Tuesday, October 29, 2013


I know our Nelly's out there. Across the icy lake. Amongst the frozen reeds. Hanging from the branches of a dead creaking tree.

I know our Nelly's out there. In the frosty murk. In the wind in the streets. Turning corners. Rattling our roofs and screaming down our chimneys.

I know our Nelly's out there. Playing with our children as an unseen friend. Standing over us as we sleep in our beds. Putting her face down close and inhaling our exhaling breath.

I know our Nelly's out there. Accidentally seen. Sometimes heard. Always dismissed. It couldn't have been her.

I know our Nelly's out there. A rumour on the internet. A campfire tale. A feeling like someone touched the back of your neck. A distant wail.

I know our Nelly's out there. Bang. Bang. BANGING on our doors in the dead of night. On the night of the dead. An echo of neglect.

I know our Nelly's out there. An injustice done. A rage unexpressed. An impending devastation, manifest.

I know our Nelly's out there and I know what to expect. A terrible revenge. She's coming to collect.

Friday, October 25, 2013


I am proud to be what I am and what I am is useless. I'm proud to be useless because a lot of 'useful' people out there seem pretty useless to me so I must be in good company. I admit that I'm surplus to requirements but, again, I don't actually require what is considered required and I don't think anyone really does require what is considered required, they just think they do because they were told they must. Do you follow me? I'm being playfully riddled, paradoxical and ambiguous but I am driving at something. Maybe it's not worth saying though. Maybe nothing is. I haven't figured that out yet. I find it hard to figure things out because once you figure something out you think you've figured it out but the truth is that you've just figured out one way of figuring it out from the infinite variables possible. It's like life in general. Let me put it this way, imagine a sum with an infinite amount of right answers and no wrong answers. Now, imagine that you can only do this sum once. You do the sum and you get it right. You think that you have figured out the sum and got the only right answer but you don't realise that you've only figured out one of the infinite ways to figure it out. You go around telling everyone else who gets other right answers that they have the wrong answer and they say the same to you and then there's trouble. Do you get what I mean there? I'm not sure I do myself. I've used that sum analogy before somewhere back there in the four plus years I've been keeping this blog. It's a good analogy, I think anyway. Or at least I think I think it is but can't be sure because I'm not. It's a fun analogy at least so I reckon it deserves another airing and this post seemed appropriate. Or maybe it wasn't. What do I know? I'm just typing this shit. It's you that's reading it so really it's all your fault.

But what was I talking about before I started talking about talking about it. Oh yeah, being useful. Well, it seems to me that a lot of people out there think of themselves as useful when in fact they aren't really. I mean, nurses and firemen and things like that are useful* but the rest of us are just suiting ourselves. We are not particularly useful just because we are employed in some possibly dubious way and contribute to an exchequer (going on about that really lacks class by the way) and we are not really required at all on a societal level. We are required and useful mainly in ways that remain uncelebrated. We are useful to those close to us and... christ, need I go on? This is so obvious to me. I guess what I'm trying to say is that you should quit defining yourself in the fiscal and labour unit terms that were culturally implemented for economic purposes before you were even fucking born and stop worrying about all your money being stolen by 'welfare scroungers' and just go out and dance around amongst the trees and the wind for a bit. No? Look out your window. Look at the trees in the wind. They want to dance with you. Will you not go out and dance with them? You probably would if they charged you for it. Then the activity would seem to have value right? It must be fun if it costs money, right? If it's free it's probably useless or a strange thing to do that will get you locked up in a hospital you can't afford, right?

Hmm. Are you still with me? Have you stopped reading yet? You can if you like. I don't even mind if you already have. If you haven't stopped reading but you'd like to stop then go ahead and stop. It's your life and you should do what you like with it. As long as you are doing what you like with it of course and not doing what others like you to do with it and thinking it's what you like to do with it. So, 'do what thou wilt' and that shall be the whole of the law. You may as well quit reading here in fact. This post is nearly over anyway and you won't be missing much. Seriously, log on to another site if you like. I'm only playing here anyway and as we have all been taught to know, playing is pretty useless, ...right? So you may as well go and do something more useful. Log on to or that fucking journal thing or something. Go on, I really don't mind. I'm not going to coerce you into finishing this piece. It looks to me like you've been coerced enough. But what do I know? Like I said already, I'm just typing this shit. It's you that's reading it so really it's all your fault.

