Tuesday, December 21, 2010

In the Mouth of Madness

Marty 'The Shitpeddler' Whelan

The black tarmac lolls like a tongue through the dun coloured winter hawthorn and shitberry hedgerows. There's nothing like a snowmelt to make the countryside look secondhand. The car bucks upon the puckered and broken, frost-harried road surface like a spastic pig in electro-shock treatment. The hiss of static competes with the gristled snarling of my nissan cherry's prehistoric diesel engine. It's the best kind of radio these days. A tonic for the wounded pride and shattered dreams of Ireland's most feckless underachievers. I used to listen to Morning Ireland and then Drivetime in the evenings until it all became too horribly real to handle. The sudden realisation that I was only listening to them out of a snobbish sense of my own self-importance. Feeling that I could somehow better myself by listening to the torpid recounting of figures and facts - statisticians' reports read down the airwaves by the insipid, the craven and the dead - but I lost my nerve. I hadn't the steel of real men, able to take the hard news on the chin and get on with their day. I was a broadsheet tourist, buying the Irish Times for nothing more than the fleeting looks of acceptance it gained me from the men in suits who might flank me in checkout queues. Soon I was budgeting my meagre and dwindling salary so that I could afford even just the weekend edition and at that I would only read the food section and the TV guide. Finally I had to bite the bullet and drop the pretence. It was time to try something new. It was a rainy evening at Newlands Cross about six weeks ago when I rolled the car window down and asked the handsomely dark-skinned young man at the traffic lights for a copy of the Evening Herald. I felt the panicked palpitations of the transgressor as I wound the window back against the wind, the drizzle and the fumes. An excited shame at what had just passed and at what was to come. I pulled into a layby off the M11 to pore over the luridly coloured and conveniently-sized pages. I read quickly through the short passages upon the front page. Headlines that dominated half the sheet, stories that seemed to go nowhere and come back without souveniers. The punchy writing style, the inane subject matter, the total lack of cohesion and impartiality seemed to buzz in my head, rising like static within my ears until the noise of it drowned out any possibility of comprehension. My vision began to swim and I realised that I had come too far down the road of self-improvement and empowerment to forray so lightly into the torrid world of the sleazy rags. I burned the paper by the roadside and drove away at speed. Over the following days I tried other 'Redtops' in my quest for a new information media but the results of these experiments were even more harrowing. The News of the World and The Sun rendering me catatonic and in a state of such supressed conciousness that in both cases I was only roused when the neighbour's cat crept through a window and began to chew on my lips.

It was then that I began to experiment with radio and the true horrors of what I was facing arose to confront me. As the radio needle drifted across the bandwidths, new voices filtered in through the low, white noise. Raised voices, pitched into upper registers like excited children full of fanta and skittles. The Tweedle Dumm and Dee of Colm and Jim-Jim, conjoined twins trapped inside a helium balloon and fed E-Numbers and misinformation through a reconditioned umbilical cord donated by Sinéad O'Connor. Shuddering I pressed the needle onward. The one calling himself John Murray drifted out of the haze. He appeared to be reading jokes from the script of a cancelled pantomime, laughing at his own formidable guile. There is the one they call 'The Plank', who mixes a sickly elixir of current affairs and self-important old farts, a complex array of pulleys and trapdoors creaking away in the background, giving him the appearance of sentience as a ventriloquist reads carefully written questions taken from envelopes in a sequence predetermined by a team of numerologist druids. From here the octave leaps as some unintelligible gobshite from Navan moos his excitement all over the microphone like a bull at a gloryhole by a shed full of cows. "That's class!" he lows, his mouth full of cud. 'Class'? There's no class here - onward then! But it keeps on coming, more adolescent squeals of giddy, hand-clapping mirth. Mannequins given voice by some black-devil-witchery. "Accept me!" their cries plead from the radio. "Tell me I am loved. That I belong. That you count me as a friend!" These are the twittering, flapping boys that you remember from school. The one's for whom you saw only a future of latent homosexuality and a flamboyantly-conservative sartorial dichotomy. An idiot's parade, out of kilter with the mood of the nation. Their rising shrieks of empty mirth and endlessly circling chatter begins to overwhelm me. The steering wheel feels fat and heavy in my hands - it's another attack. Frantically I spin the dial but to no avail. It is Tubs! When I thought it could get no worse this man-child comes over the airwaves, his inflections veering more violently than my car as I struggle to stay in control. This mindless fucker is actually reading articles from a tabloid newspaper in a full-frontal attack upon my sensibilities. The hedgerows close in, the world goes soft and everything is darkness.

