DOWN with the kids

gfnobody-thumb-510x287-41652

Sometimes I look in the mirror and see Henry Hill in the final scene of Goodfellas. That moment when he realises the mundane future,  that expression of weariness stares back at me. I’m not old or young: I’m in the middle, the horrible middle youth. Too young to retire and give up, too old to join a band. Too exhausted even to bother with a mid-life crisis. The span between 30 and 50 is as demanding mentally as the hormonal mess of teen years, filled with the same ‘what the fuck?’ moments every morning when you open your eyes. Is this middle youth? Or something else?

Now, I’m a professional something, with a wife, child, mortgage, car loan, two dogs and a non-stick pan. I’m also an uncool, balding, cynical, wrecked shell of a human, who has finally lost control of the handlebars, looking at music reviews, wondering at what point I started missing all the new bands.  My interests aren’t represented in the media, I am unlikely to harass Joe Duffy of an afternoon, am Irish but not that Irish kind of Irish. Demographically speaking I’m from that group who drink heavily, mangle the guitar, play playstation, write, work in a demanding job and worry about money all the time. If that is a demographic.

FASHIONLESS FREAK FASHION BITCH

My dressing room of disaffection contains black t-shirts, black jeans, black boots, pretty much the same uniform since I was eight, but I was cooler then. The use of branding or logos is prohibited by a demented code I developed as a teen. Colour is always the enemy, as is self-help. I am Max Schumacher in an Anthrax t-shirt.

Why? There is nothing that irritates my soul more than when I see people with GAP or FITCH illuminating their chests. Why be a walking billboard? People are conditioned to wear clothes from the many outlet stores that have popped up because they are on special offer and some weird set of unwritten fashion dogma tells them that a little alligator on their shirt will make their peers sit up and demand to know who this fantastic character is. If you’re not going to bother then don’t. Or else become a hipster, but then again I don’t really know what a hipster is. Someone with skinny jeans, no defined muscle mass and cardigan buttons in their earlobes, right?

I do not react well to that market which feeds us. Maybe I’m William Gibson’s Cayce Pollard, who had a pathological sensitivity to logos and brands. Yet, I’m also that loser who wears band t-shirts at age 37, ha! I met a guy in the lift in work a few years back who commented on my Front 242 t-shirt, sarcastically pointing out that he used to wear such t-shirts before he stopped being angry at the world. I stared at this chinless, overweight shit and resisted the urge to punch him. Who is not angry at this world? Oh.

MUSIC HAS THE RIGHT TO PARENTS

It all comes down to my teenage obsession with music and how certain people remain consumed throughout their lives. Others choose to drop these childhood things and wear ties and jodphurs and place Dido on their stereos as it is unlikely to offend anyone. People like myself, whose religion changed after hearing Nick Cave’s “Tender Prey,” feel heartache that the underground we loved is now sponsored by mobile phone companies. We grew up with American or British punk, metal, indie, goth and dance music, not because we didn’t love our country, but because the rare Irish gems faded quickly. We listened to those influential groups long before their recent wallet-filling comeback tours. These days I can’t even listen to the amazing Pixies without a sick feeling in my stomach.

I wonder how weird will it be bringing my son to a Metallica gig when he’s old enough? A guilty pleasure since the age of 11, the thrash metal behemoth stopped being any good after 1988, yet like Fall gigs you go to see them live just in case it’s the last chance you get. The anxiety-ridden metallers are not an underground band from the Bay Area anymore, but a corporation in their own right. During their set, a few years back, I stood happily drunk and watched a man with his son on his shoulders. They were both in awe at the spectacle. Ah, one day, yes, one day, I will force my son to see Metallica and demand that he sit on my shoulders regardless of his age.  Later that night I high-fived the kid a few times until the father got uncomfortable and moved position.

Growing up we watched everything that was new and cool, tried to race ahead of hungry marketeers who needed to commodify everything that we loved and ultimately destroyed any feeling we had for it. The music marketplace annihilated itself because of arrogant executives who didn’t believe in the power of the internet. The tools of production and the ability for music to be uploaded to sites means anyone can be a musician and exist outside of the limitation of record companies.

