Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A collection of nonsense syllables about nothing at all

Oooooh! Oooooh! Gibber! Gibber! Excitement!! Boing boing! Happy happy! Bouncy bouncy!

I'm in Barcelona!

Ooooooh! Aaaaaaaah! I'm very happy about it as you can tell, and as if to prove the point I'm calling in more vowels than a very inexperienced contestant on Countdown.

I'm having such a good time already.

Well no, I'm not actually, I've just arrived at the hotel and the room's not ready. They're not still building it or anything horrendous like that - Spanish builders, wha? - they're just cleaning it and making it fit for what will be my dramatic, imperious entrance. You know me by now, all swishing capes and theatrical flourishes of my furs, dropping stuffed bags with various chihuahas* and other trophy pets falling out of them at odd angles. Ooooooh dahlings it's all making me quite gay but then again I've just drunk two jugs of coffee to pass some time while they, like I said, clean the room, although at this rate of non progress I fear someone absolutely minging has been staying it before me. Like Jabba the Hutt or Brian Cowen.

Although some say they're the same person. Have you ever seen them in the same room together? No? There you go then.

Anyway this post is about nothing at all, it's just a general announcement sort of thing like an elongated version of Twitter, or what I imagine Twitter to be because I've never bothered me big anointed Cavan arse checking it out. Twogger I might call it, maybe, or some such neat little hybrid of terms. Or Bwigger. Heh heh. Bwigger.

And apropos of nothing at all, I'm just going to stop right here for no reason in particular. I'll be back later and probably very drunk which should be interesting given what mere coffee has done to me.

Gibber, boing, bounce, oooooh and an aaaaah and over and out.

*And nobody spells chiwahwahs right anyway.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Buttered rump

A quizzical double take, and a very appropriate Labrador puppy-like tilt of the head, was his response when he noticed it for the first time.

Never one to delay any longer than strictly necessary in this aisle of the supermarket - because of his neurotic belief that nobody but nobody else in all of Dublin does disgusting stuff like pooing or using arsewipe - he couldn’t but focus in on the shelf all the same. His hand shot momentarily to his face as he realised.

My Lord, he thought, they’re selling brown coloured toilet roll, in even browner coloured wrapping. This has never been seen before. That’s brave. There's a reason it hasn't been seen before and all, the same reason why sanitary towels aren't packaged in fire engine red.

After a cursory glance around to make sure he was alone, he leaned in closer to confirm that yes, this was indeed brown toilet roll, and it was undeniably being sold in browner wrapping. The last time he had found toilet tissue so arresting was when he spied a new brand called Thick and Fast and thought how appropriate a name that was for jacks paper, until he realised they were, regrettably, kitchen rolls. An opportunity missed.

Wait a fucking minute though, he thought. Wha? What the…is that?…there on the label…is that toilet roll, in brown paper, with…with…butter on it? Butter? What? Butter???

It fucking was too, you know. It said so. Right there. On the label. Andrex Toilet Tissue with Shea Butter – the feel of luxury, no less. What the Jasus though. Buttered rolls? For wiping your arse with? You’d get quare looks in the bakery, he mused.

And the feel of luxury as well? Jesus, he sniffed like an oul' woman wrapping an overcoat across his breasts in disapproval, but we’ve shtarted to think fiersh highly of our lowly underparts altogether, hrrrmph and a good day to you too Mrs. Fitzgoggins. 

Where will it all end? Next thing you know we’ll be refusing to wipe ourselves with nothing less than strips of burgundy velvet cut from the robes of Louis XIV. Or with feathery boas. Or with a cutting from the Bayeaux tapestry, or even in ermine furs from freshly skinned minks. Or maybe we’ll just take the ad men literally and start cleaning our bumbums with a fresh Labrador puppy? Sure why not? They’re not just for Christmas, they’re for cleaning your arse it seems. Right up to Easter too I’d wager.

