Tuesday, December 30, 2008


When on 2 days holiday from work, over and above what you would normally take, and if you would like to spend that time constructively, here is a small piece of advice.

Don't dress as a bumblebee and shake your stuff at a disco in cork, far more energetically than your poor body is really capable of. This will lead to the following ill effects. Your legs and arms and neck will think you have climbed a mountain (while moshing), and will complain loudly about such tasks as climbing the stairs or standing up. You will contract pneumonia from the walk home in the cold, sweat freezing to icicles by the time you land back to your lodgings. Resulting in a furry sore throat, and an inability to concentrate long enough to make a cup of tea, let alone finish your masterpiece.

Other things to avoid include doing online jigsaws. Reading blogs. Writing blogs. Playing with your new camera. Playing with your new nintendo ds. Making lemsips every half hour. Repeatedly checking the website of the nightclub you were in for proof that you were actually there, and getting frustrated when they haven't put up the pics yet, lazy feckers.

The new camera is still blurry at night - (it'd be upsetting if it wasn't really) - but takes hours longer to download the pictures, and is an attractive shade of pink. See below a particularly fetching one of me looking like the guy from "the Goonies".

Monday, December 29, 2008

Don't Panic But

There's only 2 more days of "International put your Poem in a Shop" month left.... Get up off your lazy christmas sofas, get out and put a poem up, take a photo, and email to me.
Do it

Friday, December 26, 2008

Yip Yip

For the two aliens.... whoever you are... Enjoy,

hope it's worth the 15 mins and counting it's taking to attach here, stoopid videos...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Another List

Things I might never get used to about my new job:

1. The way that everyone hugs and kisses to say goodbye before the holidays

2. Tasting 5 different curry powders at 8.30 am

3. The proximity of nutmeg, or any other exciting ingredient or smell from all around the world

4. That I no longer have to stop every 3 days to fill my petrol tank

5. The fact that my socks smell more of spices than feet after a day at work

Happy Christmas to all my loyal readers, both of you... hit the fantabulous button below to wish me a happy christmas in return and prove me wrong! (I don't have a fancy hit counter thing, (which may SHOCK some who will have noticed that I am so technologically advanced that I have now mastered big, small, itallicky and just now colourdy writing), so have no idea how many human beings read this) (if you're an alien please hit brilliant)

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Book List

People who know me will already know how I like lists, and books, so what better way to combine the two interests than to keep a book list - (which reminds me of the guy who liked Larkin and liked writing musicals but that's a whole nuther story) - so I have kept a little book diary for you. I present them here for your reading delectation, the books I've listened to and read in the past 12 months, I'll include marks out of 10, in my humble opinion - so you can skip the really crap ones, if ever faced with the choice.

The ones on cd first - These were often picked off the library shelf in a blind rush on the way to getting saturday morning cakes in superquinn, often with my eyes closed, in other words completely at random - so there were quite alot of misses as well as the hits - the logic being - sure I've loads of driving time, why be picky? In fairness I think it's worth reading/ listening to bad stuff as well as good, and it was all pretty much better than the radio...

Where the authors name is missing it's because they need no introduction - not because I forgot to write them down - and anyone who says that's why is a liar.

Little Face - 5

Fortune's Rocks - Anita Shreve - 5

In a Strange City - Laura Lipman - 5

Fruit of the Lemon - Andrea Levy - 3

The Snow Geese - William Fiennes - 2 or 10 depending on whether or not you're really really into geese - it was a 2 for me.

