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Sunday, December 28, 2014

FUGGER POST 500!


(pictured: an earlier example)

This is it, the 500th post on Fugger, the people's blog (as long as that person is me). Post 500 is the last post of 2014 and Fugger is rampaging into its sixth year so what better time than now to look back on the classic posts of the past ...and boy what a past. It may be only six years online but let's not the forget the previous several million years during which Fugger told it like it is and raised a few chuckles along the way.

The first ever Fugger blogpost, ever, the first one EVER, was made by me when I was just a primordial mollusc. It was all about the latest craze that had hit the primordial mollusc world. That craze was 'movement'. 'You can go and get food, it's great,' blogged the mollusc me. 'No longer do you have to be stuck on a rock next to the same gobshite for the rest of your existence. With the power of movement you can start to sidle away from him and within a month or so he'll be four or maybe even four and half feet away,' evangelised the blogging mollusc that was I. The comments section beneath my inaugural mollusc post were less than enthusiastic (I used to get comments back then). 'It'll never catch on,' said another mollusc. 'Sorry, I hoped that I'd enjoy your blog but this is ridiculous,' pointed out yet another mollusc, 'movement requires too much energy and you have to eat to get that energy and the very act of eating itself uses up all the energy we get from it.' 'Hmm,' thought the molluscy me, 'Im off to a rough start.'

The blog didn't really pick up until I slithered out from the ocean and started to leave my posts in patterns in wet sand that I made with my franticly wriggling eel like body. Other organisms enjoyed my observations on how the sun came up and went down and how the sea went in and went out and how it's all really boring and we should expect more from existence. Then the limbs came and I started scratching my blogposts on rocks that eventually became cave homes that became rudimentary constructs that then became pyramids. Yes, a lot of those hieroglyphics are Fugger posts. Mainly taking the piss out of pharaohs and that.

Over time, Fugger has charted the follies and triumphs of our species. The invention of the wheel, the invention of the gun, space exploration and shite telly. I've said quite a lot and sometimes I wonder when I'll have said enough but then something comes along and I say something else. There is always more to say and there will be more and more ways to say it and the ways to indulge what is being said will evolve also for we are reaching a new time. A time when things are destroyed and new things are created. A significant time. A time that is already well underway. Everything we know is changing and change is coming faster than ever before and there is more and more and more of it. Soon, before you know it, we will have as much in common with who we are now as who we are now has in common with the primordial molluscs we once were. We are being led somewhere to create something that is currently beyond our comprehension. We were brought about to bring something about and that something really will be quite something.

To find out what that 'something' will be you will have to join me for the next blogpost, Fugger post 501. The first post of 2015. The first post of the new age. I'm going to let you know the destiny of humanity. I'm going to let you know why we are here and what awaits us. Seriously. The time has come. The day is upon us. Steel yourselves. We are emerging from the sea again.

Friday, December 19, 2014

A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE FROM FUGGER


(Pictured: 'Togetherness')

Christmas is all about 'togetherness' but this is a special Christmas message to those of you who will be alone this Christmas. Fugger would like to remind those of you who will be alone this Christmas that you will be alone this Christmas. Alone. All alone. There is no point putting up decorations because no one will see them. You are alone. You are alone because your friends and family are dead or because no one likes you. The only voices you will hear will be the voices on the telly or on the radio or at the other end of a brief/strained telephone conversation. Whatever the case, you will be alone so you should prepare yourself to be alone. Quite alone.

Being alone at Christmas is not easy. There are special dinners in hotels and so on for people who are alone at Christmas but attending these dinners just makes you feel more alone. You see the other people there, in their desperation and unlikeability, and you realise that you are just like them and that is why you are alone. When you are alone it is sometimes best to remain alone. When I die, I want to be alone. I would hate to die in a blazing building or on a crashing plane with other people panicking and carrying on and making the whole thing worse. Going to a Christmas dinner for people who are alone is like dying in a plane crash or a big fire. If you are alone at Christmas it is best to dine alone just as it is best to die alone. It is more dignified. It is more peaceful. It is slightly less horrific.

When you are alone at Christmas you at least have the company of your thoughts. Having said that, you will probably be thinking about how alone you are. You will not even be able to comfort yourself with the thought that other people are thinking about you in your aloneness because they won't be. Even the ones who say they will be won't be because they will be having a good time or involved in a row or something. At least you won't be involved in a row at Christmas when you are alone at Christmas because you will be alone at Christmas. Although, it is probably even better to be involved in a row than it is to be alone. Being alone is one of the worst things of all and being alone at Christmas is actually the very worst thing of all. It is worse than being tortured. You are alone. Alone. Alone with your thoughts about how alone you are. You won't even be able to concentrate on the Christmas episode of Doctor Who properly because all the characters will seem to be saying is the word 'alone' over and over.

Alone.

In my effort to firmly establish the fact that you will be alone at Christmas and how alone you will be at Christmas, I, Fugger, the people's blogger, realise that I have not done enough provide you with some comfort. I will do so now. The comfort is this: I love you. Fugger loves you. I may not even know you but I do love you. I love you 'alone' Christmas bastards and I will be thinking of you. It's true. Really. Even if you don't believe me, just pretend that you do. There's no harm in pretending. Christmas is all just pretend anyway. Everyone pretends at Christmas so just join in. It's Christmas for God's sake. It's just a load of pretend shite with pretend snow and flashing lights that don't even work half the time. Everyone is pretending at Christmas and everyone is alone at Christmas. Everyone. Alone. In fact, everyone is alone all the time.

Everyone is alone.

But at least they have someone to pull a cracker with.

(Oh, and the above applies to your birthday too. Don't forget, you'll be alone then as well.)

Sunday, December 14, 2014

GET THE JOB DONE (rumination of a philosophical dog)


I suppose, now that I've had 'the job' done on me, I don't spend so much time thinking about riding next door's setter. I have time to think about other things. Bigger things. Imagine if we could take ourselves for walkies. Where would we go? Would we wander off to some wonderful world where dogs rule and take the two-legs for walkies? Is that why the two-legs keep us on leads and locked in gardens? Do the two-legs fear that we will find this other land, the Dog Land, and rise up and bite the two-legs and avenge ourselves upon them for giving us 'the job'?

And what exactly is in that stuff that comes out of the cans and how does it differ to the stuff that comes out of my arse? Is there any difference? The two seem related somehow. They kind of taste the same.

And why do I bother marking territory? Who am I kidding? I don't own any part of this world. This world will keep on spinning long after I'm gone. The barking will continue. Bikes will still be chased and sticks retrieved. And those that haven't had 'the job' done on them will still have puppies and those puppies will grow up and the whole furry debacle will continue. But to what aim? For what purpose? Are we all just, literally and figuratively, chasing our tails?

And why are cats such arseholes? Why do the two-legs like them so much? All they do is, ...well, not very much. And the disdain, the permanent disdain on their faces. I reckon the two-legs hate themselves and like to have something around that hates them too. The two-legs feel they deserve no better. The two-legs can only love something that hates them. The two-legs can't love something that loves them back. The two-legs can't even respect something that is stupid enough to love them. Maybe cats have it right after all. Maybe I should behave like a cat. I don't think my face can do disdain though. It can just do mouth and eyes open or mouth and eyes closed. I do look kind of stupid I suppose.

