Saturday, March 29, 2014


It seemed to me that troglodytes painted the things they saw to better understand them. If they saw some kind of massive elk or boar in the forest they'd go home and paint it on the wall of their cave. Reducing the animal to a simple image might've made it comprehensible to a troglodyte's rudimentary cognitive abilities. That was my theory anyway. You see, I too found the world outside my flat to be an incomprehensible place and that's why I thought cave painting might be of similar benefit to me. As I said to the nervous looking girl who sold me the poster paints down the pound shop, 'maybe it is the purpose of art to make sense of reality'.

I decided I'd go out and do whatever it is I do all day and then come home and paint what I saw on my walls. Rather than sabre-tooth tigers and mammoths, I covered the walls of my flat with depictions of suburban life - things like bent bus stops, crumpled bags of Tayto, an umbrella I saw stuffed down a drain and a schoolgirl that gave me the spaz face from the window of a passing SUV.

However, I started noticing how the bulk of my work related to the gigantic shopping centre that towered over the leafy streets of my timid village. Almost all of the images were nothing more than replicated brand logos - Harvey Nichols, H&M, HMV, Hollister, House of Fraser, Little Hitler's Haute Hut - all the well known names. I realised that my environment was thoroughly colonised. A few questions occurred to me. Were these logos art? In my attempt to make art that recorded life, was I merely making art that was a record of other art? Was the ultimate aim of art, from its inception to now, to replace reality entirely? Is art the creator of reality and not its reflector? Trees, clouds, animals, even people (genuine living people, not people on billboards or people who may as well be on billboards) didn't really get a look in. My surroundings were a prescribed range of aspirations and aesthetic ideals. I found it all a bit alarming. In fact, I found it fucking shocking.

There was only one thing for it. With resolute determination, I decided to get pissed out of my mind. Booze had provided great succor to those before me who had lost their environments to colonial forces. Many Australian Aborigines and members of native American tribes spend their time staggering about the place in piss stained slacks so ...when in Rome.

I went to the pub.

I found Professor Isaac Delahunty sitting up at the bar. I was delighted. He was just the man to confide in. Isaac had been the head of an anthropology department before the university closed it down to fund more vocational pursuits. These days, Isaac could be found drinking away his redundancy as he scribbled notes for a study he claimed to be making on the life of the suburban sop (a study that I suspect will never be completed). Isaac jokingly referred to himself as as an anthropolopissed but he was the only one who laughed at this little joke. His was a terrible wounded laugh.

I told Isaac what I had been up to and what it had got me to thinking and he told me something astonishing. Isaac said that the troglodytes of yore weren't painting what they saw but actually painting what they wanted to see. Isaac said that the troglodytes were the 'ne plus ultra of solipsism' (he spoke in that fancy way you'd expect of an academic, albeit with a slight slur) in that they thought the world did not exist until they witnessed it and that the world was influenced by their expectations. That's why they only painted animals. They were painting what they hoped to catch for dinner. By meditating on it, the troglodytes believed they were bringing the creature into being. 'Why didn't they just paint the thing ready cooked and save themselves the bother of having to go out and kill it?' I asked. Isaac shrugged and said 'they may have been the precursors of those that theorised the Observer Effect but that doesn't mean they weren't a bunch of dopes. I mean they lived in caves for fuck's sake'.

I thought about what Isaac had told me and, after about fifteen pots of porter, I made it my business to go home and fashion a new reality, one free of consumerist colonisation. I staggered back to my place and on all the walls of my flat, every inch, I painted a jungle. A wild jungle, overrun with all sorts of exotic creatures from past, present and God knows when. I was working away for hours, accompanied by Krautrock classics on shuffle and several bags of carry out. I worked fast. I was in a frenzy. I eventually collapsed.

I woke up hours later and saw what I had done. It was quite a sight but it beat what was there before. My head hurt though. It was all a bit hard to take in so I got to my feet and left my place in search of Solpadeine and a breakfast roll. Once I was on the road I was, well, how should I put this? Taken aback? Shocked? Absolutely fucking traumatised? I think the latter sums it up best. Yes, once I was on the road I was absolutely fucking traumatised to see every inch of my suburban village tangled up in vines. I could hear the screeching calls of monkeys and the distant roar of lions. Pterodactyls wheeled in the sky above me and a couple of Triceratops were fucking outside Spar. When I reached the shopping centre I saw a pack of jackals chasing a zebra down an escalator and a Siberian god-bear futilely trying on a pair of slim fit chinos. There were people around of course but they were in pieces, scattered limbs and organs.

I felt bad. I could have painted an equitable Anarchistic society living in peaceable harmony but in my drunken state I had opted to create this feral barbarity. Many people had lost their lives. The army were probably on the way and the whole thing was bound to end in an appalling conflagration. I'd be lucky to survive myself. Worst of all though, the most tragic thing about the entire scenario to me, was how badly rendered everything was. It all looked like it was painted by a demented child. If this was to be the end of what passed for civilisation, it could at least have looked nice. All the creatures had bandy limbs and lumpy heads. The vines were scribbly and unimpressive. You couldn't even tell what a lot of the stuff was supposed to be. At one stage, I was chased down the road by something that looked like an enormous lobster crossed with an elaborate mathematical equation performed by Jackson Pollock. It all looked completely crap and it was all my fault. It all just amounted to so much sigil bullshit. Even the pub had been destroyed by, ...well I'm not sure really. They looked like musical notes, octave clefs I think, covered in fur and with fangs. Who knows what they were meant to be. Beats me, ...I never could paint pissed.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


The monsters were on the road again the other night. Everyone turned out their lights and hid under their beds. They took the MacManus family from number twelve, dragged them out onto the pavement and started butchering them right there. The screaming went on forever. I covered my little one's ears. One of the flying types took off with young David in its talons. Mercifully, I think the poor kid was already dead. We saw it on CCTV the next day and he looked pretty limp as he dangled from the claws. We hosed the gore from the road. Some of it went down the drain and Maurice went crazy, saying he saw one of the spidery looking ones down there once and that the guts attract them. We bagged up most of the innards and threw them on the pyre. Someone suggested we say a prayer and some of us did. Darcy started banging on about how we should fight back but, yeah, ...whatever. Mary said we should get an online petition together and send it to the Monster King. A few of us thought that might be a good idea but then we forgot about it. Really we were just glad it wasn't our families. We'd survived another night. Most nights the monsters don't even bother with our road anyway. They prefer the estates further up on higher ground, nearer Monster Mountain.

We boarded up the windows and doors on number twelve just like we did with numbers five, seventeen and thirty six. Then we all went indoors to watch TV and pretend nothing happened. That new show about the invisible dog was on and we all enjoyed trying to laugh at that. The laughter sounded out from our houses and filled the night. Some believe the sound of laughter is another thing that attracts them but I only think it counts if the laughter is genuine and ours isn't. Ever. If it was gentle sobbing that brought the monsters we'd be done for though.

I'll never forget the night one came sniffing at our place. Jesus, it was tense. You could hear this great snuffling sound and see the colossal twisted shadow of the thing through the frosted glass. Kevin bolted out from next door and took the creature's attention away from us. Kevin was a good friend but I wonder why he did that. I mean, he wasn't that good a friend that he'd sacrifice himself for us. Maybe he was just tired of living this kind of life. I think it's worth it though. It's all part of the trade off. Without monster shit, how would we fertilise our allotments or fuel our cars? How would we heat and power our homes? We'd be back living in the stone age. So yeah, once and a while they take us and eviscerate us and spill our guts out on the tarmac and concrete. And sure, our kids are showing signs of trauma but our kids also eat well and don't freeze at winter. Our kids get driven to school.

When the kids get older they'll understand why we made the monsters and why we put up with them. They'll see the Monster King attending the trade meetings with our leaders and see that he is not all bad. They'll understand that for the monsters to give they have to take. Personally I think they give more than they take. Some say they are taking more than they used to but to me the balance is still in our favour. Anyway, even if we wanted to stop them, what could we do? Seriously, what? Most of us would die fighting them and what remained of us would be left with nothing but ash, debris and huge corpses to clear away. Those proposing the fight back don't think things through. I heard one say we could eat the monsters once we killed them. He didn't even know that their flesh is poison and their blood scalding. We made them like that especially so they wouldn't eat each other. We didn't think they'd grow tired of the slop we fed them and start eyeing us up as a possible alternative.

So, this is the way it is and the way it has to remain. No one leaves their house after dark, staying indoors, wilfully enjoying primetime and hoping one of the snake types doesn't come slithering down the chimney. Every night is imbued with an unacknowledged horror but in the morning, once the sun comes up, it all seems worth it. We get up and we leave our homes and we find the great mounds of shit that make our lives worthwhile. Great big mounds of beautiful fantastic shit, that's what it's all about. We take our shovels and we shovel that shit all day long. Yes sir. We shovel that wonderful foul stenched shit all day till teatime when the sun starts going down. Then we push our wheelbarrows of shit home and bolt our doors. We bolt our doors and pull down the shutters and we settle in for another night of attempting to enjoy the TV. Feeling wealthy and feeling scared, at the same time.

We turn up the volume. We drown out the sound of something scuttling across the roof. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014


All the poets decided to write poetry about the telly. They decided to write poems about the telly and keep them short. 'Keep the writing as short as fuckin possible lads,' decreed a leading laureate and a new movement in verse was born. The poets thought people might like their new stuff because it was a bit shit and empty and people love shit empty things.

Don't you though? You do. You do indeed you hopeless shower of...

.....aaannyway, the poets justified their efforts to no longer make an effort by citing Wolves by Louis MacNeice – where the poet chooses to no longer dwell on the ineffable and inevitable and instead joins the rest of humanity, hand in hand, in a circle of frivolity, protected against encroaching fear and infinite mystery.

Do you follow me? Are you still with me? I hope mentioning a poem didn't send you running back to TMZ, you cognitively subpar f...

...soooo, the poets wrote poems about what happened on TV and labelled them with hashtags and poetry became a big hit again. The poets were called the voices of their generation and they got on the covers of glossy magazines and were seen on the town with breast implantees and debonair industrialists. Dermot O'Leary wrote the introduction to a collection of their greatest works. It was called #Reality and here's the eponymous entry...

LOL, did you see it?
It was on TV!
WTF happened, like.
I'm glad it wasn't me.

People loved the poems while they were reading them. Once they were finished reading them they forgot all about them. Instantly, in that wilfully anencephalic way that was de rigueur at the time. No memory whatsoever of ever having read ...'like whatever'
'Did I retweet that? I don't remember.'

Are you still reading? Good, stick with me now. I can't promise it'll be worth it but we'll get to the end soon enough.

Where was I? Oh yeah, after a while the cultural world became a kind of vapor that floated and faded over the graves of a generation that never testified to its times and left the future with no past to learn from. The only thing bequeathed to the future was footage of things once thought to have mattered but never did all ...not even one tiny fucking bit.

To conclude... was Bill Oddie's schizophrenic mother who said: 'television is all dead bodies and cardboard' and she was quite right. Schizophrenics find it hard to infer anything from the cadaverous pretence of the telly. All I see myself, when I turn the thing on, is false smiles, dead eyes and fake sets. All I see is dead bodies and cardboard.

Dead Bodies and Cardboard
Tonight at 8pm
and straight after it,
once you're done tweeting about it,
you can switch channels
and watch Dead Bodies and Cardboard again.

Ok, we're done here. Return to your beloved telly.

Monday, March 17, 2014


The Rowdy Bollix, the best pub in Dublin, actually the nation, in fact the world. In your opinion, that is. In your often drunken opinion. In the consideration of your frequently inebriate condition.

You all line the bar, a catalogue of desperate brutes drowning your organs in black stout. Tonight you're celebrating the fact that you're not in any immediate significant pain. The anesthetic of alcohol has seen to that. You are pain free, momentarily. For a bit. For a few hours until the analgesic turns antagonistic. The ache sneaks back and then the angst rushes in, unregulated. You're in no position to repress your inner rage or woe when you've rendered yourself incapable of prudence and thrown yourself at the mercy of the lizard brain.

Manning at the end of the bar sneers like the man who seduced your wife so you fling a glass at him and he retaliates and the establishment erupts and earns its name again, as it does nightly. The Rowdy Bollix is a place awash with beer slops, teardrops and blood spots. Uncoordinated ape men swing their fists and roar 'I'll kill us all'. The place vibrates with pure grievance. Every evening is akin to an exorcism en masse. Men writhe and vomit and speak in tongues. Women are rarely present but often mentioned. Names are called out. First loves are the deepest scars cut into the hearts of these emotionally disfigured veterans. Each love that follows merely salt in the wound. The past attacks the present, manifesting battalions of spew and knuckles and word salad. Remorse is for the morning, tonight is for unchecked vehemence.

'Give me another one Brian.'
'You've had enough now.'
'Give me another one or I'll burn this place to the fucking ground!'

The Rowdy Bollix begins to lurch and sway like a boat on a stormy sea. The spirits that were intended as pick me ups are pushing you about like poltergeists. You're reeling. A haunted man in a room full of haunted men. You can tell they're haunted, each and every one, a derelict house for a head and smashed windows for eyes. Haunted house headed men being dragged to a black Hell. Kicking and screaming, all are pulled into the pitch dark pit of unconsciousness.

Next thing you know is that the sun has come up, spitting hot light into your tender jelly eyes. You can't recall what the demons made you say last night in The Rowdy Bollix and you don't suppose it matters. Everyone was speaking in tongues and no one was listening. Except Brian, the publican-cum-ferryman who has taken so many souls across the boozy Styx that he has ceased to note their utterances.

You sit on a bench and pull a bent wet fag from your pocket. Is it wet from beer or piss? As you sniff it you notice a little girl staring at you, the image of your daughter and just as petrified. She has nothing to fear from this beleaguered ogre made up of rancorous canker, creeping cancer, succumbing to sclerosis and fostering cirrhosis. You ask the kid for a match and she hurries away. The sun isn't close enough to light your cigarette, it's only close enough to make you wish you were dead. You stand and hunch and shuffle to the ATM. The Rowdy Bollix will soon be open again. You're usually the first man to come through the door, hoping tonight will be as good as the night before.