(* in fact, nurses and firemen are probably useless too because they save the lives of useless people and what's the use in that? ...right?)

Monday, October 21, 2013


Health care cuts will incentivise the sick to get better. Facilitating the culture of illness is unfair on the tax payer. Malingering is no longer an option. Get up from your beds and show some self respect. I’m well. I like being well. It’s good to be well. Wouldn’t you like to be well? Let’s fight the infirmity trap! Don’t think about giving up! Quitting isn’t an option! We’re scrapping the body bag allowance so keep breathing! Keep the blood flowing! Let’s keep those hearts beating! Let’s Go Ireland! We’re turning the corner again! We’re back on track! One cochlear implant is more than enough! No more needless expenditure! Reform! Probity! Rugby! Amy Huberman! New shoes! Is Féidir Linn car stickers! This is Fugger’s 400th post! Can I have a job in public relations?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


A toothless man at the banquet, I didn't even try. I could have sucked on a cob of corn but the spectacle would be so grim that I thought it more dignified to feign disinterest. How hungry I was though at all those banquets but retaining what small amount of dignity I had superseded my howling appetite. Dignity is important to a man who has little of it. I was a figure of fun you see. Not just toothless but of diminished proportions, with crooked spine and vacant sac. The court freak, eunuch and fool. Designed specially to be a debased thing. Something so stigmatised as to have nothing to lose. A man debarred from full participation in life so as to better reveal, through mocking revelry, some unspoken truths. A safe outlet for unsafe notions, it was my role to play the jester and I was both happy and sad to do it.

I didn't much enjoy the ways of the court. The puffed up arrogance of the king and those who sat at his table was anathema to me. I made them laugh but found their guffaws unrewarding. I made my jokes for the friends I had, the dancers, the odd guard, the handmaidens – some of the latter I futilely held feelings for but all of whom glad eyed the handsome young prince and his trusty knave.

I would sit each night and await my turn. Unimpressed by the proceedings but finding solace in the glimpses of cloud moving across the beautiful moon in the high window above me. That was enough. Well almost enough. There was that and there was the thought of my final joke. A joke that was of such searing satiric wit and cruel honesty that it would upset the state of the court and make the king look a bigger fool than even I. A joke that would reduce this swaggering, self-entitled tyrant to a status lower than my own. My words would reveal him for what he truly was, nothing. Nothing at all but a big, fat, ignorant, vicious fool.

The night came when I was to make my joke. I had skirted dangerously close to this kind of thing before and earned myself a night in the stocks but tonight, this night, I was going to risk the noose. If my joke worked, and I was sure it would, I would be safe as the king would be the one deposed and dragged to the chopping block. I had seen and heard a lot because my eyes and ears were considered to be of no matter but that was an unwise assumption. Tonight I would reveal all.

My turn came and I took my position in the centre of the court. I rattled my bells and bowed and my audience both applauded and jeered. I inhaled deeply. I opened my mouth and my words, the words of my joke, came out. My words came out, one after another, and combined into a form of syntactical sedition the likes of which had heretofore never been heard. My joke flowed from my head and hung manifest before all. There was a silence. It was obvious that it was sinking in. And then came the laughter I had expected but not of the flavour I desired. A jester is so expert at soliciting laughter that he can tell the flavour of that laughter and this was the wrong kind. The laughter that ensued was not a laughter derisive of authority but a barely comprehending laughter of disbelief. How could this fool make such fanciful claims about one so honourable? They found the very notion absurd and that is why they laughed. Everyone laughed but no one got the joke. They didn't see the truth in it. I took my bow, went back to my corner and nothing changed at all.

Later that night, as the performing bear demeaned itself, I snuck from the court. I went out into the night and left the grounds. A guard who was a friend lowered the drawbridge for me and I exited the castle. On the other side I told the guard to pull the drawbridge up again. He asked if I was sure and I insisted that I was. He did so and then I was alone. The cold stone structure stood behind me, silently, and before me was the forest. A row of trees and between them only darkness. Thick black darkness. I did not know what awaited me amongst the branches and the trunks but I had heard that a place lay beyond. I had heard there was a light and that it led somewhere. I wasn't sure I believed it but I had to see if it was true. I had grown so tired of being the wrong shape. I had grown so weary of communicating through cryptic jest. Some loved me for it but that was no longer compensation enough. I thought how I would miss my friends and how I might never again see the moon. I walked ahead nonetheless. Whether this dark forest lead me to somewhere or lead me to nowhere, it would lead me to freedom.