As I sleep I dream. I dream of a radio station where the presenter understands me and all of those like me. He arrives in the studio, turns on nought but a small table lamp and, by its subdued light, sighs into the microphone. He sighs for a country on the ropes. He sighs for the jobless and those working for a pittance. He sighs for all of the lies and deceit and for the loss of control. And his sigh lights a torch inside of us, for we know that we are no longer alone.

I awake to the harshness of disinfectant and whitewash and an ache down the length of my body. I can hear an argument, tinny and indistinct. I allow my ears to adjust to its frequency and realise that the bickering comes from a nearby radioset. A taxi driver and a menopausal housewife are going for it like two cats in a bag. I wish that someone would drop some bricks on it. Suddenly a deep, steady masculine voice, like a ship captain steadying all hands, cuts across them appealing for calm and then he sighs. It breaks over me like a soothing river, raising me afloat. Who is this creature, this Joe Duffy? This must be a special radio programme made by angels to play to the dead. I feel it may guide me to the home of my heart at last. But wait, what is this? He's calling for an ad-break. And then it happens. Marty Fucking Whelan, that miserable prostitute of the airwaves bringing vacuous, nauseating joviality to bear on tea brack and fucking cut-price crumpets from Tesco. The spell is broken, I'm not in heaven, I'm in MRSA central, Dublin 8, in a full body cast and without the physical wherewithall to beat the solid-state guts out of the bloody wireless with a gigantic fucking hammer.

After months of pain and intense physical rehabilitation I am back on the road with the radio tuned to static and the lithium pills in the glove box. Sometimes, if I double dose, I can hear the sigh again. The sigh of universal understanding.

