Monday, July 30, 2007


'Patience is a virtue, seldom seen in women, and never in men'
Spent today waiting for the arrival of my first child. Damn fool obviously missed the flight, or what-have-you between the fore-to-here and the here-to-fore. This left my wife and I in quite a strange place all day. We had been alerted of an arrival, early (a time of day I seldom believe in, and never enjoy). While I had coffee and bread with chocolate spread, my wife was in sublime agony. She gritted her teeth as I said "Isn't this exciting!" She howled as I whispered "Have I time to have a quick read of the paper? Just before we go to the hospital?" My own reticence in the issue was to be punished with my child's reticence.
We have now been waiting all day, in a stupor. As first timers, this doesn't surprise us - we had anticipated some amount of stupor surrounding the birth of the child. Although my preferred stupor would be drink-induced, and I believe my wife's preference was for the stupor of some kind of medication, which would ease the pain of it all. But the pain we are left with now is that resulting from patience. The pain of waiting. Something my generation had confidently dismissed from our lives with fast food, iPods and credit cards. Damn it all, why can humanity not be more materially-directed?
However, however. Off we went for lunch. A McMa (Middle-class, Middle-aged) lady cursed us to all her friends for taking a table we had arrived at before she had appeared at the restaurant. Her belief in God or good manners seemed to dictate that we would vacate the seats for her and her various McFriends. No chance - we had a McReason. A fine McReason to keep my wife as comfortable as she could be, given the circumstances. At table, we waited for the waiter to wait. "This exquisite agony!" I said to my wife as she groaned at pun or progeny; which it was I have no idea.
After prawns and crab claws and coffee and a smoke, we set off for a walk. The motion, gravity, good God, good Grace or good manners were sure to advance the situation. After all, this is my child. And manners are bred, not learned in my blood line.
Up to the head we drove. This is a round jut of land, out in the sea. One imagines, if you were to see it from the sky, it would remind you of the cranial end of a dead man or a drunk. Which is why I used the term 'head'. I believe it's the same reason most people use the term. I suggested this to my wife, who again groaned.
Once again, I wished I had a cane. We passed a lady with two crutches. I thought of stealing one, but a crutch isn't quite the same as a cane. All silvery and utilitarian. I needed something that seemed unneeded. We stood to the side, allowing the lady and her escort to pass around us on the path. Feeling good for doing something we knew was the right thing to do, but we also knew people seldom cared to do so these days.
We reached near the path end, which leads to a playground. It was too much for my wife and I. Knowing we had one of these bizarre in-media-res beings about our person somewhere, if only we could get to it. We turned as hastily as we could, which turned out to be quite languidly as a result of my inability to turn in a circle of any kind, and my wife's inability to sympathise with my condition. But now we were walking back, a chronic symptom of waiting. I've always said: You know you've been waiting too long, when you have to go back over your movements to ensure you've done something to cause the effect you are waiting for. I say this to my wife, who, without groaning simply says
Shut Up
Luckily, those around us could see she was quite uncomfortable. If anything, they blamed her for her lack of patience with me. Letting a little thing like labour interfere with a walk like that. If that's how she was going to be (they were thinking) she should have waited in the car! We walked back, and I waited for her to make the next comment.
She moaned as she clambered into the car. In my generosity, and the spirit of passing the time, I took this as a comment, and continued with my pithy observations of the life around us.
"That lady with the crutches is waiting for us to pass. I suppose she's repaying the compliment. Wouldn't do to keep her waiting too long"
"I think she wants to be sure you won't run her over"
"Of course I won't! I'm not the type. Anyway, what are those teenagers doing in the playground?"
"I can't look at the playground. Not without thinking about this little one that's keeping us waiting"
"Yes. Bloody bad form. When the little one's born, I think I shall form a vigilante group to deal with that kind of thing. Muttering teenagers playing on swings. Singing Morrissey songs, no doubt."
"Jesus, they wouldn't listen to Morrisey"
"Well, they should. Busy down here now, isn't it. Just as well we came down when we did. Or we could be waiting"
"We were waiting"
"Yes, but for longer. God, how do these people park? Why do they all need tanks? Who's invading? Oh, there's Terry. Terry! Hi!"
"Mind the bumps"
"Yes, and the bump... d'you geddit? Geddit"
"Jesus, I get it"
"Why do you keep calling me Jesus? I don't mind it, of course, it's great to be compared to such a great figure... but still"
"Please stop talking and drive. Please."
"Ok, well..."
"Stop. Talking. Now."
"What? Why ever? I'm only trying to pass the time! You should be grateful!"
"You're scaring the life out of me, talking with your hands as you drive this bloody car!"
"Oh, I see. Shame it wasn't the child scared out of you, eh?! Haha!"
"If anything, it'll be scared back in once it meets you."
"Good. Bit of fear instils respect."
"Why did I marry you?"
"Love. It's a bugger, isn't it?"
"I don't know about the child being born through such negative emotions. You should try and cheer up"
"You should try and shut up"
"Did you see the teenagers in the playground? When this little one is born, I'm going to get a vigilante group together..."
"You've already visited this subject today. Don't you remember?"
"Have I? Well, I suppose it's in the nature of waiting. I always say: You know you've been waiting too long, when you have to go back over your movements to ensure you've done something to cause the effect you are waiting for."
We waited in silence the rest of the day, while I Googled setting up a vigilante group.
We wait still.
Will we wait tomorrow? I hope not, for my wife's sake. I'm quite sure she can't stand much more of this. I can tell by the look in her eye, and the growl when I ask, chipper as ever, "Well, how are we feeling now?"

