Thursday, December 22, 2011


Bad Santa (Part 2)

A few years ago I wrote this post, all about one of my experiences of pretending to be Santa Claus for other people's amusement, I mentioned at the start of it that there were going to be four parts to it but, like so many of my good blogging intentions, they never happened. That post just flaps in the wind there now, still frequently visited by naughty people trying to stream the movie 'Bad Santa'. But I've just read it again, and was surprised to find that it's actually pretty funny, and that there were elements to the story I'd entirely forgotten. So here, more than three years later, is my stab at a second part:


During my third year of college I lived in a part of Finglas that the landlord pretended was Glasnevin and compensated for the lack of a social life that I simply couldn't afford by doing a bit of volunteering at a homework club in a refugee centre, where shared the title of 'volunteer co-ordinator' with a far more enterprising and imaginative person than I who went by the name of Sinéad. It was our job to help teenaged asylum-seekers who'd come to Ireland without their parents do their homework, and ensure that there were enough volunteers to meet the demand for it. It was a huge amount of fun and I felt bad whenever anyone commended me on the work, as I it was far too enjoyable to be considered in any way worthy.

Sinéad, being an enterprising and imaginative person, was out and about one day single-handedly organising the Christmas party for the centre while I was suffering through all the added workload that being one year ahead of her in college brought by gawping at pretty girls in the library.
She called me:
"Andrew, would you dress up as Santa for the party and give out a few presents?"
"Ummm...are they not a bit old for Santa?"
"C'mon, it'll be fun and they'll love it."
"Do we have a suit?"
"I'm just about to buy one."
"Do we have the budget for that?" (First and only time I've ever uttered those words.)
"Yeah, it's grand, it's only three euro."

The three euro part should have been the warning, in all honesty.

This costume lacked the musty antique shop elegance of my previous Santa garb by being more of a small,  thin two-piece red suit, rather than a glorious crimson robe that could house any trousers I wished, along with many a pillow for full jolly-fat-bastard effect. I just about forced one small cushion under the jacket, before making the decision to keep my jeans on under the flimsy drawstring trousers. Skinny fuckin' jeans they were, grey ones, for I was almost a skinny enough fucker for them back then.

The students, from all over Africa, were indeed thrilled by the sight of me and my big sack of presents, and laughed long and hard. Once again, I felt like a rockstar. A present or two distributed, the laughter became even more uproarious - screeches and hoots everywhere. I was starting to become bemused by just how funny these guys thought the whole thing was. It was only me in a red suit, speaking in a deeper voice than usual, after all.

"For god's sake pull up your pants, man!" exhorted a young man beside me, who has subsequently gone on to slightly make a name for himself as a slightly-known comedian. I looked down to see that the flimsy drawstring trousers had, shockingly, failed me and were now sitting pooled around my ankles while the protective layer of my skinny fuckin' jeans now resembled grubby fuckin' longjohns. I looked at my chest and the corner of a cushion was poking out of the the intersection at the breast of the jacket, like some sort of floral-patterned cotton Janet Jackson.

After I'd waddled back to the toilet cubicles and begun changing back, wishing I had something else to put over the now-shameful skinny jeans, I overheard one of the Nigerian kids having a blistering barney on the phone with his girlfriend from school, who wanted him to meet up with she and her friends, while he wanted to hang out at the party for a bit longer. I think it was only then that I began seeing the asylum seekers as citizens, rather than guests of the nation.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011



The other day I pounced on a novel set in Tanzania called 'Exile' by Jakob Ejersbo, a Danish writer. The author had, like me, done some of his growing up there and I was thrilled to think that I might see some of my experiences reflected in the writing of someone good enough to do it professionally. That the book looked rough and cynical and was by the author of 'the Danish Trainspotting' boded even better. Mentions of places I spent time in, the view of Kilimanjaro in the morning and a liberal sprinkling of Swahili words took me back, right enough, but it was the simple word 'bilharzia' that tipped me into a full vat of reminiscence. Bilharzia was the reason why our mothers told us we could never swim in any of the lakes we encountered in central Tanzania, though some older guys I knew claimed that they often did it, and you just needed to make sure your feet never touched the bottom. I doubt many of the lakes were more than four foot deep.

I tended to trust my mother on this, as I did when it came to scorpions, jiggers, green mambas and most other issues of health and safety. I was never stung by a scorpion, jiggered by a jigger or bitten by a green mamba. I never really even knew what bilharzia was, just that it was to be avoided. I don't think I had ever seen it written down before and can't say I recall hearing the word once since we came back to Ireland, nineteen years ago. Nor did I think about it much. Turns out it's caused by Schistosoma parasites*, which burrow into your kidneys, bladder, rectum and any other private, precious parts you can think of and cause you to bloodily shit yourself to death.

Nostalgia is a rum beast.

*The Internet tells me that they swim freely in open water, which means that those older braggards were either full of shit or, y'know, minutes away from violently shitting themsleves. Ha!

Monday, November 7, 2011


What Others Were Feeling Like Today #17


One wonders how a nation's intelligence resists the radio. Moreover, it does not resist. The radio is a faucet of foolishness. The only thing I can bear listening to is the sports reporting. The high-speed precision of the speakers. They are forbidden stupidity. Which exists only in the fact that some men are kicking a ball around a field and the whole world is excited by the fact.

Cesare Pavese

It's been over a year since I put one of these posts up, and the previous entry was also from Cesare Pavese (whom I had never heard of before). One can only assume that sixty years ago Cesare and his contemporaries didn't have to suffer through the phenomenon known as 'the co-commentator'. Driving home the other day I caught the end of Liverpool v Swansea City on Today FM. As the home side pushed for a winner Dirk Kuyt thought he had scored, only for it to be ruled out by the offside flag. "Ooooooohhh, I don't know about that," piped up Ronnie Whelan " and it's the female official over the far side, too, so let's just see if she's got it right."

She had, though that is neither here nor there. Being female is not an obstacle to understanding the offside rule, having it explained to you by someone who doesn't understand it either, is. I can forgiven the flagrant abuse of grammar and meaning by football pundits, we've all got used to it. But the sexism makes me squirm for you, Ronnie, you faucet of foolishness.

