Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge


Published: Evening Herald, August 2008


9 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1

I’ve got a very embarrassing problem and I don’t know where to turn.

For eleven consecutive days now, I’ve had the The Script’s cheesy smash hit The Man Who Can’t Be Moved playing in a constant loop in my head. If the situation continues, I may have to seek psychiatric assistance.

“The irony in all of this” I tell Declan and Tina, over a pint in the Flowing Tide. “Is that 95% of me despises the song. Hates it. Thinks it’s just the plot from some ludicrous chick flick set to music.”

They both nod sympathetically.

“But then there’s this tiny 5% of me that thinks it’s the greatest love song ever written. And that 5% has somehow managed to wrest the controls in my brain.”

Tina gives my hand a sympathetic squeeze.

“Scally says if I keep singing it around the house, he’s moving out. He’s the best flatemate I’ve ever had,” I almost sob. “But seriously, I’m thinking about getting my own place.”

“Have you at least tried changing the song?” offers Declan.

I nod.

“The Macarena?”

“No, Livin’ la Vida Loca. It didn’t take.”

Tina scrunches her nose.

“The Man Who Can’t Be Moved…? How does it go again?”

I pick it up exactly where it’s playing in my head:

And if one day you wake up to find that you’re missing me / And your heart starts to wonder where on this earth I could be…

“You know” says Tina. “Its not that bad a tune.”

“I know!”

“It’s catchy” says Declan. “But his plan makes no sense. The girl dumps her boyfriend, right? Then starts thinking she might have made a mistake. Bumps into a friend on the street and the friend says…”

I pick up the story.

“The friend says ‘Hey I ran into Paddy the other day. He was in a sleeping bag on O’Connell Bridge, kinda smelled of wee a bit…’”

Declan interjects.

“Oh, and one other thing… He had a photograph of you and he was showing it to a bunch of those Spanish exchange students. You know, you really missed the boat there. That guy is quite a catch!”

“Ah, come on” pleads Tina. “It’s romantic!”

“It’s psychotic” sneers Declan.

I smile and head for the bar. It’s been great to get out of the house for a while. Declan and Tina are good people. Having a laugh with them has really helped to put my problems into perspective.

Then I notice something. Not to jinx it or anything, but the audio that has been playing constantly in my head for the last eleven days has suddenly gone away. The spell has been broken. Free at last, free at last… Thank God almighty, I’m free at last.

The barman serves up three creamy pints of Guinness. I reach into my wallet and realise I don’t have any money. I turn to my friend.

“Can you lend us a few bucks there, Dec? I forgot to go to the machine.”

He hands me a fifty.

“Let me guess,” he winks. “You’re not broke. You’re just a broken-hearted man.”

I smile wanly. The intro kicks in…