HalloScooby, where are you?

Music, Journalism, Stretch


It was about an hour after Fred took the mask off Old Farmer Judge, revealing him to be the monster that was haunting the village of Summerfield. Scooby was hungry. Very, very hungry. The gang were putting bags in the Mystery Machine.


“Hey Scooby. It’s cool.” said Shaggy. “We just have to go on a quick trip. Yowsers, you sure look hungry guy. Look at you licking your lips.”

“Uhhee-hee-hee-hee. Scooby snacks?”

“Okay Scooby. Here you go” said Daphne and produced a silver tray.

Scooby’s legs spun around and rammed into the silver tray.

“Easy Scooby.” She said.

“C’mon Daphne.” Shouted a visibly angry Fred.

“Okay Fred.” Daphne meekly replied.

Scooby cocked his head happily at the goings on, but soon forgot about it when Daphne lifted the lid of the tray.

A gigantic sandwich with sausage, tomatoes, lettuce and oozing with mustard. Five decks of bread. Scooby leered at the sandwich.

Daphne turned around and scowled at Fred. When she looked back the food was gone and Scooby was looking up to the sky innocently, whistling.

They all laughed except Fred who glared at Daphne.

“Just get in the van.” He said. The mood soured.

Scooby watched them moving off.



Geoff Marsh answered the door and brought the vet into the kitchen. His large dog sat stiff in the centre of the kitchen. Eyes open, tongue hanging out. Big dog eyes darted around. The vet called to him,

“Scooby. Scooby.”

Nothing. He was in a trance.

A small trace of drool, slipped out of the corner of his mouth on to the floor. Both Geoff and the vet watched it as it slowly plopped to the ground.

“Have you tried moving him or visual stimulus?”

“Doc, I’ve tried everything. He just sits and because he’s so strong, it’s impossible to move him.”

“Is he eating?”

“Yeah, when he comes out of it. Sometimes.”

“Well if he gets dehydrated we may need to put him on a drip.



The van returned about a half hour later. Scooby woke from a pleasant snooze.

The gang stood by the van, drinking cheap beers. Shaggy, Daphne and Velma whispered conspiratorially. Scooby yawned loudly. Tiitters could be heard.

He ambled clumsily over to the van. Velma turned and spied him.

“Hey Scooby. Eh, maybe you should keep your distance tonight.”

Scooby let his mouth open and wagged his tail doing a comedy confused face which they all loved. He came closer.

The back door of the mystery machine opened and Fred looked out. Seeing Scooby, he roared,

“Scooby!! Fuck off!”

Then Fred threw a wrench at him. Scooby ran off behind some bushes with this long tail firmly between his skinny legs.

“Velma Dinkley! Get in here.” Screamed Fred.

Velma looked at the others, spilled out the backwash from her beer and climbed into the vehicle. The door was slammed shut.



“Would you like milk with your coffee?” Geoff said to the vet.

“No.Without. Thanks.” Said the vet. “Y’know. I’ve never seen anything like it, but there is a condition called cognitive dysfunction syndrome. You see it a lot with dogs who stare at walls. Some say its for attention but CDS can be similar to alzheimer’s in humans.”

“But, my dog is very young. A few years old.” Said Geoff

“Yeah. That’s what’s puzzling me. It might be some sort of seizure but he seems placid enough.”

They looked around at Scooby who was now crouched down, tail wrapped in behind him with a fearful look on his face.



The door swung open. Velma jumped out and ran off crying, her orange jumper ripped in parts.

“Daphne. Ha. Get yourself in here now.”

A nervous looking Daphne grimaced at Shaggy and slowly looked inside. Scooby could hear snorting and sniffing. Shaggy walked over across the brush toward Scooby as the back door slammed again. A girl’s scream was heard. Scooby jumped to his feet and started growling.



“Look at him now. He seems to have regained some kind of mental function.” Exclaimed the vet.

They both looked in the direction that Scooby was looking.

“What is it Scooby? Is it a mouse? We’ve had a few problems with mice ever since the neighbour both five compost bins. I mean, five fucking compost bins. How much shit do they need to recycle?” laughed Geoff.

“Haha. Some people. I have a neighbour who lets ducks use their back garden like it’s a farm. Then the ducks just disappear, no doubt into a boiling pot.” Said the vet.

“People are fucking weird.” Said Geoff.

“True dat.” Said the vet. They laughed.

Scooby got up to a sitting position, looking up and around, then closed his eyes again.



Shaggy rubbed Scooby’s head with his quivering hand.

“It’s okay Scooby. Don’t worry about Daphne. She’ll be eh, alright. Fred just gets into bad moods sometimes. I’ll get you an ice cream sundae later”

“On Sundae Shaggy? Uh-hee-hee-hee-hee.” Laughed Scooby

Daphne struggled out the driver window half naked and ran to a cowering Velma. They hugged. They we’re in the middle of nowhere. There was nowhere to escape.

“I said FUCK OFF Scooby!”

Neither he or Shaggy had seen Fred running at them. Fred kicked at Scooby but missed. Scooby ran into the forest.

He looked back and saw Shaggy being dragged by his straw-like hair into the van. A huge bang could be heard. Scooby ran off. He lay down with nervous exhaustion and fell asleep



“There he goes. A sleep might do him good.” Said the vet.

“I’m sorry to drag you out like this. He’s just…never been like this.” Said Geoff. “How much do I owe you?”

“Geoff. Don’t worry. If I was worried I would have given him a sedative. I think he’ll be alright. Fix up with me next time you’re in. Maybe bring him in early next week and I’ll do a  few tests. Good night.”

“Bye Doc.”

Geoff shut the door and wandered back in to the kitchen. Scooby was still asleep. Quietly Geoff went upstairs and went to bed.



Scooby woke up. It was dark. He looked around and shook his head, releasing globules of spit everywhere. He got the courage up and went on his tippy-toes back toward where the van was. He looked fretfully from side-to-side and fell over a log. He walloped his head off a rock and three little birds circled his head. His eyes spiralled around.