I have my share of regrets. These things frequently come to mind. Awful regrets Why did I roll in shit that time? Why? I upset everyone. It was such an inconsiderate thing to do. Am I an inconsiderate dog? Is that why they did 'the job' on me, so I wouldn't sire inconsiderate pups? No, the two-legs like inconsiderate things. Cats are inconsiderate and the two-legs can't get enough of cats. The two-legs relate to inconsiderate things. If you are considerate, the two-legs just think you are stupid.

The two-legs are complex things. Dogs are not complex. This is why the two-legs rule but I would not swap places with the two-legs. They make the most elementary things so very complicated. The simple pleasures of life, chasing a stick or a bike, riding your one next door, displaying affection, all of these things come with so much other stuff for the two-legs. Other stuff that I will never understand. And the two-legs have other needs too. Needs beyond canine comprehension. Things to do with things they have invented. Things they don't even need. I remember once the two-legs bought me a toy. It was a kind of rubber thing in the shape of a bone and I remember how they said I was stupid because I preferred a real bone that one of them left on a plate. And then they fought because one had wasted something called 'money' on the fake rubber bone and the other said they should have bought something called 'scratch cards' instead. I remember seeing the cat peering at the two-legs with scorn that time and I remember understanding her contempt. I could never feel such hate though. Loving may be stupid but it's much more fun. But I do now know that I'd rather have four legs than two, even if that makes me dumb. And I sometimes also think, maybe the two-legs are the ones that should get the job done.

Monday, December 8, 2014

A BOX OF TRUTH


When he was just a small child, his father showed him the tiny box. He was sat by the fire, drying after a swim in the lake, when his father produced it. The box was shaped like a coffin. His father told him that there was a piece of paper in the box and written on that piece of paper was the truest thing that a man had ever written and that a man could ever read. The man said to the boy, 'my father's father gave it to my father and my father gave it to me and now I am giving it to you. You can open it and read it any time you want. Today, tomorrow, years from now or not all. It is not an easy thing to know the truth but it is something you may someday need.'

The boy did not open the box that day or the next day or for weeks, months and years. As the boy grew to a man, he would just look at the box on the mantel. He felt a strange fear of it. Once, when he was drunk, he almost opened the box. But he didn't. He almost opened the box again on the day of his father's death. But he didn't. And he almost opened the box again when he returned from the war. But he didn't. And he almost opened it a fourth time when he became a father himself. But he didn't. Then, when his son had reached the age he was when his father presented the box to him he almost opened the box again, to read what was in it before bestowing it upon his son. But he didn't. And his son didn't either. And it sat there, a frightening thing, upon the mantel.

Finally the day came when he did open the box. It was the day his own son died. 'What could be worse than this?' he wondered and then he realised that he felt no fear of the box. The truth held nothing over him now but for the promise of some consolation. After all, his father had told him that despite not being an easy thing to know, the truth is something you may someday need. He never needed anything more than he needed something this day so he opened the box. He saw a slip of paper in the box and he took it out. He read what was written on the slip of paper. There were four words written on the paper. The first word was 'all'. The second word was 'men'. The third word was 'are' and the final word was 'liars'. He read those four words over and over and over again and then he placed the slip of paper back inside the coffin shaped box and closed it. Then he recalled how, just hours earlier, his son had mustered the courage to open the box and read what was in it before him. And he recalled how his son went out from the house and walked straight into the lake.

(Inspired by Louis MacNeice's The Truisms)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

SELF-ASSEMBLY THE MOVIE

SELF-ASSEMBLY from Ray Sullivan on Vimeo.
Ray Sullivan's film of the Windell comic of the nightmare you are going to have.

Monday, November 24, 2014

...SAID THE DAY


'Every day,' said the Day, 'I make it day so you can find your way through the day until the fall of night when you turn off the light and get hopelessly lost again.'

Monday, November 17, 2014

THE JUDGEMENT BIRD


Do you remember the Judgement Bird? Remember? It was in Dublin Zoo. It was a huge thing with dark grey feathers and deep set eyes that peered straight into your soul. It usually just stood there with its wings all folded up but when it extended them it was a sight to behold. The span was enormous, like some mighty cloak it could wrap you in and you'd never see the sun again. It was night time under those wings. It was the world before light.

We all made the pilgrimage. We'd queue up and watch the Judgement Bird as it watched us. Judging us. Silently calling us to account. Feelings of great guilt would befall all who looked upon the Judgement Bird. There would be sudden sobs and confessions. 'I slept with your missus', 'I diverted the funds', 'I cogged me maths ekker', that sort of thing. Politicians and various establishment figures seemed reluctant to visit the zoo around that time. There was even an attempt made on the Judgement Bird's life but the assassin broke down and took his own life instead. I heard John Charles McQuaid curled into a ball and rocked to and fro for four days just after seeing the Judgement Bird on the telly.

There was something in the Judgement Bird's eyes. Something primeval, something pure and atavistic, irrefutably authentic and devoid of mercy. Something that spoke of a world lost to us or perhaps even rejected by us. The Judgement Bird seemed to be from an angry Eden. No one actually knew where it was from. It wasn't captured or anything. It just landed in the monkey enclosure. The monkeys were quite deferential where it came to the Judgement Bird and shared their food with it. The zoologists didn't have a clue what type of bird it was exactly. They guessed it was some kind of crane or a stork but who knows? It looked a bit like a giant vulture to me. An ornithologist lost three fingers approaching the Judgement Bird so it was left alone after that.

Even people who didn't do anything wrong felt guilty when they met the gaze of the Judgement Bird. They said that they felt incriminated for behaving themselves in the wrong way, in the way of man, a corrupted way. 'You are not good', the Judgement Bird seemed to say to them, 'you are just scared, obsequious and indoctrinated.' Only very small children enjoyed visiting the Judgement Bird. Everyone else dreaded it but felt compelled to return to it again and again. 'It's like confession', said one visitor, 'only it's God on the other side of the grille and not some dreary old hypocritical bollix'.

The day came when the Judgement Bird took off. First it did a dance of sorts, stretching out its legs, moving around in a staccato fashion and throwing its head about. Storm clouds, great and black, gathered above as it performed. Then the Judgement Bird opened its wings and lifted up and soared away. It was swallowed up by the premature night it had summoned. It never came back.

The Cosgrave government had all footage of the Judgement Bird immediately destroyed. The only thing rumoured to remain of the Judgement Bird is a long streak of silver shite it left behind that was smuggled from the zoo by one of the lads that cleaned out the enclosures. If you know who to ask, you can get brought to a secret place where you can look at the Judgement Bird's shite. They say there's a queer smell off the shite and when you inhale it you're left with the tremendous sensation that we've all let ourselves down. This sensation is said to be accompanied by another feeling, a premonition of sorts is how it is described. It's said that upon smelling the shite of the Judgement Bird you are possessed with an unnerving certainty that the Judgement Bird will return and, when that day comes, it will not be alone.

