Archive for March, 2008

Mar 15 2008

A Day Of Anniversaries

Published by under Blog

The good people at eBay sent me an email this morning congratulating me on my 4 year anniversary. Apparently, I set up my eBay account 4 years ago today.

Proud as I was of my big event, I was beaten down by Bock the Robber, who celebrates 2 years as a blogger. Congratulations Bock!

But, not to be outdone, Grandad has his own anniversary today. 9 years ago he made the big move back to Head Rambles and has had a hectic and eventful 9 years. Well done Grandad on having, what sounds like, a great decade.

Julius Caesar was assassinated today in 44BC, forever known as the Ides of March.

Any more big events today?

(Edited and image removed due to spam)

One response so far

Mar 15 2008

Still Crazy After All These Years

Published by under Blog

In response to Grannymar, here’s my list:

Still proud ~ of myself

Still thinking ~ I don’t deserve an ounce of what I have

Still grateful ~ for Lottie and for the fact that she still endures me

Still enjoying ~ being outside the ‘norm’

Still wondering ~ what I’m going to to when I grow up

Still hoping ~ for more, for bigger, for better

Still working ~ and working and working

Still facing ~ each day smiling

Still pleased ~ that I left my home town all those years ago

Still trying ~ to understand people

Still glad ~ I learned from my many mistakes

Still amazed ~ at the variety of people I meet

Still eating ~ cornflakes and hot milk

Still dancing ~ and falling over

Still breathing……

What about you?

One response so far

Mar 14 2008

Only In America

Published by under Blog

Once again, the Americans have proven their uncanny ability to be the stupidest, oddest, most not-of-our-world crazies on the face of this earth.

In Kansas, a woman went to the toilet two years ago and decided not to leave. Sheriff Whipple was among authorities who discovered the woman last month living in the bathroom of a mobile home she shared with her boyfriend. Yes! She had a boyfriend.

It seems she had a phobia of leaving the bathroom. It began with her spending a few hours there. Then progressed to a few days. The latest was two years. Her arse cheeks had welded themselves to the toilet seat – the skin had grown around it. I know there are a number of quirky kinks to the whole OCD thing, and I guess this is another one of those kinks, but how the hell could her boyfriend let two years go by before finally deciding he should call someone about it??? Here’s what he had to say:

It was her choice. She is an adult, she made her own decision. It was my fault I should have gotten help for her sooner — I admit that. But after a while, you kind of get used to it.

Toilet Usage Instruction
You kind of get used to it??? I’m not sure I’d get used to bringing her lunch and dinner to the bathroom each day. I doubt I could get used to having a conversation with a bathroom door. And I’m definite that I will not be sparing a moments thought to their sex life. Eugh!

The serious side of it is that these two are clearly mentally imbalanced in some way and hopefully they’ll both receive the care they need. But….come on….two years?

2 responses so far

Mar 13 2008

The Raven

Published by under Blog

I know everyone has probably read this many times before, but sure there’s no harm taking another look. Poe’s gothic masterpiece of poetry is consumed with madness and paranoia, of love lost and of time running out.

And it’s fun!

The Raven

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore —
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“‘Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door —
        Only this and nothing more.”

Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; — vainly I had sought to borrow
From my books surcease of sorrow — sorrow for the lost Lenore —
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore –
        Nameless here for evermore.

And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me — filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
“‘Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door —
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door; —
        This it is and nothing more.”

Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you” — here I opened wide the door; —
        Darkness there and nothing more.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore!”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word “Lenore!”
        Merely this and nothing more.

Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
“Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore —
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore; —
        “‘Tis the wind and nothing more!”

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter
In there stepped a stately Raven of the Saintly days of yore.
Not the least obeisance made he; not a minute stopped or stayed he;
But, with mein of lord or lady, perched above my chamber door —
Perched upon a bust of Pallas just above my chamber door–
        Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this ebony bird beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By the grave and stern decorum of the countenance it wore,
“Though thy crest be shorn and shaven, thou,” I said, “art sure no craven,
Ghastly grim and ancient Raven wandering from the Nightly shore —
Tell me what thy lordly name is on the Night’s Plutonian shore!”
        Quoth the Raven, “Nevermore.”

