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


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.'