Thursday, March 30, 2006

stage fright

For some reason, self-loathing or self-mischieviousness, I'm putting myself in the unfortunate state of being laughed at this evening, by a live audience.

Things I'm learning about stage fright in this reality car crash tv without the tv experience:

a. Rabbit in the Headlights - This is a true statement (my pupils currently are larger than my eye sockets)

b. Butterfly in the Stomach - This is a true statement (although crashing elephants reside within mine, none of the delicate fluttering more of the heavy pounding)

c. S*itting oneself - Where's the bathroom?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006


I like booze... mmm.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Black to the future

To all the skangers who slagged my outfits, malaise and generally sneered upon my teenage years, check out what the Guardian have to say about it in their article 'I have seen the future - and it's goth'

Oh, I forgot, you can't read.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

terms of endearment

Thought that as you age, you're supposed to be treated with more respect, but I seem to be treated to affectionate terms from strangers on an ever more frequent basis.

Take Mahaffy's at lunchtime today with my mate.

me & mate (m&m)'Two ham sandwiches please, oh and some chips'

pert engaging tenderer (PET) 'that's fine, love, did you order them yet?'

m&m: 'yes, thanks, I said it to the woman at the counter'

PET: 'Thanks sweetie, that's fantastic. That will be twelve euro, when you're ready darling'.

m&m: 'Here you go'

PET: 'Oh you're great, sweetheart'.

FINE, fine, fine. Except then afterwards in the shop buying chewing gum

PET: 'Is that everything, love'

me: 'YES'

PET: 'here's your change then darling'


I must look like an idiot in my suit jacket with a big smiley face.

Years ago, when I was an angry young woman in a sharper suit with a grimmer face, I doubt any of them would have dared to 'sweetiesugardarlingpet' me...

Now, I've chilled out a bit and must look like the resident village idiot or something. I mean, I'm all for the hard working staff of the service industry being able to vent their spleens, but really, must it always be on me.

Real danger is, I'll end up copying them and randomly splurting these terms of endearment at randomers I meet in the course of my life, sweetie.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Cripes Jessica, pass me the cyanide

You Are 52% Evil

You are evil, but you haven't yet mastered the dark side.
Fear not though - you are on your way to world domination.
How Evil Are You?

Paddy's Day

Green seepage abounds. Took nearly two hours to get to town (three miles) this morning, the annual carnie is being set up in Merrion Square, so the city comes to a standstill.

I was chilled, but the driver of some type of lorry thing (think it was a window carrier or some such vechicle) behind me couldn't take the traffic, or possibly the radio, and randomly beeped at anyone on our slow trudge down Gardiner Street.

He even beeped in the general direction of the nice Lollypop Man of Gardiner Street, a stoic and interesting looking older man, who always deserves a smile and a nod of respect for his bravery stepping as he does out to protect the little kids of that area from angry commuters who would probably prefer to be in bed reading the funny pages instead of listening to Morning Ireland telling us how terrible Ireland and the world is generally.

Typical morning show will include at five minute intervals the crew relishing the fact that a gun, or a dead person or a depressed leprechan or a homocidal commuter mysteriously tuned into R1 has been found in (and it is always - lets face it 3m of the 5m in the country must live there if the stats are anything to go by) 'WEST DUBLIN' (except every twelfth tuesday when it is) 'LIMERICK' in a flying moon you might hear 'SOUTH DUBLIN', but generally only on the financial reports.

And, the best bit of course is whenever Bertie is mentioned. Cathal sounds as though he's sneezed up some particularly painful snoodle of phleghm as he says 'nnnnnnnngggghhhttttthhhoooaaaaaaaoooisiGGGGGHh', you can't help but choke on the cornflakes, and wish that Cathal could get on first name terms with the man.

Brings to mind those Irish speakers who delight in outcomplicating one another with their prononciation. Jesus, I don't even dislike Irish, but what's with that ad for 'Gobblin the Gook' or whatever that kids book of what I believe is supposed to be Irish is called - some Irish speaking presenter in a really diddlededee cuhntry achcent 'I lhhuvved dhis buvk whhhen I wvas a chhhildh' while the poor child is forced to sing or chant these strange sounds into the mic, I mean it isn't even Irish, it sounds like Indian or possibly voodoo chanting 'faelweivo ewfl vdsoi ferw'.... ick.

