Archive for October, 2008

Oct 31 2008

It Was Only A Halloween Tale

Published by under Blog,Night Out

No, I’m not telling another existential horror story. Your bejaysus will remain inside you, unscared.


I was thinking, firstly about how strange a time Halloween is, how people behave differently, dressing up and embracing the macabre, and that led me to thinking about other times and festivals throughout the year – the chocfest of Easter, the romaniticed February 14th, the consumer mad joydom of Christmas. We’re a mad lot really!


But surely that’s what life is all about – embracing the wild and mad, the good and bad, the happy times and sad. Tonight, we’re going to the Rocky Horror showing in the Sugar Club and…what will I be wearing?


Yesterday, I tried on six different types of high heeled shoe in Miss Fantasia’s on South William Street, including knee high hooker boots. Last night, to try out my costume, I wore Lottie‘s fishnet tights and corset. I wore suspenders!!! How’s that for embracing the mad?


I have brought a more conservative outfit with me too, in case I chicken out -0 the thoughts of being seen in public looking like Frank N Furter frightens the funk out of me. But we’ll see…


The Rocky Horror Picture Show


What’s everyone else doing this weekend?

11 responses so far

Oct 31 2008

The Blogosfear

Published by under Blog

IntroPart 1Part 2Part 3Part 4Part 5Part 6Part 8

The Blogosfear Part 7


David didn’t quite comprehend. He stood outside Dark Hill Chambers and stared at it for a moment. He looked back at his taxi driver and asked him to hang on outside for a few more minutes to make sure he was settled. Handing the driver a substantial tip, he thought about his booking. He was sure this wasn’t what he had booked on the website, and yet the shape and style of the building did look somewhat familiar. The sunlight was obscuring his vision a little and perhaps the photos for the website were taken many years ago…but didn’t the site say it was a brand new family run hotel? He would look into it once he was settled.


They better have broadband,” he muttered before pushing past an equally perplexed guest.


David Corkish had a high powered, demanding job in banking in the IFSC in Dublin. David was a large man with bright red bushy hair on his head and a matching beard covering the rest of his face. He was like some ginger werewolf and he liked the individuality of that. At 49 years of age, the only thing that kept him from falling over the edge in his stressful job was the four or five times each year he would take himself away from the city’s bustle and be treated to a relaxing countryside break. A colleague in customer service recommended Dark Hill Chambers. She would get an earful on Monday morning.


Halloween was one time of the year when he made sure to be away. His house was a prime target for the trick-or-treating little bastards and time away from that could only be good. That said, as he looked at the bug-eyed receptionist with her unkempt hair and peculiar odour, David wondered whether he had left Halloween at home at all. In fact, he looked around the damp lobby and awaited the arrival of Vincent Price.


Price did not show up, but instead a seven foot tall, cross-eyed boy (the term ‘boy’ is used warily) lurched in to help David with his luggage – a sign made it clear that the elevator was broken.


Look, I’m sure there’s some mistake here,” David pleaded with the receptionist.


She smiled with a mouth full of yellow and black teeth and nodded slowly as she handed him his key.


But really, this isn’t what I booked,” he implored.


She must be on drugs, he deduced, as she smiled a smile that seemed to extend, stretch and contort beyond the sides of her face. She gestured towards the stairs.


Right…I’m going to look at the room, but if I’m not satisfied I’ll be right back down to speak with the manager“. David wasn’t even sure she had heard him.


The receptionist’s grin extended incomprehensively further and her bugging eyes seemed to protrude further than is medically possible. A little freaked, David turned towards the stairs where the ‘boy’ was waiting with his suitcase and laptop bag. He thought of the broadband –


Oh, and one more thing…” turning to where the large reception desk was, David now saw only a tall bookcase with a leather chair at its side. The few fellow guests who were behind him as he checked in were nowhere to be seen.


Excuse me for a moment,” he said to his porter before rushing for the front door. It was dark outside now and the full moon was high. His taxi and the other cars were gone and in the distance he heard the howl of a wolf.


David laughed out loud – “fucking Halloween“. He was not one to be scared by such triviality. At least, that’s what he told himself.


Back inside the house, the lobby was now completely empty. The porter must have brought his bags up already. As he crossed the lobby for the stairs, each and every floorboard creaked louder than the last to the point of absurdity. The final board before the staircase was so loud that it sounded more like a man screaming than a rickety floorboard. David was forced to cover his ears as he rushed up the first few steps.


No noise now. Four steps up, he turned around to see nothing but a silent, empty lobby. He heard the distant wolf’s howl again, but didn’t laugh this time.