When he came to, he saw what he had fallen over. Velma lay with dead eyes staring at him, a large red wound cut in to her orange jumper. Scooby tried to bark but no bark came. He felt like he was screaming and barking and thrashing around the place but he was silent. He moved on through the trees. He jumped back on his tippy-toes and quietly inched foward.

He thought that there must be a monster about. Normally they captured these ghosts or monsters. This was different. He’d never really thought about it. He never thought what would happen if one of these monsters actually…won. Terrified, he moved slowly through dense foliage.

A tree looking like it was alive, shook violently and a branch swung and hit him straight in the face. He fell backwards and ran straight into a pair of light blue ankle boots. They seemed familiar. He looked around but no one was there. Something soft and wet touched the top of his head and he became aware of Daphne’s body hanging from the tree above him, blood dripping down her arms, her face, legs, everywhere.

He needed help. He had to find Fred and Shaggy.

The motor from the Mystery Machine was running and loud country rock music was booming from its speakers. The back door was a ajar and smoke was softly whispering out. He could smell tobacco or something else as he approached the van. There was blood and white powder on the door handle. The van was rocking. He moved to the opening. He was drawn toward a sound.

With his nose he nudged the door open. A prone shaggy was trouserless. Fred was lying on Shaggy’s back squirming furiously, holding his neck. Shaggy’s eyes told Scooby to run, but he couldn’t move. Fred looked up, continued to ride on Shaggy’s back and started to laugh hysterically. Fred pulled a razor from the floor and dragged it across Shaggy’s throat. The blood pumped violently from the wound into Scooby’s face. Fred’s face was distorted from his maniacal laughing. Scooby…



Geoff heard whimpering from downstairs and rushed down. He slipped as his socks failed to grip the shiny tiled floor. He landed on his stomach in from of his dog in the dark kitchen. The dog was in the sitting position. Geoff used his phone to illuminate the dog’s face. He was shocked to see the dog’s eyes closed but a cascade of tears running down each eye. Dog’s don’t cry?

“Scooby?” He shouted,

The large dog’s eyes opened revealing blood red irises,. The dog growled low and bared his teeth. The man was not quick enough to get away from him as the jaws connected with his neck crushing the life out of him.


HalloDebbie, we love you

Music, Journalism, Stretch


Debbie, pale and confused, jumped up clenching the pillow with her teeth. She recalled the night before. A strange meeting with something or someone had made her feel uneasy. Being drunk she figured she could sleep it off. Maybe someone had spiked her drink. Maybe she had just imagined it. Whatever it was made her nauseous or maybe that was just the Pernod. She reached for her water and knocked it over.

“Fuck. That is so fucking typical.”

She froze, realising that this wrongness was familiar. Afraid that going back to sleep would make it worse, she got up and had breakfast. Porridge with slices of banana, kiwi fruit and blueberries scattered across the gungey mess. She squeezed honey over the top and added chopped almonds and drank down some guava juice. A cafetière sat next to her with strong aromatic steam.

Debbie picked up a magazine and there was a picture of a girl eating pretty much the same breakfast. She saw something out of the corner of here eye, shuddered and then went back to the picture. All her friends looked like this woman. They all talked about eating this breakfast. She closed the magazine, put down the spoon and got dressed to go to the gym.

She sensed she was being followed but couldn’t see anyone. Inside the gym, healthy looking people in lycra and yoga pants filled every treadmill, every weights machine. The place was packed. She was conscious of her weight so wore shorts over her lycra leggings and looked for a space. After finding no machine unused she got her yoga mat and sat down in the corner to do some yoga. An angry gym attendant shouted to her that she couldn’t sit there. She would be a fire hazard. Everybody was looking at her, some smirking, some just looking. That was worse. Behind the sweaty sea of bodies another stood. She recognised her from the previous night. She was wearing black denim jeans, a leather jacket and shades, and she was staring at Debbie.

Debbie gathered her stuff and went to shower. She turned on the taps and the water counted out freezing cold and brown coloured droplets. She screamed, dressing quickly while wet and exiting the building. She dropped her stuff off at her flat and rushed to work. Taxis passed her, it started to rain. The same dark clothed woman appeared at a bus stop. Soaking and cold from the gym, Debbie ran to the same stop and waited for the bus. She kept an eye on the woman, while boarding the bus. She handed a tenner to the driver realising she had no change and told him to ‘just fucking keep the change.’ There were no seats. The woman’s shades followed her as the bus moved off. Debbie promised herself that she wouldn’t cry, but she couldn’t stop her eyes welling up. Fuck. Fuck it. Keep control.

Work started slow. She felt tired. She stood by the water cooler and a guy she liked joined her and started asking her how her day was going in the most redundant of language. She realised she hadn’t washed properly, could smell herself. He must smell her too. She had fancied him for months. Now that they were talking she realised that he seemed really dull. He also sensed her odour and said ‘catch you later.’ She shrugged her shoulders and thought, ‘catch you later.’ For fuck’s sake.

The phone rang. She answered. There was silence. Just light breathing. A cold sweat wandered across the back of her shoulders. She slammed down the phone. It was her. It had to be. The phone rang again. She reefed it from its cradle. Silence again.

“What? What the fuck do you want? Why are you following me? Who the FUCK are you?” she screamed.

“Eh, Hi Debbie. This is Rachel, your boss. Em, I was just ringing to tell you that we had planned your performance review, but, we ah have moved it forward to, well now basically. Em. Okay?”

She stared at the phone cradle for a long time and whispered to herself, ‘what the fuck is going on?’

The result of the meeting was an enforced visit to the company psychologist, a lightening of her duties and a new trial period to make sure her behaviour stayed up to the scratch. All of this was communicated by the bitchy secretary to the entire floor. That afternoon she could have swung two baseball bats around in her isolation.

She walked home in the rain. Her boss drove up alongside her and shouted she should get a bus and then asked reluctantly if she wanted a lift. She mumbled ‘no’ with rain dripping down her chin. Her boss moved off at which point Debbie broke down. Only her twisted face could show she was upset it was raining so hard.

