Practice Makes Perfect.

31 03 2009

Writing isn’t easy, but I think like most things the more you do it the easier it gets. For me, its about laying out not just your opinion but your reasons for holding that opinion and writing it down for other people to read forces you to think around your own issue, back around the other way, in through the middle and then onto a conclusion, whatever that conclusion may be. In many ways its like laying out your entire mental process like a stall so buyers in the market place of ideas can come along and pick through what you’ve got, buy what they like and reject what they don’t.

Consider the birds.

I mean, they have lives, right? They have squabbles about shite between themselves, build their own houses, find a partner, have kids, the lot. Yet, no one in the flying community has ever (and I mean EVER) thought to sit down and write it down so that other birds could pick it apart and abuse them over it. I doubt they would even if they had thumbs. Which leads me on to the question as to whether they would have built cars or aeroplanes first had they risen to self awareness before our ape ancestors.

In conclusion, I have decided that the best way to practice writing about anything is to regularly write two hundred and fifty words about nothing., which I will hope to have achieved by the end of this needlessly padded out sentence.


Quitters Inc.

30 03 2009

I finished my last pack of Benson & Hedges on Friday evening. I was having a beer at home and stepped outside the back doors to draw in the last of the sweet, sweet nicotine that I had in my possession.

Now, you can call me unpatriotic if you like but for some time now I have believed the price of a pack has been somewhat excessive, so I figured out a bit of a workaround for that one. I’m over and back to Italy a fair bit. Fags are cheap in Italy. The in laws visit us regularly too. So, legally, we have a quota which we don’t exceed which happens to keep me in smokeroos without ever having to go to the shop. The thing is, my latest delivery didn’t work out. So I’ve decided its a sign and as far as I’m concerned I finished my last fag on Friday evening. I generally don’t smoke over the weekend unless I’m in the pub, which I was for the match on Saturday but only for the one pint so I didn’t really notice any cravings or anything. Today will be the acid test.

I am stocked up with biscuits and Taytos, (not crisps mind you, but proper Tayto Cheese and Onion),  a pack of Baiocchi, a Muller fruit corner, a flask of Illy Coffey and a pocket full of change for refills. I realise that its only going to last a few days and if I can get to the end of this week I will have the hard work done. Hell, I’m already on day three technically speaking, but its always best to start new things on a Monday, so here it goes.

Wish me luck.

Christ, I’m starving…..

The Times they are a Changin’

27 03 2009

Something remarkable happened to me today. I’ll tell you what in a minute. First, let me regale you with a bit of background.

When I turned 18 I was still in School, in my leaving cert year. My birthday is in January, so I had to slog out a few months of hiding the uniform under the jacket before I finished my leaving cert and went off and got a job for myself. I was an adult then, I felt I had reached the first step on the golden path to the rest of my life. I was 18, had a job, a few quid for my pocket and a bit of Independence. After that came a few absolutely insane years. There were broken hearts, hangovers, laughter, love, hate, the odd punch up and best mates to back me up. We’d do what we could to entertain ourselves and to not bother anyone else while never quite realising that this was the only chance we would ever have to do it, but making the most of it none the less.

When I was 28 I met the woman who would later become the mother of my son. I settled in nicely to this new life. Over the previous ten years I had gotten used to enjoying good things in moderation. My work life had improved. I had a good job with a reputable company. I had gone past trying to avoid eye contact with bouncers in case they asked me for ID or didn’t like my shoes or whatever and later I generally came home after the bar closed.  On Saturdays I would rise early to hit the local shop for breakfast materials and papers. Eat. Read. Go into town for a coffee. Back home for lunch, maybe a beer with lunch, find something interesting for the afternoon and a beer with dinner before socialising on a Saturday night.

Then The Bean happened.

A pint after work became home to give his poor demented mother a break. My lovely Saturday routine turned into an epic weekly struggle against puke, shite, nappies and drool on my best t-shirts. Socialising became trying to get in as much sleep as possible between feeds. Work was a daily challenge in the noble art of staying awake and not murdering people in the face to leave me alone. Our home became a bare, functional baby zone with anything of interest hidden well away from tiny, curious hands awash with broken CDs, scratched DVDs and foam corners on the fireplace.

