Friday, July 31, 2009

I got a job!!!

Okay, so today I got a job for the remainder of the summer.

I HAVE a job job, grown-up person job that I'll be starting in 2011 (as a lawyer...snore) but for the rest of the summer, until mid-September, I was going to be an unemployed bum.

Until this morning.

At approx 10am, my sneaky loud phone gave a little cry, and my answer of 'what???" was not very polite. It was an old friend Joe, with whom I have played traditional music for years and years, and he had news. He's been commissioned to compose the music for a new play that is opening in Letterkenny in September. I've been asked to arrange the percussion for the incidental music and then, when the play starts, to play it. It'll include a pub scene where I'l have to be on stage, will involve at least 9 different percussion instruments and...and this is the big thing...I'll get MONEY for it.

Albeit, a small shrapnelly piece of money that will only buy me alcohol.

Anyway, this is just a piece of news about my life, and boring as shit, but I'm really happy to have a chance to play again, and it'll be loads of fun. So watch this space..

*this space*

So, this is my last night in England for a few months and I'm a bit drunk. Have a great weekend everyone, and I'll chat to you all soon.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Interactive Thursday

Again, the Novelista Barista has thrown down the gauntlet to her blog-followers to interact with her and answer a random question every week as part of her Interactive Thursday.
This week:

'What is one song or album that you’ve listened to over and over again in a very rough period of your life? What is your sad song?'

Well, to answer her question I'll have to refer to two different songs:

Backwardly, my sad song. I'm one of those people who, by mixture of being a prick and a fool, has gotten myself into, and managed to fuck up (or get fucked up by) a whole load of relationships. Some of them I've almost forgotten, but others....well, not quite.

One of the ones that was important, we had a song. It was one that we played whenever we were hanging out in my flat, and it set the mood really well, as well as really helping me to relax (which I often can't really do due to my silly brain) and keeping us company when we had those great comfortable silences. It was the wonderful 'Comfortably Numb', by Pink Floyd. The version that I played was the 'Live in Berlin' recording with Van Morrison as guest vocalist.

But we broke up, and it hurt. I did the whole after-split mourning period with this song on repeat in the background, watching the complete docu-series 'The World At War' (to harness the 'rage' side of the break-up by watching the entirety of the War with Laurence Olivier's narration) and quaffing Apple Schnapps like it was going out of fashion.

NB: That's a really good way to break up and I got the idea from Charlie Brooker. The apple schnapps ideas is my own. It works, but hurts.

So when I feel really sad now, one of the first songs that I'll go to is this masterpiece.

But this pales in comparison to the 'Rough Time' song.

The song that I have listened to during rough patches, and which I listen to as often as I feel I can is 'The Court of the Crimson King' by the late '70s/early '80s prog-rock band King Crimson. The first time I truly appreciated this song was when I was living in the United States in the wee small town of Lexington, Virginia. I had returned home, slightly baked, to my little apartment when a FRICKING MASSIVE thunderstorm came out of nowhere and rent the night in two. The lights for some reason went, and I had to unplug all the electrical items in the room.

Luckily, my laptop was fully alive, so I was able to sit and listen to music whilst doing some writing, illuminated only by the glow of the screen. My back had been killing me for days so, in my altered state, I lay flat on the floor, when this wonderful song came on. My head swirling with thoughts and ideas for the stories which I had been working on, raced as the neurons stonedly dealt with what I had been working on. The lightening got really close to the house, and as I lay, humming along to myself, a massive sensation of euphoria overtook me, mixed with a great feeling of calm, a feeling which I very rarely experience. My mind was still racing, but not in the usual grey-hair way. Everything made sense, and everything was good. The song was almost perfect.

The theatrical nature of it; with its epic choruses, three-act dramatics, mystical lyrics and its underlying sense of reflection made me extremely happy. It was like someone had flicked on a lightswitch in my head, and the joint feelings of world-weary tragedy and hope that the song inspired really took a hold of me. It was one of the greatest ten minutes of my life, sad as that sounds.

Since then, if I've been going through a really rough patch, and nothing really seems to make sense, I just lie on the floor, put on my studio headphones and crank up the volume...

Here ya go Jen, I hope you enjoy these songs, and thanks again for a great Interactive Thursday question.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

After-Tea Confection Journal - The French Fancy

Okay, so in my 20-something bloggers profile I brag somewhat about having an 'increasing knowledge of after-tea cakes'. This is something which I stick by, a side-effect of my many pleasant Sunday afternoons in Trinity College Dublin.