Monday, December 20, 2010


“Lenihan y’bastard, come up with them purse strings, McCreevy never presided over such penury!”
Up comes Lenihan, chest puffed out like a pigeon, head puffed out like a Rice Krispie, eyes puffed and popped for want of more hot air.
“Come up Purse and let’s take stock.”
“Is Chucky comin’ Boss?” the airless eyes searchlight the room from their fleshy guard tower.
“Never my sweet, you won’t be upstaged tonight. Let the Belgians have and keep him and his sliteyed blueblack leer. Come up now.”
A mill a mull as the hall gets full with pinstripe, silks and tight knit wool.
“It’s avant garde new guard tonight Purse, great Aurthur’s seat’ll ring bright and solid and true. Listen! Lend your sow’s ear to that roar – there’ll be a session tonight as the rafters ring.”
“Bright and solid and true Boss!”
Elevated by the dais, the dumplings are asconce, an island for now amid the flow. Proud patriarchs, they watch from on high over high cheeks of high colour as about them the crush of tongue and flesh and hand in hand back slaps and bubbles with “Ah jakers howya!”
“Where are my Marys Purse, are they in yet? There’s order of pleasure to be discussed”
“I see them Boss.” The Purse flails a fist of sausages through the air, one of them hot-dogging, stabbing, making direction. The head dumpling sights along it with a gunner’s eye and grunts – they are in.
“Marymarymarymary, your bewitching, bow-legged feminine delicacy is well turned out this evening. Lead the way Coughlan, moonfaced and misunderstood, don’t fret, we’ll keep you warm and close tonight. Harney, the arse of the hydra, keep the conga line together you lapsed democrat.”
Up come the Marys, a quadrinity of duplicity – Coughlan, O’Rourke, Hanafin, Harney - up dance to the dais – clunk rattle shuffle stomp heel toe and thrust.
“Marys!” the Boss is crying with alarm “you’ll be rubbed red with exertion before it’s begun – Purse, call us to order.”
The Purse blows a coded whistle and makes the secret salute and a low soldier’s hush falls over the vaulted throng.
“Summon Carey and seal the doors.”
To a hollow drumbeat the slavering whip is presented by chain to his master’s fist. Lolling tongue and pigslit eyes flash through the dark leather hood whilst in his crotch an enormous erection burns beneath the taut thong of animal hide. A yelp and a snarl as the chain is tugged and a press as the crowd makes a hole.
“Easy boy.” The Boss coos and the whip settles down to worry his flesh.
Gather in, gather in let us shortly begin.” The Boss chortles the rhyme in his throat. And wavelets of sound lap the edge of the stage, hush soft of the hall gently breathing.
A great hock and a snort, a scowl and a smile as the Boss clears his ducts like a sewer for a song.
“Ah by winding red brick and bubbling black cobbles
We cumann tonight ‘neath old James’ Gate
And the Blueshirts have promised us pairs for tomorree
So’s we can louse and carouse and drink until late.”
Black ohs stretch pink and upturned faces, like toothed donuts they  roar and cheer. Then the Boss double clap like an old governess and great barrels are braced and tipped and tapped and as cries crescendo the very air bucks for nuts and nachos and sin-black stout, so the band strikes a devil dervish loose- whirligig wheeling away we go.
Isteach dó trí, knees and toes. Céilí lines crash and smash and amach. Dó trí a haon dó trí isteach dó trí, ears and nose and lusca.
Upon the stage the Boss has the Dev suit on and does a loose-limbed yankee barnhouse jig. All those that pass giggle and genuflect before an old man’s zombie skin, pallid and patriotic green and stretched like powdered latex over the Boss’s swollen, stomping form.
Clip clop clumpedy, clip clop clump – heavy hooves in shining leather while his elbows seesaw up the air and all the time poor Dev’s dead face, surprised and stretched, a banjaxed banjo, pince nez lopsided upon misshapen shades of a resurrected nose – clip clop, clip clop, clippedy clump. A sudden Tullamore roar, thick with smoke and stout, comes pouring from between the dead man’s lips and Dev’s desiccated parchment can take no more, bursting and tearing and falling asunder, drifting dandruff confetti down to the floor.
A whooping, laughing, tumultuous throng cheers and jeers and the band double-time. Wool-suited Marys, conga line chasing pulling in all but the Greens who skitter and yelp. Tweeded huddle of pumpkins guffaw in the corner swearing mad blind for Kirry “And sure ain’t she mighty!” Back-slapping boys, talk in the air, nod-nodding women and everyone “yes!” While the Boss and the Purse beam down on their kinsmen, grey muscles beating lies in their chests.
“How we lookin’ Purse? What news from the reserve?”
The Purse paws at his brocaded bag and loosening strings dips down inside and when up he comes fingers they turn a traitor’s farthing in the bleary eye air.
“The decision maker Boss, it’s all that’s left!”
With one rolling eye in the side of his great head the Boss fixes the heavy copper with a wary stare, the flips in the light – embossed harp, the queen’s head, embossed harp, the queen’s head – “Put that devil disc away Purse, decisions are later, tonight’s for the feckless, flathulach and free.”
Palming the coin out of sight, the Purse roundeyes the throbbing hall
“But Boss, the reserves, there’s none of it left!”
Like a cat at his elbow and up in his ear, the Boss pinches and hisses keep it down keepitdown.
A wave to the room “Look all about, the reserves are in porter and whisky and stout.” And then with a lash of his tourniquet tongue he’s whip-crack away “Purse, there’s whorin’ to be done!”
Like steam from a field that’s been over with cows, the hall fugs heavy and thick, as congas and céilís slow their ripples of motion in the dull press of drunkards, hotheads and thieves. The waves ease to a ripple, the surges, a sway, hangdog and haggard, all top buttons open and tails all untucked. Crumple crease, balled up jackets, discarded sashes, scarves and ties and rip ruptured seams. A voice hoarse as gunfire  it bursts, it’s the Boss, Marys on each arm and two at his wings. Wallowing sea anchors against undulation he staggers and sways and bawls out a song and then to the Purse with head back satisfaction “Look around you comrade, we proved them all wrong!”
Shaking off Marys like a bird of wet plumage “Get on now you harpies and leave us alone.” A hand of pride and infinite solace clamps hard on the shoulder of his first aide de camp “What’s botherin’ ya Purse, are we not pissed up to ninety? Sure the brewery’s empty, we’ve drinked it all dry!”
And the Purse in his trembling pork sausage fingers draws up again the copper of fate.
“It’s all we have left Boss – the emergency shilling, the coin that gets tossed when all hope is lost!”
But the Boss, never shaken, fits all in his stride, his shambling shoulder-hunched head-turning gait.
“Hope’s never lost Purse, only misplaced and ladykillers like us scare chance half to death.”
And closing a fist around the flat copper disc, he thumbs and then flips it head over harp.
“Decisions, decisions, he who hesitates loses. Heads it’s the early-house, tails we’re to bed!”

Monday, October 18, 2010


This morning I received this. I was in a facilitating kind of humour and felt that I could offer the gentleman some assistance, albeit of the insincere and potentially damaging kind.