Much I marvelled this ungainly fowl to hear discourse so plainly,
Though its answer little meaning — little relevancy bore;
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Ever yet was blessed with seeing bird above his chamber door —
Bird or beast upon the sculptured bust above his chamber door,
        With such name as “Nevermore.”

But the Raven, sitting lonely on the placid bust, spoke only
That one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
Nothing farther then he uttered — not a feather then he fluttered —
Till I scarcely more than muttered: “Other friends have flown before —
On the morrow he will leave me, as my Hopes have flown before.”
        Then the bird said, “Nevermore.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what it utters is its only stock and store
Caught from some unhappy master whom unmerciful Disaster
Followed fast and followed faster till his songs one burden bore —
Till the dirges of his Hope that melancholy burden bore
        Of ‘Never — nevermore.'”

But the Raven still beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of bird, and bust and door;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to linking
Fancy unto fancy, thinking what this ominous bird of yore —
What this grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous bird of yore
        Meant in croaking “Nevermore.”

This I sat engaged in guessing, but no syllable expressing
To the fowl whose fiery eyes now burned into my bosom’s core;
This and more I sat divining, with my head at ease reclining
On the cushion’s velvet lining that the lamp-light gloated o’er,
But whose velvet violet lining with the lamp-light gloating o’er,
        She shall press, ah, nevermore!

Then, methought, the air grew denser, perfumed from an unseen censer
Swung by Seraphim whose foot-falls tinkled on the tufted floor.
“Wretch,” I cried, “Thy God hath lent thee — by these angels he hath sent thee
Respite — respite and nepenthe from thy memories of Lenore,
Quaff, oh quaff this kind nepenthe and forget this lost Lenore!”
        Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! prophet still, if bird or devil! —
Whether Tempest sent, or whether tempest tossed thee here ashore,
Desolate yet all undaunted, on this desert land enchanted —
On this home by Horror haunted — tell me truly, I implore —
Is there — is there balm in Gilead? — tell me — tell me, I implore!”
        Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Prophet!” said I, “thing of evil! – prophet still, if bird or devil!
By that Heaven that bends above us – by that God we both adore —
Tell this soul with sorrow laden if, within the distant Aidenn,
It shall clasp a sainted maiden whom the angels name Lenore —
Clasp a rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore.”
        Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

“Be that word our sign of parting, bird or fiend!” I shrieked, upstarting —
“Get thee back into the tempest and the Night’s Plutonian shore!
Leave no black plume as a token of that lie thy soul hath spoken!
Leave my loneliness unbroken! — quit the bust above my door!
Take thy beak from out my heart, and take thy form from off my door!”
        Quoth the Raven “Nevermore.”

And the Raven, never flitting, still is sitting, still is sitting
On the pallid bust of Pallas just above my chamber door;
And his eyes have all the seeming of a demon’s that is dreaming,
And the lamp-light o’er him streaming throws his shadow on the floor;
And my soul from out that shadow that lies floating on the floor
        Shall be lifted — nevermore!

Edgar Allan Poe

2 responses so far

Mar 12 2008

It’ll All Be Worth It In The End

Published by under Blog,My Working Life

It’ll all be worth it in the end. It’s a phrase that I’ve been hearing on an ever increasing basis over the past two years and it’s a phrase that is really beginning to grate on my already frayed nerves.

Why are my nerves already frayed? Well, I’m studying accountancy and I’m not entirely sure why. And why have I been hearing the above phrase on an ever increasing basis over the past two years? It’s two years since I began my number crunching studies, and whenever I tell anyone what I’m studying, I get strange looks and THAT phrase.