Oddly this has meant that us middle-youthers get to experience the thrill of our youth for a second time, because the bands of my youth are either starting up again or never stopped. They know that they will make more in this era’s consumer model than in the days when they were popular and influential. This isn’t brilliant news for the current generation. Thousands of new groups fall by the wayside: burning brightly and fading away, all in the space of six months. There are too many old bands releasing event albums and headlining festivals, filling the space young acts should.  Look around now, every festival is headlined by forty or fifty-something rebels with mortgages but no cause other than the derivative output of their generation. How many new bands will be plying their trade in 20 years? They’ll be gone, but there will probably be a new Iggy album.

THE MEATMARKET TURNED VEGGIE

Depressingly evil waking moment: Apple computers have control of my body! My fingers, eyes, ears and lumpy arse have been borrowed at a price by this corporation that constantly bangs me over the head telling me, “No, we’re not a corporation, but your friend. Look how well designed our products are, look how good they go with any room in your house. Doesn’t your dog look cooler standing beside the MacBook Pro? Quick take a pic with your iPhone. Hey is that Gun Club on your iPod?”

Typical though, I am such an old hypocrite, railing against the MAN for all these years, and it turns out the MAN is a geeky fucking hipster who sees even a mess of a human like me as an integral part of his marketing strategy. Apple have since the early nineties forced their oh-so-cool products on a wanton sector of society, the ‘we didn’t have that shit when we were young’ crowd. The age profile for the highest consumers of iPhone and iPad? 30-50, my age-group.

We are willing computer and internet junkies. We don’t see the little adverts flashing through our heads. Every site we go to has a shopping basket, ‘inviting’ us to exist in a global department store. We are the ‘cooler than our kids’ generation and being hooked up to the net, it is mournful for us because we remember the time before. The time before we lost our ideals, that golden time when we ran around fields and wished we had something to stop us from running around fields. Here’s an iPhone! Look! With this app, you can not only control your bowel movements, you can control other people’s too! That’ll be 99c, please.

STUCK IN THE MEDIA OF A SHITSTORM

We are always being informed by the media that we have a unique culture. Do the people who leave comments on the Journal have culture? Those poor bastards can barely raise their knuckles off the floor to actively miss the point. Yet, these are the people who engage with media, my compatriots.

Culture can be video games; gigs; sport; Hello magazine; drinking yourself to sleep after a hard day’s work; the occasional night out surrounded by massive televisions showing footballers at actual size in bars that used to be nice; hoping you will stay alive long enough to finish the many boxsets you are watching and hating Ryan Tubridy because, y’know, he’s Ryan Tubridy.

However, the Irish Times weekend magazine seems to think that the nation is full of upper middle class people who knit their children’s clothes, then wonder why the poor itchy fuckers get bullied at school. Do these things relate to my generation? ‘What to wear when killing foxes. How to stop people killing foxes. Are foxes spreading diseases and killing livestock? Are we too quick to dismiss the ways of the countryside even if it even means the odd fox will get ripped to pieces? How to make fox risotto, with cranberries and chestnuts, YES! CHESTNUTS!’

On the other hand, I am supposed to care about Georgia Salpa, Kate Middleton, Rosanna Davison, John Terry, David Beckham, Tom Cruise, Adele, Susan Boyle, Una Healy, Gerard Kean and Simon Cowell? The question is: would Michael Collins have made this country better or if he lived would he be just another big wanker? Look what happened to Bono.

HERE’S YOUR CHRISTMAS PRESENT SON. NO, THERE WAS NO CELLOPHANE WHEN I GOT IT

While some people are out on their mountain bikes, orienteering their fit bodies around grim mountains, others are spending large sums of money in restaurants to eat chips that just don’t fit in your mouth. A few still sit around and pray to gods who have nothing better to do on a Sunday morning. But then there are those who can tell key events of their lives based on what version of FIFA football they had at the time. Alternatively they are racking up bodycounts so impressive that their Level 50 status brings them to the attention of various military dictatorships, leading to their dream job: John Cusack’s character in Grosse Pointe Blank. The only downside being the eventual marriage to Minnie Driver’s enormous head.

Teenagers of 2013 have more problems than they realise. Not only are they dealing with the adolescent nightmares of peer pressure, alcohol/drug abuse, fraping, and pus all over their visages, now they’ll have to fight for control of their own game consoles from a growing population of aging gamers who remember playing Sonic and Mario and are damned if they’re going to miss out on the latest gems on the gaming market.

