coffee. George's Street. That place, Simon's Place. I sit outside despite the chill and spy on the hipsters, the Casual Fridays, the ladies just lunched and the visitors looking up, up, up at the tops of the gay bars opposite.

I spy in plain sight, then take out my phone. I make notes that mean nothing like 'woman imaginary friend' and 'ideas for pizza...' I judge people, and judge myself for judging people, and give myself a headache before the bus arrives.

I get on the 9 and see the man with three dogs, I see him seeing me so I go back to my phone and wonder why, oh why, am I hidden from my own news feed...

I have a word with myself.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Wasted

So I'm watching an episode of King Of Queens that was probably first broadcast in 1956, and the Heffernans are having some trouble with the next door neighbours. I recognise the gentleman neighbour as one Walter White, or at least I think it's him.

He doesn't have a beard, he doesn't have a shaved head, and he has no discernible sense of menace about his person but I know that it's him.

I take to my phone and Google myself up Bryan Cranston's IMDB page and it was him alright, before the meth and the madness took to him, but I sit through it for the end credits anyway. I don't mind King Of Queens and I need the closure of his name to the theme music.

Instead, infuckingstead, Comedy Central decide to eschew the credits and vomit up a promo starring Ashton Kutcher and the formerly fat half man. No closure. Even though I know it was Bryan Cranston I feel denied the last percent of my tiny piece of trivia because channel 134 must always... be... closing. ABC. They must always be selling and I get a little bit of sick in the stomach at the fact that...

a) I'm wasting a pretty good day off

and...

b) I've finally thought up a blog to write that has to begin like a bad '80s comedy routine, but ultimately ends up even less funny and more pointless than something that stars Ashton Kutcher and a formerly thickened half man.

If I didn't lose you, what's left of you, in the first three words of this entry I am very glad and I'm grateful, and I want you to spare a thought for me this coming weekend as I become a man who walks into a bar, and out of that bar, and into the next one on a stag trail in Galway.

I won't need direction as I've done it all before, to the top degree of shitawful hungoverness, so this time I'm not drinking.

I'm sticking to the Smithwicks and the world won't seem so gloomy come the break of Monday morning.

Fógra: Can I flog all Irish people who use the word 'douchebag'?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ten years

2002: Just an impression, but I must have been still sore from the angiogram, the liquid piped the wrong way up and the doctor - a contemporary - telling me the pain was 'nothing.' It was something. Warm like whiskey in all the wrong places. I woke up in the morning with a head made of polo mints, small shavings and markers where the scalpel might go. I woke up in the morning to chirping nurses doing their day job, opening curtains and tutting, things they had been taught to do.

2012: Another Basque morning, we got up and showered and dressed and had a look out on the noisiest street in Bilbao. A street where a man could be heard to whisper and a woman would shout 'JULIO!!!' at all hours of the day. Julio always kept his safe distance outside the bar, 20 metres away. We decided to go to San Sebastian and then quickly undecided it, mental as the bus station in San Mames was. We took the tram back towards the Guggenheim instead.

2002: I must have been fasting, so it must have been another morning when my dad showed up with food from home. Another afternoon with his onion bhajis wrapped in tin foil, a substitute for the jelly and ice cream, the lumpy mashed potatoes. No, this morning was fasting and checking the phone, a small Siemens fella or my first Nokia, who knows, while waiting for the trolley.

2012: All curves and steel, glass and concrete, every bit of it spectacular. People call it the 'Gugg' but I've never been a man for shortening, and certainly not where a hard 'G' is concerned. We walked around with our handsets. Getting lost in the angles, scoffing at David Hockney, finding each other in the hiding places and the nooks, finally pretending to be a touch more fascinated than we were while thinking of lunch and wine.

2002: The trolley man saying something about how Malcolm In The Middle is just as good as The Simpsons, then the operating theatre, then sleep.

2012: Back to the apartment, the noise, the heat and some happiness at a shower, a sit, a read of our books and a can of 7-Up. Perhaps we napped, maybe we didn't, we probably wondered whether it was possible to be bored and content at the same time.

2002: My sister's footsteps - clip clop clip - she walked like a teacher and is a teacher. Sketch! She took one look at me, conscious, said "thank God" and immediately walked back out of the room to text the concerned. My folks stayed, my head sore, and soon came the sweet relief of a painkiller administered somewhere it shouldn't have been. But it worked. So fuck it.

2012: She wanted to buy me dinner, a celebration of the anniversary, so I got us a takeaway pizza instead and we ate it on the side of the street with a can of San Miguel. Bilbao had been foretold of our classiness.