Friday, November 4, 2011


sometimes i feel like i'm over and out

It is one of the oddities of Dublin life that if one is fortunate enough to live close enough to one's place of work to only have to pay a €1.20 fare on the bus every morning then there is no other way to pay one's fare but by having that €1.20 counted out in exact change.* This morning, I finally succumbed to the eternal battle with change by not having any of the fucking stuff. So I hopped into Freddie's cornershop on my way to the bus stop and bought an 80 cent packet of chewing gum and a €1 scratchcard with a twenty, providing me with the requisite change. I was still on time for the bus and my scratchie showed three little €2 symbols, meaning I had covered the cost of the scratchie, endowed myself with minty fresh breath and netted a tidy profit of 20 cent.

Some days I swear I am invincible.

*Unless, of course, there is. I am open to correction on this.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


October, quickly

I turned 30, I went to Edinburgh, I listened to the taxi driver banging on authoritatively on the way to the airport about how Edinburgh had been bombed to the ground during the war, though this was patently untrue.
I drank a lot of whisky, I drank a lot of whiskey, I hated football and preferred rugby, I hated rugby and preferred football, I came in a cup, I bonded with my new almost-niece, I thought about the meaning of legacy.
I disturbed myself by enjoying the Qathafy* videos, I shuddered at every sight of Martin McGuinness, I did a bit of yoga, I felt better for it.
I saw Drive, I wondered what was wrong with the people who didn't like it, I didn't read much I liked, I saw dEUS, I  rocked out gently whilst discovering whole new ways to hate Ticketmaster.
I felt I had to seek out my own information on the referenda, I remained unsure, I retained a healthy distrust for anything the government try to sneak through, I wondered whether the torrential rain and flooding was all just another cunning plan to kill Dana. I then remembered that she may be one of the few remaining people who entirely believes that what we call 'an act of God' really is an act of God. The floods were really only meant for the gays and the abortionists. I realised everyone would vote in a Fianna Fáiler reality TV star anyway.
I resented the impending time change, looked forward to November anyway, I vowed to write something proper then, or at least indulge in such frippery more regularly.

*There are about 150 different ways to transliterate that name, which makes me wonder why people got so vexed by the Irish Times plumping for 'Gadafy'. My Arabic speaking students tend to say that the way I've used is how they would write it. You would be wrong to quibble with them on this.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


"Well, it's not exactly the backyard, but it'll do"*

"Hello, I'd like to make an appointment, please."
"And what kind of an appointment is that?"

I swear I can hear a smirk in her voice.
"semen analysis"
"Semen analysis, fucking semen analysis, OK?"

 Go here if video won't play.

There is not, that I am currently aware of, anything wrong with my semen, but Rosie's polycystic ovaries and the havoc that they wreak mean that we are attending an infertility clinic soon. I find it difficult to talk about, but the only thing worse than talking about something like this is not talking about it. They tell me that men feel overwhelmed with gratitude after they realise the suffering their wives have gone through to bear them a child. I already owe Rosie a massive debt for the physical and emotional nausea she has to get through every day from the vicious medication that is supposed to give us a chance. Having to get up early in the morning one day to have my goo pored over by some dudes is a piffling contribution, and the only tangible one I have had to make thus far.

I will not lie to you, good people, the limits of my knowledge of the workings of semen analysis extend as far as the above scene from Naked Gun 33 1/3.(It was harder than you'd imagine to track that clip down, and funnier than you remember to watch.) Tragically, it turns out you do the donating bit no more than an hour before your appointment, and bring it in with you in a special little cup that I'll have to go in and collect from them some time beforehand. You'd think a sandwich bag or a bit of tupperware would do 'em. The lady on the phone did say they had a special room that I could make an appointment for, but, in a fluster, I declined. I couldn't then call back and say that I'd changed my mind about their special room, could I? I wonder what the people who work there call it? I'd go with 'Spunk Space', but that may very well be why I don't work in a fertility clinic.

They also send a letter that tells me I'm not to ejaculate for 2-5 days before. What the fuck are they thinking, giving a bloke a three day margin of choice? So yeah, next week, forty eight hours and one minute after the tetchy beginning of a fiddlin'and humpin' ban I'll be waking up, cracking one out, and bolting it across the rush houred city with a sticky cup in my pocket. Light a candle for me, won't you?

*The second option for this post's title was 'Juan Kerr Does Plenty'. Third, I suppose, was 'Seminal'. Fourth, now that I think of it would be 'Oh, Comely' because, y'know, it has 'come' in the title and I do love Neutral Milk Hotel so very much. Should anyone reading this happen to have an extra ticket for Jeff Mangum in Whelan's in November, let me know. I'll pay you. In cash. Or spunk. As you wish, really.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


you, me, we'll work it out!

Latest aborted posts:

One about 9/11, with added eastern Europeans and infidelity. And sliced pan.

One about our cat that was somehow supposed to move seamlessly into a poignant meditation on the Zanzibar ferry disaster. There were seams.

One where I pondered whether I cared more about 9/11, the Zanzibar ferry disaster, the cat, or eastern Europeans.

One on why it might be OK to be a little bit of a racist.

One about why I hate seeing my brother suffering through a break-up. Turns out it's for much the same reasons as everyone else hates seeing their brother suffering through a break-up.

One in which I declare my candidacy for the Irish presidency (initially planned back in the days when Bertie made noises about running, but revived by the notion of Martin 'you only think I'm a cunt of a terrorist because you're a cunt of a west Brit' McGuinness now being in the running. The little cunt of a terrorist. (If he's feeling litigious, I totally got hacked, right?)

One where I ruminated on the very nature of confidence, only to realise that I entirely lacked the ability to write it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


not with the fire in me now

You are walking home, midway between slovenly and respectable. And you realise that this, this village and this house feel as much like home as any of the 13 (or so) have. You will be thirty soon, you will be an uncle-in-law even sooner. You see more and more of your friends and you make new ones and you read good things all the time. Your mood can always be lifted by music, as is required. It is hard, at this precise moment, to think of a different step you might ever have taken. You are growing accustomed to the glow of your room in the morning. Summer is ending, but it feels like it is only breaking out.

Monday, August 15, 2011


new adventures in advertising

One of the greatest benefits of digital television is the ability to pause and resume when you like. Not just so you can go off and take a shite without missing the lovely Mary Kennedy easing you into a story about cheese carpentry in Bagenalstown, but so you can leave it for ten minutes or so and then be able to fast-forward through all the ad breaks on whatever show you're watching. No more Pat Shortt singing some bollocks about something or other, no more Simon Delaney and Craig Doyle selling you everything, no more shit McDonald's ads that only serve to suggest that the future is nothing but manky food, mutants and morons.

