Drugs influence taste, well, my taste for drugs

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I don’t do drugs, I am drugs.” Salvador Dali

When I was a kid, I used to look up at the sky at twilight in wonderment. It seemed to hold so many possibilities and secrets. The azure blanket sent sparks all around my brain, setting off a demented creativity. I would write weird stories, come up with silly songs; think about a future where I wouldn’t be an accountant or engineer like everyone I knew. I wanted to explore the otherness of the world around me, the flashing lights in the sky, the wrong colours of the morning, the glow around people that wasn’t from the Ready Brek commercials. I didn’t want the boring cycle of cigarettes leading to alcohol all the way to heroin. Fuck that, I thought, looking up at that blue sky, the entrance to space as I saw it. This was my gateway drug.

Back in the late eighties, early nineties, certain freedoms seemed to enfold. There was a push away from conservatism, toward activism and self-expression. The city streets were filled with identity. Goths, metallers, punks, indie types, grunge, clubbers and a fair few paisley shirts could be seen on a sunny afternoon in any park anywhere, all trying to carve out their corner of the universe. The schoolbag was your canvas and your social media account: The Pixies and the Stone Roses; The Cure and the Smiths; Metallica and Slayer. Take one look at the schoolbag and you knew roughly who this guy or girl was. Those who had nothing on their schoolbags belonged to a world that seemed to abhor creativity. I mean, fuck them. Probably got them free from their local bank.

We were the Generation X-ers. A term which I hate as it fits into the niche of the marketing rather than the human experience. We weren’t all out wandering about like we were living in the Douglas Coupland novel. Maybe we were a little more disaffected about society than the baby boomers and maybe there was a more nihilistic quality to the art that flourished in that time. However, plenty seized on the money train and those who grew up to be politicians followed the same template as those who came before them. So who were these Generation X-ers? I was a slacker by heart but a worker by necessity. When I left school it became apparent that everybody financed their weekends with the drudgery of a working week. Who was I to go against that wretched tide? The art that was created had to be worked at and refined. It was a serious business and its legacy can be seen in that all the bands from the slacker era are still gigging and producing nearly 30 years later.

Naturally, staring at the sky led me to want to see it in different ways, with a constant soundtrack running through my head usually through a skinny silver Sony walkman, an artefact which I still miss because post-punk doesn’t sound right to me on digital devices. I wanted to see that sky through different eyes, with different emotions. Identifying myself as an other meant I did exactly the same things as everyone else like me, but I considered it individual. The first hit off that cigarette waiting for the bus at 7am would give you a headrush for at least twenty minutes before you had that second cigarette upstairs on the bus, full volume Ride album smashing your eardrums as with every other sleepy soul in that foggy vehicle. My greasy long hair didn’t really work as long hair in the conventional sense but it was mine. I looked pale and like shit most of the time. This was the look I was going for. I can’t imagine that sullen fucker’s face being a profile pic in today’s vanity driven social world. My vanity was completely at odds with reality, existing in my head, a place I longed to get out of.

Everything seemed a bit more real in the 90s. There was a conscious attempt to get away from the 1980s and all its shiny accoutrements. The jet set life of Duran Duran, cocaine, models and champagne didn’t fit in well with the grim realities of unemployment, terrorism and social upheavel. You had to search out your favourite bands, getting excited if an Iron Maiden or House of Love album appeared in your tiny record shop or repeatedly harassing the owner whether he had the latest Fall or Wedding Present album. It was a cycle: save up the money, hit the shop, buy the album. Listen on repeat for two weeks then start the process again. I still know the lyrics to albums I haven’t listened to in 25 years. I kept the cassettes beside my bed which as a 12 year old provided a tiny curtain to hide the empty cans of beer behind. Experimentation is the key to creativity right? So swig a bit of Harp, realise it was disgusting, hide the can under the bed. Swig some stout. Ugh I hate this. Swig another bottle of stout. How do people drink this stuff? More and more and more…until my mother cleaned my room, pulled back the bed and found thirty empty cans. She cried and cried despite my protestations that every 12-year-old experiments and I wasn’t a raging alcoholic.

