Published: Mongrel Magazine, February 2005
Picture it: a vibrant tableau of rural Irish childhood in the 1980s. Two lines of infants, marshalled by a prissy, short-sighted nun, queue in a freezing corridor, waiting for their turn to use the toilet. There is some perfunctory jostling and pulling of hair. But for the most part, it is an unremarkable scene. On the wall behind, a portrait of Pope John Paul II beams down serenely. Read the rest of this entry »
Published: Mongrel Magazine, December 2004
Productivity has bottomed out. Our department is now so far behind on processing claims that the clients who made the claims in the first place have forgotten ever doing so. Coming up with the goods at this remove only seems to annoy them further. Doing nothing actually seems the more prudent course of action. Read the rest of this entry »
No takers, but she’s undeterred. The girl is a conversational terrorist. No topic too banal. Read the rest of this entry »Published: Mongrel Magazine, October 2004
I may appear polite, even deferential, to the spineless jobsworths who populate my workplace. But I despise them, and I despise their petty politics. Their meaningless office-speak is this company’s unofficial vernacular. Mastery of that, as well as an ability to smile like a simpleton in any situation, is what passes for professionalism around here. The head of my department is particularly fluent:
“With er… regard to the salary review you were promised, as such, we are presently not in a position to implement any… increases, as such, going forward… at this time.” Read the rest of this entry »Published: Mongrel Magazine, August 2004
A grave injustice has been done. Five young men have been punished for a crime they had very little to do with. Barred for life from Marco’s Take Away in Stoneybatter (the fast food outlet of choice for a new generation), tut-tutted at by every pain-in-the-hole auld one in a two mile radius, and for what? The muddled testimony of a henpecked chip shop owner? The palsied lies of his stubby-fingered wife? Read the rest of this entry »Published: Irish Times, February 1 2008
HOW WOULD you react if a substantial sum of money was mysteriously lodged to your bank account one day? Would your first phone call be to your bank manager or your travel agent? Would you attempt to find out where the money came from? Or would you cross your fingers, do nothing and pray that no one ever noticed? Read the rest of this entry »Published: Mongrel Magazine, February 2006 – December 2007
Published: Irish Times, June 14th 2008
Hasta la Victoria Siempre, readers! Greetings from Buenos Aires! Yes, after months spent battling the forces of the hated GENERAL RODRIGUEZ in the mountains by day, and instructing my ragtag band of guerrillas in the basic tenets of Marxist-Leninism and beard grooming by night; having survived 37 assassination attempts by the C.I.A. and two by the International Red Cross; and with only the fiery and enigmatic “TANYA” for female companionship (her passion for social justice is surpassed only by her passion for yours truly!); deliverance has finally arrived. Read the rest of this entry »
Every time the seasons change I think about my father. In early spring I see him jotting down the names and dates-of-birth of his latest crop of Under-10s, gleefully identifying future corner-backs and budding centre-fielders. When the sun comes out in May, I envision us striking out for the beach at Enniscrone. (You always know when it’s summer there, he’d say, because the old ladies wear their overcoats unbuttoned.) In August, he’s picking blackberries to make jam. And when the frosts return in late November, he’s making breadcrumbs for the birds that come to forage in our garden. Read the rest of this entry »Published: Irish Times, August 30 2008
“The first thing you need to understand about fishing,” reckons Gearoid Muldowney, “is that it’s not really about catching fish.” The van chugs along a bumpy Mayo back road. “Sometimes you catch something. Other times you don’t. But even when you do, the amount of time you spend hooking and reeling in that fish is miniscule.” I feel sort of obliged to ask the next question.
So what’s the point of fishing, if not catching fish?
“We’ll see” he replies, enigmatically. “Hopefully, we’ll figure it out today.” Read the rest of this entry »Published: Mongrel Magazine, April 2006
Marketing has been with us in one guise or another for over two thousand years. In fact, it’s often reckoned to be the world’s eighth oldest profession. (Some wags have commented on its remarkable resemblance to the thirteenth oldest; research marketing. That’s a fair point.) But for all that it has done for the betterment of mankind, there remain those who look upon this profession with distain.
For proof, look no further than the books of Naomi Klein, the comedy of Bill Hicks, the paranoid ramblings of Thom Yorke or any of the host of other more up-to-date pop culture references I will no doubt have come up by the time this article goes to print… Read the rest of this entry »