Tuesday, December 30, 2008



"Y'know," she says, "you're always using terms like 'It just dawned on me' and 'it suddenly struck me'. It's as though you're constantly having these little epiphanies."
She's right. I do, and I am. It's how I work. Here's another:

It dawns on me, at 5 in the morning, entirely unrelated to how much whiskey, vodka and peach schnapps I've just quietly consumed, how lucky I am to have met her. To have found her. That I am no intransigent leopard, but a man with a massive capacity for mistakes, complicated feelings, confusion and, yes, even cruelty. And a much greater capacity for goodness and recovery from those mistakes. That I've found someone who balances me out, knows who I am and loves me for all that entails. And doesn't think that entails anything too arduous. Who loves words even more than I do, and flicks and flips them with glee. Someone who breathes kindness and sincerity.

It struck me forcibly, not now but at the moment I met her, that she is quite the thing.

Saturday, December 27, 2008



This little fella has gone back to Kenya for Christmas, to spend it with his family. I didn't realise it at the time, but I'm told he won't be coming back. No chance to say goodbye, but sometimes a swift, sharp exit is a very good thing.

Monday, December 22, 2008


If I had a clue...

As a fan of Kings of Leon I was torn as to whether or not to buy tickets to their gig last Friday. Perhaps it was the fact I've already seen them live a couple of times, perhaps it was that the Point being renamed The o2 somehow seems to piss on my teenage memories of seeing cracking gigs like Ash in '96 and Blur in '97 there, perhaps it's the fact that the hordes of new fans they seem to have gathered in the wake of Sex on Fire making every radio station's daytime playlist would inevitably annoy the shite out of me, but I decided not to go. Then last week the rumours circulated that U2 would be supporting them and some inevitable pangs of envy flared up.

Too late though, I had tickets to Kerbdog at Andrew's Lane for the same evening. You don't remember them, but they were great. This would be cool, I thought, it's a chance to see a real band, with real fans, in a real venue. And other italicised smug sentiments.

As it turns out though, I'm a little too old to watch Cormac Battle drunkenly shamble his way through the set and spit at his bassist. And he is definitely too old to be doing it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Bad Santa (Part 2)

It's taken me far longer than I intended, but here's the second part of four stories charting my experiences of being Santa for the amusement of various folk.
2. Cuddle-Me Santa: Infamy
Hot on the heels of this questionable success, I was asked to continue as stand-in for NicotineSanta at the local primary school - my old one. this stretched my Santa-ing abilities no further than wandering into all the classrooms and saying hi to the kids. Some of these young rapscallions knew me from around, so it was the acid test of the suit's effectiveness and my special Santa voice (more on that later). The funniest moment came when I was in with the 3rd and 4th class kids (9-10 year-olds) and my brother's best mate's little brother, whom I had met a few times, scrutinised what little of my face he could make out and nervously asked "Do you know my sister Suzanna?" I assured him that Santa knows everyone and moved on quickly. The beard, and the voice, had passed muster.

Now, about the voice: I figured Santa should have a deep, booming voice. Mine's deep-ish, but really quite meek in volume and resonance, so this ended up putting quite a strain on my larynx. Taking my cue from the Lord of the Rings movies (as I am wont to do in may aspects of life), I was aiming for somewhere between the gentle-but-commanding tone of Ian McKellen's Gandalf and the somewhat more sinister sound of Christopher Lee's Saruman. in reality though, I'm pretty sure I ended up sounding a lot closer to Aslan - not the one voiced by Liam Neeson in the Narnia movies ( I reckon I'd get laid 24/7 if I sounded like Liamo), but that asshole Token from South Park meets when he decides to become a lion.

I preserved this veneer of austerity for quite a while, until i found myself in the Junior Infants class. A wee blonde-headed girl of no more than 4 came up to me with her lunchbox, opened it up, and put a little box of tiny Smarties in my hand and said "These are sweeties for you, Santa." The big voice was entirely dropped and I crouched down to her level, saying something along the lines"Ahwouldyoujustlookatyouwithyourdoteylittlefaceandyourcurlsandandyourweelittleshoesandyourlovelylittleface?"