It’s as if people just aren’t sure what to say. I’ve never heard “Oh, excellent, what a great career choice” or ” Cool, that’s an interesting course“. I’ve yet to hear “You’ll make a wonderful accountant” or ” Oh my God, I’d love to study that“. Instead I get, “oh, ok, well, I guess it’ll all be worth it in the end“. Hence: frayed nerves.
Which brings me back to the question: why the hell am doing it? I don’t really have a firm answer. I guess, after years working in a hotel and feeling like I was digging a deep depressing hole for myself and my future, I thought a bit of paperwork, in the form of a diploma, degree, first-aid certificate, whatever, might give me the helping lift I needed. And I AM good at this stuff! I take to it quite naturally and find much of it interesting, but……argh!

A friend of mine, she poised a question last week (while I was in a pub rather than college). She knew me back in school and is a good friend even now; she pointed out my creativity, my love of drama and the arts, etc. and asked if I saw myself as an accountant when done with my studies. It was the first time I had thought about it. Truthfully, I can’t! I can’t see it at all. I know the course will stand to me, regardless what career path I head down. It’s good to be able to keep a firm eye on the monies. So, I don’t think I’ll be abandoning it. I just wish it was a little more fulfilling.

So, if we meet (EllyBabes this includes you), and should the topic of my studies come up, please for the love of Bono, DO NOT say “it’ll all be worth it in the end“. Lie to me! Openly patronise me! Tell me what a great course choice it is. Tell me that all the most wonderful people study accountancy. Tell me it’s a sexy subject. Tell me anything that sounds half way positive. Just don’t say…THAT!!!

Thus endeth the ramble!

14 responses so far

Mar 12 2008

Kilkenny Music

Published by under Blog,Music

I finally got around to listening to one of Ken McGuire and Ross Costigan’s Podcasts at Kilkenny Music. It’s numero 44 and they discuss their experience at last weeks Blog Awards, in which I get a mention, so woohoo for me, and the (then upcoming) Creative Camp.

I was really impressed – it’s a damn professional thing they’ve got going there. I didn’t expect that. Truthfully I didn’t know what to expect, but between the music and the chatter, they’ve converted me to being a Kilkenny Music Podcast subscriber.

Ross, I believe this is what you were looking for:

Ross's Tattoo

Very cool!!!

Also, the music on the Podcast was excellent. I particularly like the second track, Jill Deering’s Dreams.

So, thanks lads for…eh……well, being entertaining and I’m looking forward to listening to this evening’s 45th Podcast. Best of luck with it.


Ken’s Personal Blog

Ken’s Staff at Kilkenny Music Blog

Ross’s Personal Blog

Ross’s Staff at Kilkenny Music Blog

2 responses so far

Mar 12 2008

Who Needs A Movie?

Published by under Blog

Believe it or not, I’m not actually a fan of just endlessly linking to YouTube. I’d like to put a bit more substance into my posts.

That said, I was sent this a little while ago and it brought a tear I laughed so much. Apparently, it’s completely genuine and not just done for a laugh.


Not sure I’d hire them myself, but some people may need this level of professionalism. Fred and Sharon have a YouTube channel and it’s nothing short of brilliant……ish.

They also found where Nessie spends his holidays:


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Mar 12 2008


Published by under Blog

Courtesy of Jazz Biscuit


And it’s better than the one Guinness paid millions for.

One response so far

Mar 11 2008

Jimmy Kimmell & Ben Affleck

Published by under Blog

I know I’m probably discovering this far later than everyone else, but I have been in stitches laughing at this:


Jimmy Kimmel is a TV host in the US who has a late night chat show. The Ben Affleck video is a supposed revenge reply to his girlfriend’s video, “I’m Fucking Matt Damon”. Fair play to all the stars who played their part in it – Brad Pitt, Robin Williams, Don Cheadle, Cameron Diaz, Harrison Ford, Macy Gray, Josh Groban, McLovin (Woohoo!), Meat Loaf and, of course, Ben Affleck. Better than Live Aid!!!

