Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

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“SINCE THEN EOIN’S LIFE HAS SPIRALLED INTO A HAZE OF HILARITY AND ADVENTURE…”

funny
Not the first time I’ve posted this by any means. But it’s funny, so who cares. This is a wildly inaccurate profile of me done by a student paper in DCU in 2005. The interview really did take place. However, I dunno whether the guy’s Dictaphone malfunctioned, or if he suffered some sort of hallucinogen-induced flashback during the transcription process, but none of the quotations attributed to me are even remotely accurate.

The sad thing is, it actually makes me sound a lot cooler than I am.

EOIN BUTLER: JOURNALIST BY NATURE

The name Eoin Butler does not mean a thing to the average punter in this country. But there is something about his upbeat, vibrant and dynamic personality that gives me the impression that we will be hearing a lot about him in the future. You can tell instantly that Eoin is not going to be your average small talk, “what do you make of the weather” type of character. He quickly shrugs off my weak attempts to make idle chat and the ice is broken. Our conversation begins.

Stepping into his living room, I can tell he is living comfortably. Large television in the corner, laptop perched on the table, I-pod charging in the corner and full-size Christmas tree complete with fancy decorations proudly erected by the window, indicate to me that this is one youthful Journalist who is doing o.k. A stack of magazines, newspapers and various pages lie openly on his table next to his laptop in typical messy journalist style. Our conversation is similar to one I might have with a close friend. This is how at home I felt in Eoin’s presence. After 5 minutes chatting, I felt as though I’d known him for years. His ability to immediately engage in deep and carefree conversation with a perfect stranger was more than impressive.

A clean-shaven, balding man in his early-twenties, Eoin Butler’s career as a journalist began 4 years ago when he began writing for “The Slate”. Like most successful journalists, Eoin had no background training or experience in the world of Journalism before realising he was a journalist. Armed with an arts degree from Galway at the age of twenty, Eoin headed to DCU to do a postgraduate in Political Communications. “I hardly ever went in”, he informs me rather nonchalantly. “I was far more interested in sitting around smoking hash with my flatmates”.

He explains his “ants in the pants” syndrome to me. “If I’m sitting down and I know I have to study a book about, say, Napoleon. And there is a book about Nelson Mandela beside me; I will always want to study the book about Nelson Mandela”. And so, when Eoin should have been writing his Postgraduate thesis, he was writing a music review and submitting it into the popular studenty magazine of a generation past “The Slate”. After being published by The Slate once, he was offered a monthly slot in the magazine to which he instantly accepted.

And since then, his life has spiralled into a haze of hilarity and adventure. There is nothing more refreshing than talking to somebody who is full of life and positivity. The fact that somebody so down to earth and normal is making a name for himself in the pretentious and sometimes unbearably competitive world of Journalism would give confidence to any budding young journalists. He has been writing for the popular free studenty magazine Mongrel that is released monthly, for over a year and is being offered writing jobs and radio slots on a regular basis. “At the end of the day, it is all about the people you meet in life. I mean, I am only working for Mongrel now because I met the guys who were starting it up at the farewell to The Slate party. And I only got radio jobs because of the people I met through Mongrel. I find that if you just make an effort with people, as opposed to getting bogged down in irrelevant information, you will go a lot further in life”

For those of you who are not familiar with Mongrel, here is a brief synopsis: Mongrel is a free magazine that targets an age range from 18 to around 30. Its content includes interviews with famous actors, musicians and general artists as well as very witty pieces about almost anything ranging from the donut stand on O’Connell Street to a list of the most disliked people in Ireland. Eoin explains that the writers are given the liberty to write about whatever they want. This writer’s liberty makes for a very interesting monthly read. Eoin and the other writers have landed Mongrel in trouble on more than one occasion because of what they have written. In an issue of Mongrel last March, Eoin was responsible for having branded Pat Kenny as a c**t. He recalls the media frenzy that followed in vintage passive fashion. “The sun printed a piece the next day claiming Pat Kenny had branded us as the scum of the earth. The whole thing got out of hand really. It was actually hilarious. We were at the centre of this media whirlwind yet we were all walking around thinking “where are all the people queuing up to interview us? We were the ones that wrote it”

As an objective onlooker, Eoin seems to be having the time of his life. Being kept constantly productive and busy with interviews, articles and radio appearances, a generally sought after hectic journalist lifestyle, and getting paid for writing about whatever he feels like. Meagre sums it must be said but this, he tells me, is not why he does it. His eagerness and willingness to take in as much as he can is plain to be seen. He is the kind of person who looks as though he will get places with a lot of help from his shear charm, wit and confidence.

Eoin has interviewed many A-list celebrities and musicians including Wayne Coyne (of the flaming lips), Bloc Party, Shane McGowan, Kenny Southern, and many others. The extent to which Eoin takes everything in his stride is genuinely frightening. He is completely undaunted by all these people and explains his reasons. “Most of the people I meet are so unimpressive and boring and generally completely full of themselves. They just sit there in front of me churning out the same crappy answers they have given about 100 times. Sometimes I feel like asking them to stop talking so that I can just complete the piece without their contribution. A lot of the time I feel as though what I have to say is infinitely more important and better than what they have to say”. When I push him on his favourite person he’s interviewed so far, he tells me singer songwriter Rufus Wainwright was streets ahead of the rest in regards honesty, normality and decency.