My eldest sister got me into smoking which I remind her of to this day. 1987, I was at U2, my first gig, wide eyed with wonderment. Lou Reed was there too. Who was this guy? That guy’s amazing. People were drinking cans, everyone was smoking. I was a sports nut but these people seemed cool, so this is where it was at. Sis handed me a fag and asked if I wanted a drag. I didn’t hesitate and started a lung support structure which would only end a few months shy of my 40th birthday. I know it is ridiculous, but smoking WAS cool despite what the ads said. It was. Maybe not for the non-smokers, but smokers looked at each other with a “we’re dying together” sense of community. Like the schoolbags you could tell what kind of person you were by what you smoked. I smoked Marlboro Reds from a young age because I was into all things American. The USA was cool, unlike today. The lead crackled as you dragged the smoke into your immortal body. Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch. Their movies formed me. Everyone smoked.

“Hair and drug-use issues notwithstanding, I’ve never thought of you as any less than professional.” ― Thomas Pynchon

My other sister and her friend introduced me to hash. I was the cool younger brother on display. I’d do anything to be cool. Being cool wasn’t a vanity thing for me. It was what seemed to be the mode d’emploie. The first hit from the joint didn’t make me cough but acted as a giant weight which sat on my soul pushing me down on to the carpet and forcing me to look up at the sky. That blue sky from earlier now looked fucking amazing, displaying an array of possibilities. This was where this fourteen-year old wanted to be. From then on, this was as important to me as the rugby team I was playing for, the writing, the friends. There were a lot of drugs out there and I wanted them and I wanted to get fucked up. It was a plan, right?

I drifted toward people who looked like they would get me what I wanted. There was very little weed around when I was a teenager, so hash was the only option. Leb or Soapbar. Soap always was a happy fun time drug, making music immersive and the world a bit brighter. We were knee-deep in the grunge phase and drugs formed part of the miserabilism (except it was fun). These days at school discos, the girls are dressed like Kardashians, whereas in the 90s it was plaid shirts, big jumpers, big pants and wooly hats. Well, apart from the line dancers. Nothing prepares you for the shock of finding out that people you knew all your life donned cowboy shirts and formation danced, all fuelled by a combination of Budweiser and vodka. Being stoned in that scene did bad things for your karma. I drank as much as I could find too. There was no point where I found real life acceptable. Everything had to have an edge. An evening would be for getting wasted. The daytime could be more pleasurable with a small amount of acid.

I found hash led me to my more indie tastes. As Linklater’s “Slacker” came out, a movie about people in Austen, Texas just hanging around, I decided to work hard at doing nothing, but well. With the lazy ramshackle music of Pavement and Mudhoney and then the darker Nick Cave stuff, I formed an identity (mostly hidden) but recognised by my own type. It was almost masonic. You are like me, we are not like them. I slouched from here to there. Got some of my more conservative friends to start taking stuff. Like a dick, I pressurised them. They agreed but I had to be careful how far I pushed my druggy agenda, because not everyone is mentally capable of this world. Later, I would include myself in this category. Working hard at being a slacker was generally exhausting.

Soon, you began to notice the styles around you. We were drifting into acid, while others were heading straight to ecstasy. Being misanthropic, the Tolkienesque world of blue skies, nature and walking around for 12 hours in tie-dyed t-shirts appealed to me more than the dayglo t-shirts and fiver in the wallet mentality of clubbers. However, dance music  invaded my world, not so much through the house music crowd, but the grimy, weirdo intelligent dance music, Aphex Twin side of it. The clubs were dirtier, purposefully. The drugs were dirtier. People danced in t-shirts that should have been thrown out years ago. There was an nihilistic spirit to the whole enterprise. Whereas the loved up crowd would want to hug everyone, the underlying sinister vibes of the places I went added to the excitement. The trip was all that mattered. Something had to be constantly happening.

What I did notice the more I made drugs my existence was the commonplace situation of being in a dealer’s flat. The grim, shitty pretence of having to like this person to get them a) not to rip you off and b) shut up long enough that you could get your stuff and get the fuck out of there. Friends decided that the dealer was their friend and that hanging out there was the ultimate experience. People from well-off backgrounds were suddenly spouting urban patois. Also, individual identities changed. Colour drained out of my friends. Their clothes became, well, just like everybody else’s. There was no style. These drugs opened their minds but the culture closed them rapidly. I got sick of these dealers and found my own way of getting stuff.

Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.”  ― William Burroughs

Grunge ended after Cobain died. Music got darker and so did I. Drugs became a crutch. Industrial music invaded my world and I shaved most of my hair off, leaving a floppy mess on top, and started dressing in black. When I get dark, I actually get dark. I was smoking constantly, drinking constantly with the aid of my little wraps of dirty speed. My friends and I would take a load of speed, hit the pub, drink hysterical amounts of alcohol, run out of speed and all get blind drunk instantly before last orders. It was a fun game, except you had to be an accountant to factor in the cost of the speed with all the booze. The upside of all this was that you were hilarious, the down side was that you were hilarious and completely unattractive to most women. I was hardly a catch with a smudge of greasy hair, my over worn Pigface t-shirt and my speed-driven gum rolling. I once went on a date where both of us realised we were on speed by our last drink. Despite having a great evening, she looked at me and I at her and we both thought, “You lied to me!”

Around the time I started messing with cocaine, my drug use had become cliched, and I also started to suffer anxiety. I had a tendency to fly from rooms and friends got really annoyed because they thought I was just being an asshole. I would throw them out of my place because I could feel the adrenaline rushing and needed to be alone. I didn’t know what was happening to me, so naturally, of course, I assumed I was dying. One night after a particularly heavy session, I had a full on panic attack. Thinking it was my heart, I crawled down to my parents’ room and forced them to bring me to the hospital. My dad, pissed off, drove fast and at one point turned and asked, “Do you have a pain in your chest?” I said, “No.” And he went, “You’re not having a heart attack so.”

The Junior Doctor forced to deal with me turned out to be a beautiful girl who I kinda knew from across the road. My anxiety had gone and the horrible sensation of realising where I was at in my life kicked in. She tried to not feel contempt for me. I mean she really tried. A few weeks later I tried to cure a panic attack with a line of cocaine. Don’t recommend it. This was smack bang the end of my drug adventures. It was done, over, kaput. I had overdone it. I had become boring and the people who I used to have so much fun with were boring druggies too. I suffered with anxiety for a number of years before I started to turn around. I was caught in a hinterland where I had lost a fair few friends, my taste in clothes was functional and I had shaved my head because I had no more imagination. I had started a new career and needed to become that guy, a working stiff. Something which I have never quite recovered from.

Years later, I was sitting in a bar chatting to my best friend feeling sorry for myself about where I was at in my life and career and wishing maybe I had cooled it a bit back in my youth and concentrated more on becoming a doctor or whatever. I knew stupid people who had passed me by. I received invitations to school events, but didn’t want to see those people. I complained about my stupidity. He was getting pissed off at me and eventually cracked, grabbed me by the shoulders and loudly said,

“Shut the fuck up. I was there. I saw you. You had a fucking great time. Even at the end when things started getting shitty, you were still having a better fucking time than some of the rest of us. You did it to yourself. No-one else. You. And you had a ball.”

“Unlike some men, I had never drunk for boldness or charm or wit; I had used alcohol for precisely what it was, a depressant to check the mental exhilaration produced by extended sobriety.”  ― Frederick Exley

Meet (be me) Manifesto

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Somedays you wake up and realise what a mess you are so here’s how to become that mess. God is dead as Hawkes Chesney once said. The following is simply my munki guide of things that I won’t do and behaviours I can’t tolerate. Let your own guide be equally as long and pointless. Like life, see?

“For success is dying in a way that doesn’t cause mucho bothers to others. Kapiche?”
Gene Simmons from Kiss

  1. Do not wear flip-flops for fuck sake
    It seems like such a practical item until you realise they were invented by Belphegor who was not only a prince of hell who encouraged men with promises of wealth; he also found time to push the boundaries of flip-flops by making them widely available in the world outside of swimming pools. It is impossible to walk quickly in flip-flops or get anything useful done.
  2. Do not wear a t-shirt with a pocket
    Hmm. How do I make a perfectly plain t-shirt more exciting to please my boss and I’m on deadline and I have a hangover and my girlfriend left me and I hate everyone and if it wasn’t that my mother was proud of me I would end it all. What’s the pocket for Bob? Em…Tea bags. Cool.
  3. Do not wear slip-ons
    In other countries this may be a done thing, but in Irlanda of the 80s, slip-ons were accompanied by white socks and usually a black flag and occasional balaclava to y’know, accessorise.
  4. Do not wear slip-ons with designs
    Terrorist!
  5. Do not wear the band’s t-shirt when going to their gig unless it is a metal band, then it is acceptable enough.

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    This Chris de Burgh fan was raptured as he entered Chris de Burgh

  6. Shoes with no socks is like fucking a dead person.
    Again, it works in other countries where people are basically attractive, but in Irlanda it is a red flag for sweaty feet, verucas, fungal infections or that drunk who lost his socks but will be commended for managing to get his shoes on. Also known to take off trousers over shoes. Y’know that guy. He’s a survivor.

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    How’ye lads? Yahweh, is it? Satzenbrau please.

  7. Men+ white trousers=Hades this way lies. Q.E.D
    Unless you’re Johnny Logan, you’re not going to pull it off. That’s what Johnny Logan says…
  8. Shades in Irlanda
    It’s presumably obvious that if you drive and Audi or BMW you will wear shades even at night because the last thing you want to do is not conform to a stereotype. Some people can get away with it, but until recently in Irlanda it hasn’t been THAT bright. I mean not since 1976: the last time an outbreak of happiness and bad water management hit the country. Also the Irlandese will look like pall-bearers at an IRA funeral.
  9. Do not wear a shirt or t-shirt with a designer logo, unless that logo is the picture of the poor child that has caught its head in a weaving machine, then you’re just being a dick deliberately, so minor kudos.
    Or if you’re Chevy Chase.
  10. An alligator on a shirt is a kick in the genitals to a poor orphan child. It really, really is.
  11. A man bun should not be worn over the age of 20
    There are better ways to start your midlife crises than an unimpressive ponytail. (Write me for better ways. Done ’em all)
  12. Grow a beard. No it’s cool. You’ll be the only fucking one, honest.
    If Karl Marx only knew the trend he started he would be spinning in his pauper’s grave (Irish education right there).
  13. One selfie at most per year and try for fuck sake to at least be ironic about it.
    It’s easy to take a selfie at face value, until you become objective about it and realise what process weirdness is going on in the scenario. This will lead you to believe the person is going through some kind of crisis but…Oh, look 96 likes.
  14. Just coz Nick Cave does it doesn’t mean everyone should walk around a crowd like they’re fucking Jesus or Nick Cave.
  15. Try centrist politics America or just give up.
    The coincidence that your entire political system sits nicely within the parameters of Twitter is unfortunate. The inability to distinguish yourself as a human being with the ability to have a whole range of ideas and communicate them to other people is frankly un-fucking-evolved. Greatest country in your hoop more like.
  16. Boycott ‘Nuala Carey” She ruined TellyBingo for me.
    I will not repeat her name but she is essentially William H. Macy in “The Cooler.” I used to win loads of money on TellyBingo and then she presented and now I owe fucking TellyBingo money. How does this happen? Fuck you Arcade Fire. Come back Shirley.
  17. Saying ‘End of’ at the end of a rant pretty much explains what a fuck-gannet you were with all the preceding words.
    Why do people think with such certainty that they know everything? They don’t. It’s impossible. Also include “I’ll think you’ll find that” and “I’m sorry but..” Usually will have an alligator on chest for leisure wear. Something for the weekend, sir?
  18. Don’t lionise politicians just because they do one good fucking thing.
    Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris got a lot of kudos for the result in the recent referendum for the amazing hard work done by loads of women throughout history, whose innards politicians were playing Russian roulette with. Still, that Leo blooper reel. Laugh? I did not.
  19. Don’t use ‘my missus’ or ‘my bird’ or ‘her indoors.’ Not only does it suggest you have time-travelled from the 1970s series “On the Buses” but is also suggests you are in some kind of control. You are not.
    “Ah, but Jaysus, the lads down the pub say it and dey are the greatest like and dey talk about de burds and de tits and, and, and bleedin Halawa and peeeeeedoes and Billy said the blacks are taking over he did and, and, and, and, and food stamps and the gays. Ah, Jaysus.”
  20. Don’t drink and drive. You’re only fooling the dead child under your front wheel.
    Again, you are not in control of anything while sober. What makes you think that this changes with alcohol? Maybe sit home and read some philosophy or build a birdhouse. Write a novel or crochet a blanket. Just don’t drive a Ford Mondeo over the faces of some poor suspecting humans because you wanted that one more pint of not very good lager.
  21. If you absolutely have to use the demeaning-to-women word ‘cunt,’ direct it at office stationary only.
    Keyboards and mouses especially.
  22. Look up at the sky sometimes. It helps.
    Especially if you’re feeling grim or are trapped in a hole ready to be killed by a 1990s horror character with a name that will never be as good as “The Hitcher” so why did they even bother?
  23. Saying ‘I’m not racist but’ leads to everyone thinking that you would never say that to another race.
    You ARE racist. You are racist against races that haven’t been discovered by you yet.
  24. ‘I’m too long in the tooth’ actually means you are just a lazy prick and the company should stop paying you.
    You will not learn anything new and may as well just die on the spot. Stop ruining my day with your, your vibes.
  25. Michael McIntyre’s jokes are probably not Michael McIntyre’s jokes.
  26. Having an alter-ego over 30 is pathetic. Committing to it means you are probably mentally ill. Call Bressie immediately.