Adults my age play computer games. My Dad didn’t. Your Dad didn’t! The supposedly productive hours in our lives racked up in gaming universes mean that to ignore the incredible new games and game engines wouldn’t be fair on us.  These worlds are so advanced that they transcend the divide between traditional adult entertainment of movies and television. The ability of some games like the Call of Duty series to sell more units than any traditional media is pushing them into a prominent area. Pong is gone. The games developers know that their audience are not just kids, but stressed out adults with disposable income who demand quality and the ability to shoot someone in the face.

Alan Moore, the comic artist who created Watchmen and V for Vendetta, has talked about my generation’s retreat to infancy, pointing out that we didn’t really want to take the responsibility of being an adult in the world we live in, since it’s a pretty shitty world. Middle youthers, although that label is redundant, exist in some horrific Judd Apatow version of reality – minus the misogyny. We are immature, yet have mortgages. We don’t sacrifice our enjoyment of the world in order to survive. We vote the lesser of two evils then vote them out when they become all scaly monster. The church didn’t own us like it did our parents so the guilt isn’t really there. But middle age is real, it is coming and it will be interesting to see how the market is preparing for our generation’s needs. What games will we need? Which bands will still be touring? How will we fill our days? Is it wrong to read the New Yorker on the toilet? The country is a mess, but the market is depending on us not to grow up for a little longer

ABOUT THE AUTHOR (ALL YOU REALLY NEED TO KNOW)

Who ever met anyone like Sean Sherlock, the Minister of State for Research and Innovation (Ministry of made up ministries)? Where did he come from? Why does he represent my interests in this internet age? He is three years older than me, looks twenty years younger and smiles like he’s telling you to fuck off. I have never met anyone like him. Maybe I could befriend Sherlock, force-feed him brandy and digestive biscuits and while holding his hair over the toilet bowl as he vomits, demand to know why he is representing me. I might just get an answer. More likely, through the tears and snot he will tell me that he has no idea why at our age I am wearing a Cramps t-shirt, smelling of rum and covered in his sick.

182870_527665477279926_395253768_nThis bunch of words I did wrote was published in the summer issue of CULT magazine 2013.

 

Catherine Zeta Shut-the-fuck-up!

You sho think you got problems, mos def? You ain't seen Michael's bags of delight. They of the hook

You sho think you got problems, mos def? You ain’t seen Michael’s bags of delight. They off the hook, bitch. OFF. THE. HOOK.

Stretch here…headache

So, am in work, in hell, in distress and all this munki can think about is a nice big bubble bath, wine, some quaaludes and a plastic bag for cheap thrills, when some dumb Catherine Zeta Jones movie comes on the work TV. I ignore it for a while wondering why nobody in hell turns it down…

Previously today: Went to sit on toilet. Toilet seat up. Fell into toilet. Sore.

Working away and I can hear her horrible American accent tinged with Welsh banging out of the television. No one seems bothered. There is some band in the park across the road playing “THE MUSIC OF 1974.” It’s grating. Each song starts with a dumb bu-doom-doom-doom bassline and I feel like I’m stuck in some circle of hell, namely the one that involves Irish weddings. I knew then that if Sweet Carolina came on, I would throw my munki ass through the window and fall three storeys to my tragic mild injuries.

Previously today: Driving down road. Car pulls out and almost wings me. I brake and scowl the munki scowl. Some form of pubescent with enough silver on their teeth to bring down a werewolf smiles apologetically. THEY ALLOW BRACED HUMANS TO DRIVE. FUCK ME!

My knuckles were white hot, typing, moving shit, fixing things, checking to see if the internet was still there, sending pointless emails, when the TV sound spiked. My little munki hands automatically flew to my ears in some nature versus evil impulse. Nature was losing and my mind started to bleed. What in the name of Charlton Heston’s nipples is that?

Previously today: Realised lately that my munki eyebrows have developed a few white hairs, not abnormal for the elders of my breed. Tried to pluck one out. No joy. Tried again. No joy. Frustrated, I did one of those screaming concentration faces and went for it. Result, big fucking hole in my eyebrow. White hair still there. Crap.