Friday, July 06, 2007

Pete wrote a book. Amazon reviewed it.

If you need a laugh, and we all do these days (what with war in Iraq, Paris Hilton finding God in a cell in Albequerque or wherever), check out the reviews of Pete Doherty's books on Amazon. I've never read it, and don't plan to (not a fan of Babyshambles myself), but some of the reviews are 'cracking' (I use the term from the 'Anglo' side of my 'Anglo Irish' persona.

Especially from "Lord Decider", in the UK. He said "I have ordered 53 of these books as I understand that they are written in his blood. According to my calculations that should use up about 8 pints of it and hopefully bring an end to the adoloscent dribblings of this smacked-up sub-Dickesian tossclump."

Then, there are his defenders, such as this one from a Ms Chant. She said "Why are sooo many people writing bad reviews without reading this book, that's like saying... "I don't like apples" with out every tasting one, I read quite a lot, stuff like Orwell's 1984 ect ect and I like this book allot , its a good insight into Pete and I think its great to hear the way he thinks and his opinions for a change rather the ill researched tabloid newstorys that people seem to focus on. There's some top poetry and a great inspiration Also as a graphic designer I found the style interesting and I like the unpredictable nature with collages, photos and newspaper cuttings along with the sketchbook style. I say if you like The Libertines, Pete Doherty or Babyshables you should buy it, or go listen to one of the many many many bands that are basically rip off of the libertines but are more "media" friendly. Anyways peace out :p Woody chant"

Mr Defender gets my vote, as I can't trust anyone that claims to like reading, uses overly onomatopoeic spelling ('soooo') then goes on to say "I read quite a lot, stuff like Orwell's 1984 ect, ect (sic)" Also, 'Peace out'. So many people say this and I don't know how to do it. I now refuse to learn.

