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Saturday, May 31, 2014

THE ANGELUS



The Angel of the Lord declared to Mary...

Friday, May 30, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

FUGGER SYNDROMES


(Advertising Feature)

We define ourselves in many different ways – our gender, our race, our nationality, our religious beliefs, our sexuality, our political ideology, our hopes, our past experiences, our disabilities and our ailments. The latter is a great one to latch on to if the others don't really appeal. Ailments garner a lot of sympathy but it's a kind of sympathy that lacks the patronising attitude the disabled have to put up with. You can seem really interesting when you suffer from some rare and exotic ailment that has all kinds of novel symptoms people can ask you about while giving you sad eyes, gently patting your arm and telling you how brave you are.

Sadly most of us aren't ill and just have to get on with being 'well' and going unnoticed but things need not stay that way. Thanks to our retroactively diagnostic crypto-medicinal approach, you can now choose an illness from an exciting new variety of diseases and infections. Browse our catalogue and check out what's on offer. Pick your ailment and then get on with suffering from it. Tell friends and family that you're a victim of Sticky Bits Fever, Cardio Spasmodic Defenestration, Gastric Scheduling, Lumpy Jumps, The Klank, Polycystic Linoleum, Heteronormativechromia, Panty Cramps, Gumpy Pie, Dobson's Prompter, Phibsborough, Hemorrhoidal Telekinesis, Farage, Complexia, Shiteyitis, Cacktheria, The Macarena, Poofter's Elbow, Stegosaurus, Bimbles, Drunken Caddies, Recurring Brunch, Fidgety Gadget, Wibbly Wobbly Wonders, Fuzzy Felt, Yahtzee, Buckaroo, Mouse Trap, Scalextric, Monchhichi Cough, Xtra-vision or the dreaded Stargate SG-1 to name just a selection.

Once you've decided what you've got, a member of our staff will promptly infect you with it and then diagnose it. Bear in mind, you will now be sick but you'll also have something to define yourself by and isn't that what we all seek in life, no matter how it is attained, no matter what form it comes in, no matter what the cost? And, yeah, our services do cost a bit but we'll get to that later.

Friends and family alike will regret the day they ever took you for granted when you produce the Chronic Certificate you were awarded by your nearest Fugger Syndromes outlet. Wave your certificate in people's faces and roar: 'see, I'm sick, I'm fucking sick now go get me a blanket and a nice bowl of soup'. Watch as everyone hops to your every command. The greatest wealth will be your ill-heath! You'll never feel better than when you started feeling sick!

Fugger Syndromes – we're almost nationwide and spreading all the time.

Friday, May 23, 2014

JUST B U!

Just B U !
Don't be anybody else
Relax and take life easy
Just be yourself !

Just B U !
Do things your way
It doesn't matter
What other people say !

Just B U !
And don't be scared to take a stand
If you do this I promise
Life will show its guiding hand !

Just B U !
You're really outta sight
Quit hiding away
And step into the light !

Just B U !
Get these words as a tattoo
And every day remember
It's great to just B U!

...unless you're a fucking paedophile.

The End.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TiTs!


My funeral will be held at the titty bar. That's where I want people to remember me. I want my ashes poured on Wendy's boobs as she gyrates and flashes her nonjudgemental grin. Wendy is my favourite of the dancers. Bendy Wendy they call her. The trace of scorn that is faintly detectable in the eyes of the other girls is absent from Wendy. She enjoys her work. She takes pride in it. Have you seen the way she transforms herself into a spinning human pretzel? It's incredible. It's beautiful. It's so much better than the lethargic swaying of those who would rather be glamour modelling or assisting a magician or working as an usher in an adult cinema. Bendy Wendy gives me reason to rise from my bed each day and this is why I ask that her cleavage be my final resting place. This is why I request that her mammaries be my memorial. I can see her now, slowly moving to the Funeral March as I am laid to rest on her generous breasts.