2002: Beeps of the phone, recovery room, sitting up, lying down, no mirrors, head out to 'there,' Lucozade and other standard issue, a silent night and walking drips.

2012: We sat by the Cathedral at 10.30, willing the ice cream shop to be a late night opener, but we were pushing it. We sat anyway, then found the angry Chinese man in his corner shop, grabbed our dessert, some beers, went home and had a sup.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Who needs a title?

I'm not to be found too often around these parts, this weather, which I find to be both clammy and disagreeable.

"Sure he wouldn't hurt a fly."

He fucking would if he could catch the prick.

My legendary irascibility aside, would I sound too like the internet's Darragh Doyle were I to ask how you're all doing?

I don't really care, I'm fixed more on higher thoughts like the wild effects of chorizo, and fly-fishing, and those of you that happened across this little cubbyhole of mother cyberland in its pomp have largely fucked off to Pinstagram anyway. 

Anyway, my laptop's taken poorly and I'll hardly tarry long but to say Bilbao awaits. 

There had best be things to note, give out about and come home with. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Deus ex machina

I'm reading East of Eden at the moment and what a cracking yarn it is.

I've documented before how it takes me an age and a half to finish any novel with an epic spread but I'm happily taking my time through this one, the book that Steinbeck called his best.

As I read, Adam Trask is busy building a paradise for his new wife Cathy, a being so malignant that she'd make the devil wince. She is evil incarnate.

I haven't even got to the good bit, but she's already done murder to some of those close to her (though she really gets close to nobody) and tried to...

No, I'll leave it at that.

Anyway, Adam is blind to all of this. Even as she tells him she'll leave him, she'll break him, she'll make complete shit of him, he is utterly rapt and believes her to be an angel sent from heaven.

I feel that way about my new iPhone.

Somewhere in the recesses of my skull I know that it will never feel for me the way that I feel for it, and it will ultimately destroy me, but I don't care. I can't stop holding it, and dropping it, and holding it again, and dropping it. It's a slippery little bastard, but the delights within!

Did you know that if you talk to it, it will talk back?

"I do not understand what you want me to do, Dave," says Siri to me as I chuckle back that my name isn't Dave, but it can call me whatever it likes.

My love.

It's a bit wrong and creepy but I'm best left alone in my idolatry until such a time as I raise my head, realising that the best resolution that can be found is in the real world, even if it doesn't provide instant nostalgia at the touch of a homebutton.

Not yet, though.

Give me today, and the guts of the next week, to marvel and discover what the rest of you copped on to four or five years.

I hope that herself will grant me leave to coddle another, have the patience while I blunder on about the prescience of Stanley Kubrick and be ready with a nice hug and a Viscount biscuit when the newness of it all wears off.

And the bill comes in.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Knackt

Crippled. Crippled, I am, with back-gah.

They never say in the manual that bending down to pick up €1.90, for the bus trip into town, can result in a twinge so hostile that the air around oneself might turn cobalt.

They don't say that.

This was meant to be the good day, the one to bookend a series of days so full of efforts to improve one's station that it'd leave a man sleepless, restless, fretful, nervous.

It was meant to be a day of coffee, the couch and O Captain My Captain, but it's been sundered by shooting pains above the buttocks and the inability to stop third-personing oneself.

And repetition. The repetition. I'm like that terrible writer EL James that I keep scoffing so much about, though I've barely been able to read a sentence of her work.

This is not the good day, not the day of self indulgence I had greedily planned, but a Wednesday where I realise that the noise that old men make will happen to us all.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Excerpt 2: New York, baby!

Here we go - three years later, my attempt at writing the world's worst chick-lit novel runs on (not exactly) apace.

The first part is here.

To be quite honest, I don't know if they even call it chick-lit anymore. They did in 2009. I comfort myself in the fact that these things go in cycles.

This one goes out to 5X, who emailed me last night wanting to know what the fuck happened to Bryan? Well, I don't know the answer to that question yet, but my guess is that he's currently on his way to work, balancing a frappé and an Android. I'll get to him later.

=

Roisín gets the bill. She had left me waiting there, like a spanner on my own, but I know she wants to leave an extra large tip for Ramon, or a phone number, or both. Leave her off. She's loaded anyway.

So much to do, so much to plan, so much to think about. Is this the right thing to do, to just up and leave and say 'screw you' to that bastard, Bryan?

"He's such a dirtbag." I love him. "He'll break your heart!" I love him. "You so need closure, to get away, to blow off the cobwebs, forget about that prick." But I love him I love him I love him.