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    Porrberacee

  27. Instagramming pictures of your breakfast is fine. Do not do it if your breakfast is tragic.
    It may also make you mentally ill. It’s food. It’s your food. You are not aesthetic at all. Food makes you shit. Sometimes quicker than at other times. Add coffee. Doesn’t matter how pretty it is, you’re going to shit. That’s what I think when I see breakfast on Instagram. That person will soon take a shit.
  28. Echoing David Cross’s sentiment, does anyone have a solid shit after 30?
    Do they?
  29. Office politics are pointless.
    Whenever it happens. Take a step back, then take a deep breath and then take another step back straight into the elevator, then out the front door and never go back. Never ever go back.
  30. Don’t try to be like your parents. They watched Glenroe; you watched the Wire. They saw Kennedy; you saw Trump. Alternate realities.
    You have nothing in common. Just leave it.
  31. It is easy to avoid reality television by not watching it or reading about it or knowing anyone who knows anything about it
  32. Crisps become very important over the age of 30. Go with it. It can replace religion in your life.
    Shove that shit in your face while quaffing wine. Do it. Go for a run the next morning, whatever. The pleasure of shoving crisps in between your fillings may be the meaning of life. The taste, the artificial pleasure, the…the… Oh my. (With that I am raptured)
  33. Fighting people on Twitter is the equivalent of getting into an argument with a family member. There will never be a winner. This is America…boom boom
    Dogs sniffing each other’s asses have more dignity than twitter warriors.
  34. Stop going to festivals. You’re only encouraging them.
    Go to a gig in a pub or at your local venue. Go somewhere with just music and a bar. No gourmet burgers or fucking wraps. Just a shitty band at a shitty venue. It’s good for the soul.
  35. Do not do the fucking sheet trick with dogs. Leave them alone. Why confuse an already confused slave animal.
    It’s not for their benefit. You could theoretically do the same thing to the elderly in a home. Also these animals adore you unequivocally and look to you for guidance. What happens when you fall down a well? Your retriever will be thinking, “Ha, fuck you. You’re not going to get me with that one again. Wanker. Oh look, a butt.”
  36. Waistcoats: I mean c’mon?
    Maybe, just maybe it’s acceptable in a period drama. Or if you’re Michael Flatley, because I doubt if he has any other clothes.
  37. Bow ties: STOP, like. Unless you’re this guy.  The brother wears what the brother wants.
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    Very few adults can get away with wearing a dickie bow and not looking like they are making their first Communion. Very few.
  38. Do not buy an expensive car for social status, buy a small car with a fuck-off engine and see if them pricks will catch you. (Except a Golf. Don’t be that person)
    Or get a dickie bow.
  39. Cleanliness is close to Godliness. Do not lie with pigs, I think.
  40. Do not read reviews if you have your own personal taste on things. Why disagree with someone whose taste you don’t give a shit about in the first place?
  41. Something was good. It’s not good anymore, but it was good. Still better than your sorry excuse for a life.
    No one will remember you.
  42. Having one really good friend is better than having a thousand, unless your one really good friend is the reason you haven’t got a thousand friends. Fuck you, George.
    I want as few people as possible at my funeral because the awkwardness of being at funerals of people you don’t really know should be taken into account when you’re sticking a body in the ground. This applies to weddings too when you’re sticking a body in the ground.
  43. I am not impressed by your sexual prowess as I am not impressed with your saxophone skills. I don’t care who you fucked or that you can play “Blue Train.” Fair fucks but you are making me feel inadequate, thanks.
  44. As an atheist, do not tell your child that he has no soul. Tell other people’s children instead.
    Then they’ll tell their friends who will tell your kid and it’ll all be sorted.