SternSanta act now abandoned, the kids swiftly realised that I'm something of a softie when it comes to little people and swarmed me from then on in. Legs were clung to, songs were sung and tears were shed (largely by me) as I finally made my exit. Santa's rise to power was complete, the key demographic had been cracked.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Mtoto mtundu sana

I made one of my brief visits home last night, as I do about once a week, or so. Stuff has been weighing a little heavier than usual the last few days so it seemed a good place to be. Having suffered the latest indignities that my beloved Arsenal had brought to my life I decided to right some football worngs by staying up til about 1.30 in the morning playing Pro-Evolution Soccer 6 on the Playstation with The Bro.
Wandering, shivering and cranky into the kitchen in the morning, I greeted my mum and said, "It is beyond me why I stayed up so late last night."
"It's beyond me too", she replied, "you're an eejit."
"Sure you're only young and foolish once, aren't you?" I smiled.
"Yes, but honey, you're 27."

Ah. Right.

Rock 'n' Rhiannon

Well, you may have enjoyed her adventures in America, you may have suffered through her misadventures in love, you may enjoy her carefully constructed observations on all kinds of things in life. But the Google chat I've just had with everyone's favourite Welshie, Annie Rhiannon , as she lolled around Rosie's flat watching daytime TV exposes her as the true ditz that she is. And reveals far more about my secret rock n' roll past than you ever wished to know.

annie.rhiannon: have you ever played bass in a band?

me: No
that's an odd question!

annie.rhiannon: yeah I know

because I told my friend that I have a crush on a guy because who used to play bass in a band and she said...
"Oh for GOODNESS sake Annie, EVERY boy once played bass in a band, it is the easiest instrument in the world, even I have once played bass in a band. Go on, ask the next boy you see if he ever played bass in a band."

me: ha
if I'd ever been in a band i would've played bass
or maybe tried to sing, but that would have had most unfortunate results

annie.rhiannon: I actually once played bass in a band myself

me: really?

annie.rhiannon: come to think of it
yes, i blogged about it so it must be true

me: heh, what were you called?

annie.rhiannon: http://annierhiannon.blogspot.com/search?q=bass

"dynamite", embarrassingly I don;t remember the name of the other band

me: nice post
i had one with my sister when i was seven
i was fucking brilliant at playing the tennis racquet

annie.rhiannon: hee

me: our song was called 'Wet and Hot', because it had been a sunny day, but rained a bit

annie.rhiannon: haha that is hilarious you have to blog about it
I'm actually "lolling"

me: we couldn't understand why our mum didn't like us singing about being wet and hot

my brother was supposed to be the drummer

but he was three, and less interested in getting on top of the Pops than we were

annie.rhiannon: haha

me: My mum got very embarrassed when i ran running into my sister ( who was trying to take a pee at the time) and shouted "Wet and Hot just got into the top ten!!"
if it had gone straight in at number one that would've been unrealistic

annie.rhiannon: haha
now i am lolling my pants

me: it kinda ended there, i think

we tried to lay it down in the studio but i felt that the bass was really taking away from my vocals

annie.rhiannon: "Wet and Hot"

me: If i blog about it i'll probably just be really lazy and cut and paste this
with your consent, obviously

annie.rhiannon: of course

but are you going to put my HAHAHAHAs in?
probably not a good idea

me: Not as articulate as you'd like to come across?

annie.rhiannon: not exactly

me: Just cos you're all good and proper at blogging...

I'm never gonna win an award, join me in my quest for mediocrity

yeah, the HAHAHAs are going in

i'm blowing you out of the water, Rhiannon

annie.rhiannon: hee, I look forward to it

I'm hitting "refresh" impatiently

Tuesday, December 9, 2008



The very nice Limerick lass I was sitting beside earlier at the dinner at my Big Cousin's wedding in Cork wanders past me, looking sullen and tractor-like in my awkwardness and cumbersomosity on the dance-floor.
"Hey, you having a good night?" she asks, with smiling sincerity.
I'm having a dark moment here, so I scowl, "I think I prefer funerals, no-one tries to make you dance."
She looks truly horrified, and may well have had a restraining order out on me for the rest of the night.

Late on, nearing 4 am or something stupid like that, I'm sitting at a computer in the lobby, checking my comments like the needy tool that I am, when a gangly creature emerges from the darkness.
"What are you doing there?" she asks, annoyingly, in a Cork-Dublin chimera of an accent.
"Do you have any cigarettes?" I spit back.
"Only in my room, I've a carton there..."
"I only need one, not two hundred, thanks. And I want it now."
Unperturbed, she purrs "Why do you have a beard, is it for Movember?"
"No, it's December now so that would be fucking stupid."
"I've never kissed a beard, y'know."
"Me either, I'd imagine it's horrible." This is still not enough. She takes my bottle of Heineken and drinks from it. I am every bit as appalled as the Limerick lass was at my attempt at humour earlier."You hang on to that, love. Night"

Nada y nada y nada y nada y nada y pues nada

Hey bro. Wats d craic? Wz tinkin. How wud a man get into handin out soup 2 pikeys r sometin like dat durin christmas?