I unsquinted my boiling eyes and managed to spy CATHERINE FUCKING ZETA JONES jauntily singing “I’m a bitch, I’m a lover” by Meredith Baxter, while driving her car. WILL SOMEBODY TURN THAT SHITE OFF? was screamed to no one in particular by my mouth and three others simultaneously. The double effect of Baxter and a slightly off-sync, slightly off key Catherine Zeta Shut-the-fuck-up made up my mind. I jumped up and in a shrill voice, said “Fuck this Catherine Zeta Shit, I fucking Quit.”

I walked down to my car, feeling relieved. I took deep breaths, listened to the birds, listened to the trees, but most of all, listened to me.

The last thing I heard as the plastic bag went over my head was a horrible Welsh voice screaming,

“I’m a bitch I’m a lover
I’m a child, I’m a mother
I’m a sinner, I’m a saint
I do not feel ashamed
I’m your hell, I’m your dream
I’m nothing in between
You know you wouldn’t want it any other way”

Fuck it, I thought. Dying’s gotta be better off than hearing the next verse.
as my eyeballs popped and my veins reached the maximum width they’re allowed under munki medical law, this lovely song came into my head.

Tunnel Vision

 

OUT OF STRETCH-VICE

Stretch Macgibbon will be out of action for a while, due to unforeseen predicaments. If you are lonely for Stretch just y’know get over it. If you pine for me, then I willow be oakay. To contact Stretch, tell him you love him.

is this home?

Stretch here needing beer and…

My head feels like a bag of crisps, all confused and rattley with a hint of cheese and a dash of onion. Was going to go on a rant about Louis Walsh and illegal downloading, but am just too tired.

Beer, bed and b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-b-bad dreams. Tomorrow will be a shit day, but someone will be there to make it all better, right? Right?

I was thinking about Barney Sumner today and this Bad Lieutenant song immediately came on my iPod, so I considered,

That's me that is. Frustration city...

1. Is my iPod fucking with me, like it tends to do?

2. Is it just a random coincidence, no ordering of the universe or fulfillment of Karma?

or 3. Was Barney in the back seat?

The answer was 3. He was in the back seat. Fatso tried to start a band with me, a fight with me and then the car with me in it. All in all, it was fun, but missing lucidity.

Got to work and Barney was too fat to fit in the lift. He ran off screaming. I arrived in work perplexed and relieved.

It’s a lot for a munki to take in. The rest of the day was spent gnawing on my knuckles at the thoughts of where I’ll be in 2050. A 75 year old Stretch Macgibbon will have written an awful lot more meandering yet meaningful magical mlogs and will be laughed at by the hip munkis who will have abandoned computers completely and will write their theses on each other’s fucking eyeballs with Fantastic future-crayons. Manic.

In the words of Lionel Richie to anyone that will listen,

“Hello. Is it me your looking for?”

metallica in the ether: itsaduoparto

Last week on metallica in the ether

Luckily the savage cop got tired hitting Fuckface and My Irish Molly. They met up with me in the Stag’s Head. To describe the Stag’s Head as an old piece of furniture with a few doors would be apt. You could also describe it as a place for country students to write home about.

“Off to a gig, lads?” the surly but burly barman asked.

“You can’t put me down. I don’t respond to the man.” The barman looked at us like we had run away with his sister Siobhan and did nasty things to her. We didn’t.

The place was busy. We sat in the midst of a large German family. There were a lot of them, Kelly family size. I was finally starting to feel a little buzzed and asked in my best and only Deutsche,

“Bonjour. Du hast durchfalls? Ya? Ya?” (I was nudging the youngest child while saying this).

The mutter was not impressed and asked me what I meant. My Irish Molly leapt to my defence by saying the only Deutsche he knew to their 12 year old girl,

“Ich will in eine reiche Familie einheiraten. Liebling, Ich will dich.

Neither Fuckface nor I nor it seems My Irish Molly knew what had just been said, but the leader of the family, the Vater, became furious and started shouting at us, forcing surly but burly barman to calm him down and ask us to leave. We compromised by going for a cigarette. Seconds later our jackets were thrown out the

Oh shit, Danny Glover!

door and we were told to fuck off. The last thing we saw was Danny Glover recognising us from the bar. I clenched my buttocks tight and quivered.