    It’s the circle of life
    And it moves us all
    Through despair and hope
    Through faith and love
    God is dead

  45. NAZI PUNKS FUCK OFF
  46. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.
    Then quit and wish you had some. (Every fucking day)
  47. Keep on keeping on or until the logical magical conclusion.
  48. Power is always ruined by one clever cynical prick in the corner of the office. Absolute power is ruined by a bunch of cynical pricks in the corner of the office.
  49. Got tattoos? Well, so do grannies on your local beach. Not so underground now are ya, punk?
  50. Borderline psychosis leads to mlogging. Be careful…everyone else.
    Go back 49 paces to item 1 and repeat Ad infinitum.

Them’s Salad days

This is only the first part. Find the rest yourself. It’s a really good intro to the American punk scene in the 80s. Also, it is pleasing for me as Iain MacKaye and myself have the same shaped head.  He is more important than me, mind.

It’s getting sweaty and Metzy in here PLUS an eternal embarrassment

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Alex Edkins and Chris Slorach sing songs

Repeal the 8th referendum update: LOVE BOTH! that’s what they’re saying. Eh, but not equally, coz they really want that mother to die as she’s a bit flighty for having sex in the first place and she’s a woman, so there’s that. Basically, LOVE BOTH love LOVE BOTH because they certainly don’t give a shit about all God’s living kids. The kinds that Tusla regularly misplace.  PLUS: Do not forget that when they say ‘All God’s children’ they also mean Ronan Keating. Repeal the 8th and then my “Backdated Abortion 2020” political movement will come into effect. Keating, There is nowhere to hide. I’m a gonna git ya. (Note: God may not actually exist. Used here for demonstrative purposes)

ANYWAYS, Stretch here. There comes a point in every munki’s life when it’s time to throw childhood things away and concentrate on the important things in life-like mortgages, work, family, dentistry, wheelie bins, resident associations (Satan’s little helpers) and those clothes peg things that hold big crisp packets closed, in your stupid attempt to keep crisps from going stale despite the knowledge that everyone finishes the pack before the night is done anyway.

As you enter work, checking that the lower buttons on your shirt haven’t betrayed a view of lower waist skin, you trawl through the office looking around, wondering if anything of interest will happen today. Is he interesting? Is her conversation going to help my day? If I have a laugh with that guy, are the ramifications that he’ll bother me because he thinks we’re friends? We’re not. He is positive. I am negative. You needs an outlet. I don’t mean like a Trainspotting outlet, coz that would be cool. I mean the awful Trainspotting 2 outlet. You’re old. You need to stand beside other old people and listen to loud music. If they sweat, you know it’s not just because of the gig. The age range is between 35 and 50. You people just sweat. I mean that’s all you do. Like Rob Delaney in Catastrophe, you sweat in the shower, then you sweat when you get out of the shower and then you sweat some more and then you need a shower.

So, it’s a Tuesday and you head to Whelan’s to see Metz, a fantastic three-piece Canadian punk band. You do not rock up to the venue. Only people who think that expression is cool ‘rock up to’ somewhere. Those people can ‘rock up’ over a fucking cliff as my Mama Stretch used to say, because she was prescient when she was alive.

I know lots of people who would hate Metz. They would hate the wall of noise created. Starting with “The Swimmer,” they pissed through a set that included “Eraser” and “Nervous System” and ended with “Wet Blanket.” There was minimal talk. A tight band who left no gaps. The most pleasant thing about the evening was that you didn’t have to think. They do not allow space for that. Hayden Menzies drums like he’s trying to forget the death of a loved one, possibly caused by himself. Bassist Chris Slorach (a non-made up version of Doyle from the Misfits) moved incessantly, creating one of the best rhythm sections I’ve seen for a while.

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Mess of wires plus bottle of water equals…

Crowd surfing is back: The gig felt very like a mid-90s punk gig when Dubalin had a thriving D.I.Y. scene. So many great bands flickered and disappeared back then; Bambi, Holemasters, The Idiots… You couldn’t move for plaid shirts in here tonight. Metz singer Alex Edkins got in on the act, by stage diving, complete with guitar. As he was being passed over the crowd, he continued playing. It was all very impressive and blocked all the shit that was in my head that day.