A bus passed and she saw the woman looking down at her from the condensation-filled window. Enough of an elbow wipe to see her face and the smirk that filled it.

Finally home, she quickly realised the food in the fridge had gone off. The pizza delivery guy went to the wrong address and apparently just ‘gave up’ according to the receptionist. The bath she was going to have was cold as her boiler had broken down. Uncomfortable with the beginnings of a cold, Debbie crawled into bed. She kept fitfully waking up numerous times thinking someone was touching her face. At 4AM, she woke to see the the bedspread moving. She threw it back but there was nothing there. Drifting off to sleep, the events of the day spun around in her head relentlessly waking her once again to the sensation that someone was in her bed. Again nothing. She finally got a few hours of steady deep sleep.

A scream woke her up as the alarm went off. She banged on the clock. Deciding to call in sick and maybe eat just toast for breakfast, she hung over the side of the bed and stared at the carpet. The duvet was pulled back a little and she went into that cold sweat again. Dragging herself up to the bed, she saw a lump of brown hair under the duvet. Two hands stretched out and grabbed her neck and choked her. As her last breaths came out, she hoarsely whispered,

“You? Fuck-ing typ-i-cal.”

If you go down to the woods today

Music, Journalism, Stretch


The woman came to me, court ordered. She was elegantly dressed but her demeanour was one of a broken person. I asked her to sit down. She kept looking in each direction, as if there was something just out of sight that was waiting for her.

I asked her to tell me her story. Not the one in the newspapers. She nodded assent. I took out my pad. Her handkerchief was well used and twirled around her fingers.

“Derrick had gotten depressed you see. He was always an expert at his craft.”

“His craft being shoemaking?”

“Sorry, yes. We were ticking along fine and then he just stopped. One day he just stopped. I tried to push him to continue but he got angry and shouted at me that there was no point. I cried and cried, but that made him angrier. I eventually got him to try to make a few pairs of shoes to see if it would spark something in him.”

“Was he ever violent?”

She shifted nervously and said no.

“We were losing money fast. He got the mental strength up to make a pair. They sold quickly. People would knock on the shop door but he wouldn’t answer them or would shout that we were doing renovations.”

“How did this make you feel?”

“Powerless, as you could imagine. He aged beyond his 40 years. Friends stopped calling. Food became our only purchase. He got more and more down until..”


“I watched him from the doorway one night and he toiled away battering a not so great piece of leather into submission. He cut the shoe shapes and sat there with knife…just staring into space. He moved the knife close to his wrist. I barrelled through the door and demanded he go to bed and finish the shoes in the morning.”

“Then what happened?”

“We went to sleep. I woke up a few hours later and he wasn’t there. I opened the door and he was standing there dead eyed. He said he just needed a glass of water.”

“Had he ever shown signs of self harm before?”

“God no. He was a jovial character. Pillar of the community type of guy. Not that the community stood by us when things went wrong.”

She fiddled with her handkerchief again.

“We went to sleep and he drifted off whispering, ‘What’s to become of us?’”

“How did that make you feel?”

“Still powerless. Still stressed. I heard noises downstairs but couldn’t muster up the energy to see what they were. Mice probably. The next morning he comes running into the room shouting. ‘Marjory! Marjory!’ He brought me this beautiful pair of pink ankle boots and pointed at the stitching. How good they were! I was delighted he was back working.”

“Well, that was good news then?”

“It was, but he claimed he didn’t make them.”

“Who made them?”

“I didn’t know, but he was so happy. He put them in the window, threw open the door of the shop and within an hour a trendy woman came in and paid him twice what we usually charged. She didn’t want anyone else to see them. We danced around. I made him a lovely dinner and he started cutting shapes from newly purchased leather.”

“So he got back to work?”



“No..em. He left the shapes and went to bed. I had had a few glasses of wine and slept deeply and soundly for the first time in a long time. The next morning, he came running in. ‘It happened again.’ I laughed to see him so happy. I went downstairs and there were two pairs of beautiful brogues on the table. His work had exceeded anything he had ever done before. Again, he claimed that he had no idea who finished the shoes.”

“Did you not find this behaviour odd, Marjory?”

“If you’ve been married as long as we had been, you sometimes took the happy times when they came and tried not to question things. He was happy, so I was happy. This continued on night after night. The shoes went flying out of the shop. People paid way over the odds. The community hung around the shop and laughed when he told his story. Not at him, but with him as if they were all in on the joke. We began to make real money for the first time in my life. I allowed myself to be blinded by the change in fortunes. It was nice Doctor. Really nice.”

“When did the things change for the worse?”

“Well.” She sniffed and touched her nose with the handkerchief.

“The shop was full of shoes and people. I dealt with the floor. He sat in the back and cut shape after shape and left them ready. I was drunk a lot at night. I assumed he got up after I blacked out and went downstairs to work. But he was bright eyed and happy in the morning.”

“Happy with you?”

“Eh, yeah. So…We were sitting around one night and after a few drinks he said very strangely, ‘Should we stay up tonight. To see who it is that helps us?’

“I stared at him for a long time looking for the crack in his features. But, he just smiled and sipped wine.”

“You went along with this plan?”

“I..I just assumed he was going to shout surprise or something. I mean what else was I to think?”

“Then what happened Marjory?”

“We stood behind a cupboard in the corner of the dimly lit room. I lit a candle. Then at midnight, a door unlocked automatically in the corner and two small boys dressed in rags slowly walked out and over to the bench. One of them looked straight past me at my husband. Derrick was standing behind me, and whispered in my ear, ‘Elves.’ I..I..”

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“Derrick was holding his cutting knife in his belt but it was pushed gently in to my lower back. From then on I was never out of his sight and he always had the knife in his hand. Even in bed.”

“You must have been terrified? Why did you not tell someone?”

“I was. He was so well regarded, I didn’t think anyone would believe me. We were wealthy now, set for life but I was terrified of running. He was always happy but with a malevolent look in his eye. One day, just before Christmas, he came to me and said that we should make the ‘elves’ new clothes and shoes as they had helped us out so much.”