Tess of the Durbevilles - Thomas Hardy - 9

Necessary Ends - Stanley Midleton - 4 - despite the great surname

Red Harvest - Dasheil Hammett - 4.5

The Bonesetters Daughter - Amy Tan - 6

The Secret History - Donna Hart - 6

Niagara Falls all over again - Elizabeth McCricken - 9.1

Scribbling the Cat - 2

War Diaries 1 - Spike Milligan - 7.5

The Spy who came in from the cold - John Le Carre - 7.5

Wild Swans - 8

Himilaya - Michael Palin - 4

The Lady and the Unicorn - Tracey Chevalier - 5.5

Dangerous Lady - Martina Cole - 5

Madame Bovary - 6.5

Memoir - John McGahern - 8

War Diaries 2 - Spike Milligan - 7.5

Rules of Engagement - Anita Brookner - 6.5

Murphy's Revenge - Colin Bateman - 8

The woman in the 5th - Douglas Kennedy - 8

Book of Salt - Monique Truong - 4

No country for old men - Cormac McCarthy - 5.5

Barefoot - Ellen Hildebrand - 5

The Road - Cormac McCarthy - 9.2

Pass the Butterworms - Tim Cahill - 5.5

Grace and Truth - Jennifer Johnston - 8

Exit Music - Ian Rankin - 7

Kinch - Matt Brown - 3

Half of a yellow sun - 8

Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones - 5.7

This book will save your Life - AM Homes - 8.5

Never Let me go - Kazuo Ishiguro - 6.5

War of the Worlds - HG Wells - 10

Shock - Robin Cook - 1

Other Peoples Children - Joanne Trollope -2

Books I read are up next - hopefully a few more hits perhaps??

The Deportees - Roddy Doyle - 6

In the company of the courtesan - 4

The Trial - Franz Kafka - 10

Attachment - Lynda Tavakoli - 7

The Speckled People - Hugo Hamilton - 6

Bleachers - John Grisham - 6.5

Becoming a Writer - Dorothea Brande - 11

Teach Yourself writing a Novel - Nigel Watts - 8

What I loved - Siri Hustvedt - 8

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman - Haruki Murakami - 9

The Inheritance of Loss - Kirin Disrai - 4.5

Altered States - Anita Brookner - 5

Hatter's Castle - AJ Cronin - 8

The Ginger Man - JP Dunleavy - 9.4

Tales of Ordinary Madness - Charles Bukowski - 9.2

Be my Knife - David Grossman - 10

Out Stealing Horses - Per Peterson - 7

The Drowned and the Saved - Primo Levi - 10

De Niro's Game - Rawi Hage - 8

This Boy's Life - Tobias Wolfe - 8.5

Are you Somebody - Nuala O Faolain - 7.8

Black Baby - Clare Boylan - 8

Secret Life of Bees - Sue Mark Kid - 6.5

Blind Faith - Ben Elton - 8.5

Things you should know - A M Homes - 10

Bad Day at Blackrock - Kevin Power - 8.5

Wheels - Arthur Hailey - 8.5

South of the Border, West of the Sun - Haruki Murakami - 9.9

Armageddon in Retrospect - Kurt Vonnegut - 8

Swann's Way - Proust - 10

So that's all folks - won't have as long a list for a few years again I'd say - what with the shorter commute not being as good for listening to a good yarn. Apart from that - at least you didn't have to sit through last years list - which would have included Flanimals 1 and 2. If you've bought me one of the above books for christmas - you still have a couple of days to sort it out - not that I wouldn't be grateful anyway - of course.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Laser Lights

Here's something I've been meaning to put up for awhile, a drive through an ordinary Christmassy decorated town - note the crazy lazer things coming down out of the streetlights - only caught on my camera, not visible to the naked eye. Creepy eh?

Background music provided by good ole Leonard Cohen. If you're reading this Leonard, I will accept concert tickets as payment for all the promotional mentions...

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Meeting famous people

Today I saw Bill Gates, I mean Bill Cullen, same thing really, he was in Easons, signing books or something, I didn't go near him, in case he'd try to fire me, in these tough times you wouldn't know. On Tuesday I met Jack Dee - I mean Jack Charlton, I mean I didn't meet him, just saw him sitting by the door of Liffey Valley, shivering and signing books or something.

