Saturday, October 30, 2004

Discourse on writer's block

There's been a pause, a hiatus, a time-out. I've been regularly not posting to my blog if that makes sense.

Let me make it make sense.

Let me say this, that not a day has gone by when I haven't come here and inspected my blog, checked it's still running, examined the stats in my profile, perhaps looked through the posts to see if, oh, dream of dreams, someone has made a comment (because I love the comments as much as writing the posts, maybe more).

So yes, I've not been away from my blog, and it has occupied a tender place in my thoughts, but for some reason I just haven't been able to compile a new post. Now why is this? Could it be, and step back children, for surely, The Ego has Landed, as I post this piece of wildly theatrical speculation, could it be, really, could it, be that this particular blogger has come down with a case of Writer's Block? (No laughing at the back).

Writer's Block! Let me say it again, Writer's Block... ah, delicious, the one sure way you know you're a writer, when you just can't write a word to save your life, when previously, all that was required was an invigorating puff on your favoured brand of cheroot, a sip of vintage Georgian brandy, and away one went, pouring forth a torrent of verbiage that would sate the literary appetites of a voracious and poorly washed public for months, perhaps years at a time, until the next storm of literary genius broke over one's intensely furrowed brow...

Oh heavens, they're kicking us out, this must wait! Goodnight, fine friends...

It's now morning, and the barbarians have once again lowered the drawbridge to the Internet Cafe, so one has ambled in off the sidewalk, clad in a simple silk dressing gown and trailed only by a couple of retainers, who bear my writing desk, laptop, and a stock of cushions upon their sturdy peasant backs. I was about to recount the story of Franklin Soames, who contracted what is largely recognised as the most protracted instance of Writer's Block in the historical record (I shall speak only for Christendom).

Franklin Soames! Now there's a name to conjure with (although one would find it easier perhaps with his half-brother Charles A-Deck-of-cards-and-a-Baize-Table). In 1846, Franklin Soames, newly graduated of Corpus Christi, Cambridge, had undertaken his first commission as a professional poet, the assemblage of a single stanza announcing a forthcoming society wedding. But alas, alack, when Franklin sat down to write, but a single word came forth...

"The"

The commission was cancelled, amid some contractual wrangling, and Franklin, suitably vexed, returned to his literary endeavours. Yet, terribly, over the course of the next 70 years, that single exclamation of the definite article was all poor Franklin managed to produce (besides applying his forlorn signature to restaurant tabs, bills of payment, etc)

So my own case of Writer's Block, even should it prove terminal, should not in itself earn me a place in the annals of history. And for that, one is truly grateful, as after all, as Dr Johnson once remarked when looking up from his literary labours,

"It's all well and good writing this down, Boswell, but, truly, who reads this guff?"

Monday, October 25, 2004

Big Pining

Jason’s note: I wrote this story after chatting with Jenny for hours on Sunday. The original Work of Pining was undertaken by myself, most recently on Saturday night. A durational piece, started in adolescence, it will most likely continue intermittently until I:

Locate deep kisses
Find something more pressing to pine about
Lose my ability to pine
Death intercedes

(I recognise that the last possibility takes care of the others, although, knowing my luck, I will return as The Pining Ghost, forced to wander round some English stately home for eternity, scaring generations of cleaning staff and caretakers)

Having established the provenance of my pining, can we please move on? I’m so tired. With this world of work, I feel like my mind is ransacked nine hours a day by people who couldn’t care less about me if they went on intensive training courses. I want to move on to dedicating this completed little story, Big Pining, to Jenny, in return for… well, in return for things I don’t need to make a little list of.