I dunno. Shan't be buying that book meself or for any kids I know, loike

Monday, March 13, 2006

Black Books

It's official, I think that a bookshop is where I would thrive.

Following Bing's advice, and my newfound devotion to all things Niven, I went in search of 'the moon is a balloon'.

Although Waterstone's was where I found the tome, Hodge's Figgis is where I want to work.

It is:

a) peaceful & you can judge people depending on which section they are draped over thumbing through books (e.g. religion - not my thing, thus viewed with suspicion... psychology - perhaps they will understand me, thus viewed with immense awe).

b) full of interesting potential work colleagues - they seem to be perma chilled, and smile at you when you ask re: books. Their karma buzz relaxes you to the point that you're all 'I'm just looking for, you know, a book and stuff'

cue interesting, pretty lady bookseller with strange haircut and funky rasta hat to say,

'Oh, right, like, that's cool'

and me to add, 'yeah, that's cool'

Pause. Ten seconds of mutual smiling.

Ok, so we didn't find the book there, but I learnt all about the film section's filing system:

potential future work colleague (pfwc): 'Did you look under films?'

me: 'Naaaaaah.... Biography?'

pfwc: 'Aaaaaaaw... Yeah.... I get that... Well, naaaaah, maybe film.... might be under film'

me: 'Coooooool...'

pfwc brings me to section: 'But......not sure where......'

me: 'Aaaaaw, Yeah...... maybe 'N' for 'Niven'......I dunno.....'

pfwc: 'Naaaaaaah... (laughs)... maybe..... but Naaaaaaaah...'

me: '(series of gentle question marks)??????'

pfwc: 'There's like two managers of that section.....and one, like stores them under name..... but the other one (laughs)... she stores them under like, theme or something'.

me: 'Oh yeah'

pfwc: 'just have a root, you might find it ;0)'

me: ':0)'

Didn't find it. Waterstones was the same buzz, only more brusque and less amusing. Got the book, but won't be applying for a job.

Also, the funniest quote I've heard in the past two days - Sarah Silverman (as per Alex Renton, Observer Woman Mag):
'If my boyfriend (who's catholic) and I (who's jewish) ever have a kid, we'll just be honest with it. We'll say that Mommy is one of God's chosen people, and Daddy believes that Jesus is magic'.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

David Niven

If you ever get a chance, read David Niven's book 'Bring on the Empty Horses', which puts in my opinion the anecdotes of modern celebrity to shame.

The Hollywood stories, of happiness and tragedy and the droll one liners all exude glamour and intelligence that seems long gone from our current celebrity gossip.

Take the story he tells of George Sanders, a Russian actor who was married to Zsa Zsa Gabor. When Zsa Zsa and George split, she took up with Profiro Rubirosa.

What really piqued George's ire was the financial implications of their divorce and David quotes him as saying 'This is no time to behave like a gentleman - I am a cad and shall react like one'

George and his lawyer went with a ladder to catch the lovers in action in the bedroom. However, unsure that the window would be open, George brought a brick. Although the lawyer was satisfied that George was entitled legally to enter his own home through a bedroom window with a ladder, he had reservations that a brick may be seen negatively. No problem to George, he wrapped the brick and said it would be a gift.

Lawyer and George climb the ladder, and sure enough get the picture to much excitment and drama. They enter the bedroom and following an animated chat with the lovers begin to make their descent down the stairs, emotions calmed for all. Zsa Zsa, remembering it's Christmas, says she has a gift for George and goes to the tree where she finds it and gives it to him.

'My dear, I have a gift for you too' he says, and hands her the gift wrapped brick.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

to hiace drivers

This morning I was forced to acknowledge that a cliche may be true.

Hiace drivers may be nasty folks.

I implore nice hiace drivers of Ireland to unite and to make your kin more friendly.

At Texaco this morning, I parked in a spot and bought the papers.

As I sat into old Betsy (my trustworthy 97 D fiesta), Mr Grease Pants pulls in behind me, making my exit an unnecessarily fancy driving manoeuvre.

He realises I am planning to leave, and smiles merrily, gesticulating that I should do my twenty four point turn.

It's the morning, I'm a bit tired and hungover, so I smile back and gesticulate that it would be great if he could reverse.