And it’s Shea butter no less. Oooooooh, Shea butter, we’ll coo in admiration, and then ask each other what the fuck Shea butter is.We won't know nor will we fucking care either, we'll be off down the chipper quicksmart for Sheabutteredbatterburgers to get with the craze.

Nope, no Utterly Butterly here, not to mention the very apt Low Low or traditional favourite Flora, which would even come with clear wiping instructions from a grinning golfer who knows how to avoid chafing because “five is the magic number.”

Marlon Brando, eh? 

What a pioneer.
Saturday, May 16, 2009

The day politics was funny

Politics is a very serious business. So is comedy.

To continue this incisive comparison, "a week is a long time in politics" and wouldn't you know it, also in comedy, as anyone who had to sit through one of Ronnie Corbett's monologues as a child will attest.
To delve still deeper, it was my old friend (Randolph Silliman Bourne, seriously, he was savage craic with a few on him) who said of the rhinoceros: "Here is an animal with a hide two feet thick and no apparent interest in politics. What a waste."

Now I can't think of a way to seamlessly link that to comedy but yet, the mention of the rhinoceros brings me neatly to the subject of today's missive nonetheless.

Mary Harney. And the day politics was funny.

It happened on a Wednesday I think.

Anyway, during the last election it seems someone got fiendishly, devilishly and deliciously creative with one of Mary's posters. Remember the ones? They had a picture of Mary on them and the slogan read "Don't throw it all away".

A friend of mine was walking past it and was amused to see that underneath, someone had daubed in big black marker: "I'll eat it!"

And there endeth the tale of The Day Politics was Funny, with guest appearance by a quote from Harold Wilson, a nod to Ronnie Corbett and a comical interlude by an election poster, all by way of the humble rhinoceros.

So be warned. In the right hands, politics can be entertaining. Be on the alert.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

When The Somethings and the Something Elses ruled the world - Part 2


Fuuuuuck man we thought the Swanlinbar gigs in '71 were wild out but we found the real mountainy people down in South America. And boy did we put the rock into those mountains. Listen, there's too many mental highlights to list and most are just half-drugged mirages anyway, but a definite standout was the charity gig we played for a team of sexy Uruguyan synchronized swimmers. Apparently those fit n'funky well-timed babes had been trapped in the snowy mountains for nearly three months after a plane crash and, in danger of starving alive, had resorted to eating each other. And not in the good way, as John Joe said when he heard.

Anyway, the moving tribute song we played them, (penned by heartbroken bassist Tossy McMonagle about a former lover of his called Debra who wore oversize animal-print bras), touched all who heard it that night. We'd borrowed the tune from Abracadabra and crooned tenderly: "Them bras, them bras of Debras, they bounce like two humping zebras.” They lapped it up. They didn’t understand a fucking word of it mind you, but they loved it anyway. They clapped in perfect unison, as you’d expect.

We got back from South America after a decade of debauchery, via Greece, where we played final summers of glory as Alfie and the Omegas. We found a changed world on our return, however. Deprived of us for the better part of 15 years, all our fans had deserted us; moved on, grown up, grown out of us. Fuck man, grown pubes. The night Hughie Walsh booked us to play on the back of a lorry at the Animal Husbandry festival in Blacklion, and were only the support act to Declan bleedin’ Nerney, we knew were fucked.

We stood there that wet night in 1986 for all the world like trepidatious Princes in our private Purple Rains, facing down a bemused crowd that had either fallen out of love with us or plain just didn't know who we were. The wet weather tap-splatted a grim drum beat on the roof above us. Time slowed down. And just like we did in the study hall at school all those years before, we took one look at each other and we just knew. It was done. It was over. We just plugged out our equipment right there and walked off stage for the last time, accompanied not by the fervent torrent of underwear we'd always known, but by a piercing protest screech of feedback from the disconnect of the speakers.