Big pining
I lay in bed, pining for deep kisses.
I broke off for a few seconds.
I couldn’t think of any strategy for bringing deep kisses nearer.
I was here, out there in the world were deep kisses. Many girls had them, waiting inside, waiting to come out. But maybe not with me. Maybe I was not top of their list. Maybe I wasn’t even on their list. Maybe girls didn’t even have lists, and I was so far out in my thinking it was untrue.
I pondered this.
Well, some girls may have lists and some may not.
If they had lists, was I on them?
What number on their list was I?
Was I struggling near the bottom?
How could I improve my rating?
And the girls without lists, what were they thinking of? Were they just waiting to be asked? What would happen if I asked them for deep kisses? Could you do that without being introduced? How long after being introduced was it okay to ask? “I’ve had a great five minutes, now, please, can we have a few deep kisses before I reach the front of the checkout queue? Please hurry, the man in front is only buying eggs.”
If I had any friends who had deep kisses, I would ask them. But I don’t. Oh wait, sure I do. Two friends, and they’re married. To each other. They have deep kisses on tap, at least, I think they do. Would there be any other reason to be married? No, I don’t think she’s pregnant. They are the lucky ones. The rest of us lie awake pining for deep kisses. Or do we?
Maybe I’m the only person on Earth pining for deep kisses tonight…
Maybe I’m the only person in the whole Universe pining for deep kisses tonight…
Or maybe aliens pine, too. Maybe they pine even harder, and with less chance of success, because, who knows, maybe they don’t even have mouths.
Poor aliens.
I’ve got more in common with an alien with no mouth than with those girls with their beautiful lips and their deep kisses, waiting inside.
Maybe I got my personal destiny all wrong, and I’m not meant to design websites.
Maybe I am meant to build a rocketship and fly into outer space and hang out with mouthless aliens. We could all pine together.
In time, perhaps, I’d become their leader.
They could have a long and complicated ceremony where they stitched my mouth closed, or removed it entirely using advanced surgical techniques currently unknown on Earth.
I would stand their with my mouth gone, tears in my eyes.
Everywhere I looked, aliens would be bending down, paying homage to their new leader, the man in the homemade rocket ship who pined even harder than them about his lack of deep kisses.
I would rule benvolently. Taxes would be low.
I broke off from these thoughts.
Feeling slightly stronger, I resumed my pining for deep kisses.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

A night to forget

Jason’s note.
I’m not about to say much about the writing in this, only that it’s rough.
There is little of Maria’s speech and story of her work life and ambitions, that will come. Please remember the beer was strong and the recall is not so good. For that reason, it’s not fair to go shovelling a load of made-up stuff back into her mouth, I should just stick to the impression she gave. This woman wasn’t weird, but there was something quite alien about her manner and intelligence. Actually, the New Zealand man fantasy, frankly, is weird.

New Zealand Man

I felt waved on by Maria, invited forward, judged. And this was just the preliminary emails to meeting up. I would be reminded that I must try harder. I came back from England, my first wedding, and gave a small report. Back came a stamping foot of a message. Call yourself a writer? Where’s the interest? Where are the details?

I spent an hour writing a detailed account of the wedding, calling forth as much of my memory of the day as possible. The dancing monkey performed all his best tricks and hit ‘send’.

Back game a glowing response the next day. A few more messages and Maria was ready to meet me. Even this wasn’t simple. There was a massive wobble of “No, I don’t think we should” followed a few days later by “Oh, maybe we should.” I had to go back with a counter, “It doesn’t matter if it feels too much, no-one says we have to meet.” As usual, this resulted in a firm date being fixed.

Maria warned me that she had an unfortunate habit of not being able to make eye contact until she had relaxed sufficiently. I thought this would at least provide a measure of her relaxation as any meeting progressed. I didn’t bother saying that, I just sent a nodding head reply.

We met on a Tuesday. It happened to be the day when Wayne Rooney made his explosive debut for Manchester United. I sat in the pub watching the first half of the game on a big screen, waiting for Maria to arrive after her evening class. She completed a few evening classes each year. Tonight she was doing stuff with computers, having confessed that she was currently hopeless with them.

Wayne Rooney was playing like something out of a comic book.

My mobile rang, the display - ‘Maria calling.’
“Are you here?”
“Yes.”
“Where?”
“I’m sitting on a stool beside a table. Hmmm, near the large screen.”
“Is that in the bar or the lounge?”
“I don’t know. I’m in the larger part, I don’t know what it’s called.”
“Okay.”
“I will wander round and try and find you.”
“Okay.”
“Are you sure we’re in the same pub?”
“Rathmines Inn?”
“Yes.”
“Yes.”
“Oh. Well, I still can’t see you.”

