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Dreadful Nonsense

"I've read your blog. it's really funny. you should write a column." - Jon Ronson

31 March 2004
Following the HoYay! fest that was last night's episode of Angel - for those that don't know, a "HoYay!" is what is shouted out by crazy fans who read too much in to the scenes in which two of the boys from Angel stand too closely together for too long. Or grapple on the ground. Or cradle each other tenderly. Or tend to each others wounds post battle. Or, you know, have a long, lingering look at each other. What I'm saying is, if you want to see it, there's a lot of the HoYay! in Angel.

This site is therefore hilariously funny, if you're a little bit crazy.

Hey! I'm not the only one. This thread - which probably contains spoilers towards the end, so be careful - is full of right thinking people discussing the possible coupling of, for example, Wesley and Angel. That's called a Wangel, by the way.

30 March 2004
The briefest of brief updates, this one amazingly from JC, who has put finger to button to come up with the following sparkling gem of wisdom:

"Stop depending on me to write your blog. You can't just go "Look. This is an e-mail I got" and then put what I've written in. You big lazy. I hate lazy people who do nothing but watch telly all day, drink tea, smoke and wonder how their sister is getting on in New York. Oh, that's me. No. I love me. I'm great."

So that's probably the last you'll hear of that.

In other news: Angel episode 100 was on tonight, and I spent the whole time watching it going "rar" every time Lindsey prowled his way across the screen, giggled hysterically every time anyone said anything like the old Angel days, had a little tear in my eye at the vision of lovely Doyle on the telly again (RIP), giggled hysterically at the homoerotic tension before and during Angel and Lindsey's little sword fight and finally started raging once again about the injustice that this programme is going to finish soon.

And in the real world, I had my college interview today, which went quite well. I think they seemed to like me, which is nice really. I talked A LOT of rubbish and started to annoy myself with hand flapping while trying to explain a point, but over all I think it went okay. I have absolutely no idea if I did and said enough to convince them that I was the person for the placement, but I'm not 100% sure that I want it, and if I get it that'll be more difficult decisions ahead, and right now the most difficult thing I can come to terms with is which episode of Black Books series 2 to watch on my DVD next. Tonight, I think it will be the episode called "Blood".

N'Night.

This morning, the fool JC emailed me again. Cap in hand, apparently. Although the contents of his email, reproduced below almost exactly as he wrote them, weren't quite as grovelling as I would have liked. This is an example, people, of someone with too much time on his hands.

"You can turn a phrase when you want to can't you!!! I actually saw you in O' Connell Street in 1916 as you were saying all that. You were on a plinth, the crowds were roaring their approval. The sun shone down and warmed our newly hopeful faces. YOU WERE RIGHT!!!! We would never again be spoon-fed by faceless dollar worshipping tv executives. We DO have the right to let them know when they've done wrong. As your speech reached it's epoch shattering climax we cheered all the louder. Maybe if we hadn't.... Well. Things might have been different...

Our loud cheers covered up the distant rumble of a WB gunboat gliding up the Liffey. We saw it but it was too late. Joss Whedon was bound to the barrell of a big gun. In front of the horrified women and children a WB executive calmly stepped forward and slit him open like a pig. His creative and highly talented insides splattering the deck. All was quiet for what seemed like an eternity and then the guns started firing. I was only a lad of eighteen at the time but as I looked up at you, as the heavy bullets tore through you making it seem like you were performing some horrific dance my mind felt as old as time. You stood there for a moment and then fell. You landed on top of me and we crashed to the ground. I rolled you over. Brushing your hair and streaks of blood from your eyes. "[Shazzle]?" I whispered. "[Shazzle], you can't die. If you die then Angel dies with you!" Your eyes opened, there was something different about them. They were bright yellow, your teeth, your teeth seemed sharp, long... "ANGEL WILL NEVER DIE!!!" you whispered but to me it sounded like the loneliest breeze blowing through the emptiest part of hell. Then faster than I could see you sank your teeth into my chest and fed... I was only eighteen. I still am.

Now. Well. Now it's now. 2004 I walk the earth alone trying to persuade TV executives not to cancel cherished TV series and to bring back those that should never have been taken from us. You are gone. We walked the earth together for over fifty years. I killed you on a glacier in the arctic in 1983. You had gone mad with power and were trying to get them to bring back Wanderley Wagon. I had to stop you.

I finally succeeded in getting them to bring back Doctor Who. I think somewhere you are smiling at me. Proud of what I have achieved. I am so tired. I want to sleep. I can never sleep. This is my gift. My curse..."

29 March 2004
New links:

Dave Eggers, my future husband and father of my unconceived children, has started writing "Short Short Stories" for the Guardian every Saturday. If you are fool enough to miss them, so be it. But if you are a right thinking person like me, you can go here to read it. It is beautiful.

Also, while you're there, you should read the brilliant Jon Ronson story about Stanley Kubrick's personal effects here.

And finally, Noam Chomsky has a weblog. Yes, I know. Read it here.

Giddy man about town JC emailed me following this morning's post, spouting the following utter, utter madness:

"It's not happening."

The munchkin faced pub quiz addict went on to say:

"...it's pretty much officially dead in the water. There was a glimmer of hope a few weeks ago when it looked like another network (UPN) might pick up the show but after initial talks it was agreed that it would be too expensive to produce and the idea was dropped."

Well, yes. Quite. And also, mm hm. But what, do you think, would have happened if Mr Jesus Christ had given up the first time he fell over while carrying that heavy wooden cross? What do you think might have happened if he'd just told them to kill him, right there, where he lay? Hm? Christian iconography would have been very different, for one thing.

But I'm digressing. When rumours started at the end of Season 4 that Angel was to come to an end the same time as Buffy, www.renewangel.com was born. And, maybe it was a ratings hike, maybe it was fan pressure, maybe a touch of both, but Angel came back for a 5th season. It might work again. It's certainly worth a try.

And even if this all comes to nothing, which is more than likely, so what? Even if the show stays cancelled, and we only have our DVDs to fall back on and old Buffy episodes to pore over for hidden meaning and never leave the house again? Even so. Campaigns like Saving Angel help television executives to understand that, for the most part, we enjoy intelligent programming. We like tv shows that challenge us, that stimulate us, that involve us and don't patronise us, that set new standards in terms of style and content, that run ideas and story arcs across seasons, across time lines, across different shows. We enjoy complications and we gag at being spoon fed. Even if this campaign does nothing but irritate the hell out of some executives, it still gives us something to do, and sends a message to the creators, the cast and the crew of Angel that their sterling efforts have been truly appreciated.

And anyway, young JC finishes his email epistle with the terrible request that I "go and watch some Doctor Who". How, do you think, did Dr Who come back after all these years, after that terrible television movie, after all the long-held cliches that it appeals to no one more than geeky teenage boys and pathetic men/child hybrids who obsess about whether or not daleks can climb stairs? I'll tell you how. Through continued and continuing fan campaigns, through both sophisticated efforts and the most simplistic methods of just damn well keeping the name in the public consciousness for long enough to get the programme back on the air.

The Saving Angel campaign is apparently one of the biggest fan campaigns ever undertaken in order to save a television programme from cancellation. The good, good people at SavingAngel.org have come under attack from various different areas of the internet, with people spamming campaign boards on the net. And you would have presumed fellow geeks would all unite together for a common cause.

Anyhoo, the important thing to note is that, alongside the real life, physical rally that will be taking place outside the WB Ranch in California (the WB are the network that have cancelled Angel), there is also a virtual rally taking place, from 6.00am to 10.00am GMT. It won't take very much to participate. They are just asking that you perhaps post on a couple of message boards leaving your support, or even just copy and paste the message below -

"We are eternally thankful for the creative efforts of Joss Whedon and David Greenwalt, the cast, writers, and crew of ANGEL, and we feel that it is too soon for their voices to be silenced. We are willing to follow ANGEL wherever it may go and hope that you will join our cause to save quality television."

Even if you don't really give a hoot, it would make me happy that you played along. Many thanks.


28 March 2004
I just found a googlewhack that leads to my site, and I'm very proud, particularly because it involves an old Lee and Herring joke about The Actor Kevin Eldon and adverts that he never appeared in for a certain chocolate bar that also involves caramel and biscuit. It's the ad in which he didn't play a character called Norm. This made me inappropriately pleased for such a late stage of the day.

If you would like to see my googlewhack, drop me an email using the dull grey button on the left and I will send you a copy.

27 March 2004
I've been trying to add comments to the page, so that bored people at work can leave sarcastic little messages, but I think the template that I'm using has been set up in such a way as to completely confuse anyone who wants to do more than merely add to lists of links. Something to do with layers that I can't work out - when I tried to fiddle with it slightly, I ended up destroying the code that makes the blogger ads disappear, so I'm not going to argue any more. You'll just have to start using the nifty "email me" button I put on the side instead, working people, and risk the wrath of your bosses when they infiltrate your filthy common non-work related emailing. But you can send my anything, my worthy readers, so you could just disguise your love for me in the form of work speak, like what my friend D does when she's calling me.

We have a system, me and D, had it for years and years, since the days when she lived at home and her mother used to pick up the extension and listen in on our conversations. We got wise to that quite quickly, me and D, because we are quite bright people, and also because a lot of the time her mother would start joining in the conversations we were having. Which helped clue us in.

What we used to do was immediately start talking about the weather, if we thought that someone else was listening in. Sudden comments about the amount of rain we've been having, or how strong the wind was last night would take us far, far away from the discussions of boys and how we were going to bunk off our crappy tennis lessons. This is, of course, easily seen through and also frowned upon at work, where you don't usually have lengthy conversations about the weather with clients or colleagues (unlessing, of course, that you work as a meteorologist).

So me and D have a new system. When she calls me from work, we have exactly the same conversations that we would have outside of work, but she throws in some "wheretofore"s and "thereafter"s and - our extra favourite - "as per"s that instantly fool people in to believing that she's actually on an important business call to Japan. It's amazing we're both still employed, you're thinking. Well, no, it's not. Because at the moment we are both "between jobs". As per.

26 March 2004
Important lessons that I have learned this week:

1. When sitting on your door step at 4 o'clock in the morning, having a phone conversation with someone you've literally just seen about what's literally just happened, it's important to keep very still. Because if you keep very still, a hedgehog will come out through the gate to your right and walk right across your feet. It's really brilliant. You should all come round mine and try it.

2. When shopping with a hangover brought on partly by alcohol and partly by sleep deprivation (which is partly through alcohol and partly through watching 15 Storeys High at 4.30am to try to get over the hedgehog experience), you will mainly buy things with (a) sugar, (b) fizz, (c) salt or (d) more sugar in them. Food that is blue, red or pink is also more appealing when in this state.

3. Never agree to look after someone's dog when said dog is smaller than a cat, and can work out a way of escaping through every tiny mouse hole in the house. Especially never agree to look after said dog when said dog's owner has just celebrated her 86th birthday, is your only grand parent, and refers to said dog as "my little baby". And refers to you by your mother's name.

4. Never get in a taxi with anyone of the opposite sex late at night when they don't exactly live anywhere in the direction of your house, because this tends to lead to inappropriate kissing, which then leads to awkward situations with friends, and uncomfortable stilted conversations. Importantly, though, this can also lead to hedgehogs walking across your feet.

Every cloud, etc.

24 March 2004
It's really hard to know what is appropriate to write about on the blog, and what isn't. In the middle of glib tweeness about redecorating bedrooms and links to people swearing in badly drawn cartoons, it's really hard to write something that perhaps means something. I detest those kind of self important bloggers that write about things as if they are the first people to experience their new situation, as if what they have to say is so important it should be written in the sky and broadcast on prime time television for the world to see. I hate those kind of posts more than I hate people who use too many exclamation marks when trying to make a point. That's real hate.

My great-uncle died last night. He was my grandad's brother. I knew him better than I did my grand father, who died when I was very young. My great-uncle was a very important, kind, grumpy, strange man with an absolutely wicked sense of humour whose death will be devestating to a lot of people. He isn't someone I know very well, and I don't really know what to say about any of it. Last month, I didn't mention another death in the family, simply because I didn't know what to say about it either, and even though I've written this post about five times already, I still don't know what to say.

I've searched the internet for information about him, and I've found some links to books on amazon I didn't know he had written, and some information on charity sites I didn't know he'd donated to. His web presence, if that is how you would judge a person, reflects someone dedicated and caring, who really seems to have contributed to the world around him in the time that he was here.

I vividly remember one visit to his house one summer when we were given the rare treat of a moment in his presence - my great-uncle didn't tolerate the presence of children very well, indicating of course what a right thinking man he was. We were sitting in his study with the shutters closed across the windows, while he smoked his heavy pipe and told us a story. I can't remember what the story was about, but I do remember being absolutely terrified, of the dark, oak-walled, book lined study, and of the huge man sitting in the corner, gleefully trying to frighten the life out of us. On another visit, I remember he chased us out of his fruit garden waving his walking stick and throwing apples at us. And on another, I remember him showing us around his beautiful fruit garden, making us sit very quietly and showing us the hovering dragon flies around the edge of the pond. Really, he's a story book uncle, an Enid Blyton version of proper grown ups who shout and fascinate and linger in the memory. It's very odd to think that I will never see him again.

23 March 2004
These are some crazy people.

Pictures of tatoos that fans have done to celebrate their love of Buffy and/or Angel. People, it's a television show. Let it go.

22 March 2004
"We're back to Monkey Ball News!"

Some links, because I'm supposed to be studying my psychology course, and also because I'm supposed to be tidying my room, and also because I'm supposed to be going to the dump with my Mum to throw out the things that we tidied from Room 2. I'm not doing any of those things because any time I start to do one single thing, someone calls, or I call someone, or the dog throws up, or I forget what I'm doing and start watching the trailor for Shaun Of The Dead again because it's brilliant. So, my links.

Ricky and Stephen Archives: Once upon a time on Xfm, Ricky, Steve and Karl talked about things in between records. Usually things to do with monkeys. It's an Xfm thing. Here is a place where you can hear the things they talk about without having to be bored by the stupid records they play. There are seven volumes here. That should keep you busy.

This is the official Shaun of the Dead website. There's not much here as yet, but there is a lot "coming soon" which is great news. Turn up the volume on your computer and then just hold your mouse over the window to the left. And then keep it there. This made me laugh more than the trailor, and the trailor made me laugh a lot.

I have spent the last hour changing my About Me page. I'm very tired and so have probably made mistakes. You should go there and then email me at shazzle[at]cluas.com and tell me all the things I got wrong, in alphabetical order. You could also send me in questions that you would like me to both answer and add to the list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Night now.

21 March 2004
Ah, