Irish Times, 28th September 1996
Comedian Dylan Moran gets stressed trying to unwind
We booked a holiday, I’m still saying it out loud because I don’t believe it, Venus and I were at the point where you know you have to go away; the only equivalent release of stress left would be to set fire to one another. But everyone leaves it to the last minute, real people that is, not the ones with solid hair who have booked months in advance to go to Capri and sit around and sit around playing bezique with their inbred friends who control the world’s supply of cashmere.
Of course, the main obstacle is the travel agents. Anyone who calls themselves an agent generally despises humanity. I have an agent and all our conversations are variants on this one:
Me: I want to do blah blah...
Agent: Well you can’t because little men will come around and set fire to your house.
Agent: Also, you have to dress up as a bee whenever I say
I spoke to roughly 400,000 travel agents over the course of two mornings; V. and I would swap shifts every 15 minutes while the other went out into the garden to make gargling noises. What follows are direct quotes.
Travel Agent 1
Us: Hello, we’d like to check if you have any flights to Spain.
Them: Well I’m not looking unless you promise to take one.
Us: We promise! We promise! Anything!
Them: We don’t have any
Travel Agent 2
Us: Hello, we’ d like to...
Them: Don’t be daft! Slam!
It became clear that they found certain aspects of our pitch upsetting. They all took sharp breaths at words like “week”, “us” and “holiday”. Their difficulty lay primarily in the fact we did not want to go anywhere for less than a day and a half or longer than eight months. Seven nights, we were informed, was a ridiculous proposition. Also, it struck most of them as deeply perverse that we would want to travel together. In the end, I lost my temper and told the man that “I’m half a person and I want to go to Minsk for nine years”. He offered to fly me to Athens one-way, a week on Tuesday.
The rationale behind pricing is too arcane for the likes of me to penetrate, but after listening to this lot it would seem to be based on a system whereby what you want costs 10 times the number of nights you would like to spend pearl-diving in order to pay for it.
Why is it so difficult? Because everybody else has already grabbed their little slice of nothing-to-do-time. The holiday has an almost religious significance, especially for city-dwellers. “We’re going on holiday” we said “Oh,” people would say, hand to cheek, “that’ll be lovely”. Maybe the pay-off is commensurate with grief you incur setting up the whole caboodle. I hope so – if it is we’ll have the trip of a lifetime, or maybe they just play up so when you actually get somewhere the relief of not speaking to them is all you need to feel relatively marvellous,
I thought of other excursions, ones spent with my parents. I sat in the back seat, having no siblings to torture, and would listen to them argue over routes, wind factors, the packing of underwear and who was responsible for flaws evident in the cosmos that particular day.
On a motoring trip in France, I began and competed puberty. In the early leg of the journey, my sole contribution to family discourse was the words “pommes frites”. This would be prompted be their inquires into my general state of being and how best to keep it on an even keel. I still believe that these solicitations served only as a distraction from their own murderous impulses towards each other. It was a perfect form of tension. Neither of them could strangle the other without crashing the car. In the latter stages cruising on a seemingly infinite motorway, I was so bored I began to grow a moustache. By now, my parents were too fatigued to ask if I was still breathing, they didn’t even row anymore, every now and then they would strike the other listlessly in the face to indicate another box of crackers should be opened. They had become holiday-stressed cabbages, and I, hormonally boosted, sought to recontact their old selves by annoying them. The chance came when after another interminable afternoon, there appeared a mountain range to our right. “Look, Look Dylan” said my father, “the Alps...over there”. A flicker of simple human glee ignited in his tarmac-junkie eyes. Lizardly I looked up into the rear view mirror where his face had become a rectangle of hope and, curling the caterpillar under my nose into a taut sneer I glared at him and said “I’ve seen bigger”.
That evening we couldn’t find a hotel, so we slept in the car with the windows for a refreshing breeze. Instead, we became a refreshing mosquito buffet and awoke looking like red, fleshy hand grenades. But not all our sojourns were as successful. Sailing from Greece to Santorini everyone on the boat including the captain and myself became unwell. l use the word in the same sense your mother meant when she described your Uncle Tom as unwell, because you were nine years old, and even then you knew he licked the walls and screamed at his own reflection when eating soup. My parents alone survived this episode unscathed, having imbibed enough of the local moonshine in an attempt to apprehend the genus loci of Athens. They remained safely bolted to the deck. The rest of us crawled around at 45 degree angles...chundering into every available hallow as the boat rolled and rollicked. They were drinking a thing called Raki – years later I had some and became drunk in that grave meditative way where you insist to your friends that you are perfectly sober and why are they making such a fuss when all you want to do is show how easy it is to remove and reinsert your eyeballs using a ladle.
Anyway this time round V. and myself were determined to go somewhere exotic, free of whinging English people berating the lack of things British and disdainful Germans displaying their suave tans and superior command of English itself. Somewhere the locals wear triangular hats and barter in aggressive gunfire. Antiquity, security and passion wrapped in muslin with gecko on top.
What did we get? We got the English tourists to our left eating steak and chips, grumbling over nobody understanding them and we got the Germans to our right looking relaxed and rather too healthy. We got Majorca. And mosquitoes. If our parents arrive, it’ll be perfect.
Irish Times, 14th December, 1996
Dylan Moran muses on conflict resolution over the season that is almost in it
Letting it all hang out
I hate to mention it but we have a major religious festival zoning in on us at a rate of knots. All of you, I am sure, grasp the meaning of this kind of celebration. It’s about family; it’s about reaching out, but mostly it’s about arguments.
Don’t keep it in, the psychologists tell us, air your gripes otherwise you’ll end up hunched and dribbling in a railway station. That’s why you see so many intense-looking people on the streets these days rubbing their knees and screaming “But I don’t want carrots,” to no one in particular. But we wait until the grievance is good and ready.
Caveman: Did you enjoy supper?
Cavewoman: Well, you know it was elk.
Caveman: Yes, I know, I caught it. It was a very big elk so we will have enough food for a week. I was the only one who caught an elk today, everyone else is eating each other.
Cavewoman: yes, but the thing is, I’ve always hated elk.
Caveman: We’ve eaten nothing else for the past 25 years.
Cavewoman: I hated it then and I hate it now.
Caveman: You never mentioned it.
Cavewoman: I am about to and at some length
I often get accused of argument avoidance. My girlfriend has pointed out my talent for evasion.
V: How come you never say anything negative, or criticise me in anyway huh? I mean there must be something...you know...my hair...my worldview...something?
Me: You’re right, you’re absolutely right. My God – I feel even closer to you. And I’m touched that you can be so incisive about who I really am. I feel I should repay you in some way, share something with you. Would you like a beer? From the six-pack we bought this morning as a symbol of our infinite and inviolable harmony.
V: Please...Just say anything, even if you only make it up.
Me: Sometimes I resent the fact that you...
V: Yes! Go On!
Me:...That...that...you have to go to the bathroom on trains and I can’t share the experience and protect you. But I only resent the train not you, Phew! I feel so much better, it’s good to get the anger out of your system. Why don’t we celebrate by going out for dinner? You choose where, you always pick the best place.
V: No, I can’t.
Me: Why not?
V: Because I have to spend the evening beating you to death.
Me: You’re magnificent
V: Thank you. Would you be so good, as to hand me that spanner?
Many of you will be familiar with the following argument patterns.
Aunt Mary: Would you like another spoon of brandy butter, granny?
Granny: Stay away from me @!%+@
Little Johnny: I want a toy, I want it, I want it, I want it
Little Luke: Forgive me, but I simply cannot bear for you to even touch it.
Little Johnny: I want it, I want it, I want it.
Little Luke: it’s not possible. The toy is in a meeting. With me.
Little Johnny: I WANT IT
Little Luke: it’s extremely attractive isn’t it? Now go away.
It’s clear from these examples who resolved the argument. People always talk about resolving arguments. What they mean, of course, is I win. Winning depends not on the quality if your oratory or the integrity of your position, but on your willingness to use personal attack. You see this time and time again in Plato.
Phlanxacrates: The city state should be self-governing
Xircon: Who cares what you think? Whenever we come to your house you give us cheap Chianti.
Noggser: The city state should be part of a larger federation.
Socrates: So you’ve said before, Noggser. But isn’t it true you’re just like your mother? And that I saw her today hanging around the marketplace offering her body fir a fistful of figs?
A victim mentally ill will get you nowhere in an argument. You can see this in any local Irish newspaper.