I had a bit of a routine for Sundays:
1) Wake up, with a bit of a hangover
2) Watch films/ Play about online/ Read (but NOTHING to do with law stuff)
3) Go for a bit of a walk around the beautiful Trinity campus, maybe doing a bit of shopping or any chores or whatnot,
4) Go get some food, either going out for a subway (chicken and bacon ranch, grilled with cheese, with jalapenos, black peppers, green peppers and gherkins and honey mustard sauce) OR bu a massive pizza from Apaches
5) Nip to the shop to buy the newspaper (the Observer/Guardian, how I heart thee) and, of course, some tea cakes.
6) Go visit my mate Spark for a cup of tea and a chinwag.

Now, in the course of these Sundays, I happened upon manies a variance of post-tea confection, and in the course of these entries into the Afer-Tea Confection Journal (hereinafter 'the ATCJ')I shall attempt to critique the many tea-cakes, fruit slices, cookies, biscuits (NOT the American imposter that is actually a scone, but the proper British/Irish biscuit) and the myriad other species of sweet jollity that so stoutly accompanies a heart-warming cuppa.

[NB: The term After-Tea is somewhat misleading, but let it be known that the 'tea' in question is the evening meal, and the other 'tea' that is mention is the fabled drink. So an after-tea confection is indeed consumed with a cup of tea.]

The French Fancy.

The French Fancy is a delightful little cake-ette, small enough to be eaten in a quick gulp and tasty enough that an entire box is often in most ghastly peril of being wholly devoured ere the teapot run dry.

Yes, for some reason i am talking like a old timey gentleman.

The Tech Stuff

A small cube of moist sponge, with a little mound of vanilla cream on top, all encased in one of three types of icing laminate (lemon, chocolate or strawberry) and crowned with a streak of chocolate drizzle. Individually wrapped, they come in packs of 8 and can be easily shared amongst a small group of conversationalists. At between £1.50 and £2.50 a box, it's a within a smidgen above the acceptable confectionary range.

An invention of the wonderful Mr Kipling, these cubes of tasteliness are described as 'delightful fondant iced sponge cakes with a vanilla flavoured filling.' One might think this to be a rather grandiose boast, but it's evident that Mr Kipling is not big-upping his skills. For they are delectable.

In terms of after-tea cake they are almost perfect. The combination of tangy icing, moist sponge, smooth vanilla and chocolate drizzle is ridiculously tasty, and as I've said above, due to the rather small nature of the cakes and its horrendous edibility, it's almost impossible to eat just one.

So, if I am to pick a random number out of which to score these cakes I must ask myself the 'Fundamental Ideals of Cakemanship'. A YES gives 1 point, a 1/2 gives...well, you get it.
1) - Is the confection easy to slice/share/prepare, thus enabling hassle-free cakemanship? YES
2) - Is the confection comfortably within the realms of the sweetness spectrum? YES
3) - Is the confection of affordable price in comparison to the amount of joy it brings? 1/2
4) - Is the confection sufficiently moreish? YES
5) - Is the confection sold in a way which allows for ample portion? NO
6) - Does the confection contain a subtle yet delicious blend of flavours? YES!!
7) - Does the confection taste well with a cup of tea? YES
8) - Does the confection make me feel like an old lady? YES

Therefore, it is with great joy and much diabetic rumblings of my post-teacake belly, keeping in mind the delicious taste, the addictive nature of it, it's tea-friendly nature and, unfortunately, the small portions, it is my great honour to award the Kipling French Fancy

6.5 / 8

Mazel tof, Mr Kipling. Jolly good show.


How to eat a Mr Kipling French Fancy:

1) Look at your prospective Confection with a mixture of awe, fear and delight (and lust)

2) Admire the attractive packaging of your Confection as it poses on the kitchen counter.

3) Acclimatise your French Fancy with it's new surroundings by letting it interact with tea accoutrements (such as a mug as pictured) and encourage it to do a little sight-seeing.

4) Allow (or coerce) a small family member into making you a cup of tea.

5) Smile cheesily with your Fancy and your Spongebob Mug (wink optional)

6) Devour greedily, allowing your tastebuds to drown in a tsunami of palatableness as the Fancy gleefully joins your person.

7) Sigh happily.


Monday, July 27, 2009

My Weekend on the Boat - Too many videos and photos result...

I've been talking quite a lot about how much I was looking forward to my weekend on the high seas. By 'high seas' I really mean the River Maidstone in Kent. After four days of boat fun and frankly ridiculous amounts of alcohol being consumed by a plethora of whacky characters, I'm currently sitting on the leather mega-sofa and watching Hannah Montana with the little cugina and cugino.