And so began yesterday evening, with a text message from a well-meaning and (hopefully intentionally) hilarious friend. Why he sought out my advice on the matter I'm not entirely sure, as my interaction with the homeless has never really extended further than to pass on a cigarette and a patronising smile to someone sitting on Nassau Street or the Ha'penny Bridge. The timing was interesting though, as I was on my way to the launch of a book in aid of Focus Ireland, a charity which aims to provide assistance and shelter to the homeless, of which there are a shameful amount in Ireland.

Along with my own little contribution, Homepages contains short stories and photos from many of Ireland's finest bloggers. Far too many of them to list, though I can tell you I've had a sneaky peek already at the entries from Twenty and Eli, and both are superb. Compiled by Catherine Brodigan, proprietess of Two Wheels on My Wagon and all-round good egg, and featuring a foreword from Pauline 'Mrs. Doyle' McLynn, the book represents excellent value for the 14 euro it costs.

I've thrown a good few links around this post, but the only one you really need to click on is HERE, the only place you can buy the book, as it won't be in the shops and is being printed on an on-demand basis in order to maximise profits, all of which go to Focus Ireland. Go on, order yours now. And get a few for friends and family while you're at it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Tried it once and then liked it, and tried it again

January 2007.

A spectacular personality clash with a new boss (and by that I mean that I am great and she was an atrocious cuntgoblin) leads to me being laid off from a TEFL job in a horrible school in Dublin. Dumb luck means that I get a new job very quickly that pays double what I was getting before. This also means teaching in a secondary school. Dealing with teenagers every day. Being accountable for my actions. Not being hung over in class any more (or at least not openly talking about it). Moving out of my theoretical 'lad-flat' in Ranelagh and moving home. Driving to work.

These days I cruise around the place like Lewis Hamilton after popping his cherry, but back then I was only learning, and had to drive to work in 'Little Red', my mother's Nissan Micra. I'd drive the ten miles of nasty, meandering, narrow roads every morning, then park up the road from the school and try to find the balance between nervous nausea and too-much-fucking-nicotine-nausea. About two and a half cigarettes at that time of day, I found. I won't name the part of the world I was in, but they were strange, resentful little inbred mountain children I was teaching, for the most part. Sometimes it was fine, but for the most part I returned home with my white knuckles gripping the steering long after I'd parked at home, unable to get out of the car for another five minutes, inhaling and exhaling loudly to myself. Then, ashen-faced, I'd sneak around the back of the house for my last smoke of the day.

I've now spent too long setting the scene.

Point is, the music that soundtracked this time in my life. Little Red, being from the nineties, had a tape deck rather than a CD player. I can rarely stand the crap tunes and witterings of daytime radio, and the place I taught was so remote that you even lost reception from the mainstream stations once you'd reached the point of no return in your journey. So cassettes were really my only option. Unfortunately, most of my tapes had perished when my sixteen year-old misadventures with Bacardi and Coke on a school night had taught me that yes, that feeling in my stomach was the impending return of that evening's spaghetti bolognaise and yes, next time a toilet would be a better receptacle for it than a my tape collection, which included a prized copy of Now 29. My mother's collection in her car consisted largely of Sting and, shudder, Phil Collin, so that was about as useful as a cock-flavoured lollipop.
Fortunately a couple of decent tapes of mine had survived the eruption, including REM's Out of Time. So, I cruelly overplayed this album morning and afternoon, and it became the soundtrack to nervousness, fear of the roads, and fear of the kids. Music often takes me back to a certain periods of my life, and this provides a particularly strong example. I hadn't been able to listen to it since.

I'm a sophisticated fellow who now has such gems on CD, too. I've no stereo of any kind in my car at the moment, but it dawned on me the other day when I was about to undertake a longish drive that I could now play music off my new laptop. Out of Time needed to be reclaimed, to have new associations with better things. So I played it for a stint of my journey and now, just like that, instead of nerves and nicotine it sings to me of the Naas road and new beginnings.