It all feels positively utopian, quite frankly. I was starting to wonder if there's some sort of catch to it all, as though my refusal to watch these ads mean I'll have to suffer advertising in some other way. I'm soft on it in many ways, recognising its financial necessity in certain contexts. There are, for example, some bloggers who I appreciate need to feature ads on their sites in order to do what they do to the highest possible standards. So I click on those ads from time to time and, even though I've no intention of buying anything, dilly-dally wherever they've landed me for a while - just so the corporate bastards don't recognise that my click-through was executed without even a morsel of consumer intent. I also understand that TV funds itself through advertising, though I wish a state-funded station like RTÉ would be a little more BBC and a lot less ITV when it comes to poxy commercials.

Turns out that if you've found a way of circumventing telly advertising then the cinema is where the fuckers get you back. Captive in your big seat under a pound of popcorn and a three litre bucket of coke they will show you the gammiest, gratingest ads for about ten minutes before the trailers even start. They will show you one of those hideously unfunny Red Bull ads, and some weird fucker behind you will chuckle at it. Sometimes they'll show you a bizarre propaganda film for the EU, filled with the kind of sunshine and cornfields rhetoric that Pravda would have rejected for not being subtle enough. If you're anything like me you'll start getting thoroughly tetchy and take to groping your wife for distraction.

But at this point, fifteen to twenty minutes after the advertised starting time of the film, the trailers begin and you relax, because trailers make sense and are often what you'll base your next choice of film on. What you won't be familiar with, unless you've been to see Super 8 (or perhaps others) in Cineworld is Take That's cunty heads popping up on screen to introduce their new shit video to their new shit song from some new shit take on The Three Musketeers. Whereupon you think to yourself, "Why am I being forced to watch music videos? I didn't really even know music videos existed anymore, since MTV stopped showing them and went full retard on scripted reality shows instead. They're charging everyone about a tenner to be in here and another tenner for their snacks, should we really have to sit here and take this? Will I just slip out and go for a piss while this is on? You took a piss just before you came in, she'll just think you're masturbating if you go again now. Shit, why did I tell her Mark Owen was my favourite one, I feel a little gay now. Quick, grab her tit and then smile disarmingly so you get away with it. Nicely played."

This is what happens when advertising pounces in whole new ways and pushes us to the limit, my friend: innocent breasts get grabbed and ladies question the sanctity of certain vows they have made. But I believe there is a solution. Among the chin-stroking and musing over the causes of the London riots last week most commentators seemed to overlook Heidegger's trenchant maxim of Dickheads just gonna be dickheads, y'all and leapt into notions that rampant consumerism has led to a culture whereby kids just have to have blingin' trainers - be it by hook, crook or petrol bomb. So the only solution to my mind (and the mind of an Irish 29 year-old bloke who likes a bit of early Dizzee Rascal is exactly the kind of mind that should be consulted) is to ban advertising outright. Just fucking all of it. We'd all  shout at the telly less and go to the cinema more even though we could download films for free, we could put poems and pictures of flowers on buses instead, riots would be averted as teenagers all over the world  learn to just be satisfied with their lot, and mammary glands would be at least 27% less pawed. There is no downside.

From the excellent Photoshoplooter

Thursday, July 28, 2011



I am on the bus home and I am tired, though not as tired as I had been. Four weeks on from a fortnight of doing fuck all in the French Alps and I am still feeling somewhat restored. There were three months of waking up feeling bleached and sedated prior to that. I don't know why.

I'm on the 46A back to our new house in Stoneybatter, where Rosie and Biscuit purr at the spaciousness of it all. After two years in our Portobello basement flat I'm still blinking like a mole in the light. I like to potter up the spiral staircase to the converted attic. I have notions of properly learning to play guitar there, high and obscure where no-one else would have to suffer my noodlings. Mostly, though, I just go up there and stick my head out of the skylight and across the city. I can see the Spire and the Pigeon Houses at Poolbeg. And churches.* Didn't you have to feel impressed by Enda Kenny for once? Every dog has his day.

We are one year married on Friday. I've tried not to be smug for the last year, but even the constant question of "when are you having a baby?" hasn't stopped me. I've been asked it on this bus. Everyone is so very concerned with filling up this world of killing rampages and phone hacking. I swear all there is for them is X Factor and procreation. We'll keep at it (so to speak) but if there is to be no baby for Rosie and I that will be alright too. Partly because it will have to be, but mostly because it will.

Give me your hands cos you're wonderful.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011


On Divorce Settlements

Not me and Rosie, mind. No, we had what could be considered our first ever row on Sunday after a few afternoon pints later led to a temporary mutual lack of perspective on housework, but I reckon we'll be able to avoid calling Lionel Hutz in just yet. I refer to the parting of ways between us and Eircom Broadband. €216 it'll cost us to be shot of them.

I remember when they were good old Telecom Éireann and the only ways they could fuck you up were by swallowing your coins in their banjaxed phoneboxes, or charging you extra if calls on your home phone lasted longer than three minutes. Then they got all supercorporate on us, dropped that pesky fada and floated themselves on the stock exchange, meanwhile convincing a shitload of fools to buy shares in them at a heavily infalted price. My family were amongst those fools, though we didn't get burned half as badly as some people did. But yeah, speculate on the stock market and there's every chance things might just go tits up.

What's not so hot is charging people around fifty quid a month for a service they simply don't get. Whinging about your broadband speed sounds an awful lot like what supercilious fuckers would call a First World Problem (blogging about it most certainly is), but getting vexed over consistently not getting what you're paying for strikes me as pretty justified. I lack the patience to detail the shoddiness of their service and their customer care, but take a look at their reviews. A lot of people are left spitting feathers, in what mostly stand out as unusually articulate expressions of internet rage. And why not? They've thrown thousands of euro and thousands of hours of customer hold-time at the incompetent cunts between them. I feel like we have too. Pay peanuts and you get monkeys. Pay €48 a month and you get the dimmest bunch of morons you're likely to find this side of a Kid Rock concert.

