Monday, September 29, 2008

Bleach And Crayons

I woke in the wee smalls of last night to the clatter of a worrying crash, followed by those tinkly smashy breaky sounds that I find so pleasing in anyone's flat but mine. Fuck, I thought, I wonder...

*snore*

I'd been dreaming, for once, rather than crashing in a cower through another nightmare. I was at home, cleaning the flat as part of an audition to become a cleaning lady. A knock on the door announced a visit from the planets, who had come to advise me on my love life. There were three of them, beach ball sized and orange hued, and they followed me on my chores, floating at head height and amiably dispensing wisdom.

I can't remember a thing they told me.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Reader's Choice #6

Stockings vs. Tights - Which is Cooler?

For Andrew, who probably sticks to socks.


Stupid fucking question really, it's like comparing jeans to leg warmers. Stockings are cooler - they don't have a gusset.

He was very much what I would regard as the typical uptight Englishman, not quite a gent but certainly conservative. His interests included poker and tits, both his own and large ones of the lady variety. His interests also briefly included me, and of course I was completely besotted with him, as I generally am with entirely unsuitable men. He had the typical uptight Englishman's tastes in fun and frolics too - a little discipline, a little dressing up. High heels and stockings, if you don't mind, and it's far from that I was reared. But I am an indulgent sort.

So I swapped the thick opaque tights and sensible flats for silk stockings, a suspender belt and some spiky heels. Not permanently, you understand, just in the bathrooms at the airport. With the pencil skirt and the slim-fitting black poloneck, I felt every inch the sophisticate. I set off with a sexy swing to my gait, brimming with bravado. But I couldn't walk too well in the shoes. And the suspender belt was too big for me - I sized it to skim and flatter my bovine hips rather than to stay put and hold up my stockings. I sat on the tube, thighs clenched, fidgeting, sweating into my slim-fitting poloneck, unable to cross my legs for fear that I might further strain the straps precariously preserving my modesty. By the time I arrived at his door, I was an agitated and decidedly unsexy mess.

Stockings may be cooler, but I can't quite pull them off. Or keep them on.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yes, That Was Me

My emotional control has been remarked upon. Has been said to be remarkable. I am unsure if this is a good thing. When I am upset, I say so; I articulate the whys and the hows, I explain my hurt in simple words. I don't cry, except that sometimes I do. I try to protect myself - I am marshmallow soft, sticky and vulnerable. I worry sometimes that I try too hard, and that people will think I am cold. And I worry sometimes that I am cold.

But I am not. I walked to work this morning with tears streaming down my rosie cheeks and a catch in my breath. No wracking sobs, just a quiet, composed cry. A curly headed eejit with oversized headphones and a leaking face. People stared. I arrived on Leeson Street, made my excuses and smiled, whey-faced and red-eyed, for the camera. I drank tea, made my excuses and smiled, whey-faced and red-eyed, for the company.

Now I'm home and I'm safe, explaining my hurt in simple words.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Memory Of My Grandfather

As I walked along the banks of the canal this morning, I listened to Thom Yorke's Harrowdown Hill. I hadn't listened to it on my morning promenade in a long time, because Harrowdown Hill was what I was listening to that morning so many months ago.

Every old man I see, in October-coloured weather, seems to remind me of my grandfather.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Feed The World School For Kids That Can't Read Good And Want To Learn To Do Other Things Good, Too

Catherine can't knit and I can't sing, so a charity hit record is out of the question. She likes bukes though, and philanthropy. Being as altruistic as she is pretty, our very own little Midge Ure has decided to ask you folk to write one for her so that we can use them to build houses for other folk who don't have any.