Friday, November 7, 2014

SWEETHEART COME


If you look at things close up, really close up, they cease to be what they seem to be. A person stops being a person with arms and legs and a torso and a head and becomes a vast epidermal surface instead. Look even closer and even this understanding is lost. Closer up than close up, everything becomes an indivisible hubbub of subatomic particles. We might see a room but really there is no furniture, no ceiling, no floor, no window and no door. At the most micro of micro levels the room is all just trashing static but on our macro level it takes on the illusion of separate objects. It's like a Monet painting, it's an incomprehensible mess close up and only makes sense at a distance. This distance from real reality is the range we operate on. We all know it but we put the knowledge of the eternal fuzz out of our heads. We operate under a required interpretation of 'reality' that is actually an illusion. We pretend that the world is an arrangement of things with contexts. To approach existence in any other way would drive us crazy.

Are you with me? Do you understand what I'm saying? Do you agree? You kind of have to agree. You've no choice. It's the truth. It's reality, really.

The above image is an extract from a letter written by a German woman called Emma Hauck. Considered insane, Emma was committed to a mental institution where she lived out what remained of her life. Emma had lost the ability to see things on our macro range. All context had broken down for her. She was being swallowed by the subatomic hiss, the eternal fuzz of what reality really is. It must have been like sinking in quicksand and she was calling out to be rescued. She was calling out to the memory of the thing that gave her life meaning. That thing was love.

On proper examination, you can make out that Emma wrote the same two words over and over and over again; a simple phrase in her native language, 'herzensschatzi komm'. It means 'sweetheart come'. Emma's letter was to the father of her two children. Emma sat and wrote 'sweetheart come' over and over and over again. The words, the punctuation and the letters merge and end up looking like the static snow on an old television screen. Did you know that the snow on old televisions is leftover radiation from the Big Bang, the Big Bang that created all reality? It is. I'm not sure if that's relevant but I thought I'd mention it in case it is relevant. Very relevant. Anyway, Emma wrote a great many letters like the one pictured above. She sat and wrote them all day. All day, every day. None Of Emma's letters were ever sent.

Now, I want you to imagine that you're sitting and listening to static emitting from a receiver of some sort. I want you to imagine that you are listening out for the voices of those trapped in Limbo. Imagine you hear the words 'sweetheart come' repeated over and over, lost amongst the hiss. Imagine you hear this pleading from a ghost. A ghost trying to communicate to a memory, a memory of a meaning, a meaning called love.

'Sweetheart come, sweetheart come, sweetheart come, sweetheart come', over and over in the eternal fuzz. Oh my. My oh my. Tell me now about this reality. Has it broken your heart yet?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

THE REBEL


Tattoos. Piercings. Dressed in black. Playing Xbox. The counter-cultural rebel. Hates 'skangers'. Collects Marvel comics. Almost voted once but didn't bother. 
Not out of principle, it was just raining. 
Has a thing for things with skulls on them. Smokes from this fucking huge bong. 
Calls people 'douches' but mainly online. The movie Fight Club changed his life. 
Read most of The God Delusion, well some of most of it. Has the gist of it. 
Mentions it on the LiveLeak comments where he has a Family Guy avatar and likes to wage the occasional flame war. 
Used to play bass in a band called Sinister Decay. Never heard of Jean-Claude Trichet. 
Does IT for the IDA. Can name every hold in MMA. Hasn't been tested but reckons his IQ must be high. Has a Guy Fawkes mask but doesn't know why.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

PASSING THE BABY


'Passing the baby' was the chief custom of the Hahananawup people. A Hahananawup child would be born and held and caressed by its mother before being passed to its father who would cuddle the infant and then pass it to its grandparents who would cradle the little one before passing it to its uncles and aunts who would display affection in the usual way and then pass the newborn to cousins who would say 'ahh would you look the darlin little thing' or whatever before passing it to their friends who would show an obligatory amount of enthusiasm before passing the baby to friends of theirs who would display customary endearment and then pass the youngster to others who, by this stage, would be complete strangers to the infant's parents. The baby would continue to be passed from one person to another until it vanished from the lives of its mother and father completely, not to be seen again for at least four decades.

This would happen with every baby born into Hahananawup society, resulting in a whole population of people passing each other around. Of course, as a baby grew to adulthood the reactions of those it was passed to would change. Instead of pinching the baby's cheeks and saying 'coochie coochie coo', the Hahananawup people would offer polite conversation and ask the former baby how things are going or maybe say something about the weather.

It is thought that the custom of passing the baby brought about the end of the Hahananawup people. Hahananawups were not able to incorporate careers into their lives of being passed around so any chance of forming even the most rudimentary economy was remote. Consumption of food must have been difficult too but that matters little when one considers that there was no food to consume. Farming and hunting were close to impossible for a people being perpetually passed around and passing around others, to say nothing of attempts at procreation. The Hahananawup civilisation was a short lived one. As a people, they were just a throng of bodies jumping in and out of each other's arms, growing weaker all the time and suffering from the contagious conditions that the baby passing tradition facilitated. It is thought that the Hahananawup people only survived for two generations after adopting the custom of baby passing. We can work out what happened from the records of other societies who observed the Hahananawup at the time and from the remains of the Hahananawup themselves. Ah yes, ...the remains. A troglodyte city, empty but for a meshed heap of skeletons. The birds don't sing in the home of the Hahananawup but the wind whistles eerily as it moves through that colossal lattice of bones.

When the Hahananawup people and their custom of 'passing the baby' comes to mind, we are forced to consider the consequences of doing something just because everyone else is doing it. Some of our most treasured and adhered to customs might too be nothing more than really really really dumb fucking ideas. I suppose that's the moral of the story. Not that stories should have morals. Stories should just make people think and let them decide for themselves. But that's a story for another day. Until then, keep passing the baby.

And now a short film...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

OBJECTS


There's no one left in the world. No one at all. But the cars still drive and the trains still arrive and depart and announcements still crackle from Tannoy's but from no one's mouth and for no one's ears. Products are still manufactured and sold but by who and to who? Import and export still continues but why? The world still bustles but is simultaneously silent. There's no one here to clean up the dog shit but that's OK because there are no dogs to shit.

An algorithm drives things on and machines fulfil the roles of consumers and producers. GDP is steady and things are running smoothly and does it matter that we are no longer here to witness all this because targets are being met and graphs are looking healthy and wasn't that what it was all for? There is no one here to see what is happening but that's OK because there isn't much to see. There is no longer anyone here to comment but that's OK because there is nothing to be said.

The grass still gets cut.

Dead leaves are swept up.

Healthcare expenditure is nil.

Objects go to the cinema to watch films made by objects about objects being objects and there is no one to complain about objectification. And there's no more of the sound and fury that signified everything. The world is purely utilitarian and every emotional experience is a simulacrum. A protocol. A choreographed imitation. The objects in the cinema laugh at all the right parts. There are no longer any wrong parts. Things are working at last. We finally got there by removing the thing that prevented us from arriving - us.