“MAN, FATHER OF TWO, REFUSED TO GIVE URINE SAMPLE”
Eamonn Kagann, father of two and well known briquette salesman, was found wailing in a tree off the Slane Road, the court heard. Mr Kagann of 52 Ballchain Drive, Co Kerry (the green door, second on the left as you come in) gave the following testimony yesterday.
Cross examiner: Why did you refuse to give a sample?
EK: I didn’t, I mean, I don’t know
CE: Why did you scream at the garda “I hate briquettes. I want to live in an ashram or somewhere with a proper job like carving fertility symbols and everybody could swim and everything. Why can’t I do that?”
EK: T’wasn’t me, I mean...I don’t know.
Judge: FINED! You will pay £87 and appear as a page 2 story The Sneem Confectioner.
No, brazen is the name of the game, as is borne out of this story front from another local paper, last Tuesday’s edition of The Munster Yell. It appears a coach party carrying a society of nubilists on their annual trip to Dublin Zoo ran into some trouble. Nubilists, as you all know, deny the existence of the soul, and enjoy looking at the monkeys as much as the next man. The group was led by Seamus Fender, responsible for the supply of Fanta and Monster Munch on the bus. So encumbered was the poor man about these complex necessities, what with the cross referencing of who wanted diet drinks and who for beef or spring onion flavours that he neglected to notice the entire party, himself included, had forgotten to put trousers on that morning.
Mr Fender, furious with himself and fearing he would be deposed from his coveted position, went up to the driver to upbraid him.
“why,” he hissed, “did you not draw my attention to our lack of coverage trouserially? You must have noticed.”
Here the story develops.
Now, Mr Harry Finnegan, the driver, while having no truck with organised religion, is a proud agnostic. His belief in some manner of animus kindling within us all had been laughingly trashed at the back of the bus for the past two hours, along with every other aspect of spiritual Humanism. Resentful of the relentless Darwinian sing-song , Mr Finnegan decided to get his own back. He stalled Mr Fender by asking him exactly what he meant. All the while he was bust wriggling his chinos down to his ankles underneath his car blanket, fortuitously spread over his lower half, due to a dicky cab heater. The slacks nestled against his heels and he had no trouble slipping his feet out and back into his Hush Puppies. The trousers were thus easily edged under the seat allowing him to deliver the coup de grace.
“Trousers? Man! What are you talking about? They don’t exist. Trousers. Pah!”
He pulled back the rug to reveal a pair of vigorous hairy thighs.
Mr Fender thinking himself momentarily insane, posited this proposition to the rest of the coach who were won over by his fevered zeal. Many of them stated that trousers were the last illusion clung to by those feeble-minded enough to believe in a diving being. A great day was had by all at the zoo, despite many arrests.
Irish Times, 4th January 1997
Dylan Moran is haunted by a Yuletide hangover
New Years Resolution: get a brain transplant
Apparently its 1997. Personally I wouldn’t be surprised. We went to a party last night. I feel pretty bad. It was one of those parties where you begin by telling everyone how nice their carpets are and you end by examining the individual carpet fibres. To illustrate your argument about the Impressionists, the cheese industry and voodooism. Right now I feel a little rough in there sense that I have become a living example of that argument.
The newspapers were busy dispensing advice on how to deal with hangovers all last week. Eat eggs, they said. Go for a walk and all the usual nonsense, there has only ever been one sure fire hangover cure. Here it is.
Wake. Think positively. Say aloud “I feel fine”
Have a violent panic attack.
Try to sleep again in hope of becalming vital organs.
Have inexplicable and terrifying spasms, this locates your pulse.
Roll around making puppy noises.
Attack and spasm together, fortissimo.
Check own gender,
Reach for glass of water that isn’t there, spill ashtray and find bottle of “Thirsty Fox” liqueur.
Note three quarters empty and of neon green aspect. Puppy whimpering in blizzard of venal memories.
Cough. Listen in wonderment to sound of drowning bees in chest.
Think: Must have water. Water live in kitchen. Dress up for kitchen go water yummy find.”
If anyone asks you to do anything over the next 24 hours, just limp around in small circles. For the moment, you will be occupied by not finding your trousers and being able to hear loud disturbing noises from as far away as Korea. You might want to make some resolutions. This is perfectly normal.
Resolutions are a reward in themselves. You will discover the thrills of drinking, smoking and overheating with an added piquancy after your eight minutes of punishing asceticism have driven you astray. I had intended to give up smoking but I can tell it’s the wrong time for me just now because I am still, clinically alive. Drinking less is very much in vogue with the people who have realised that can save money by being just as mind-glazingly nullifying dull in their sober states. I become a crazed frothy wretch when drunk, I wouldn’t deprive family and friends of this riveting entertainment.
Brian: Would you like something to eat?
Me: What are you trying to imply? Are you threatening me? D’you think I don’t know what’s going on around here? I’ve forgotten your original question...listen, I’m hungry...I could make something y’know, how about chickencake or cheese boogies?
Brian: Mmmm. We could get a pizza...
Me: WHATTSAMATTER...You don’t like my cooking? Get the hell out of my house!
Brian: We’re in my house. I’ll go get the chicken.
Me: Wait! I lied. I can’t cook...Anyway, I hate chickens, they know too much...Say, why don’t we get a pizza?
Brian: Get the hell out of my house.
Me: Are you threatening me? For what? I offered you a pizza? You’re insane. HOW DARE YOU! Help me out of this chair so I can kill you
Like everybody else, I was planning to lose weight. Largely because they don’t make trousers for normal people anymore. Modern clothing casters exclusively for the exiguous ghoul sector, the ones who look for lollipops in wigs. I’ll have to do something I suppose – if the present rate if expansion continues I’ll have my own area code.
Optimism is what you need to get through these coming lean months. Those newspaper reports at this time of year can get you down. I’ve read a couple of reviews of the year apparently it was the worst year ever in the history of human kind. That is unless you include all the other ones in which case it was pretty average. They always wheel out depressing statistics around now, like “A staggering 18,000 from around the globe set themselves on fire this year while trying to get floss”. On a lighter note only 1124 people were killed by falling urns. But of course real people don’t measure time in terms of numbers. Only characters in TV dramas ever say things like I learnt a lot in 1996. The rest of us learn from events. Pivotal things like the time fell off the roof or tried to see what would happen if you microwaved your hand. It’s important not to succumb to the harsh conditions around. You have to be tough on yourself. Only the other day I saw a dead cat frozen on the road and I thought, as you would yourself, of how I could avoid similar misfortune by attending night classes. And the stories of gambling addicts and the like who have escaped their private hells through pottery or beekeeping are legion. It’s just that we never get to heat them. There is no shortage of self-help books to speed your progress, the titles are inspiring in the extreme.
How to stop eating buns and making impulsive currency speculations (£6.99)
Spiritual truth through attending dog fights and stealing money (6.99)
How to achieve inner serenity by never washing (6.99)
Find the ‘you’ you in you (499.99)
My other resolution was to get organised. But then I remembered I once lived in the same house as an efficient person, who used to leave evil little notes everywhere like “Please wash and replace thre tooth-picks after you” or “Please remember to turn off the hall light after closing the door and checking the timer on the heater is set before you put the bin in the bin area beside the gate, which you should lock.”
I ended up writing little notes myself: “Please remember all your flatmates hate you and spend their afternoons devising new ways to make your life intolerable. Eventually one us is going to bite you in the face.”
I’ll get around to being a better person some day. For the minute I just want to get around to feeling better. I don’t know how many cigarettes I smoked at the party, but it was a lot , because even my eyeballs have bad breath. When I find the people responsible for my condition there’ll be trouble. I have already started to root them out, putting into practice that the final and most difficult resolution, self-assertion.
Dear Mr Jacobs Creek: Having imbibed a hefty snork of your argument for euthanasia, I now find myself being attacked by most objects in my home.
Please send me a shiny new set of entrails.
Happy New Year.
Irish Times, 8th March, 1997
The Begob Show
If you’re Irish, come into the sitcom, says Dylan Moran
My Agent: “You promised me you would write a sitcom.”
Me: “I know, I know, I am just giving it a final polish, bye bye, go away.”
V: “Sitcoms are very hard to write you know, they have done buses, police, hospitals, the army, politicians, priests, hotels, people in flats...”
Me: “It’s OK, the producers will make everything clear,”
Producer (1): “We want something relevant, punchy and real.”
Writer: “Why me?”
Producer (2): “We checked your passport and you are Irish, Irish is good right now, it’s very good.”
Producer (1): “Here is the pitch: utterly representative Irish family, living in London...”
Writer: “But you said relevant, punchy, crunchy.”
Producer (1): “Yes but comfortable- real”
Producer (2): “Think Playboy of the Western World and The Cosbys”
Producer (1): “The main thing is they meet English people...”
Producer (2): “Because they live in London...”
Writer: “That’s brilliant – I love that angle”
Producer (1): So don’t make them too Irish...you know, no horses in the bedroom or anything”
Writer: “Irish people don’t keep horses in their bedrooms.”
Producer (1): “Then put one in because it’s funny. Just a small one.
Producer (2): “ Everybody has to be very representative. We want everybody to get the joke. Be inclusive. Without being too inclusive...or Irish, or English. Think nostalgia, conflict, Hiberno-Anglo, cross-cultural perception. Crumpets in the furze, potatoes with chips in the middle...go to it.”
These kinds of meetings are responsible for most of the dreck we watch on television. The writer goes away and comes up with something like this.
A typical Irish family living in London. Mick, the father is representative of his generation. Newly married (to Siobhan), he emigrated in the 1960s. Like many men from Co Mayo who moved away at the time, he now owns a global shipping company.
Siobhan, like Mick, is 50 – a classic convent girl she, like so many of her friends from home, is now a conceptual artist, manipulating zinc and denture cement.
Between overseeing the freight operation and keeping the international art market in a paroxysm of desire they hardly have time to look after their two classically typical, utterly representative second generation Irish children...Alphonsus and Caoimhe. Both children are, of course, hugely successful in their respective fields of oyster exportation and textiles synthesis.
They live in a modestly vast apartment off Bond Street to remind them of the undulating vistas of Mayo.
The family is in the conservatory. Mick is on the phone. The children are posing for their mother.
Mick: “Tell Dimitri if he can’t control the waivers for Greece and its concomitant stations the in juncture will set back productivity for a whole quarter, begob.”
Caoimhe: “Ma, if I hold this samovar any longer my triceps will give up altogether and scurry away down me Versace.”
Siobhan: “Ah wisht wouldye, what would you know about hard work? When I was your age I had a bucket if kangoustunes under each arm and a 12-mile vertical climb so the brothers would have their bouillabaisse before vespers. Just let me get these tinctures then you can trolley yourself away, bejaysus.”
(A ring at the doorbell. Mick goes to answer and returns with a typical English business associate. Hugo Miffing-Blithersby.)
HMB: “Well! I say! What are you muck savages up you now? Eh? What? By jingo! Is that the latest motif for mural of the Lisburn Road?”
Alphonsus: “How’s she cutting Hugo? Do you fancy a griddle cake? It might stop you patronising your ex-slaves. Lose the feudal tone and relax the head man.” (He reinserts his clay pipe and turns to inspect his email.)
HMB: “Terribly sorry – I’m just a little wrought you see. I’m expected at the palace in three quarters of an hour to receive an MBO QT for industry, egad. And the thing is, I just spilt marmalade all over my cummerbund.”
Siobhan: “And where’s the lovely wife to help you out? Is she away lashing at the croquet again down at Spiffington Hall?”
HMB: “No, she’s trying to trace my ancestors in Wexford.”
Mick: “Lord above – there’s Irish in the house! Quick somebody fetch a jar.”
(They all drink)
The Family: “Sláinte!”
Siobhan: “And I’ve a British granny – isn’t it funny.”
Mick: “Well, sure aren’t we all from different branches but making up the same frame and bad start is half a good beginning. May the rose ride up an sneak on you.”
Caoimhe: “There you go, Hugo – a brand new cummerbund. I made loops of frozen stout...just don’t stand up or the trousers will sally south.”
(An accordion strikes up accompanied by a brass band. Cherubs appear in the eaves. The music is a fusion of Britannia Rules The Waves and She Moves Through The Fair rising to the climax as the whoop and hooey round an under-nourished pinto.)
Irish Times, 19th April, 1997
Dylan Moran sets his summer alight with books
It will soon be summer and round about now the publishers will reveal their new offerings for the season’s holiday reading. People read more at this time of year because they get bored throwing peanuts at each other as they wait around in airports, planes and coaches. For me, literature has always been a source of ambition, the main one being to expire before I accidentally read another line of Paradise Lost.
Most of the books you are given to read in school were as punitive exercises, an attempt to make you feel guilty for not existing centuries ago. Everything on the syllabus sounded like this “Mr Crithering-Cripps unhooked the stays from his low-slung vestiture and defused the mouldering quality of the light by placing a taper between his toes. It occurred to him Nertherwothy, whom he had met in an earlier insufferably dull chapter, would be arighting the ledgers in the chancery, just as the canal gates unleashed yet another long length of greyish mote-filled slime. He meditated on this and sucked some chalk for the next 40 pages as his cat, Nipsy, bled to death in the escritoire.”
The books you should have read all the titles like A Disquisition On The Advancement Of Epistemological Prolegomena And In Connection To The Cheese-Churning Riots Of 1642 by B.Y. Toggs. Or: Loss, Meaning And The Loss of Meaning by Kurt Schook. Or Mimminsworth, The Story Of A Peninsular Whelk Stall by Eamerelda Gliff. And the books you are more likely to have on your shelves are things like Lunge At Me Sailor! Anon; The Stained Sarcophagus: The True Story Of The Vatican’s Laundry Department; How To Improve Your Lovemaking Techniques By Drinking Spirits. And these books are only there to prop up your library of CDs. But literature brings people together...
“I see you have a copy of Frack’s Love In The Time Of Dyspepsia.”
“Oh yes, It’s adorable.”
“I think that’s adorable of you.”
And wretches them apart...
“I’m sorry Gunther.”
“Why ever not?”
“Because I found that book.”
“What! Not...You don’t mean...”
“Yes! The Pictorial History Of Parsley Gunther, how could you? Those pictures...”
“You’re right, I know you’re right. Here, you keep the keys to the flat.”
Here to save you time, I have selected some excerpts from the best of what’s due in the shops any day now.
1. Relationship Help Books: I’m A Modern Woman, You Are a Disgusting Freak
“Joanne feels unsure about her relationship with Paul, She explains: ‘Paul smokes a lot, which annoys me, but for the past three years he has insisted on wearing a snake costume to bed. If he makes dinner, I know it will be snake and he only speaks in a highly codified system of hisses.”
The obvious question here is how she can find out more about the snake world to bring them closer together.
2. Legal Thrillers: The Clark
“Dinsig could only have accessed the info on Bernard if he had been at the press convention. If that were the case, why wasn’t there more blood on the muffins? And why was Petra refusing to talk? Had she really been in a coma for 10 years or was she just shy? Thwackard couldn’t figure it, that was, if he was Twackard. And what about the plastic fruit in the pair of tights? Who knew – or more importantly, how did they know why they were supposed to know?
3. Booker Contender: Manx
“Burkeep knew of Jocasta’s weakness for parboiled lychees in amoretto. Idly, he swilled his cognac. ‘The sunset,’ she said without moving her lips. ‘You couldn’t move your lips then.’
‘I know...I was thinking of...’
‘Lychees’ he offered, his hand already extended towards the waiter.
‘No’ she demured, I was thinking of when I would tell you that I’m a Nun.’”
4. Disaster Accounts: True Life Stories Of Total Ickiness
“Rick Feinstein relates, ‘At first I thought the lava had completely engulfed my family, but of course I was delirious. It wasn’t until they removed the statue from my throat that I remembered I was in fact a single man, aged 13.’”
5. Cookbooks: Quick Foolproof Recipes
“Cut the ghalwack in 17 places. Squeeze the sap into a thimble and seal with a plug of goats cheese. Pray for two years. Run in a circle. Fry the leeks in an oven. Then get inside. Compose a quartet for strings and skewer the sunflower seeds with a pike bone. And bingo! A light snack for that idle hour between a morning’s ballooning and an afternoon’s pheasant kicking.”
6. Romance: The Never-Ending Nebula
“Kirk searched for the essence of her femininity. When he found it she slapped him. ‘It’s alright,’ she said, ‘I’m a doctor. I thought you were falling asleep.’ She willowed in his embankment. He reaped her furrow tenderly. ‘Concepta,’ he growled, like a sleepy elk. ‘Let’s leave this dark field and get some chips.’ She glowered like a glowering person as she adjusted her muslin sequined headdress.”
7. Sci-Fi: The mysteries of Trojan Crust
Ffflafrig held his sword aloft the writhing basket of maggot vermin and intoned the name of his beloved. ‘Mebe.’ Just then he was bitten on the knee. His calm undisturbed, he whispered her holy name again. His oaken thighs stood fast, even though his knee was already spurting jets of livid purple pus. ‘Mebe,’ he cried as he brought the blade down, down, down into the teeming mass of blue-fanged worms that had destroyed his new carpeting.”
Enjoy the long evening light and these fabulous new books, all highly flammable I might add, and excellent for keeping a barbeque going.
Irish Times, 6th September 1997
Ding dong the bells are gonna chime!
Dylan Moran is taking the plunge before his girlfriend recovers her wits
So, V. and I are getting married. When we decided to do this, we thought: “it’s what we want, really, and it’ll be a good party.” V wants to do it principally because she is deranged, and I want to do it before she comes round. But we’ve never had a proper party before. Oh sure, we’ve had people round for dinner... “How do you think this particular beer goes,” we ask our guests “with these particular crackers?”
Later, we entertain them by giving them our recipes. You have to use a knife to open the crackers, V explains. And the beer works, I say, because you can never tell just how stale the crackers are.
Our guests smile enthusiastically, using a good deal of eyebrow movement. We never seem to have the famous problem of indicating it is time for them to leave. Usually after half an hour or so they remember they have left their three-year-olds marooned on a traffic island. Or they have to go home to rest before the major surgery they forgot to mention.
These kinds of parties are stressful enough, but the ceremonial ones are guaranteed to give you a clot.
Ceremonies per say are designed to make you feel uncomfortable. As a race, we seem to have decided the best way to signal significance is to make everybody wait around in a lot in clothes they only wear every six or seven years
Weddings are very expensive, as you will have heard. The people who set it up for you send a very helpful brochure. It looks like this: “Here at Spuffing Hall we want you to have the best. This is the most important day of your lives. The rest of your existence means nothing. This is the only significant event that will ever happen to you. Mess it up and you will be laughed at by people in the street.
“God forbid you should neglect the essential ingredients of your special, perfect, wonderful day. You will of course require the following: 1. little pretend flowers you put on the cake. Type a) this paltry confection of faux flora would satisfy only those couples who have no self-respect and don’t really love one another. Price £1,500. Type b) exquisitely handcrafted by Q.F. Ferning Brithing Clerihew Basque. A fragrant fantasia of wild flowers and themed brocades, interspersed with other genuine fake flowers for the discerning couple – the kind of people who don’t eat with their hands and know where to find Radio 3. Absolutely the only choice to prove you quite like one another. Price £15,000,000.27.”
The brochure then goes on to list other imperative elements but it doesn’t give you the full picture. So here are some general tips for organising your wedding. Firstly, before you get married, try to inherit something valuable, such as Malta. This will cover almost half the cost of the table linen. And remember, if you are in a state of panic, this is perfectly normal. You are, after all, a woman. Since you were born, you have been conditioned to believe this is the sole purpose of your existence. You are a man and you find yourself in a fluster bout impending ceremony, this too is perfectly normal provided you are an interior designer.
We opted for the civil ceremony. Neither of us liked the tone of church weddings – the Catholic ones in particular are so drenched in portentousness: all those prayers and blessings make you feel as though instead of having a party you have just declared you are about to invade Russia.
Some of our single friends are surprised we’re doing it at all. “Why are you getting married,” people say. “it’s a bourgeois institution. It’s an outmoded form of oppression, it’s...” “Shut up ,” we say “we need a toaster.”
The other advantage of the civil thing is that we get to write our own vows, which I anticipate will be very moving.
V: “I do solemnly declare that I will love and cherish... thingamy”
Me: “Me too.”
V: “But I’m not picking up any dirty laundry.”
I thought about meeting some friends for a drink beforehand. Then I remembered that it could become a “stag” event. And “stag” events tend to include deeply significant male rituals for which the participation of the local constabulary and certain kinds of livestock are prerequisites. Anyway, it’s not as if you are saying goodbye: rather, we are saying were not in and you can’t call around like you used to. You have to bring crackers.