“Jesus Christ.”

“Yeah. I was so scared. I..” She broke down crying.

“Go on Marjory.”

“I made those boys suits, very smart. Derrick made two amazing pairs of brown brogues. Some of his finest work. Walking behind me down to the cellar, he whispered to me how happy the elves would be to have these new clothes. We laid them on the benches. I drank a lot of wine and passed out. Derrick woke me in a sweat. He told me that he’d sneaked down and watched the elves dress in these new clothes. With no leather shapes, he said, they danced about and cheered and sang, and he whispered this bit straight into my ear,

“Now we are boys so fine to see,

We need no longer cobblers be.

“Then he said they left the house arm-in-arm.”

“And then they found the bodies?”

“Then they found the bodies.”

A man, Derrick Washall, has been charged with the murder of two boys in a village just outside Bremen.

It is believed Mr Washall kidnapped the two boys and was using them as slave workers in the basement of his cobblers at Leibnitz Platz.

Mr Washall is pleading not guilty and claims the two boys were actually ‘elves’ and had been helping him in his endeavours.

The two boys’ identities remain a mystery and police say they are working with Interpol to establish their origin.

A local woman believed to be the man’s wife handed herself into the station last night.

She is claiming she was also a hostage of Mr Washall’s and has yet to be charged with any offence.

The boys were found buried in a shallow grave in a forest in an area known as Witches Glover.

A local athlete came upon the scene when trying to retrieve his golden retriever, who was digging under some tree bark.

On closer inspection, the man saw a shoeless foot sticking out from the ground.

The athlete’s dog, Benny, had a brand new shoe in his mouth.

Benny would not release the shoe, said the athlete, named Mr Foot.

Mr Foot chased the dog out of the forest onto a nearby autobahn where the dog caused a small collision between a truck and a police car.

The police were flagged down by Mr Foot, who described the grisly discovery.

The athlete and the dog are helping the police with their enquiries.

Bremen courthouse: Personal statement to the jury from Mr Derrick Washall, charged with murder in the first degree..

“Marjory was a very demanding woman. She wanted and wanted and I could never provide enough. I made shoes. I sold shoes. Shoes, shoes, shoes. It was never enough. Eventually I ran out of money and at rock bottom, I visited a local bar in Woolfhoopstrasse and drank vodka until I was numb. There, I met a man called Bob. A giant of a man. Spoke very slowly. As if he was mentally retarded but not, y’know. I told him my story and he said he could get me some help. I asked him what kind of help. He said labour. Labour always helps. I told him I couldn’t afford to pay anyone. He said no mind. He could get me two skilled workers and when I made money, I could pay him a dividend and we’d go from there.

The two boys came and I was shocked at their appearance. I knew it would look bad if anyone saw them, so I hid them downstairs in the cellar and fed them scraps. They were excellent at cobbling so I let them at it. I figured once I made some money I could sort them out, pay for clothes. Maybe give them rooms in the house.

I started making money and immediately saw my wife changing. She was happy again. I was happy. She drank very heavily but I didn’t mind. As long as she was happy. But she demanded more from me. Clothes, fine foods, wine. It was never enough. I got the boys to work harder. They were exhausted, the poor mites.

One morning Bob arrived and surveyed the shop. He sneered at me. You see, he said, labour is all you needed. But, now for my dividend. I gave him the agreed amount. He looked at it and shook his head. ‘No. No. I want half.’ I told him that was not possible. He laughed and asked did I realise that I had two trafficked humans in the basement. He would tell the police. So, I agreed to pay him half of every sale.

Eventually I became very wealthy and in turn so did Bob. We became friends of a kind. It was nice to have a friend, even if it was money based. One day my phone rang. It was Bob calling from an airport. He said that an informant had told the police of his career providing labour and that he’d have to leave the country. He urged me to get rid of any evidence.

I felt sorry for the boys and told them we would take a day off. My wife was so deluded from booze at this stage that she didn’t find it strange that I had told her we had two elves in the basement. We come from a very superstitious town. I convinced her to help me make the boys suits and shoes. She happily agreed, although she looked worried sometimes. That night I put sleeping tablets in her wine.

I brought the boys out and gave them sups of vodka. They were tired, nervous, but seemed to enjoy the air. We walked into the forest and with my lamp I found the tree stump where I had dug the grave. They didn’t think anything was wrong. I told them I was going to get some wood for a fire, then I doubled back and quietly slit their throats and watched them fall helplessly into the grave. I should have dug it deeper but I felt under a lot of pressure.

It seems my wife may have not been as superstitious as I thought. The following day when I told her the tale of their leaving, she seemed to accept it readily. Then I heard our truck roar past the house and she had fled from me. It was probably wise. I had intended to kill her next. She had some kind of accident on the motorway involving a dog and the police and that’s when everything went y’know, wrong for me.”


Lap Dance

Music, Journalism, Stretch, Stretch


Stretch here. I don’t get embarrassed, but this was fucking embarrassing.

This one still makes no sense to me. We used to have this church assembly in school. There were three buildings: a Georgian-style Junior school, a modern Senior section, and fucking Hogwarts for the first to third years.

Inside Hogwartsland was a purpose-built church which seated about 800 school kids. The headmaster, Mr O’Connor, would regularly bring us all in here for masses, assemblies, choir practice etc. He was a small, bald man whose head would grow redder the angrier he got, which was a lot.

I was neither a shy nor outgoing munki but skirted the edges of both. Even at age nine, I had developed a bit of a thick skin to slagging and was no threat to the bullies or the bullied.

During one of the masses myself and another lad were messing from word go. Nothing major, but we had been shushed by one of the teachers early on. I went to get communion and took it in both hands. Even then I didn’t want priests putting anything into my mouth.

I flung the communion wafer in my face. It was thicker than the ones we would normally get in our local churches on Sundays. Typical. I was accustomed to those thin wafers and waiting for them to gently melt. This was a different proposition. I sucked and sucked but all the saliva had dried up. It had got stuck at the roof of my mouth. I sat back in my seat and my pal started laughing at the face I was making trying to dislodge this object.