For balance, here is Sarah Silverman’s original video:


5 responses so far

Mar 11 2008

One Of The Random Stragglers I’ve Picked Up On My Journeys

Published by under Blog

I meant to write this a few days ago.

When I did the MovieExtras thing last week, I made a new friend (it seems to be something of a trend these days). David O’Neill is a future star (nothing wrong with positivity) and it was great to meet the guy.

He and a number of others have put together Ireland’s answer to Shaun of the Dead (I’m sure director Niall O’Rourke won’t mind me drawing parallels, particularly if he ends up having the success parallel to Shaun of the Dead). The trailer is below and it looks kitsch, it looks cheap, it looks disturbing – in short, it’s looks brilliant. So, I wish them the best of luck with it and I hope for an invite to the premiere.


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Mar 11 2008

What Kind Of Bloggery Is This?

Published by under Blog

Is blogging just another fad?

Inspired by Mark’s post, I started thinking about my new obsession, blogging. It’s fair to say that I go through fads and phases. From an early age I gave up playing the recorder, I gave up playing the guitar, I gave up drama, I gave up singing, I gave up art, I gave up writing, I gave up fishing (yep!), I gave up cycling (incidentally, I just got a bike as a present), I gave up college, I gave up, I gave up, I gave up. It’s fair to say I don’t have much of a track record for follow through. It’s fair to say I say “It’s fair to say” too much!

So, why is this any different? For starters, I’ve always wanted an avenue back to writing (not so much for fishing). I like to put my thoughts on paper (or screen!). My brain is usually a garbled mess and writing it all down helps to sort things out and give structure to my thoughts (my PDA and Filofax are lifesavers). So, this is less a fad and more an extension of something I’ve been doing in a very solitary way for quite some time.

But this can’t just be a diary, can it? Well, yes and no! Yes, it is a form of ‘public diary‘ where people can read what you’ve been up to and what you’ve been reading about, but as it is public, there is the drive to make it more interesting, to embellish, to draw the reader in. So, no it needs to be more that just a diary, imho.

Grandad says he’s blogging to state a personal opinion, and if he influences people then he’s delighted. I like that! That sounds like the answer I’d want to give after I’ve been blogging for a while. But, Mr Grandad Man, I wonder if you’d still be writing so feverishly and frequently if you didn’t have a readership base? I wonder if just writing your opinions down is enough or does the ego need the feedback? I’ve enjoyed the feedback I’ve gotten so far. I’ve been both surprised and uplifted by it. Perhaps it’s the feedback that will give me the impetus to keep going after the fad or phase subsides. We’ll see!

But, for the moment, I’m loving it. It’s making me think more and ask questions, both of myself and the world around me.

And it helps that I have a few friends who are interested in it, Darragh in particular, and are not belittling me (as I may have expected). Indeed, the Otter Half, in support or something, has begun a blog of her own. So please get over there and lend her your love….or at the very least, a kind word.

Update: Rick O’Shea just answered the question “What is a Blog Blob?”

16 responses so far

Mar 10 2008

Weekend In Clare – Sunday

Published by under Blog,Night Out

So, following on from Saturday night….

Okay, admittedly, yes, well, Sunday……didn’t begin well. I was unsurprisingly heavily hungover. Now, my general way to cope with hangovers is denial; this coupled with the fact that I wanted to appear somewhat alert for everyone I was visiting led me to go into hyper mode. That may be why I had no real problem with being woken up by my little brother and my camera:

Darren Waking Up

Okay, so maybe I had a bit of a problem with being woken up, but I quickly came to.

I was greeted, when I finally ventured downstairs, to a big fry up. I know a lot of people in a hungover state would turn their noses at this, but I believe there is nothing better that a big greasy fry to make you feel better.

While I was sad to be heading off (I really had a fantastic weekend), I couldn’t wait to get home to herself. And screw you if you think that’s too mushy!

