Friday, November 27, 2009


In a world where...

I was having a bit of a moan the other day to The Fiancée about how everyone starts looking for 'best of' lists at this time of year. I mentioned Donald Clarke's post, and how I'd ended up giving my tuppenceworth anyway, even though I'm above that sort of thing.
"Um, I think everyone missed the point of that one. He was looking for piss-takey ideas, like his ones."

I hate missing the point. So here, because I'm vain enough to post this on my own blog instead of in the comments on Donald's, are my favourite eight movies that weren't released in 2009:

The Stuffing of Dreams
Dir. Ving Rhames
Haley Joel Osment gives an Oscar-nominated performance as a nine year-old with Down's Syndrome who comes to terms with the untimely demise of his Siamese cat, Musty, through the help of avuncular taxidermist Elliott Gould. Also starring Bonnie Hunt as the wise-cracking mom.

Adapting Charlie Kaufman
Dir. John Malkovich
Charlie Kaufman stars as Nicholas Cage, an actor preparing for the role of a lifetime where he will play Philip Seymour Hoffman as he prepares to portray Catherine Keener in a play about Spike Jonze directing Being John Malkovich. Samantha Morton turns in a stunning performance as Jean, the woman who ignores them.

Brown Torino
Dir. Ben Stiller
Clint Eastwood and Michael Caine star as two bickering, widowered toilet attendants who retire to the industrial paradise of Turin, northern Italy, only to discover that there's always shit to take care of.

The Flesh-Eating Monkeys that Live in my Vagina 
Dir. Jane Seymour
Though rumoured to be based on an initial concept by Eli Roth, Jane Seymour is very much the star of the show as she writes, directs and plays all seven lead roles in this bleakly apocalyptic vision of the near future.

Alpha to Omega
Dir. Ron Howard
Tom Bosley stars as Harold Oldman, an old man suffering from Alzheimer's Disease. Hilarity ensues as he forgets where he lives and is taken in and adopted as a mascot by the residents of a party-hard fraternity house. Jonah Hill and Seann William Scott both received Golden Globe nods for their sensitive portrayal of twenty year-olds who like beer bongs.

Out and Out (3D)
Dir. Robert Rodriguez
Zac Efron and James van der Beeck star as twin brothers who battle prejudice and their mother's frowns to overcome the obstacle of their homosexuality and realise their dream of making it in the world of musical theatre. Bonnie Hunt co-stars as their mother.

Mincemeat! (How Corporate America Screws us Over)
Dir. Michael Moore
Moore's latest provocative documentary is a shocking exposé of what really goes into mince pies.
Apparently, it's not meat at all.

Crazy Face Man
Dir. Pedro Almodovar
Jim Carrey delights in this knockabout comedy as a man who contracts Bell's Palsy, causing him to gurn unwittingly in the most hilariously inappropriate circumstances. Pamela Anderson illuminates the screen as Woman whose Boobs Jim Likes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Some people say the sky is just the sky

Late last Monday night, lying in bed beside my gradually-recovering-from-swine-flu girlfriend, I found my head beating and beating at me with something I'd been wanting to say for ages but had never intended to say there and then.

"Will you marry me?"

Turns out she will. I held her tightly and she cried a little. The sap. I just shook. We kissed and we talked, thought what exactly we said has long since left my mind, so addled was I by the heady concoction of joy and fear. Fear, not of the commitment that we had just made to each other, but that, once we started the task of telling all the important people in the morning, even one of them might express the tiniest doubt or misgiving.

I needn't have worried. We let the night tick into the wee hours before deciding that we'd burst if we didn't tell someone and that there was a chance my brother might be awake. He wasn't, but he received the news with delight. The following day he told me that he lay awake for the next hour or so, composing the opening lines of the best man speech he knew I'd ask him to give and crying a little. The sap.

We lay in bed and listened to one of our favourite records, laughing at how we've managed to wear the vinyl down already. I don't know what time I got to sleep at, but she was even later, for once.