Parlour tricks and simple theatrics,” he nervously reassured himself. His logical mind put it all together quickly. The hotel was running a Halloween themed weekend. Understandable. He made his booking and they must have assumed that he wanted to be part of the event, so they were providing him with the same ‘fright fest’ experience that all other guests paid for. Content with this explanation, David smiled and ascended the stairs.


In a hotel with so few rooms, he wondered about his room number, 237, but dismissed it as a quirk.


His room was on the second floor and as he reached the floor he stared down the impossibly long corridor. His logical brain decided the corridor was at least three times the length of the house. Was it an optical illusion?


Pushing cagily forward, he wondered where the porter had gone with his bags. Then he heard an elevator grind to a halt at the far end of the corridor. The elevator was broken, wasn’t it.


A repetitive creaking, almost whistling noise from behind him. Turning quickly, he saw the staircase had been replaced by a corridor four, maybe five times longer than the house. So shocked by this he jumped and knocked his black thick-lensed glasses to the floor.


Fumbling along the carpet for his glasses, the repetitive creak got louder. It was heading his way, whatever it was. It was coming for him. Louder.








He found his glasses and looked around. Coming from one end of the corridor was a small boy on his tricycle pedalling swiftly in David’s direction. The boy, with red demonic eyes began laughing wildly. From the other end of the corridor, the elevator pinged. David turned in time to see it open and he saw gallons of thick red blood pour out towards him.


The river of blood to his left and the demon child to his right, David clasped his head and screamed “stop it“.



The creaking and laughing stopped. He looked to his left and saw no elevator, but a normal corridor ending just feet from him. The staircase which he had ascended only moments earlier was to his right. He was standing outside room 237, crying.


In an effort to pull himself together, David went into his room and headed towards the bathroom. Like much of the hotel, his room was dark and drab. Although, there was nothing strange here. No goblins in the corner or demonic children hiding behind the dresser. His bags were on his bed and David breathed a sigh of relief.


After washing his face in the bathroom sink, he looked up at his reflection and saw something that shocked him more than anything else he had seen that evening. It chilled him to the core……



I have always been a horror fan. Whether it was the early Stephen King novels or the kitsch Freddy Krueger movies late at night, I loved it all. So, when Maxi suggested this project, I was very excited and looked forward to writing a traditional suspenseful horror, like the many I grew up reading.


David Corkish is a character that I’ve had in my head for a long time. He has a life, he has opinions and he has views that even counter my own. In my head he is a well-rounded character and I’m glad I’ve been able to use him in a story.


I am sitting in bed putting the finishing touches to my story, which is due to run shortly, and I’m starving.


Stupidly, and like something from my story, I am startled by a sound coming from the bathroom. I put on my dressing gown and go exploring, but of course there’s nothing there. While in the bathroom, I use the facilities and go to wash my hands. Hands clean, I splash water on my face and then look up at my refection. I jump back in horror at what I see. Am I dreaming?


It’s not my reflection I see. I don’t recognise the man in the mirror and yet, he seems somewhat familiar. I see a fat man with ginger hair and beard, putting on a pair of thick black glasses.


It’s David Corkish. I’ve gone insane. Curled in the corner now, I reach for the door handle which jams as per usual. As I start to panic the face in the mirror speaks and I hear a voice that I have only ever heard in my imagination.



David grabbed his glasses and thrust them on. His eyes were surely playing tricks on him. In the mirror was a frightened young man. The young man was cowering in the corner of the room and David elected to speak to him.


Are you alright?” he asked.


“Who are you?” I shout.


This is my room. My name is David. It’ll be ok,” David said calmly, hiding his own fear.


“What? You can’t be!” I try to regain some composure by standing up and tightening the belt of my dressing gown.


Relax sonny, what’s your name?” David tried again.


“This can’t be happening”, I mutter to myself before I ask him again, “Who are you?”


David remained calm and spoke again.


My name is David Corkish and this is my…


I cut him off mid-sentence.


“I know who you are!” I’m shouting at the man now. Fear is being replaced by anger.


What do you mean, you know who I am?” David’s fear was beginning to take over again. “Who are you?”


“I wrote you,” I shout. “You’re one of my characters”.


David didn’t understand. He began to shake with a mixture of fear, confusion and hunger.


“Hold on,” I tell him, before finally opening the bathroom door. I run to the bedroom to fetch my laptop. I’ll show him that he is a figment of my imagination. I’ll show him that I wrote him into that bathroom. This is crazy.


He wondered what was happening. Was it more trickery and theatrics by the hotel’s owners? This felt more real though. He looked at the mirror and saw that not only was his own reflection missing but so too was the reflection of the bathroom. The dimensions of the room on the other side of the mirror were the same, but the tiles were different, the light was different, and in place of his own cast iron bath tub was a modern shower unit. Was it just a window into another room? He placed his hand against the glass and his hand fell through like he was pressing against jelly. He pulled his hand back and looked at it. The glass wobbled for a moment before return to its solid sheen.


David looked around his own room. In the distance he could hear the faint creak from the child’s tricycle again, then the howl from outside. He reached forward once more and pushed his whole arm through the soft glass.


I unplug the laptop and take a moment to catch my breath. I must be dreaming, or having some kind of hallucination. Things like this don’t happen. They don’t. Picking up the laptop, I head back towards the bathroom.


“Right, here’s the part where you meet the receptionist…” I begin but stop, frozen to the spot, when I see the man’s arm coming towards me from the mirror. The glass around his arm ripples and I can hear laughing and a creaking noise from behind him.  I hear a loud shrill scream and drop my laptop as I clasp my hands around my ears. I close my eyes and scream, “stop it”.




I open my eyes. Is it over? I look around and I’m not in my bathroom anymore. There’s a cast iron bathtub beside me and I scramble into the adjacent room to see a drab hotel room with someone’s luggage on the bed.


I run back to the bathroom and beat my hands against the mirror. It’s not my reflection. It’s David Corkish. But he’s matching my movements. I close one eye, he closes one eye. I wave, he waves. I reach up to my face and I feel a large beard beneath my nose. I look down to see a fat belly and fat hands. I’m wearing thick glasses. What’s going on? Help me!


This can’t be real. I run out of the bathroom, out of the hotel room and into the corridor. It’s silent. This can’t be happening to me. It’s only a story, it’s only a story.


The story. I remember the story. Darragh is here somewhere. Maxi, K8, Chris, Lottie, Rick, surely they can help me. No, no wait – their stories are finished. There’s only one person who can help me, who can save me. I have to find H. His story is next. His story begins now.






Final Part

21 responses so far

Oct 30 2008

War Of The Worlds

Published by under Blog

War of the Worlds


H.G. Well‘s War of the Worlds was first performed on radio by Orson Welles 70 years ago today. Appropriate then that tonight Devious Theatre in Kilkenny are producing their own take on it. It will be aired on KCLR this evening at 9pm and you can also listen in online by visiting


In the meantime, here’s the original version with Orson Welles:


3 responses so far

Oct 30 2008

Jack L – Burn On

Published by under Blog

Jack L Burn OnI can’t say I was ever much of a Randy Newman fan. The only songs of his I ever had much exposure to were from Toy Story and Monsters Inc. And yet, I have been listening to an album of his songs non-stop for the past few weeks.

Jack L, he who could sing the phonebook and make it sound damn fine, has dispensed with Brel for a while to stamp his mark on the songs of Newman. And you need only hear Jack’s version of You Can Leave Your Hat On (Yep, Randy Newman wrote the song that launched a thousand stripograms), to know that these songs no longer belong to Newman. Jack Lukeman has made them his own.

An impressive track listing of 18 songs rarely loses momentum and it is very clear that Jack is relishing every note of it.

For a track by track review, go to the next page.

Pages: 1 2

5 responses so far

Oct 29 2008

Fred Reilly – Depopulation

Published by under Blog,Theatre

Another advantage of having a theatre and gallery on our doorstep is in having access to some excellent exhibitions to attend. Photographer Fred Reilly has been invited to exhibit his work, Depopulation, in the BrightLife Gallery above Greystones Theatre. I was fortunate to be able to attend the opening on  October 16th.


Fred Reilly's DepopulationDepopulation documents the effect of BSE on the lives of an Irish farming family. Up to May 2004, BSE cases reached 1,397 in total. The panic and culling destroyed the livelihoods of so many farmers and families across Ireland and the UK. Reilly’s work attempts to portray their sense of loss by examining the immediate aftermath of the disease – the empty barns and unused farms. The work is positioned within the genre of contemporary documentary photography. Though much of the work is haunting, particularly in Reilly’s use of the long exposure to create ghostlike images, much of the work lacks a punch without the accompanying story. Perhaps this is true of a lot of photography, but I feel that Reilly’s work though visually impressive failed to hit his desired note. As with all art, this is of course open to debate.


For a stimulating exploration of a time that caused so much heartache to so many in this country, I would urge you to check out this exhibition. It runs until the 31st of November in the BrightLife Gallery.