My journey home was a damn sight better than my journey down. I got the 2.30 train from Limerick and all I wanted to do was nestle into my seat, knock on the iPod and drift away. But, as is the norm with me, someone decided to start talking to me. Okay, so, generally, I’d be more than up for chatting with random strangers. It can be fun and it’s great to meet new people. But as soon as this guy said hello, my hangover said “What the fuck? No, no way! Don’t you dare engage him in conversation!!”. But, I fought my hangover and started chatting to this dude, who turned out to be a great bloke. In fact, we talked non-stop from Limerick to Heuston, from Heuston to Connolly and then from Connolly down to Sydney Parade, where he almost missed his stop because we were deep in conversation.

So, I’d like to thank him for making my journey a quick and interesting one.

But….at long last I arrived home to Lottie and I can’t remember the last time I was so happy to see someone. It’s always nice to get away, but it’s wonderful to come home.

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Mar 10 2008

Weekend In Clare – Saturday

Published by under Adoption,Blog

So, after the fiasco of Friday evening, which has led me to vow never to get on a bus again, I found myself waking on Saturday morning in Clare. It was my twin sisters’ confirmation day and a chance for me to meet my many new relations.

I guess the first genus of Neo Familius I met are not strictly relations of mine. They are Biomammy’s husband’s brother and his family. That was fine and easy, no complications, or discomfort. I could only hope the rest of the weekend would go as smoothly.

I struggled to recall the last time I was in a church. I think it was my Otter Half’s mother’s wedding two Christmases ago. Prior to that it was a similar length of time. I wasn’t really mentally prepared for it. I forgot that being a kids confirmation, there would be singing, embarrassing sermons from the Archbishop and, of course, surreal performance art. What? You mean performance art is not a staple of confirmation day? Well, apparently it is in Clare.


Naturally, and rather shamefully, I took to a fit of the giggles. I couldn’t help it and I couldn’t stop. The Archbishop did not help the situation by exclaiming, “Now boys and girls, I’ve got a little something to show you”! He was, of course, referring to a picture of the Holy Trinity….ahem…..of course.

Is giggling at mass a mortal sin? Well, it doesn’t matter – i think I’m already condemned to hell for living in sin with my girlfriend, takes the lord’s name in vane, coveting my neighbour’s very sexy, truly beautiful, sleek, black, 42″ Plasma television. Oh and let’s not forget that genetical modified microwavable meal I had last week. I really don’t think I’m suited to Pope Benedict the Idiot’s Sixteenth’s new batch of no-no’s. (Have a look at Bock’s Blog on this or Grandad’s ‘Bless me Father’ post.)

Truthfully, the slightly lengthly ceremony was quite nice. The twins looked lovely and seemed very proud to be there. As I sat there (holding back the giggles) I did find myself looking around at the very beautiful building and the interactions between the community. I always thought the moment at mass where everyone shook hands and declared “Peace be with you” was one of the better Catholic customs. Why can’t the church be more about that and less about the condemnation of my microwaved pasta dish.

The twins seemed to have a great time and they made a fortune in confirmation money which is, I’m sure you’ll all agree, the most important thing. I was just happy to be down spending a bit of time with them all, even if it was in a church.

The ceremony finished 367 hours later and we legged it home to watch the oh-so-brutal Ireland v. Wales game. The most entertaining part was watching George Hook border on a coronary.

I spent much of the day drinking, eating, eating more and drinking more. Meeting random friends and family was going very well (I have no recollection of most of their names, but I think I bluffed it well enough). Next came the terrifying meeting with Biomammy’s mother. She got quite the build up. I was more than a little nervous (though I hid it well under my guise of Mr Easygoing Man). The first thing that shocked me about her was the wheelchair. I’m sure Biomammy mentioned it, but she spoke of her as such an imposing, almost battleaxian, figure that I pictured her with eight legs and towering just slightly higher than the house. Secondly, her age – she was far older than I had imagined. Again, this came from the build up she got. If I’m honest, I had prepared myself to really dislike her. In particular, I was all set to have an angry debate with her, should she turn out to be some mad religious zealot. As it was, she was a kindly old woman – she held my hand and told me how wonderful it was to meet me. She hugged and kissed me and tears welled up in her eyes. How could anyone dislike this person? I thought she was lovely. And later, we drank together, which is always a good thing.