But enough. If he wants to screw around, let him screw around, two can play at that game, mister.

I hear from Maddy. She's in. "Fuck yeah!" she screams down the phone. Time off is never a problem for Maddy, she never seems to have 'time on' anyway.

So much to do, so much to plan, but we're going. I'm in charge of flights and I pick out the best deal I can find. Morning flights, ugh, but it'll be so worth it. Just means an early night and the girls will stay with me - we're not banging down Roisín's door at 5 in the morning, that bitch could sleep through a hurricane.

He's in there though, still needling away at my brain, with the goofy side that I'm sure he only shows to me. Sure he can be cold, and dismissive, and he can't keep his lad in his jeans for more than five minutes, but there's a reason to everything...

I check my phone, no missed calls. I think about ringing him to tell him to go fuck himself, or to call over, and I want to tell him what I really think of him but there's only one problem. I know what I think of him, and it isn't going to do me any good.

No, enough.

New York. New places, new people, just me and the girls and a sea of men who know how to show a group of three Irish girls a good time.

I may not even bring my phone.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prometheus

Cons:

You've seen one alien baby bursting forth from a human tummy, you have seen them all.

Stringer Bell with a Texan drawl. Fuck's that about?

Not being able to decide whether Noomi Rapace looks like Rafael Nadal, or is actually quite attractive.

The realisation, at the finish, that it's really just a po-faced Independence Day.

Charlize Theron's daddy issues.

The fact that 'Pete Vs. Life' is in it. And he's crap.

The irascible geologist, who "isn't here to make friends."

Dubbing creatures from another planet 'engineers.' Fuck's that about? Structural? Mechanical? ELECTRICAL?

Stringer singing 'Love The One You're With.' Avon Barksdale would've had him got for that alone.

Pros:

I like Michael Fassbender in films, which he carefully divides between himself and Ryan Gosling nowadays. I was particularly pleased that he spared us the sight of his mickey.

Thursday, June 07, 2012

The crackpot

Had it not been for the Gods of these times, such as they are, I wouldn't have known what to do with myself. O Twitter, O Facebook, you beautiful scrolling bastards.

I post the following to Facebook...

Wake. Decide on another half an hour's sleep. Reach for phone/alarm to reset it. Find pint of water on bedside locker. Pint of water swoons a bit, wipes its feet, drops. Water water everywhere. Wake in blind panic. Cuss wildly, loudly, vituperatively. Hold head in hands. Walk to bathroom. Find toilet roll. Return to find doused documents and brand new Empire magazine. Cuss again. Wipe, soak, weep and get dressed.

I take out my knife, my fork to anchor it, and cut the update into three bite-sized tweets, losing a couple of adjectival flourishes here and there, and post it back to front.

I imagine this to be the piece of honeyed prose to break down the wall between couched Thursday afternoons and sombreros on some imagined beach, and wait for the 'Share' icon, that luscious little piece of code, to go blip blip blip at the mastery of my careless grasping, made verbose.

Then the inevitable. The little red lad in the top left hand corner signalling comments from my sister, my father, my mother, and not a one of them registering the least surprise at my early morning fumbling. The latter went so far as to label me a gobshite. Even Milhouse's mother thought he was 'cool,' whatever the blazes that word means. A few other sympathisers, but the cognoscenti silent.

I pick up not one new Twitter follower, nor do I follow anyone else, and it is only now that I wonder what the great man, my grandfather, would have thought of such preoccupations as social media, social networking, social being without the social doing.

He'd laugh, fix his paper, say "you're some crackpot!" and go back to the crossword. Then ask how to sign up.

Monday, May 21, 2012

This is what the poet Whigfield imagined

It was a lovely thing to walk home from work during the rugby on Saturday, counting the jellies that somebody had scattered longways up Clanbrassil Street while the pubs shouted things about Leinster and Ulster.

My shift, that of an intermittent sportswriter, had been scheduled to end before full-time and I wasn't for hanging around. Never with the rugby, the handball, or whatever I glibly put it down as.

Twitter was scrolling and scrolling with images of blue flags and the London Irish, scenes from Kiely's and The Barge starring people that I wouldn't dream of letting near the house. Neckstring sunglasses, despite the damp, whoops for penalty tries and other facets of the game that they'd struggle to explain if pressed.

No, I don't live with the rugby at all, with the fandom it created some time around 2008, its newly found reach to the Casual Fridays, the ROGs, BODs, Gordos and the Hookies, the few bevvies and Ryle Nugent's nasal whittle.