Towards the end of our chat, Eoin offers me a cup of tea to which I promptly accept. It comes as no surprise to me that the milk is gone off. I got the impression that Eoin had not been at home for weeks because of his work. The out of date dairy products personifying his rapid and hugely exciting lifestyle. When pushed on his plans for the future, Eoin’s response is very brief. Take each day as it comes appears to be his general outlook though he definitely admits that Journalism is the path for him. A path he has paved completely himself and a path he is continuing to pave with increasingly impressive skill.

I thanked him for his hospitality and company before leaving his fancy apartment and heading off down towards the Luas stop in a great mood. This Journalist lifestyle, I told myself, is the life for me.

Just to list a few errors:
1. My apartment wasn’t fancy. Not even slightly.
2. I am not, nor ever have been, a remotely upbeat or positive person. Nor have I ever advocated making an effort with people.
3. I have never interviewed Shane McGowan or Bloc Party and I’ve never even heard of Kenny Southern (does he exist?)
4. I had nothing to do with the Pat Kenny piece whatsoever.
5. If I mentioned a Nelson in the same breath as Napoleon, it was likely Horatio Nelson, Napoleon’s contemporary and adversary in the Napoleonic Wars, not Nelson bloody Mandela FFS!

A full list of corrections would take up more space than the original article.

December 17th, 2009.

19 Responses to ““SINCE THEN EOIN’S LIFE HAS SPIRALLED INTO A HAZE OF HILARITY AND ADVENTURE…””

  1. Andrew Says:

    Eoin S. Thompson.

  2. El Kid Says:

    This article has so many layers everytime you put it up there is some new little gem to be discovered. Like how hell did the word studenty get past subs not once but twice?

  3. emordino Says:

    “The extent to which Eoin takes everything in his stride is genuinely frightening.”

    I love the sinister edge this gives to it. How laid back does a man have to be to really put the shits up someone? Did you offer him tea in any particularly terrifying manner?

  4. Eoin Says:

    @ Andrew – was he interviewed by very inept journalists too?

    @ EK – that’s the way those studenty sub editors roll

    @ Emordino – yeah, I did a kind of a Christopher Walken thing. “Drink tea do you, Mr Newsman? Here’s a cup. Piping hot. My own special blend. Do taste it, Mr News Reporter….” etc. etc.

  5. tad Says:

    Eoin: Yr “quote” about having more intresting & important things 2 say than most of yr interviewees — & about wishing they’d shut up so U could finish a piece without their input — was pretty hysterical…. I assume that’s 1 of the quotes the reporter made up? Or is that 1 of the few things he got right….? — TAD.

  6. Eoin Says:

    To my shame Tad, that is one of the few things in the article that’s actually roughly accurate. Although I’m sure I phrased it more delicately than that…

  7. Pedro Says:

    I got the impression that Eoin had not been at home for weeks because of his work.

    I got the impression that Eoin had not been at home for weeks because of his relationship with pubs and alcohol.

    There, I fixed it.

  8. Pedro Says:

    I remember when you interviewed Tokyo Police Club at Oxegen a few years ago.
    A band you found too boring to do any research on.
    When the piece finally appeared in Mongrel, you hadn’t even bothered to make sure you got their names correct.
    Throughout the feature, you referred to one of them as Kevin.

    There is no Kevin in the band.

    Eoin Butler – The Writer of our Times.

  9. Eoin Says:

    Ah I’m sure it was close enough Pete. In my defence, those lads were about ten. What the hell was I going to ask them? “What is your position on homework?”

  10. Pedro Says:

    Butler, you’re the closest thing Ireland has to Simon Amstell when it comes to interviewing bands.

    That’s a massive compliment by the way.
    Amstell doesn’t give a shit.

  11. Eoin Says:

    See I think what the DCU guy has done is take my philosophy and apply it to the post interview situation. Clever kid..

  12. El Kid Says:

    “In my defence those lads were about ten….”

    I forget. How old was the girl you were going out with at the time??

  13. Eoin Says:

    Ah, I believe the woman’s name was Mrs Cunningham. Plump, matronly lady. Owned a sweet shop. Don’t recall her age now off the top of my head. Why do you ask?

  14. El Kid Says:

    Ahh..I had it all wrong. Fair enough then.

  15. Neal Says:

    “The out of date dairy products personifying his rapid and hugely exciting lifestyle.” I love that line, how accurate would you say it is, Eoinser?

  16. Eoin Says:

    I’d say that line is approximately 110% accurate, Neal (with a 109% margin of error).

  17. Student hack bites back! | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    [...] old material. And the hardiest of hardy perennials in that respect is this wildly inaccurate perhaps-not-entirely-definitive profile of me written, in 2005, by a young student journalist from DCU. No matter how many times I post it, it [...]

  18. Student Hack (Belatedly) Bites Back! | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    [...] back now, I wish I had chosen to interview someone a bit safer than Eoin for this article. The bottom line is that I thought Mongrel was a hilarious magazine and decided it would be cool to [...]

  19. Clicking Along The Ledge | Tripping Along The Ledge Says:

    [...] hack writes extremely flattering, but also totally made up, profile of me for student magazine. I publish said profile here, replete with sarcastic comments from myself and associates. There is much rejoicing. Months later, student hack drops us a line protesting his cruel treatment [...]

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