Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Think inside the box...

When he goes to sell it... He can say it was never taken out of the box.

When the beach is full... feel free to use the car park

Kerry.  I inquire about windsurfing lessons. The young woman behind the counter happily informs me that it will cost €40 for a two-hour lesson.
"You spend the first 15 minutes on the stimulator" she says.
Just supposing it's not a mispronunciation. What if they really have the machine? Imagine something from one of the early Woody Allen movies, all chrome and stainless steel springs and red button-studded leather. I take a look in my wallet. It has to be worth €40 to find out.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The App-ostolic Church

It's Sunday morning. Grab the kids and head for a place of worship.  

How about the Pristine Chapel where the centerpiece is not a cross, but a glorious white apple with a chunk taken out. 

Souls ascending on a crystal staircase... 

 It's like the Rapture.  With merchandise.

Here's one I prepared earlier...
Published, Aug 7th, 2012

One Of A Kind

My mother bought a “strange” full-length fur coat at a tag sale in Hacketstown in March. It has proven to be very controversial.

Of course, she loves creating a bit of a stir. Twenty-five years ago she fell off a balcony at a U2 concert, dressed as Lieut Uhura from Star Trek. (Bono gamely tried to catch her. For his trouble he ended up with three broken ribs and a Phaser wedged so far up the wazoo he had to write a song about it: I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.)

People are pointing in the street. The local newspaper has received countless letters of complaint. The coat has driven some to fury, and others to tears, but mother is not in the least upset; in fact, she seems to relish the scorn and the enmity.

My sister, Carolina Moon, confronted her on the matter. She asked her, straight up: “Why are you wearing that thing?”
“You don’t like it?”
“Nobody in town likes it.”
My mother nuzzled the coat and laid on her best Zsa Zsa Gabor accent. “Well, I think it’s rather fabulous, dahrlink. What do you not like? Is it the shape?”
“It’s not the shape.”
“The buttons?”
“The buttons are fine.”
Mother flounced in front of the mirror and narrowed her eyes, so that she might see a younger reflection. “Does it make me look fat?”
“No. That was the children and the chocolate.”
Mother seemed genuinely baffled. “I’m confused. So it must be the colour?”
“The colour is part of the problem.”
“Which one bothers you the most? Is it the black or the white?”
At this point, Carolina Moon could take no more; she exploded in rage. “Mother,” she screamed, “Don’t you understand? The coat, it’s panda! PANDA!! P-A-N-D-A!!!
“Yes,” replied mother, stroking a sleeve, “and probably virgin too. You know what they’re like. It’s definitely not a reproduction.”

Carolina Moon collapsed in a tearful heap on the floor. Mother, whether out of honest hunger or sheer badness (the truth may never be known), went to the local Chinese restaurant, dressed in her best, and, in full view of the horrified locals, ordered a triple portion of bamboo shoots.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

This is Ireland #3

Dublin airport at five in the morning...

One immigration official to check a plane-load of foreign passports. The man in front of me remarks that all the empty security booths remind him of a derelict race-course, except there is no one to say, "and they're off". Because, of course, we aren't off. We just stand around on the pasture of polished terrazzo, snorting and stamping to keep the circulation moving.

In the airport cafe, you can get five breakfast items for €7.50, but a couple from Texas wonder aloud if two slices of toast constitute one item. "Yes", says the foreign national behind the counter, clearly in tune with Irish logic, "two is one".

The sun is coming up on Terminal 2. The taxis are pulling up in their droves. The girl at the breakfast counter has decided to try a new approach with a couple of English tourists looking for scrambled egg on toast. She puts two slices side by side on the plate and cheerily announces "one-and-one is one."

It's good to be home.

This is Ireland #2

A Kilkenny Pub at 5 PM...

On my right, a shaved-bald man, his wife and daughter. The Man orders a pint, his wife a G&T; the little girl asks for a Club Orange. When the order arrives, the bald Dad picks up the register receipt and comments on the shocking price of Club Orange.

"Drink that slowly," he says as he swigs from the pint of Carlsberg.

A child with a straw turns into a sucking sinkhole when confronted with a sugary concoction. When I was a kid, the straws were the size of acupuncture needles and it didn't matter if you had lips like Louis Armstrong, a 7UP could easily last a whole weekend.

Opposite me, a nervous man with folded arms drinks a vodka and water. He covers one ear as if he's about to launch into Irish song. His companion, a large woman with silver hair, drinks an Irish coffee and whispers suggestively into his open ear. His expression never changes.

At the bar, three old men sipping their drinks, two of which are red wine. Red wine? What happened to pints of porter? When did we start allowing the elderly to sample the fruits of foreign vineyards? What are we trying to do?  Scare away the tourists.

before the Americans arrive, break out the Guinness, the tweed coats, and the battered hats. Hide the satellite telly. Somebody, for God's sake, start a fight.

This is Ireland

A while back I spent a couple of days on a photo shoot where the star was a bottle of whiskey...

A darkened warehouse in Meath. The star is perched on a cask, centre stage. A dozen creative types huddle around a monitor.

There’s a problem with the lighting: One of the strobes misfires. The star looks off-colour, slightly anaemic. The lighting is corrected. "Smoke!" Shouts a voice, and the air is filled with condensed glycol, fanned with a sheet of hardboard. The star emerges from the mist, erect, sophisticated, one of our finest products.

The camera clicks and the image refreshes. A dozen heads lean in to check the results, and then one voice speaks for all. - "We need fire!!"

Enter the special-effects crew, led by a man who has seen action with Boorman and Kubrick. He pulls levers, twists knobs and entertains the crowd with tales of mishaps on the set of Barry Lyndon. Rings of flame rise inside specially prepared casks.

"Where are the sparks?"Outside, cauldrons of coal are cooked and poked until they streak like meteor tails into the night sky.

The ice cubes, made from crystal, are polished like gemstones, then plinked into place, then re-arranged until they look casual. Nonchalant. Too cool to melt.

The whiskey isn't sparkling. Somebody suggests apple juice. Apple juice is located, but it's cloudy.
"What else looks like apple juice?"
This question is met with a shuffling silence because everybody knows the answer, but nobody volunteers to pee in the bottle. Yet.

People taking pictures of people taking pictures

Our lives have turned into a great big rectal examination, but the funny thing is this:  It’s the assholes who are wielding the cameras.

Dumb in any language

I don't hate many words, 
but there's one that really manages to get my back up.

I lived in France for three years and never once heard the word 'entrepreneur', but this morning, on RTE radio, it burst forth at least forty times.

A couple of men were blathering on about the exciting, challenging, adventurous, lonely and not always properly rewarded, life of the entrepreneur. They spoke like a couple of battle hardened soldiers. Their wives understood. Their families made sacrifices. Such is the life of an Irishman with a career denoted by a French noun.

An entrepreneur is “A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk”.

In other words, what we English speakers used to call a fucking businessman.

Avoca Store, Rathcoole

A woman with a twelve-year-old insouciant daughter dawdling behind her; both sipping coffee from paper cups.  -- At what age should you introduce your kids to drugs?  Here's a rough guide:

Nicotine and caffeine at 13.
G&T, no later than 14
Cocaine for the Junior Cert
Heroin for the Leaving.