The last post I wrote about the boat was the day we took it from Chatham to Maidstone in anticipation of the Maidstone River Festival, but since that day the weather had been a bit 15yr old goth about it, swinging its mood about to the straining beats of Cradle of Filth and scratching 'I hate my parents' into arm with a penknife; sunny to monsoon and back again.

We had a big build up to the festival, enjoying the sun (my back having been burnt to a cinder a few days earlier) and relaxing as best we could, until THIS happened...

we had to wait until Friday evening until we could go down to the Holly Louise and begin drinking...and drink we did. It was quite obscene. We bought a great many cases of budweiser, cider, little dumpy beer and tonnes and tonnes of food. On the first night alone, we drank about a million bottles of suds. Highlights of night 1 include:

1) Being grabbed and kissed (tongues de rigeur for her clearly) by a 45 yr old lady who said my accent "made her want to have sex" and who asked if she could keep me.
2) Her friend telling me that it was the THIRD time she had done that to randomers.
3) Me sitting with a group of (actually) lovely people and then out of the blue being hit on the head by a 15lb chill-box of seafood. Some lady was having a domestic and tried to throw the heavy entirety of her product from a high wall onto her ex-boyfriend. It was heavier than she thought, fell short, and it bounced off my head before bursting open on the quayside. Ouch


4) Meeting some nice young hipsters who were dressed up as pirates. One of whom (who had tried, unsuccessfully, to dress like Jack Sparrow) told me it was the greatest outfit he'd worn in his life.

We all eventually passed out, excited to see what the festival day brought.

The Saturday can be summed up as follows:

That's right, it was Hammer Time on the boat, we are all phenomenal dancers, and we were having a great time.


Every face in the Aunt and Uncle's friendlist wriggled out of the wood work to come visit. They're the sort of couples who, in their FB messages to the other couples, feel obliged to refer to each other as 'good friends' or 'true mates' etc so that they can convince themselves that they don't spend the entire time bitching each other out horrendously. So when they found out that S&D had a hugely exploitable boat in the River Festival, guess where they went. I'm not saying they are bad people (for they WERE very nice) but just that their idea of friendship is ridiculously out of whack. There are a few of them who are amazing though, the sort who I see in the house most days, or who come to all the events, such as my Aunt's best friend Ola, or Leigh, the wee 18yr old guy who used to practically run their old pub. They're the sort that contrasted so much with these boatmoochers and it was really cool to hang out with them.

The day was beautiful, the sun was splitting the stones and I was ridiculously hungover and slightly sore from the head-fishbox contact. We sat out all day, with interludes where I sat below deck to read my current page-turner (which is excellent, though a bit jingoistic and overtly British for my Hibernian tendancies) and tried to catch up with my correspondences (because nothing is as nice as a handwritten letter is it?) during any lull in the festivities.

Anyway, by the time we had started to rock out to the Hammer Time shuffle, we were (again) more sauced than Mr Tabasco when he thought that his nachos needed a bit of oomph and got his ingredients out, and there were no signs of it stopping any time soon.

At one point, between the Hammer shuffle and the later drunken torpor, we painted a face onto my uncle's belly. That's what we did. It was a lot of fun. We called the little belly-lady Stella, and she became our mascot.

What was also a great deal of fun was when uncle D then went and started chatting to some of the cops who were patrolling the quayside. For about 20 minutes he had a lovely conversation about all things boaty with the bobbies on the beat when I snapped this photo, making him look like a schoolboy being scolded...

For parts of the day, all the kids (of the moochers and the nicers alike) for some reason gathered around me, and treated me like a human climbing frame. As it got dark, we watched from the deck of the boat as loads of people in their tricked-out watermobiles ambled past, it really was nice:

Soon, all the little sprouts jumped up on the fore deck with me and soon we were playing the 'let's scream really loud at all the boats' game:

It actually was a lot of fun. There also was a massive fireworks display. All the couples stood on the boat hugging each other and being all cozy and it was one of the few 'dude, you need a girlfriend' moments I've had in a while. It was very romantic, me and my budweiser.

All in all, it was a really good evening.

Sunday was pretty much a 'we're hungover and don't want to do anything' sorta day, and when we sailed back upriver to Chatham, it was pouring with rain and we were all sorta sick of the sight of everything around us. We moored at Chatham, had some dinner (a massive meal at Nando's that left me feeling positively pregnant) and the whole bunch of us squeezed onto a small berth to watch Twilight. I'm a wee bit in love with Kristen Stewart, so it was all good. The only bad thing about the evening was that the skies opened with a vengeance and at 5am this (Monday) morning, a huge drip of icy rainwater started on my head.

