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Email to my editor. 2003:

bologna-toilet-graffiti-4

FROM: Eoin Butler
SENT: 09 October 2003 10:37am
TO: sam@mongrel.ie

Hey Sam,

Possible feature idea. (I have a shit job. They don’t monitor my work very closely here.)


TOILET DATING (THE BLUEPRINT)

Introduction
We’ve all seen those “For a good time call…” messages in toilet cubicles. But have you ever wondered whether they’re for real or not? If you have, hold onto your knitting. I’m about to blow your freakin’ mind.

Requirements
A SIM card and €20 worth of credit.

Volunteers to get us a load of these phone numbers and also to write up our own fake messages (I’ll get to this bit in a minute)

Presentation
Illustration depicting toilet wall with explicit messages scrawled on it so people know what the fuck we’re talking about.

Strategy
We’re attempting to ascertain whether those “For a good time call…” messages are bullshit or genuine. So we’re going to need 20 (or 50 or 100) of these numbers. Each one is a case study.

We (a) investigate (b) make a determination and (c) brand either BULLSHIT or GENUINE. If we’re lucky and lots of genuine ones turn up, we could mark each out of ten depending on how sick and perverted the respondent is.

Each case study short and to the point. “We said X, he/she said Y, we figured he/she might also be into Z…” Mindless titillation obvsly. But if you reckon we need bullshit veneer of anthropological respectability we could preface it with:

“Just remember that the city is a funny place / Something like a circus or a sewer / And remember different people have peculiar tastes / And the glory of love might see you through…”

Lou Reed, Coney Island Baby

Obviously if we get nothing & Dublin turns out to be giant Legion of Mary holiday camp we might want to put a different quote.

Method
1.
Volunteers will scour the city’s bathroom looking for as many of these numbers we can get. Gay bars, straight bars, old man bars, early houses, whatever.

2. Record not just the phone number but the exact wording of the message.

3. Send massive generic group text to all the numbers we get: “Saw ur mssge n pub. Sounds good. Tell me more.” (This is why I said purpose bought SIM.)

(a) If person responds positively, we reply: “Im into sum pretty weird stuf. What bout u?”

(b) If the person seems to be victim of a prank, we terminate contact.

4. If that doesn’t yield much, we move into phase two. We come up with our own message of the “For a good time text 087 XXXXXXX” variety and volunteers plaster it in toilets all over the city.

5. As before, we use a catch all reply to anyone who texts: “Im into sum pretty weird stuf. What bout u?”

6. Experiment completed. Send each of our lucky participants a final kiss-off message (“Got 2 go present da l8 l8 show now. Tlk l8r. Luv Pat”) and throw the SIM card in Liffey.

POSTSCRIPT: It’s pretty obvious re-reading it now that this email was written pre-Craigslist. Anyone wondering today whether there are strange things going on behind closed doors in this city would need only click here. (Or just take my word for it. There are.)

My editor at the time was Sam Bungey and he liked the email so much that we never actually did the feature. He just printed what I’d written. I was annoyed at the time but, in retrospect, it probably saved a lot of nice perverts a lot hassle.

Incidentally, Sam lives in Australia now where he has, amongst other things, interviewed Julian Assange for Tina Brown’s The Daily Beast. He’s recently joined Twitter too and you can follow him here.

July 28th, 2010.

19 Responses to “Email to my editor. 2003:”

  1. Alex Says:

    What a great start to my day! Thanks for the laugh Eoin!

  2. Sam Says:

    Very kind of you Eoin, thanks for the shoutout! Sorry you were annoyed by the decision to pay you for writing an email while at work.. was there no end to your persecution back then?

    Incidentally, here’s another genuine exchange between you and your editor, from 2007.

    Eoin: ah i wouldn’t mind eating my own scabs. i’d be more concerned at how i came to have so many of them that they filled a bowl.
    6:24 AM

    . . .