I wandered around. I still couldn’t find her. I did determine that I was in the lounge, though, it was written backwards on a door. I called her again.

“Where are you?”
“I’m sat in a corner, opposite the toilets.”
“Hmmm. What a clever spot. Hiding…”
“I think you’re stood in front of me.”

I turned round and there was a woman holding her phone and smiling.

“Oh, you must be Maria. Let me get my drink.”

When I sat down we said hello.

She pointed over to a ridiculously seedy-looking dark character I’d clocked earlier as a potential weenie-wagger.

“I thought that was you, he looks like he’s waiting for someone…”
“Yes. Satan, by the looks of him… probably going to ask for his soul back. And his looks.”
“I thought, boy, your photo sure was flattering, he’s covered in pockmarks.”
“Yes, he is. Maybe thousands of tiny asteroids have impacted on the surface of his face.”
“I think it was teenage acne.”
I looked at him once more.
“We’ll have to agree to differ.”
I was warming to the comedy potential of Mr Shifty.
“Actually, I’ve a quick confession. He’s my advance party… I send him in, and if the date is in any way attracted to him, I know that she is low-grade and desperate in terms of her taste in the opposite sex. Then, I move in…”
She laughed.
“On the other hand, with his seedy air and shifty eyes, he kind of makes me look good. At various points in the evening, I may call him over to enhance my own measure of personal attractiveness.”
“I look forward to it.”

We had some drinks and kept the talk flowing.

Maria explained some things about her job. Her job was clinical, and soon I realised, so was Maria. There was something compact about her, like she’d had an extra helping of detail added to her. I looked at her shoes, red, with a lot of detailed stitching.

“I work in a laboratory at the hospital. I’m the… I’m the deputy manager, well, I seem to be the manager most of the time. We process samples sent down, return results. I don’t enjoy doing it, really. It’s work.”
“And how long’s that been going on?”
“I’ve been there seven years.”

I thought about seven years spent doing something I didn’t like. These days I struggled to cope with seven minutes of something I didn’t like. I thought I better not mention how I just sat with my laptop in cafes earning more than enough to live on.
“So, what’s this stuff that you do for British companies? Computers, yes?”
I waved my arms.
“It’s like you, something I can do so I can live. I’m more focused on starting a life for myself here in Dublin. It’s just useful, I don’t have to consult anyone, all I need is my brain and my laptop…”

We had more drinks. I got them.

A few minutes later, a change came over Maria’s face.
“I have to say this now, Jason. There’s no connection. I’m not feeling a connection to you.”
I sat there waiting.
“Where’s the person who wrote me those messages?”
“They’re sat here. It was me.”
“No. It doesn’t feel like it. That must be another part of yourself… I had a picture of how it would feel to meet you, and it’s not happening. You’re the first person I’ve met through this website, maybe my expectations are the problem…”
I sat there thinking.
“I can only say that’s too bad if something is lacking. For myself, it seems obvious enough that the person who wrote you those messages is sat right here. He may be struggling to get out, but it is me. But, naturally, or maybe unnaturally, we’re here in the flesh, and all my nerves and anxieties are here, too. As such…”
I waved my arm, resigned. “… you can draw your own conclusions.”
“There’s no spark.”
It was like being crossed out.

I knew there was no point now. I had the same feeling people must get when they trek across the ice on solo unsupported polar expeditions, where they reach the end of their strength. Where it doesn’t matter where you are, or where you’re going, because the game’s over anyway. I saw myself as this little black speck on an ice floe, camera rising away, maybe something tender by a gravel-tongued singer-songwriter would fade in, someone with a thick grey beard paying tribute to my “the heart that carried a pack that far/to the end of his world” in a howling voice. It could be a short film, perhaps, The man who loved.

I kept drinking anyway. Maria drank very fast and now I drank very fast, too. It was my new apocalyptic drinking style. I would keep drinking pints of beer until the night could be ended peacably. We slipped into a dysfunctional but somehow fitting rhythm, whereby one of us seemed to be always on the way to or from the toilets, while the other saw to replenishing our glasses. We did this for 90 minutes.

