Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from July, 2010

Sex & Guilt

Having lived away for years, I’ve always felt there’s a kind of bonus connected to being Irish. I don’t mean the fact that people come up to you and say ‘ah, you are Irish, the green island, you have shiny yellow face from Kerrygold butter.’ And I don’t mean the Americans’ with their ‘I love your brogue’. What I mean is the sex. As a rule, sex and guilt are inextricably connected for the Irish, and let’s face it, sex without guilt would be banal. I know, because I’ve had sex with people from at least 27 countries spread across the globe, even if I’ve never been to bed with anyone from Wales. Believe me; having sex with someone who doesn’t feel guilty about it just dampens the whole thing. They leave the light on; they ask you things like ‘am I getting the right spot there?’ and they’re loud. They fart in bed, they examine your privates the way a doctor does and they make you orgasm the way an Irish person might make you a cup of tea: too often, too sweet and not hot enough. Guilt is sex…

A Tooth Or A Campervan?

There’s something about dentists, and I should know, because I’ve been in a dental surgery twice in the space of the past week. Granted, before last week I hadn’t ventured into one for at least five years, but still. The first visit was made possible due to severe pain. I had an infection or an abscess or whatever the dental definition is for: €1500 and do you want insurance with that? I was told to come back in five days time, and this time it was even less daunting, as the painkillers and antibiotics had cured the screaming pain, which made me feel richer by the €1500 which I’d written off but now felt I could spend on sweets and chocolate instead. But apparently no: just because I feel better doesn’t mean it’s gone away. I’m not to trust the tablets says Mrs. Gleaming Teeth, the young dentist who looks about twelve years old. The pain will come back. I’m to hand over the money and we’ll discuss some other cosmetic work while I’m at it. But not today. Today we’ll just do two filling…

No Money In Poetry

Today I drove to Sligo and back in the pissing rain. Well let’s say my beloved did the driving and I sat in the passenger seat passing bitchy remarks about other drivers and the state of any poor innocent who happened to be walking along the pavement. I had been invited to Sligo to read a poem of mine which was ‘highly commended’ in the iYeats poetry competition. In other words, a poem that didn't win. The invite had been called ‘an award ceremony’, however, we runner ups only got a cup of tea and a dry aul’ biscuit. I’m used to the pomp that goes with poetry by now. I reckoned that if the ceremony was on at 12.30, it would be enough to skip the wine, crackers and speeches and get there about 1pm for the start. I made it at a quarter to one, only to find that it was half way through and I’d missed my slot. Gracefully, they did let me come up and read, and the whole thing was over by 1pm, say a quarter past if you count the cuppa. There were a few poets hanging around, laden down w…

The Right Age For Sex

Recently I was explaining to a friend how now that my kids are all hitting puberty, I intend to buy a gun, build a ten foot wall around the house and vet any prospective admirers by pointing the gun at their face and letting them know what’s the what. After all, I’m the parent and I need to protect my innocent children from the risk of being exposed to sexual predators, or worse, having sexual desires themselves. My friend asked me what age I felt was the right age for sex, and I had to think for a minute. I reckon mid thirties is a good age. You know what you want by then and you’re beginning to experience the feel of being a grown up. And sex, after all, is for grown-ups. Or is it? Recently I was staying in a house where the 15 year old daughter had her boyfriend stay over for the night. Luckily, it was in Germany, where the legal age for consensual sex is 14. In Ireland it is 17, with a clause that allows non-carnal contact at 15. Now who the hell knows what ‘non-carnal’ contact mean…

Is This Berlin?

I’m a couchsurfer, ( www.couchsurfing.org ) Being one means you’re a thick idiot who hosts strangers for free in your house. The deal is meant to be that after the strangers have come and emptied out your fridge, been sick on your spare bed and nicked a few books, they will also write feedback on the website saying that ur not a psycho killer and that it’s ok for other people to let you stay on their couch should you ever recover your losses and get out of the house. Then you can travel the world by asking people if you can stay on their sofas and they say yes because they read all these nice things about you online. I had this notion that it would be interesting to meet people from all around the world and show them Galway, but most of the visitors we got were extremely boring eastern Europeans who kept their food in a separate plastic bag and got up early to do yoga. So last week when I arrived in Berlin I wasn’t sure whether I should really go and stay in some weirdo’s house or not, …