I've just been directed to 'The Night Owl's' review, which beats the rest, hands down: 'I've been a fan of Dohertys since the early, cross-dressing days of Beverly hills 90210. The japes he got up to with Brandon, Fred Perry and the inflatible Tori Spelling kept me spellbound. In this book however, he lets himself down big-style. Charmed? I don't think so. '

SO, if you need a chuckle, check out the reviews here

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Train Passage

On the platform, a subliminal riot. They look all about them, as if not preparing to dive for the train the moment the doors open. The desired effect is to make others believe they want it more. To get on a train. This provides two means of triumph. First, and most obvious, was actually getting on the train first. Not only can you enjoy a more comfortable position, but you can also rub it into others' faces. Be careful with the latter, otherwise you may suffer from another enjoying the second triumph. The second triumph, is earned by recognising the diminished humanity in another - and having them recognise it in themselves. They dive for the train and get on first, you say ‘Well, what’s the big deal? I was looking out for this little old/pregnant/infirm lady.’ Well, don't say it. Just shoot them a look on your way in, and enjoy for precious few seconds – like a masturbatory orgasm – the feeling of superiority over your own species. Jesus must have felt something similar, on the cross.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

- Train Song -

My wife, who’s with child can't get a seat on this train!

And no one can see that we’re all to blame,

Unseen because we’re sleeping through bloody good reads

Her voice is drowned out by gigs of MP3s!

I was disgusted the first time I saw

An elderly woman, so brutally ignored

I felt like screaming from out of my seat

But left it, not wanting to cause such a scene

No wonder our silence subsides into violence

When we believe our manners give license

To ignore the very thing they're intended to defend

To act as a weapon in an everyday sense!

And so nodding off, with a book, with MP3s

We'll fuck someone over for a chance at a seat.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Whore out your daughters, war out your sons...

Once again, of course, the BBC News website has got me riled. This time, it's an article about Farfur, a Mickey Mouse lookalike in Palestine. This bizarre character, who is essentially Mickey Mouse with some (more?) subversive objectives was shown being beaten to death by an "Israeli agent". I beseech you to read the full article here.

This is a hideous use of propaganda directed toward children, the like of which we haven't seen in the West (bless us), since the Spice Girls convinced 7 year old girls that they needed wonder bras and 7 year old boys with big bits. But I find even more disconcerting the fact that the icon used - Mickey Mouse - is surely not just an "enemy of Islam" (given his status as one of the greatest American icons. Briefly, MM is one symptom of the rampant US cultural homogeneity that those who use terms like "enemy of Islam" indict), but is also an enemy of imagination, for children everywhere.

Mickey Mouse, like the Spice Girls, is a bizarre cultural phenomenon that propagandises children's imaginations. I know, I know, I'm taking it all a bit seriously. But think about it. If we allowed children to develop their own imaginations, based on their own cultural and historic identities, possibly we wouldn't need to import (or indeed 'plugin') such ideas as Mickey Mouse, the Spice Girls, ASBOs, the Royal Family, &c. If our children were left to their own imaginations, perhaps they would find in themselves the kind of cultural fluidity that would allow them their own identities, while also enjoying the culture of others, in the security that there is no 'lesser' or 'better' cultural identity. They could even enjoy Mickey Mouse, the Spice Girls and the Royal Family without having to integrate these cultural Big Macs into their own identities. I understand now that this argument is getting heavy, so I better move on to the dick jokes...

SO, a Catholic Priest, a Rabbi, and an Imam walk into Stephen's Green. To the scene they witness, each one turns to the other and says "I blame your god..."

Sorry, religious. We'll get to the dick joke now.

Let's have a chuckle about using of Mickey Mouse as an icon for propagandising children into some idea of Islamic supremacy. This bland identity, who is 79 this year has only a passing Irish dick joke as a point of real interest (his name is "Mickey Mouse" - think of the phone book listing - and his first hit was "Steamboat Willie" - think of the possible porn-a-like - and he wears pants with buttons at the front and back). I can hear now: "What's wrong with Mickey Mouse, except for the ludicrous name?" I can't honestly say that I don't see his appeal. As an 8 year old, I used to love Mickey Mouse, although no one would be surprised to learn I had more of an affiliation for Goofy. But here's the thing: as an 8 year old, I could enjoy these characters, however, they did not define me.