No responses yet

Oct 28 2008

The Crabling Otter Retires

Published by under Blog

Darren the Wise from lecraic.comI‘m retiring The Crabling Otter. No, don’t worry, I’m not going anywhere, but the title of my blog is going bye-bye. I think when I first set up this blog I had intended to use it as a place to publish my short story ideas and seeing as The Crabling Otter himself was one of my favourite characters, it made sense to title the blog after him.


The blog took a different direction, of course, so it probably makes more sense to change the header up there to reflect what this place is all about. Ill put a temporary header up for the moment, until I decide on something I like.


If anyone has been kind enough to include me in their blogrolls, firstly, thank you, and secondly, I would appreciate it if you could blogroll me as Darren Byrne from now on – or even just Darren. We’re all on first name basis at this stage.


Thanks to everyone who keeps reading,



29 responses so far

Oct 28 2008

Look Who’s On The Front Page Of

Published by under Blog

It’s our own Mr Rick. 😎

One response so far

Oct 27 2008

The Apprentice Week 6

Published by under Blog,TV

Welcome to the live blog for week 6 of The Apprentice. For those of you who have been part of previous weeks blogs you know the drill, so let your fingers do the walking and give us your opinions as the show unfolds. For those of you who are new, here’s a recap of the last few weeks of The Apprentice Ireland.


Week 1 saw 14 hopefuls (7 women and 7 men) broken into two teams, Phoenix and Dynamo, led by Joanna Murphy and Mark O’Rourke respectively. They battled it out to see who could make a larger profit selling fresh fruit on Moore Street. The girls’ team, Phoenix, had a close win and after a very polite and friendly day, David Neary went quietly into the night.

Week 2 kept the two teams together to be run by Orla Power and Ronan Whitty. Once again, Phoenix won out in a task which saw both teams stage a launch party for a new EA game. Phoenix impressed EA execs enough and Dynamo’s Ronan was joined by Derek Ramsey and Mark O’Rourke in the boardroom. Bye bye Derek.

Week 3 mixed the teams up a bit. No longer is it men vs women. Avril Daly took leadership of Phoenix and Shane took over Dynamo. Running a 30th birthday party for Supermacs, Dynamo had their first win. Avril brought Stuart Butler and Ronan Whitty into the boardroom and Ronan went home.

Week 4 was run by Orla McAdam (Phoenix) and Brenda Shanahan (Dynamo) and they were tasked to design a “Personal Loan Card” for Blue Cube Loans, and sell the concept of the Card to three retailers. The team who most impressed was Dynamo again. Avril was back in the boardroom, along with Joanna Murphy and Orla McAdam. Avril was fired.

Week 5 was a controversial week. The live blog was sure that Stuart was going home, but in a surprise turn Bill Cullen sent Orla McAdam home because Stuart is “a fighter”. The task was to shoot and edit a 45 second TV commercial for “The Elysian” development in Cork City. Dynamo won (despite two very flawed ads from both teams) and Shane joined Orla and Stuart in the boardroom.


So…what’s to happen in Week 6? The teams will be going back to Bill Cullen’s roots – they’ll be selling cars. To join in, use the live blog below or click here to open it in a separate window. I’ll get things going around 8.45. See you then.

8 responses so far

Oct 27 2008

He Sings The Songs That Remind Him Of The Good Times

Published by under Blog

DrinkWhoopsadaisy posted a post about her issues with the demon drink. She’s not in favour of going out and getting blottoed or drinking just to get hammered, a culture that is all to prevalent in Ireland today.

Now, I don’t quite agree with her viewpoint. I like alcohol. I like it a lot. I even like that our nation has a reputation for being drinkers. Of all the reputations we could have, I think it’s one of the nicer ones. We are the drunken poets of the world and I do take a certain pride in that.

That said, I have mentioned recently that I haven’t been feeling the best, so I have decided to combat this by trying to eat better, exercise (a bit) and cut down on my alcohol intake. I’m not giving it up. I don’t want to – I enjoy it too much. But being drunk on a school night or having six-packs more than three nights a week is possibly taking its toll. Moderation is key…I think.

11 responses so far

Oct 27 2008

The Wire Marathon

Published by under Blog,TV

The WireWe started watching The Wire a couple of weeks ago and were instantly hooked. Set in Baltimore, it is a police drama like no other. Unique in it’s realism, slow plot, attention to detail and focus on urban life and the problems associated with it, The Wire may be the greatest TV show ever made.