David, my favourite of the many technical support staff we dealt with, told me that we'd have to sign a new twelve month contract if we wanted a replacement for the modem that their technicians (incorrectly, as it turned out) told us was the reason why we hadn't had continuous connection for more than twenty minutes for the past month. I could sign that contract, or I could pay Eircom €47 for a new one or, y'know, "just buy your own in Currys". When I pressed David on why exactly I might have to do that he said (and I quote verbatim here, seriously) "Uuuuuuhhh......deregulation ummmmmmmmmmm increased competition and stuff............................................................................................uhhhhh, yeah..." He then left me on hold with squalling feedback in my ear for ten minutes before realising that oh, I was still under contract, as I had said. Fair balls, David, I'd turn up to work stoned off my fucking face too if I could get away with it.

If Eircom were a spouse they'd be attentive at first, before becoming distant, philandering, and then downright abusive. You might just be able to prove in a court of law that this was the case, but it'd take more time and emotional energy than you really have, so you just pay them some money to fuck off and stop annoying you.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


"My friend had a hip operation and..." / Meeting People is Cheesy

A change of working scenery, if not of employer, has reintroduced me to the devilry that is small-talk. New EFL teachers, nervous before their first ever paid class, are the worst for it; simpering and clucking and cracking awful jokes before they wait to get started. They don't know each other and they think they don't know what's in store for them.

I've lost all tolerance for it as I've gotten older - preferring to say nothing than to talk utter fluff. It's not the fluff that's the problem, mind, it's the scutter that comes out of your mouth for want of something better to say. 90 percent of conversations are nought but fluff, but they do at least tend to be couched in your own terms. On starting a new secondary teaching job a few years back I was small-talking with another new teacher, who told me he was from Newbridge. "You'll be worth your weight in silver to this place, then", was my side-splitting response . Oh yes it was. (Context for non-Irish readers here, should you wish). I still shrivel and die a little inside when I think of that, but that guy's been kind enough never to remind me of that, and he now knows I'm not quite that much of a fucking sack.

It can happen even with people you've known for a good while. A good mate of mine came back from a year's travelling and told irritating, shit-awful jokes for a couple of weeks before he got back to normal. I'm still not sure if he was just feeling a bit nervous and out of place being back home, or if he thought this material had played well among all the back-packers he had encountered - too polite around new people to do anything but chuckle politely. Wedding Table Syndrome, to so very many of us.

But yeah, my stock of patience for it is running perilously thin, given that lifetimes are just packed full of awkward making nice with strangers. "I do this, and I live there and yeah, I've heard there are loads of nice pubs in Clonmel and no, I suppose Simon Cowell probably isn't really like that in person, yeah I've heard the family name but I don't think I've met him - Wicklow's a bigger place than you realise, you know."
Fuck all that, I think I'd rather people just thought I was aloof.
Though there is always the nuclear option of going up to my new colleagues and launching straight into a bawdy anecdote involving casual sex or soft drugs, giving them some unanticipated physical contact and perhaps even dropping in a track or two from the '30 Greatest Paedo Jokes' album that's generally on heavy rotation in my head. It's what they'd end up getting somewhere down the line anyway.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


I dunno, Leona Lewis or some shit?

A man passed me on the bus this morning looking much like Twenty Major would if we were about fifteen years down the line and Twenty Major had taken up shrinking and Buckfast for breakfast. (Yes, I am that deeply embedded in the Irish blogosphere that I know what Twenty Major looks like.) Tenuous blogger lookalikes aside, it was the man's folded newspaper that caught my eye. 'SPLITS WITH FIANCÉ' is all I could read of the front page. Or perhaps 'FIANCÉE' - I pay little heed to gendered French vowels first thing.

And do you know what I thought? I thought to myself "I might just have enough time before work starts to pop into Dunne's and scan the tabloids to see who has split with whom."

I didn't have time, really, and am still none the wiser. It was one of those mornings where a Korean student hands me a banana at the eleven o'clock break and says "Take care of yourself, Andrew." Feel free not to enlighten me. I feel a profound fucking distaste for myself most mornings, I must say.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


mar ná beidh ár leithéidí arís ann

“Nationality is respectable only when it is on the defence, when it is waging wars of liberation it is sacred; when those of domination it is accursed.”

-Rabindranath Tagore

Growing up in Cork, as I did, tribal loyalties and nationality were as straightforward as it comes. I was from Cork and from Ireland and I loved Cork and Ireland and knew that they were the best places in the world, ever. This despite being of stock with roots in Dublin, Belfast, deepest rural Roscommon, and yeah, England.

Living briefly in Birmingham and then in Tanzania made my sense of nationality all the more entrenched. No-one sported more green than me on St. Patrick's Day, no-one thrilled to the exploits of the Irish team in Italia '90 more than me. I learned of them weeks after the fact, through cuttings from the Irish Times my grandfather posted us. Weeks later. That may seem antiquated beyond belief, but there it is, that's how it was.

Katrina, an older Australian girl, once took a handful of rough, small stones and scrubbed furiously at my neck with them as punishment for claiming that photographic evidence from our homelands proved that the Irish rugby players of the 1991 World Cup squad were clearly better-looking than the Aussie Rules players of the same vintage. An admittedly bold statement, born out of a blend of national pride and awkward nine year-old flirting, I guess.

Flash-forward, if you will, twenty years, and I am slinking away from my workplace on Dame Street, my efforts to teach having been hampered all morning by soundchecks for the Jedward/Obama extravaganza due to take place later on. Every other person is going in the opposite direction. An admirable man is going to take to the stage, and everyone will describe him as "inspirational", even if he merely makes farty noises with his armpits for five minutes. He is an intelligent man, vastly preferable to the idiotfuck who preceded him, but our desire to be loved by him means there does not appear to be so much as one voice of dissent at the visit of a man who presides over the most capitalist country in the world, a country of relentless cultural imperialism, a country still embroiled in two unnecessary wars whose only tangible upshots of any kind have been the violent deaths of two tyrants.

I forget about it for a while (and you should too, for this post is not about anti-Americanism or anti-Obamism) and listen to music and read back at home, before curiosity gets the better of me and I tune in for the last few minutes of his speech. I can't have been the only one cringing at the squalls of approval every time Barack Obama says the words 'Ireland' or 'Irish', can I? And the squeals of delight when he utters a few words in 'Gaelic', before rapidly translating them into English, because Barack Obama and his scriptwriters are savvy enough to know most of us, me included, are proud that we have a national language but not proud enough to learn to speak it? Our Taoiseach (who apparently now considers a tribute act to be an appropriate warm-up) will be making moves to lessen its usage, as soon as he thinks he can get away with it.