Maria carried on looking off to the side.

“You know. If I could be anywhere now, I’d be in New Zealand…”
I let this sink in.
“I’d be in New Zealand and I’d have a New Zealand man for a husband.”
I let this sink in, too.
“But it won’t happen. I have to stay close to my family. We’re very close.”

The pub was emptying and the lights were fading down. We walked out on to the street. Maria walked off without saying anything.

I had drunk six pints in two hours. Nothing was right with me. I watched her flag down a taxi with the super-efficient air she’d employed remorselessly during our brief meeting. It felt right that that would be the last I saw of her, business-like, compact, performing a single gesture.

The taxi moved away.

I stood there thinking. I thought about the men in New Zealand who were wandering around oblivious to Maria’s fantasies. I saw eligible New Zealand males stood in a row wearing swimming briefs, Maria being wheeled past them in a gold-plated buggy. Her eyes darted wildly. Would she lift her hand and designate someone as her fantasy made flesh? Would she? Or would she be a good Catholic all her life, and go home to Laois each weekend and drink poteen with her hundreds of friends. Was that really a part of her inner life? Wasn’t it easier to believe in aliens or second sight, something a little more cosmic than some thick-set New Zealand ranchman cracking a tinny on his wood porch with a glint in his eye, and how you’d never be together. At least my impossible dreams featured plenty of young women in tight skirts bending over repeatedly.

There was no-one around.

I stumbled over to the 24 hour internet café. It was open. Inside it was warm, I couldn’t think straight. I wrote a load of confused emails, dispatching them with unco-ordinated flourishes of my hand. I had incoherent IM exchanges with a few of my friends. I moaned, I wailed, figuratively, via the compelling medium of words. I sent some anguished text messages. I wasn’t far off simply knocking on people’s doors to invite them to share in my utter defeat.

I left and stumbled home. It was the return journey, but it felt like I was wasn’t just retracing my steps, but I was being rewound, walking backwards towards my empty room, and every hopeful and positive feeling from the start of the night was now its vengeful counterpart.

I tried think about Wayne Rooney’s goals, his grinning mug as he slid along the slick green pitch, accepting the adulation of 70,000 bug-eyed football fans. I looked up, there was the imposing dome of Rathmines church, darkened now.

It was best just to go on.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

For JJ - # 1

Another snippet of a forthcoming thing to make people ha ha

Blast-off from the everyday

It takes hostage negotiators to get me out of bed.

I lie there listening to the lead negotiator on the loudhailer.
“Move away from the bed, Jason. We can discuss your demands, but you must move away from the bed.”
I don’t move.
“Jason, there is milk in the fridge, we repeat, there is milk in the fridge. There is muesli in the cupboard, and we are sending in a fresh bowl. You could be eating breakfast in seconds, Jason.”
I don’t move.
“You badly need a piss, Jason. Don’t make us switch on the PA and play the sound of running water till you wet your pants. Spare yourself such an indignity and move away from the bed. Go to the bathroom and make number one, please, Jason.”
I feel the pushing pain down there. I think they’ve got me. I slump out of bed and I can hear people cheering outside. The door is broken down. Special Forces burst in. They efficiently destroy the bed and leave. One of them picks up a DVD from the floor, it’s Billy Liar. He drops it into a baggie and seals it.

I should wash and get dressed. I should have breakfast, too. I never quite know what order to do these things.

The aerobics team have appeared. They are four suntanned Australians, two male, two female. One of them lays out an exercise mat for me.

“We’ve got 25 minutes of pumping house music and a load of top-whack exercising to get through, mate, so you might wanna finish up in the dunny, take a shower, slip on your complementary shorts and singlet and join us. Cos we can’t wait to get started, can we gang?”
The gang does a synchronised whoop.
“C’mon, Jase, get to it, and by the way, what happened to the bed, mate?”

I shower briskly. I can hear the aerobics team outside; they are talking over fitness regimes, the benefits and drawbacks of certain lo-carb diets, the usual thing they talk about. They actually never talk of anything other than exercising. These people can’t even take a bite on a biscuit without incorporating a series of star jumps and a couple of lunges.