Conversely, I fathom the game itself. I know what a scrum-half is, and does, and I really should, too. It's in the contract. There's no selectivity in my line of work.

The players make a decent show of respect to the officials, to each other, and I'm sure to the supporters too. There's a nice line in occasional eye gouging and some of them can run quite fast, if let.

And yet. And how. It angers me.

I still think it's a sport for people that like 'sports,' a generality and an excuse to go on the batter like an Irish person ever needed one. Just a preamble to a Saturday night roast, a chance to get the anger out before the fun begins 'with the girls,' or 'the guys,' or the kind of people that appear in ads for Barry's Tea.

So, on Saturday gone, I swerved it. I took my time and counted the jellies, wondered if it was drug code, the jellies strewn at paces of ten or twenty apart while I headed for the bridge.

I passed one man outside the Halal Shop and it happened to be Neil Hannon, who looked as wan and withdrawn as I'd always imagined him to be, and I wanted to hug him for being wherever the handball wasn't.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

And we're back to gear grinding

Something has come along to replace the word 'awesome' in my disaffections.

I woke up angry from it.

"She came in rocking a pair of custom designed mudflaps and an umbrella coat."

Rocking. Fuck off. Rocking.

What's wrong with wearing clothes? When did that become a less than awesome way of, like, OMG, describing a person's bearing?

I don't know who to blame. Is it Exposé? Who's that arch presentrix they hired who could have got married to Leinster? Gina G? I blame her.

It extends to walking, honest to God ambulation, as my good friend Dr. Fell just pointed out to me in a text message.

He writes: "And as for people 'rocking up' to the pub/gig etc., unless they arrive thrashing their hair and playing guitars, I don't buy it."

My goat is in a constant state of being got at.

Friday, April 27, 2012

I may just need a dialling wand

Do I go to the dark side?

I've maintained that one iPhone in a household, in this household, is enough.

I've left her to consult the walking internet to find out what we've seen 'yer man offof Criminal Minds in before,' while I tilt my head sideways to see if the blue light on my Nokia is flashing. It almost never is.

I like keys. I like the predictiveness and the fact that my little piece of Finnish artistry won't spell out 'fuck' the first time around. Neither 'wanker,' 'shitbags' nor 'onomatepaeia.' It's manual for the swears.

I make this my fourth Nokia. The wallpaper is of Amsterdam and it's on the right side of grainy. It makes calls, but has started to cut out. The volume stays at the same level. I don't change my ringtone. I usually keep it on silent. It has WAP. Honest to jaysus WAP. It lives in my left breast pocket when I go out to play or, moreso nowadays, to the shop for something I forgot to get last time.

It's Ready to Go, assuming Vodafone still call it that.

It is quaint, and I like it for its ease and fiddliness.

Lately, though, I've become preoccupied by what it doesn't do.

It doesn't take photos that you can see without visual aid. It doesn't tell me whether or not my friends (or is it followers?) have had their Weetabix, or what they'd say to the Troika. It doesn't work the Twitter machine. It doesn't tag me in bed watching Frasier, or sitting on the jacks, or staring at my staring wall. It doesn't tell me what Richard Dean Anderson's doing right around now, or whether he has a Twitter machine, or if he can work the touchpad. It doesn't convert money to other monies or pay bills or make toast or anything.

It doesn't compute.

Afraid of phone bills ever since I spent my entire 21st birthday present fixing payment for a Panasonic that couldn't switch off, then couldn't switch on, I'm reluctant to swap the €50 a month I spend in credit for something more addictive than crack itself, a device so all consuming that I'll spend most of my time looking down instead of sideways.

Reluctant too because my fingers turn to clunk when presented with a touchscreen, the fear of sending typos out into the world greater than contracting the Ebola virus. Remember that? I could look that up too.

How much do they cost anyway?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Amsterdam

Seeing Liam Brady in Terminal 2 on the way over, he carrying his suit from the previous night's broadcast and looking efficient with the world.

Chatting with her da about the Irish Times iPad application, while she and her mam went off in search of airport things, after a breakfast of rashers that were crispy enough.

Landing at Schiphol, led this way and that.

The bikes. Jesus Christ, the bikes. I would learn later there are nearly as many as there are people, and figured it would be ironic if one ran me over in Dublin.

The cheese. Jesus Christ, the cheese. Everywhere in free chunks with cocktail sticks and sometimes wine too.

Having no interest in the coffee shops, though I wanted to go in and just order a coffee.

Counting tulips in Keukenhof. There were seven million and six. I was tired afterwards.