Some complain that Wendy's whoppers are 'fake'. That her charm would count for nothing if she was sans silicone but I see it a different way. I prefer the term 'enhanced' and aren't the best things in life enhanced? Nature gives us the raw material and we work with it, enhancing its qualities. Master chefs enhance flavours, all Wendy has done is enhance her knockers. She has knockout knockers. I told her as much. Just the other day, I shouted at her, 'Wendy, you've got knockout knockers'. She seemed complimented. Her grin broadened a little. Some of the others said she didn't understand me. They say she doesn't even speak English. They say that she is from a cold and bitter country and that her name isn't even Wendy. They say that she goes backstage after every performance and gazes at a creased photograph of a child that she keeps amongst her personal effects. They say that she sobs. What they say just makes me appreciate Wendy all the more. What a trouper. Despite all her troubles she comes out dancing and gives everyone a good time. 'You're a real trouper Wendy!' That's what I'll shout at her tomorrow. Even if she doesn't understand me, she'll get the sentiment. I'm a sentimental man. My send off will be similarly sentimental. It will be the saddest day ever at the titty bar but Wendy will be grinning because she knows that you've got to keep smiling no matter what knocks you take. Yeah, Wendy may have taken a few knocks but like her knockout knockers, she always comes bouncing back.

And, in a way, aren't we all heartbroken topless dancers at the titty bar of life? And rather than lethargically swaying and visibly wishing we were elsewhere, shouldn't we all just grin and gyrate and make the best of it? Gyrating and hoping that someone will slip a few bucks into our garter to send home to little Fedor so he can save up and one day, maybe, have enough to slip into the garter of some other heartbroken topless dancer that reminds him of his mother and causes a tear to come to his eye as he recalls the day she left him in the care of his grandparents and hugged him and kissed him a final time before walking out the door and leaving Slavingrad forever. Isn't that the way things are?

I think that is the way things are and that's the kind of thing I want everyone at my funeral to be thinking as Wendy wobbles and mourners weep and the whole world spins around again.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

FUGGER COMMUNICATIONS



My job is to make you aware of summer blockbusters, international acts of aggression and new family packs of fish fingers. My click farms provide the trends you hashtag on twitter. I don't just promote products and points of view, I alter the fundamental perception of reality itself. You check the facts but my public relations company, Fugger Communications, makes the facts. I email the media and they cut and paste my press releases into all your heads.

When it comes to geopolitical conflicts, Fugger Communications is unique in that it often works propaganda for both sides. Let's imagine that nation A is at war with nation B, well both A and B will hire Fugger Communications to make the other look bad and to make themselves look better. Fugger Communications (Unit F-15E, Nangor Road Business Park) doesn't pick sides. I take both assignments and execute them with the utmost due diligence and standards of excellence going forward.

The main task is to build a wall of nonsense that the truth can't penetrate. I tell a lie, I counter it with another lie and then I tell a third lie to counter the second and then I add a fourth and so on and so on. One brick after another in a Tower of Bable. It's a game of He Said She Said but I'm playing it alone and getting paid by both himself and herself. That's PR for you. It's a lovely earner. No one wants to hear the complex realities anyway. (TLDR.) Folks just want simple stories to reassure them that their side is the good side and the other the bad side. (There are never two bad sides or any shades of grey whatsoever). As for those the conflict does not directly involve, they like a choice of readily understood backstories that allow them to pick a side and enjoy the show, commenting on the plot as it unfolds as if experts. Those who don't buy into my narratives are usually pretty clever but, thankfully, apathetic. If the Holocaust was unfolding today, they're the kind of people who'd groan at the sight of a Nazi death camp and change channel to watch something 'less depressing'. Family Guy probably (warmed by the 'knowingness' of their cold laughter). They're the 'smart cookies'. They matter least. Really, they don't matter at all.

The only other people who don't buy into my spins on events are those caught up in those very events – seeing reality unfold at ground level. These people are of even less concern to me because they're either the ones making the decisions or the ones being killed by the ones who are making the decisions. I need not fret about the latter because the dead testify to nothing and the former are the ones who hired me in the first place.