“You use up 22% of the energy from your food just by chewing it and digesting it, Jase, but what about the other 78%? That’s what we’re here for.”

I slip into my exercise gear. I tighten the laces on my running shoes. I’m ready.

“Maybe I could have breakfast first?”
“No way, Jase! Let’s work up an appetite, hey? Imagine how good your low-fat semi-portion of Oaties is gonna taste after working up a real sweat! You’ll have earned every single flake, mate.”

I go and stand on my mat. The sounds of Ibiza 2004 start up.

Rough bones, very rough bones

Dog Bones

“Alasdair, I need to go to that pet supplies store over the river. I have a date tonight.”
Alasdair’s face began to show all the signs that he was forming a fairly obvious joke.
“Skip it, I need a bone for my date’s dog. His name is Jack and his capacity for thought and acts of kindness profoundly outweighs your own sorry attempts. He’s also completely house-broken.”
Alasdair’s face took on a wounded look that suited him.

We walked over.

Stood at the traffic lights, something truly bizarre happened.
Completely oblivious to the world, a headphoned Goth girl with a frozen face walked straight out into the path of a bus.
We absorbed the shock.
It was shocking.
People looked at each other.
I looked at Alasdair.
“What we just saw was truly shocking, but I still need to go to the pet supplies store.”

Outside, beside some rubbish sacks, there was a guy with wild curly hair sat on the floor smoking a cigarette. Something about his pose, the comfortable curvature of his spine against the shopfront, something said “I work inside, I work at the pet supplies store.” It was either that, or some inextricable bond had formed between a man who spent hours each week thinking about pet supplies and his physical self. Or maybe he just stank of hamsters. I sniffed discreetly. Yes. Hamsters.

Alasdair stayed outside to do something unspecified.

I found some dog bones, the one’s that are not bona fide bones, but are kind of shaped chewy things that look like bones from cartoons. I found one that cost a euro and took it to the counter. It was a young girl, so I let loose with a joke.

“It’s not for me. I’ve eaten…”
She didn’t laugh. That meant I didn’t get to use my follow-up joke.

I put the dog bone in my pocket. Walking felt awkward now. It felt for all the world like I had a dog bone in my pocket.

“Do you need the toilet?” Alasdair said.
“Occasionally, yes.”

We started walking home.

At one point, Alasdair stopped in a state of rare excitement and pointed at the ground. “Wow! Look! The Bleeding Horse…”
“You idiot! I thought you’d spotted a wad of euros lying on the ground. In future, and the future starts right now, reserve that level of emotional intensity for piles of unguarded banknotes and young women bending over in short skirts without their knickers on.”

We walked home.

Getting ready

It was evening time. I was trying on clothes. Alasdair was rolling another cigarette. He was slowly turning every vaguely concave object in the room into an ashtray.
“Why do you have to try on five shirts?”
“I thought you were smoking your cigarette, not branching out into psychoanalysis…”
“You’re so vain. I’ve said it before.”
“I’m not vain, I’m struggling to make a decision. I want to look my best, but the concept of ‘my best; is a floating one. It changes by the hour. What was my best yesterday may not be my best today, and this is why I am going to try on every shirt I have, perhaps multiple times, until something clicks into place.”
Alasdair smoked his cigarette.
“Did you listen to that explanation?”
“Yes.”
“Okay. I am now settled on either this shirt or that one. What do you think?”
“Checked one.”
“Okay, I think so, too.”

I sorted out trousers and shoes. It was time to leave.

I thought about the dog bone.