And lead me to freedom the forest did for the moment I stepped through its foliage I was set upon and beheaded by a large black bear – the furious mother of the one performing inside the castle. I knew this bear was the other's mother because, as I entered the world of spirits, I knew all. I rose up and looked down. I saw through the stone castle walls and saw the court without me. I saw through the flesh and into the souls of the men and women within and I saw that I was sorely missed, even by the king. Yes, the king was the one who missed me most. I was his only release from the pomposity he was forced to observe by lineage. The swagger and arrogance was all an act. Within the rolls of royal fat there resided a man who longed to be loved and not feared. He had to put a face on it because inside his heart wept and no one wants a weeping king. He so enjoyed my mockery of him as he considered it mockery of the false him, an outward self that he too despised. He even had disdain for the way he was forced to put me in the stocks the odd time lest I topple his crown. A king without a crown is a dead man. He was so fearful and lonely. He needed me as did all the others. The handmaidens whose heartbreaking unrequited glad eyeing of the prince and his knave would at best be rewarded by perfunctory and mechanistic copulation because the prince and his knave had, in fact, a great loneliness of their own to endure for they were glad eyeing each other. A forbidden desire that would bring disgrace and was punishable by death. The guards who were to stand all day and appear fierce had sorrow in their hearts too for all they wanted was to rest and drink and sing a while like those they protected. The dignitaries of the court who bit into the meat and drank heartily from the goblets were also miserable for they were something that would one day come to be called bulimic and they would end each evening discretely vomiting into the moat. Not only that but they were only pretending to revel for fear that to be seen to do otherwise would cause them to be suspected malcontents. 
Oh, such a palace of melancholy.

And I perceived, as I faded from the physical plane, that I was regarded by those in the court not as something debased but as themselves distilled. They loved me because I was a manifestation of the honest parts of themselves. I could say what they truly thought for them and they could laugh at the world and at themselves. I was not some diminutive, hunched, emasculated figure of fun that served as a safe outlet for unsafe thoughts. Nay, I was a tonic. I was something to help see them through their days. Days that comprised of so much pity, fear and despair concealed so as to preserve some semblance of dignity. Oh dignity, it had meant so much to me once and how I realise now that it was chief contributor to my discontent. I should have rejoiced in my lack of dignity and encouraged others to do the same. They deserved as much, the wretches, but I had abandoned them. I had taken light from what small amount there was in that stone construction in the centre of the dark forest that goes on and on and on, all around, for as far as the eye can see. I had forsaken my calling and I was imbued with bitter regret as I ascended toward my beautiful friend the moon.

I took one last look down and I saw that there was some happiness in the court at least but just a sliver. This small happiness was found in the performing bear for the bear knew that soon his persecutors would collapse from inebriation and that, even though tethered by a chain, he could reach out with his claws and gut every last one of them before the guards got to him. This was the last thing I saw as I followed the light away from the world and it gladdened me some because I knew that soon I would be entertaining my friends again when we gathered together in the happier court of the hereafter.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


The weekend supplement, it's just copy really. You just type stuff for people to read over a coffee. It doesn't have to be that interesting. It can be a bit interesting if you like but that might take a while to get together and you've other stuff to be doing like going out to dinner or maybe staying in and having a bottle of wine. Maybe you could write an amusing piece about staying in and having a bottle of wine. Amusing, not funny. Staying in for dinner and having a bottle of wine is the new going out for dinner and having a bottle of wine. Yeah. Or maybe some pop cultural nostalgia. List the ten best Irish bands of the eighties or movie sequels that were better than the first film. Or you might review something everyone else is reviewing. I also hear there's a new organic food market on the open top of a double decker that travels South County Dublin. Email the guy that set it up and get a few quotes. Or maybe just rehash a few received urbane wisdoms, the consensus of the cognoscenti. What Richard Did is the best Irish film of all time. Hmm, top ten moments in What Richard Did. Or maybe something about somebody who happens to be a kind of 'somebody'. What next for Kathryn Thomas? Or you might fancy providing a chuckle, not a laugh - too boisterous, just a chuckle. How about a bit on funny ads from the eighties? Or how about just words, any words that come to mind. Any old words in any kind of order. Does it even matter what order? Does it even matter if the words are in order? Does it? Does even it order matter the if words in are? Just type and cut and paste words and reach the word count. Clogs are popular again. There's a French Film Festival on or maybe something about speed dating or something or something else or something. Hmmm. Have we done speed dating this quarter? Let's do speed dating then. Go to an event or pretend you did. Rosanna Davison attended an Osteoporosis fund raiser. Almost reaching requested word count now. Hmm, ...ideas - puff pieces and light pieces - Ryan Tubridy's quirky/ironic garden gnome collection. Weightier piece - 'What's Troubling Joe?' about Joseph O'Conner. Get a picture of Joseph O'Conner staring moodily into middle distance on Dunlaoghaire seafront. That might work. Or what's Mahdi al-Harati up to these days? What does a brave rebel do on a Sunday afternoon? Maybe a piece called 'At Home with Al-Harati'. Does he still live in Firhouse? Check it out. Lots of ideas there. Nothing too, y'know, engaging in that demanding way. Just stuff to set the brain in neutral and coast. The advocacy of complacency. We all deserve it. We work hard. Our brains get tired. We spend enough time thinking. Thinking is something you should only do to make money. There's no other reason to be bothered with thinking. That's what I think. But enough thinking. There's copy to be produced. The meat of culture must be mechanically separated and made digestible. It isn't that hard a task.