Other boys around me noticed what I was doing and began smirking. I put my finger in my mouth to get rid of the wafer just as it flew out, landing on my legs. A burst of laughter from all the kids around me alerted the headmaster, who shouted, “STOP THE MASS.” The priest stopped, the kids stopped. “MacGIBBON! STAND UP!” I watched as his face filled up with blood, drips of sweat shining on his bald expanse.

“What is so FUNNY that you feel like you had to disrupt this Mass?” I sat wide-eyed. “STAND UP MacGIBBON.” I got up but put my hands on the rail in front of me for support. “WELL?” I looked around. The entire school were watching me like hyenas. “Sir. I, I, got my communion stuck in my mouth.” I tried to be a little more confident. “Then the communion fell on my, my…” I couldn’t remember the word for legs, trousers, jacket, nothing.

“It fell on my, my, my (silence)…LAP.” A thuderous roar of laughter pealed out and I realised I had gone red as fast as the headmaster, who was now going purple. I stood in horror; I had no idea why the kids were laughing. The headmaster seemed to take my utter humiliation as punishment enough and told me to sit down and shut up. The blood slowly left his face.

As we filed out of the church back to our classes, a kid I know who is good for slagging came over, punched me on the arm, and said, “Ha, Lap. Ye said Lap, ye sap. Reddenoh!!” To this day I still don’t know what happened there.

Meanwhile, this is from the new Cinematic Orchestra. It’s got Roots Manuva and it is beautiful, especially when the strings come in at the end.




Drugs influence taste, well, my taste for drugs

Music, Journalism, Stretch

I don’t do drugs, I am drugs.” Salvador Dali

When I was a kid, I used to look up at the sky at twilight in wonderment. It seemed to hold so many possibilities and secrets. The azure blanket sent sparks all around my brain, setting off a demented creativity. I would write weird stories, come up with silly songs; think about a future where I wouldn’t be an accountant or engineer like everyone I knew. I wanted to explore the otherness of the world around me, the flashing lights in the sky, the wrong colours of the morning, the glow around people that wasn’t from the Ready Brek commercials. I didn’t want the boring cycle of cigarettes leading to alcohol all the way to heroin. Fuck that, I thought, looking up at that blue sky, the entrance to space as I saw it. This was my gateway drug.

Back in the late eighties, early nineties, certain freedoms seemed to enfold. There was a push away from conservatism, toward activism and self-expression. The city streets were filled with identity. Goths, metallers, punks, indie types, grunge, clubbers and a fair few paisley shirts could be seen on a sunny afternoon in any park anywhere, all trying to carve out their corner of the universe. The schoolbag was your canvas and your social media account: The Pixies and the Stone Roses; The Cure and the Smiths; Metallica and Slayer. Take one look at the schoolbag and you knew roughly who this guy or girl was. Those who had nothing on their schoolbags belonged to a world that seemed to abhor creativity. I mean, fuck them. Probably got them free from their local bank.

We were the Generation X-ers. A term which I hate as it fits into the niche of the marketing rather than the human experience. We weren’t all out wandering about like we were living in the Douglas Coupland novel. Maybe we were a little more disaffected about society than the baby boomers and maybe there was a more nihilistic quality to the art that flourished in that time. However, plenty seized on the money train and those who grew up to be politicians followed the same template as those who came before them. So who were these Generation X-ers? I was a slacker by heart but a worker by necessity. When I left school it became apparent that everybody financed their weekends with the drudgery of a working week. Who was I to go against that wretched tide? The art that was created had to be worked at and refined. It was a serious business and its legacy can be seen in that all the bands from the slacker era are still gigging and producing nearly 30 years later.

Naturally, staring at the sky led me to want to see it in different ways, with a constant soundtrack running through my head usually through a skinny silver Sony walkman, an artefact which I still miss because post-punk doesn’t sound right to me on digital devices. I wanted to see that sky through different eyes, with different emotions. Identifying myself as an other meant I did exactly the same things as everyone else like me, but I considered it individual. The first hit off that cigarette waiting for the bus at 7am would give you a headrush for at least twenty minutes before you had that second cigarette upstairs on the bus, full volume Ride album smashing your eardrums as with every other sleepy soul in that foggy vehicle. My greasy long hair didn’t really work as long hair in the conventional sense but it was mine. I looked pale and like shit most of the time. This was the look I was going for. I can’t imagine that sullen fucker’s face being a profile pic in today’s vanity driven social world. My vanity was completely at odds with reality, existing in my head, a place I longed to get out of.

Everything seemed a bit more real in the 90s. There was a conscious attempt to get away from the 1980s and all its shiny accoutrements. The jet set life of Duran Duran, cocaine, models and champagne didn’t fit in well with the grim realities of unemployment, terrorism and social upheavel. You had to search out your favourite bands, getting excited if an Iron Maiden or House of Love album appeared in your tiny record shop or repeatedly harassing the owner whether he had the latest Fall or Wedding Present album. It was a cycle: save up the money, hit the shop, buy the album. Listen on repeat for two weeks then start the process again. I still know the lyrics to albums I haven’t listened to in 25 years. I kept the cassettes beside my bed which as a 12 year old provided a tiny curtain to hide the empty cans of beer behind. Experimentation is the key to creativity right? So swig a bit of Harp, realise it was disgusting, hide the can under the bed. Swig some stout. Ugh I hate this. Swig another bottle of stout. How do people drink this stuff? More and more and more…until my mother cleaned my room, pulled back the bed and found thirty empty cans. She cried and cried despite my protestations that every 12-year-old experiments and I wasn’t a raging alcoholic.