The Movenpick Hotel, where they'd run out of ice cream.

The big wheel in Dam Square, my nausea, and her hand.

The tram driver who told us not to forget to beep off. "If you forget, your card will explode in your pocket."

The lobby of the Victoria Hotel, where we pretended to be paying guests, just to have somewhere to sit.

Our actual hotel, seven different themes going on at once, and walking from the lobby straight into the bathroom.

"For a €4 entrance fee, how good can the sex museum actually be?"

The Anne Frank house, steep stairs, and that picture of Otto returning to the attic.

The shout of baseball hats in the Van Gogh museum.

Being a tourist, getting annoyed at tourists.

Croissants with Nutella.

So many Porsches doing a circuit on Friday night that she lost count. She loved the noise of them, and was a little bit drunk.

Two bottles of Duvel before an awards show, and very rude women who wouldn't shut up.

Looking to my left, seeing the red lights.

Waffles with chocolate sauce.

The cloying nature of Ron and Nel, fictitious canal trip guides.

Sharing the front of the cabin with Jedward on the way home. They bought perfume, presumably for their mam, and were none too pleased when the Sky Clown shortchanged them.

Friday, April 13, 2012

From the drafts: Trust Fund Baby

Daddy was a property man, a gazillionaire.

Daddy shoehorned him into the company so he could spend his days sucking our senses dry, twiddling the cord on his Nortel phone and talking to his mate Henry, while we tried our best to ignore him by putting one finger in front of the other, in some vain attempt to spell out work ethic.

He held no truck with that, real work was so like for losers like, so he'd loudly break our spirits with stroppings, stormings off and rages against the clock. Trust Fund Baby, a cock of a man.

Work became a better place for his absence, a lighter existence, and I had forgotten all the things about him until Monday night when I headed for the local supermarker in the pissings of rain.

Having picked up my box of tea-bags and two Icebergers I queued up, my brain switching to that age old 'Jaffa: Biscuit or cake?' debate when I heard my name being called.

My ten-year-old raincoat and paint-stained tracksuit bottoms, invited to a stand off with Trust Fund Baby's perfectly appointed Louis Copeland suit.

There was some guff about how life is and then the revelation that he lives in the next block up, intermingling some part-time work on Daddy's dime with daytime shots of vodka and Jeremy Kyle.

I made as nice as I could before spitting my way back home, unleafing my ice cream treat while cursing and blustering to Fitzbollix. As ever, there came a sympathetic ear from a man who probably just wanted me to shut up complaining and switch on the kettle.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A crushed velvet suit from Harlequin

These good pants are getting ridiculous.

I call them good pants because they're anything but, simply a pair of Umbro tracksuit bottoms with a rip trailing from the right-hand pocket down to the knee, exposing the inner lining for nobody in the outside world to see.

The fucking state of me, unshaven and ragged, using a cancelled Thursday appointment to watch an old episode of Criminal Minds, racing on BBC2 and the promise of a coffee that I'm too lazy to make.

I should be writing, or I should be drinking, or I should be reading the book that I asked the man about in Dubray last week. I only realised when he picked it from the nearest shelf that it won the Man Booker Prize and, yes, indeed, he had heard of it.

I'm an idiot.

I should be shopping for new good pants, for shoes, for the things that I keep putting off for reasons financial even though work has been kind to me for the last couple of months.

I look at other jobs knowing that my cup runneth fine and I don't operate too well out of comfort. All zeal and nowhere to put it, or too many places to put it, so I keep looking for stories about people who only started success at 35 for some small comfort.

It used to be 30. It used to be 25.

At the very least, the first five words of something brilliant have been known to me for the longest time, but the problem is the next five, and the next five, and the 99, 985 after that, but even as I write this paragraph another imperative jumps into my brain.

'Just fucking write the thing.'

Or, being kinder,

'Give yourself a break.'

