Thursday, October 27, 2011


If you give this man a ride he'll stiff you on the fuel bill
It is six in the morning, on route to a meeting navigating the crater strewn boreens of rural Ireland when I see him. A tall, strongly built  fellow thumbing a lift by the side of the road. We're in the middle of nowhere here so I do the decent thing and pull in. I watch as he folds himself into the passenger seat, carefully balancing a black, brass-clasped briefcase across the knees of his well-tailored pinstripe suit. I am struck now by the total anomaly of this man, well-fed, well-groomed, extraordinarily well-turned out and hitching a lift on a dark October morning on a mud spattered country road half way between hell and who-knows-where. He thanks me and I tell him "No Problem" and often enough that would be it but it appears that I've picked up a talker for he immediately introduces himself as McGuffin, originally from the little village of Ballyhaise in county Cavan. I'm not about to encourage this sort of outpouring but it wouldn't matter because he's found his flow without any help from me. He tells me how he was a poorly child with congenital cataracts but that he overcame it with perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit. He tells me how he was once a simple farmer but that overcame it with perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit. He tells me that he'd once known the love of a good woman but overcame it with perseverance and entrepreneurial spirit.
"I'm a man of the people, a good man!" he tells me with such forceful earnestness that for the first time I take a good look at his face. His head and neck seem as one, as if someone had shoved a giant finger up through an expensive pinstripe suit and carefully drawn some features at the centre of the fingerprint. Two eyes, a nose and a lipless mouth closely clustered in the middle of that moony expanse of sausage-meat coloured head. In fact his jawline appears to be defined as much by his shirt collar as by anything else.
"A man of the people," he repeats. "A man like you!"
I'm a little taken aback at this pronouncement and feel that I should say something.
"I beg your pardon Mister McGuffin, but how do you mean that you are like me?"
"It's just McGuffin actually." He responds. "A man of the people, a daysint man; a man like you, just making his way; a plumber man, a builder man, a man in a van on a basic wage overcoming things with perseverence and entrepreneurial spirit."
He carries on in this vein for a while and I just keep driving. He tells me that he's been in politics but that he's not a political man; that he's been a successful business owner but that he's a basic wage man; that he likes to keep moving, putting down no roots but that he's a heart of the community man.

This incessant monologue starts to sound more and more like a sales pitch and so it comes as little surprise when he hits me with the rub.

"I don't suppose I could interest a daysint man like yourself" he begins "a working man, a man of the people, a plumber man, a builder man, a man in a van, a potential business man in a little investment opportunity? It's a dead cert and I'd be letting you in on the ground floor, guaranteed return on investment for the right man with entrepreneurial vision man!"

A sharp click punctuates the end of this pitch and I glance across to see that he has released the highly polished brass latches on the shining, black leather briefcase in his lap. He opens it just a crack and an extraordinary and beautiful golden light gushes out and I'm sure that I hear the edge of far off song, lustrous, buxom sirens singing me onward. The lid snaps shut and McGuffin arches an eyebrow at me.
"Free to those who can afford!" he declares mysteriously.
I drive along in silence for a minute, acutely aware of McGuffin's gaze boring into me, weighing me up as a man, sizing me up as prey.
"What's the initial investment amount?" I ask, conscious of the quaver of trepidation in my voice.
"A small price." he replies, reaching inside his jacket and producing a folded sheet of paper. "The details are in this simple contract. Of course you can read it if you like but to be honest, from one daysint working man to another, I wouldn't bother. It's just minor details - T's & C's and whatnot."
"So what's the amount?" I repeat a little more assertively
"To a daysint man like yourself, a potential working business investment man? A trifling price, such a little thing - shall we say your mortal soul?"
The car veers as I whip my head around to look at him and I my heart beats wildly as I struggle to regain control. When I look again at McGuffin he appears to be appraising me with a slightly sinister, amused expression like a wicked child with a bag of kittens and a bonfire.
"The price is too high for you I think." The gap of his mouth curls into a sneer, goading me on.
"No, it's not that, it's just I didn't realise that my soul was viable tender." I am trying to remain calm.
"Then simply sign here." McGuffin has the contract laid upon his briefcase beside me. I take the pen from his clawlike hand and make my mark without even slowing the car.
"You can keep the pen if you like." McGuffin offers with an air of unconvincing magnanimity.
I thank him and glance at the pen - it appears to be a cheap and nasty affair from the 2006 Fianna Fáil Árdfheis.