The tide comes in and the tide goes out and an abandoned tanker bleeds on the horizon. It doesn't matter at all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

EDWARD BURRA


A landscape, like one from a dream. Sparse with pylons and clumps of trees. Beautiful but asleep. A silent road cuts through it but where does it lead? Far, far off to somewhere that can't be seen. And you've no choice but to travel it, to follow its twilight track. You'll cross over the horizon and you won't be coming back.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

THE TREE IN HER BACK GARDEN


The beguiling geometry of her face didn't hit him immediately. It took a while for the cunning collection of angles to coalesce in his mind and settle there. What first intrigued him was the reserve that, he wagered, hid a good heart. The reserve itself was hidden behind a generous sociability but the reserve wasn't hidden that well. You easily got past the cheeriness to find the guardedness but beyond that you'd discover the truth. Maybe he could have helped her.

Then there was her laugh. A single Ha! A spontaneous and genuine expulsion. The kind of thing you'd emit after getting away with a bank heist. A loud exclamation but warm and inclusive. He delighted in eliciting it. 'Ah life, such a wonderful ridiculous thing', the laugh seemed to say. To him at least.

Her body moved easy to the Universe. It wasn't out of step or closed in on itself and seeking the nearest exit as his was. It was outstretched. It could protect itself if required but it was willing to take on all comers. She belonged in the world and her hips, limbs, breasts and neck danced with it. It was hard to keep your eyes off her once you'd looked properly.

So, with all those things perceived, processed and ruminated upon with every breath, he found that he was truly stuck. He'd been drawn into a snare that didn't want to catch him. This beautiful trap was seeking other prey. Neater featured prey with a tidier psyche and a measure of conventional prestige. He didn't resent this, or at least knew that he shouldn't. He himself had caught quarry he wasn't pursuing in the past. It's the stupid way of things. At least she was fond of him. He had made her laugh. Perhaps she'd remember the laughter he'd caused her and shed a poignant tear of regret when she found him dangling like a bastard on a rope from the tree in her back garden.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

JUST JENNY


Jenny was glad to have finally found a reason for being. She'd had trouble finding any reason but was actively searching. Her lack of interest in just about everything had isolated her. She was always on the periphery of conversations at her school, simulating interest and nodding and pretending to laugh or gasp at the right times but never truly engaging. She was no one's best friend or worst enemy. She was just Jenny. 'Oh, it's just Jenny', people said. Even her mother said it. Just Jenny, someone adults kept alive and healthy to see what might become of her. Well, she had decided what she was going to become and, my oh my, what she became.

Despite her persistence, Jenny's online forum contributions and Facebook posts always went unacknowledged. That is until Aarzam from Luton (a place in England) started responding to her because she responded to him. He kept going on about God and justice and all this stuff and Jenny asked him what he was talking about. What followed was a correspondence that lasted for months. Jenny didn't really care what they were talking about, the important thing was that they were talking. Jenny never had a point of view on anything so she consciously decided to adopt Aarzam's point of view on everything. Not everyone agreed with Aarzam, in fact some people thought he was crazy or evil, but he got people's attention and attention was something Jenny craved.

Anyhoo, as the girl in question would put it herself, this all led to Jenny being stopped at the airport and asked to step into a back room to answer some questions. She told them, flatly (everything she said came out flatly) that her destination was Syria and that she was joining her boyfriend. The airport security were nonplussed by this strange girl in a homemade burka fashioned from a bed sheet dyed black. Things became even more confusing when they asked Jenny where she was from. South County Dublin was the answer but her accent was clearly United States. She told them her 'mom' spoke like that too. She was asked if her 'mom' was American. 'I don't think so', Jenny said. They asked Jenny if she had ever been to the United States. Jenny said she hadn't. They asked Jenny why she had an American accent. Jenny wasn't aware that she had an American accent and said it might be because she 'watched a lot of shows'.

So, like, anyways, things turned into a really big deal. Aarzam had been seen in a viral where a non-unionised freelance journalist got beheaded. Jenny became the opposite of famous, infamous, for a while but then she just became famous when she renounced her newfound beliefs and ran a mini-marathon in aid of something, she wasn't quite sure what. This was all on the advice of an agent Jenny's mother employed. 'We're going to need someone to handle this Goddamn fucking shit storm', was Jenny's mother's reasoning.

The newspapers and the TV went crazy and spoke to the other kids in Jenny's school and they said that she always seemed like she was keeping secrets. Jenny didn't know they thought that about her. It was kind of cool. Better than boring. Jenny went from being 'Just Jenny' to 'Jihad Jenny' in the space of a few days. Some professor guy called Schlemp wanted to talk to her for a book he was writing called 'Online Anomie International: Islamic Extremism and the Search for Likes'. They were going to make a movie too with Saoirse Ronan acting as Jenny. 'She's OK I guess, she's kind of old though', Jenny told Ryan Tubridy on The Late Late Show. Ryan asked Jenny if she'd lift her burka and give the audience a peek at her pretty face. Jenny did. There was a big round of applause and then Ryan gave everyone a hamper of beauty products.

Jenny's mother was really happy with how the whole thing panned out but she was 'really pissed' at first. There was silence in the car when she picked Jenny up from the airport but then she suddenly exploded. She screamed and slapped her open palm against the steering wheel.
'How the fucking motherfuck did you wind up facebooking with a bunch of Wahhabi crazies?'
'Jeez Mom, take it easy. I don't even know what Wahbabbi or whatever is. I just made friends with a Muslim boy is all. What's the big deal?'
'Just made friends with a Muslim boy?' Jenny's mother repeated, emphasising her incredulity.
'Yeah', said Jenny, 'he kind of like listened to me'.
'And what the heck were you saying that made him listen to you honey?'
'I dunno', replied Jenny, her voice trailing off. 'Just stuff I guess, ...just, y'know, ...stuff.'

Saturday, September 27, 2014

JENNY TALKS TO MOM


'I just don't feel the same way other people do about stuff', said Jenny sadly.
'People don't have to agree about everything', Jenny's mother reassured.
'No Mom', said Jenny testily, 'I mean I don't feel like others feel. I don't have feelings like them.'

'Feelings?' Jenny's mother intoned.

'Yeah, people feel things. They really feel things. They fall really hard in love for each other and feel really strongly about wars and stuff. They go crazy. I don't have those feelings, at least not so much.'

'And how does that make you feel honey?'

Jenny glanced up at her mother. Their eyes briefly met to acknowledge the irony. Then Jenny dropped her head again.

'I guess it makes me feel lonely. I guess that's the only feeling I have. The lonely feeling.'

Jenny's mother looked at her sad daughter. A curtain of hair spilled from Jenny's head onto the table, hiding her face. Was she crying under there? Jenny's mother would have pitied her daughter if she could have but she could not. 

'I guess it runs in the family', Jenny's mother said with a sigh as she turned on the juicer and annihilated the conversation with the sound of whirring blades.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

FIRSTNAME SURNAME


His first name was Firstname and his surname was Surname. He was a disciple of academic trans-philosopher and uber-thinker Dieter Schlemp. Schlemp had advised that everyone unburden themselves of all cultural, ethnic and genealogical identification. That was why Firstname had changed his name. His new name was, in and of itself, an interrogation of identity. 'What is a name?' asked his name. And that question brought with it another question - 'what is a person?' Firstname was going to find out. Schlemp would be proud of him and regret never replying to any of Firstname's tweets or following him back.