So, as I said, today I am exhausted, drained and (despite my bad storytelling) really happy to have such a great weekend. Life on a boat is a lot of fun, but it was important to try and get some time to myself so that we didn't all end up tearing each other's throats out. I found that a book and some writing stuff went a long way. The pros are obvious; the fun, sense of adventure and the chance to learn a new skill, but there are cons (apart from me haha) it can be a few days between getting showers, most boats are not laptop friendly, and you can get a bit cramped.

Today, we've lazed on the sofa and aunt A just made the most magnificent cottage pie. Now with a cup of tea and a strong case of shiprock (where you can feel the boat moving whilst on dry land) I'm almost ready for a lot more a few days.
ps: One of the people I met this weekend, who has known S&D for years because of the river festival is this guy below. Pete, or 'Popeye' as he likes to be called, is a bit like the male lead from a 1970's softcore porno. In the photo below he is as he was the entire time, wearing a pair of short cut-offs with no underwear...tasty. The entire festival he entertained a gaggle of women of varying ages, and his entire day seemed to consist of kissing the cheeks of young maidens and punctuating his speech with words like 'my darling', 'sweetheart', 'lovely little one' etc. Now, I use some of those endearments from time to time, but I really don't want to end up like this guy...a walking STD. Although a lovely man, he was very clearly in the 'sex pest' category of the charming spectrum. Ew. Isn't he gorgeous ladies? What say you to a slice of popeye?

(Yes that is a hoop in his ear)

Anyway, that's what I got up to this weekend. Hope y'all had fun :)

Friday, July 24, 2009

Something for the Weekend.

As per some of your requests... I've decided to put up some photos of Ireland.

I spent half my time growing up on an island off the NWest coast in Donegal. My parents go there every opportunity to go there and it's beautiful.

These are some pictures of that place. One of the photos has my little sis, Cíana, in my coat, having written the words 'Conor loves Dubledore" in response to my claim (also in the sand) that 'Cíana loves Daniel Radcliffe, which she does.

Anyway, these are just a few snaps of the best place in the world for me. Hope you like them. I'll more up when I come back after the boat-adventure.

Hope you all have a fun weekend!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

ABC's to do with me.

The Novelista Barista asked me in my moany 'Writer's Block' post to fill y'all in with more info about me. Facts and such. Here are some more.

I saw this on Wife of A Wounded Marine's page (she's an AMAZING woman with more balls than your average PGA caddy)

A-Age: 22
B-Birth date: 11th March 1987
C-Chore you hate: Ironing.
D-Dog's name: Bran (my aunt's dog, my old dog Holly died years ago)
E-Enter or Exit: Enter but look for the exit
F-Favorite color: I have a few. Blue and green are high, also can't beat black.
G-Gold or silver: Silver
H-Hair color: Dark Brown
I-Instrument: Drums, Orchestra Percussion, Tin Whistle, Voice
J-Job Title: Trainee Solicitor (that's the official title, still a student really).
K-Kids: 0 (plan on keeping it that way too)
L-Living arrangements: Between houses, organising a flat in London
M-Monkey or Moose: Monkey
N-Nicknames: Con, Conny, Conz, Conker, Conks, Crux
O-Odd thing about you: Upsy Downsy head
P-Pet Peeve: Poor manners, women who apply double standards.
Q-Quote from a movie: "Warriors...come out and plaaaaay-aaaaay"
R-Right/Left Handed: Right for write, left for rest
S-Siblings: 1 sister, 2 broheims
T-Time you wake up? Varies drastically
U-Underwear: yes.
V-Veggie you dislike: Not too fond of baked beans, but I'm sure there're more
W-What makes you run late: Procrastination and double checking
X-X-Rays: Teeth and a few bones - back, head, face and arms/legs a few times (on different occasions)
Y-Yummy food you make: Fajitas fit for el jefe
Z-Zoo Animal: Peregrine Falcon or Turtle

Interactive Thursday

Howdy! I was supposed to be spending the next three days on a boat for the Maidstone River Festival, but when we came back from the (absolutely beautiful) beach at Camber Sands in East Sussex, we were all completely exhausted, stroked by the sun and in my case (after jumping into the sea like an over-excited dog) as salty as any regular seaman (Pun intended)

We decided to leave the boatery until the morrow, after we've all slept.