"Ah, it appears that we have reached my destination, you can just let me out here." McGuffin announces. "Isn't it wonderful how good company makes the road so much shorter! Just here will do."
"But this is the Áras!" I reply realising where we are.
"Indeed it is boss, indeed it is. I'll be seeing you in seven years then." and with a wink and a little pat of the briefcase which he has left in the passenger seat, I watch as McGuffin strides away into the early light of dawn, his black cape billowing behind him, casting a long shadow across the manicured lawns of Áras an Uachtaráin.

I wait until I'm a few miles away before pulling the car in to take stock. "Seven years?" I scoff "Who does he think he is?!"
Eyeing the briefcase greedily, I slide it over into my lap and snap open the clasps. What McGuffin clearly doesn't realise is that souls don't exist so this one's on him. Lifting the lid of the case a touch, the warm golden light and sweet heartsong wash out over me. I throw the lid open, trembling with excitement only to find a jerry-rigged walkman playing an old Kate Bush tape and the bulb of a pocket torch wired to a battery. Even as I sit there, my anticipation turning to rage, the tremor in my hands pulls the lid clean off the briefcase and it completely falls apart in my lap. Not even that was what it seemed. Junk! All of it just junk!

Friday, July 8, 2011


The long corridor echoed wildly with the unfamiliar ring of heavily-booted, running feet. The Geneva cantonal police had responded within minutes to the distress call from the headquarters of the European Organization for Nuclear Research and were now scrambling to secure the area on foot of the arrival of some specialist from the US. I had stepped into the cool passage way to catch my breath, watched closely by the middle aged detective who had given the instruction that no-one was to leave the vicinity. After a few moments he indicated with a surly grunt that I was to step back inside. Once in the room I tried to concentrate my gaze upon the clipboard in my shaking hands but inexorably I found my eyes drawn toward the macabre tableau that had so dramatically shifted the focus of activities in this secretive, subterranean laboratory. The blood, an impossibly dark mirror upon the pristinely maintained, polished concrete floor, had pooled about the corpse but even so, the large pentagram was still clearly discernible, daubed there in the victim's own blood. Clearly something darkly symbolic had happened here, something we did not fully understand. I scanned the floor again, taking in the full horror of the scene. The dead man was a colleague, Dr Guy Bahgg, a solemnly soft-spoken and respected senior physicist, one of the guiding lights of the CERN organisation. His naked body had been brutally dismembered and arranged in a most grotesque form upon the floor. His eyes, plucked right from their sockets, lay now upon his chest and in their place had been mounted his own severed hands, which had been savagely hacked off at the wrist. Besides the pentagram, a number of other cryptic messages had been scrawled in blood about the scene. The line "A loada wee" was written to the left of the doctor's head and to the right was a crudely drawn parrot that appeared to be cawing the words "Pieces of Shit". Most peculiarly of all, the word "Dumpty" had been carved in large and deeply wounding letters into the poor man's midriff. The most appalling detail of all, the one that had chilled each of us to the bone, was the evidence that this had been no elaborate murder but a sort of self-inflicted, ritualistic orgy of madness that had taken place in a room, locked from the inside and in which Dr Bahgg had been the sole occupant.

A commotion in the corridor and the sound of hurried voices broke through the electronic hum and the murmured conversation of the police detectives, jarring us from our frightened torpor. The door swung inward and across the threshold stepped a tall, athletically built and grey-templed man in wireframed glasses and a brown tweed suit. He had a charismatic air about him and moved with the confidence of those in the first flush of middle age.

"Captain La Suite?" the man asked in a deep-toned American accent, addressing the question to the surly detective who had stepped forward to greet him.

"Captain Bonbon La Suite." the detective nodded in curt response, shaking the man's hand.

"Robert Langdon sir, Professor of Religious Iconography and Symbology at Harvard University and suavely debonaire protaganist of such books as, 'Angels and Demons', 'The Da Vinci Code' and.... Great Scott, what the hell happened here?!"

The man in tweed had seemed only now to have spotted the scene of bloody destruction that held the room in its terrible sway.

"It is why we called you sir, we heard you were the best." replied Captain La Suite, gesturing quickly with his hand toward the carnage.

"Of course, of course... mmm.... mmm..." the academic was already bending down to more closely inspect the remains of our colleague, poring over the words and symbols, the geometry of the pentagram, the arrangement of the body and its severed parts. "Tell me, has this body been moved at all? Has anything been removed from the scene?"

"Of course not." replied the Captain, sounding slightly put out. "Does it make any sense to you?"

