Friday, April 17, 2015

Going Postal

Envelophobia:  A morbid fear of the mail.

I wasn't always an envelophobe, in fact, I was once very much an envelophile. That was back when I had penpals and buddies overseas in far-off distant lands.  In those days, when the postman stopped outside the front door, you could feel the pure excitement, the joy and the possibilities.  Good stuff came through the letterbox. News, opinions, romance. Sometimes a little bit of hash.

Envelophobia can start anytime from your early 30s onwards, but late-onset evelophobia, which usually occurs at the tail end of a life of financial impropriety, is by far the most severe. Every missive becomes a menace.  The stationary itself changes from pastel to putty coloured. The handwritten address is gone. The crooked stamp is replaced by the cold imprint of the franking machine. The letters S.W.A.L.K disappear, only to be replaced by O.V.E.R.D.U.E.

The window in the envelope gives the suggestion of transparency and honesty, but it's just a ploy. You see nothing of any value looking through this pane.  In fact, that is part of the purpose of the window, it's to lull you into a belief that you're handling a harmless, empty container. Open it.  Go on.  What harm could it do?

Do not be deceived.  Behind every transparent panel is a bank manager cracking his knuckles.

People who go on about times past and the simple joys of receiving snail mail clearly aren't getting enough final demands and solicitor's salutations.  The old days were not good.  Back then, a plummy English landlord would bang on your door, demand a bushel of barley, two sheep and a handjob. There was no delete button or recycle bin and the whole business had to be sorted out right there on your doorstep.  Very embarrassing, and not exactly romantic.

These days, in an effort to deal with the overdue payment reminders and minimum interest requests, I've actually installed a second letter box on my front door. I've put a label underneath that reads 'spam'  and, in an effort to be more realistic, instead of having a cheery little voice announce "You've got mail!"  I've got a robotic monotone that says, "You've gone pale". "You're going to jail!" and "You'll get nailed!" 

My postman, forever the optimist, suggested one more:

"You've made bail!"

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Norweigan Blue - Hedda Gabler at the Abbey

Image result for Hedda Gabler Abbey

There are two types of paint.  
You have your regular paint, and then you have your Norweigan paint.  What's the difference?  Well, Norweigan paint only comes in drab, grey colours and it takes FOREVER to fucking dry.

There is no movement in this production, and I mean that literally.  It's stuck in treacle.  It has all the grace of a quadriplegic pole dancer.  People sit side-by-side, or, for variety, they sit side-by-side upstage.  Repositioning is so predictable you can practically see the gaffer tape on the floor:  'Stop here'.  'Turn right, deliver lines. Sigh.  Exit.' 

People get mildly upset and then they commit suicide.  No, it's absurdicide with plant-and-payoff guns and offstage exploding genitalia.  It's Sam Beckett meets Sam Peckinpah.  

I've never been able to figure out what Hedda Ball actually wants.  We know what Lear wants.  We know what Antigone wants.  We know what the Bull McCabe wants.  But what does this woman want, apart from the proverbial kick in the arse? 

Ibsen, here's a word of advice:  Name your wants early on.  Scene One:  Hello, I'm Hedda, I want (a) a more interesting life, (b) control over others, (c) A nice pony.  Give us some obstacles.  Throw in a twist: She gets the pony, but it's blind.  She gets a labrador for the pony.  Labrador bites pony.  Peritonitis ensues.  Enter John Cleese. I want to report a dead pony.  It's not dead, just resting. It's pining for the fjords.

Never mind Hedda, what does the Abbey want? If it wants to hold people in their seats for two and a half hours of pretentious bourgeois  claptrap, at least make the seats comfortable. And how about letting the actors move around; they're not mimes stuck in glass boxes, and the visual stimulation might distract us from the numbness.

And finally, what's wrong with the Irish dead guys?  Don't tell me we've abandoned them.  Our dead guys are easily as good as the Scandinavian dead guys, plus our dead guys are usually faster.  Our dead guys don't hang around.  Our dead guys never go longer than two hours.  Our dead guys reach a climax before the pubs shut.  Yes, our stiffs come quicker. - Put that on the poster for the next Playboy of the Western World.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Iron Woman

View image on Twitter

Gwyneth Paltrow
is drawing attention to the plight of Americans who have to get by on $29 a week in food stamps.

She will try to survive for seven days on the selection of produce pictured above. Noble.  Yes.  Very.  If you fail, you win.  Right on.  Good girl Gwyn.

But could I ask just one question?  What is it with the fucking limes?  who would go out shopping for essential items, and come home with seven fucking limes? Plantains I would understand.  a big old sack of spuds?  Absolutely.  But limes? Unless you're planning on slipping into your size 0 black cocktail dress and knocking back the mojitos...

I don't know, but if somebody gave me 29 bucks and told me to look after a week's nutrition, you'd be looking at a bit less green in the photograph.  A bunch of Aldi pizzas and a KFC bucket would be rounding out the colour spectrum.

If I had to spend a week surviving on the above crap, I'd be ready to eat an apple.
That's a bad joke.  Forget I even mentioned it.  Seriously.

