Anseo on Lower Camden Street: Not the kinda place you return to after a long absence and think – Wow, I love what they’ve done! There are yellowed concert posters on the walls, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry on the sound system and a pervasive stench of incense.
If it’s 1980s Student Union charm you’re looking for, well, you’re in the right place.
I pay a fiver for a pint of Miller (no Budweiser unfortunately) and stand by the back wall. I immediately get that shitty feeling you get when you’re in a crowded bar on your own. Then there’s a tap on my shoulder and I get that shitty feeling you get when you run into an old friend unexpectedly.
“Butsey!” he says.
Christ, I hate that.
Last I heard of Fergus he was jetting off saving the world somewhere with Amnesty International. But that was then. This is now. “Fuck human rights, dude,” he says. “There’s a recession on. It’s every man for himself!”
He tells me he found love in Thailand. With a woman? “Of course with a fucking woman,” he snaps. “Why does everyone have to ask?” The way he tells it, it was a deep, spiritual connection. “I left my heart in Koh Samui,” he says. “I really did.”
His brother Derek tells it a little differently. “Fergie brought a little bit of Koh Samui home with and all,” he sniggers. Oh really? “Fuckin’ right,” says Derek. “He came home with a cock on him like a Lion Bar.”
For the love of Christ.
Fergus isn’t having this. “For all youse know,” he protests. “I coulda got that in Dublin.” “Yeah right,” says Derek. “Last Irish box you saw the inside of had a number 5 on the lid.”
We both crease ourselves laughing.
Went through the Magic Door, did he?
“Special offer at Saver’s Supermarket, wha?”
I tell Daniel he’s giving his brother a very bad press. “You don’t know the half of it, Butsy,” he says. As it transpires, a week after his return from Thailand, Fergus received a long-distance telephone call.
“It’s his mott in Thailand, right? Tells him she’s up the duff! Tells him she needs some money to sort it out!” Fergus grumbles, but doesn’t actually contradict what his brother says. “So Fergus tells me Da. And me Da says were ya using johnnies, son? And me brother says, yeah. I definitely used johnnies with this one Da…”
What a family.
“So me Da gets the girl’s number and he rings back. He says he’s delighted. Says himself and me Ma can’t wait to welcome their first grandchild. Says they’ll have to fly over to Thailand for the birth.”
What did she say to that?
“She calls back two days later. Says she isn’t up the duff at all. Never was. It was all a, whaddiyacall, a phantom pregnancy.”
I laugh, but I get the feeling I laugh a little too heartily. “I’m going back there in a couple of month,” Fergus shrugs. “Got to sort out the bank loan first.” She sounds like quite a character, I offer. “She is,” says Fergus proudly. “She certainly is.”