Langdon stood up and began to pace around the edge of the pentagram, taking care not to tread in any of the congealing blood.
"This phrase here, 'A Loada Wee', does it mean anything to anyone here?" He glanced around the room to elicit a response. Hesistantly I raised my hand. "You, the hairy one."

"well sir, back home in the pigsties of Ireland when something is a bit off like, we might say 'Ahh, it's a loada wee!' Like if someone said they were going to going to go to mass in the next parish 'cause they heard there was a new priest, freshly back from the missions, I might say to them 'Nah, don't bother, it's still a loada wee!"

"Excellent." Replied Langdon, "What you may not realise however is that this phrase is a derivation of an old French expression that was historically used with great prevalence right here in Geneva. L'eau d'nuit - a truncation of L'eau de la Nuit or Nightwater to give it its direct English translation, referred to the practise of emptying chamber pots directly into the street during the hours of darkness. Les Hommes de la Nuit were those men drawn from the local peasantry and payed by the city to clean the streets of the Night Water and its accompanying Night Soil while the merchant classes slumbered. Like so many tightknit and secretive organisations of humble beginnings however, the ranks of Les Hommes de la Nuit were ultimately usurped by the rich and powerful drawn to the sultry allure of nocturnal adventure and stories of clandestine rites,  mysterious rituals and the heavy, bacterial fug of night time poo-poo. Though membership of Les Hommes de la Nuit is even more covertly guarded than that of any other secret society, rumours abound that, in it's modern form, it has become a brotherhood of ruthless, scientific assassins who collectively protect the darkest physical secrets of our universe, in accordance with a creed handed down by Jesus Christ himself."

"No way!" "Jesus Christ!" "Bleedin' hell!" - a gasping chorus of shocked amazement greeted Langdon's appraisal.

"You don't seriously expect me to believe this subterranean brotherhood rubbish?" Captain La Suite surveyed Langdon and the rest of the room with unconcealed disdain.

"I am offering my interpretation of the symbols sir, nothing more - I am merely a cryptologist. Shall I continue or would you prefer that I leave?" Langdon looked put out.

With a curt nod, the Captain indicated that he should continue.

"The parrot then" Langdon resumed his circling, intent again upon the floor "and its crude call nod again to the idea of Night Soil and Les Hommes de la Nuit. But why a parrot, why particularly this animal?"
Langdon looked up and catching his eye I shrugged and quietly voiced "Pirates?"

"Precisely!" he barked excitedly "Yes, Pirates or Cybernetic-Hyperdrive-Intersphere-Pirates to give them their full description or indeed, CHIPS as they are known to Interpol and the intelligence services of the world. It seems that what our victim here was trying to tell us is that somehow Les Hommes de la Nuit and CHIPS have infiltrated this facility, presumably in an effort to suppress some great emerging physical truth that was on the verge of discovery right here."

"Jesus balls!" "Fuckin' Wizard Shit!" "Holy Moly!" "Flippin' Cakeholes!" - another chorus of stunned expletives rolled through the room.

"You expect me to believe that this man pulled out his own eyes, chopped off his own hands, scrawled cryptic messages in his own blood and carved the word 'Dumpty' into his own torso simply to warn us that two fairytale organisations might be attempting to subvert the course of human scientific discovery inside one of the most heavily protected scientific institutions in the world. What is this jackanory horseshit you yankee-doodle bumbleswiper?" La Suite was in a transport of fury, positively foaming at the mouth as he challenged Langdon's analysis.

"Please Captain, I am merely a crytobanologist sir! This is simply the conjecture of an academic versed in the study of symbanology, icons and cryptocraptomonkology." Langdon drew himself up, filled with indignation at the Captain's attack.

"This Dumpty then, you have an equally fantastical explanation for that too I can assume? Presumably something to do with a ridiculous, fairytale egg!" La Suite gestured flippantly to the bloodied stomach of Dr Bahgg.

Langdon gazed at the Captain for a moment before shaking his head. He looked lost, desolate and when he spoke it was little more than a whisper. "There is a story of a number, but it is only a story... The story itself is rumoured to be from one of the secret Gospels, supressed by the early Catholic Church, the Gospel according to Matthewmatix. This number - described as the lowest number, the demon number, the lowest common denominator - it is called 'Dumpty'".

Silence greeted this last proclamation for in the halls of CERN, the rumours of Dumpty were known but rarely spoken of.