Friday, April 10, 2015

What A Jolly War

Image result for mount street bridge 1916

A lot of talk recently 
about a proper memorial for the Sherwood Forresters who died at Mount Street, Easter 1916.  Twenty-eight dead and two hundred wounded.

In keeping with this pan-European mood of honouring the enemy, would it be inappropriate to suggest a Luftwaffe monument in Leicester Square? 

How about a plaque for Oberleutnant Robert Zehbe who landed by parachute in Kennington and was beaten to death by a mob?

While we're erecting these things, anybody else like to see an inscription on a seaside bench facing the sea at East Wittering?  

"On 26 Aug 1940, the surrendering crew of a crashed Heinkel bomber were lined up on the  beach and shot dead by A Company, 2nd Battalion, Duke of Cornwalls Light Infantry."

Just an idea.  Get out your granite and chisels

What Happened To The Knitting Patterns?

That's it.
I'm cancelling the subscription to Woman's Own. I don't know any of the Celebrities. Who the fuck is Coleen? and why do they keep showing Julianne Moore's death mask. Bit unsavoury if you ask me. Oh! Sorry. My mistake. No seriously. She doesn't look bad for a 54 year old.



SNORING KILLED OUR SEX LIFE (Excuse me, but isn't it against the law to have sex with sleeping people?)

I just want the instructions for a six button cardigan with vents and panels.

Great Irish War Films

Most people don't realise
it was initially set in county Meath and it was about an argument between two small farmers. It was called APOLOGISE, NOW! and the famous words spoken by Captain Kilgore, (from a script funded and developed by our own Film Board) were originally:

"I love the smell of Navan in the morning. It smells like… a piggery"

Unfortunately, Francis Coppola got his hands on it and totally screwed it up, notoriously adding Wagner and helicopters to the showdown-in-the-creamery scene.

Why do the Irish make such shite films? Not expecting an answer. Just curious. You know the thing about giving typewriters to monkeys, they eventually come up with Macbeth, or is it Hamlet? Fuck, my monkeys are useless, they keep coming up with sonnets.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ya gotta be kidding

Times were tough
in 19th Century London. When the Royal Court Theatre went looking for a new head of the Young Court, the wages were pitiful.

Dickens remarked that the successful applicant would probably need to "continue selling his bottom on the seedy streets of the capital, just to keep himself in tallow and talcum"

BUT WAIT!!! The above ad was actually posted this week. Twenty six grand!! London. Average rent: beyond your wildest dreams. Why, a man would need at least five bottoms to make up the difference between remuneration and reality.

The Old Neighbourhood


I used to live around here.  
Sitting in Searsons in a seersucker suit, well, the first part.  Nice day.

What happened to the people I used to know?  There was a guy called Gerry, I think, walked with a limp, used a cane.  A published poet and one of the saddest people you ever met.  Twenty five years ago, he was always good for a moan and a groan.

Ran into him about four years ago.  Smiling.  Chipper. Downright happy
"What happened, Gerry?"
"I quit the fuckin' poetry.  It was killing me.  Dragging me into the grave beside it.  There's no pity in poetry."

I thought that was poetic, and I said so.  He assured me it was just a coincidence.
"I'm not even trying anymore."

He sauntered off.  No cane.  Happy as the day was long.

Did you ever stand around for a long time, wondering what the fuck you were doing wrong?


I looked at the booze menu and thought, 18 quid isn't bad for a bottle of whiskey.  And then the penny dropped.  Last time I lived in Dublin, you could rent a gun for twenty quid.  Bullets were a fiver each.  You could kill everybody in Searsons, and still have change out of a fifty.

Happy times.  

Narcotics for Children

Walked into Avoca in Rathcoole, 

met a woman on the way out, her twelve-year-old insouciant daughter dawdling behind her; both were sipping coffee from paper cups.  At what age should you introduce your kids to drugs?

Here's a rough guide:
Nicotine and caffeine at 13.
G&T, no later than 14
Cocaine for the Junior Cert
Heroin for the Leaving.

Anybody can afford smack, but a serious Avoca coffee addiction?  Time to start smashing car windows.

Insouciance.  Love that word.  Used it in a short story the other day, referring to a secretary who casually dumps a bunch of files on her employer's desk.

"She had the sort of insouciance that can only come from fucking the boss"

Just did a search:   "is the word 'secretary' politically correct?" and Forbes magazine says it's sexy and it's making a comeback.  Didn't bother checking if "fucking the boss" was politically correct because I suspect it may not be.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Dumb In Any Language

I don't hate many words, 

but there's one that really manages get my back up.

I lived in France for three years and never once heard the word 'entrepreneur', but this morning, on RTE radio, it burst forth at least forty times.

A couple of men were blathering on about the exciting, challenging, adventurous, lonely and not always properly rewarded, life of the entrepreneur. They spoke like a couple of battle hardened soldiers. Their wives understood. Their families made sacrifices. Such is the life of an Irishman with a career denoted by a French noun.

An entrepreneur is “A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk”.

In other words, what we English speakers used to call a fucking businessman.