    Eoin: once i farted really, really badly and put it in a jam jar in my room.

    me: hahahah

    Eoin: that’s confidential information, you understand
    6:25 AM
    me: sure

    Eoin: i opened the jam jar about two years later and it still smelled!

    i’ve never told that to a living soul until right now

    me: you never showed it to any girlfriends or anything?
    6:26 AM
    Eoin: well i probably bottled it at around 14 and opened it again at maybe 16. so wasn’t getting much action back then. also there wasn’t much to show once it’d been opened. i hadn’t another to put in there at the time and i suppose one thing leads to another and you’ve moved on in life from farting into jam jars.
    6:27 AM
    sunrise-sunset-sunrise-sunset

    as the song says

    me: simpler fucking days though, nonetheless
    6:28 AM
    Eoin: exactly. here your burger article has strangely made me hungry. i might nip out for some food before i reveal any more of my dark, dark secrets
    6:29 AM

  3. Bibi Baskin Says:

    That fart in a jar conversation made me laugh so hard I had to leave the office and hide in the bathroom to compose myself.

  4. Eoin Says:

    Urgh, you know there’s a time difference Sam?

  5. Eoin Says:

    If it is true, which I’m not conceding (to be honest I have no recollection of this conversation or of the events described), don’t I clearly state at the beginning that it’s confidential information??

    Also you’re clearly not providing context? What the fuck were we talking about scabs in a bowl for right at the beginning??

  6. Sam Says:

    I copy and pasted a fairly random google chat – sorry for offending your delicate early-morning sensibilities with your own disgusting yet all too characteristic jar fart rant. (Do you still have it?)

  7. Sam Says:

    Hang on I just re-read that of course you don’t- you’re were too refined by that stage to even think of it and You didn’t have another to put in anyway. how crass of me, sorry

  8. Fintan Says:

    Next time theres a world cup on kindly just post your email address and password. I’d say there’s months of comedy gold inside.

  9. gueuleton Says:

    Best personal ad there:

    “Would there be e’er a bit of sex happening at all? And sure if there was, I’d love to get stuck in with it, that’d be great itself.”

    Form an orderly queue, ladies!

  10. Eoin Says:

    @ Gueleton – Gotten any replies yet? (arf arf)

    @ Sam – I’ve been looking through old Gmail Chats to find anything that might embarrass you. All of them reflect much worse on me than they do on you. You’re kind of a sneaky bastard like that, aren’t you?

    The best I found was that joke I told you that you got so upset about:

    Q. How do you know ET is a Protestant?
    A. Because he looks like one.

    But come on Sam, it was nothing personal. The point I was making was that ALL Protestants look like ET… Not just you!!!!

  11. Brian Says:

    Great original idea Eoin as I am into some pretty weird stuff and nowhere to showcase it.

  12. Eoin Says:

    I always suspected as much Brian. Well now the internet is your very own toilet wall. Just cover your tracks for the love of God.

  13. Acey Says:

    I understand what you meant about inception now. Matrixy ‘bend the spoon’ spiel time stuff. Philip K. Dick can spin in his grave again.

  14. gueuleton Says:

    As your Protestant fanbase Eoin can I just say I’m disappointed and surprised. And alienated. At your attitude. Speaking for myself I think I look much more like Alf.

  15. DD Says:

    Sam and Eoin,

    kudos on this fine piece and do put your sectarian differences aside please. Farting in a jar jar might be the greatest story Ive ever heard. Worth the invasion of privacy. Btu about the scabs Eoin,, why were you going to eat a bowl of scabs. A scab fetish perhaps?

  16. Eoin Says:

    Found the Gmail chat Sam was quoting so selectively from. Here it is in it’s entirety:

    sam: here man, i think you’re a real stand-up guy, so you know. i hope having a belter of an evening
    21:06
    me: well belter might be overstating it slightly. what’s the crack there?

    sam: thing’s are fine
    21:07
    they’re good

    it’s not like i’m here chewing a cigar with Sinatra or anything

    me: good man. just did a quick scan back through old chats to see if we’d had some blazing google chat row when i was pissed that would lead you to reaffirm my ‘stand up guy’ status.
    21:08
    i’m having chips with michael buble

    sam: nope – it’s just this new positivity thing i’m test running

    me: hmmmmm

    can we start this conversation again?

    okay
    21:09
    sam: okay

    me: sam, you’re a total cunt

    just this negativity thing i’m trying out

    early days

    but it seems to be going well

    sam: well, i’m sorry if you don’t like my conversational mode – but if you’re not being positive i just won’t listen

    me: fuck you
    21:10
    sam: thank me? what for?