La Suite glared about the room and then demanded shortly as to what doctor Bahgg had been working on prior to his demise. In answer to this doctor Gruman Grumbles stepped gingerly in front of the control desk and powered up the LHC monitoring systems. The hiss of charge and low-level symphony of electronic bloopy-bleeps were hardly a fitting precursor to the cries of horror that issued through the room as my colleagues visibly balked at the apparition glowing hideously through the swirling static. It was Dumpty - the number to end all numbers. That was what doctor Bahgg was trying to warn us about - Dumpty was here!

So readers, what is Dumpty? Who are CHIPS and Les Hommes de la Nuit and what's their connection to Nuther Bono? Will Bonbon La Suite and the charismatic Mr Langdon manage to cut through that sexual tension in time for a bit of bumming before the end of act 2? Why the hell can't policemen solve crimes without the help of amateur sleuths anymore? And how the hell do we manage to get any work done at the European Headquaters for Nuclear Research anyway with so much crazy shit going on all the time? Tune in next week or whenever I manage to get the finger out again to find out and all the rest...

Saturday, May 14, 2011


For those of you who are interested in such things, I have turned my hand to song writing. Well, lyric writing to be precise. I noticed while watching two semifinals and the bespangled denoument of that paragon of musicality, The Eurovision Song Competition, that more than a few people were credited with the esteemed, historical record of 'co-writer of previous Eurovision entry'. Imagine that - it seems that entire teams are at work behind each of these feather and crinolene clad, attention starved, borderline sleeping-pill suicides. Setting aside the need for melody, choreography, dancing feet and a face that is at once cheaply forgettable and youthfully arresting, I felt I should concentrate my energies explicitly on setting to paper some Euro-conquering lyrics. A kind of blitzkrieg of bouncy, rhythmic and anodyne horseshit appealing to all of the impoverished former Ruskies, gypo-haters, white muzzies, techno-homos, children under five, the German piggybank, Berlusconi-voting arsegrabbers, throwbacks, throwforwards, throwups, crazy frogs, transexuals, Louis Walsh, the catatonic and insane.

So, here goes. I see this as being a sort of duet between two of Ireland's hip young finest - perhaps Paul Galvin and one of the Bertie's daughters. As seems to be the style of the times, I've titled this one with a random series of noises.
I give you Bing Bong Wacka Wacka.

Two sweet things boy
Bing Bong Wacka Wacka
You're my Kiss toy
Bing Bong Wacka Wacka

Feel my fingers like bananas
Gently remove your bandana
I wanna be your Christmas Cracka
How about you and me Bing Bong Wack Wacka?

Girl you make me
Bing Bong Wacka Wacka
Go on have a cuppa tea
Bing Bong Wacka Wacka

Mmmm, yum girl, you taste like a rasher
Just lie still an' I'll give you a lasher
I'm big Paul Galvin, ready to attack ya
Put your mouth in the pillow an' we'll Bing Bong Wacka Wacka

Ding dong boogie woogie
Hunky Dory Crisps
Cheese and Onion Tayto
way to do the twist
Bing Bong Wacka Wacka
Boogie Woogie Woo
Bing Bong Wacka Wacka
This doobie tastes like poo

So, that's it really. Anyone with any ideas for music to go with this should send me a demo tape in enough time that we can get at least one rehearsal in before the Tubs selects next year's entry on the Too Late Late Show.

Of course, if that Jed-tard duo actually win we might have to sell ourselves into slavery to pay the levies the government throw at us to fund next years competition. Unless of course the rest of Europe want to pay for it which would be an irony fittingly appropriate to the general tone of the entire camp, diamante-studded fiasco.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Nuther Bono

U2 came to visit us today at CERN, European Headquaters for Nuclear Research. They were giving a pep-talk on how to harness the potent inner forces of the atomic nucleus for the betterment of all mankind. Bono looked great wearing his yellow specs half a mile underground in his khaki-green teeshirt and squeaky, black leather pants. He and The Edge were a bit tired as they'd been up all night writing Spiderman themed show tunes and Skyping world leaders and the Pope. There was actually a moment of funny coincidence when, as Bono was going on an on about how tough it is to translate a well-established comic book masterpiece and successful cinema franchise into a bawdy, Broadway spinoff, Johann,  one of our senior experimentalists, mentioned that he had once been bitten by a radioactive spider. Bono asked him if the resulting superpowers were what got him a job at the world's most prestigious scientific research facility but then Johann showed him the stump where his hand had been amputated after the bite proved carcinogenic and there was a bit of foot shuffling and awkward silence.