So there we were. So there it was. The night the magic packed up and fucked off. The era of the Somethings and the Something Elses was over forever, not just for us, but indeed, all across our scene. Big Tom couldn't pull a crowd any more in Monaghan, Spittin’ Seamus and the Shoeshine Boys lost their record deal too.

But was it truly the end, or just the beginning?

I remember lifting the tarpaulin out the back of the lorry that last night and the lads trooped silently past me, heads down. Tossy clutched himself in anguish and had tears in his eyes. I put a steadying hand on his shoulder, but he brushed me off telling me not to be gay. Turns out he wasn't upset at all, he was just hurting because he'd sat down too quickly earlier that day and tourniqueted his balls in his thong.

I took a deep breath and walked down the rickity steps, and bumped right into a lone autograph hunter with tears in her eyes and black mascara streaks on her face. All the hordes of babes, the money, the fast cars, the drugs, the fast sex, the babes, paying money for the sex in the fast cars while taking the drugs, and the hot nights in the Carraig Springs Hotel, and the sex, well, this was what we were reduced to now.

But wait. She was a fox man. An absolute fucking ten. What a chick!

"Tell me it's not over," she sobbed. "Tell me you’ll be back! Please! Make a come back like you always do, change your name to Spuddy Ollie and the Hornrims or something!"

"Babe," I said, leaning into her eyes, "when the magic goes, it goes. You only chase it away forever when you try to get it back and it doesn't want it. It's over babe."

She handed me her autograph book and said "Jeez Terence, you know, sniff, you really were something you know."

"And you," I said, handing her back the book with an impish grin, "really are something else."
Monday, May 11, 2009


I was off work today. Got a bit bored and stuff.

So I booked meself four nights in Barcelona for the end of the month. Just like that.

I can't wait to get back there, it's a great city.

I'll plonk me arce at the bar in Barcelona alright, and if it's anything like last time, I won't be a lona. Except if I do jokes like that...

So, who's coming with me then?
Secondary school. Cavan. Me and the lads had a band, and we tried real hard. It was the summer of '69. But Jimmy was shit, Jody caught rabies, I shoulda known we'd never get far, at least until we cut those two wankers and got some real artistes together. Yeah well, we would do just that, and how.

It wasn't so much a teenage fad as a sense of mission. We wanted to make real music. Real music that lasted and lingered, no smalltown bubblegum shit here. We had a voice and a message and zeal and panache and I tell you when we set free our funky new sound in the study hall that very first lunchtime, the air fizzed and crackled around us and those fifth year cats went wild, crazy wild. Even the nerds abandoned their homework and cut loose, throwing each other through windows and slapping themsevles around the room with their maths books. We looked at each other and just knew. We had it. We were going to make it for sure. We breathed in deep and said it loud: We were going to join the elite, and become Cavan's very first Something and the Something Elses band.

Now that hip-swinging sexmeister Big Tom and the Mainliners had got there first and was already whipping up a Something and the Something Elses storm up the road in Monaghan, so we needed a new brand and indentity to marry off to our fresh new sound. We liked Echo and the Bunnymen, for the sheer rabbit erotica and sexual potency of it, so we chanced along similar lines with Gecko and the Fannymen for a while. Eventually though, we settled on Terence and the Binliners.

Man we soared so high so fast in those early years our eyeballs rolled in our heads like a fruit machine. The people had been crying out for us for years, they just didn't know it until they actually got us. We tore up the Cavan scene. Hellfire, Cavan didn't even know it had a scene till we arrived and invented it, and reinvented it, painted it red from top to toe and tore it up all over again just for the almighty headfuck of it all. We ripped Cavan a whole new asshole.

(Incidentally, Cavan was officially at that stage the only county with two assholes, until Foster and Allen came along and equalled the feat for Westmeath.)

So we ripped and tore, soared and flew, living to gig, gigging to live. It was a sweaty, boozy, drugsy time man, totally fucked up. We first magicked our very own zeitgeist in 1970 when we played a memorable series of three gigs over a Bank Holiday weekend at a Scout Jamboree in Crossdoney. 'Woodchop' they called it. It all went totally ape when our tunes got into their hormones and then the fucking Girl Guides turned up and seventeen youngsters were hospitalized after injuries sustained while trying to figure out how to have sex with each other.