My eldest sister got me into smoking which I remind her of to this day. 1987, I was at U2, my first gig, wide eyed with wonderment. Lou Reed was there too. Who was this guy? That guy’s amazing. People were drinking cans, everyone was smoking. I was a sports nut but these people seemed cool, so this is where it was at. Sis handed me a fag and asked if I wanted a drag. I didn’t hesitate and started a lung support structure which would only end a few months shy of my 40th birthday. I know it is ridiculous, but smoking WAS cool despite what the ads said. It was. Maybe not for the non-smokers, but smokers looked at each other with a “we’re dying together” sense of community. Like the schoolbags you could tell what kind of person you were by what you smoked. I smoked Marlboro Reds from a young age because I was into all things American. The USA was cool, unlike today. The lead crackled as you dragged the smoke into your immortal body. Tarantino, Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch. Their movies formed me. Everyone smoked.

“Hair and drug-use issues notwithstanding, I’ve never thought of you as any less than professional.” ― Thomas Pynchon

My other sister and her friend introduced me to hash. I was the cool younger brother on display. I’d do anything to be cool. Being cool wasn’t a vanity thing for me. It was what seemed to be the mode d’emploie. The first hit from the joint didn’t make me cough but acted as a giant weight which sat on my soul pushing me down on to the carpet and forcing me to look up at the sky. That blue sky from earlier now looked fucking amazing, displaying an array of possibilities. This was where this fourteen-year old wanted to be. From then on, this was as important to me as the rugby team I was playing for, the writing, the friends. There were a lot of drugs out there and I wanted them and I wanted to get fucked up. It was a plan, right?

I drifted toward people who looked like they would get me what I wanted. There was very little weed around when I was a teenager, so hash was the only option. Leb or Soapbar. Soap always was a happy fun time drug, making music immersive and the world a bit brighter. We were knee-deep in the grunge phase and drugs formed part of the miserabilism (except it was fun). These days at school discos, the girls are dressed like Kardashians, whereas in the 90s it was plaid shirts, big jumpers, big pants and wooly hats. Well, apart from the line dancers. Nothing prepares you for the shock of finding out that people you knew all your life donned cowboy shirts and formation danced, all fuelled by a combination of Budweiser and vodka. Being stoned in that scene did bad things for your karma. I drank as much as I could find too. There was no point where I found real life acceptable. Everything had to have an edge. An evening would be for getting wasted. The daytime could be more pleasurable with a small amount of acid.

I found hash led me to my more indie tastes. As Linklater’s “Slacker” came out, a movie about people in Austen, Texas just hanging around, I decided to work hard at doing nothing, but well. With the lazy ramshackle music of Pavement and Mudhoney and then the darker Nick Cave stuff, I formed an identity (mostly hidden) but recognised by my own type. It was almost masonic. You are like me, we are not like them. I slouched from here to there. Got some of my more conservative friends to start taking stuff. Like a dick, I pressurised them. They agreed but I had to be careful how far I pushed my druggy agenda, because not everyone is mentally capable of this world. Later, I would include myself in this category. Working hard at being a slacker was generally exhausting.

Soon, you began to notice the styles around you. We were drifting into acid, while others were heading straight to ecstasy. Being misanthropic, the Tolkienesque world of blue skies, nature and walking around for 12 hours in tie-dyed t-shirts appealed to me more than the dayglo t-shirts and fiver in the wallet mentality of clubbers. However, dance music  invaded my world, not so much through the house music crowd, but the grimy, weirdo intelligent dance music, Aphex Twin side of it. The clubs were dirtier, purposefully. The drugs were dirtier. People danced in t-shirts that should have been thrown out years ago. There was an nihilistic spirit to the whole enterprise. Whereas the loved up crowd would want to hug everyone, the underlying sinister vibes of the places I went added to the excitement. The trip was all that mattered. Something had to be constantly happening.

What I did notice the more I made drugs my existence was the commonplace situation of being in a dealer’s flat. The grim, shitty pretence of having to like this person to get them a) not to rip you off and b) shut up long enough that you could get your stuff and get the fuck out of there. Friends decided that the dealer was their friend and that hanging out there was the ultimate experience. People from well-off backgrounds were suddenly spouting urban patois. Also, individual identities changed. Colour drained out of my friends. Their clothes became, well, just like everybody else’s. There was no style. These drugs opened their minds but the culture closed them rapidly. I got sick of these dealers and found my own way of getting stuff.

Whether you sniff it smoke it eat it or shove it up your ass the result is the same: addiction.”  ― William Burroughs

Grunge ended after Cobain died. Music got darker and so did I. Drugs became a crutch. Industrial music invaded my world and I shaved most of my hair off, leaving a floppy mess on top, and started dressing in black. When I get dark, I actually get dark. I was smoking constantly, drinking constantly with the aid of my little wraps of dirty speed. My friends and I would take a load of speed, hit the pub, drink hysterical amounts of alcohol, run out of speed and all get blind drunk instantly before last orders. It was a fun game, except you had to be an accountant to factor in the cost of the speed with all the booze. The upside of all this was that you were hilarious, the down side was that you were hilarious and completely unattractive to most women. I was hardly a catch with a smudge of greasy hair, my over worn Pigface t-shirt and my speed-driven gum rolling. I once went on a date where both of us realised we were on speed by our last drink. Despite having a great evening, she looked at me and I at her and we both thought, “You lied to me!”

Around the time I started messing with cocaine, my drug use had become cliched, and I also started to suffer anxiety. I had a tendency to fly from rooms and friends got really annoyed because they thought I was just being an asshole. I would throw them out of my place because I could feel the adrenaline rushing and needed to be alone. I didn’t know what was happening to me, so naturally, of course, I assumed I was dying. One night after a particularly heavy session, I had a full on panic attack. Thinking it was my heart, I crawled down to my parents’ room and forced them to bring me to the hospital. My dad, pissed off, drove fast and at one point turned and asked, “Do you have a pain in your chest?” I said, “No.” And he went, “You’re not having a heart attack so.”