So anyway, there we all were, about a dozen of the world's best scientists and engineers and Bono, The Edge and those other two backing singer guys that look like Erasure or The Pet Shop Boys and Bono was going on and on about hungry children and the power of positive thinking and dropping the debt and his friend the pope and his friend Barack Obama and his friend Oprah Winfrey and his friend Colin Farrell and his friend George Bush and the time he bought Gaybo a motorbike and the day he invented the mullet and the time he was a Northsider and the time he met Westlife, when Dr Gruman Grumbles sort of cut across him to ask The Edge his opinion on entangled gravitons. Well Bono didn't like that and although he didn't say anything outright, I could tell that he was feeling a bit put out. All of a sudden he had that that shrewdly watchful glint in his eye, like a child in a schoolyard contemplating revenge.

It happened just as The Edge was answering Dr Grumbles' question - Bono pounced with catlike speed, snatching the dark, tightly-knitted woollen hat from the Edge's head. The gasp of shock that arose from my colleagues and indeed from myself was shrilly audible in that subterranean chamber. No-one had been prepared for this.

I will admit that in my youth I had wondered at what manner of technicolour haystack or rats maze of dreadlocks might lie concealed beneath that snug-fitting little crocheted profilactic teat. What hair-crime could be so heinous as to warrant a near life-sentence of solitary confinement upon the middle-aged scalp of the mild-mannered The Edge? At best I had expected a perfectly preserved coiffe, untouched since 28th February 1983 and the release of "War", at worst, the liver-spotted pate of a balding old man. What I beheld made me gag. There, protruding from the back of The Edge's head, upon the curving rearward lobe of the skull was a grotesquely deformed yet defined and discernible, living doppelganger of Bono's face. As The Edge spun around, lunging after Bono in an attempt to retrieve his hat, this parasitic and strangely deflated looking form peered around at us all from the back of his glistening cranium.

"Ah Bono, give us back me hat y' cunt!" The Edge had an edge to his voice that was unmistakeable as the edge of humiliation and anger.

"Aaaahhhhhh The Eeeeedgggggeeee. Iiiiiiiit'ssssss coooooolllll maaaaaaan." drawled Bono, flitting just out of reach. "Let the Nuther Bono get some aaaaaiiiiirrrrr."

With that Bono tossed the hat to one of the Erasure Shop Boys, (the one called Adam I think) who in turn threw it over the Edge's double-sided head to the fourth in the group (Larry I think he said his name was). This circus side show game of piggy-in-the-middle continued, with the poor The Edge lumbering around, waving his hands vainly through the air in a pathetic struggle to regain his bonnet.

"Come on guys, Nuther Bono's going to get cold, give us me hat back!"

"Noooooo The Eeeeedddgggggeeee. Nuuuuutthhhhhherrrrr Bonoooooo's havin' a greeeaaaat tiiime." Real Bono obviously felt that he had a point to prove but for my part I was feeling increasingly nauseaous as I observed this disturbing play of cat and mouse.

Suddenly, from the midst of this childish chaos could be heard a hoarsley gurgling rasp. To my horror I realised it was the Nuther Bono, it had begun to sing.

"M luff shhh thows me lak wubber ball - woooooarrnngh, swittist thng..."

It sounded like a child trapped in a balloon full of glue.

"Shhh wnt cutsh m win aaaanngh m fall - woooooarrnngh, swittist thng..."

I began to glance frantically about the lab at my colleagues, surely this couldn't be allowed to continue.

"Ah c'mon guys, the Nuther Bono's singing now, will yiz put me hat back on him yiz fuckin pricks!"

The Edge was surely sounding angry now but real Bono was just laughing at him in that droning, vowel-laden way of his. "Aaaaahhh haaaaaaa-haaaaaaaaa-haaaaaaaa!" The other two automatons seemed to be under his spell, what kind of witchcraft was at work here? The figures collectively known as U2 were circling faster now and a strange and dreadful electricity seemed to crackle in the air. The voice of the Nuther Bono seemed shriller now, rising in pitch.

"Ahhhmmm loosssssngh yoooou..."

Slowly, carefully I began to inch my way toward the exit.

Faster the group circled, their raucous cackling, coarse and unsettling. The Edge's whining protests, Bono's breathy drone and the throaty warbling of the unnaturally hideous Nuther Bono dopplering past in an ever-quickening blur; rising in register toward some unearthly crescendo.