But of course, as time goes by these things change too. The Bean Grew a little and changed from being a surprisingly small shit and breakage factory into a little man with his own ideas and things with stuff and that. Small shoes he takes pleasure in putting away, little shirts and jeans that he likes to get mucky and the odd worm he likes to eat if he can get away with it. The things I lived for in the past seem shallow by comparison with the pleasure I now gain from watching him discover the world and doing my best to help him where I can.

A newspaper. A pint of beer. A rugby match on the television in the local pub, maybe a glowing fire there in the winter. These are the small breaks from the bigger challenges that are the hardest yet the easiest things I have ever had to do. Hard to do yet a delight to achieve. Little smiles, soft hair, dirty hands and a cheeky laugh make everything worth while. It’s at this point I feel like someones Da. I feel like I have so much to learn but I think its the realisation of that fact that brings a certain amount of maturity and consideration into a persons life. I still study and I still feel like a young lad on the inside but the things that pleased me then don’t seem like they would be worth much to me now. Fifteen years have passed since I left school and set off on my adventure into life. I don’t feel very different, but things in life certainly make me feel very differently. I think I have settled into a life that’s very ordinary and pleasing in the most ordinary of ways. I now feel like the adult I felt I would like to be all those years ago. I am on my golden path.

So today, I went for my lunch and on returning to the car park I got into one of those situations where you have a person on either side of a door saying “After you…” and “no no, I insist”.

Then this remarkable thing happened.

This other fella said to me “Go ahead there young man”

He was a man in his fifties or early sixties. Grey, a bit smaller than me and wearing a suit. Then I thought to myself how its true that you never appreciate the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded and are gone forever. It wasn’t anything like a sudden realisation, it was more like the resurgence of something that I had forgotten to remember. The problem is, people tend to mourn that loss long before it has come. A 25 year old will mourn the loss of his teens. And in my case I’ve realised that a 33 year old has been mourning the loss of his twenties for some time without ever realising that the things that are gone are not the things that I want anymore.

It takes time to mould a life around what makes you happy, and in doing so you take gradual steps on your way over the course of your entire lifetime, getting things right and righting the things you get wrong. Life leads most people on a journey of self discovery that leads you through the thick and the thin through a few toll booths manned by setbacks but in the most part you pay your fee and drive on through to the next set of gates which open onto a brand new highway, over time learning to have the exact change to help get you past the next set of barriers

What struck me was the fact that regardless of how I ever see myself, or how much I might think that I have gained or learned on my journey, to someone I will always be a young man, for a long, long time to come there will probably always be somebody older who thought they were past it when they were my age too. What happened today gave me a nice heady breeze in which to open my sail and enjoy being a young man, even if its just for one afternoon, after which I’ll arrive home to a much younger man to whom I’ll always be an auld fella.

For every action….

The Odd Balls

26 03 2009

I’m really optimistic about the future of Rugby. Not just in Munster, or indeed Ireland, but the future of the game as a global sport. The 2009 Grand Slam has opened the doors for people who might in the past have seen Rugby as something other people looked at, or as an elitist game reserved for the public school parents and their offspring. Being a Limerick man I have a different perspective on it, but outside our fine city this seems to be the case. However I do think this myth is slowly but surely being broken down.

I have friends who are fanatical about soccer. Personally, I don’t get it. I have nothing against the game per sé but I could never see the point of getting behind a team from somewhere you’ve never been that’s composed of players who you will root against when playing for their national sides. But again, each to their own in that respect. Last Saturday I watched the Six Nations finalé in Nancy Blake’s and noticed a group of lads sitting in the outback wearing Celtic jerseys chanting “Come on you Boys in Green”. I thought it was fantastic. Ok, they method was slightly off but it was absolutely brilliant to see a group of people being opened up to something like this. In Limerick it’s the norm for as many people to own a rugby ball as own a soccer ball, but it was never the less encouraging to see people ignoring what might be seen elsewhere as a divide.