He hops out of the Hiace and stands with an evil type of a grin, daring me to say something.

I open the door and smile, nicely. No point in making Mr Grease Pants more angry than he seems to be by nature.

'Hi' I say, 'could you do me a favour? It would be great if you could reverse out to let me out'

He looks at me and says 'No... You just turn it around'. Then stands there, his legs spread, knees bent and gesticulates some sort of a turn around with his fingers.

I look at him again, and smile gently, 'it would be easier for both of us, if you would just reverse though? Please?'

He shakes his head, most pleased with himself, I imagine he enjoys a morning barney and thinks I am going to provide him with today's amusement.

'Where would I park then? It wouldn't be easy for me' he says.

'But you could just park where I am now, and then you'd have a space and everything' I say, appealing to logic.

'No' he says.

I'm bored, but he's enjoying this so much, and I really just want to see how irrational he's going to be, so I say,

'Please, for me'

He shakes his hands, smiles, bends his knees (just to make his manhood a little more prominent I imagine) and slowly gesticulates that I should do the twenty point turn.

'I'm just going to ask you once more, if you'll reverse, it would be great if you would'

He shakes his head again, and does his little finger ballet.

In a nice, sweet, non-angry pretty girl voice (thank goodness for those acting classes, anger management is a great thing) I say, 'Thank you, you really are a charming man'.

He smiles... I think the irony took sixteen of the twenty point of the turn to sink in.

It occurs to him as I hit my seventeenth move that I may be in danger of hitting precious MickeyHead (his Hiace) and he comes back to skulk staring at me.

I complete the arduous man made manoeuvre and thanking God that this is probably the first
misogynist I have had to encounter in twenty eight years on earth, I wave kindly at Mr Grease Man.

I hate to admit it, but ten seconds later I was shaking - with sadness, anger and fear.

His gurning face, his leecherous, dangerous pose.

The man is a bully. I doubt he is married, or has daughters, sisters or a mother, but if he does, I hope treats them better than he did a hungover polite woman in a little car this morning.

Friday, March 10, 2006


I'm just back from Donegal, where the beaches are spectacular, even if you're peering at them through the rain.

Rossnowlagh, Murvagh - practically empty this time of year, and in the summer they team with surfers and sun-chasers. Felt like celtic warriors walking along this empty stretch of sand where the only noise was the waves and the birds calling to one another.

Saw the first signs of spring with lambs who thought I was going to feed them - kept saying 'maaa ma maaaa' like starving children. Frog-spawn was easy to spot in the ditches, but you had to stay very quiet for a few minutes before the purrrr of the frogs would begin and they would come back from their hiding places to protect their little zygotes. We spotted over ten in one ditch, amazing to listen to the slimy ones having a good old chat.

In the internet café come shop, I actually had a smile filled conversation with the owner. Went to the cinema, there was only one other couple there to watch 'The Constant Gardener' and we nodded politely at one another. The cinema in Ballyshannon is run with such love and affection, what can be nicer than the owner of the cinema asking you what you made of the movie?

Spent an hour in a neighbours house catching up on the Donegal gossip, before regretfully saying goodbye and heading back home.

Dublin late last night was traffic and people. Walking through town a drunk man behind me began to sing loudly, and I smiled. If I hadn't been in my urbane hurry, I would have almost turned and joined in.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

foolish romantic

You can track how romantic an individual is by the number of past lovers they include in group email travelogs sent from the mysterious wanderings our lusty generation are so fond of undertaking.

While there is a sense of the longing of a individual to make themselves appear exciting and unusual in this practice, you can sense the loss, of someone who was once important, and the reaching out, wanting to keep that connection, no matter how far away, no matter how long ago.

Imagine a generation ago, this was never possible. You simply couldn't let someone know just how excellent you had turned out to be, how brave you had become without them.

Unless you wrote for the National Geographic of course.

Saturday, March 04, 2006


Last night was grand.. I went to the launch of the twenty-first issue of 'The Stinging Fly', a Dublin magazine featuring new writers.

At some stage like many of you, if I get my s*it together, I would like to be a new writer from Dublin, so it is only fair that I support anyone who already is.

It was interesting and good fun, so I was full of beanieness and free wine, and went to bed happy and cosy. Only to be assaulted by bad dreams...