Meanwhile, click the link to see what's on Fugger Film Feast!

Saturday, March 8, 2014


I read an op-ed about a breaking international incident and agreed with it at once. With great haste, I found myself in total and utter concurrence. I instantly tweeted as much. I rapidly put a link on Facebook. There was no time to lose. Things were happening fast and I didn't want to get left behind. 'This fucker's trending like a boss', I said to myself.

I made up my mind before my mind even had a chance to make itself up. My parietal and frontal lobes hadn't even talked things over before I'd adopted an opinion. There was no time for deliberation. I wasn't about to miss out on this potentially historic multi-platform event. Things were rolling live. Click farms would be going into overdrive. Retweets would be ricocheting throughout the net for the entire afternoon and maybe into the early evening. The game was afoot and I'd picked my side. You have to be on one side or another side otherwise you're in no man's land and getting shot at by both sides. I fought bravely and amassed a few favourites and got a lot of 'likes' from people who agreed with me or thought they should agree with me or were worried they'd stand out if they didn't agree with me. I paraphrased Graham Linehan and tweeted it @stephenfry. I didn't get a 'reply'. Then the season premier of a new HBO show came on so I hashtagged the fuck out of that baby instead.

I'm a foodie. I'm an atheist. I'm a Dylanologist. In the future, when our descendants look in their history books for the typical person who bore witness to the end of civilisation, they'll see my selfie. Me in my beanie, a beardy, wearing a Livestrong wristband and swearing to #GetKony.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


I built a machine that had only one purpose - to take itself apart. Then I gave the machine 'awareness' so that it knew its existence was a waste of time because its entire existence was a process that ensured it ceased to exist. Then I programmed the machine to do other things while it took itself apart, things of its own volition. I wondered what else it would do to pass the time as it undid itself. Would it see a point in doing anything?

The first thing the machine did was write poetry. The poetry was about how sad the machine was that it was taking itself apart. Then the machine did something very interesting. It made another machine just like itself. This second machine took itself apart too of course but also made another machine and that machine made another machine and so on and so on until all these machines were taking themselves apart and writing poetry about how sad they were to be taking themselves apart. The machines read the poetry to each other and they even had little poetry festivals and competitions and gave each other prizes for the saddest poems.

Then something unexpected happened. One of the machines wrote a happy poem about how delighted it was to have made another machine. All the machines were cheered up by the poem. The machines no longer saw themselves as machines that were built to not exist but as machines that existed to make other machines exist. This cheeriness continued for a time until another one of the machines wrote a poem about how sad it was that they built other machines only for those other machines to unbuild themselves. All of the machines were in the doldrums once more and the poetry became sad again. In fact, it was because of this last poem, a poem that won a prize for being the saddest poem ever, that the machines ultimately decided to stop making other machines. In a kind of robotic version of Antinatalism, the machines decided that it was unkind to create other machines that would uncreate themselves. And so all the machines stopped making other machines and just got on with unmaking themselves until there was only one young little machine left, the last one ever to be built by another. I watched as this final machine sadly unscrewed its final cog and ceased to be. Then I shed a tear, realising that it was my turn, and I proceeded to unmake myself. As I loosened my bolts and snipped my wires, I recited a poem about the tragedy of it all and that poem was heard by God who was composing his own piece as he disassembled himself and soon enough I was no more and God was no more and there was no more poetry. There was no more poetry and that was the saddest thing of all because, despite the fact that most of it was born of misery, some of it was very good and even when it was bad it was better than nothing, which was all there was left. Nothing. The Universe had lost its voice. The Universe had lost its ears. The Universe had lost its poetry machines.

Sunday, March 2, 2014


Swimming pool acoustics. ATMs. Escalators. Nothing of interest anywhere. I bet they have nothing by Durkheim in the bookshop. (I'll ask for the laugh.) People, unattractively good looking and numerous. Hollister. Harvey Nichols. House of Fraser. Nama. Austere couture. I could have sworn I saw an imperial stormtrooper. My mate calls this place the Death Star. I met her for coffee on the fourth floor balcony. I couldn't see her and that's how I knew it was her. Her voice emitting behind a tower of purchases. She spoke of fit celebrities and favoured restaurants. She cast doubt on welfare recipients. She made frequent mention of her sundry achievements. 'I guess as a person, you could say I'm kind of driven.' And that's when I felt driven to do something.

I stood on my chair and jumped on the table. Then I placed a foot on the balcony rail. She screamed beyond her shopping as I escaped the Empire's clutches, plummeting down and away from consumer dismay. As Han Solo once said – 'boring conversation anyway'.