Her idea is simple -
I’m looking for eighty stories and twenty photos from Irish bloggers and photobloggers, all around the theme of “home”, which will be compiled into a book and published via Lulu.com. Self-publishing means that the book will be available on December 8th (just in time for Christmas!) and 75% of the profits from each book will go straight to Focus Ireland.
You'll find the details filed under Nitty Gritty over here, but it couldn't be easier. Donate a post. It need not be a story if that's not your thing; pen a poem, take a photograph, write a recipe. Whether you're a blogger, a commenter or a casual reader, your contribution will be welcomed. And put into print, for posterity. So make it a good one.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Babysitter

The nine-and-a-half year old was keeping sketch for me on the street. I was running late - ambitious in my reckoning that I could be there for five if I left Wrathmines at four. Ambitious too in my reckoning that I could successfully follow the directions I had been given and navigate my way there via public transport. Two buses and a taxi later, I arrived looking somewhat flustered, not at all cool, calm, collected and Supernanny Jo Frosty like I'd planned. I made my apologies to the next-door neighbour who'd been watching the girls until I arrived, and politely rebuffed her kind offer to do the babysitting for me. She looked concerned, as well she might - for I am patently an incompetent, and an eccentrically dressed one at that. She eyed me suspiciously as I chirruped nonsense at the child, like some kind of Pied Wicked Stepmother. Thankfully the bewildered little duckling followed me into the house with nary a word of complaint, her sister skipping along behind us, curious to see what I'd do next.

I wasn't sure about that next part either. My babysitting experience is limited to drunkards and actual babies - neither require much by way of entertainment beyond the occasional bottle. What would I do with a nine-and-a-half and an almost four year old? I'd asked their dad, who had reeled off a schedule. In one ear and out the other; all I'd remembered was that they were to be fed at some point and that they like magazines. I'd brought jellies, but realised that as I was to have these dolls in bed before their daddy arrived home, filling them full of sugar might not be a wise move. So, like an optimistic but disappointing magician, I reached into my bag and produced my trump cards; glittery magazines with pictures of ponies and non-threatening boys, with shiny plastic toys stuck to their front covers. A little early in the game to be flashing my bribes about, but having made them street children for approximately twenty minutes with my tardiness, I thought it prudent.

The elder lemon was thrilled, and curled up for a flick-through. But the littlest duckie's face fell. "I already have this one". She was gutted, and frankly so was I. It came with a dinky little cellophane wrapped xylophone, and I had planned on winning her affections by teaching her to play my tinkly and slightly 'tarded version of Twinkle Twinkle. She looked up mournfully at me, and all I could do was apologise. Apologise, and blame her dad. "Anyway" I say, "now you have two xylophones! So we can play them together!". She looked at me then with something approximating pity, and gathered the magazine up with a resigned sigh. "I'll just hide it here" she said, stuffing it in behind the armchair, "and then it will be safe and I won't forget where it is".

Nor will I.

Exhausted by all this disappointment, she decided to lay down on the couch and wallow for a bit so I tried bonding with her sister instead. Not one to look a gift-bearing horse in the mouth, she was poring over her mag and chewing contentedly on the sparkly pen that had come with it. Anxious that I wouldn't be the only one without a magazine, she showed me the one she'd gotten earlier that day, which came with free lip gloss. We did a quiz to see which shade would suit my personality - Vanilla Cream, apparently, because I am a classy sort - she was disappointed to see that I had already stuck my finger in the gloopy pink strawberry one and was busy slathering it over my classy lips and wiping the remainder in the hem of my skirt.

I'm not sure that I was quite what the girls were expecting.

With a little help from Zoey 101, Princess Jasmine, Dora the Explorer and Angelina Ballerina (who is an even worse babysitter than I am, it seems) we made it through to bedtime. The littlest duckie had a brief stomping knicker fit before allowing me to dress her in her jammies and supervise her brushing her teeth through her incessant chatter. "I have two potties!" she informed me with pride, as she dropped trous and ably demonstrated how one might be used. I made admiring noises, sensing that it was expected of me. Later, at half past go-to-sleep-please, her sister and I were telling one another stories in the next room when I heard a polite but insistent knocking. I hurried in to see what the matter might be. "I did a wee" she stage-whispered fretfully. I eyed the tossed bedclothes with trepidation and ran a cautious hand over the sheets. Dry. She stood watching me with her pants down around her knees, it was only when I had checked them too for soakage that she pointed me towards the potty. Her achievement recognised, she pulled her pants back up and tottled back to bed.