At any gig there is always one douchebag and this time it wasn’t me. It being a Tuesday and the middle of college times, some dirty young uns got in. The guy who walked in with his one hand in the air wearing a stripy wooly hat said to himself, “I’m the coolest brohaim here.” He was accompanied by two girls and a very nervous dude who looked like the drummer from Mastodon and didn’t really want to be there and maybe thought that Stripy was the guy to enhance his coolness factor in college.  He wasn’t. The two girls danced incessantly for two songs, during which one of their back packs bruised my lower abdomen beyond recognition, and then they walked straight out of the venue and didn’t return.

Stripy looked around and demonstrably huffed as if this watching was beyond him and threw himself into the polite mosh area. To echo Metz’s song “Spit you out,” this is exactly what the crowd did. Next time I saw Stripy he is at the back of the venue looking shattered and leaning on a pillar. Later on in the loos, he said to the guy next to him,

“Are ya happy out?”

“What?” asked the confused person trying to pee.

“Are you HAPPY OUT?”

Someone walked by and remarked,

“Happy out yourself, ya cunt.” Harsh.

This is not actually a gig review. It is more about embarrassment. As the gig ended. Stripy reappeared up front and seemed to have got himself momentarily in a crowd surfing situation, but whatever his nefarious doings he was grabbed by singer Alex Edkins who gave him a supreme telling off, all while the music kept going and Stripy was dangling in the air at a 45 degree angle from the crowd. There was a lot of genial smiling going on between crowd members who had been trying to avoid Stripy all night. Poor stupid Stripy.

Anyways, I was watching a thing there on the colour box about people describing their most embarrassing life moments and also that brilliant twitter thread about the guy who met sexy Mary McAleese on ketamine.  I tried to think of a few of my ugh moments. Now, this munki has had many ups and lots and lots and lots and lots of downs, so it was difficult to narrow down. Then it hit me and I went into a cold sweat. Oh fuck. I’d forgotten.

As a rebellious (to my own self) munki, I had made lots and lots of drugs enter my system. It was fun. I was a funki munki in my head. Anyways, after many years my body didn’t think so and during my mid-20s I started developing anxiety disorder culminating in a hilarious ‘trying to cure a panic attack with a line of coke’ situation. Don’t particularly recommend it.

This was not the most embarrassing situation.

I spent a few years hungover because the booze would block the anxiety until at least the following morning where it would wake you up screaming in your face. Needless to say I am still hungover these days, but with no anxiety. I chop wood now, point at things with an earnest look on my face, take faux interest in other people and breathe real, real deep.

One horrible day, I had to leave work and got stuck in Dubalin. I mean literally stuck. I sat down at the railings in St Stephen’s Green and couldn’t move. I couldn’t get up. My body wouldn’t let me walk to my bus. It was a predicament alright. It was then I learned what homeless people experienced on a daily basis, as I was ridiculed by a number of white-collar passers-by on their lunch break. One shouted “Get a Job!!” I didn’t have the breath or energy to shout back, “But I have a job.” One particular appalling wanker spat beside me.

This was not the most embarrassing situation.

Something had to be done. I was freaking out friends and family and the dog with my antics, so my Mama Stretch rang her brother in America who was a successful neurologist. He suggested I go see a woman he knew in college. She might be able to help me. I reluctantly decided to go. I did NOT want counselling. I did NOT want therapy.

Anyways, she was a psychiatrist. I went a few times. There was a whole load of shit going on for years in and around me and I unloaded a vast amount of information on her. She looked quizzically at me a lot, which unnerved me no end and I thought vaguely unprofessional. I went a few times, all the time wondering if I was impervious to therapy, because I’m such a cynical bastard and cultivated weirdo.

Then.

The doctor’s office was in her very plush house, I noticed she seemed to have a fair few children, as every time I left there was always some ‘Children of the Corn’ looking kid hanging around. I figured, well, it’s Catholic Ireland. People have big families, right? Right? Aww shit.

Then.

“Hi Doctor.”

“Hi Stretch.”

“Em. Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure, Stretch. What’s on your mind?”

“Em. What kind of psychiatrist are you?”

“Well. Just the regular kind I suppose. Why do you ask Stretch?”

“I’ve noticed a lot of different children around your house. Are you by any chance a… child psychiatrist?

“Yes. Yes I am.”

FUCK!!!!!

“And when do you reckon you were going to tell me?”

“I thought you knew Stretch. Did no one tell you?”