Firstname worked nights. He awoke at dusk and went to bed at dawn. His was a twilight life of empty roads and half-lit streetlights. He and his colleagues were like vampires. Vampires that worked in a depot, moving boxes about. No one knew what was in the boxes. No one had the energy to care. They just yawned and lifted the things and carried them from one place to another. Firstname put his ear to one of the boxes once and could have sworn he heard the sea.

At work Firstname was referred to as Justin, his first name before he changed it to Firstname. He asked his colleagues to call him Firstname and they said 'sure thing Justin' and never did. They didn't mean any harm by it, they just couldn't get used to the name change. They didn't treat his decision as odd or anything. They didn't make fun of him. They were too tired for that.

Firstname was disappointed at the lack of discussion his name change had inspired. No one seemed to care. They were indifferent. People are indifferent to everything. The Universe is indifferent. Schlemp didn't even respond to Firstname's constant tweeting. 'Is this what it is to be a person?'

One night in the depot, Firstname dropped a box and it opened. A seashell fell out. Firstname asked his boss about it. Firstname's boss told him that the seashells were ornamental. 'People put them on their mantelpieces and use them as paperweights and all that shit', said Firstname's boss. Firstname's boss told him that he could take home a defective seashell if he liked. There was a bucket of chipped seashells under the stairwell. Firstname took two. He took them home and attached them to an adjustable metal arch and wore them like headphones. He used them instead of an MP3. He walked around hearing the sea all the time. He preferred it to music. It was less contrived. No one commented on the seashell headphones but this didn't surprise Firstname. By now, he was used to people not noticing things. They were preoccupied. They had work to do. They had bills to pay. They were sleepy. Firstname was sleepy too but the sound of the sea let him dream. He doubted anyone he worked with dreamed. The closest thing they had to dreams were modest ambitions, like the hope for a raise or something. Firstname didn't judge them harshly for this. They didn't judge him and he wouldn't judge them. That seemed fair. They were all just doing their own thing, which was the same thing. Firstname was doing it too but at least he was wondering what exactly it was they were all doing while he did it.

'If you wonder don't expect anyone else to care that you wonder', said Dieter Schlemp in a recent lecture that Firstname discovered on Youtube. 'If you force people to wonder they will resent it. They will resent you and they will resent wonder itself as a distraction. If we must wonder we must wonder in private. Wondering is a secret pastime for the few and we should remain aware that it is no more than that. There is no honour in wondering, in fact there is probably dishonour. Wondering does not make you better than anyone else. Wondering is ultimately unimportant. There is little to be gained from it in practical terms. To most, wondering is an irrelevance and they are right. Wondering is extraneous. Wondering is about as important as the whirring sound a clockwork toy makes as it walks from one end of the room to the other before winding down and stopping completely.'

Firstname was shocked to hear this. He held Schlemp in such high regard. He considered him an existential paradigm buster. 'Existential Paradigm Buster', that's what the blurb said on the back of Schlemp's book Derrida Does the Dishes: Domesticity Deconstructed, published by Anosognosic Books, 2011. Now it was revealed that Schlemp didn't agree with this accolade. The man himself considered himself to be a lesser man, whatever a 'man' was. Schlemp had wondered about wondering until he had arrived at the conclusion that it was a waste of time to wonder. Schlemp looked exhausted these days and he seemed intent on alienating his acolytes. 'I do it for the money', he said at the conclusion of his lecture before leaving the stage to a confused and hesitant cricket match applause. Firstname suddenly felt a fool for changing his name. He decided that he would change it back to Justin. He wouldn't even have to ask anyone at work to call him by his original name again because they had never stopped.

Firstname collected up all the books he had by Schlemp and left them in a plastic sack outside a charity shop. He felt betrayed. He felt he had been abandoned by the leader of his expedition as he was halfway across an antarctic plain. 'What a prick', Firstname often thought as he eschewed the ways of a wonderer and resumed earning and simply living and hopefully having a bit of a laugh at weekends. He kept the seashell headphones though. He couldn't bring himself to part with them. He decided not to wonder why this was, just as the people who sent away for seashells to place on their mantelpieces and use as paperweights didn't wonder why they did what they did. For the briefest moment, Firstname found himself wondering why they did what they did but then he reminded himself to stop wondering and he did stop wondering and he no longer wondered as he listened to the sound of the sea.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

#LICHEN - or - He's a Complicated Man And No One Understands Him But His Woman


Famed post-post-postmodernist philosopher Dieter Schlemp had spent his entire career setting out to prove various things in the hopes that he would fail to prove them. He didn't like to be proven right. Dieter prided himself on his lack of pride but he did not like to be proven wrong either. Right or wrong is such a dull paradigm. What Dieter liked was if the results of his investigations presented something entirely unexpected and bewildering. What Dieter ultimately wanted to prove, although he'd loath to admit that he wanted to prove anything, was that all enquiry was folly and that reality was incomprehensible. Some may argue that without enquiry our species never would have crawled from the sea and mastered the land but Dieter reckoned that we were better off under water. Dieter believed that the human experience was the result of a profoundly boring cosmic mistake and the only thing that interested him was to prove this, or not as the case may be.

Dieter's latest thesis argued that people were more interested in talking about things happening than things actually happening. For example, imagine you witnessed a UFO landing in your garden but you could never tell anyone. Now imagine you could tell everyone a UFO landed in your garden but such a thing never happened. Which would you prefer? Dieter suspected that the vast majority of people would choose the latter because what really interested them was getting attention and being listened to and valued. Most people would not say as much but, from what Dieter had observed during his fifty five years on this planet, it was what they really thought. People liked to talk above all other things, even if it meant talking about nothing. In fact, as far as Dieter could make out, the closer to nothing the subject was the more people liked to discuss it. It was easy to have an opinion on something that barely mattered at all. Things that did matter were a lot more trouble so people tended to keep those things off the conversational menu. This, for example, is why puff pieces about shoes get more column inches than meditations on mortality.

After garnering the largest bursary ever awarded to a humanities based academic investigation, Dieter hired a large PR firm to create a commotion concerning lichen. Dieter instructed the PR company to get the media talking about lichen more than it talked about red carpet events. What Dieter wanted to do was make the spreading of lichen and the patterns made by lichen and other phenomena particular to lichen water cooler moments. #Lichen trending like a boss for at least three weeks was what Dieter wanted and that's what he got when the PR company arranged for Kanye West to pose for photographs with some lichen and share his opinions on lichen. 'Lichen just be chillin and shit' said Kanye of the lichen. Then the PR company manufactured stories about sick children whose last wish was to stroke some lichen as well as stories about how lichen stroking was being used to treat PTSD and fight the signs of aging. 'For too long we have taken lichen for granted', said an op-ed piece by a popular columnist who genuinely believed that he was writing his own thoughts. Almost everyone agreed with the columnist and even those that didn't were still talking about lichen when they expressed their opinion and therefore maintaining its 'trending' status. Pixar then made an animated film about lichen that was voiced by Kaley Cuoco and Donald Sutherland. An awareness campaign about lichen sclerosus was also launched and everyone bought anti-inflammatory ointments and smeared them on their genitals. 'I'm so glad people are finally talking about this', said one daytime TV host who did not suffer from the condition or know anyone who did.