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

50 Good Things: 2012

1. Wine sales.
2. Powerful drying.
3. Sun Kil Moon.
4. Regina's transplant.
5. Guinness' own brand dark chocolate.
6. Nespresso.
7. Upcoming trip to Amsterdam.
8. The Forgotten Waltz.
9. Recent good news from the cranky neurosurgeon.
10. Goldmaster's recovery.
11. Criminal Minds.
12. The new sheets.
13. Garlic bread.
14. The warm weather, before people start giving out about the warm weather, before the wet weather.
15. The reopening of the Irish Times short story competition.
16. Staropramen.
17. Jeff Stelling.
18. Increased hours in the good workplace.
19. Hope.
20. Windy Arbour.
21. My first attempt at a lasagne from scratch.
22. Golf.
23. The Luas.
24. Breaking Bad.
25. Parmesan.
26. Avoca village.
27. Lionel Messi.
28. My recent 50 Bad Things entry, which was a fuckload easier to write.
29. Sweeney's of Dame Street, with herself.
30. Moroccan chicken/rack of lamb, cous cous, hummus, pitta breads.
31. A particular type of bread you can only get in the AM:PM shop on Harold's Cross bridge.
32. This morning, waking at 10am, with nowhere to be.
33. Tomorrow morning, waking at 10am, for a walk around town.
34. Sandwiches that include mustard, American or wholegrain.
35. Dún Laoghaire.
36. The ice cream shop on Grafton Street that stays open past pub time.
37. Peristalsis above 70%.
38. Triple chocolate Mars Bars.
39. Dylan Moran.
40. My accession to the boss of everything, and my immediate veto of the word (anything)gate.
41. Lisbon.
42. The fish and chips shop beside O'Flaherty's pub, Dingle Town.
43. The music of Burial.
44. Family Guy.
45. Jack Wilshere.
46. Hotch.
47. Empire, before reading it and discovering it's mostly Channing Tatum-based.
48. The Fiver.
49. Being inside when you absolutely, like, HAVE to be outside enjoying the weather.
50. The Screen cinema, College Green.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Roundabouts

This is what happens when you try to write a blog about the weekend, from the worried 8am start in work on Friday to the getting home on Sunday, shattered, full of Supermacs and residual anxiety.

Everything comes back jumbled.

From walking down the hospital corridor and the alcoholic hand gunk, to the old men wheezing on their backs. A hotel mattress so soft that we couldn't help but meet in its middle, and tiny squabbles that never turned septic.

From my Dad's finest Brendan O'Connor impersonation, to the fact that he needed a shave, a hug, a kiss and some fresh pyjamas.

From my colleague, my friend in work, who took on my shift at a moment's notice and offered me one of his in return, when he didn't have to. A man who fakes his own parsimony.

The roundabouts, the incessant roundabouts between Castletroy and the Regional, and her willingness to go wherever I needed, whenever I needed, giving me whatever it was that I could use of hers.

The hotel bar that we were too tired to drink in and the chronic sameness of the towel racks on the wall.

The mushroom soup from Avoca, for my Mam, so she wouldn't have a packet of Tayto for her lunch again, and my Dad telling me about the man that recognised him in the hospital corridor, the man that went to school with him in Vincent's and hadn't seen him since 1965.

The Chinese takeaway eaten hungrily and the absence of any drink at all, talk of who'd been in to see him and how Ger had hurt her eye.

A clicker going click every time the words 'I'm fine' were uttered and nobody falling for any of that craic.

The distraction of American guests and handed out toffee cake, hoovered out rooms and dusted down shelves, eyes giving people away, and kisses on the head for each of my family.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When you think about it, she has a very valid point

Her: "So, was it an important thing they won?"

Me: "Well, it was the League Cup."

Her: "THEY WON THE LEAGUE???"

Me: "No, they won the League Cup, as opposed to the League or the Cup."

Her: "And do they not win a Cup if they win the League."

Me: "Well it's more of a trophy, but don't even get me started on the FA Trophy."

Her: "So, let me get this straight. There's the League, the Cup, and then the League Cup?"

Me (proudly): "That's exactly right."

Her: "And how important was the one they won today?"

Me: "Well, pretty much the least important of the three."

Her: "You'd think it'd be most important, what with it being called the LEAGUE CUP."

At which point I exited the room to write this blog.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Tenner

1) I ate in McDonald's on Wednesday, fully sober, and didn't feel doggedly disgusting until about five hours afterwards. I'm not sure if this is progress, regress or ungress. I should have got a McFlurry to make it somewhat worth it.

2) Gotye. You horrible, catchy, 'get the fuck out of my head at 3.14am of a Tuesday morning' bastard.

3) I'm going to Amsterdam in April. What delights lie over there? Well, we know all about what delights lie over there. I'm going to come back with that aul' smack cocaine coming out my ears, apparently.

4) There are different kinds of cross. The middlenight, "you just woke me up for no good reason, now feck off and go back to sleep" kind of cross means fuck all in the grand scheme of things.

5) I'll probably never write anything as witty as a single episode of Frasier.

6) I'll probably never write anything again, if my current profligacy continues. I started this post, for instance, on Thursday morning.

7) I don't remember the last new person to start calling me Radge.

