Sunday, April 26, 2015

Men in Skirts

The sign says, "Birthplace Of Edmund Rice".

Now there's a tourist destination.  Never mind Torremolinos, how about a week in Callan?  Take in the childhood haunts of the founder of the Christian Brothers.

BTW, The Christian Brothers' new slogan is:  "Fewer Registered Sex Offenders Than The Priesthood." 

What sort of man (and it will be men) will visit such a shrine? Picture the scene at the back of the Edmund Rice Birthplace bicycle shed: Three men comparing their childhood scars, much like the 'shark stories' scene in Jaws.

"See that. Brother Benedict. Five foot six, one eighty pounds, mousy brown hair. Nearly pulled of my right ear when I couldn’t name Peig Sayers favourite brand of potato."

Number two will say: "Look here. Brother Reilly, Five foot four, bad breath and bony fingers, took out a handful of hair and it never grew back. I didn't know the capital of Uganda."

The third man will roll up his sleeve and reveal a large semi-circle of dental indentations on the soft muscle of his arm.

"Brother Boland," he will say, "six foot four, two hundred and fifty pounds, pink eyes, pure albino. I was fidgeting in religion class."

The other two men will gasp in awe. One will touch the scar and whisper,
"My God, you were bitten by a Great White?!"

Babes with Blades

Image result for newbridge silverware cutlery

The ad for Newbridge Silverware 

shows a young lady having an orgasm, brought on by the pure pleasure of setting a table. Or is she laying the table? 

She strokes the forks and massages the spoons.  She smooths out the linen tablecloth and then her lady friends arrive. They eat strawberries and cream, they giggle, they point silverware at one another, but not in a threatening fashion. 

The ad finishes with the young lady giving an unexpected shrug and laugh, which might indicate that the medication is wearing off.

To be honest, I wouldn't let this girl anywhere near a box of knives.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Die Hard

a funeral in the city of Handan, Hebei province

The Chinese government is clamping down on funeral strippers.

That's right.  From now on the money goes into the collection plate, and not into a thong.

Call me old-fashioned, but I'm not sure I feel that comfortable with a responsorial psalm that goes "Get 'em out for the lads."

Apparently this ritual (which naturally first appeared in Donghai - I kid you not) is intended to attract extra mourners.

I can see it happening here all right.  Father Murphy, parish priest, acknowledges the widow, the family and friends.  He offers a special thanks to the contortionist with the baby oil and the boa constrictor.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Confessions of a booze tourist

Portrait of the artist as a young hand, New Orleans 1992

After I quit drinking, 
I lost interest in travel.  What’s the point in going to all the world’s great cities if you can’t visit their finest watering holes? Let’s be honest, you will only make a single visit to the Louvre, but the joys of Harry’s Bar, a little further up the avenue, cannot be experienced in just one day, or even one night. 

The Mona Lisa is behind glass, as is the Side-car (Cointreau, Cognac and lemon juice) served in Harry’s, but you can reach out and touch the latter without getting locked up by the gendarmerie.

Truth is, museums are all very well, but you’ll never have a cracking great night at the cuckoo clock collection in Furtwangen, (“It was so exciting, waiting for him to stick out his little head and whistle”).

I spent two years in Paris and there was hardly a day sober.  It was mostly lunchtime drinking: beer, wine and espresso laced with rum.  The waiters buzzed around and kept all the glasses filled to the brim.  

You didn’t fall over because there was always so much hugging, kissing and handshaking in the cafes; grown men continuously patting your back, easing your digestion and burping you gently.  You saw a world of warm humanity through the eyes of a child, albeit a child with double vision and slurred speech.

A London lunch was bad beer and sausage rolls and nobody shook your hand unless you belonged to the same masonic lodge.  - But you got to drink in dives like Ward’s Irish House, in a basement under Piccadilly. The place was originally a public toilet connected to the Tube; it was covered in white tiles and mysterious copper piping.

The Hopetoun Hotel in Sydney had a gig on Tuesday afternoons called ‘Rock against Work’:  It featured Heavy Metal bands smacking each other with beer trays and bartenders with hospital emergency numbers tattooed on their knuckles.

I tasted Singapore slings in Raffles Hotel; Daiquiris at the red counter in Havana’s El Floridita; Martinis in Elaine’s and $20 shots of bourbon at The Rainbow Room.  It’s all a memory now, a fuzzy frayed memory with big pieces missing.  

It came to an end ten years ago.  It couldn’t go on.  When a doctor looks at your naked body and says, “Some organs are meant to get bigger, but the liver isn’t one of them,” you know it’s time to quit.

It’s a tough decision because everybody knows that a good writer needs to drink at least a bottle of vodka a day, a great writer, maybe twice that much. 

My final drink came in New York City, New Year’s Eve 2003 - an Absolut Citron martini in a chilled glass with a twist of lemon zest.  It looked so damn pretty, I nearly didn’t drink it, but I did, and when the bartender rapped his knuckles on the counter, indicating that the next one was on him, I got up and left.  I never went back.

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.