Saturday, January 30, 2010


Radio-friendly unit shifter

I've known Patrick Kelleher since he was about nine. His older brother was one of my best mates in school and when I went over to his place Paddy would hang off us, misguidedly thinking it would make him cool by association. Since he released his debut album You Look Cold last year I've been hanging off him, resigned to never being cool by any means, but perhaps hoping that a modicum of his talent might rub off on me. I had bought his album because that's what you do - you buy the albums that your friends make. Then it kicked me in the bollocks by being really fucking good, probably the best album I bought last year. It appears an awful lot of people think so too.

I had little idea of what kind of music he makes, and to be honest, I still don't really know. I suppose it fits vaguely into that lazy category of 'indie/alternative', but this is no skinny-boys-playing-their-guitars-atonally drudgery. Nor is it the work of yet another earnest guy with an acoustic guitar keening about his soul. It feels more like a celebration of all kinds of good stuff, including folk, electronica and doo-wop. It's not cynical, designed to get played on daytime radio, seduce Hollywood starlets and soundtrack The Hills. It's not going to sell out stadiums or get him on the cover of Q magazine (though he'd make a smashing cover girl).
It's music for the sheer joy of it, at a time when reality TV seems determined to take us further and further from that notion.

Patrick and his band will be playing at two Haiti benefit gigs in Whelan's, on February 3rd and 17th. Do yourself and favour and get to one of the shows. And if you don't trust me on this, check out the ire that his omission from the Choice Music shortlist provoked over on Jim Carroll's blog.

Also, watch this video. I don't exactly put them up very often.

Patrick Kelleher - Coat To Wear from Gerard Duffy on Vimeo.

Myspace page.

Musical Rooms feature.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010


maji moto

The most important three years of my youth were spent in Tanzania, east Africa, where I lived with my family between the age of 8 and 10. We lived in a small village just outside the city of Dodoma. Dodoma is nominally the capital of Tanzania and means "it has sunk" in the local tribal language, Chigogo - a name that is said to refer to an incident where an elephant got stuck in the mud. Fond as I still am of the place, I never saw anything as exciting as an elephant there. Or any mud.

For Dodoma lies in an area that is classified as 'semi-desert'. I was delighted when I discovered this and tried to mention it every time the topic of Tanzania arose for years after I came back to Ireland, making sure to say the 'semi' bit quite quietly. Rain was scarce and precious, often going nine months without making an appearance, sometimes over a year. We never had running water, meaning that both toilet flushes and showers were limited to a couple of mugfuls from a bucket once a day. I never minded, but I felt the anxiety creased on local faces when crops failed and xylophone-ribbed cattle succumbed to a diet of dust.

So when it rained, it was glorious. You'd smell it on the dry dust up to half an hour beforehand, and hear a low hum in the air as the myriad insects would ready themselves. We'd run inside to tell our mother and would then set out plastic buckets and empty metal margarine tubs and open kettles, any respectable receptacle, below the eaves of the house to catch what we could before the thirsty ground chugged it all. Then I'd wait outside until the last possible second, watching the dust speckle and spatter until the downpour became too much. Whereupon the rain through the meshed window became the evening's entertainment, superior to that of our non-existent telly and the stacks of comics I'd already read. If I was lucky it would still be lashing down as I went to sleep, soothed by the drumming on the corrugated iron roof. Comforted by the knowledge that it was saving lives and feeling a little less at odds with my previous existence in Cork; a place more accustomed to precipitation.

Life would shoot out of the dust and cover the area in a lush veneer of greenness that might sometimes last an entire fortnight. Red scorpions would temporarily become more of a worry and malaria rates in the region increased (I caught it two or three times during our spell there). We'd go and skim stones on temporary lakes (which once led to my five year-old brother requiring stitches on his head after a misunderstanding with some older Tanzanian girls). And, excitingly, a  very small tortoise would invariably end up on our verandah the morning after a deluge.* We'd adopt it as a household pet, vastly preferable to the incessantly mewling kitten we once found on a rubbish heap who died after three days despite our best efforts to feed it milk through a syringe, much safer than a dog in a country where rabies vaccines are a low priority, more loyal than the chameleons we'd lovingly place on our mosquito nets, only for them to feck off once they realised that there were more flies elsewhere. We'd call them all Polepole (po-lay po-lay - 'slowly' in Swahili) and try to work out what the hell they ate. And when they tired of us and refused to leave their shells, and we tired of them and found a new snake to throw rocks at, we set them down on the dust and they ambled off.