The main thing to remember is not to spill wine on your laptop.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Being the richest and most powerful man on Earth he thought exclusivity his due. He built a city where he alone could afford to live. He called his new home Solitaire because he was all by himself there. He was happy there and thought he'd rather be nowhere. He was the envy of everyone everywhere.
The streets of Solitaire were so clean without people. So very nice and quiet. No conflict. None of the coercion of collectivism. No ideologies being dreamt up to seduce or disturb him. Just mellowness. What was there to miss? He had all the amenities and none of the enmity. He had unity, true unity, the unity of one. It was a kind of capitalistic Zen. His sense of self permeated the whole place. If Solitaire was a tuning fork it would have sounded out his name and vibrated with his psyche alone. Wherever he went, he was there. It was lovely. Others had always frustrated him with their inefficiency and begrudgery so he had worked and earned and invested and traded until he was free of them. Now he could live in a utopia based on love, love for oneself. In fact, he married himself. He rented the function room of the big hotel he owned from himself and had a lovely service where he pledged to honour and obey himself. Then he put a ring on himself and kissed himself and applauded himself. He was best man too. He also officiated and gave himself away to himself. It was a great day and afterwards he brought himself on honeymoon around the corner to another part of Solitaire where there was an artificial beach that was better than the real thing because there were no people there or creepy fish in the water, just flowing crystal chlorine and the sound of his echoing laughter. After the honeymoon he returned to his penthouse that overlooked the whole city and carried himself over the threshold. Well, that wasn't quite possible so he just kind of wrapped himself in his own arms and skipped over the threshold instead. In any case, it was very romantic. How happy he was, for a while at least.

Over time, the magic often goes from a marriage and his was no exception. He grew bored of himself, his little habits and routines. Whereas once he thought it magical that he knew what he was about to say, he now found it tiresome. The predictability of himself drove him to distraction. He also stopped making love himself and as a consequence felt both revolted and rejected by himself. Once again, he was alone but, unlike other couples, he could not separate. He couldn't even sleep in a different room.

There was only one thing for it, an extreme action but he would take it. He plotted to murder himself. He hired himself to assassinate himself. He thought everything would go to plan as long as he didn't find out but then he realised he knew. Foiled. Furious. Frustrated. He had only one option left. He had to just put a brave face on it. To try and think positive. To remind himself that he was the envy of everyone else. And that was when he started to miss other people. He missed their envy. He realised that this was what made him feel valid. Envy and another thing. A murky thing that was gradually making itself known by its absence. A vague thing that could only be found in other people. Other people - they had ruined things again and they didn't even have to be there to do it. He cursed other people because he needed other people. What was he without other people? Nothing. He was nothing and in Solitaire he was nowhere. He longed to be somewhere else. Where the rest of us are.

But to return to the land of others would be to admit failure. Although he wanted nothing more, the shame would be too great. He pinned a final note to the rail of his penthouse balcony before leaping over it. His last hope was that he'd find the note and understand it as a warning to himself not to end up as he did. Of course, he didn't consider that he would never get to read the note on account of him being a crumpled heap on the plaza below. The note is still there now, flapping in the breeze, its inky words fading, destined to remain unread and saying the following -
'For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.'