“I’m in two minds about this dog bone now.”
Alasdair didn’t answer.
“The thing is…” “Why?” interrupted Alasdair.
I stopped.
“Hang on, I know you’re a long way from home, but are you forgetting the basic rules of conversation tonight? And that reminds me, you’re not to start talking politics or religion with the good people we may encounter tonight, is that understood?”
Alasdair grinned.
“I talked about politics today, to some Americans I met at the bar in the pub. They were shocked!”
“Anyone would be shocked if you spoke to them, you’re a shocking character.”
“They were shocked when I said I’d string Tony Blair up from a lampost if I had the chance. Their faces were just like this,” he pulled a face.
“Don’t start pulling the faces of shocked Americans in here, you idiot. I’ll wind up having to have this room exorcised as well as fumigated when you leave.”
He eased off his shocked expression.
“Well, we’ll call that your final warning what happened with those poor women. Remember, not everyone is so understanding, and if you do fuck up, you’re on your own. I’m not taking on a bunch of foaming-mouthed drunken rowdies on your behalf, just because you started making the case for the Pope being the Anti-Christ.”
Alasdair laughed. “He is.”
I held the bone up.
“This bone has got more sense than you. I don’t know, maybe I should forget about the bone and stick a sawn-off shotgun inside my coat, just in case.”
“I promise I’ll behave.”
“We’ll see. Anyway, I’m leaving the bone here, I’ve just got this terrible vision of me being stopped and searched by the doormen, and one of them taking out the dog bone and saying, “Hey, this could be a very effective weapon…” The other one chipping in, “Deadly, in the wrong hands…” I flipped the bone back on the bed.
“Sorry, Jack.”

Monday, October 11, 2004

Black shirts

The story of Saturday night with Simon begins with three key elements. These will by now be familiar to anyone following this blog on a semi-regular basis. I will go through them methodically for once.

1) Hair

Hair is one of my single insurmountable problems. Does my hair defy looking good? It doesn't seem to matter where I go, how much I pay, what I ask for, the result is always the same - a bad haircut. This problem is compounded by the phenomenal speed that my hair grows out. Actually, the word "grow" doesn't do justice to this phenomenon. You can almost see my hair getting longer, like someone is steadily turning the handle on a human Mr Potatohead...






2) Clothes and my Barrel Chest

3) Going outside

We went to two nightclubs, Redz and Boomerang

We had a drink in a place on the quay called Panama. It's okay in there, the decor is this frustrating mix of brickwork, exposed pipes, and wood. I'm not sure why, but there's something apocalyptic about the space, it's way too easy to imagine it flooding or being stormed by commandos in shiny uniforms. I pondered this as we had some drinks.

Having read through one of the free guides to entertainment in the city, we had elected to go to a club called Redz for starters. The guide had scored it highly for the following...

"I think that's it," said Simon, pointing over to a building opposite O'Connell Street with the windows lit up in red.
"It's definitely red."

It costs just 5 euros to enter Redz, and we descended in search of the pure hit of nightclub pleasure that the entertainment guide had alluded to.

What hell! What hell was this!

"I wouldn't come here to be crucified," I offered, by way of an introduction to my thoughts.
"I'm seeing hairstyles straight out of the 1980s... and they are being worn without irony."

Simon was right. There were bushy-haired squirrel men, wooden-limbing it on the hankie-sized dancefloor. There were shy 17 year old girls with chunky arms, trying to look alluring as they drained their drinks (that conformed to the basic formula of Something Alcoholic + Coke + Ice)

There were people there with patriotic inflatable hammers. I have still to have this explained to me.

We had to leave, we had to get out.

We took a recommendation to check out Boomerang, a club in Temple Bar.

hillbilly sniffers, 4 to a cubicle

the bumpkin who commemorated a particularly good line of overtime-sponsored dust by pulling down his trousers and dancing in his Tommy Hilfiger pants in front of a mystified male toilet clientele

being asked if I was French... the continued battering of my self-image by people who don't think i "look like i'm from round here" - what part of Earth would i look at home in? vote now...

touching your neck and nerve damage, waving arms to I don't know who you are/but you must be some kind of superstar

cleaning

bashed-in Britney

being left for dead, but only in the easy-to-survive, cry-harder-you-fool, sexual-rejection way

these are my grim reminders

Option One

This was something fairly funny.

On Sunday, me and Simon were walking home and there was a stereotypically arty looking gent - long black locks, bearded, big funny coat, a beret (oh yes!), and he was in a discussion with a female companion.

As we walked past him, he said in a very very calm voice

"Option One, I punch him in the face."