These were mental times. We rode the whirlwind baby, for the next three years. Then one night at a fundraiser to purchase pipecleaners for the Ballyhaise Chess and Draughts Society, John Joe on the bass got arrested for simulating oral sex into the microphone, although he maintains to this day he was just struggling with a gobstopper. Regardless, the Binliners were driven underground by the preachy Catholic majority. This had come just a few months after we had got in a backstage theological argument with a Jewish all-girl band, Phyllis and the Steins, and ended up making the wrong sort of headlines. We just laid low for a while and rode it out, holed ourselves up in a wood cabin on the shores of Lough Sheelin and wrote some new stuff.

The following spring we were back. Same funky sound, more mature with a rougher edge, and a new identity. Terence and the Binliners was a dead project, but Pervy Pete and the Pantyliners were here to take their place.

Teenage gigs were way too chaotic for us to handle now security-wise, man those crazy sonsofbitches and their chicks were wild just to get shocked from the sheer electric eels in crammed pants that was us. So we picked up a few wedding gigs, most notable of which involved a prominent Civil Servant in charge of the Government Statistics Office. The bride was a botanist with massive boobs called Annie and shit man with all those horny single gals there that night there wasn't a dry seat in the house when we played our stripped-down version of John Denver's Annie's Song. That godamn roof blew clean off with the surge of energy when we sang the first line: "You fill out my census, you're a bell-breasted florist."

Fucking wild times man, fucking wild times. But yet...the guys dreamed back to former glories and wanted back where the action was. Weddings, funerals and christenings were all well and good for putting Charlie on the table but we worked best in the broiling, pulsating thrusting sexpit scene we'd created ourselves years before

The decision was effectively taken for us in '76 when we played Amsterdam and lead guitarist Randy McPleurisy went crazy in the brothels and got into heavy debt to local loansharks, and the local fuzz were totally corrupt so we were sent home in disgrace. We had to take our medicine and let it all blow over so we quietly split the band up, but would come back triumphant just six months later with a new double album. Playing on our near-death experience of almost but not quite splitting up, we were now known as Kiefer and the Flatliners, but nobody got it because, eh, the film wouldn't be made for a further 20 years. So we quickly changed tack, changed all our names to Andrew by deed poll and seeking a more playful bent and new cultures, went on a tour of South American mountain villages calling ourselves........

Andys in the Andes.

We didn't know it then, but these would be our best years, because when we got back, it was to world that had moved on without us.

Part II coming soon....

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

The ides of March and Cavan poetry

Just time for a quick one today.

Failing that however, I'll write a short blog instead.

I was in Cavan there at the weekend after a long time away from the motherland, and got a timely reminder of the effortless poetry woven through the lyrical cadences of my countymen's speech.
Brother McDanger and I were in the Chinese after the pub, where most of our vast literary canon is conceived in the small hours, (and many other things come to think of it, including two of my nieces ha ha), when in staggers one of our many minor cause celebres known locally as 'Durty PJ.'

So Durty PJ leans drunkenly and durtily across the counter like he does, pondering the essence of life and the difficult choices we must make between chicken balls and shredded crispy duck. He is slumped over with his backside jutting out, uncomfortably into the personal space of the row of people on benches behind him. Having slurred his order (the duck, in the end), he sort of loses control of himself and drops a huge fart. You could tell he wasn't trying to force it, it was one of those that just fell out by accident and was more powerful and noisy than anticipated. It started off in a really loud growl and only gradually descended through the register before tailing off into a high pitched squeak like a child teasing air from the stretched lips of a balloon.

With everyone staring at him in horror and going off their food a touch, PJ waved a hand dismissively in the air, either absolving himself from all sin or trying to dissipate the smell, who knows.