The Junior Doctor forced to deal with me turned out to be a beautiful girl who I kinda knew from across the road. My anxiety had gone and the horrible sensation of realising where I was at in my life kicked in. She tried to not feel contempt for me. I mean she really tried. A few weeks later I tried to cure a panic attack with a line of cocaine. Don’t recommend it. This was smack bang the end of my drug adventures. It was done, over, kaput. I had overdone it. I had become boring and the people who I used to have so much fun with were boring druggies too. I suffered with anxiety for a number of years before I started to turn around. I was caught in a hinterland where I had lost a fair few friends, my taste in clothes was functional and I had shaved my head because I had no more imagination. I had started a new career and needed to become that guy, a working stiff. Something which I have never quite recovered from.

Years later, I was sitting in a bar chatting to my best friend feeling sorry for myself about where I was at in my life and career and wishing maybe I had cooled it a bit back in my youth and concentrated more on becoming a doctor or whatever. I knew stupid people who had passed me by. I received invitations to school events, but didn’t want to see those people. I complained about my stupidity. He was getting pissed off at me and eventually cracked, grabbed me by the shoulders and loudly said,

“Shut the fuck up. I was there. I saw you. You had a fucking great time. Even at the end when things started getting shitty, you were still having a better fucking time than some of the rest of us. You did it to yourself. No-one else. You. And you had a ball.”

“Unlike some men, I had never drunk for boldness or charm or wit; I had used alcohol for precisely what it was, a depressant to check the mental exhilaration produced by extended sobriety.”  ― Frederick Exley

Meet (be me) Manifesto

Journalism, Music, Music, Journalism, Stretch, Stretch


Somedays you wake up and realise what a mess you are so here’s how to become that mess. God is dead as Hawkes Chesney once said. The following is simply my munki guide of things that I won’t do and behaviours I can’t tolerate. Let your own guide be equally as long and pointless. Like life, see?

“For success is dying in a way that doesn’t cause mucho bothers to others. Kapiche?”
Gene Simmons from Kiss

  1. Do not wear flip-flops for fuck sake
    It seems like such a practical item until you realise they were invented by Belphegor who was not only a prince of hell who encouraged men with promises of wealth; he also found time to push the boundaries of flip-flops by making them widely available in the world outside of swimming pools. It is impossible to walk quickly in flip-flops or get anything useful done.
  2. Do not wear a t-shirt with a pocket
    Hmm. How do I make a perfectly plain t-shirt more exciting to please my boss and I’m on deadline and I have a hangover and my girlfriend left me and I hate everyone and if it wasn’t that my mother was proud of me I would end it all. What’s the pocket for Bob? Em…Tea bags. Cool.
  3. Do not wear slip-ons
    In other countries this may be a done thing, but in Irlanda of the 80s, slip-ons were accompanied by white socks and usually a black flag and occasional balaclava to y’know, accessorise.
  4. Do not wear slip-ons with designs
  5. Do not wear the band’s t-shirt when going to their gig unless it is a metal band, then it is acceptable enough.


    This Chris de Burgh fan was raptured as he entered Chris de Burgh

  6. Shoes with no socks is like fucking a dead person.
    Again, it works in other countries where people are basically attractive, but in Irlanda it is a red flag for sweaty feet, verucas, fungal infections or that drunk who lost his socks but will be commended for managing to get his shoes on. Also known to take off trousers over shoes. Y’know that guy. He’s a survivor.


    How’ye lads? Yahweh, is it? Satzenbrau please.

  7. Men+ white trousers=Hades this way lies. Q.E.D
    Unless you’re Johnny Logan, you’re not going to pull it off. That’s what Johnny Logan says…
  8. Shades in Irlanda
    It’s presumably obvious that if you drive and Audi or BMW you will wear shades even at night because the last thing you want to do is not conform to a stereotype. Some people can get away with it, but until recently in Irlanda it hasn’t been THAT bright. I mean not since 1976: the last time an outbreak of happiness and bad water management hit the country. Also the Irlandese will look like pall-bearers at an IRA funeral.
  9. Do not wear a shirt or t-shirt with a designer logo, unless that logo is the picture of the poor child that has caught its head in a weaving machine, then you’re just being a dick deliberately, so minor kudos.
    Or if you’re Chevy Chase.
  10. An alligator on a shirt is a kick in the genitals to a poor orphan child. It really, really is.
  11. A man bun should not be worn over the age of 20
    There are better ways to start your midlife crises than an unimpressive ponytail. (Write me for better ways. Done ’em all)
  12. Grow a beard. No it’s cool. You’ll be the only fucking one, honest.
    If Karl Marx only knew the trend he started he would be spinning in his pauper’s grave (Irish education right there).
  13. One selfie at most per year and try for fuck sake to at least be ironic about it.
    It’s easy to take a selfie at face value, until you become objective about it and realise what process weirdness is going on in the scenario. This will lead you to believe the person is going through some kind of crisis but…Oh, look 96 likes.
  14. Just coz Nick Cave does it doesn’t mean everyone should walk around a crowd like they’re fucking Jesus or Nick Cave.
  15. Try centrist politics America or just give up.
    The coincidence that your entire political system sits nicely within the parameters of Twitter is unfortunate. The inability to distinguish yourself as a human being with the ability to have a whole range of ideas and communicate them to other people is frankly un-fucking-evolved. Greatest country in your hoop more like.
  16. Boycott ‘Nuala Carey” She ruined TellyBingo for me.
    I will not repeat her name but she is essentially William H. Macy in “The Cooler.” I used to win loads of money on TellyBingo and then she presented and now I owe fucking TellyBingo money. How does this happen? Fuck you Arcade Fire. Come back Shirley.
  17. Saying ‘End of’ at the end of a rant pretty much explains what a fuck-gannet you were with all the preceding words.
    Why do people think with such certainty that they know everything? They don’t. It’s impossible. Also include “I’ll think you’ll find that” and “I’m sorry but..” Usually will have an alligator on chest for leisure wear. Something for the weekend, sir?
  18. Don’t lionise politicians just because they do one good fucking thing.
    Leo Varadkar and Simon Harris got a lot of kudos for the result in the recent referendum for the amazing hard work done by loads of women throughout history, whose innards politicians were playing Russian roulette with. Still, that Leo blooper reel. Laugh? I did not.
  19. Don’t use ‘my missus’ or ‘my bird’ or ‘her indoors.’ Not only does it suggest you have time-travelled from the 1970s series “On the Buses” but is also suggests you are in some kind of control. You are not.
    “Ah, but Jaysus, the lads down the pub say it and dey are the greatest like and dey talk about de burds and de tits and, and, and bleedin Halawa and peeeeeedoes and Billy said the blacks are taking over he did and, and, and, and, and food stamps and the gays. Ah, Jaysus.”
  20. Don’t drink and drive. You’re only fooling the dead child under your front wheel.
    Again, you are not in control of anything while sober. What makes you think that this changes with alcohol? Maybe sit home and read some philosophy or build a birdhouse. Write a novel or crochet a blanket. Just don’t drive a Ford Mondeo over the faces of some poor suspecting humans because you wanted that one more pint of not very good lager.
  21. If you absolutely have to use the demeaning-to-women word ‘cunt,’ direct it at office stationary only.
    Keyboards and mouses especially.
  22. Look up at the sky sometimes. It helps.
    Especially if you’re feeling grim or are trapped in a hole ready to be killed by a 1990s horror character with a name that will never be as good as “The Hitcher” so why did they even bother?
  23. Saying ‘I’m not racist but’ leads to everyone thinking that you would never say that to another race.
    You ARE racist. You are racist against races that haven’t been discovered by you yet.
  24. ‘I’m too long in the tooth’ actually means you are just a lazy prick and the company should stop paying you.
    You will not learn anything new and may as well just die on the spot. Stop ruining my day with your, your vibes.
  25. Michael McIntyre’s jokes are probably not Michael McIntyre’s jokes.
  26. Having an alter-ego over 30 is pathetic. Committing to it means you are probably mentally ill. Call Bressie immediately.