From these two sightings, and from the pain in my feet I can now conclude that I have been out shopping too much this week, getting all my presents for people in two evenings, also that Dublin is the centre of the universe and all the glittering stars of the world like to hang around here signing books or something.

Did I take a picture of either famous person, seeing as I had my camera on me? Nope, I did take some pictures of some festive trees to cheer the soul though - hope you enjoy....

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Poem by Richard

For Sale:

use by date expired

endlessly reheated

reprocessed, repackaged and reconstituted

microwaveable memories

of a girl who would not return my anonymous phone calls

The above was written by a member of the poets in shops group on facebook and I think it's rather cool - and perfect for putting up in a shop definitely... So Richard - make sure to update us when it's up in a store near us!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

More Poems in Shops

So I took my little card away from that shop that only puts up cards on Tuesdays - and wrote version 2 of "the poem" - shortened & simplified. I prepared the card with not one but two little pieces of sellotape, ready for it's exhibition.

And here, ladies and gentlemen is the result - another poem in another shop - successful launch!! Try it... seriously... it's a great buzz.
Better than the late late toy show for thrills, and that's saying alot.

Apologies for the poor focus on this one - it's the clean looking sheet selloptaped to the outside of the cabinet. In this mission I disguised my purpose with a large handful of christmas cards, which I held over the area in question while taping up the card to bamboozle cctv watchers. Mastermind me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Happy Birthday!!

To my very own "Big Brother"

Not of the creepy big eye variety - not a big panopticistic brother - but actually to the big brother who happened to be my big brother - happy birthday to you! tried to ring you but couldn't get through - am sure you read my blog religiously tho - so happy birthday you!

Blog will return to normal service of only important international events coverage tomorrow, I promise....

Quick update - the long version

There are now 9 members of the "Poems in Shops" group on facebook, the movement just keeps growing!

I've realised I am able to fluently read Leonard Cohen lyrics upside down. Not that someone is unwilling to let me see them while he's playing the songs on guitar, in fairness while he's using things does seem to be the only time I want them - it's a hangover from childhood, but it's an interesting skill. I realised then that I cannot however WRITE upside down. Altho if I remember the late 90's ad correctly if I had only bought a Penali fountain pen, I would automatically be able to write in any direction with it, even upside down.

It's kinda like the crumb sweeper, an item discovered on Organize.com (don't ask why I was there) (really don't) - the ad says - and I quote "In case your toast rack fails to keep your table crumb-free, pick up those crumbs with this crumb sweeper. It's even good for non-toast crumbs." Pure genius! There was I about to go out and try to source a different sweeper for all the different types of crumbs that asail my everyday life - peanut crumbs, cake crumbs, those stubborn wheatabix crumbs! imagine. And if that doesn't sort out christmas, I don't know what does.

By the way anyone who doesn't put a poem up in a shop this month is only a (boc boc boc)

Chicken!!!! - and a can drinking chicken at that.

Important update

Sadly "International put your poem in a shop" month is not the roaring success it first promised to be. Tried to install my 2nd version of the poem onto a new noticeboard this evening, only to find some shops are not quite as easy going about the whole putting signs up thing as others. This particular shop has their signs under lock and key.
When I saw this, I almost gave up, almost walked away without even approaching the counter, what if they demanded to check the card before I put it up, and what if then they were to giggle at me for my effort? Horror of horrors. But I said to myself
"NO, I will not just walk away from this challenge, 6 members on facebook of the group "poems in shops" plus my countless reader(s) internationally are counting on me".
I had to continue. So I asked the girl for a card. She was up to my tricks though - she could obviously see through my innocent appearance, right through to the subversive darkness lurking beneath. She said, "We don't put them up straight away" this suggesting a series of rigorous hurdles that my poor little poem would have to work through. There was I thinking putting a poem up in a shop would be easier than getting it published somewhere proper. Next thing she said to me completely wiped me out, astounded and confused me so much that I could only walk out with a dazed head on me, clutching the still blank little square of paper in my sweaty hands... What she had said was "We only put them up on Tuesdays" shaking her head at me, telling me I'd better walk away now, and not cause a scene, not to dare respond with a "But today's tuesday!" Instead I nodded - beaten for now.
It's not easy being a renegade artist. Bansky I fully understand your pain...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Poems in Shops (continued)