    me: and fuck your fucking mother

    sam: whoa whoa whoa

    me: okay, perhaps we’ll park the whole negativity thing there

    sam: my mother is not available like that and even she were i would be the last one putting my name forward. thanks for the advice though
    21:11
    yeah curb your negativity – ya big sack of pus!

    me: well of course you’d say that

    okay, well, negativity aside. how’s was the cup stacking event/ [Sam was working for the Martha's Vineyard Gazette. At the time, his most recent scoop had been covering a children's cup stacking contest. Seriously! - E.B.]
    21:12
    sam: i don’t think a quesiton like that puts an end to negatvity

    me: okay, how cuddly are kittens?

    sam: quite cuddly

    me: how adorable is a clear nights sky?

    more to the point, how cool is my gmail photo?
    21:13
    sam: it’s from the mag

    me: yeah, was it not you who got me to change it/

    sam: no i suggested that it looked a bit porno but i was fine with that

    check it out i made the cover of this paper i’m working on http://www.mvgazette.com/PDF1/VineyardGazette101207-1.pdf
    21:14
    frotn page i mean

    front

    me: so is that your finger in your photo?

    sam: frooooooooooooooot

    me: reading it now

    sam: palm

    right hand palm
    21:16
    me: cool story

    sam: hello

    me: also the paper has a sort of heavyweight new york times look to it

    sam: what do you mean also …i think i missed the rest.
    21:17
    yeah the parent copmany is NY Times actually

    me: do they ever have to correct you when you use an english expression instead of americanism

    sam: yep …they say preventive medicine here. we say preventative don’t we?
    21:18
    no-one can understand my voice here

    it’s really gay

    not my voice

    me: oh no?

    sam: har hare

    me: it sounds both gay and incomprehensible to me most of the time. i just hadn’t the guts to come out and tell you.
    21:19
    sam: you know why oyu didn’t have the guts?

    me: that’s the american can-do, can-say spirit for you i suppose

    sam: G.A.Y. pal

    me: i was afraid you’d hit me a box or something

    sam: ..box?
    21:20
    interesting. you’re clearly mad

    me: as in punch

    sam: ah

    me: ah yeah, gone all american on us now
    21:21
    how quickly they forget

    sam: i though you meant that i might pick up a box and hit you with it

    whatevs

    whateehhhhver

    me: what an odd thing to do

    particularly if its cardboard

    sam: exactly
    21:22
    me: not much in the brains department, are you?

    sam: looking at you is worse than eating a bowl of scabs

    me: your own scabs or someone elses?

    sam: your own. you’re not that fucked up
    21:23
    still youre majorly fucked up in the facial dept.

    me: ah i wouldn’t mind eating my own scabs. i’d be more concerned at how i came to have so many of them that they filled a bowl.
    21:24
    sam: collection

    me: facial department has always a troublesome one for me alright.

    sam: Eoin “Ah I wouldn’t mind eating a bowl of my own scabs” Butler

    me: collection? that’s disgusting? although, once i farted really, really badly and put it in a jam jar in my room.

    sam: hahahah

    me: that’s confidential information, you understand
    21:25
    sam: sure

    me: i opened the jam jar about two years later and it still smelled!

    i’ve never told that to a living soul until right now

    sam: you never showed it to any girlfriends or anything?
    21:26
    me: well i probably bottled it at around 14 and opened it again at maybe 16. so wasn’t getting much action back then. also there wasn’t much to show once it’d been opened. i hadn’t another to put in there at the time and i suppose one thing leads to another and you’ve moved on in life from farting into jam jars.
    21:27
    sunrise-sunset-sunrise-sunset

    as the song says

    sam: simpler fucking days though, nonetheless
    21:28
    me: exactly. here your burger article has strangely made me hungry. i might nip out for some food before i reveal any more of my dark, dark secrets
    21:29
    sam: ok then. thanks for reading it – it bangs on for another few thousand words on another page i’ll spare you though

    me: if you have the pdf send it on!

    sam: righto. enjoy your scabs and fries

  17. graham Says:

    Farting in jam jars – classic! If you ever make the big time Eoin and the tabloids come sniffing around (no pun intended) for stories this will come back to haunt you big time!!

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