Friday, October 08, 2004

Confessions of a Minesweeper Addict

In the 60s and 70s, there were wonderful British softcore movies to keep dad entertained during industrial strikes, with enthralling titles like Confessions of a Window Cleaner or Confessions of a Bus Driver. The basic purpose of these films was to make it difficult for a man to cross his legs for a while, and, although they may seem very basic to today's sophisticated viewer, their social function shouldn't be denied.

Now for my own confession. I have spent the last week neglecting just about every aspect of my daily life, work, cooking, communicating, etc... and the reason why?

I had become addicted to the PC game Minesweeper

In particular, to the task of successfully completing the expert level of this demonic game, where you must locate, without a single mistake, the position of 99 tiny mines... After a full week of playing this game for up to eight or nine hours a day, finally, the gods showed mercy upon my eternal soul, and granted me a Total Victory! Below is a screen grab, as proof, if proof were needed.



This morning I woke feeling refreshed, happy to be free to resume the course of my usual activities, such as they are. Unfortunately, the logic of Minesweeper had taken root during the night, and I continually find myself imagining the clearance of complex patterns of mines... I've suffered similarly after playing Tetris

As another committed gamer notes,

"After playing I shut my eyes and see the blocks falling down. They fall down in the street, they fall down everywhere. "

How much was the temporary obsession with Minesweeper a direct reaction to my experience of meeting three Irish women from the internet?

What will come next? Tetris fever? Rubik's Cube Mania?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Club 2000

Back to the Middle Ages anyone? No... How about a Ritzy nightclub in a provincial English town circa 1989? No... (throws time machine with just the two settings in the trashcan)

Well, as part of the 2004 Quest for Experience (and damn the expense or consequence), I last night ventured back in time by heading to an out-of-city-centre nitespot called Club 2000 in Spawell, Templeogue.

The invitation was extended to me by yet another Woman from the Internet, so I abandoned my current activities (lying in bed in underpants, reading The Guardian and The Independent), dressed once more, and headed off.

The taxi driver was from Malahide, and he gave a wonderfully oblique description of what turned out to be a credit card. "It's small and they come through the post... out in the country, you rarely see one... i used one once, but there was a mistake... i don't know if they're legal here..." For the first 10 minutes i thought he was describing a mail-order wife.

I made my entrance to the sounds of Tiffany's global pop smash "I think we're alone now" and there they were, the rythmically challenged, jerking wooden men, timeless in their short sleeved shirts and jeans, performing their embarrassing moves on a basic dancefloor.

My date had such large breasts that they kept me almost at arm's length. The plus was that they kept brushing me as we played upon the threads of disputation. This was mostly shouting hello and trying to introduce me to someone who after about a week of pointless shouting she spelled out on her mobile as "Janet"

I drank some beer and then on came slow songs. Janet exhorted me to go dance with big-breasts, so I did. I don't know if I've ever smooched to a slow song at the end of the night in a tatty nightclub, but I have to say, I'd recommend it! We held each other tight and moved in slow circles, the wonderful shared glow passing through the eyes-closed dancers that they had achieved their basic goal of acquiring someone of the opposite sex who was 1) still able to stand, and 2) had lips

I was told off for not moving enough. Will Young sang, I moved a little more.

Another hour and we fetched up in a leisureplex in the middle of industrial units and car showrooms, sitting at a table and waiting for some fast food to arrive (took about 45 minutes for a sad burger and some weeping fries to manifest), swapping life details, and laughing at a man in a largely pinkish shirt with thin brown and green vertical stripes and his girlfriend, a knobbly kneed, pale legged affair, in a pair of knee high red cowboy boots.

"She washed his shirt with da boots"

Laughter.

I cocked up the taxi rides home, and who knows, maybe i missed out on a chance to add the further experience of you know, body rubbing, etc, activities. But, of course, I'm over the sea and not every girl you kiss in a nightclub and ride home with is such a sure thing here. Don't know if this is good or bad. Actually, it's irrelevant to my lifestyle, as I don't really go to nightclubs or smooch. This was research.

I tidied my room and resumed reading the newspapers. It was 5:30 a.m., and the night hadn't been a complete waste.