Jen, from the uh-maze-ziiiiiing!!! blog the novelista barista has, as part of her great series 'Interactive Thursday', posited the simple interactive request:

"Write about what u do when ur life sucks.. how do u get out of a funk.
bc i need to know the answer!"

So, as part of Interactive Thursday, I'll try to answer.

My silly head can swing between being in a sorta happy buzzymood to being ridiculously depressed. I used to spend way too much time worrying about what that meant until I got used to the idea that the jump between hyper and comatose (by way of assholeness and lazy-bastardness) led, apart from the annoying parts, to a much more interesting and eventful life.

What I've found though, is that my most favourite hobby, writing, follows these mood swings like a canoe on the sea. Sometimes,, when I'm on a buzzy high, I can spend hours and hours writing and coming up with new characters, stories and plots. The opposite happens when I'm down, or rather, the water turns choppy. If I'm pissed off, heartbroken, hungover or similar, I can use that to keep writing, and find it adds a different perspective to what I'm trying to say. However if it's a REALLY bad case of the blues, I find that the usual symptom is twofold; boredom and writer's block. The boredom is bad, but the writer's block is like having a limb removed, so it's necessary to act.

The answer is quite simple, but took me ages to come up with, although it'll probably be really obvious to everyone else.

I do stuff.

I find that if I even go for a walk, and try to notice something new or previously hidden about the sights and sounds I pass everyday, my mood can lift. One time, I was in a MAJOR depressive low, my friend suggested we go for a drink and then go to a ballroom dancing class. Despite the fact that I had previously spent seven hours watching 'The World At War' and feeling sorry for myself, I had one of the best nights ever. Nothing get's rid of the blues by half-drunkenly waltzing around with a bunch of strangers whilst pretending to be cool and suave.

It's a bit paradoxical. When the world seems like a concrete pigeon has taken a crap on my head, often the last thing I want to do is go out. However, if I try really really hard to not be an antisocial arse-biscuit, the low mood, even if it's terrible will eventually shift.

Some funks or major depressions can last for days, weeks even, and then it's the best thing in the world to have a safety net of friends to hang out with (even if it's just to drink tea and watch the match in silence) so that you're not alone in the flat all the time. I would advocate the acquisition of a girlfriend/boyfriend for people, but being depressed is never the best excuse to go chasing girls (as i've found out at my peril) and then some.

Really, the best answer about how to get out of a major funk is to never allow yourself to get bored, that's when the devil makes work for idle hands. Stephen Fry (a fellow upsy-downsy chap) said that he'd love to write a book called 'The Secret of Happiness' with nothing in it but five words and three hundred empty pages, 'Stop feeling sorry for yourself'. I dunno how that would work (especially for a moay SOB like me) but he has a point. If you never allow yourself to get bored, instead of spending your time alone and depressed, and keep an active enough life, the funk can be successfully avoided. Perhaps a combination of actvity and trying not to wallow too much (volunteering or charity work can help) can combat the funk.

Plus, when I'm active and going on adventures, I find I have better stuff to write about. We'll see how bored I can be after a weekend on a lovely boat.

I hope this helps :)


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

20-something bloggers BLOGSWAP!! Vittoria and I discuss Beyoncé


Today, I am honoured to have a lady come to visit my blog, as part of the 20sb blogswap. In the run-up to this, Vittoria and I got waaaay too excited talking about Beyoncé (not in that way, pervs) and decided that we ought to both rant about how great and shit some of her songs can be. You can check out her jolly amazing blog here and see what a real blogger's stuff is like.
Without much further ado, it a great honour to present Vittoria!


Hello all!!! My name is Vittoria, and I’m subbing for Conor today (I know, I’m sorry in advance). I’m from the States, currently living in our nation’s capital (YES WITH BARACK OBAMA ZOMG!) and as my blog is entitled, I am pretty much always drunk, and never a bride. With that, away we go!!


I’m kind of a bad girl. Not like Fiona Apples “I’ve been a bad, bad girl…”. No no. Like I do a disservice to my gender, sometimes. Par example, I hate – HATE – shopping. I mean, srsly. I don’t like girly mags (even the ones from across the Atlantic – sorry!). I never EVER wear make-up, unless it seems utterly necessary (like when I was trying to entice my current Boy and I wore eyeliner all the fucking time because I knew he fucking liked it but joke’s on him cause I haven’t worn it since we started sleeping together MUAHAHAHAHAHA).

Point is.