"Giz me hat back yiz fuckin blowjobs..."
"Aaaaaaahhhhhh Thhhheeeeee Eeeeeddgggggge...."
"Wwoooooarrnngh, swittist thng..."

I was near the door now, could reach the electronic swipe pad with my keycard.

An ethereal glow was emanating from the spinning morass as great sparks arced out and earthed themselves in everything and anything in close proximity. Suddenly, with a cold shock, one of the great blue bolts struck me right in my chest. Pierced me to my very heart. I was instantly filled with a realisation so overwhelmingly vast that I felt I might burst from the grand bigness of it all and everything. I felt all questions being answered. All riddles unravelled. I was Bono. Bono was me. We were U2. You were we too. We love you. I love wee. U2 R2 D2. "Gasp!"

And that was pretty much it. The Edge got his hat back. The Erasure Shop Bros Boys turned out to be Larry Peyton and Adam Mullins or something and we all signed a sworn statement not to reveal the existence of Nuther Bono in return for front row tickets to Spiderman the musical or another show of equal or lesser value or a pair of 'All-Cash' scratch cards and our photos taken with yer man from telly-bingo.

Oh yeah, and Bono nicked a load of CERN memorabilia on the way out which seems to have made its way on to ebay, the cheapskate dwarf!


I should have posted this ages ago, it's me with my two mentors at CERN, Dr Feoncha Fáinne and Dr Gruman Grumbles. We've been getting along famously since I arrived here to take up my new position.

Expect lots of fascinating scientific updates from now on.

Next stop the Higgs Boson!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Fever in the Aveever - Rugby Exposed

The throaty and subdued lustre of the Charlemont fans and the nasal heehaw of the Leinster masses breaks the freezing night as a light mist rises from their hot bodies to rest lazily in the yellow glare of lamplight. I am caught in this slow river, making small and awkward steps toward the looming and luminescent egg of Lansdowne Road Stadium.

I don’t really know the people I am with. My boss is out of the country and offered me the ticket. I had meant to decline the offer but the words came out wrong so now here I am, staring up into a wide and square-jawed head that booms questions at me like the great and elusive wizard of oz.

“Ore you Boggo’s friend?” the gigantic head moos at me in polished Blackrock English

“Boggo?... Oh, Mr Bogroviditch – yes, yes. He said you’d have a ticket for me.”

In hindsight I should have taken the ticket and left them to it but Mr Bogroviditch had said that these men were friends of his and would be happy to have me join them for the game and a few drinks. It seemed at first that this was the case but as we troop under the Dartline and into the stadium’s concrete bowels my total lack of material input to the constant stream of rugby banter and homophobic horseshit has effectively excluded me from the group already. We pass up an echoing stairwell and join some short and fast moving lines for heavy looking black turnstiles. I’m so taken with marvelling at the efficiency of everything that I’ve forgotten to have my ticket ready and can feel the acid glares of everyone in the tube-lit tunnel as I frantically unzip the half dozen or so pockets on my jacket in a bid to find it. A steward tugs me gently by the elbow to allow the queue to continue past me as I search. It’s in my jeans and I apologetically slip back in near the front of the queue and head for the turnstile. It’s an almost floor to ceiling affair and it’s thick iron loops look unwieldy and forbidding. I feel a little nervous of it and, not wanting to get stuck half way through a turn, I add a bit of extra forward momentum to my step to ensure I get by. I rebound from the structure with a falsetto squeal, leading the nearest steward to take my ticket with a shake of his head and wave it under a laser barcode scanner that I can’t believe I missed. I take the ticket with what I hope is an air of stern, masculine gravitas and push the turnstile but the bastard thing stops halfway around and I find myself trapped, lobster-like, in a tight and immoveable steel cage. A well dressed, middle aged man with a face like a kicked testicle who is next in the queue behind me, swipes his ticket in the scanner and with a single hand pushes both turnstile and I through a complete revolution, giving me a look of ugly contempt as I stagger out of his way. Peering about for my companions, I realise that they have gone on without me. Good riddance I think as I climb some stairs and enter a smaller tunnel. There are doors out to the stands here and I check my seat number to see which one I am to take. It’s not far along and passing through it I find my seat quickly enough as the stands have yet to fill up. I don’t see any of Mister Bogroviditch’s friends though and find myself double and triple checking my seat number to be sure I’m in the right place as he said that they always get seats together. I look around me but can see no sign of them but find plenty to admire in this floodlit pantheon. I let my eyes rove over the high tiers of the terraces where tiny figures wend their way, in interrupted streams, through the miniature, colour-cordoned seating. I imagine that I am a giant and begin to squish these distant people between my outstretched thumb and forefinger. “Squish...splat...kapow...splotch...” I only realise how carried away I have become with this when I notice two grown men in the row of seats ahead of me scowling in my direction. Slowly I lower my hand and look away. I hear one of them mutter “Fockin’ queer!” as I do so. The cold is beginning to bite so I zip my jacket up tight and sit on my hands for warmth. The seats behind me and to my left fill up and then also, to my surprise, the seats to my right and no still no sign of Mister Bogroviditch’s friends. I silently hope that I am in the right place as I would not wish to have to try and find another seat now that masses are in. As I look around, taking in the backs of heads and general jostling throng of Leinster fans now surrounding me it strikes me that, though not of insignificant stature myself, I appear to be positively petite in proportion to the bear-like men who have filled the stadium. It is then that I turn to fully take in the hulking presence that casts a shadow of physicality at my left shoulder. I look up and up again and am greeted by two beetle-black eyes that nestle snug between doughy cheeks, pinked by the cold and a great, glistening forehead that curves gently up and away beneath a baby-like, strawberry-blonde fuzz. This towering curiosity honks at me good naturedly in a tongue that seems at once both familiar and alien and even as he turns away I am held transfixed. I observe with growing fascination his movements which appear focused but poorly co-ordinated as if not yet fully learned or perfected. For a moment he stoops, fumbling at something upon the ground and I am about to offer assistance when he comes up clutching a flag in the navy and yellow of Leinster. Furiously he begins to wave it, a great gaping grin cracking his ruddy countenance and indeed his high-spirited thrashings are so violent that I am almost knocked from my feet and have to press a little to my right to avoid injury. He looks so happy this oversized man-child clutching his little flag in a fist of fat sausages.