On Becoming A Racist

I've decided to become a racist and it has nothing to do with the fact that I'm sitting in an internet cafe a few yards up from Checkpoint Charlie. After all, what could you dislike about the Germans? They're peaceful and organised and despite their reputation there are some who have a sense of humour. Using public transport is a dream; there's just not going to be a flaming arguement or a traveller family with the father praying out loud while the daughter listens to music blaring from her mobile phone. There are no hungover scangers bringing chips and burgers on board to smell out the carraige and it's quite uncommon for a bunch of youngsters to start their drinking binge on the train. So no, Germans are fine. I also couldn't fault the Africans. I recently took the bus from Galway to Dublin where I had to move seats to get away from the drunk Irishman beside me as he pissed his pants and it started to run across to my seat. I ended up beside a guy from the Co…

The Job I Won't Be Getting

The other day I had a job interview. Being called to interview is a biggie these days. HR people just don’t waste their time anymore unless they really feel you might be serious about the job, suitable and well qualified and willing to work 60 hours a week at €2 per hour. Despite qualifying for all of the above, it is still a rare occurrence that I do actually get called for interview but what happened was this, the company interviewing had won a government tender to deliver training, and they now need trainers. When they tendered last April they were told that they’d know by the end of the month. Of course, here we are in mid July and they got a call last week to say they’ve won the tender and to get started by next week. So I got a call to come to interview the next day, and I’m guessing it was all done at such short notice that the good people who all have proper jobs and are busy were not able to down tools and come along, so people like me got asked.
Given that part of this job i…

Preaching to the Converted

When I first started writing the daily Arsekick I promised myself two things: that it wouldn’t be political and that I would post up a piece every weekday. I’m beginning to realise that everything is political, even t-shirts with slogans are political, as is suggesting that people ban the pyjama bottom or comparing one kind of corruption with another and all the other things I’ve blogged about. So I’ve started to realise that I’m less consistent and more political than I thought I was.


This week has been interesting. I came across a Facebook group called ‘support the re-opening of Mosney’ or something like that. Well, having worked with asylum seekers, I’d already felt my stomach balk at the thought of the people living there being uprooted overnight and sent to random parts of the country to re-establish their already turbulent lives. So I joined, thinking that this was a page calling for the place to remain open.


Not so.


The page is, in fact, a holiday camp for racist commentary, on…

Doting Madwoman with Tic

I’m not sure when Tourettes was invented, but it’s definitely a great name for a disorder. I think back in the day when I was young we just identified people as having a ‘tic’.I myself do not suffer from tourettes, but if I did, and if I were to describe myself on a dating website, I would definitely prefer to write ‘I have a bit of a tic in my left eye’ than to write ‘I suffer from Tourettes syndrome.’ But that’s just one of my little tics, not wanting to call things by their official names. Sometimes I think I have a yet undiscovered illness called ‘silent tourettes’. What I mean by that is that sometimes I find myself silently saying things in my head that I don’t really mean at all. For example, I might be talking to someone close to me whom I very much appreciate and like, but parallel to the nice conversation I’m thinking ‘cow, silly cow.’ I don’t know much about tourettes but I saw this girl who had it give an interview and she said that she can’t help herself but that she shout…

Ban the Burka, and Suits and Pyjamas

I’m never really sure what I think about all this ‘ban the burka’ stuff. Without a shadow of a doubt, costumes from different cultures are great and it is truly uplifting to see an African woman in a mad yellow, gold and dazzling green dress with matching headdress, wheel a pram along Shop Street in the rain. The burka, on the other hand, is mostly dull yet it does draw attention but not as much attention as the neon elasticised bands worn around the breasts and waists of some indigenous Irish minority ethnic groups. What also fascinates me though, is the gender thing. I constantly see Muslim women wearing traditional attire, while their husbands have shed the flattering headgear and flowing robes in exchange for jeans and hoodies, shell suits and various variations of western male attire. I’ve heard a lot of arguments as to why women should or should not stay in the burka or wear the head gear while their husbands don’t. But my point is this: if you want to ban somebody from wearing …

Parking Tickets & Democracy

I had to go into town this morning to help a friend of mine with his asylum application to stay in Ireland. You see, he comes from Nigeria, and where he was living, life has become totally destroyed by corruption. Luckily, Ireland is not corrupt. I called a few influential friends who I know and asked them to push his name up the list, and I got an old lover to help set him up with a false I.D. so that he can at least do a bit of work while he’s waiting for his case to be heard. When I returned to my parked car I found that I’d been given a parking ticket: forty quid. I took it off the windscreen and looked at it with the same disbelief that I look at rejection letters from publishers.Just then a community warden came along. “Is this from you”, I asked, because if I was to get a ticket I at least wanted to look into the eyes of my persecutor before selling my children’s shoes to pay the fine. It wasn’t from him, but without much of a conversation he began to tell me what I now needed …