I’m a shitty female. And emblematic of this lack of honor for my vajayjay is my utter lack of love for the one, the only Beyonce. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed “Crazy in Love” and when “Naughty Girl” comes on, I always think “aw Lindsay Lohan, remember ‘Mean Girls’? Why did you go so far astray?!” But like, I mean, cmon. Her singing “At Last” at the inauguration of my bestie B. Obams? I don’t think so. I LOVED the song, the performance/performstress? Not so much.


Someone – some GLORIOUS person (I believe my sister Grace) – introduced me to “Single Ladies.” You know it. The one where she does the super fucking AWESOME dance with the two other super hot chicks and dudes are turned on cause of the moves and chicks are turned on because of the lyrics, and also, probably, the moves.

I mean, let’s be honest here.

It’s pretty fucking amazing, because it’s pretty much what ever girl wants to have happen in a post-break-up-period. Dude dumps girl, girl finds new dude, old dude gets pissed, girl gets to be like “look you fucking douche, you should have gotten me when you had me, too EFFING bad.”


I danced at Zumba to this song, at BARS to this song (and usually I only jive to music of the Bon Jovi variety). I woke up to it, I got ready for the EVENING for it, I just couldn’t get enough of Beyonce!

And then she came out with another.

“If I were a boy” is of the same variety of “Single Ladies”, in that it’s SO EXACTLY WHAT GIRLS WOULD SAY. Except in this case, it’s what they WOULD have said.

When they were 15.

When I was 15, I was like “oh my GOD if only RS would just LET ME INSIDE HIS HEAD I know know KNOW I could teach him to love me forever!” and when aforementioned RS started dating someone else, I was like “GOD if only I were a FREAKING BOY I would NEVER hurt a girl like that EVER”.

It was super mature, I know.

The best and worst thing about “if I were a boy” is that it groups all boys under the male category. Boys, in all honesty, ARE shitty human beings to girls. And girls are pretty fucking dumb as well, but in different, equally-hurtful-to-female ways. MEN, however, are not. Men are wonderful creatures, who make you breakfast and watch Friends with you and don’t judge you when you’re on your eighth freak out of the day because you’re getting your period.

Well. SOME men.

The point is, that while Beyonce has TOTES got it right in “Single Ladies” – ie, if you liked it then you should have put a ring on it, motherfucker – she probably should have clarified “If I were a boy” by titling it “If I were that 16 year old boy who ripped your heart out and probably is a drunk frat 30-yr-old frat boy in the middle of nowheresville, America. Oh and he’s fat, too”. That conveys the same, some males are stupid sometimes idea that Single Ladies does, without fucking over all men everywhere.

Mmm. Fucking men.

Uh, what was I saying? Ah yes. In short? I suck at being female, but Beyonce can totally rock my world anytime she wants, and SO CAN EFFING CONOR!!! Thanks you guys for reading! And stop by the blog whenever you’re in the mood for drunken-slutastic-cursing. XOXO

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Dealing With Boredom - Everything Is Better On A Boat

I was grumbling the other day that the relaxation of the summer has given me a rather shocking case of writer's block. Whilst this hasn't had the worst effect on my blogging, it has rather naused up the plan I had to finish a novel I'm working on before September. I sent a plea amongst my 20sb friends to give me ideas of short things to write, in the hope that it would spark the old neurons back into life and waited for the replies to, well...not FLOOD in, but, y'know, trickle lethargically.

Luckily, the folks at 20sb, and the occasional chaps who read this wee blog are good sports and I've had a few suggestions for 'homework' that I'm currently working on. I'll be putting those up on a separate blog pretty soon and I'll link it to this one, but treat it like a mistress. A little indulgent treat for me when I can find the time. The posts will probably be a bit wordy, so it's more for me, although there might one or two things that you find a tad interesting.


Today, I had one of the best days I've had in absolutely ages. The aunt and uncle (S&D) have a boat and, being the young, cool types that they are, we spent ALL day on it. It was bliss.

We pottered about Maidstone for a while, doing a few chores and having a lovely little lunch in a cool wee café. They picked the kids up from school, and soon we were breezing along in their convertible in the most beautiful weather to Chatham marina. I got a chance to mess about with their car while we waited, which I had a LOT of fun with, mucked about with the wee cousin and after helping th'uncle get all the coverings on the boat, we set off.

(bee-tee-dubs: if you have an aversion to whiter-than-white Casper skin, then the links may have a damaging effect on your poor retina and leave your temporarily blind, there was a lot of glare from the sun bouncing off my rotten hide.)