A roar goes up and my eyes scan the pitch and see the teams emerging from the dressing rooms. The man-baby is clearly delighted as he begins to honk his untelligible jibber-jabber in a voice so deep I fear for a moment that it may loosen my bowels.

“Moooaaahhh! Hoozahhhh!” he bawls and I find myself scrutinising the sounds for some familiar term.
“BlawkAwk Boyzzzz....Ruggerrrr!” it’s no use, I mark him down as a hopeless imbecile and hope that he does not try to befriend me at half time.

The entire stadium is on their feet cheering and stomping as the Leinster boys do some stretching and hugging and, feeling a little carried away by the general excitement, I lend my support with a little round of applause. As I watch the bristling crowds and the bright nova of camera flashes firing around the stands I begin to sense some of the euphoria that electrifies this colosseum. In no time at all the match is underway and the crowd buck and rear in breaking waves that mirror the flow of play before them. Leinster pile the pressure on, ducking and weaving and dodging and running and lying on the ground and jumping up, getting in a muddle and rolling clear until suddenly, to  tumultuous celebration, a try. The stadium erupts as one voice into animal roars of satisfaction.

As I settle back into my seat after the successfully kicked conversion I hear a voice drawl knowingly behind me.
“The noxt fofteen monutes now ore crotical! Absolutely crotical!”
It is then that the chanting starts.
“Leeeennnnnnssstur.... Leeennnnnnssstur....” I wince in pain at the decibel level.
“Leeeennnnnnnssstur...” It is the idiot man-baby, his contorted voice so deeply-rooted in a low-bass register that it falls upon me like a mountain.
“Leeeennnnnnnnssstur...” I can actually feel my left eardrum compressing so deeply that it appears to be poking me in the brain.
“Leeeeennnnsssstur....” Realise that I must act or go deaf I pull a glove off with my teeth and screw its index finger deep into my lughole. This seems to attenuate his mindless braying to the level of mere irritation so I pull up my hood to hide the fact that I have a fleece lined glove protruding from the side of my head and try to concentrate on the game as play is resumed.

The frantically paced play upon the pitch draws continued howls of approval from the home crowd and it is easy to feel buoyed upon the fervour, like a cork on the ocean, as one’s temperament tunes itself to the prevailing vibrations. I wonder if this growing sense of reckless abandon that swells within me is what causes women to synchronise their menstrual cycles when living communally – they must love the ecstatic charge of it! I am caught on the wave now, howling my delight, roaring for more, lending my own cry of “Heave” as the scrums engage with a crunch.