My Reply:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Christmas Comes Early

It's hard to know if that festive jingle-jangle is the sound of Santa arriving at your local shopping centre, the broken clutch on my prehistoric car that I can't afford to fix or Brian Lenihan touching himself through the lining of his trouser pockets as he prepares to dry-ride me right in front of the kids with his extra-special-edition Christmas budget. I know, I know, the retail sector are dirty scum for the way they dust off the Christmas decorations while the rest of us are still getting shitfaced on July's batch of cut-price cider that was probably brewed in a jax somewhere but perhaps they have it right this time. Even if most normal people don't want to know about Christmas until about 9am on December 1st at the very earliest (1pm if it falls on a Saturday or Sunday) and anyone who does their shopping before this either a) has the decency not to admit it or b) only needs to buy one Christmas cracker, enough wrapping paper to wrap a packet of cat treats and a felt mouse with a bell inside it and enough brandy and valium to go under on Christmas eve and not resurface until January 2nd to find that nobody has missed them or called to investigate the smell of death, farts and cat wee. It is possible however that this is the year when the thing of childhood dreams and lotto wins and scoring a girl who's way out of your league should finally happen and Christmas comes early.

Think about it - come December 7th we have been told that all bets are off. Christmas will probably be cancelled, Jesus will finally be taken down from his cross so it can be sold for firewood and the department of education will at last give the green light for our kids to be taught the true message of civil society, that only a chump believes that crime doesn't pay. With this in mind, tradition should go out the window along with scruples, inhibition, any thought for tomorrow and teary-eyed backward glances of quiet regret. This is the year we get fucked up and I'm not just talking about consenting adults here I mean everybody from little Billy Jenkins (buy him the fuckin bowie knife for Christmas, who gives a shit?! Fill his little stocking woth razor blades, he won't need fingers to draw the dole, not that there'll be any of it left) to fucking Santa Claus. Let's do it all 4 weeks early this year and get so obscenely obliterated that come December 7th and Budgettime we'd sell our own souls not to have to go to work opting instead to curl up and weep around the cooling porcelain trunk of a toilet bowl. This is the year we give in to every outrageous request on the Christmas wishlist. Guns, knives, flamethrowers, abortions, double-anal, even Bratz Dolls and fucking puppies - it's all going in the pot for the Christmas to remember.

So this November 25th, let's make history with the first official 'Early Christmas'. And this year, let's spend every last penny so that come December 7th there's not a brass farthing left. And for those of you with the stamina to survive and the residual physical capacity to reproduce, when your grandchildren ask where were you for Christmas 2010 you need to be able to look them in the face and say "All over the fuckin' place, where the fuck were you?"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Tears for NAMA

When I arrived home from work today it was to find my daughter crying. Crying a veritable Danube of unrestrained grief through her shaking fingers.
"What's wrong sweetheart? What happened?" I asked, rushing to her side.
"It's NAMA daddy," she wept, "It's too big a burden for me to bear."
Drawing her close upon my knee I held her and whispered that it would be ok.
"In the great scheme of things, we can carry NAMA. You and me together. But it's not NAMA that worries me..."
My daughter looks up at me through her wounded, teary eyes. "Is it bogeymen that worry you daddy?"
"Worse!" I solemnly reply "It's that craven wretch Mary Harney and her spastic, miasmic child - the HSE."
"The HSE?"
"Yes my love. The HSE, that convenient and elaborate screen, erected to mask the feckless laziness, monstrous negligence and gross incompetence of so many of those who operate behind it. The HSE is a scapegoat for the towering greed of consultant doctors, a smokescreen for the misappropriation of funds by shiftless, monolithic unions, a letoff for the thousands of superfluous parasites who staff its administration sectors and its legions of mismanagers who have never done a job right."
"It's sounds horrible daddy!"
"It is my love, it is. And it's about to explode in all our faces but this too we can carry."
"But how daddy, how?"
"Don't worry love, daddy has a plan!"

My plan is this:
As the only tenet of corporate social responsibility that appears to have stuck to any degree in these more straightened times is the mantra "Reuse, Recycle." I feel that it is time we brought this principle to bear upon our reeling health sector. Our doctors can't be expected to work for a reasonable level of remuneration if they are to continue living in their castles and pallisades and treating the infected vermin in A&E with condescending disdain and we can't privatise all health care as this would be an open admission by our legislator's of their callous disregard for the people of this country so instead, let us "Reuse, Recycle"! Clearly we're not going to make anywhere near the savings we need through the recycling of medical waste (illegal but previously attempted) or children's organs (illegal but previously attempted) so instead let us concentrate on our human resources. We have, right in front of us, a very real collateral in our struggle to keep this flagging health sector alive. In fact, as we were so often told in school, the answer is in the question.

Why does the health service exist? To treat, aid and heal the infirm.
How do we reuse and recycle the resources? By putting the patients to good use.