Then a bloke beside me nudges his girlfriend and says: "That was a definite March fart."

"He's a dirty, humpy hoor so he is," she replied. "And what's a March fart anyway?"

"Have you never heard of a March fart? You know...it came out like a lion and went out like a lamb."

Laughter filled most of the air like the end of an episode of Scooby Doo.
Friday, May 01, 2009

Imaginitive composition

Where, when, why, and how.

My English teacher in secondary school told me to always launch my essays using that springboard. He wasn't one for the experimentation like, but then again, who was I to argue the toss on aesthetics? He was six foot six in height, built like a brick shithouse, had JCB scoops for hands and when you misbehaved he was wont to lift you from your chair using your sidehair for leverage. His arms were so long he could clip you around the ear from the neighbouring classroom for some misdemeanour you weren't actually going to do until the following week. Oh, and he wore the jumpers that even Timmy Mallet would throw out.

Crucially, however, he was the first person ever to encourage me to write humorously and irreverently, always saying "a bit of laughter is a Godsend, God knows..." and I'd always think how, if anyone would know it'd be him, because surely he was the most boring man on the planet.

With respect to Duncan Stewart.

My old teacher was so dry he was actually named as a mitigating factor in the Ethiopian Famine of the mid-eighties, you know. The poor man, despite good intentions, was like a beermat for soaking up the moisture of fun; put him anywhere near a bit of craic and he'd sponge it up in seconds like the amiable water-carrier he was.

Despite this, I have only fond memories of him. There's nothing like a bit of praise to sweeten aspiring writers, so when he whispered conspiratorially to my mother at a PT meeting that he'd always put my weekly essays last in the pile, so he'd have something to look forward to reading having sifted and waded through all the other boys', well suddenly he went up in my estimation.

Like a rocket.

"The ink flows freely from your pen," he would boom from the top of the class when handing back the copy book of a Monday, and classmates would start making slurping noises and flicking their tongues at me, in the time-honoured Cavanese for "ya big fucking lickarse hoor ya."

I could handle this unwanted labeling as a teacher's pet though, deep down I knew people were jealous or admiring in the only way being a teenage bloke allowed them to do. Besides, you can call me anything you like as long as you follow it up by telling me I wrote something that you read and liked.

I'm an ould whore me, you know.

When the teacher took to reading out my jokes in class, however, I was somewhat in fear of my life because it did seem like the man was becoming just a little over-enthused about me. I recall one I'd written about the problem of littering with a quip about cool-as-fuck gum-chewing cornerboys spitting their spent Wrigleys out while trying to look mean and dangerous, remarking that they tried to "put the chewed in bad attitude." Ho ho. He liked it anyway, what can I say.

Today, none of this would be hugely relevant really, or at least would just be more flotsam and jetsam in my mind, save for one thing that this teacher did for me on the final day of class in 1994. He handed me back my last ever essay and told me he'd enjoyed it and wished me luck in my exams and future life, and told me he'd tucked something extra inside the pages for me to look at later and maybe even keep for life.

"Ah Jasus," I thought, "he's not after giving me a pair of his underpants as a keepsake or something, is he?"

But thankfully he hadn't. Outside in the corridor I found some photocopied pages folded neatly with a simple note atop saying: "I thought you might like this." It was an essay, this essay.

I accidentally googled my way to that very same essay earlier today and was catapulted back through a lot of years, and a lot of the shells of my former selves. You might need to read that last bit back again if, like me while checking spellings, you thought I said shelves.

Anyway, that's the reason for the rambley post. I expect a lot of you have seen this essay before, or won't have time to go through it all. Ach but if just one person reads it and is wide-eyed and excited at it in the same way I was, as an awkward youth of 17, (wondering what in the world I'd ever do with myself besides draw willies on the pictures of the Saints in my religion book), then I'll have accomplished something.

Why I Write, by George Orwell. Big brother was watching me.

I only wish I'd kept those old copy books from school.