So, Dieter's thesis was proved correct. People liked to talk, no matter what the topic and the blander the topic the more they liked to talk about it. Dieter was, of course, miserable to be proven correct and moped around the house irritating his wife, Annabelle, for weeks afterwards. Being proven wrong would have been just as bad for Dieter. 'What did you expect to happen?', Annabelle asked him. 'Something new, something different', said Dieter dolefully, 'something bloody interesting'. Annabelle knew her husband well and lifted his spirits when she posited that something interesting had indeed happened. 'Isn't it interesting that people can be interested in something so uninteresting?' she asked rhetorically. Then she delivered her stroke of mercy, 'why is that, do you think?' she asked non-rhetorically and with fake nonchalance. Annabelle then watched as the spark of enquiry once again grew in Dieter's dying eyes and she knew that he would soon be off on another folly. Dieter would never realise what Annabelle had done for him and Annabelle knew that he would never realise it but that didn't matter to Annabelle. She too prided herself on her lack of pride and, really, she was just glad to get him out of the house.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ANNABELLE


'The sum of modernity is a deconstruction of function and a parody of form. It is both signifier and signified. It is based in baselessness yet post-debased.' 
- So muttered Dieter Schlemp (author of Terrorism as a Selfie: The Case Against Common Sense, published by Ineffable University Press, 2006) in his sleep as a small amount of dribble escaped the corner of his gob and was absorbed by his pillow.

When awake, Dieter described himself as a 'Para-Baudrillardian Crypto-Narratologist'. He liked his self-descriptions to be as inaccessible as his treatises. He never trusted an idea that could be understood, even by himself. That was why he liked his own ideas so much, even while positing them he never knew what he was talking about. Elaborate pronouncements would just spout from the largest hole in his face and wind their way through the mental ether looking for some sense to make. Dieter often entertained the notion that his ideas would one day be understood but that day was not today and it wouldn't be any day soon. Dieter considered that if such a day was to come at all it probably wouldn't be during his lifetime but what a day it would be because his ideas sounded like they might be marvellous. For the time being though, Dieter had no idea what he was on about, he just kept going on about it. 'Does a river have to know where it is flowing?' was what he said in his defence to Annabelle, his wife, when she pointed out that he was 'spoofing' again.

Dieter was assumed to be of superior intellect by his peers who never argued any of his points for fear of revealing that they didn't understand the point that was being argued. Rarely did they realise that there was in fact no point to be argued and that Dieter prided himself on never having a point at all. Dieter was of the opinion that no one had an actual point when they expressed themselves and that when people expressed themselves they were merely seeking to make some kind of connection with others or, perhaps, to hear the sound of their own voices. All discourse, as far as Dieter was concerned, is just nervous systems in search of approval so as to better their chances of survival and/or reproduction. Dieter had experienced much approval in his life and he had also reproduced. He and Annabelle had two children. The first was a girl they named 'First' and the second was a boy they named 'Third'. They were trying for a Second. Annabelle wanted to call the children what she considered to be 'proper names' but Dieter argued that to name someone is to encumber them with a title. Annabelle told Dieter that she didn't know what he meant by that and Dieter reminded Annabelle that he never meant anything. Then Annabelle took something for her nerves.

So, anyway, there was Dieter, talking in his sleep and dribbling and next to him was Annabelle, ever dutiful, rising from the bed, reaching for the dictaphone and holding it to his mouth. With any luck she'd manage to record a few pages for Dieter's next book by the morning. So much of his oeuvre was achieved this way, nocturnal rambling. Then he'd wake up and ask her if she 'got anything' and she'd hand him the dictaphone and he'd feverishly rattle the device's recording onto his keyboard. Dieter had a devoted following of readers who were convinced his books might have changed their lives, probably. His publications always received rave reviews and went to several editions.

Annabelle wasn't sure if she loved Dieter but he was certainly a cash cow. Gerald, the only other man she suspected she'd had significant feelings for, could never have provided her with the status she desired. By the time Gerald had proposed, Annabelle had met Dieter at a debate on the ethics of having ethics that was hosted by her faculty. She had seen Dieter before, as a frequent panelist on a late night television discussion programme called God Forbid. He had deep set eyes and a jutting jaw. When he leaned forward the whole world seemed to lean back. He wasn't a tall man but he was imposing, like an owl or something. He wasn't a bit like Gerald at all. Gerald was a huge soft heap of a guy. He was like a massive cloud that no one ever noticed.

Dieter asked Annabelle to join him for dinner at Wittgenstein's Pabulum, a restaurant that was known for being frequented by the literati. When their meals arrived, Dieter threw his plate on the floor in what he loudly pronounced to be an act of 'asymmetric digestion'. The people at the other tables applauded and did the same. Annabelle knew, there and then, that Dieter was the man for her. Gerald was heartbroken of course. He put rocks in his pockets and walked into a lake. Annabelle tried not to think of Gerard since but sometimes she did, on those occasions when Dieter wasn't around and First and Third were at school and she had a moment to sit and wonder to herself what it all means. She became quite anxious on those occasions. She'd wait for Dieter to return and, later in bed, she'd sit up and grip his shoulder and ask 'but really Dieter, what does it all mean?' and Dieter would look at her with his caved-in eyeballs and his antimatter pupils and say 'it means nothing, absolutely nothing Annabelle'. Annabelle would feel strangely comforted by these words and lay back in the bed and not think of Gerald or the way his sad cloudy face exploded into the most beautiful smile each and every time he saw her.

Dieter had once spoken to Annabelle of love. He said love was a 'somewhat patronising chemical reward for the misguided propagation of a flawed species'. Annabelle asked Dieter if he actually meant that and Dieter said that it didn't matter whether he meant it or not. 'It's just another idea', he said.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

THE DEVIL'S WORLD


The Devil came to see us. He waited until we thought he'd never come back. He waited until most of us decided that he was never here. And then he crept into our skulls, into the soft lump that sits there. He was banished for his pride and refusing to bow to God so he took perfect revenge and made God's children proud. Ideas fell across our heads like shadows and we set out with knives and guns and smartphones. We laid waste to each other and spilled the blood of newborns. We uploaded it for all to see and cower or cheer or comment and the more we killed and the more we died the more the Devil grew potent. And we tumbled like an avalanche into the Devil's jaws and down his belly and he belched and licked his lips and wondered what to do next. So, the Devil stood and took a walk around to look at what we had left behind. He found shame and money and weapons. He found shameful weapons that cost money. He found crude oil and crucifixes and the investment portfolios of holy men. He found cost benefit analyses and transfers of liabilities. He found public relations coups and rolling 24 hour news. He found lies that were believed because they were more believable than the truth. And then the Devil realised he'd not swallowed God's children but his own and he wept and wept and wept and wept and then he turned to stone. And he's curled into a ball and he's floating in outer space and there's bacteria under his fingernails that will evolve into the human race.