Chatham docks are really cool. When my dad was 14 he started working there (circa 1973) and it was really cool to jet along with S&D and the little'uns and see the old dockbuildings and gun wharf where he would have worked. There are hundreds of cool little boats; old US navy land-lease cutters from about 1940, little houseboats that look like wrecks and a few hand-made yachts made of Norwegian pine (one of which I will someday own) and glistening with varnish. It was amazing.

There's a few miles of river between Chatham and Maidstone where we were going to moor the boat, but I managed to have a VERY Duran Duran few moments lolling on the stern. Any cobwebs that had acumulated in the past few days were well and truly blown out from between my ears and I had such a cheesy fucking grin on my face. As you can see here, I was clearly awash in a tsunami of joy:

D gave me a chance to drive/pilot/whatever-the-word his beautiful boat all along the sleepy little twisty greenery bits towards Maidstone; through ridiculously pretty little towns, past castles, along horribly quaint hamlets that seemed to be mostly made of tweed and high tea and crumpets. It was jolly good fun and I really enjoyed learning a completely new skill. Usually whenever I am in control of a vehicle, I either panic and start to giggle, or get a bit angry at all other vehicle users and end up calling someone a c*nt. Not this time. It was challenging, sure, but it was as fun as a bucketful of badgers playing the ukelele. I also saw a custom made pirate ship.

When we finally arrived at Maidstone, I was very very tired, very very red (Casper died in the sun) and had thoroughly enjoyed drinking lots of champagne. Just as we had finished buttoning up, the heavens opened and a terrific thunderstorm rent the sky in two, it was so cool.

As I sit here now, chilling out and watching t.v, I am very aware of several things:

1) I was in control of several vehicles today, which was a hoot.
2) I am rather sunburned, which has put me into a sense of shock
3) The thunderstorm outside is the tits.
4) QI repeats are fucking brilliant
5) I'm going to sleep well tonight. Like a Dutch nun (which I imagine is very well)
6) I had an amazing day.

Good Night to you all.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The 'Conk'

So, I was in the kitchen in S&D's today and we were getting through some of the stock from their nightclub that they recently wound up.

Feeling a tad creative, I grabbed the nearest two bottles; Midori and Smirnoff, and put them in a glass with ice. Then I took some cranberry juice and added that. Y'know, in case the melon and vodka weren't getting on. Then I added some soda (or 'sprite' as the Americans would say). Then I drank it.

It tasted jolly good. Thus began the night.

My new drink is named after the fact that my English aunt and uncle could never quite pronounce my name in Irish. Conchúr IS a difficult word for a non-gaelgeoir, so it's understandable that they call me conker.

Ladies and gentlemen,I give you...THE CONK.

NB. unfortunately one cannot patent a beverage, but I shall forever hold the drink very near to my heart as my own invention. Maybe one day it shall achieve greatness.

Good night!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Writer's Block

So, I've somehow walked headlong into the biggest case of writer's block I've had in months. It's fucking killing me. I'm trying to plough through a book that I'm writing, and now that I've got the time to do it, I can't think at all. It's not so bad for blogposts, which are short and easy to come up with, but's it murder when I'm trying to slowly tell a long story.

I've been living the soft life for a few weeks now; devoid (mostly) of drama, stress and even the vague hint that there may be any exams, breakups or any form of conflict. This means one of two things.

1) I've become a boring shite, and have no life, or
2) See option 1.

So, if any of you would be so kind, I should very much appreciate being set some homework. Basically, if any of you could suggest a topic/theme/plotline that I could write a very quick few hundred words about, I think it would fire up some of the comatose neurons and encourage me to write about what I actually (without currently knowing it) want to write about.

Either as a comment to this post, as a msg on 20sb or even as a tweet @conordarrall I will be your best friend.


ps - I accidentally sent out the 20sb email about this three or four times. Mea Culpa, my connection didn't let me know when the msg had been sent.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Life in the Rat Race...

The time in Kent is stressful. So very, very stressful. I don't know how I'll cope.

I flew in the usual way, collecting the usual share of arsehole molecules in my hair that is so very common with Ryanair. It began earlier than usual this time, the website crashing 24 hours before my flight so that I couldn't print out my booking. Despite my most reasoned and calm attempts to rectify this I was still charged £40 at the airport so that they could print out my muthafucking ticket.


I got the train down from Luton to Maidstone East and since then. It's been work work work.

An example of my horrific workload. My auntie had the fridge full of Jacques Cider, which she INSISTED that I drink, otherwise it would just sit there. I did. We sat and drank loads of cider and smoked a million cigarettes on Tuesday night. As I say; hard work.