On Thursday Lottie picked up Season 4, the penultimate season and we finished that yesterday. So, naturally, I had no choice but to run down to Xtra-Vision to pick up the final season. With 10 episodes in total, we’re all set for a marathon Wire day. Wish us luck! 🙂


McNulty and Freamon

No responses yet

Oct 26 2008

Apprentice Liveblogging

Published by under Blog

Just a reminder, I’ll be live blogging the Apprentice tomorrow night, Monday 27th. Come along and join me. It’s fun…honest!

No responses yet

Oct 25 2008

Weddings Can Be Fun…

Published by under Blog

Ok, I’m not backing down from my earlier thoughts, but maybe, just maybe, marriage can start off wonderfully:

9 responses so far

Oct 24 2008

Makes More Sense Than The American Voting System…

Published by under Blog

They’ve come up with the best way to sort out who should be Prez.

Who did this? Far too much time on their hands. 🙂

3 responses so far

Oct 24 2008

Oh My God, What Have I Done?

Published by under Blog,Politics

I didn’t know I could vote?

Best. Viral Thingy. Ever.

(courtesy of Rick)

5 responses so far

Oct 24 2008

Is It Just Me?

Published by under Blog

GreystonesThe chill in the air is not yet cold enough to merit my big coat. There’s no rain and the bite of the cool breeze, this morning, is more a wake up call than a winter’s annoyance. I wander down towards Greystones train station at a leisurely pace – I’m on time, so there’s no need to run. I see the bank official arrive on his motorbike, as he does every morning, and I nod to him a good morning. The nod is returned and thus is the extent of our relationship. I get my newspaper from the shop and exchange brief pleasantries with Eamonn, the shop’s owner. There is a relaxed atmosphere and a buzz in the air that is welcome, but unusual. I’m not sure if I’m the only one who senses it. Perhaps it’s just me.

The train is on time. We have not heard complaints of leaves on the tracks, delaying the mighty cabooses. In my usual seat, I look around at familiar strangers and see bleary eyes that would rather be shut tight in their beds that feigning alertness on this early morning train. Monday’s depressed expressions have all but disappeared as my fellow travellers relish the end the week. A faint glint of the weekend’s plans twinkles in the corners of their eye sockets. No thoughts of work, of the boss, of paperwork and sales targets, of invoicing and budget meetings. Instead there’s the glimmer of that girl he might see in the bar, the guy she fancies at her gym, the match, the gig, the show, the birthday party where they might get drunk and forget their troubles for just a few hours. I don’t see happiness in people’s eyes on this Autumn morning, but neither do I see sadness. I see something far more interesting – I see hope. The hope of fun and laughter with friends, the hope of love springing forth, the hope for better, for greater, for something different. Or perhaps, it’s just me.


I turn and stare out the window at the Irish Sea. The same sea I drift past every morning, the same cliffs I peer down, the same distant horizon. But this morning seems significant. The sea is calm and even the birds are busier than usual, in preparation for harsher times ahead maybe. Perhaps it’s just me. I look back at my fellow travellers and see the bleary eyes again. This time I struggle to find the hope and glimmer of something different. What just changed? Moments earlier, I saw beauty and a glimpse of passion. Now I can only see empty vessels. What happened? Is it just me?

We stop at Sandycove and something rejuvenates the carriage. A cackle of cool kids disembark and take their Oh-My-God’s with them, along with their loud prattle and designer linguistics. There’s an audible sigh of relief as the final uniformed girlie skips away, only to be replaced by two young couples dressed all in black. Their goth apparel and pale faces cannot hide their innocent glee. They sit on the floor beside the sliding doors and quietly talk about the Harry Potter movies. Their enthusiastic youth, unbetrayed by their gothic dress sense, has already given rise to smiles from a few people sitting close to them. The anachronism of the scene seemed to bring change. These four dark children were brightening the carriage. An older couple, who I would have assumed to be travelling separately suddenly snuggle together and smile. A snoring man wakes up and is greeted by laughter from what appears to be his son. Others around them laugh too and the mood of the carriage is lifted further. Then gradually, there is a low hum of chatter, as the tired faces all around me begin to liven up and engage with each other. It’s not just me. I can see surprised faces, watching the event unfold, just as in awe as I. They smile at each other. They smile at me. On this morning, on this carriage, on this train, a significant event unfurls, as the world opens itself up and community spirit awakes. The train stops at the next station and the next and each time complete strangers say goodbye to each other, wish each other a good day and, what’s more, they mean it. There is joy on this carriage this morning and each and every person is taking some of it with them today.


So, to each of my fellow travellers this morning, I wish you all a good day. Today is a good day. Today is a great day.


8 responses so far

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