*I never quite understood why this happened or if, indeed, they were tortoises rather than turtles, until a quick Google check assured me that they were most definitely tortoises and that the poor fuckers were presumably trying not to drown.

Thursday, January 14, 2010



"Careful outside, our driveway is the last place in Dublin to still have patches of ice."

As was his flat, judging from this evening. It meant that one of the two extra layers I'd applied for outside wear had never been removed once I'd arrived over to drink some beer and share in his team's further ignominy. And now it's too late for a bus and I don't feel insulated sufficiently against the freezing fog that shrouds the Rathgar road.

I hunch my shoulders and truck homewards, knowing it's not really that far of a walk. A dark figure shambles out of the mist toward me. Look straight ahead and don't make eye contact, Andrew, that's how you keep them from murdering you and raping your corpse. It works.

Dozens upon hundreds of taxis crawl past me, with hopeful lights on top that say "Hey big boy, me bring you home long time five dollah." I pat my empty wallet and think there was a time, lads, there was a time. I walk past a blonde girl with a warm-looking hat on. She looks straight ahead and doesn't make eye contact.

Eddie Rocket's of Rathmines is open and deserted and I consider throwing them the sop of my company. But I've done nothing to earn fries and a chocolate malt on a Wednesday night. The clock above the Swan makes for an eerie backlit sight in these conditions. I wish momentarily that I had a camera with me, then I remember that cameras don't really get fog, especially at night.

Tramco has less punters than the net café next door. Taxis queue outside Rain Niteclub as it dry-retches no-one to their bosoms. In the future, when my grandchildren ask me what I remember of The Grand Depression I will say "Taxis, so very many taxis." 7,247 of them I've counted now, though I have been drinking. Aprile's takeaway are still doing brisk business - those beautiful, greasy, durable bastards. It takes all of my bravery to stare straight ahead and not make eye contact.

 I stumble in the door, hit the leaba without brushing mo fiaclaí and fire up the laptop to thaw out my thighs.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


What others were feeling like today #15

Oh, readers! Be ever so thankful that Chancing My Arm does not come in Twitter form. For had I access to a medium that cries out for pithy, pissy observations I shudder to think of the flecks of bile I would have been spraying at my devoted followers this week. And perhaps some delightfully light-hearted observations on the iciness of the Dublin streets this week - ROGC - Rolling on the Ground Crying! Cuz I just fell on my bum again LOL!!!)
But anyway, enough of this tomfoolery. For you didn't come here to read my words, you came for those of Christopher Matthew. Oh yes you did. Did the government have enough salt in his day? How did he feel about Irish blogging? Let's find out.


It may be a little late in the day to start making New Year resolutions, but mine are none the less serious for that. I shall write them down to remind myself:
1. To make some money.
2. To think seriously about getting married - possibly to Jane, but ideally to someone with money.
3. To find somewhere else to live. I am getting too old for this type of flat life
4. To move freely in society. I am always reading in the diaries of the famous how they dined here and lunched there; sat next to this person at table and met that one at the theatre. I see no reason why I should not do the same. My problem is that my life is too often taken up with domestic trivialities, and I allow my time to be wasted by people of little worth and influence. I shall take steps to break out of this little world in which I have become trapped in recent months, and give far freer rein to my personality and talents.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


am i to be a king, or just a pig?

RTÉ News' Review of 2009 concluded by listing the two things we have to look forward to in 2010:

Finding out if NAMA works or not.

The World Cup.

Someone in Montrose has a dark, dark sense of humour.

For better prospects, see David Mitchell.

My end of 2009 does not deserve a post of its own and ought to spend a long time in a dark, fetid dungeon thinking about what it did.

But my cultural highlights of the year include guffawing along to the hilarious antics of Neil Morrissey and Martin Clunes in Men Behaving Badly, the rollercoaster ride of Dan Brown's thrilling Da Vinci Code, the shock of Biddy's untimely demise in Glenroe, ribald and astounding videos on a global phenomenon people are calling 'The Youtube', and the sassy stylings of all-girl soul group Eternal.

Some sexy people, yesterday.

Yo, Andrew still down wit da kids, y'all.