Sporting icons the world over seem to be something we see on television. Even here in Ireland, we see Eddie Irvine on his yacht. Roy Keane in his mansion in the UK. We see sporting heroes as something beyond and away from us that is far beyond the grasp of anyone but the most excellent usually personified by someone else, but certainly never ourselves. But since the phenomena of Munster Rugby and the Heineken Cup that has all changed. I regularly stroll past a certain Mr G Flannery in town. Ian Dowling and Barry Murphy like the odd tipple in a pub I myself frequent. Tony Buckley and John Hayes (jokes about him being outstanding in his field are BARRED)  live down the road from me, Paul Warwick not ten minutes drive away (my son has made friends with his dog, as you may know if you follow this blog). The evening after the Scotland match I had the honour of enjoying a pint with with Peter Clohessy, a man who’s fearsome legend spreads far beyond the boundaries of our fair Provence. Paul O’Connell goes to matches in Greenfields and sometimes has a scoop in Austin’s afterwards, not to mention Kieth Earls, Alan Quinlan, John Fitzgerald… take your pick.

These are the things that show us that you don’t need to be from anywhere in particular to become great. Kids who aspire to be stars can look to the people they see regularly in the street and see that through honesty of effort and truth to dedication they too can become legends, giving them the belief they need to carry them that one step further in order for them to know that they can realise their dreams. This is what rugby has done for us. Through the ups and the downs of life in Limerick we know that our children can see that there are possibilities undreamed of by other people in other places. They can see that there is more for those who would take it. And take it they can.

And take it they will.

It makes me proud to be an Irishman. Proud to be a Munster man, even prouder to be a Limerickman, knowing that we can hold this up to the world when they try to decry us. Stab City. We have shown that we can take a stab at greatness regardless of what picture people paint of us.

This is for all of us. It is for you, and it is for me. It is for our parents and our children. Something wonderful has happened right in our front garden and its about time people started to stand up and take notice of what It has to offer all of us. Here is the chance to basque in the glow of greatness and it’s been handed to us by people we see on the street each day. This is theirs. They are ours. We all stand as one, and forward we march into history.

Hindsight is Always 20/20

25 03 2009

I see Limerick’s latest gangland death was the recipient of a volley of shots in salute to him during his procession through St Mary’s Park last night. I also read this morning he was laid out in his bullet proof vest.

Shame he didn’t have the foresight to purchase a matching hat.

The End.

Evident Failure in the Humour Department

25 03 2009

I have to say I’m very disappointed about the lack of cojones shown by RTE in rolling over and apologising for this;


And this;


They didn’t actually say sorry for the paintings (they didnt paint them), they unreservedly apologised for running a report on it.

Newsflash –


However, apparently it was offensive to the Cowen Family. The Da in the household is fat. Shocker, ha? Now the  Gardai have been draughted in (they have nothing better to be doing, you see) to serve a warrant on Ray Darcy’s radio show on Today FM in order to get the contact details of the offending artist so they can charge him with having a sense of the ridiculous and showing Brian Cowen to be human, with the icing on this particular cake being the calls from FF ministers for the resignation of the Director General of RTE for airing this grossly offensive and misrepresentative story. Yeah, sure boys. If you were ever unsure, here is your definitive proof as to the the dry, shitty, bitter, cold, unsavoury and down right fucking begrudgery ridden nature of the people elected to lead us through our darkest hour.

Here are the shower of bastards who recon they have the master plan that will get their mates in the banks off the hook  save us all from economic doom and they cant even take a fucking joke.

Brian Cowen is a human being, right? I’m assuming he wears underpants and uses toilet paper. On what end I’m not sure but there you go. I’m sure the Gardai have better things to be worrying about, and I know for a fact Brian Cowen has better things to be worrying about.

If Joe fucking bastard FF TD has nothing better to be worrying about then hand back your fat salaries and greedy pensions and fuck off back to the primary school or law firm you came from and let the piss takers take the piss and the ministers minister. There is no place for you here. I’m no great fan of Brian Cowen, but I do have more respect for him than I had for Bertie Balls seeming as Brian had the minerals to at least try to be seen to be doing something about the flaming, screaming, burning plane crash of an economy under our arses and didn’t just up and run like that other cunt. However, if Brian Cowen is implicit in this wasting of Garda time and resources, as well as being a plain old bad sport, well then I guess its just one more reason to add to the long, long, long list of reasons to avoid the fuckers like the plague next time your in a polling booth.

Oh Joy. Oh joyous, joyous joy.

21 03 2009

Let this day go in the annals of history. Ireland are grand slam six nations champions and I dont have a drop of booze in the house with which to celebrate.

I hate myself.