Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Mongrel magazine, August 2007

I Was Glenda Gilson’s Stalker

...and I'd do it all again.

Mea culpa. It was I, Arthur Vandelay, with an address at Manor Street, Stoneybatter, and an envelope in Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, who stalked the model Glenda Gilson. It was I, a humble window cleaner, who knowingly and with malicious intent, bombarded her with nuisance phone calls, nuisance social calls and convenience foods.

Who gatecrashed glitzy film premieres waving stacks of homemade sandwiches, shouting “Wait Glenda, wait! You forgot your sangwiches!” Who heckled her in the Vagina Monologues, claiming she was actually born a man. And I who finally, when confronted by the gardai, turned my interlocutors’ very accusations back upon them, by use of the cunning mantra “I know you are, but what am I?” Yes, it was me. It was me. It was all me. You ask if I’m sorry for the distress I’ve have caused? I can only tell you what I told the courts. Sure, I regret making all those crank calls during peak hours. Who wouldn’t? Those rates are murder on a window cleaner’s salary. But given half a chance, I’d do it all again.

The truth is I’m a deeply troubled human being. I question my own sanity sometimes. I really do. I say things like “What’s goin’ on here?” and “What’s all this messin’, like?” But you don’t understand what it was like for me growing up. The country was in a very different place back then. Geographically, at any rate.

Times were harder too. My parents had to to collect tokens off of cereal boxes just to afford Christmas presents. Seemed like very year I got either a space hopper or a pogo stick. Then the economy slumped and they couldn’t even afford post and packaging anymore. Six years running I got Tony the Tiger bicycle reflectors. The other kids asked what I got from Santa Claus. I felt like such an idiot. I didn’t even own a bicycle!

It didn’t help that I had red hair either. Yeah, I heard all the taunts: Ginger Nut, Carrot Top, Period Head, Fanta Pubes… And that was just the Christian Brothers. My classmates were far, far crueler.

After school I scored a job cleaning windows. But I still carried that resentment. One day my boss, Mr Flanagan, sent me out to house in Lucan on a job. That was when I first laid eyes on Glenda Gilson. She was everything I wasn’t – young, successful and romantically involved with a famous Irish rugby player.

She was late for an appointment and frantically searching for her car keys. On a whim, I started following her around the kitchen picking up random ornaments, picture frames and pieces of cutlery, asking “Are these your keys, are these your keys?” It was exhilarating. The more irritated she became, the better I began to feel about myself. Eventually, she found her keys. But by then I’d scrawled GLENDA’S SHAGGIN’ WAGON in dust on the back of her car.

That was when I knew I’d found my life’s mission.

Mr Flanagan was very good about it. He said I could take all the time I needed. He could see that the stalking was doing wonders for my self-esteem. My very favourite trick was to call her on her mobile and repeat everything she said back to her. “Who is this?” “Who is this?” “Are you just repeating everything I say?” “Are you just repeating everything I say?” “Stop doing that!” “Stop doing that!”

That’s how they caught me in the end. The cops recorded her reciting those three sentences and played it on a loop over the phone. I stayed on the line 4 ½ hours while they traced the signal. Oldest trick in the book, really. Sentencing me the judge said “In all my years on the bench I have never… Pardon…? Excuse me…? In all my years… In all… Are you just repeating everything I say? Stop doing that… STOP DOING THAT!!”

See also: The Charles Haughey I Knew

[POSTSCRIPT: A drunk guy called Bill – hi Bill! – came up to me in Grogans talking this article. I told him he was mistaken. I said, I vaguely know who Glenda Gilson is. I vaguely remember reading something about her being stalked. But I definitely never wrote anything about it. He insisted. I said I think I would know. Turns out Bill was right. I still have no recollection of writing this. And I definitely have a different perspective on the whole stalking issue now. But some of it is kinda funny.]

May 9th, 2011.

6 Responses to “I Was Glenda Gilson’s Stalker”

  1. Helen Says:

    Lol think I hurt myself laughing!!

  2. sharon kehoe Says:

    Understand you are being invaded. Good luck and peace and happiness to all. Ah family what would we do without them. No smart remarks please.

  3. darragh Says:

    Feel your postscripted pain there Eoin. This shit is hilairious, forget ever reading it in mongrel.

  4. Eoin Says:

    @ Helen – I don’t accept liability.

    @ Sharon – All going smoothly AFAIK!

    @ Darragh – Cheers man.

    @ Ballyhaunis Minor 1996 – Peter, Jesus, how long has it been? Good to hear from you. It was a red 1983 Opel Corsa, well remembered!

  5. Eoin Says:

    Okay, slightly concerned now people will think I had sex in a car with someone named Peter who was born in 1996. Let me explain…

    The first car I ever drove was a 1983 Opel Corsa. It formerly belonged to my grandfather and it had a choke. Most people probably don’t even know what a choke is. That’s how much of a piece of shit it was.

    Anyway, I’d drive down the town and lads would come out of the woodwork cheering and belting the bonnet. I thought I was just a really popular guy all of a sudden.

    Turned out one of the lads on my football team had written “Butler’s Shaggin’ Wagon” in dust on the back of the car. And everyone thought it was hilarious. (That’s where I got idea for the bit in the article above. Not sure the joke really survives the transition but, fuck it, I don’t even remember writing this article. So there you go.)

    It was my mother who spotted the “shaggin’ wagon”. She thought I’d written it. She was like, what the hell are you doing in your grandfather’s car?

    There was no way I could convince her. Like, why would I write “Butler’s shaggin’ wagon” on my own car? Did I actually think women would see me driving around in a piece of shit 1983 Opel Corsa with “Butler’s Shaggin’ Wagon” written on the back and go, Jesus, I got to get with that guy? It just made no sense whatsoever.

    I mean, if nothing else, why would I refer to myself by my surname? Wouldn’t I have written “Eoin’s shaggin’ wagon” if I’d written it myself.

    To this day she thinks I wrote “Butler’s shaggin’ wagon” on my own car. I dunno what to say to the woman.

  6. Albinicus Says:

    My Da had a stalker years ago. Said stalker left her job in a certain national broadcaster and upped sticks to Mayo where she opened a business and was regularly spotted by me, and my sisters, walking near our house. Got kinda freaky for a while especially as she made Dot Cotton look like the picture of health. The auld fellah had to take her aside and basically tell to gtfo of town. I like to think I’ve inherited the genes that attract stalkers. Alas we can’t all inspire such mania amongst women 🙂

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