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.

9 comment(s):

Katherine said...

Very good summary. I felt sad about Stella, envious about Crystal Swing, and remebered I must read Skippy Dies. Happy 2011 to yis.

Katherine said...

Normally I can spell remembered.

Andrew said...

Thanks, Katherine, and a very happy new year to you from both of us. I'm sure you'll enjoy Skippy Dies, though it's popping up in so many Best of 2010 lists now that it may feel overhyped. It's best enjoyed in long, quiet sittings, if you get the chance.

Jennikybooky said...

I can't BELIEVE you didn't tell me Stella was dying and subsequently died!

I feel so sad.

You guys were so good together.

Rosie said...

Only time will tell if she can battle the ravages of age to retain her crown in 2011.

so far, she's mainly been ravaged by shortbread. should this continue, you'll have a lot more of her to love by year end! (approx. 2 stone, at this rate)

Jo said...

Shortbread is the devil.

Here's hoping for more happy things for you this year.

Maybe you'll come to tea some day? I have the best cupcake stand now... tea and a walk on the prom.

Send some reviews to the IT, Andrew, just in case.

Andrew said...

Jennie - Yes, we were great together. had I known of your expertise in the area I would've consulted you, believe me.

Rosie - Feeling oddly jealous of shortbread now. though I may be confusing 'ravaged' and 'ravished' again.

Jo - Tea, cake and walks sound good.
As for the book review thing, I was only kidding. My whole aim with that blog is to come across as the amateur enthusiast that I am, rather than a slick professional reviewer who writes reams and reams and uses big words. I was going to review a book I read a while back the other day but when I looked at one of the other reviews on the net to remind myself of the finer points of the story it was filled with all this talk of political symbolism that had largely passed me by and I felt too silly to write mine.

Lindsey said...

Re: December - I can totally hear your granddad saying that.

I'm so glad that you had something awesome happen in 2010. For me, 2010 wasn't stellar but 2011 must be better.

Unknown said...

"Only time will tell if she can battle the ravages of age to retain her crown in 2011"

An excellent year, but this is just a dental thing, right?