So here it is - the infamous poem, now up in the "shop" for the world to appreciate, as opposed to being online for the world to appreciate. It's published anyhow. A word of advice for you who are eager to join in - bring your own sellotape so you can get it up quick and make good your escape!!

And yes the above photo was taken inside one of the cubicles of the local public loo - where the writing and photographing took place, so if you're the one who was outside wondering what the camera was pointed at - now you know.

In Situ it looks like this... (the one behind the postbox) --------------------------------------------------->

So c'mon the rest of ye and join in to make this the most successful "International Put your Poem in a shop" month ever! If you have a blog - put it up in your blog - otherwise email it to me and I'll post the picture of your poem up in a shop here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Poems in Shops

Emerging writer will know exactly where this idea came from, but here it is. This month is now officially "International (readers in america and england - you know who you are) Put your poem in a shop" month.

The idea is simple. Now that capitalism has officially collapsed, why not use some of it's structures for art? I'm not talking about spray painting whole buildings, or even taking over a chip shop to put on a play. I'm talking let's start small. Let's take just a postcard sized space, you know the little free ads area in every "good" supermarket. I want everyone to go and fill one of those up with their own little poem, and place it up there, proud as punch, do it on your holidays, in towns you're passing through, or in your local store. I want people searching for used cars, or rooms to rent in Walmart, Asda, Tesco and Supervalus the world over to suddenly come across a little poem in the shop, in an unexpected place. Something small, thought provoking, or whatever - probably needs to be short so you'll remember it. If possible make it look a little like an ad so that it'll last longer. That's it. Out you go. Post your poem on the comments section when you have it ready, you can do it anonomously if you want. See mine in comments section

Let's all take our own piece of the world back - 10 cm X 8 cm at a time

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stalkers and Fear of Slagging

As the dramatic title suggests, I have a stalker - not really, actually not at all. But I do have a fear of slagging - more on that in a while.

On the stalker - he's actually a very nice person who mistakenly recieved a package addressed to me, and he went to the trouble of finding me by googling me on the "world wide web," and managed to find me. Speaking of google reminds me of a brilliant clip on youtube - search for "IT Crowd and google" -- again can't upload it for some strange reason. Thanks though Philip if you're reading, not many people would go to that much trouble - ya creepy man! (only messing!)

On the fear of slagging thing - what was in the parcel was my new poetry book - ok actually the compilation which I have a poem in, (and which is launching tomorrow night - yippy doo!) and to be honest having been informed by one of my learned new colleagues that country people think toilets are only machines for washing potatoes, and that all country girls just want a brad pitt lookalike but with a dublin accent - the thoughts of them finding out about it, it's actually very terrifying....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

First December Post

Actually we got some bills yesterday, but you know what I mean. Started the new job yesterday - a million miles closer to my homeplace, working with a friendly close knit bunch who sent up a great welcoming groan when they heard I was from Cork.

The car doesn't know what to do with itself with the shorter drive every day, but I've been filling the time nicely - still haven't got round to my yoga, cleaning the house, finishing my novel, getting dogs and walking them, etc etc that I was planning to get done.

Someone I know is off to new york tomorrow, havin a girly holiday, and importantly buying fancy clothes for herself. Similarly to the spending of extra time, I sometimes wonder where all my extra cash must be going that I am saving by only going as far as the a-wear in liffey valley when my stuff is falling apart...Then I remember the goldfish(es) - they are bleeding me dry with their constant food cravings and messy parties. (seethes silently on the couch looking at the goldfish).