Monday, September 1, 2014

UNDER BLADES OF GRASS

One day we’ll all be extinct
And under blades of grass
And the world will breathe a sigh of relief
And say – ‘peace at fucking last’.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

AN INDEPENDENT STATE OF ONE


I will no longer affiliate myself with any of you bastards. I want no part of your nations or your systems or your beliefs. I refuse to passively endorse your willfully naive values, cosy hypocrisies and murderous ideologies. I am a deist, although often doubting, and I worship at an alterless church with the sky for a roof and sermons delivered on the breeze. I have created my own flag too and I speak a new language that I have invented for my use alone. I have composed my own national anthem and I have declared myself to be in an independent state of one.

You do not fill me with wonder. You just make me wonder what it's all for. You have broken my heart but I'm not broken yet. My defences are up but I will continue to trade and negotiate. I will participate in your customs but I will no longer pretend to fully appreciate them. I'll just be there like a visiting dignitary. That is, I will try to be dignified but I can't guarantee anything. I might get nervous and drink too much and there might be an outburst. I might suddenly announce that this is a farce and that I want to go home and then I will go home and there will be relief all round. I might talk to a homeless man that I meet on my way back to my sovereignty. I'll find him crouched in his cardboard kingdom and bidding me welcome in exchange for some small token. I'll give him a smoke if I have one. He'll tell me how you beat him and how you fucked him and how you now fear him and he'll ask me my story and I'll tell him that I just lost interest.

And he'll offer me a drink and I'll take it without knowing what it is and he'll fall asleep but I'll stay awake and watch the sun begin to seep through the clouds and the litter running down the empty street and I'll see the best amongst you, in high vis jackets, sweeping up your shit. Making the world presentable again so you can continue to make it a mess. I'd consider a complete trade blockade with you bastards but I know I'd starve to death. 

Gone From Here...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

THAT'S HOW WARS ARE WON


I'm really looking forward to Fine Gael's John Redmond centenary in 2016. It'll put more distance between us and the Easter Rising thugs. Chances are that World War Three will have kicked off by then too and encouraging a load of youngsters to go off and take part in that should not only be character building but also act as a neat tribute to Mister Redmond. Redmond told the young men of his time to go to war and that 'the task is not difficult'. Redmond's advice was a bit more positive than the promises of martyrdom made by the other lot and, as long as you didn't die or go mad from shell shock, the task wasn't 'difficult' at all.

Although, back then war was simpler, not like now where one side is getting blown to bits by robots operated by people playing Nintendo Wii a continent away. Back then, one hundred years ago, all you had to do was shoot a fella in a vital organ or maybe step forward, thrust your bayonet into his belly, place your foot on his chest and then pull the bayonet back out again. Then you'd proceed to the next fella and do the same to him. Not difficult at all that. Even a child could follow those instructions and some children did. As long as the young men and kids steered clear of the phosgene and the bullets and bayonets of the other side, World War One was quite a nice war to be part of. It was fought in some very scenic places too.

Overall, the 2016 celebrations should be lovely. Enda's asked the Queen of Britain over and she'll probably say a few words about how war is a grand old thing when done properly. Then a few cannons will be fired and then we'll get down to the business of sending our young away to fight, just like some of their forefathers did.

Like I said though, the next world war will be fairly different to the last. It won't just be the technology, it'll be less straightforward in all sorts of ways. It'll be hard to tell who's on whose side for a start. You'll see a Russian fella and you kill him, that part should be grand but the fundamentalist shower, the Arabs and all that crowd, they could be on anyone's side. Isis might be on our side in one country and against us just over the border in another. That'll be hard to cope with. I suppose the youngsters will just shout out 'friend or foe' and the Arabs will answer honestly. Israel will no doubt be getting stuck in too. Religious death cults love a bit of carnage and Abraham's heirs are certainly no exception. Israel will be on our side I'd imagine but they'll probably try and kill us anyway. They're very keen on just letting anyone and everyone have it. That's their technique. It's asymmetric you see, which makes a lot of sense if you think about it asymmetrically. Israel will probably lay into the child troops the most. There's nothing like a dead nipper as far as the Holy Landers are concerned so the kiddie platoons will have to be on the look out for them.

Of course, we'll have to put up with some anti-war sentiment at home. Not much, you never hear a peep out of artists or the like these days, but a certain amount of cribbing is unavoidable. There'll be malcontents and weirdos saying that it's wrong to go fighting and to kill children and all that. They'll focus on the child fatalities the most I suppose but, the way I see it, we may as well send the kids into the field of operation, as it's called in the trade. The kids may as well get involved in the killing because they're going to die anyway. At least this way they might kill a few of the enemy too and killing is what it's all about. Killing. Killing Killing Killing KILLING!

Yeah. That's how wars are won so get the children armed up and get them out on the field. Their deaths will be for their own good and we can always commemorate them in another one hundred years when we're sending off the next lot.

Can't wait!

Monday, August 18, 2014

DREAMS UNWORTHY OF ANALYSIS


My Dream Diary – Week 9


Monday:
A man walks into my apartment. He says he lives here. He's right. He's me. I wish he'd go away but deep down I know that without him I'd be nothing.

Tuesday:
I am running a security firm. It's an ontological security firm. Instead of installing house alarms, I instill senses of identity. My phone keeps ringing but I don't dare answer it. It's furious clients and they are demanding their money back.

Wednesday:
A woman I am in love with is watching television. I am on the television. I wave at her from the screen. She picks up a remote control and changes channel to watch Top Gear instead. I remember her saying how much she hates Top Gear.

Thursday:
I am high up a tree, hiding from a grizzly bear that stands at the bottom of the tree. The grizzly bear tells me to come down and stop being so ridiculous. It says that it has no intention of attacking me. 'I just want to talk', says the bear so I climb down from the tree. The bear waits until my trembling feet reach the ground before it attacks me. Then the bear stands over my corpse and laughs. 'Who the fuck ever heard of a talking grizzly bear?', it says and I'm left feeling that no one can be trusted.

Friday:
I am a Middle Eastern refugee escaping a marauding army. My battered vehicle rumbles around an infinity of mountain corners. The skeletons of Bart and Lisa Simpson yell from the backseat: 'Are we dead yet? Are We Dead Yet? ARE WE DEAD YET?'. I tell them to be patient. Danny Elfman's frantic theme music fills the air but you can still hear the drones beneath it.

Saturday:
The entire human race undoes a series of clips that it discovers on its back and slips out of its skin like you would a wetsuit. The human race stacks its bones like tentpoles and flushes its muscles and internal organs down the toilet. Then, like a bad smell, the entire human race gradually fades away. Wild animals tentatively emerge from undergrowth. A fox turns to a badger and whispers 'I think they're gone'.

Sunday:
I visit my doctor. He smiles and says that my test results are 'out of sight' but then he frowns and warns me that out of sight is out of mind so I better watch out because I'm out of my mind.

Then I wake up. My bed is on fire. I go back to sleep.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

NAUGHT TO FREEDOM


The primary measure of a man (and perhaps these days a woman too – who knows?) is his ability to drive. Although important, the quality of a man's car is secondary to his ability to use it. Third in importance is a man's home. A man's home is a place where he can watch cars on television. After these things comes a man's job. What does he do? Is he in a prestigious profession? Perhaps he does something he loves, like selling cars. He drives his car to work where he sells cars to earn the money to pay for a home where he can watch cars on television. This is the contented man. This is a proper man. This is the car man.