"Inspirational!" roared whatever chimp TV3* had anchoring their coverage. I was left feeling cold by his words, though impressed by his subsequent 15 minutes of handshakes and baby-cuddling. Perhaps missing the start of his speech meant I hadn't had the chance to get swept up in the whole thing, but what he said certainly reads an awful lot like candyfloss, designed to elicit cheers from an expectant crowds and play very, very well amongst Irish-American voters - a fairly key demographic in a country where around 20 percent of the population recently claimed they believe Obama to be a Muslim.

I'd love to feel all superior to a country with that level of fear and misinformation, but around the same percentage in Ireland are happy to proclaim in a survey that they would deny citizenship to members of the Travelling Community.

Never mind the 'death of Anglophobia' that the visit of Queen Elizabeth is purported to have brought about, we live in a country practising something akin to apartheid, and we don't talk about it. I'll say more on this another time, should cogent words come to me. We, all human beings, are born on bits of land from people most likely from some other bits of land and we put names on them, and ascribe to them characteristics and personalities that can't really exist on a geographical basis and tell ourselves that certain bits of land are better than others and draw lines in the sand and makes flags and laws and borders and piss all over each other in our haste to mark our territory. May there be no more flag-waving for me.

*I know. I hadn't realised what channel I was on for a few minutes. I suppose someone has to make them feel better about themselves.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


show you what all the howling's for

I had a slight need to take a leak before I left work this evening but I decided not to go at work, knowing that after the 20 minute walk home the piss I would take would be ultramega satisfying. You get your kicks where you can, don't you?

In other, less urine-related, news, this blog is three years old today. I really don't know how that happened. Like most things, I think I hopped on the bandwagon just as the whole thing had reached saturation point and was becoming terminally uncool. Once I finally succumb to Twitter you can be fairly sure that that's over, too. Twitter was just getting going back then, and quickly started to gobble commenters who had stuff to say and then the kind of bloggers who only did this as a means of chatting to folks they didn't know and saying 'check this motherfucking dog video out!' Which is good for everyone, I guess, though it's certainly changed the landscape a bit. Nevertheless, blogs are still usually the best place to read articulate and uncensored writing by people without a political or commercial agenda.

I didn't do this expecting to be read by anyone much, so the readers I have picked up are an unexpected bonus. Especially as blogging by its very nature is a reverse narrative, so it must often be unclear as to what the fuck I'm banging on about. And I must surely have exhausted the goodwill of just about every longer-term reader out there by repeatedly going on about how I met my wife through blogging and how much I love her.

Anyway, I wish I had more to say right now. But I don't, so I'll just peter out in much the same way way as my wedding speech by saying "Umm...thanks" with a crack in my voice, and sitting down.

Monday, May 2, 2011


days of enjoyment to which everyone cheers


I get my first taste of the royal wedding at around 2 o'clock in the chipper in Georges' Street Arcade. The rolling loops on Sky News are muted, but the man behind the counter offers his own commentary.
"I'd have hor and hor sister, an' I'd take a little flower girl, too. I'd just have hor watchin'."


An unspeakable lack of whiskey.
Later, fly to Pakistan.


Arsenal beat United. Too little, too late.
I kill Osama bin Laden. It was surprisingly easy: I burst in on him watching Cash in the Attic, offered him a Werther's Original and then kicked him in the hip.


Dinner with the parents.

Monday, April 18, 2011


On going one better

"Do I get presents?" asked my wife meekly, in response to my post celebrating her 11,000th day on earth. I like buying Rosie presents, she's always surprised and appreciative of whatever morsels I bring her home. Biscuit, our recently adopted cat, wouldn't have dragged home as sorry an article as I did this time around, though.

The key to buying a present for someone you live with, I've always thought, is getting them something you would be perfectly happy to enjoy with them, but that doesn't appear to be an act of self-interest thinly disguised as generosity (like if I came home and presented her with a weekend trip to London, then mentioned that most of it would be taken up with an Arsenal match, for example. I haven't done that, yet).

I can often strike the right note with music, as we have some similar tastes and some contrasting ones, though rarely contrasting enough to cause upset. Rosie likes ambient music and minimalist electronica a fair bit, while I enjoy it perfectly well, but wouldn't be inclined to spend money on it for myself. So when I saw the Buddha Box in Tower Records and read the slavering blurb on the wall about how it was the future of ambient music and other such guff I reckoned it might be just the ticket.

It wasn't. Essentially, I was under the impression that it might be able to do something as super fucking deadly and addictive as this magnificent thing, only in a more portable form. It does not. The latest incarnation of the Buddha Box fizzles and crackles inexplicably and plays very short, downbeat loops of a Chinese instrument called a Qu Gin. The pitch of the instrument can be altered slightly, in a manner akin to detuning a guitar. Left thrumming introspectively to itself for a little while the yoke starts to create a soundtrack to 'Futility: The Movie' and the largely ignored sequels 'Despair: Gazing Deeper into the Navel' and 'Less Than Nothing'. She politely let it play for about half an hour or so as we sat on the couch and pondered unacknowledged trees falling in the Yangtzai forest and the cubed inside of a table tennis ball, while Biscuit glared angrily at it before flopping abjectly on the floor.

A night or two later I was searching the shelves of Spiceland!*, the local Asian food shop for exciting new curry powders when my eye, invariably drawn to things of a sugary nature, alighted on colourful boxes of custard. "Rosie likes custard," I thought, "so I shall go one better and get her banana custard." €1.50 for a massive fuck-off box of it, it was, which may well have been the first portent. The second was when I opened it after dinner, gleefully announcing "I got you something special for afters," just as an acrid puff of manky bubblegum powder hit my schnozz. Undeterred, I added warm milk. I had no answers as to why it was lurid green now. I stirred briskly and fretted over whether I was doing it right, as I do when I < open scarequote >cook < close scarequote >anything new. She couldn't eat her bowlful. I couldn't blame her. I couldn't eat it either, but I did anyway, and then hers. The point I was proving escapes me at this juncture, though the resulting stomach cramps barely have.

That night, as we lured Biscuit out of the bedroom with a turkey stick and turned in, Rosie reminded that she wouldn't be home until late the following night as she had a meeting in Kilkenny. She looked anxious. "That's grand," I said, "I'm playing poker tomorrow night instead of Thursday."

"Oh, thank fuck. I thought you were going to sit there all night listening to the Buddha Box and eating green custard with the cat like a piece of conceptual art."

