Saturday 20 October 2007

From the mean streets of Manhattan to the Limerick Hilton

I love watching footage of Manhattan from the seventies. Back in the time when Manhattan had neighbourhoods, when it was LIVING. Even when it's just a movie, but shot on the streets. Have you seen a movie called Cool Breeze? Some minor blaxploitation movie, sort of Shaft-like, set on the wild west streets and formica diners of newyorkcityland when they were wild and the men wore tight blue jeans and slang was jiving. And when the lay of the land was being carved up between black brothers and Irish cops. Jesus, the history of the Irish in America is AMAZINGLY interesting to me. Anyway, this movie is fabulous. Classic Irish brute v Nigguh brute battles in wartorn new york city, when Sistah Giuliani wasn't even an evil glint in a poof-fro'd pimp's eye.

Got sorted out last night by Polly Harvey and Lenny Bruce. I no longer feel alone in the world. Oh, and an interview with an Irish novelist called Anne Enright, who is just clearly a ROCKA. I want to read her books now. Or chat with her. Something. Felt like I was losing my soul yesterday. My sense of humour drained away like the colour from my cheeks. My cough is getting stronger. It feels like something pretty big is making its way into the world through my heaving chest.

I'm writing this in the Hilton. A little girl and a little boy have just passed where I'm sitting in the lobby. They are about eight years old. The little girl is in charge. She says to the little boy: "This I have to show you, just this and one more thing. This is my secret passage." And she shows him, and the little boy says, "cool". And then they have a very involved conversation in the secret passage. He asks her all sorts of questions about it. He seems to be particularly interested in the geography of the area, and the logistics of how to drive a car through it. She is more than adept to show him around, and orientate him. She sings as she shows. Then they have a conversation about the night he spent in Ennis, and she does a little step dancing.

And then off they go so she can show him the one more thing.

Thursday 18 October 2007


It seems that I've moved into Nana's, the last couple of days. She's got wifi (nobody knows how) and I love it here, what can I say? It's also closer to town and right now I need the proximity.

Anyway, nana's kitchen is a bit like Freddy's, only with slightly more frenetic activity, constant coming and going, and EVERYBODY's a regular at nana's. Cousins, aunts and uncles, various inlaws, neighbours in gigantic curlers and headscarves, the occasional visit from a blonde lady with a nice bottle of wine, and Pinky the dancing queen labrador, who watches it all happen behind her glass door (and oh how she loves to dance)... it's all going on at nana's.

Wednesday 17 October 2007

Motiveless joy

People are often suspicious of casual, inexplicable joy. It depends on the context. When you're at a party and everybody's having fun, nobody will look at you sideways for your meaningless joy. However, when you're walking down the street and everybody else is frowning, you can get the squinty eye.

Tuesday 16 October 2007

Mosquitoes in my room in October

My room is full of mosquitoes that sit on one spot on the wall, fly around and make that special mosquito sound, but don't ever seem to bite. I wonder how they survive, but I don't wonder too hard. I think this is the first time I have ever shared living space with a mosquito that didn't want to eat me. There's a lot of punchdrunk October winged insects in our house right now, hiding out, hoping for the best. It's nice to hear that high pitched whiney hum and not lash out, not want to kill. I have been gazing at what began with a couple of dozen skeeters in my room here. They're welcome. They're friendly. Now that summer's gone, the edge is off their suspicion of humans and their need to feed off them. I fooled around with a fly who landed in my book today. He was just like those humans who have a few whiskeys and start getting frisky. Friendly kind of fella.

Having spent the whole summer with the strong desire to kill every time I met one of these guys, I find this current situation incredibly relaxing. I leave my window open at night and they seem to multiply. There's now what looks like five hundred benign mosquitoes and one very happy thin-legged spider hanging out in my sleeping chamber. It's quite spectacular to look at. The skeets are in all the various life stages, from babyskeethood to the one that's currently getting death-hugged by the thin-legged spider, and the carcass from my last impulse to kill a mosquito, that marks the wall, that I haven't had the inclination to wipe off. These skeets are fucking, fighting, dying, grooving, lifelessly alive, moving. All in full view of the entire mosquito population of the room, and me. Nothing hidden from view. Totally honest mosquito living.

The only thing I don't see them do is eat. I'm really the only bit of meat around and they're certainly not digging into me, not even particularly interested in my existence, really just my laptop screen when I sometimes turn the lights out, and then they dance over the flickering surface of the slideshow screensaver that shows pictures of Lucy, whippets, family, Irish landscape, friends, Freddy's, new york city. The baby ones zip around in circles, moving ecstatically, unaware that they've just been born at the wrong time of the year to have any kind of a productive or happy or long life. The older ones just sit around, sitting. An occasional trip near my ear to make that special whiney zz sound, which I'm growing to love. I never thought it could be like this with mosquitoes. I'm really enjoying their company. I mean it. I love watching them.

Ah who knows, maybe I'm just a mosquito too. What proof do I have that I'm really a human being ? Hearsay! A giant mosquito in a headscarf and heels!

Monday 15 October 2007

Pretty Limerick

Notes from the old town

It's rare that I go back to the streets I grew up on. This time I visited a long stretch near my old house. It's by this bare green space they called a park, where we used to heave ourselves over the wall and find particular places on the other side of the wall where it's steep, to lower ourselves down. They've ripped up all the grass, have covered the whole space over with gravel and sand, apparently they're building tracks and draining the fields. The foot-holes we hacked out of the wall are still there. The wall and the nettley wild space between the back gardens and the wall of the park was, this morning, still intact, still wild. Walking down there, even in my fancy high heeled newyorkcity boots, was a thrill.

Limerick city has changed probably as much as Dubai has changed, over the past fifteen years. New streets where there were no streets before, old streets rebuilt, new bridges, roundabouts (a hot fave here), new building constantly everywhere, a new street pedestrianised every year, old elegant theatres, cinemas and hotels TORN DOWN, to be replaced with names like Hilton and Marriott. I am not taking the piss, Limerick city has a Hilton hotel. I'm sitting in it now. It's quite nice, actually. Free wifi.

But the notion of a listed building seems to be limited to safe old stately Georgian houses in private hands, in Limerick.

Houses have been recently torn down to make way for an expansion in a rugby stadium.. hmmm, it's beginning to sound like Brooklyn.

Meanwhile, the radio pumps out stories of multi-shootouts on housing estates and stabbings in hotel rooms and paedophilia rings in well-to-do neighbourhoods and drugs and stranglings.

And on the women and the men go. Shopping. Shopping. Shopping.

Sunday 14 October 2007