Post the Biomammy’s-mammy-meeting, I completely relaxed. I felt very comfortable wandering through the house between different groups of family friends, siblings and other assorted relatives. And, I particularly hit it off with a chap who introduced himself as my ‘Cuz’. The night gets blurry after this. There was more food (a lot of prawns), some Singstar on the PS3, a variety of bizarre world music (that I felt obliged to say “yeah, this sounds really great” about, even though it sounded like something early on rejected from Paul Simon’s Gracelands album), then there was Brendan Grace’s pub and I know I played Darts, because there’s photographic evidence.

Darts with Michael

After that….there’s nothing…..

One response so far

Mar 08 2008

How To Lose Your Good Mood In Three Easy Steps Hours

Published by under Adoption,Blog

I was in great form, cloud nine, fucking jubilant in fact. It’s Friday, I got out of work (every so slightly) early, and then….I got on the Limerick bus from Busárus.

I can’t blame CIE for my being stuck at the back of the queue and therefore getting the second last seat on the bus. Equally, I can’t blame CIE for the man I got stuck sitting beside, a man endowed with Charlie Landsborough‘s looks and the temperament of Gorgon Ramsey. Couple him with the loud chatty woman in front of him and you have a recipe for disaster.

Sidenote – why did I not sit in the other available seat? I could smell that guy from four rows away. People were standing and that seat was still vacant.

The entertainment begins when her phone rings….loudly….a number of times….before she finally answers it. At this stage Charlie is already irritated. He’s mumbling (not very quietly) things about ‘bloody women’, ‘fucking mobiles’ and ‘cupid hunt’ (I may have misheard). When Chatty finally answers, it’s clear Charlie would prefer to still be listening to her ringtone. To say she was loud would be a gross understatement.

Let me paint you a picture: Chatty is in the front leftmost seat of the bus, Charlie and I are directly behind her. At the very far back of the bus on the right hand side, there’s a young couple, clearly in love, longingly looking into each others eyes. Although they’ve only been together for a short time, they have promised eternal devotion to each other. For them, there is no one else in the world; for them, there is only the eyes of the other; for them, there is no bus. And yet, even they were startled back to reality by the noise of this woman’s voice.

“Hello! Hello! Hello, can you hear me? Hello? Who’s this? I can’t hear you! Hello? I can’t…..oh, hello Margaret, how are you? What? What? WHAT? Oh, yeah, I missed a few calls and text things. I don’t know how to work it so I just let it ring. WHAT? No, no, Michael’s dead! Sure, he’s gone before Christmas. I know it’s terrible! Young? No, not at all, he was older than me. Oh, MICHAEL!! He’s fine! Has his Leaving this Summer. Listen Margaret, I’m on the bus, so I’ll let you go. What? WHAT? Yeah, Limerick! We’re just pulling out of Busárus now. What? Ah, he’s not is it? Well, send him my love. What? I know, I know!”

This went on….and on…..and on….until Charlie snapped. Again note, we’re still in Dublin city centre on the start of a three and a half hour journey! He stood, or at least he attempted to stand. It was then I noted he probably had a few drinks on him, although he didn’t smell like a brewery, so I didn’t mind too much. I wish I had a few! He stood up and shouted at Chatty to “quiet down and stop annoying everyone”. She promptly lowered her vocal volume and soonafter finished her call to Margaret. I think much of the bus saw him as a hero – I just saw a scary person.

The bus was quiet for a while (very quiet) and a pleasing side effect of his drinking set in. He nodded off to sleep. I relaxed, I listened to what was going on around me and I took out my phone to began this blog.