8) Twitter eats your life up and is probably fairly pointless if you're stuck in the world of Nokia, circa 2008.

9) I don't remember writing this...

2002. I saw him coming in, nodded in his direction, nothing back. Him and his mates, ordering cocktails and taking the piss. Ordering cocktails ("does this look like the kind of place you can get a fucking cocktail?"). Him and his mates, their scarves and pints of Heineken. Taking the piss out of everybody and everything, making big plans.

...but I did. Some time.

10) I wish I was still nicknamed The Shadow. That was a good nickname.

Friday, January 27, 2012

50 bad things (the 2012 Burial remix)

1. Flaxseed, but I persist for reasons peristalsic.
2. One fucking two fucking three dot ie.
3. Football agents.
4. Rachel Allen's accent.
5. Jeremy Clarkson.
6. RTE's business correspondent David Murphy, and his rape of the letter 'T'.
7. Ryle Nugent.
8. Strep throat.
9. Tallafornia, for its name alone. I'd never infect my senses with it.
10. The Afternoon Show.
11. The Lotto letdown.
12. Outnumbered.
13. Damp.
14. Cucumbers.
15. Ohmigod ohmigod ohmigod.
16. Teenagers from Terenure affecting tough Dublin accents.
17. Jason Byrne.
18. The word Twitterati.
19. 'Fail.'
20. No Sky Sports.
21. Andrew Carroll.
22. Absent bloggers such as Gimme and Annie and Therese and those that keep me away from myself.
23. Fibrous Dysplasiae.
24. The sheer number of 'transformative' programmes on television.
25. Rihanna
26. Male pattern baldness.
27. Dublin Bus fare hikes.
28. Internships.
29. Accidentally pressing the wrong button and ending up on the UPC info channel. Repeatedly.
30. The film 'The Guard.' A huge disappointment.
31. Two And A Half Gobshites.
32. No chocolate in the house.
33. Private blogs. What's the point?
34. HSE leader Brendan Grace.
35. George Hook.
36. Night shifts.
37. Liquorice.
38. Forced short termism due to occupational uncertainty.
39. Rick Santorum.
40. Seán Sherlock.
41. Eamon Gilmore.
42. Everything becoming social. Everything.
43. The Academy Awards.
44. HD. 3D. All that bollocks.
45. Smartphone snobbery.
46. That Ladbrokes ad with the Italian fella shouting his head off. Jesus Christ.
47. Drunkenness.
48. The need to wee in the middle of a cosy night's sleep.
49. Fads.
50. Troikas, Anglo, waste, despair, bad news, David McWilliams, foreboding, hospital trollies, price fixing, bondholders, gaffes, kill me.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

You may recognise me from the following...

Radge got his big break playing the wife of Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption. While only seen in profile at the start of the film while necking with a golf pro, the long, luscious curls and pouty lips clearly gave him away.

He went on to star as Matt LeBlanc's arse double in an episode of Friends where Matt LeBlanc plays Al Pacino's arse double, an exposure that brought him to the attention of one Martin Scorsese.

Scorsese cast Radge for seven roles in his film 'Kundun,' with the budding actor showing his versatility in parts such as Lama of Sera, The Messenger, Nobleman #2 and Mother.

Also adroit at voice work, Radge hit the talkshow circuit for playing the voice of Ronnie Drew in the hit play 'The Voice of Ronnie Drew,' and several stints as Old Mr. Brennan (unseen and unheard, merely referred to by 'man with gravelly voiced Dublin brogue') in the 1990s and early 2000s.

While his career has seen a number of setbacks - he was much derided for his attempt to take over as the voice of The Simpsons' attorney-at-law Lionel Hutz, following the sad demise of Phil Hartman - he enjoyed success in the role of Teasy McDaid in the stage adaptation of popular Irish soap opera 'Glenroe,' earning six Tony award nominations in the process, and one win for 'Best Performance By A 23-Year-Old Male Playing An 84-Year-Old Transsexual Playing A 68-Year-Old Barmaid.'

Minor roles in Steven Spielberg's 'Minority Report' and Steven Seagal's 'Under Siege 7' followed, before Radge retired from showbusiness to concentrate on his first love, namely modern dance.

Radge currently resides in Newtwopothouse in County Cork, and is frequently mistaken for fellow actor, and one time yoga instructor, F. Murray Abraham.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Should is a pointless thing

Apparently, you should never confuse streptococcus with staphylococcus.

Once again, I fail one of life's little tests.

I've had a knackering case of throat ouch, the likes of which I've only suffered once before.