I happen to be reading this book called 'The Historian' which is a real page-turner. However, be warned fair reader, you may have unwholesome dreams as a result...

The subject matter happens to be Count Alucard, or to any of you non-backward readers Dracula, but don't let that put you off if you're looking for a big book to take on hols that is light enough to romp your way through and dark enough to hold your interest with its mystery.

I'm wondering though if the horrible dream I had last night about my leaving cert Irish paper was inspired by reading a bit of a horror? Or am I like Wallace, eating too much cheese before bedtime.

Even this morning going about my business, I had a bad taste and the fear of Gaeilge, which is strange as I went to an all-Irish school and normally I find these nightmares are about maths anyway.

Bad dreams are so weird.

This afternoon, full of plans after a busy morning down at the radio station, I read a little more of the tale of bloodlust before falling asleep on the couch. I found myself taking my friend to a match in Croke Park in a rush to get there on time. She kept saying 'hurry, hurry, we're late' and I kept saying, 'it's fine, I know this secret way'.

I found this door at the top of some stairs (I find lifts, stairs and these type of useful upward perambulators spooky under the guise of sleep), and was all, 'see I found it, we're fine'. But as I went to open the door, the handle came off in my hands. Just before I woke up I got the handle back on and opened the door, but the damage was done.

My mobile phone was ringing and I had a chat with a friend, so I'm now full of plans and intent for the evening, but that bad dream is casting a shady sinister shadow over me.

Of course, I might just be having a scary dream before going to see the Dubs play tonight in Parnell Park, I often fear these events - not to say I ever (ahem) lack confidence in the boys in blue.

I guess I've just got time for an hour more reading about the vampire search before another spooky nap and then the match and pints. Lord only knows what my crazed irrational mind will conjour up tonight - Stephen Cluxton not saving a goal, an enormous pint of Miller chasing me down the road - I doubt it will involve vampires though, my mind, while distressingly literal seems to be avoiding the obvious.

My mood is one of sheer confusion - pass the wensleydale Gromit.

Friday, March 03, 2006

music = soul food

The other evening I was at a night of song and colour held in a house in Dublin. All sorts of interesting and different people were there - aged 10 to 70.

People were shy about singing at first, and then as the evening wore on we heard everything from Cuban pianists to soulful and love tunes and those you know well with the odd traditional air thrown in to the last one, an original song that would have a stone reaching a contemplative thought, and a softie like me getting a tear in the eye.

There were candles and a fire burning. Atmosphere was peaceful, a million miles from celtic tiger greediness. It was comfortable and interesting and so so simple.

All it seems to take is good will, a few guitars, maybe a piano - wine optional, burning fire a bonus.

If you are a sqwalker like me, well that's ok, you make the good singers shine the brighter.

I've given you the recipe, now go make some noise. xx

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

white midday

The drone and whirr of the office was making me nod off around midday when my colleague shrieked 'look - SNOW'

We pressed our noses to the glass, which was extremely cold, and feverishly began praying to the God of pavements that it was cold enough to stick.

I ran to the canteen to make a cup of tea and to generally make the most of the snow story, the security guard told me it was never going to last, and when I asked why, he said 'smog of the city, you see, it keeps it warmer here, that's why you'll never get snow in the city'.

I don't like to argue (at least not at work) so I made soothing mmmm noises of gratitude for his words of disappointing wisdom.

There was no milk left and I wanted to go out anyway so down to the local shop. The snow was landing in clumps on jackets, and everyone I passed was smiling. I said 'hi' to a middle-aged lady and she said 'hi' back, positively friendly.

A builder grinned at me and nodded as I walked into the shop, and it was nice. Paying for the milk at the counter, I couldn't contain myself and said

'great snow, isn't it? I hope it sticks'

The man at the till looked at me, looked at the till, took my money and then.

I thought he hadn't heard me, so I was a bit embarassed.

He looked up again, and said,

'To me, this is nothing snow. In my country there much snow'.

I was so relieved that I hadn't made a fool out of myself and that he hadn't been the icegrinch of citycentre arctic afternoons that I said,

'Well, for us, this is great snow, really lots of snow'.

Seconds later, when all had turned to water, I began to realise that I made a bit of a slight exageration.

Oh well, maybe tonight!

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