Others perambulate along the jagged winding pavements of their civic existences trying not to trip on the cracks, stand in the dog crap or lose their way. But the car man never falters or sullies his person and the car man always knows where he is. He is in his car. He has his hands on the steering wheel. He has his feet on the peddles. He is in control. As long as he is not in a traffic jam, the car man has peace of mind. The car man is content. Society is designed to accommodate the car man. Roads are cut into the Earth like whip welts so the car man can drive through them on his way to work or on his way home from work or on his way to God knows where.

You know, I bet God is a car. I bet God's eyes are shining headlights that look right into your soul and judge your driving ability, your measure as a man. I bet God's mouth is a grinning grille and I bet God's voice sounds like a revving engine. God loves the car man and the car man loves God because every time the car man drives he is 'Nearer My God, to Thee'. Oh yes, the car man is God's favoured son and, although the car man is as boring as fuck to have a conversation with, the world belongs to the car man and, despite the fact that his car is his cage, the car man is free. Naught to freedom once the pedal is to the metal. Or at least it feels like freedom and isn't the feeling enough? Isn't life all about how you feel?

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

FROM THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING


From the minutes of the meeting – Some things are said that perhaps shouldn't be said. Opportunities to take them back are declined and people become upset. Nobody mentions the blood. At least nobody mentions the blood that fills the room to our knees. The blood we wade through to get to our seats. To get to this sorry impasse. 'We have reached a sorry impasse', the chairperson says and we all know it, ...again. It's not the first time and it won't be the last. It's every time: the present, the future, the past.

As we stand to leave, I feel my feet sink into the cadavers that comprise the floor and hear the soft crunch of child skulls that lead to the door.

Turtle Bay tombstone. Babylonian whore. Facade of peace. Engine of war.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

...DiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiNG!


What I want you to imagine today is an orchestra. An orchestra that doesn't know it's an orchestra. An orchestra of competing sections: brass, woodwind, percussion and strings. Each of these sections thinks the other sections are stupid and doing everything wrong. The brass wonders why the string section isn't blowing into its instruments and the percussion wonders why everyone isn't just hitting their instruments with sticks. The woodwind thinks the brass lacks decorum, a bit 'brassy' if you like, and the brass thinks the woodwind is really 'stuck up'. As far as each section is concerned, it is engaged in a sonic war against the others. Each section attempts to assault the others with waves of sound. The loudest is the victor and each section feels it is always winning because, from where a given section's musicians are sitting, they are the loudest. No one gets discouraged and the war goes on. Kettledrums rumble like tanks. Violin bows are drawn like arrows. Brass blunderbusses blast and clarinets, flutes, oboes and bassoons are raised and fired like guns, rifles, mortars and bazookas.

The conductor is there too of course, on his podium. A stressed out secretary general of sorts, attempting to maintain some kind of order. He waves his baton frantically, favouring one section one moment and another the next. He doesn't really know what's going on. He clumsily turns sheets of notation as he mops his brow. He wishes the whole zero-sum composition would just fucking end.

And the cruel joke is that from a distance all this tumult and enmity harmonises into a single stirring composition, the woodwind soaring over the strings and the percussion and brass propelling things forward. From the seats in the auditorium, the ominous score builds to an unnerving crescendo that explodes and then lulls into the saddest adagio ever heard that then fades before it all happens again but in a different order and with some variations. It's such a tragic twist that those upon the stage are unaware of this and labour in the mistaken belief that they are separate competing entities and not, simply, 'one'. The sections do not know that they are all playing the same music and that the music could be joyful and celebratory instead of frightening and heartbreaking.

But there is one musician who knows the truth. An orchestra member who realises that every orchestra member, no matter what section, is part of an indivisible whole. One guy, sitting all by himself, down the back and to the side a bit. One fella who knows it would be a waste of time to share his wisdom with the others because he'd be laughed out of the concert hall. One member of the orchestra who, quietly and in his own mind, has it completely and utterly right.

He stands there, stoic, poised and mindful. He understands the great cacophony as a symphony and bides his time to prove this to the others. He waits and waits and waits until a great musical swell rises and then crashes. As the crescendo subsides he raises his instrument, holds out his wand and strikes once. Only once and with a perfectly restrained amount of force. The rage from the rest of the instruments dies out and silence rules but for the fading resonance of his modest contribution. The triangle goes ...DiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiNG!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BANAL FROM THIS DISTANCE



The calls to prayer and the omni-drone combine to hum the Anti-Om. The last vibration. The frequency of wrong. The remote sound of death and razed rubble homes. Distant embers. Ribbons rise to oblivion. A dark cloak suffocates unseen desperation. Subdued pops denote the ease of destruction and the absence of any significant resistance. It's the antithesis of coexistence. Evil looks so banal from this distance.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

ON THE M.V. MUNSTER - Dublin to Liverpool (1956)


by Finbarr Shanley

The night is tonight or any other night that the green ship slips her moorings and sadly moves from the river's mouth and heads for the east. Hands dig deeper into pockets and the Custom House clock is seen through the mist of squinted eyes and shoes stamp on hardwood and shoulders are hunched though not from cold.

These are the have-nots and over there on that rising ground the lights of the haves reflect the self-righteousness and the light house lamp now beamed towards the Wicklow shore shines the last goodbye.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

NEARLY FRIENDS


by Frank Shanley

He was going out for the night. Out to Dun Laoghaire. The place he thought was strange and far away when he was young. The place where the boats came in. He had lived there for a year and knew it quite well now. He was going to get drunk to bring some excitement to his life. 


It was a dark winter evening. The sharpness of the night and the sense of tension it should have created didn’t make an impact on him. He went down to get the bus, down a dimly lit laneway. The fence on one side and the bushes on the other were more or less ignored. The laneway led onto the road, the road that the bus came down. It came by him just then. He started to run for it, a long run down the road and then around the corner near the church. He caught it up as he was coming near the stop. He got on it with another person. Breathless, he was looking around at the things that really scared him, people. He stared at them a bit. He wasn’t aware why. His mother said it was fear. He believed everything his mother told him. When he got off the bus and changed to another one, he was still feeling deadened. The people on the bus and outside the window meant nothing to him. He was finally in Dun Laoghaire and now he went to the hostel where he lived until recently. 


Cathleen met him at the door. He remembered thinking of her as the Countess Cathleen. She brought him up the stairs and into the kitchen. There were a few people there – friends, nearly friends, anyway. Martin said hello. ‘Martin do you want to go out with me tonight’, he felt like saying but he didn’t have the courage. He waited a while and then started to talk to Martin. A few inappropriate comments and a few weak jokes later, he asked Martin to go out. It was cool Martin said so they went out.

They went first to a shop to buy cider. The two litre bottles, big brown bottles full of intoxicating liquid which tasted like poison, a few years earlier would have been very precious but now they didn’t mean that much. They went down a laneway to drink them. They really didn’t taste like poison. Drinking it wasn’t nice but the talk and repartee were and all he was thinking about was good. He wasn’t drunk but felt invigorated.
 
He and Martin were both schizophrenic. A dirty horrible thing both for the sufferers and non-sufferers. They were both suppressed, depressed, downtrodden human beings. Both in a chain gang of psychiatrists.