With a sigh of relief I returned to her sister, who was putting me through my paces. Instead of me simply reading her a story, she'd chosen one with pictures where you had to make it up as you go along. Storytime improv... this kid was testing me. She played the frog and the dog, I played the boy and felt embarrassed to feel embarrassed at my discomfort. I haven't spent enough time in the close company of small children to feel comfortable acting like one.

I think I need to remedy that.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Final Boarding Call

Dublin Airport must surely be one of the worst places on earth to endure with a hangover. Everyone there seems overexcited or just plain anxious, Hustle is running around, tripping over suitcases and dragging Bustle by the hand. I am struggling to muster the energy to breathe.

I go to the bathroom, too dehydrated to have any need of it but seeking some sanctuary regardless. My reflection shocks me - I am barelegged, and too pale. Underneath my glasses I look like I have been crying.

I feel like I might yet.

I make my way up to the departures lounge and visit the pharmacy there for eye drops and Lucozade. The cashier looks disapprovingly at my mirrored shades and then reminds me that I will need to finish the 'zade before I go through security. Fuck. I think about going back to the fridge and choosing one of the smaller bottles, but thirst and thrift win out - this one has 25% extra free.

I crack the bottle's seal as my troubled thoughts and I glide back down the escalator. And drink deep, they will not take it from me.

Only then do I remember that I'm not flying anywhere today.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Slouching Towards Bethlehem

Our new office space is something of a luxury in the Public Service (which, I am told, is very different to the Civil Service). Colleagues in other departments ask politely which building I'm located in and then affect mock snobbery, trying to disguise the fact that they are desperately jealous of my surroundings, which they imagine include potted plants, flatscreen monitors, a lift and a butler. There is all but. There is air conditioning and carpet, open plan office space and accountability. And there is state-of-the-art security, presumably in case there should be a rash of stationary thefts along the Lower Wrathmines Road. So we need to wave little fobs for the doors to open, which is about as state-of-the-art as your average public service employee can be expected to cope with. One of my coworkers has already run his over with his Mercedes, I myself was amazed to see another of my colleagues waving her handbag in front of what I am reliably informed is called "the reader" (but which, for clarity's sake, I shall call "the little box thing on the wall beside the door that you wave your fob in front of"). She left my Luddite brain dazzled by the devilish magjick for the merest of moments before laughing in my face and showing me the fob inside. Worryingly, I was still impressed.

They've never switched the little box thing on the wall beside the door that you wave your fob in front of on down at reception though. I can only assume that this is in deference to my humour in the mornings - I am grumpatron until half past teabreak and niggly little annoyances like having to root out a fob from the arsehole of my handbag because I can't manage the fob-in-the-bag magjick that the others can are best avoided until I've had some tea. But this morning, for the fourth morning in a row this week, I slumped defeated against it, a one-woman pileup. They've switched it on, after a year and a half.

The temptation, of course, is to see this in much the same way as I do my tupperware cupboard. As a crude and cruel metaphor for my life.

Reader's Choice #5

Statuesque

For Pinkie, who probably expected something else.

Aspiration
Rowan Gillespie, 1995

As I turned down Love Lane this evening, I looked up to her. I usually do. Like Gillespie's lovers who never quite kiss, her title strikes me as cruel.

Aspiration.

For what can she aspire to but this?

Lithe and strong as her body may be, she'll never progress beyond her precarious cling. Never reach her fingertips over the edge of that flat roof, never raise her arms in relief, or triumph, and turn her face to watch the sun set over the city. She must be tired, I think, and lonely.

It was only when I looked for a photo of The Kiss for that post last April that I discovered her name, and began to think of her as tragic. Up to that point she had reminded me of Kiki Smith's Lillith, who I had seen in IMMA when I was studying art at school, and who had made an indelible impression on me as a 17 year old girl. Both women are sculpted in bronze and climbing the walls, but there their similarities end. Lillith is all that we fear, the dark female, a succubus. She leads us astray, serves her own needs and teases with lustful dreams.