I've got a meeting tomorrow with the Firm, to talk about what I'll do during my contract with them. In essence, I'll be organising my life until at least 2013, which is a bit trippy. From 9.30 to 5.30, I'll be attending meetings, listening to presentations about different areas of law, chatting to some partners and having lunch with them. Lots of glad-handing and charming conversation expected. We'll see... Although I had put aside time to meet a special person, I now doubt that I'll be able, unless I stay for a while... (where though?)

I'll be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to get all dolled up (or 'lolled up', from your perspective, because it's so very funny-looking) so that the lawyer types think that I'm respectable. I'll post a photo tomorrow.

The ridiculously tanned Aunt and Uncle (S&D) have been working on their garden and have just finished building a compliment the hot tub. After some paperwork, and some humble refreshment (when I could find the time...) I had to see what it was like. I suppose it was okay.

Hopefully I'll be able to chill out tomorrow at the big law thing. Up til now I've been doing too much. If my hectic lifestyle keeps up at this pace I'll probably go mental. Or have a stress-induced heart attack. Good thing that the corporate law gig will be pretty chilled...and fun.

Until I'm besuitted tomorrow...I bid you all a good night. Wish me luck tomorrow (later today)

Monday, July 6, 2009

A Change of Scenery

Flights are booked, suit is being picked up from the dry cleaner in a few hours, going to get a 'smart work haircut', about to start packing and have polished the shoes.

Yes, something is afoot.

The Firm for whom I'll be working are having me over to London for a chit-chat on Friday and as I've been home for three weeks, and have reacted to the boredom of the holidays with ridiculous amounts of alcohol and by becoming a bit of a bon viveur, it is maybe time to take an adventure.

My Dad's family all live in Kent in the south of England, a beautiful area of the world known as 'the garden of England'. As you may be aware, the temperature at the moment there as approximately three degrees cooler than the surface of the sun, and shows no sign of changing. Lovely. I'm the sort of tough safari-man who gets a sunburn by standing too close to the toaster in the morning. I'm gonna be roasted.

This move is an attempt to fulfil several things at once:
1) I'm bored. I always look forward to the holidays, but always get ridiculously bored of them after about a fortnight. I sat a few days ago and stared at a beautifully arranged (but slightly suspicious-smelling) bunch of flowers for the Mother's 50th, for about two hours.

2) Although great fun, I'd like some adventures that don't have the words 'alcohol', 'concussion' or 'Bangkok lady-boys' inherent in their telling, and would like to pursue some wholesome tomfoolery of the sort seen in Midsomer Murders/Kingdom.

3) I'M TOTALLY FUCKING BROKE!! My aunt needs some work done to a nightclub she owns, and also has kids (my little cousins) whom I can look after and babysit. So some form of productive expenditure of time, a chance to flex the handy-man muscle and a chance to catch up with my cousins (one of whom, who has the same birthday as me, but is only 7, I've never met)

4) I have a very limited amount of the world's greatest resource, parental good will, left at my disposal. With a 'job' job lined up, the degree, and my recent attempts to not be a grumpy shite, I have some left. With no summer job, the fact I'm a nite owl and tramp about the house at all hours, and the fact that I'm somewhat gangly and take up a lot of room in our wee house, I don't have forever before the bank runs dry.

So, tomorrow morning I fly from City of Derry Airport to Luton, then spend the day in transit (which I love) ambling down over the iron road to Lahndan, then on to Chatham. It'll hopefully be lovely and sunny, and I'll have a million years worth of groovy tunes and, yes, my TERRIBLE SECRET to listen to. I'll stay with the Aunt, then go up to London on Friday. When I come back, I came dawdle or hurry at returning home, but hell, I have a free month, so why not see what happens?

I'll have my camera and laptop with me, so we can all share in the joy as I blindly stumble through the summer.

Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Conor(s) Show

This is a recording of my old show, The Conor(s) Show.

Initially, it started out as The Conor Show, on WLUR 91.5FM in Lexington, VA. Then, when I returned to Ireland, Conor McQuillan joined and we became The Conor(s) Show, broadcasting on Trinity FM 93.7.

A cross between a music show and a comedy news show, it ran for five months from October to March this year. This recording was our entry for the 2009 Smedia Awards, where we were runners-up in the News and Current Affairs Category.

Download it here.

Written and presented by Conor Darrall and Conor McQuillan, I am the one who speaks the most, and Conor McQ is the funny one. ENJOY!

To all my American friends...


(you show those pesky aliens!)