What, I ask you, is the point in healing someone if they are not going to improve their lot or the lot of society in general? It would be akin to polishing your silverware just to throw it in the bin. So let's create a system and, for argument's sake, name it 'Deferred Compensation'. Under the terms of this system those with the greatest access to medical services and the highest projected potential for income generation (ie Children) shall be expected to begin repaying in kind for all treatments received in childhood, upon the commencement of their eighteenth year. The genius of this system is not that it puts the onus of financial culpability upon those most responsible for the drain on resources but the method of Payment In Kind. In this way, bedblockers such as premature babies, cancer patients, those with degenerative nerological disorders, major physical disablilities, basically all the expensive people, can be microchipped upon the commencement of their treatments with a view to harvesting them for the public good once they come of age. Those that don't go on to become high-earners, capable of a straight fiscal settlement of their tariff, can be found suitable positions in the public sector or as organ donors or volunteers for medical experiment etc. A state run management agency would be set up to ensure maximum returns to the exchequer from these human resources. Some possibilities that spring to mind would be placing autistic savants with accountancy firms or financial services companies; allowing consultant doctors to use former patients as house servants and having the cost deducted from their gross, pre-tax salary. (Actually, this could be a particularly enticing offer as perhaps a doctor may have liked the look of a patient of theirs but, oops, they're a bit on the young side, it's not quite legal - never mind, they can just put in a request through the state run management agency and as soon as the resource hits 18, bango, it's sexy time).

The Irish government has already demonstrated that it has no qualms whatsoever about lumping the bill for its own unbridled negligence and stupidity and the despicable greed and extravagance of the world's wealthiest financial speculators upon generations of this nation's children so why not just ask them to shoulder a little more.

Having explained all this to my daughter I realised that further molly-coddling wasn't going to do her any favours and that she'd be better off just 'manning-up' and taking shit like NAMA on the chin. With that in mind, I unceremoniously dumped her upon the floor, stood on her little fingers and told her to stop snivelling and get me a fucking beer from the fridge before I treat her like her momma.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Clearly there's something cathartic about writing this blog. For me that is, seeing as no-one actually seems to follow it. It's as if I have walked into the hills and dug a hole there into which I pour my secrets before carefully filling it in again, patting down the earth and seamlessly replacing the sod. Perhaps it's even quieter and more clandestine than that. I'm a small boy, sitting on a log in the wilderness, whittling a little wooden figurine of television's Jennifer Carpenter. Into this effigy's ear I whisper my meandering thoughts before burning it upon a small fire and catching the smoke in a bottle. I cork the bottle and seal it's top with wax, before burying it at the foot of an ancient oak tree, at the bottom of a valley that is to be permanently and irreversibly flooded by the destruction of a major dam, which has loomed for years above it - ominous, silent and cold...

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Me Apples!

Oh oh oh... I had to do this. Someone sent me another link to the stupid ipad so I sent them back this.
Stupid ipad. Stupid Apple.
Marketing to the herd baby!

An Affront to Nature

Having just pumped 50 litres of diesel into my 1900cc, Turbocharged boomsmobile, I blazed away from the station, tossing a sixty euro note out of the window at the greasemonkey on the forecourt and started barrelling through the turns of the quiet country roads. I was vaguely aware that the potentially verdant hedgerows were a dull and listless grey-brown, drunk on dust and choking traffic fumes. A wiley hare scampered, just in time, from the path of my roaring whizz-machine as I two-wheeled it on a hairpin, suspension, tyres and joints complaining. Just then a sleepy-eyed and well-fed pigeon, fat on young barley and corn ears, reared up from the road ahead. He pounded the air with his stubby wings desperately vying for height. Go left! I thought. Go right! Get out of the damn way... In a feathery explosion, fatty the pigeon's quivering sphincter made a sticky kiss against my windscreen and his somersaulting little body tumbled and bounced into the road behind, mercilessly sacrificed to progress.

What an affront to nature we are - burning, howling death!

Harry's Wand

One of the girls at work suggested that when I'm reading Harry Potter to my daughter, I exchange the word wand for willy. Needless to say we're now reading James and the Giant Peach instead. Actually I was with a girl once whose bum looked like a giant peach. A giant, downy, creamy, pinkish peach... Oh dear!

Archie & Chums

I've decided that I should really endeavour to populate this blog with a little more conviction. What it lacks in quality should at least be compensated for in quantity. I guess it is the remit of the blogger to scream qwertyily (I hate myself for typing that) "LISTEN TO ME" before churning out whatever torrid diarrhea sloshes around the self-righteous little chamber that connects their nose to their eyes to their ears.

Without further ado then, here's the heraldic coat of arms of my good friend Archie Templar. He's much better at maintaining his public face than I and you can spit in it if you go here: