Them’s Salad days

Journalism, Music, Journalism, Stretch, Stretch

This is only the first part. Find the rest yourself. It’s a really good intro to the American punk scene in the 80s. Also, it is pleasing for me as Iain MacKaye and myself have the same shaped head.  He is more important than me, mind.

It’s getting sweaty and Metzy in here PLUS an eternal embarrassment

Music, Journalism, Stretch

Alex Edkins and Chris Slorach sing songs

Repeal the 8th referendum update: LOVE BOTH! that’s what they’re saying. Eh, but not equally, coz they really want that mother to die as she’s a bit flighty for having sex in the first place and she’s a woman, so there’s that. Basically, LOVE BOTH love LOVE BOTH because they certainly don’t give a shit about all God’s living kids. The kinds that Tusla regularly misplace.  PLUS: Do not forget that when they say ‘All God’s children’ they also mean Ronan Keating. Repeal the 8th and then my “Backdated Abortion 2020” political movement will come into effect. Keating, There is nowhere to hide. I’m a gonna git ya. (Note: God may not actually exist. Used here for demonstrative purposes)

ANYWAYS, Stretch here. There comes a point in every munki’s life when it’s time to throw childhood things away and concentrate on the important things in life-like mortgages, work, family, dentistry, wheelie bins, resident associations (Satan’s little helpers) and those clothes peg things that hold big crisp packets closed, in your stupid attempt to keep crisps from going stale despite the knowledge that everyone finishes the pack before the night is done anyway.

As you enter work, checking that the lower buttons on your shirt haven’t betrayed a view of lower waist skin, you trawl through the office looking around, wondering if anything of interest will happen today. Is he interesting? Is her conversation going to help my day? If I have a laugh with that guy, are the ramifications that he’ll bother me because he thinks we’re friends? We’re not. He is positive. I am negative. You needs an outlet. I don’t mean like a Trainspotting outlet, coz that would be cool. I mean the awful Trainspotting 2 outlet. You’re old. You need to stand beside other old people and listen to loud music. If they sweat, you know it’s not just because of the gig. The age range is between 35 and 50. You people just sweat. I mean that’s all you do. Like Rob Delaney in Catastrophe, you sweat in the shower, then you sweat when you get out of the shower and then you sweat some more and then you need a shower.

So, it’s a Tuesday and you head to Whelan’s to see Metz, a fantastic three-piece Canadian punk band. You do not rock up to the venue. Only people who think that expression is cool ‘rock up to’ somewhere. Those people can ‘rock up’ over a fucking cliff as my Mama Stretch used to say, because she was prescient when she was alive.

I know lots of people who would hate Metz. They would hate the wall of noise created. Starting with “The Swimmer,” they pissed through a set that included “Eraser” and “Nervous System” and ended with “Wet Blanket.” There was minimal talk. A tight band who left no gaps. The most pleasant thing about the evening was that you didn’t have to think. They do not allow space for that. Hayden Menzies drums like he’s trying to forget the death of a loved one, possibly caused by himself. Bassist Chris Slorach (a non-made up version of Doyle from the Misfits) moved incessantly, creating one of the best rhythm sections I’ve seen for a while.


Mess of wires plus bottle of water equals…

Crowd surfing is back: The gig felt very like a mid-90s punk gig when Dubalin had a thriving D.I.Y. scene. So many great bands flickered and disappeared back then; Bambi, Holemasters, The Idiots… You couldn’t move for plaid shirts in here tonight. Metz singer Alex Edkins got in on the act, by stage diving, complete with guitar. As he was being passed over the crowd, he continued playing. It was all very impressive and blocked all the shit that was in my head that day.

At any gig there is always one douchebag and this time it wasn’t me. It being a Tuesday and the middle of college times, some dirty young uns got in. The guy who walked in with his one hand in the air wearing a stripy wooly hat said to himself, “I’m the coolest brohaim here.” He was accompanied by two girls and a very nervous dude who looked like the drummer from Mastodon and didn’t really want to be there and maybe thought that Stripy was the guy to enhance his coolness factor in college.  He wasn’t. The two girls danced incessantly for two songs, during which one of their back packs bruised my lower abdomen beyond recognition, and then they walked straight out of the venue and didn’t return.

Stripy looked around and demonstrably huffed as if this watching was beyond him and threw himself into the polite mosh area. To echo Metz’s song “Spit you out,” this is exactly what the crowd did. Next time I saw Stripy he is at the back of the venue looking shattered and leaning on a pillar. Later on in the loos, he said to the guy next to him,

“Are ya happy out?”

“What?” asked the confused person trying to pee.

“Are you HAPPY OUT?”

Someone walked by and remarked,

“Happy out yourself, ya cunt.” Harsh.

This is not actually a gig review. It is more about embarrassment. As the gig ended. Stripy reappeared up front and seemed to have got himself momentarily in a crowd surfing situation, but whatever his nefarious doings he was grabbed by singer Alex Edkins who gave him a supreme telling off, all while the music kept going and Stripy was dangling in the air at a 45 degree angle from the crowd. There was a lot of genial smiling going on between crowd members who had been trying to avoid Stripy all night. Poor stupid Stripy.

Anyways, I was watching a thing there on the colour box about people describing their most embarrassing life moments and also that brilliant twitter thread about the guy who met sexy Mary McAleese on ketamine.  I tried to think of a few of my ugh moments. Now, this munki has had many ups and lots and lots and lots and lots of downs, so it was difficult to narrow down. Then it hit me and I went into a cold sweat. Oh fuck. I’d forgotten.

As a rebellious (to my own self) munki, I had made lots and lots of drugs enter my system. It was fun. I was a funki munki in my head. Anyways, after many years my body didn’t think so and during my mid-20s I started developing anxiety disorder culminating in a hilarious ‘trying to cure a panic attack with a line of coke’ situation. Don’t particularly recommend it.

This was not the most embarrassing situation.

I spent a few years hungover because the booze would block the anxiety until at least the following morning where it would wake you up screaming in your face. Needless to say I am still hungover these days, but with no anxiety. I chop wood now, point at things with an earnest look on my face, take faux interest in other people and breathe real, real deep.

One horrible day, I had to leave work and got stuck in Dubalin. I mean literally stuck. I sat down at the railings in St Stephen’s Green and couldn’t move. I couldn’t get up. My body wouldn’t let me walk to my bus. It was a predicament alright. It was then I learned what homeless people experienced on a daily basis, as I was ridiculed by a number of white-collar passers-by on their lunch break. One shouted “Get a Job!!” I didn’t have the breath or energy to shout back, “But I have a job.” One particular appalling wanker spat beside me.

This was not the most embarrassing situation.

Something had to be done. I was freaking out friends and family and the dog with my antics, so my Mama Stretch rang her brother in America who was a successful neurologist. He suggested I go see a woman he knew in college. She might be able to help me. I reluctantly decided to go. I did NOT want counselling. I did NOT want therapy.

Anyways, she was a psychiatrist. I went a few times. There was a whole load of shit going on for years in and around me and I unloaded a vast amount of information on her. She looked quizzically at me a lot, which unnerved me no end and I thought vaguely unprofessional. I went a few times, all the time wondering if I was impervious to therapy, because I’m such a cynical bastard and cultivated weirdo.


The doctor’s office was in her very plush house, I noticed she seemed to have a fair few children, as every time I left there was always some ‘Children of the Corn’ looking kid hanging around. I figured, well, it’s Catholic Ireland. People have big families, right? Right? Aww shit.


“Hi Doctor.”

“Hi Stretch.”

“Em. Can I ask you a question?”

“Sure, Stretch. What’s on your mind?”

“Em. What kind of psychiatrist are you?”

“Well. Just the regular kind I suppose. Why do you ask Stretch?”

“I’ve noticed a lot of different children around your house. Are you by any chance a… child psychiatrist?

“Yes. Yes I am.”


“And when do you reckon you were going to tell me?”

“I thought you knew Stretch. Did no one tell you?”

“I’m fu.. I’m twenty fu… twenty five! Did you not think it was a bit strange that I was sitting here unloading all this shit on you?”

“Actually I did find it a bit strange. Stretch. I was doing a favour for your uncle.
How does that make you feel?”

”         ”

So, whenever anyone talks about finding their inner child. I literally fucking did.



It’s time for Schrödinger’s cat relationship counselling

Journalism, Movies, Music, Music, Journalism, Stretch, Stretch

NO. NO. NO. Theese is nawt vawt I meant.

Stretch here.

Have you ever woken up with your partner standing above you with a pillow in their hands and tears in their eyes? Has your partner ever given you items (laundry, books, barbells) that have disrupted your balance as you were walking down the stairs? Has your partner brought you for long walks in deserted areas with cliffs and walked ahead of you for the entire time never looking back? Has your partner ever adjusted the brakes on your car before you get to work? Have you nearly been murdered by a hitman, only to escape by the fact that he and your partner got their dates mixed up? Yes. Well, there is a consensus in the counselling community that this may be down to a failing relationship. I mean why else would your partner want you dead? You’re perfect.

All relationships go through ups, downs, and round and rounds. Some fixable, others doomed, and a third group called “what the fuck is going on here?/Doing it for the kids.” This is a grouping with people who are too lazy to split up, too financially invested to move away from each other or who realise that one day they may figure out they love each other again. (Love here being defined as a mirroring of the infant state. I learned that yesterday from a cocky baby).

What is a relationship anyway? Freud defined it a boat that carries your cousins on it, due to the questioner having a stutter. Stoics would say you should never become needy. You should never NEED another person if you love them. As you gaze across the dinner table at your partner whose knuckles are red from gripping their knife and fork, a memory is evoked of their face with pupils dilated and all that mattered was you. The realisation hits that you need to talk. You become that needy stoic hating loser, constantly questioning the validity of the situation. They eventually do a “not a-fucking-gain” arch of their eyebrows and you wander off angrily into a bottle of rum until it dawns on you that yes, you are supremely fucking annoying.

Months go by, without physical contact, sometimes, no eye contact. You discuss the kids as if locked inside the UN. The clever kids look at each other and then from one parent to the other, weighing up the merits of their eventual choice, enquiring of cousins what their parents are like JUST IN CASE. You try never to argue around the kids, but that is impossible. Kids are experts in conflict management as they have spent years observing harassed teachers slowly going mad trying to get through each day.

THE CRISIS: You can’t/won’t break up. The kids matter too much. You don’t want to fight anymore. The spark may be gone but the daily realities haven’t. What to do? Well, maybe turn to quantum mechanics and the idea of quantum superposition: The Schrödinger’s cat relationship counselling paradigm.

METHOD: Both participants walk into a room, placing a recently procured wooden box (from somewhere like Woodies, any kind of wooden box will do. Build your own if you have skills) on the floor. Face each other. Try to make direct eye contact. Take a deep breath. Open the box and mentally place your relationship inside. Before you close the box, place a divisive issue in the corner of the box. Something like the misinterpretation of a night out gone wrong or a who’s who of people who fucked up your wedding, adding weights so as not to balance to one side of the family or other. There is a 50% chance of these issues causing an explosion that will kill the relationship.

Close the box. Your relationship, which has caused so much chaos up until then, is now equal parts alive and dead. It’s in the box. If you open that box you will see exactly what state your relationship is in. Do you want to do this? Well, Einstein, do you? (Einstein retorts, “Don’t bring me in to this! I’m on the toilet”).

So, when your friend, let’s call her Debbie, comes to you and says that she is having problems with Bobbie, tell her that in order for them to have a relationship, it has to exist on many different wavelengths at the same time. However remind Debbie that they will never see wave behaviour from their relationship as it is too big an object. Also, don’t forget the main thing. Debbie is not going to get this. Debbie in particular is what scientists would call, “a thick.” Bobbie is stupider than Debbie, as Bobbie wasn’t born Bobbie, but Bobby. He thinks it’s cool to be called Bobbie. Fuck Bobbie. Bobbie is undiagnosed ‘thick.’

So, if you feel comfortable spending every waking hour with the same person for the rest of your life, yet know that there are issues that could potentially destroy everything that is good there at any moment, consider the box. The box may save you a lot of money and heartache. You will never have the respect of your children though. Children just be like that.


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The greatest song ever written…says munki

Music, Journalism, Stretch

I mean you have your view but

I’m feeling mental…Senti-mental

Journalism, Music, Music, Journalism, Stretch, Stretch

Last Christmas. Good times

As we await the end of the world, at least there’s still this. When I’m sitting in my dinner on Chrimblas Day, ready to stab a sibling with a wishbone and carefully keeping an eye on the volume of alco-liquid that will get me to bedtime, I will be humming ‘Fairytale of New York’ in my head. Best watched/listened to alone as adding one other person makes it feel like some kind of formal Irlanda ‘salute the flag’ event. If heard in a pub, it provokes a selfish reaction as you scowl at some pissed-up tit in a Chrimblas jumper, wanting to tell him, “I remember when this came out you little prick. You probably think the Killers are legends. Go to Arnotts for your Chrimblas music you dick.”

Anyways, It’s about the only thing worth looking forward to at Christmas. Everything else disappoints, except functional alcoholism. In this awkward time when people are worried about ‘other’ people saying Happy Holidays, taking the Christmas out of Christmas, worrying about a war on Christmas, just remember one thing: nobody is actually doing that. If someone says Happy Holidays to you, you can say Happy Christmas to them. They don’t care. Nobody cares. Muslims don’t care. Buddists don’t care. Evangelical Ewoks don’t care. Scientologists don’t care because they want your Pass Card. I don’t care.

There is no God. No evidence of its existence. No evidence that it doesn’t exist. No one knows. Nobody actually knows. So, if someone says Happy Christmas to you, you’ll probably go Happy Christmas back, despite you both dropping your religious education aged 12 and only go to a church for a wedding or a funeral. You say ‘bless you’ when someone sneezes. That embarrassed person usually mutters ‘thanks’ through soaking hands. They don’t actually think that your ‘bless you’ means that you are an ordained priest or are a dark wizard with healing powers. Fuck that and fuck you. Giving me a cold I don’t fucking want.

I once heard Ronan Keating singing this song. He won’t be doing that again.stretch-macgibbonxmas

Stretch’s Scary Halloween Songs No.15: Ministry – Every day is Halloween

Music, Journalism, Stretch

“Irlanda’s least aborted Senator” ready to stomp a women’s rights meeting.

“Oh, why can’t i live a life for me?
Why should i take the abuse that’s served?
Why can’t they see they’re just like me?
I’m not the one that’s so absurd”
– Al Jourgensen

The demons that major religions espouse as the dealers of justice in the mythical afterworlds have their work cut out for them. The hourly event horizon that humans are going through right now will mean having a pitchfork shoved up your urethra for eternity would seem pleasant compared to an existence where lies have become a staple of public life. The lie is now reported rather than refuted. The liar is accepted. Yessssss.

The “everything I say is bullshit” paradigm that is currently being used as national policy in that social thought experiment, America, has been imported to this littul land over the past decade or two, thanks in part to Mike Murphy’s early Sunday evening travelogues in the 80s. Americans, they’re mad like! It used to be that a politician or public servant caught in a lie or corruption would resign in disgrace, but now they follow a path of being caught, pilloried, quietly moved aside, then interviewed and then they write the book. They ride out any shit-storm with the gravitas of a life-long heroin user.

Trump’s genius is the flooding of the news cycle with such insanity that media can’t even cope with a retort to the first idiotic tweet. Enter to the Irish cause, Senator Rónán Mullen, Irlanda’s least aborted Senator. Y’see, the Catholic Church collapsed into a black hole cluster fuck similar to that of the Soviet Union and lost control.  Irlandese people realised that apart from the church’s sexual abuse and authoritarian control issues, there was this new issue that basically Mass is really boring. Whatever you can say about Irlandese people, they don’t like to be bored. Look at Storm Ophelia (not Ronan Keating’s sexual preference) where despite three people being tragically killed, the Irlandese tweeted at the hurricane in the same manner some Americans shot at theirs.

Anyways, Mullen paints himself as this country’s moral authority and as a Catholic man, he of course is primarily interested in women’s healthcare. The problem of course is that his methods are seen as extremely calculated or calculatedly extreme. If you are pro-life and a moderate, you have no voice in the upcoming repeal referendum. Watch your feelings be redirected through the Old Testament via post-independence Irlanda, around the skirts of a few bishops, into the tweet machine, the boring Facebook essay, the newspapers and finally on to the televisual organ of the state. You’ll feel like the kid who was chosen last for the Lacrosse team. Ha, Lacrosse. Stupid, stupid Lacrosse.

Mná na hÉireann are in for a battle over the next year. Looking at the the way old white men in America are trampling on the most basic of female health rights, it will not go unnoticed by the tiny penised old white men hiding behind the cloak of God and civil war politics. These men are always keen to tell women what they should think and do. Be more like the Virgin Mary, they say. She didn’t abort her magic baby.

There is obviously nothing wrong with being pro-life. Although to quote Bill Hicks (coz that’s what everyone endlessly does), “Why don’t you lock arms and block cemeteries?” That’s fun, right? Anyways this munki remembers the last abortion referendum and how the choices offered on the ballot paper were eternal damnation or well, eternal damnation with priests. There were more images of aborted foetuses than actual instances of Irlandese women who had abortions, leading this munki to believe that Catholic photographers were aborting babies for their “posed by model” placards. Just my theory.

The problem occurs that the idea of having a reasoned debate about this highly important issue for women has already been fucked out the window, with the baby and the bath water, if you’ll excuse the analogy. What we can look forward is a lot of shouting, and depending on the calibre of the shouter on either side, folksy folks who are on the fence will jump to the side of shouter that least annoys them. It’s a cruel way to decide this, but un-aborted people are generally fucking stupid. Look at Brexit, Trump, our Eurovision picks for the last 20 years, our last Presidential election. That election was about who was going to hardly bother the public eye for seven years. To get there you had to invade the public eye like conjunctivitis.

So, Rónán Mullen is the unchosen voice of some people I know who are pro-life. He will be dragged into studio after studio and he’ll use the Trump model to get his agenda across. Look at his comment about Savita Halappanavar where he said “If there was abortion on demand, she wouldn’t have been in the hospital because she wouldn’t have been pregnant and she wouldn’t have been having a miscarriage.” You see, he throws a stupid statement out there, leaves it hanging, gets attacked and then claims he is being attacked. He will elicit support from balls of negative energy angrily sitting in the armchairs already pissed off that we brought that Irish guy home from Egypt, when there are people dying in the streets. In the streets! Although, don’t give those homeless a euro. They’ll spend it on drugs. Wait, how much do drugs cost?


Example of a placard showing aborted foetuses. Gross

Mullen knows this, as does Trump, Farage, Le Pen etc. You can always appeal to idiots who have no capacity for researching or for most reading. Since the economic crash of 2008, fascists have learned they can re-emerge from the shit because people find it easier to blame Muslims and anyone else foreign than bankers, who are invisible in plain sight because their skin matches their shirts. If economists don’t understand how the world economy works, how will Brian from a hole in the ground in Laois or Jim from a privileged golden carriage on the head of a small poor boy in Dalkey understand the sub-prime mortgage disaster when they share a common belief that Ryan Tubridy is actually an intellectual. Anyone who likes Frank Sinatra is an intellectual, right?

They’re coming to take our jobs. They can’t even speak the language. They are terrorists. People who haven’t learned the lessons from World War 2 won’t realise that the white totems who control the little fascists want to get rid of the Africans, the Asians, the Muslims, the gays, the intellectuals (not Sinatra fans, real intellectuals), the Catholics, the Buddhists, the women etc. When they are rid of them all, well, they’re coming after you stupid white boy, aren’t they? It’s a pity there was no class in the education system that could teach kids about this kind of thing.

Anyways, back to the repeal referendum. This is a no-brainer. The health of women is of paramount importance. They should never be dictated to by ill-equipped men who believe in magic beings in the sky and have Handmaid’s Tale fantasies. Doctors should never be put in the position of not knowing whether to treat a patient who is about to die. Fuck that.

It feels like monsters surround us every day. Every knock on the door could provide trick or treat.  I think Uncle Al should have the last world,

“Oh, why can’t i live a life for me?
Why should i take the abuse that’s served?
Why can’t they see they’re just like me?
I’m not the one that’s so absurd”


Read more recent Halloween frights and delights, right?

Stretch’s Scary Halloween Songs No.14: SQURL – Funnel of Love

Stretch’s Scary Halloween Songs No.13: The Cramps – Human Fly