Poor Aspiration does not dream, and is teased by impossibility. She can only hope.

At Least It's Not "Fat Kid Falls Over"




With thanks to Primal for the link.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Horrible, Funny Bastards

Blogging can be very fucking boring sometimes. I feel a sense of responsibility when I shouldn't, I write posts that I don't have the energy for. I will not post unless I have something to say. Except that sometimes I'll post so that you have something to read. Can you spot the difference?

I hope not. But I can.

On days like that, I wonder why I bother. Whether or not my time might be better spent making jam. Or eating it. I wander from blog to blog looking for tidbits to restore my appetite for this fickle medium, pushing posts halfheartedly around my plate and picking through them for phrases that make me think fuck me, I wish I'd written that. But too many are stale; stories twice told, the presentation sloppy. Too much sugar. Not enough salt. Peppered with links, pickled in YouTube. Not to my taste.

Every now and then though, something's laid in front of me that makes me want to dress for dinner again. Like this.

Pass the relish, would you?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Meet David Sedaris

We sat fidgeting in our assigned seats ("sit there" growled the attendant) avoiding the glare of the furious harridan who had been keeping them for her friends. We turned to watch David Sedaris instead as he made his way along the front row, shaking hands, signing books, smiling. "I don't want to meet him" muttered my BGF, and under the circumstances I was inclined to agree. The room was too bright, we were too sober, we had no books for him to sign and no sparkling wit with which to dazzle him. So we sat and snarked affectionately at one another, and we waited for the show to begin.

And we waited.

When I looked to the front again Sedaris was halfway down the third row. Everyone else in the audience seemed to be clutching one of his books, some enthusiasticators were clutching several of the fucking things. The lonely ones were reading them. The BGF scrabbled in his pocket for his ticket, and reread it carefully. "Meet David Sedaris, it says" he pointed out, somewhat redundantly. "What if this is it? What if this is all there is?" There was a note of panic in his tone. I laughed dismissively, then paused for thought. Sedaris was now just one row from ours, and the show was billed to start a half hour ago. It's not that I feared that I might be denied some earth-shattering performance; I had, after all, paid to see a man read out loud and perhaps answer a question or two. But if I had indeed misread the €12 invitation, then this was going to be very uncomfortable.

In an effort to maintain his cool in the face of impending awkward social interaction, the BGF had produced some heavy hardback tomes from the library and was attempting to educate me on matters of science. I was feigning interest, leaning over and pretending to be absorbed in the book to such a degree that I may have even followed some of the words with my finger. I glanced upwards and noticed that Sedaris had reached our row, and seemed to be inching his way along, smiling and scrawling witticisms on the proffered books. Seeing this, the BGF snapped the book shut and slid it under his jacket, nearly taking my finger with it. "Fuck" I hissed; the sudden movement had drawn Sedaris' eye and now we looked like we were up to something. Cue eye aversion so comically exaggerated that we may as well have started to whistle as we feigned fey nonchalance. Thankfully the Waterstones gonk who'd been hanging out of Sedaris' shirt-tails suddenly decided that it was (show)time and steered the author towards the podium, saving us from making even bigger tits of ourselves.

Later, I tried to think of what I might have said to him. What I might have asked him had I been lucky enough to shake his hand before he took to the podium, or confident enough to raise my own hand when he invited questions from the floor.

Mr. Sedaris, what advice would you give to a 27 year old girl who wants to be you when she grows up?

Deá-Nós

This month's Randy Rosie section in Nós* is a measured piece on size, tastefully illustrated with some photos of boys in their knickers.

Dig in.

And dig deep if you like it - we still need some subscriptions before we can get this baby into shiny shiny print. That would make me very happy; to see my name printed on something other than a speeding fine or an ESB bill.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Oh, Christ

Sunday morning, the croissants are in the oven, the tea is cooling by my elbow, the Sunday Business Show is on the radio. I couldn't give a fuck about business and have never understood money but I find their dull and earnest chatter soothing. And this morning I need to be soothed, to have the strangers on the radio stroke my hair and tell me that really, it'll be okay. Normally at this hour on a Sunday I'd be spooning with my hangover, or maybe taking it down to Merrion Square to read the newspaper and get some air. Normally at this hour on a Sunday I am not primping and preening, trying to iron out my kinks and curls. I've spent the past hour trying to choose the least inappropriate outfit in my wardrobe, brown skirt, tan stockings, gold shoes, bangles (because to me, bangles seem sophisticated). The Swede did a double-take when I walked into the kitchen, and then laughed. "You look lovely" he said, revelling in my obvious discomfort before relenting and giving me a hug.

The cause of all this distress is sitting opposite me as I type, reading Annie's interview in the Times and blithely sipping his coffee. His nephew is to be christened this morning, and I am to be his guest. To meet his parents, and his sister. There is to be a reception, and a bouncy castle, and polite chatter; I am particularly looking forward to explaining how we met.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Coming On Strange

I was chatting away, attention focused on my audience, when suddenly she presented herself in front of me. Presented, like a puppy in expectation of a bellyrub.

"Hi" she beamed up at me. "Um" said I, which is becoming my customary greeting these days, as my wits slowly desert me. I gave her an encouraging smile, assuming that I had met her before, or elbowed her drink, stood on her hair or inadvertently chatted up her boyfriend. "Are you from Ireland?" she asked, which threw me a little, though on reflection is a reasonable opener in multicultural Dublin. "Yes!" I beamed, relieved to be able to answer her question with absolute conviction. "I am from Sweden!" she beamed right back, so I told her how the Swede is also from Sweden, dazzling her with my grasp of geography. She didn't seem terribly interested, didn't ask his name in case she knew him, but perhaps that's an Irish thing. "Are you from Dublin?" she asked then, her blue eyes widening and her blonde curls bobbing in time with her breasts. "Yes!" I replied, again, puzzled if pleased that my affirmative answers were so pleasing to her. "You're beautiful" she said, and I blushed. "I love the colour of your hair. Can I touch it?" Sure, I told her, amused that the colour of my hair could be perceived as anything other than nondescript in the dim light of Whelans, even more amused that she'd want to fondle my curls. In their current state, they look like they might bite. She stood on tiptoe and raised her hand to touch them, then asked if she could hug me. At this stage she could have asked me for my pint and my shoes and I'd probably have acquiesced, confused and bemused as I was. So I hugged her, caught my friend's grin over her shoulder and then watched her wander off into the crowd, no doubt to make some other girl's night.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Nine To Five

I spent this afternoon at a work schmooze, and now I need a lie down. I feel so out of place at those things, it's exhausting pretending to the other grown-ups that I'm a grown-up too. I wore heels and ate too many lollipops, I made smalltalk and swapped business cards. But... I felt like less of a fraud than I did at the same event this time last year.

I find that mildly depressing.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Eyes Wide Shut

Visit Annie for another.

Rub A Dub Dub

I looked the email up again and dialled the number. "Primal's Porno Palace" an efficient voice barked in an official tone. "Erm..." I countered, my cheeks burning. Just what the fuck was I getting myself into?

Half an hour later we were in his kitchen, sitting down to polite tea and Viscounts before settling down to business. Annie was bright and breezy, as if she does this kind of thing every day. Primal seemed right at home, but then it was his kitchen.

Me? I was shiteing myself.

I hate having my photograph taken. I am both unphotogenic and vain, and as a result I am a notoriously reluctant subject. But I was flattered by Annie's request, and she's so sympathetic, sweet and reassuring that I figured I could take her easily if I didn't like the results; burn the evidence, hide the body.

When it came down to it, taking my clothes off was easy. Not snotting myself as I clambered into the beautiful cast iron tub whilst trying to maintain some semblance of dignity - not so much. She tells me that I am an excellent poser, I choose to believe she means it as a compliment. It's not that I preen, you see, just that I am really really good at staying still. Two years as a public servant will do that to a girl, but at least now I am reassured that should the Gaeilgeoir jobs market dry up, I have the option of a career as an artist's model. As I look down the barrel of another Monday morning in the office, sitting on my nudie hole and getting paid for it looks quite attractive. Mind you, I have already spent the greater part of this morning doing little more than sitting on my hole and getting paid for it, albeit with a few layers of fabric between my seat and the chair.

She emailed me the final photo yesterday evening. It's beautiful.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

To Say I'm Disappointed Would Be Putting It Mildly

Disappointed after the fact, that is. After the reproach and recrimination, when all should be said and done and I really shouldn't give a fuck any more. There was nothing to say anyway, nothing worth getting worked up about.

But still it distracts. And rattles on.

The Unchecked Ego beats his chest and howls like a gibbon, goading the other monkeys into aping his dance. Ego should be a word for character, but left unchallenged his seems to have run to conceit - conceit which wheedles and needles until it's fed, bloating on sugar and pinches of salt. It has run riot over both sense and sensitivity, all the while pleading innocence and ignorance. While ignorant innocents are easily forgiven, selfish overindulgents are less so. And the tired and sensible in me says that he has seen enough of life to know better.

He has made an artless art of his mediocrity, has become a parody posing as a paragon of the everyman. Each to their own, I suppose, and for many it has its charm. It had, for me. But I've since learned how he turns tales in the fluorescent light, trying to find an angle to flatter his profile. And my stories don't like to be spun that way.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Gimme A Minute's Silence

So Gimme's hung up his bicycle shorts and pedalled off in a sulk (or some other such badly mixed metaphor). Blog abandoned like a squalling baby, the door swinging in his wake, his parting post as bleak as a man's last note.

He hasn't gone the whole hissy-fit hog and deleted his archives (*cough* John Butler *cough*) and it's a comfort to me to know that if I feel a bit too happy with the state of love and trust in the world, there's bile aplently sloshing about over there for me to wallow in. I intend to start pilfering some of his choicer turns of phrase in time. No honour amongst bleughers, and no sense in just leaving them lie there.

I feel lucky that I got to know him before he jacked it all in. His blog persona terrified me initially - so bitter and twisted, full of fight and fury but funny with it. He sounded as hardcore motherfucker as his bicycle, and I'm already intimidated by people who exercise. Never mind cunts who are paid to. When I took him on (loook at me roar, like a hamster!) over his facetious fat poke at Róisín Ingle, I fully expected him to turn up at my door with a crowbar. Not to turn up in my inbox with an apology. Still unconvinced of his humanity, it was with some trepidation that I went to meet him in the flesh. I expected uncomfortable smalltalk with a huge and bearded ogre, not a polite charm offensive by a youthful-looking blond with slip-on runners and ridiculous hair.

I would say I feel priveleged, but I can't spell it. So, lucky that his sister had pawned two tickets to a tribute show off on him, that V was living in Spain and that Twenty had better things to do that evening. Or just hates Pink Floyd. Lucky that it was too early in the morning for me to think of a plausible excuse when he asked me to go, lucky that I was too hungover the evening of the gig to have the sense to bail out.

Because now I can call the cantankerous drama queen* a friend.

*He was an acktor! in Glenroe! I was shocked.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Scéal Eile Ón Sráidbhaile

I mentioned last week that my usual teddybears were abandoning me to fate for this year's picnic, most citing poverty and one or two slow Joes missing the point entirely and declaring lack of interest upon seeing the lineup. But there were others... who didn't come this year because they had weddings to go to. Weddings. I was fucking disgusted, I don't mind telling you. Weddings! At our age! Because in my head I am 23 and always will be (don't ask me why, 23 was a shite year) and although my mother was married with 3 kids at my age (she was so delighted with me that she just kept at it) I can't imagine why anyone would want to settle down at the tender age of 27ish (well, I am 27, not all of the settlefaces are so blessed with youth).