  27. Instagramming pictures of your breakfast is fine. Do not do it if your breakfast is tragic.
    It may also make you mentally ill. It’s food. It’s your food. You are not aesthetic at all. Food makes you shit. Sometimes quicker than at other times. Add coffee. Doesn’t matter how pretty it is, you’re going to shit. That’s what I think when I see breakfast on Instagram. That person will soon take a shit.
  28. Echoing David Cross’s sentiment, does anyone have a solid shit after 30?
    Do they?
  29. Office politics are pointless.
    Whenever it happens. Take a step back, then take a deep breath and then take another step back straight into the elevator, then out the front door and never go back. Never ever go back.
  30. Don’t try to be like your parents. They watched Glenroe; you watched the Wire. They saw Kennedy; you saw Trump. Alternate realities.
    You have nothing in common. Just leave it.
  31. It is easy to avoid reality television by not watching it or reading about it or knowing anyone who knows anything about it
  32. Crisps become very important over the age of 30. Go with it. It can replace religion in your life.
    Shove that shit in your face while quaffing wine. Do it. Go for a run the next morning, whatever. The pleasure of shoving crisps in between your fillings may be the meaning of life. The taste, the artificial pleasure, the…the… Oh my. (With that I am raptured)
  33. Fighting people on Twitter is the equivalent of getting into an argument with a family member. There will never be a winner. This is America…boom boom
    Dogs sniffing each other’s asses have more dignity than twitter warriors.
  34. Stop going to festivals. You’re only encouraging them.
    Go to a gig in a pub or at your local venue. Go somewhere with just music and a bar. No gourmet burgers or fucking wraps. Just a shitty band at a shitty venue. It’s good for the soul.
  35. Do not do the fucking sheet trick with dogs. Leave them alone. Why confuse an already confused slave animal.
    It’s not for their benefit. You could theoretically do the same thing to the elderly in a home. Also these animals adore you unequivocally and look to you for guidance. What happens when you fall down a well? Your retriever will be thinking, “Ha, fuck you. You’re not going to get me with that one again. Wanker. Oh look, a butt.”
  36. Waistcoats: I mean c’mon?
    Maybe, just maybe it’s acceptable in a period drama. Or if you’re Michael Flatley, because I doubt if he has any other clothes.
  37. Bow ties: STOP, like. Unless you’re this guy.  The brother wears what the brother wants.
    Very few adults can get away with wearing a dickie bow and not looking like they are making their first Communion. Very few.
  38. Do not buy an expensive car for social status, buy a small car with a fuck-off engine and see if them pricks will catch you. (Except a Golf. Don’t be that person)
    Or get a dickie bow.
  39. Cleanliness is close to Godliness. Do not lie with pigs, I think.
  40. Do not read reviews if you have your own personal taste on things. Why disagree with someone whose taste you don’t give a shit about in the first place?
  41. Something was good. It’s not good anymore, but it was good. Still better than your sorry excuse for a life.
    No one will remember you.
  42. Having one really good friend is better than having a thousand, unless your one really good friend is the reason you haven’t got a thousand friends. Fuck you, George.
    I want as few people as possible at my funeral because the awkwardness of being at funerals of people you don’t really know should be taken into account when you’re sticking a body in the ground. This applies to weddings too when you’re sticking a body in the ground.
  43. I am not impressed by your sexual prowess as I am not impressed with your saxophone skills. I don’t care who you fucked or that you can play “Blue Train.” Fair fucks but you are making me feel inadequate, thanks.
  44. As an atheist, do not tell your child that he has no soul. Tell other people’s children instead.
    Then they’ll tell their friends who will tell your kid and it’ll all be sorted.

    It’s the circle of life
    And it moves us all
    Through despair and hope
    Through faith and love
    God is dead

  46. Smoke ’em if you got ’em.
    Then quit and wish you had some. (Every fucking day)
  47. Keep on keeping on or until the logical magical conclusion.
  48. Power is always ruined by one clever cynical prick in the corner of the office. Absolute power is ruined by a bunch of cynical pricks in the corner of the office.
  49. Got tattoos? Well, so do grannies on your local beach. Not so underground now are ya, punk?
  50. Borderline psychosis leads to mlogging. Be careful…everyone else.
    Go back 49 paces to item 1 and repeat Ad infinitum.