My brother's reaction seems to have set the tone thus far, thankfully. The Fiancée ( I love saying that) made the important family calls in the morning and then sent a blanket webtext to almost everyone who would care to know. She lost her already fragile voice in the maelstrom of excited calls that followed. So uncomfortable am I with an inundation of attention I chose to do my informing in drips and drabs, soaking up the enthusiastic responses at a manageable rate. I wondered if my heart would ever stop racing.

It was nearly 24 hours later before I was able to lie calmly in bed, thinking about how incredible it is that someone should choose to wake up beside me every morning and how wonderful it is to be gaining a second family, that it all fully sank in. And I smiled, and I woke her up at stupid o'clock babbling about what stones she should get in her ring (her very talented jewellery designer sister will make it) and I knew that every day from then on will feel like a celebration of that one.

P.S . That's what she said.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


About an old lady

Last Saturday was my first day volunteering in a charity shop on Camden Street. As I bustled about trying to be useful and not get in the way I was warned to be vigilant against pickpockets and shoplifters, as they've had plenty of them there recently. "What kind of scumbag nicks stuff from charity shops?" I thought to myself, secure in the knowledge that my teenage shoplifting prowess had all been a carefully orchestrated plot against The Man, and that no-one ever suffered from it.
 An hour later I was working away on the till when a greying man approached me, speaking in a conspiratorially low whisper. "You see that old woman down there, the one in the black coat?" She was the only old woman in a pretty small shop, so of course I saw her. He went on to provide further needless descriptions before saying "I saw her steal something, I think it was a tea-strainer she put in her pocket." His concern was simultaneously admirable and irritating. I am loath to be frisking old ladies, even villainous tea-strainer thieves, so I passed this on to a more experienced member of staff, who consulted with the manager. They thought she'd been at that kind of thing in the shop before, so decided to wait by the door to intercept her.
 Business was good at the tills so I missed the dramatic moment, but the next thing I saw of the old lady she was trembling out profuse apologies, all five foot nothing of her. I was struck by how much older she looked than my 84 year-old grandfather, despite the fact that she's probably a full decade younger. Her eyes were brimming as she kept saying, over and over, "I just wasn't thinking, I was walking around and my mind slipped and I put it in my pocket. I didn't mean to, I didn't mean to." She was brought to the till so she could hand me over the €2.90 for the tea-strainer she says she was always intending to buy. A wretched sight by this stage, her unkempt grey curls quivering along with her and a tear rolling down a line in her face as she handed over her shivering coins.The manager kept trying to console her, agreeing that it's very easy for such a thing to slip your mind. But she was in bits by now, so they took her down to the back of the store to sit down and have a cup of tea and a chat.
 She shuffled out about 15 minutes later looking little better, mumbling anguished promises about going straight to the church to say her prayers.

Friday, November 6, 2009


What others were feeling like today #13

Checking my archives I realise that I haven't put up one of these posts in nearly six months. There's a couple of nice entries for today and I have little else of interest to share with you. When I hear back from E4 regarding my strongly worded letter expressing my outrage at their rescheduling of Gilmore Girls so that it clashes with Countdown I'll let you know. For any new readers (and,surprisingly enough, there seem to be a couple recently, which is nice), this is simply a section where I opt out of any creativity whatsoever and simply put up diary extracts for the day in question taken from a book I have called The Assassin's Cloak.


At night my wife and I did fall out about the dogs being put down into the cellar, which I had a mind to have done because of his fouling the house, and I would have my will; and so we went to bed and lay all night in a quarrel. This night I was troubled all night with a dream that my wife was dead, which made me that I slept ill all night.

If the lady and I ever manage to have a row I may well try out the "I would have my will" line on her; it's so delightfully authoritative.


I spent the whole evening just sitting before a mirror just to keep myself company.

Wikipedia tells me that "The typical protagonist in the works of Pavese is a loner, through choice or through circumstances. His relationships with men and women tend to be temporary and superficial."
Cesare, of course, lived in an era before either Gilmore Girls or Countdown had been invented.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Blue! Blue! Blue!

You know you've been unemployed for far, far too long when you hear that 'mentalist' muppet Keith Barry on the radio banging on about how the Irish version of Deal or No Deal presented by his good self is starting soon on TV3 and you think "Hmmm...could be interesting."