So I mocked the fuck out of them. Laughed at them for spending ticket-and-beer squids on ganky wear-it-once threads and expensive, cash-filled cards. For sitting down to cutlery, stilted conversation and beef-or-salmon when they could have been feasting on nubile strangers and questionable burgers. For booking into country B&Bs instead of pitching tents in mucky fields and having muffled sex in their chintzy bedrooms instead of behind 3mm of canvas, backlit by curious and catastrophically mashed Nordies. Oh, another year or two and it'll be all your friends that are getting married, they grin, like they know something I don't. It's all ahead of you! I don't fucking think so. My friends have more sense.

I didn't fucking think so, until the call came yesterday. My beautiful friend the Jock and her Ginger Nut are to wed; he proposed to her at banjoed o' clock, with his nana's ring, in a tracksuit, at the Picnic.

That, folks, was the sound of my jaw dropping with awe, utter delight and yes, jealousy. It is one of the most romantic proposals I can imagine, perfect in its sincerity and spontaneity. If music be the food of love... {some clever picnic based pun}

It's hard to be sincere, sentimental and funny.

Mo Cheol Sibh

I saw a lot of music last weekend, some good, some bad and some downright orange (Duffy, but that was a total accident - I was on my way to the "toilets" and happened to be passing the main stage. I stuck my fingers in my ears, and not just for comic effect). Some of it, however, hit me right in the tear ducts. And because this blog is about me and not about music, here are my highlights.

Sigur Ros played a beautiful set on Friday. As Hoppipolla washed over the crowd the world felt for a moment like it had been set to rights, and in a small way it had. I sent a well-timed message to an estranged friend; it chipped at the ice and raised a smiley. Not quite a smile, but that's something for me to work towards.

"We're going to play a nice mellow set, to make up for all the stressful music that's being played around here" announced the bould Sinéad at the start of her set, instantly losing her friends and alienating people. Like most of the assembled crowd, I will forgive Sinéad most anything, even Sean-Nós Nua. Thankfully it didn't come to that. Her short, sweet set tested the audience's patience, but she finished with Nothing Compares 2U. The song will always remind me of my childhood in Palmerstown, my brother and I as 9 and 10 year olds bouncing on the bed, screaming it at the top of our lungs, spiking our hair with soap, playing guitar on our tennis rackets, wearing white vests and pretending we were rock stars. She sang it softly, Steve Cooney accompanying her on the guitar. I got goosebumps. I heard a snuffle come from the guy on my left as she finished, and clocked him wiping snotbubbles on his sleeve. "That was the nicest thing I've ever heard" he sniffed. It was, too. My beau sent me a YouChoob clip of it this evening, but I won't link. It cheapens these small, beautiful moments, makes them look loud, discordant, fuzzy. My memory of it will be of his arms around me, her soft voice lilting, lifting the crowd, and the poor cunt beside me blubbering into his pint.

My Bloody Valentine's set opened with the overexcited middle-aged gent beside me screaming Fuck Bono! We love you, Kevin! Show us your tits! at the top of his lungs, and ended with an almost orgasmic sense of relief when they finally broke from their Holocaust of torturous feedback. Their music washed over me on Sunday night and it tasted like home. I occasionally pump my teenage years in Kilkenny for stories, hugging my adventures to me for nostalgia's sake. In truth though I think of them little enough - it's eleven years and two days since I left them behind me. There is not yet enough space between the sixteen year old me and the person I have become for us to feel entirely at ease with one another, she brings out the worst in me and I become awkward and teenage again in her company. Close friends from those days have fallen by my wayside and even now my guilt at their sinking has not quite subsided. Those four years I spent there seemed like a lifetime ago, seemed like something that happened to someone else. But the swell of their guitars on Sunday night brought all that welling up. I felt again as I did then, when I was becoming the person I recognise myself as now. I like her much better these days than I did then and it has taken me a long time and a lot of hard work to get this comfortable in my skin. I wonder if, eleven years and two days from now, I will still be so easy to undo?

I hope so.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Thuas Seal, Thíos Seal

Today should have been horrific. But I wore flip flops, and smiled.