Helping the opposing leaders of two warring nations achieve their ends by convincing everyone else that all the suffering is worth it leaves me feeling no moral qualms or shake my certainty that I'm performing a service to all parties. You see, to do other than disseminate simplistic propaganda would be severely unkind. The alternative would be to allow people realise the truth - that it is not worth it and that there is nothing they can do about it. Imagine how everyone would feel then, stripped of the compensation of jingoistic righteousness? The truth would kill their hope and leave them in despair. The truth is something to be avoided at all costs because the truth is cruel. The truth is no one's friend. In fact, it is the truth that is the real enemy. The only war truly worth fighting is the war against the truth. I am fighting that war. The fact that I'm handsomely paid to do so is neither here nor there, I am fighting the war against the truth for all of us.

Knowing that I'm making the world seem a less complicated, frightening and futile place than it really is allows me to sleep easy in my bed. As for the rest of you, you can just go back to sleep easily.
There's no need to thank me.
Just stay glued to your TV.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

THE WAY OF THE FÜGHRER


My uncertainty is, of course, simple affectation. I am certain of everything. In fact, there is no one more certain than me. When you come to know how certain I am you will bask in my certainty. You will abandon your lack of certainty and abide by my abundance of certainty. I will sit high in the mountains of southern Bavaria and pose for certain looking portraits that you will hang on your uncertain little walls. Certainty is all you want. You crave certainty. For you, it's all about certainty and, perhaps, a pinch of demagoguery. You are lost and want only to be shown the way. Any way will do. Even the wrong way. As long as you feel that it is The Way. I will mention The Way a lot when I take to my podium, gesticulating and embracing myself as I become overwhelmed by the power of my own words. The words of The Füghrer.

You will come to understand that The Way is the only way. It will start with a fashionable chain of coffee houses and clothes shops called The Way. First you will 'hang out' there and then you will work there, both earning and spending your money in the same place. You will feel the brand of The Way providing you with a sense of identity. No more will you long for that vague thing you couldn't quite identify but always felt missing from your life (it was a sense of communal belonging and purpose). With calm newfound confidence, you will lounge in The Way apparel as you sip The Way coffee and listen to me orate about The Way on The Way's very own radio station – that will also play the odd tune by Ray LaMontagne and The Polyphonic Spree.

'The Füghrer says that we are no longer to serve albinos in the shop.'
'The Füghrer lifted my chin and kissed my forehead. I am in ecstasy.'
'Did you note the Füghrer's pantaloons at today's rally? The becoming and unique cut denoted both authority and discernment.'
'He may have interned half the population but the Füghrer's love of alsatians reveals a sensitive soul beneath the cut and thrust.'
'The Füghrer says that cretins and intellectuals are alike in their wilful cerebral aberrations and that both are to be rounded up and left in the courtyard for collection at noon.'
'The Füghrer promises us a golden future but a golden future that demands blood red sacrifice.'

I will give you boots, britches, braces and little hats to wear. I will fortify the crumbling battlements of your souls and send you out to war against those who, by their very existence, offend our people. Our enemies, the unfashionable, the aged, the portly, the unsightly, the impaired and the unwell, will be first to fall and then we will expand our franchise into Europe, Russia, Africa, Asia, Australia and across the Americas. We will have no allies but that will not bother us because all the world will soon be ours and think like us and dress like us and drink coffee like us and both work for us and buy from us alone. We will stand, sartorially exalted, above the rest of our species, flashing our abs and waving our hashtag flags - #EinVolk,einReich,einFüghrer - and we will sing rousing choruses of Light and Day by The Polyphonic Spree.

Of course, there will be some resistance. The malcontents, the sneering older brothers and sarcastic big sisters. But we will pay them no heed. We will bar them from our outlets and all the world will be our outlet so they will find themselves barred from life itself. Let them be swallowed in the shadow of our glorious advance as we live our lives The Way lives should be lived. All of us certain in ourselves because we are certain of The Way and because we have good bone structure.

And that is The Way things will be and that is The Way things will remain until battalions of enraged Slavic conscripts pour through our defences and tear each and every one of us a 'new one'.