*Exclamation mark my own, as I feel it really adds something there.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Owing to the multiplied power of numbers which made the self negligible

She won't know it until she reads this, and she may not thank me for pointing it out, but today is Rosie's eleven thousandth day of life. It's not that I have Rain Man-esque abilities, it's just that during a recent chat with some similarly-aged friends, I realised that we hit our ten thousandth day sometime after we turn 27 and grew curious about exactly how many days old I am. This site does the job nicely, but make sure you enter your date of birth in that backwards way that Americans do. Days are more significant than years, if you think about it. You don't remember the year of your first kiss, or the year you got shitfaced drunk and made a holy show of yourself in a Spanish karaoke bar, or the year someone ripped out your heart and pissed on it, do you?

We've still only been together a little less than a thousand days, Rosie and I, but we both have had a fair idea of what's gone on for the other one in every single one of them. Speaking personally, they were when things suddenly got a fuck of a lot easier. The first 10,000, though, are the ones we really talk about, slowly.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Once again, you've embarrassed me in front of real people

The thing about blogging is that there's every chance that once you've been doing it a while you may well end up meeting other bloggers and even get to know the blighters. The upside to this is that you might just make some new friends. The downside is that you now feel like you can't put up a post entitled 'cracking wanks I've had lately'. Which, given the face-achey dose of Nose AIDS I have at the moment, is about as much as I have to offer right now as I think I've already ruminated on the gibbering wonders of Deal or No Deal here.

Tell me, do other bloggers out there let real people read their blogs? Like, people they work with and non-blogging friends and stuff? My sister drops by pretty regularly, as does one of my cousins, but my brother just gave me a look that said "wow, you're far more of a spa than I thought" when he heard I was at this lark. People in work sometimes ask how I met my wife and I tell them it was through blogging. They then ask what the blog's called and I start this little dance of pretending I really don't want to tell them until they've asked a third or fourth time. It's a lot like Peter denying Jesus, really. If i tell them then they lose interest and say "Right, I'll check it out sometime", before realising that some of my posts are an awful lot longer than a Facebook update and that I might just be a little bit weirder than they thought. And then the whole thing never gets mentioned again. One colleague was quite happy to tell me that the whole concept is self-indulgent. It is. The irony was that she somehow felt that the novel she is working on, which will (as is inevitable) contain multiple lengthy fictionalised aspects of herself that she will one day hope to sell to people, isn't.

I dunno, the sooner we accept that we're all just confused souls pouring stuff out into the ether and hoping that one or two other confused souls get it, the better for all. And, furthermore, what does it tell us that Blogger's spell-check doesn't recognise 'bloggers'? 'Floggers', apparently, is fine.

Thursday, March 24, 2011



The External World from David OReilly on Vimeo.

I realise that people don't tend to watch 17 minute videos on the Internet. You can shoot your load much quicker than that. But, should you have the time and inclination, this award-winning film by Irish animator David O'Reilly is well-worth a look. There's also a good interview with him here (and check out the link to his King's Speech pisstake acceptance speech). It may not be to everyone's liking, but it'll certainly stay with you: the "punch in the brain" that he refers to. It's frustrating that an artist like David has to live in Berlin to be able to do what he wants, but hardly surprising. Whenever I encounter people who can't see the value of art and of novel ideas in society I want to point out that even the purveyors of utilitarian entertainments like Fair City must have harboured loftier creative notions, once.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

When i wanted to buy broom handles today to use for some sort of a protest that i won't be going to the man in the hardwareshop made me feel like less of a man because he could see in my face that i do not own a saw, even though i had liberally sprayed the word 'timber' around and i thought 'you don't need to do that, man in the shop, because i have gotten this far in life without owning a saw and i'm alright with it and you are good at your job and i am good at mine'. and then, in the way that these things occur it occurred to me that i might not even be very good at my job at all and that that really should have occurred to me before, that i have no right to assume i might be decent at anything. i am, i suppose, reasonably good at carrying things of moderate weight but then, most likely everyone else is too. you are only really a weak fellow who is subject to controls like everyone else and though you know that a government is much like a referee in that you shouldn't really notice them if they are doing a good job you will continue to notice them and just think that it would be really nice if they could just tiptoe around you and your wife and not be quite so fucking noticeable the whole time because you never really did anything to them, did you? and that, today, it's harder to feel sad about 10,000 than about one because it's just not a multiplicable thing, sadness, probably.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Like it shines on me

In the lead up to Rosie turning 30 I tried to tell as many people as possible that she was going to be 40. Or else made sure that everyone knew she'd be 30 before me. She was less than amused, which surprised me at first as she has a very self-deprecating sense of humour and is well used to me. Getting upset over jibes about your age has always struck me as pointless, as it's a bit like being slagged for existing. But, just as the only birthday freak-outs I ever had occurred as my 24th and 28th birthdays saw me unemployed, so are there expectations and disappointments that can attach themselves to any number. And sometimes these things just remind us that the worms'll come for us all.

We decided to go away for the occasion; it being preferable to getting drunk in Dublin and raiding the burger vans of Camden Street on the way home, and well-deserved after the austerity of honeymooning on gift vouchers and special deals around the south-east of Ireland last year. New York was the spot we chose, she still carrying a torch for it from a previous visit and me unacquainted. Unacquainted, that is, only in the flesh - for no other city could possibly seem so familiar to a new visitor, rich in both pop-culture and real events. The looming Manhattan skyline as we approached from JFK looked like somewhere I already knew. Woke up this morning, got yourself a gun I hummed . And - Bleecker Street, Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, Grand Central, SoHo, Times Square, Madison Avenue, Broadway, Harlem - Jesus, the weight behind them! The neon, the subway, the hotdog vendors, the yellow cabs, the showy screaming at each other on the streets, the pancakes for breakfast: it's all there like they said it was. There were a hell of a lot less white people than TV and movies would have you believe, but I'd heard that before. I quickly came to feel that New York, in the same way that cities like London, Paris and Rome were the epicentre of past epochs, was the city that embodied the 20th century. But it's a century that, for me, began with the arrival of a young Vito Corleone on Ellis Island in 1901 and ended on September 11th 2001.

We had ourselves a time, of course. When you come home everyone seems to have a list of things you ought to have done in NYC, and there's every chance that you did none of them, and they've done none of yours. We saw museums and parks and skyscapers and shops and we ate ourselves silly and slept like sweaty logs every night as it blustered and dusted snow outside.