“I’m fu.. I’m twenty fu… twenty five! Did you not think it was a bit strange that I was sitting here unloading all this shit on you?”

“Actually I did find it a bit strange. Stretch. I was doing a favour for your uncle.
How does that make you feel?”

”         ”

So, whenever anyone talks about finding their inner child. I literally fucking did.

 

 

It’s time for Schrödinger’s cat relationship counselling

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NO. NO. NO. Theese is nawt vawt I meant.

Stretch here.

Have you ever woken up with your partner standing above you with a pillow in their hands and tears in their eyes? Has your partner ever given you items (laundry, books, barbells) that have disrupted your balance as you were walking down the stairs? Has your partner brought you for long walks in deserted areas with cliffs and walked ahead of you for the entire time never looking back? Has your partner ever adjusted the brakes on your car before you get to work? Have you nearly been murdered by a hitman, only to escape by the fact that he and your partner got their dates mixed up? Yes. Well, there is a consensus in the counselling community that this may be down to a failing relationship. I mean why else would your partner want you dead? You’re perfect.

All relationships go through ups, downs, and round and rounds. Some fixable, others doomed, and a third group called “what the fuck is going on here?/Doing it for the kids.” This is a grouping with people who are too lazy to split up, too financially invested to move away from each other or who realise that one day they may figure out they love each other again. (Love here being defined as a mirroring of the infant state. I learned that yesterday from a cocky baby).

What is a relationship anyway? Freud defined it a boat that carries your cousins on it, due to the questioner having a stutter. Stoics would say you should never become needy. You should never NEED another person if you love them. As you gaze across the dinner table at your partner whose knuckles are red from gripping their knife and fork, a memory is evoked of their face with pupils dilated and all that mattered was you. The realisation hits that you need to talk. You become that needy stoic hating loser, constantly questioning the validity of the situation. They eventually do a “not a-fucking-gain” arch of their eyebrows and you wander off angrily into a bottle of rum until it dawns on you that yes, you are supremely fucking annoying.

Months go by, without physical contact, sometimes, no eye contact. You discuss the kids as if locked inside the UN. The clever kids look at each other and then from one parent to the other, weighing up the merits of their eventual choice, enquiring of cousins what their parents are like JUST IN CASE. You try never to argue around the kids, but that is impossible. Kids are experts in conflict management as they have spent years observing harassed teachers slowly going mad trying to get through each day.

THE CRISIS: You can’t/won’t break up. The kids matter too much. You don’t want to fight anymore. The spark may be gone but the daily realities haven’t. What to do? Well, maybe turn to quantum mechanics and the idea of quantum superposition: The Schrödinger’s cat relationship counselling paradigm.

METHOD: Both participants walk into a room, placing a recently procured wooden box (from somewhere like Woodies, any kind of wooden box will do. Build your own if you have skills) on the floor. Face each other. Try to make direct eye contact. Take a deep breath. Open the box and mentally place your relationship inside. Before you close the box, place a divisive issue in the corner of the box. Something like the misinterpretation of a night out gone wrong or a who’s who of people who fucked up your wedding, adding weights so as not to balance to one side of the family or other. There is a 50% chance of these issues causing an explosion that will kill the relationship.

Close the box. Your relationship, which has caused so much chaos up until then, is now equal parts alive and dead. It’s in the box. If you open that box you will see exactly what state your relationship is in. Do you want to do this? Well, Einstein, do you? (Einstein retorts, “Don’t bring me in to this! I’m on the toilet”).

So, when your friend, let’s call her Debbie, comes to you and says that she is having problems with Bobbie, tell her that in order for them to have a relationship, it has to exist on many different wavelengths at the same time. However remind Debbie that they will never see wave behaviour from their relationship as it is too big an object. Also, don’t forget the main thing. Debbie is not going to get this. Debbie in particular is what scientists would call, “a thick.” Bobbie is stupider than Debbie, as Bobbie wasn’t born Bobbie, but Bobby. He thinks it’s cool to be called Bobbie. Fuck Bobbie. Bobbie is undiagnosed ‘thick.’

So, if you feel comfortable spending every waking hour with the same person for the rest of your life, yet know that there are issues that could potentially destroy everything that is good there at any moment, consider the box. The box may save you a lot of money and heartache. You will never have the respect of your children though. Children just be like that.

 

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The greatest song ever written…says munki

I mean you have your view but