But something is wrong, the vibrations are changing. I don’t know if I feel it first as a tremor through the souls of my feet or simply register a change in the pitch of the mob but my hair begins to tingle and my breath catch even before I see the leviathan form that has appeared between the vaulted heavens and us below. The entire stadium shudders and groans as the monster braces its weight against the steel canopy overhead before swinging its colossal legs into the centre of the playing field. I am transfixed but even as my instinct to fly asserts itself a new horror steals over me, holding me back, a chant has been taken up and is steadily building throughout the arena.
“Wonga-Wonga, Wonga-Wonga, Wonga-Wonga, Wonga-Wonga...”
It is dawning on me now, the full and awesome gravity of what is taking place. It is Wonga-Wonga, the gargantuan, testosterone beast from whose gut spring the driving winds of all that is wicked and wrong in the world. Have the fates conspired in order that I bear witness to this most heinous incarnation of man’s baseness, the sentient totem of egotistical pride and self-indulgence?
“Wonga-Wonga, Wonga-Wonga, Wonga-Wonga...” all around me now, the chanting continues as out upon the pitch, with terrible footfalls that shake the very earth, Wonga-Wonga positions himself in an awkward, squatting-crouch and I wonder for a moment  if he is about to leap skyward, then suddenly the chanting stops. I am holding my breath and cannot take my eyes from the monster, whose unfathomably immense, curving posterior is suspended in the air a mere 30 metres above and ahead of me. The very air quivers with silent expectation as something both terrible and amazing is surely about to unfold. My eyes rove over the dimpled, greyish-pink surface of the behemoth’s hide, taking in the powerful majesty of its perfect musculature, straining against the strength of its flesh but even as I marvel a great surge of energy seems to course through the creature’s enormous frame and, Oh Jesus No! Around me the crowd are upon their feet, their cacophonous screaming positively ear-rending in volume as from the monster’s shaking hind-quarters tumbles great, bus-sized dollops of deep-chocolate-brown faecal matter. This office-block sized animal is taking the biggest crap I have ever seen right in the middle of Aviva Stadium and the people thronging the stadium are going insane with delight. Suddenly and as one the rush begins. To my horror the crowd on all sides is pouring forward, actually running headlong over the plastic bucket seats toward the still falling tree-trunks of steaming hot shite. In a trance of utter amazement it is a second or two before I realise the danger and my panic rises as I realise that I too am being swept toward the great pile of poopoo and it is most surely poopoo for even as they charge, recklessly focused upon the smoking brown hillock, the longing cries of “Poopoo” issue forth from every mouth. I am fighting now, like a noble and terrified salmon, against the buffeting flow of bodies but I am borne up again and cast backward into the vaporous fug and stench that is rolling outward from the filthy pile. Closer – I am striking out with all my force in a bid to escape the crush. Closer – glancing over my shoulder I can see those who have reached the dung heap casting themselves gleefully into its hot and viscous folds. Closer – I can see bodies plunging from the higher reaches of the terraces, a maddened cascade of zealotry. Closer – I am gouging, and clawing and screaming for mercy but I see the eyes of those who drive me before them widen with delighted anticipation and then, with a soft, liquid ‘Plop’ I am engulfed.

The womb-like warmth envelopes me in a soft caress and I am forced deeper inside by the tide of people behind me. My panic seems to have evaporated as the claustrophobic, roaring crush of the outside is replaced by a heady weightlessness and a calming depletion of the senses. I am aware now of only one need. I must feast. A ravenous and driving hunger is building in me and the initial euphoria is giving way to a primeval urge to take and to consume. I begin to gorge myself on the matter about me, forcing great fistfuls down my gullet. Another body bumps against me and snarling I cast them aside and continue to eat. It is animal, this feeling, this instinctive need to possess all I can lay hands upon. I guzzle more intensely, fighting hard now with any whom encroach on my perceived territory. Light begins to pierce the great, fetid mound as its great mass is consumed. Beneath the towering floodlights we must appear as maggots writhing in this filth but still we feast. We devour and lick and gnaw until nothing - quite literally, nothing - remains of the huge mound of poopoo. Not even the stiff blades of grass carry a trace of it as tongues have cleaned them in their entirety. Standing tall now beneath the harsh glare of electric light I realise that Wonga-Wonga has departed and no earthly sign of him remains. Inside however I feel a new force in my heartbeat, a new and unknown power within me. I join those around me in issuing a guttural and triumphant howl of confidence, of arrogance, of strength. I know now what it means to become a captain of industry, a leader of men groomed for wealth and success. It courses through me now, the knowledge and the poopoo.