I remember it well because of the sheer bastardry of the thing, and it cleared up on the day that the Branch Davidians ran afoul of the US government.

Sitting in my parents' room in 32A, lying on their bed when the sickness broke and my wellness was greeted in a torrent of FBI hellfire. Strange the things we recall.

If I had school to miss, I'd be missing it now. Fucking strep throat. Any pox that sunders a man's ability to enjoy his food is not alright by me, it isn't welcome when all I can do is yearn for the Stag's Head, or Neary's, or McDaid's pub on Harry Street.

I want to go out and play, but I make do with the World Indoor Bowls Championship on BBC2, and the book that never ends.

Last Saturday night, in O'Neill's on Pearse Street, aroused a hunger in me for stories and ale that never bedded down, thanks to this malignance, but dammit if it didn't go into retreat an hour ago.

Porridge and flaxseed, if you please, and the first razor-free ingestion in days. Let it not be a ruse, let it be a turning and I swear to jaysus I won't waste another moment lamenting things I should be doing.

Should is a pointless thing.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Good news

'Fun-loving non-smoker, social drinker (29), looking for necessary new lease of life. WLTM healthy kidney who shares her interest in travel without Peritoneal Dialysis machine and her fetish for midriffs without tubes attached. GSOH in bad times essential. Only kidneys interested in long-term relationship need apply.'

This morning, a call came. A match. Send happy thoughts and I'm sure the good lady herself will tell the full story soon...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Second sleep

"Would you go to work tomorrow, if you won it?"

She told me she would. Then she wouldn't. Then she'd ring in sick. But she'd want to hand in her notice. But who would she tell? And what would she say? And then there's the obligatory Facebook cull of those you don't need knowing your business. Not this business, anyway.

"Would you rather buy an island or a yacht?" I asked her.

She wanted neither. What use an island? And who'd sail the yacht? I told her 'not that kind of yacht, the posh Roman Abramovich kind,' and she still wasn't interested.

I told her that I'd quite like a yacht, for seeing places, but she'd rather a helicopter. I disagreed, said I'd fall out, and all of a sudden she was commanding her phone to look up the prices of private jets. Anywhere from $6m to $45m, apparently. Then the upkeep is $100,000 a year on top of that.

Fuck that. Fuck private jets.

But who would we tell? Who could we tell? Who could we help and who would we just be enabling?

This went on, and on, and around our heads while Family Guy played in the background. It's the greatest tease of a conversation and plays around bigger and smaller beds than ours, the country over, the continent over, one year to another...

The changed lives. The invasions of privacy. The electric gates for the really big money. The stuff begetting stuff. The 'never forgetting where or what we came from.'

Anyway, she won a fiver and privately cussed me this morning, rolling over for my second sleep.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

You're a good boy, Tin Tin, and I love you

2004. A house party in Lucan. Myself, Fitzbollix, the Crazy Cat Girl and all manner of other revellers drinking all manner of lovely potions to the point of inebriation. This here weblog was just a whelp.

I did a New Year's Eve countback the other night and reckoned that night, seven years ago, to have been the last time I counted down among a crowd as the year became another.

2005 - 5X came over. We watched Eddie Murphy's 'Raw.'

2006 - I got drunk the night before and failed to make a trip to, ehm, somewhere near Ballybunion.

2007 - On own. Charleville Road. Six Feet Under.

2008 - On own. Charleville Road. The Wire.

2009 - A couple of pints in Downey's and then on own, Charleville Road.

2010 - My first New Year's Eve with herself, on us own, on the quays.

To 2011, to the Horseshoe Bar with Johnny and Glenda (friends again), to Odessa, to partying into the small hours with the Xposé girls to the not having the energy to continue this charade.

We stayed in, we paused The Snapper while we ate a tea of fine cheeses, meats and wine, we watched The Snapper until the magic telly acted the bollix and then... crestfallen (we lost it at the bit where Dessie and the wife are about to have the ride)... we were left with Miriam O'Callaghan fellating her drunken colleagues on live RTE.

This fucking country and its state broadcaster, interviewing itself to within an inch of its life, Des Cahill looking like the inebriated first cousin of John Kenny in Father Ted, and more woe besides. Brendan fucking Grace. Some Afternoon Show bint. Glasses of champers on the table. A mild case of depression.

I can't really say why we stayed up, especially as Facebook now negates the need for anyone to phone each other or even send a text, but we did in a car crash sort of way. We were, at least, a force of two griping at the telly, a force of two wishing each other a happy new year in the home we now share, a salve to the forced enjoyment of another night of bombast.