On our last night there, Rosie's birthday, we wandered up Eighth Avenue uncharacteristically late looking for a decent spot to chow down when Frankie and Johnnie's Steak and Chophouse lured us in with an unprepossessing exterior before we choked over the numerals on the menu. If the sexagenarian waiters in tuxedos hadn't tipped us off that this wasn't just any old steakhouse then the woman coming in to book a party of ten for Tom Selleck soon did. We shared the Porterhouse Steak For Two over an agreeable, affordable Malbec, with sides of cream spinach and fries. I may never eat a finer meal.

"We should come back to New York for all significant birthdays," said Rosie.
"Mmmfffyeah, and eat here" I gulped through a mouthful of medium rare.
"I suppose if they've been going since 1926 they'll still be here in ten years."
"So, 40, then," I said wistfully, "Just think, we'll be sitting here having dinner and we'll remember this conversation." It is, invariably, me who injects a note of sentimentality into such moments.
"Stop," she said, "you're making me cry."
I was in danger of the same. Because making plans for ten years up the road is the most married I've felt yet, because life feels so good lately that ten years away can surely only be worse, because the future is always terrifying. Because the worms suddenly edged that inch closer. Because I do not want to wait ten years.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


You could have it so much better

People I would want as Taoiseach even less than Enda Kenny:

Idi Amin
Yahoo Serious
Bertie Ahern
Pol Pot
Tony Blair

And that is all.

I want to tell you all about my fuckin' deadly trip to New York that I'm not long back from, but it seems easier to get over this psychosis-inducing jetlag (which, this time round, featured me growling at carrots for quite a while in Fresh, before suffering an unprecedented level of fear of the teenage skangers in the chipper) and move past this headfuck of an election first. If you're still a little unsure as to which of the horrible parties to go for, this yoke is vaguely helpful. Turns out I'm almost a raging Shinner, 'cept that site omits to ask useful questions like "Are you mad into blowing shit up?" and "Do you hate yourself for being a Proddy?"

Saturday, February 12, 2011


And you kept us awake with wolves' teeth

I still indulge regularly in a pastime that grows quainter by the day: buying CDs. I use an iPod and that kind of thing, but I still like the hard copy of something in my hand. It's why I doubt I'll ever take to using a Kindle, or such things. Given that any music you like can now be found for nothing if you know where to look I've recently taken to viewing the exchange of money for music as almost an act of charity or benevolence. More grandly, I am a patron of the arts rather than a consumer these days. But the other day, teaching a class of 15 and 16 year-olds I said something about buying a CD and they were genuinely astonished, and then confused. They saw it as having no more point to it than collecting stamps, or trolls. And maybe it doesn't.

These were Peruvian students, but it's a pretty universal thing. Current 16 year-olds are unlikely to have had an interest in music that began in a time before pervasive internetness. The only teenagers you really see in record shops here are in HMV and they're in the games section. It's funny, you think you're moving along with the world just fine (albeit at your own pace) and then, suddenly, you're not.

Thursday, February 10, 2011



A couple of years back I wrote this post about going over to Wales to visit my great aunt who had turned 100 on New Year's Day. She died today, aged 102. On the scale of tragic-things-that-can-happen-in-life a very old lady passing peacefully away does not rank too highly, but I found myself more upset than I imagined I would be when today inevitably came. I'd wanted to marry her when I was little. I understood marriage as being something you did with a lady who always beamed when they saw you and treated you with love and kindness. Throw in 'age-appropriate' and 'not a blood relative' and it's still pretty much a philosophy I subscribe to.

I don't really get this world, more often than not, but 102 years of bringing warmth and smiles into other people's lives seems as good a way to have dealt with it as I've encountered.

Monday, January 31, 2011


I swat 'em like flies, but like flies the buggers keep coming back

I visited Egypt for a couple of weeks a few years back. I wish I had a greater understanding of what was going on there right now, but a fortnight of eating, sunbathing and visiting tourist traps doesn't tend to enlighten you on the niceties of political infrastructure and social turbulence. Nevertheless, I do recall talking to a tourguide after visiting some temple* or other. He was telling me about a village near the temple that the government want to be razed in order to build carparks and hotels and shit like that. The villagers, who look markedly different to any other Egyptians I encountered, claim to be the last descendants of the pharaohs. It's pretty much impossible to prove or disprove that claim, but it is without doubt that the people there have occupied that land for hundreds, maybe thousands, of years. When they first refused to leave their homes so that their village could be knocked down, their government shut off their electricity. When they still didn't move they cut off their water, too.

I don't know what developments have taken place since then, it's a hard thing to google when you don't remember which temple it was. But yeah, that's what I know of the Egyptian government. So if you're Egyptian, Andrew says go nuts right now. And if you're Irish, vote Fianna Fáil. They'd never do anything like that.

*Here's why I make a very poor tourist: My brain simply can't deal with visiting heaps of places of massive historical importance within a very condensed period of time. Nor do I keep a diary or take many photographs. Holidays for me need to be "Right, Andrew, here's a fascinating old place. Take about seven hours to look around it at your own leisure and then we'll take you home. Go to a waterpark tomorrow and then spend the day after that sleeping off the excitement and then we'll see you on Thursday for lots more time at another, single, fascinating old place."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


if you think you know enough to know you know you've had enough

They're saying you threw yourself into the sea, is what they're saying now. They who don't know you, they who really have no right to say anything about you. Like me. Except your face is all over the place on posters, which means you belong to everyone now. The man on the street knows everything about everything and you're part of everything now.  You should probably be made aware of that.

You lived around my way. I was in Spar, kicking snow off my boots when one of your friends came in and asked if she could put your picture up somewhere. The guy hummed and hawed for an embarrassing length of time before saying yeah, there was some space at the top of the door. And we can look at you now and say she looks kind of sad, so she does. Received wisdom is that you really were sad.

I wonder when the posters will come down, if they're not already. Why buy Pringles when people are throwing themselves into the sea? A friend of mine's mum did that, but her body had the decency to turn up on the Isle of Man. I hope you show up alive and well. But if not, I hope you show up.

Monday, January 10, 2011


the panic, the vomit!

Oh, I am in a state today. Fully 36 hours since consuming childish amounts of alcohol and I appear to still be hungover. My dear wife is even worse off.