A guy on his phone close to me says, “…the blood, unless it’s in very close proximity won’t have any effect”. An odd comment! I think it has something to do with farming and cows.

According to Matt Cooper on Today FM, Gerry Ryan and his wife have separated. And that was the moment Chatty got going again. Apparently, she is friends with the woman sitting beside her, who has so far been silent. Seemingly, the news of Gerry and Moira’s separation was of dire consequence to everyone’s lives. Well, so Chatty believes. Her initial volume returns briefly, but she quickly realises and lowers it down. Apart from a mumbled ‘fuck sake’, Charlie remains reasonably stoic.

Apart from Cooper on the radio, things remain quiet for a while.

The bus is unpleasant. It’s too warm, it’s stuffy, the coughing from behind me is giving me the shivers and the broken light above me is beginning to piss me off. It’s neither fully on nor completely off. It’s in some kind of limbo state. If light bulbs walk towards the light as they expire, this one was definitely resisting. This one was clinging to life by a thread. Perhaps it has unfinished business back home – a wife, kids to look after. As I sit here feeling sympathy for the dying light, rather than pissed off, I realise I’ve got slightly mad. iPod time, methinks!

We’ve stopped to take on more people, onto the already overfilled bus. The last guy to get on was black. And the bus really had reached it’s limit. The painful struggle and fear on the face of the busdriver, as he told Mr Black that the bus was full was a treat to watch. I know Mr Busdriver isn’t racist, Mr Busdriver knows he isn’t racist, Mr Black knows that Mr Busdriver is not racist, but the fear of what may be perceived was scribbled all over his face. He got up from his seat and searched down the bus, desperately seeking a seat for Mr Black. He soon returned and I really had to hold back the laughter as Mr Busdriver innocently delivered this line: “You’ll have to sit at the back of the bus!”. 

Charlie started mumbling again: “I can’t see myself making it, I can’t see myself making it”. Now, the first thing I thought this meant was that he was about to snap and kill someone – me perhaps. But then I relaxed when I figured he probably just needed to pee. The panic returned again, when I thought of him relieving himself on the seat next to me. I swear I can feel the seat getting wet.

Two hours on the bus now. It just dawned on me I haven’t a clue where I’m getting off. Mr Busdriver says he’ll let me know when we get to Birdhill. He seems trustworthy, but fingers crossed.

We’re at Portlaoise (I’m told it’s an hour from Birdhill) and Charlie is getting off. I’m tentative about moving in to the window seat. I doubt he’s peed, I really doubt it, but I don’t want to check. Alright, alright, people are getting on.

Well, it’s dry! It’s warm! It’s a window seat! Things are looking up. I miss the train. Well, why didn’t you get the damn train? It’s so expensive, that’s why! Is it any wonder people don’t use public transport. The only service halfway comfortable costs a mint (€28.50) and the cheap option (I paid €10 single journey) feels like I’m living the final moments of a not-yet-dead hamster, whose owner is burying it in a shoebox in the back garden on a sunny Summer’s day. Hope comes in the form of the neighbour’s doberman.

Oh God, hope is fading. The nice quiet, not smelly woman who boarded at Portlaoise and sat beside me, is travel sick. While she hasn’t vomitted yet, she’s close to it.

There she goes!

Well, at least she had a sick bag with her. That’s thoughtful! It smells awful in here now. The aircon is on full, so instead of roasting to death, I’m going to freeze. Do they have hamsters in the Arctics? Is there such a thing as a Snow Hamster?

If anyone manages to read this far down, thanks for hearing my moans. I guess, it’s not that bad. I’m nearly there and the smell is subsiding (or I’m just becoming accustomed to it). I should have gotten the train. I know this. I could stretch out. I could use the toilet. I could have my book out on the table in front of me. I could cut and hour off my journey time. I could get a beer or two. Mmm beer!