Our problem now is that so many of these images (let's not pretend they have the depth or even attempt to mean so much as an icon) are pushed out to our kids, and our kids think: this is an identity. Of course, I'm not saying children go through some kind of existential crisis, debating the pros and cons of this cultural, social and personal identity over that one (if your child is, drop me a mail, I know a great woman who can deal with that). The point is, this image can then be used to funnel political, religious and cultural ideals to children who have not yet learned to critique such messages. Children are idiots, I grant you that. That is why we need to be careful about what we say to them, what we push them toward, what we tell them is good and bad, and how we tell them.

The last thing I want to do here is endorse the idea that children should be bigged up so much. Children are, can be, and most probably will be shits in some of their time as children. It's their way. But now we celebrate their uninformed ideology (which is really naivety, because they are still new to this world), their 'I don't care' philosophy ('I don't know'), and, of course, their open views toward sexuality (Music videos, TV ads, billboards, movies, 'gossip' mags, newspaper ads, marketing campaigns). So much do we consider children a force to be reckoned with, that we've had to import (or 'plugin') the idea of ASBOs from Britain. It's a shame we can't import ('plugin') the idea of raising children from America, home of all these icons.

As a father to be, these things crowd my mind every day. I'm loathe to admit it, because what father wants to admit they're not sure how to deal with every conceivable situation that could be put to them every day of their (or more importantly, their children's) lives? How does one deal with the possibility that your child's imagination and identity will be hijacked and flown into some bizarre icon of 'modern life' that you (to be honest) could less than be bothered with. Yikes. I'm not trying to belittle 9-11. My point is that the Twin Towers, as an icon of a global economy, had very little impact on my day-to-day life. It affects me that thousands must needlessly die. However, if I were in New York, if 9-11 never happened and someone said to me "let's go up the twin towers!" I'd politely ask "Why?"

Back to the kids. Yes, the kids are our future. Yes, we enjoy the luxury of concerning ourselves with the idea of 'icons' and 'ideology'. It's great that we aren't starving to death, the way so many are - to be fair they're trying to be quiet about it. It's great that we wake up, thinking the only torture we have to endure is our working day (which does not generally include electrodes on testicles, random beatings, 'rushing', wet towels, sexual humiliation, &c.).

But, what do we teach our children? In front of Mickey Mouse, the Spice Girls, The Concert for Diana (which, I have spied out of the corner of my eye, includes Take That with a bunch of girls in thongs and basques) - that the image is the thing? That once the image provides a 'message', that they should accept it as truth? That the message should not be questioned? That they should masturbate, thinking of the Freedom they enjoy, despite the fact that they don't know what it means? I take no more joy in the idea of children masturbating than others would, but when 'mainstream' media includes thongs, cleavage, thrusting and gyrating the kind of which I haven't seen since "One Night In Paris" (a mainstay in my school), I wonder what my child, at age 8, thinks he's meant to do with (or to?) himself when he sees the latest pop act, gobshite 'reporter' or other 'pussy-lebrity'.

Yikes, I'm angry.

Let's do this: Let's agree we'll politicise our children when it matters - but not before. Let's enjoy the fact that we can, selfishly, spend time with our children, savour the cus cus in the local deli, run on the football pitches (so what if they're littered with cans, they shouldn't be, but the kid will learn soon enough that life is all about that - things that shouldn't be)

Let's teach children about the main political policies and focusses of any existing party in the country. Let's let them know what these parties are about. Let's not teach them whether this is 'Right' or 'Wrong', just that this is what they believe.

What about the kids in Palestine? With Mickey Mouse? What about them? I have no idea. I can't fix that, because I'm not from that region (and no one who is not from that region can really offer a real solution - fact.) I can't help. I'd love to give the advice above - don't let your children accept anything as 'truth' unless they have researched it themselves. Difficult? Fuck off. Between the Internet, and the multiple social networking sites available, children now have better access to information than ever before. Unfortunately, what demarcates the 'Truth' from 'Information' is generally based on parental guidance. And we put them in front of a gang of 'buy a wonderbra' gobshites and a cartoon character that wants to contribute to the Jihad.