A ghostly child appeared from behind the curtains…

Blah, blah off we went. Shuffling toward the next hostelry with a pact in place not to talk to any more humans. I needed rum, so we headed into the South William. To describe the South William as a place where quirky people got to meet their quirky friends would be very apt. Once in the door, we knew we weren’t cool enough, but we held strong and demanded rum doubles and beer chasers, which turned us demented. My Irish Molly went to the toilet and ended up in another pub. We had to sit at a table that would have been perfect for an old woman eating an eclair or maybe a scone, no, an eclair.

A man wearing a pink jumpsuit glared at us and joined his friends on a lush sofa. They all had dyed hair and one guy wore a waistcoat, hat and skinny jeans or no-arse trousers as we know them. It was like a low rent version of a Clockwork Orange. Fuckface was apoplectica.

“Hey you there! You can’t wear a hat indoors, where’s your fucking respect?”

“Hey, chill dude, we’re just trying to have a noice time,” said a laid-back guy with angular hair.

“Don’t dude me missy,” Fuckface retorted.

“Lads, is everything okay here?” smarty but arty barman said.

I drained my rum and beer (fearing imminent eviction) and jumped in,

“Yeah, fine. But you must admit it is a lack of respect to wear a hat indoors.”

“I don’t understand,” smarty but arty barman said, not so smarty now, still very arty though.

“Look goys, I’ll take it off if it really bothers you. Huuhhhhh” the hat wearing guy said.

“Why thank you!” Fuckface oozed.

Things calmed down for a minute and we chatted back and forth about having no bottom and buying jeans. They were pleasant enough people really and even Fuckface agreed we were a little harsh. Smarty but arty barman was pleased. Then My Irish Molly crashed into the glass front door and bounced back on the pavement. A kindly man held the door open for his second attempt and he wandered up to us wearing a pirate hat he’d found in a skip and holding a large bottle of cider in his hand. This enraged the skinny cool people.

“What, no parrot?” I said.

“Hey, if we have to remove our headgear, this dude has to do the same!” said indignant man with oversized designer dress.

My Irish Molly dragged him off the chair and screamed something about kissing Captain Sparrow. We separated them and removed ourselves from the premises and immediately bumped into a local sex-peddler I knew called The Mysterious Dark A. We demanded he come to Metallica with us. He declined saying he had to go back to work as today was the Sexy Saturday Sale of the Century. Ahhhh, we said silently. He told us not to forget to go the gig as we had probably missed a few bands already. So we went to scuzzy rock bar Bruxelles and wondered would we make Alice in Chains.

The ghostly child stared at me and my skin crawled…

To describe Bruxelles as a bar evolved from a toilet would be damn true. Down the stairs and into the dark bar. The jukebox was playing Prong at ear-bleeding levels. The three of us smiled at each other, knew we were in the right place and hit the bar.  We stood close together and basically said nothing. Fuckface looked at me and said something I could barely hear. I raised my eyebrows and kinda smiled. Then turned to him and said something uninteresting. My Irish Molly held up his hand to say something, but stopped. For about 20 minutes we looked everywhere but at each other while everyone else had a great time. Seeing this uncomfortable silence could last all day, I ordered whiskeys. Success, well kinda. Within minutes we were screaming and roaring at each other and head banging off-rhythm. I started to sense we might not even make the gig at this point and dragged us out to the street.

“We must Depart from the Bar,” I cried. Fops, cretins and dandies nearby tipped their hats to my illogical yet alluring rhetoric.

“Huzzah” they said, prompting us to go into McDaids for vodkas. We’re never going to make this fucking concert now.

The ghostly child touched my forehead with its finger. The blood left my body and the lights went out…

We legged it to the green of St. Stephen, with indigestion so bad, you could have bathed us in Andrews and we would still have been a belching mess. I hailed a cab for a while and then realised I was at the rank. This took longer than expected after I demanded to drive. They were not pleased. Fuckface fell in an open door and demanded to be taken anywhere but here. I jumped in. Where was My Irish Molly? Fuckface told me the nut had started some conversation/argument with a crazed religious guy (complete with mic and amp). The last thing I recalled before putting my hands over my eyes was My Irish Molly urinating, then running at the religious guy, kicking his amp into a bunch of tourists and screaming,

“God did that!”

The path of the righteous man...

to be continued at a later era