Anyone want to know why I’m making this trip? It’s my twin sisters’ confirmation tomorrow. It’s great getting down to celebrate (is celebrate the right word? I guess so) with them. So, wish me luck for a good weekend. I’ll talk to you all on Monday.

I’m getting the train next time!

Final Note: As Chatty alighted, she announced in her very loud voice to Mr Busdriver –

“Thanks very much! I had a lovely ride!”

The whole front of the bus fell into hysterical laughter. It’s been a long journey, I think we all needed a good giggle.

6 responses so far

Mar 07 2008

Blood Brothers At The Gaiety Theatre

Published by under Blog,Music,Night Out

Three years ago, I was struggling monetarily, paying a ridiculous monthly rent in a city centre apartment; I was in the midst of a career in hospitality, working ungodly hours for low pay and little thanks. I had very few real friends and rarely socialised, but none of that matters when you’re in love.

That was the backdrop of my life when I saw Blood Brothers at the Gaiety Theatre for the first time. It was an unforgettable experience and the show immediately became one of my favourite musicals, but certainly my favourite staged drama.

Three years later, my circumstances have changed significantly. Importantly, I’m still in love with the same amazing girl, and I am still in awe of an astounding musical and a story that amazes time and time again.

Last night, I returned to the Gaiety to, once more, hear Rebecca Storm as Mrs. Johnston, the impoverished, put-upon, too-old-for-her age, Liverpudlian single mum. Put in an impossible position, she finds herself handing one of her newborn twin boys over to her infertile employer, who yearns for a child of her own. Thus begins the slippery slope towards tragedy. But, before we reach any degree of despair, we are provided with a first act of hilarity with clever lyrics, funny tunes, slapstick performances and, of course, grown men and women pretending to be kids (“It really doesn’t matter, The whole thing’s just a game”.)

Blood Brothers

We meet Mickey, Eddie and Linda, two firm friends (twins, separated at birth, unbeknownst to them) and their female compatriot, a girl who would eventually fall in love with both men. Mickey (played by a ridiculously talented Sean Jones) was raised by Storm’s Mrs Johnston, along with her seven other children, and grows up on the breadline with neighbour Linda, while Edward ‘Eddie’ Lyons was raised by the neurotic and uptight, upper class Mrs Lyons, never wanting for anything except a normal life with his friends.

As we follow the trio’s journey from childhood, through adolescence and onward to young adulthood, we, the audience, are happy to join in their games and cheer with them and sing along, but there is always a shadow lurking at the corner of our eyes, in the form of the narrator, played by a very natural (undoubtedly due to his many years in the role) Keith Burns. He reminds us of the superstitious warning once uttered by Mrs Lyons to Mrs Johnston that if either twin should discover the other twin exists, they shall both immediately die. In an example of foreshadowing similar to the ‘star crossed lovers’ destiny in Romeo and Juliet, we all know what is coming, but we are praying it won’t.

The second act dispenses with much of the frivolity and we see the real reason this musical has been such a long running success. The woes of adulthood weighing on the lives of Mickey and Linda are played out with a painful ring of honesty on stage. As we see them try to cope with recession, unemployment and depression we are drawn in completely. So much so, that the ultimate finale, which I know all too well, still came as a shock.

The music, the story, the performances in Blood Brothers resonated for me, as I saw the potential my life had to become like Mickey in the play, had I not escaped the small mindedness of small town Ireland….well, there but for the grace of some random deity go I. And I was not the only person with whom this story struck a chord. There were a number of teary eyes in the house throughout the show, not least from the lady sitting beside us, who began blubbery as the overture began.

It is rare today to find something that can stir so many emotions, leaving you feeling sad and uplifted in unison. Please, please, please, if you have never seen Blood Brothers, go see it now. It runs in the Gaiety until Saturday 15th March. If you have already seen it, then I’m sure it needs no recommendation from me. You’ve already bought your return ticket.

Update: apparently tickets are extremely limited.

3 responses so far

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