It has happened before and it will happen again. That is, after all, the way of things and the way of things is, after all, The Way of The Füghrer.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

THE CRYING ROOM


I went to the crying room today. I'd been bottling stuff up for a while and thought it was time to unload, you know the way it is. I thought I'd take advantage of the early bird offer and get a session in for half-price. I met Tom in the changing rooms while I was togging out in my waterproofs. He was about to leave. He seemed grand, cleansed. He had his towel over his shoulder and held a corner of it up to the side of his eye to absorb a final droplet of grief.

'There's himself', said Tom. I said hello. 'In for a bit of a bawl?' he asked, knowing the answer. 'I am', I replied. 'Oh there's some fierce wailing in there today', Tom told me. 'A school bus drove right off the by-pass and the bereaved are inside giving it all they've got.' I sighed. I'd hoped arriving early would give me the opportunity for a quiet little sob but now my misery seemed a bit petty. I wasn't even sure I felt like it anymore. I considered turning back but decided that I'd paid and that all suffering is relative anyway. 'Is it something specific that has you in or are you just having a clear out?' asked Tom. 'The latter', I said. 'What about yourself?' I asked. 'Ah, I was just thinking about my eldest, Glen, and what a disappointment he turned out to be. I found myself thinking about him as a child, full of potential and wonder. I felt something coming on so I hopped in the Subaru and made my way here.' Then Tom laughed. 'The staff will have the mops out later for sure', he said before skipping out the door as if he didn't have a care in the world.

I entered the crying room. The tiled antechambers echoed with intense mewling, blubbering and indecipherably mumbled grievances. The place was like a sauna filled with people dressed in impermeable leggings and long coats, with moisture dripping from the walls caused by tears. It really was very full. I hadn't seen the place this full since the passing of Diana Spencer. That was a terrible day. Goodbye England's Rose playing from the Tannoy. I couldn't get out quick enough.

After a lot of wandering about, I could only find a small space for myself at the end of a crowded bench at the far side of the complex. There was really only room to rest one buttock and I found my precarious position incommodious to lamentation. I couldn't get it together. All the others in floods didn't help either. I'm the same at urinals. I often just give up and resign myself to a dampening of the slacks.

I tried to recall my regrets and misfortunes but it was no use. After a few minutes, I got up and left. I slipped out of my gear, threw my bathing cap in the basket in the foyer and went out into the car park. You couldn't hear anything from out there. They did a good job on the sound proofing. You can hear the crying room in Finglas from streets away but this was Ballinteer and people expect quality. I thought I'd have a secret sob in the van and risk the fine. I thought that might do the trick. I didn't see any emotion wardens around. Why would they be patrolling here anyway? So, I opened the van, climbed into the cabin and put something by Nick Drake in the CD player to get me in the mood. I sat there, waiting for the tears to come. And I waited and I waited and I waited but ...nothing. It wasn't happening. I wasn't sad. I just thought I should be. I had wasted the whole morning in a half assed effort at mourning when I could have been doing something else. Something more fulfilling. And that's when it struck me, I had wasted much of my life trying to be sad because it seemed to me the most appropriate response to this existence. What is it they call life in the Bible? A vale of tears? Some say 'veil' but it's actually 'vale'. Yes, well where were my tears? I mean here I was, right in the middle of the vale and no tears. The whole thing seemed to me another of life's dirty tricks. Another frustration. Children recover from sorrow and are laughing again in no time because they are ignorant. Grown ups know that misery is a sign of maturity. We're reminded every day. Why couldn't I just embrace it? Why couldn't I just let myself go? It was all too much. 

Paradoxically, it was thinking about my inability to breakdown that eventually caused me to breakdown. I sat in the van crying my eyes out. I wept and wept and then, looking up through watery tears, I saw an approaching warden and was fined €40 to be paid by the end of the month.

I 'lost the pain and stayed for more'.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

THE SEACIDE


The ghost of a coast. The corpse of a shore. The skeleton of a wave.
A powdery calcium phosphate strand heated by a celestial surgeon's light.
The living sizzle in the ashes of the dead and make sandcastles in the 'dust to dust'.
All the gulls have died and the only things that fly are the flies.
Take a walk. Take a swim. Take a dive.
Die. Dissolve. Become the environment.
Ignore the air raid sirens.