Leaves me feeling low, this nuclear holocaust of headache and nausea and contrition. And so I'm thinking about John Gray today. John Gray was the first person I ever heard suggest that there is no such thing as progress, at least in the political and ethical sense of the word. I found that a complete and utter headfuck when I heard it, right up there with when you first seriously ask yourself whether there's a god or not. As a species we are obsessed with the potential of things and people, from footballers to musicians to actors, but we rarely ever stop and say "This is as good as it gets and I think it's just fine." We'd see that as defeatist, as letting ourselves down.

As Gray puts it:

"The idea of progress is detrimental to the life of the spirit, because it encourages us to view our lives, not under the aspect of eternity, but as moments in a universal process of betterment. We do not, therefore, accept our lives for what they are, but instead consider them always for what they might someday become."

and, also:

"The core of the belief in progress is that human values and goals converge in parallel with our increasing knowledge. The twentieth century shows the contrary. Human beings use the power of scientific knowledge to assert and defend the values and goals they already have. New technologies can be used to alleviate suffering and enhance freedom. They can, and will, also be used to wage war and strengthen tyranny. Science made possible the technologies that powered the industrial revolution. In the twentieth century, these technologies were used to implement state terror and genocide on an unprecedented scale. Ethics and politics do not advance in line with the growth of knowledge — not even in the long run."

Most discomforting at first, that kind of rhetoric, but oddly uplifting once you get used to it. I am a riot to be around while dwelling on these things. I have also been learning about Black Swan Theory and reading this remarkably good piece about Internet stupidity. If you only click on one link in this post make it that one.

But I leave you with some even wiser words, as spaketh by the prophet Andrew:

"€5 cocktails do not make for a cheap night out when you consume eighteen of them between the two of you."

Saturday, January 1, 2011


it went like this


I begin the year both unemployed and engaged. The difficulty in reconciling these things starts to hit home. Still, plenty of volunteer work means I retain just enough social skills to function in society, and don't sleep until noon every day. Actually reading books, instead of just buying them, also proves to be a pleasant time-filler.
Elsewhere, in a move that gives credence to the notion that time is circular, it snows a lot in Ireland and we have water shortages. I write about it, while really writing about something else entirely, as is my wont.


Rosie turns 29, and I laugh at her because that's really the same as being 90.
Elsewhere, I manage to get a bit of TEFL work, which is exactly what I did when I finished college many moons ago, before I then spent a lot of time and money on further training so I wouldn't have to do it any more. But that's Ireland at the moment, you learn that you don't always get what you want.


I fall deeply and inappropriately in love with Stella, my new bonsai tree. She dies a couple of months later, but I don't write about it because it was all too sad. I'm pretty sure it was because I overwatered her. I guess you can love something too much. I later get a new tree, a Japanese Holly called General Honda, but he's a far more robust creature and doesn't need me like Stella did, so it's just not the same.


Realising that the only posts I feel like writing are about the books I've been reading, I start Slightly Read, a sporadically updated book review blog. Thus far it has failed to land me that lucrative contract with the Irish Times where they throw me the hot new thing a couple of times a month in order for me to capture the essence of it in a few pithy lines and get paid a rakeload of money for the pleasure. Thus far.

Elsewhere, while on a few days' break in Krakow, word reaches us that Gerry Ryan has died. I buy a clay statue of a frog prince and name it 'Gerry Ryan'. Not because I liked him, but because his jowly bloatedness makes them doppelgangers. I always thought he was an absolute cock, but it only becomes socially acceptable to say so after it emerges, months later, that he died of a cocaine overdose. Gerry Ryan the Frog prince remains healthy and contented on a bookshelf and prefers mescaline, if you're asking.


Back on the ranch, Chancing My Arm turns two and Rosie knocks me out a graph to celebrate. Nelson Mandela refers to it as "a momentous moment of momentousness" in a statement to the press and asks me to go knick-knacking in Ballybough with him to mark the momentousness of it all. I decline, but share a few laughs over a flagon of Buckfast and Bulmers with him.


Crystal Swing have their weekend at the Flatlake Festival made for them when they meet me and harrass me until I consent to a photo with them. They ask me to join them on stage for a bit of an oul' boogie, but I decline, knowing it'd only be a downward spiral into tea and brack abuse.


On the eve of my wedding, I come over all gooey with my readers. How embarrassing. We manage to wring two wonderful, happy days out of our wedding and we do it all our way. Our way involves a hog roast, a non-hotel venue, no cheesy wedding band and a hilariously inept display of Chinese lanterns. Good times.


Wouldn't you know it, no sooner am I off the shelf than Scarlett Johansson and Zooey Deschanel approach me on the stairs in Kehoe's, all "We're thinking of doing a little experimenting in our suite tonight, cowboy..." They take the rejection well, all credit to them.


I miss my school reunion and get a little paranoid about Facebook.
Elsewhere, politicians tell lies.


I turn 29, which is the new 28.
Work-wise, my boss adopts a new strategy of consistently implying to half his staff that every week in work might well be their last. Life would be dull if every week didn't see you swinging from gloom to gibbering relief on an almost daily basis.


Doing a startlingly good impression of Comical Ali, Brian Lenihan and Dermot Ahern appear on the tellybox shaking their heads and saying that there's, like, totally no way that Ireland is going to get a bail-out from the IMF. But the tanks are already on the horizon and a couple of days later Ajai Chopra and his cohorts swing into town. I manage to be the envy of every journo in the country by landing an exclusive interview with the great man. The wonders of some yoke called Google bring around 3,000 or so visits to my quiet little corner of the internet. They are, perhaps, drawn by the presence of the word 'deviant' in the post title. And yet the post only receives comments from three people who aren't me. Internet strangers, it's all take take take with you.
Some of us, about 100,000 or so (which must be around 5% of the adult population of Ireland), protest against the bailout. The government fail to give a shit.


It starts snowing at the end of November, and continues for most of December. Everyone ponders aloud whether anything like this has ever occurred in their lifetime, except for my grandfather who says "Well, you'll have heard of the Great Snow of 1943?" I hadn't, truth be told, but apparently that was fucking freezing too.
Rosie and I go to see Godspeed You! Black Emperor play, and it feels a lot like the soundtrack to the apocalypse. Except the world didn't end, I guess, we just got a bit more money taken off us.

So, 2010. Pretty shite if I hadn't got married, I reckon. I hope you all had something deadly happen to make it good, too.
Film of the year was probably Winter's Bone, gig of the year was the aforementioned Godspeed, book of the year was Paul Murray's Skippy Dies and slamming hot babe of the year was my wife. Only time will tell if she can battle the ravages of age to retain her crown in 2011.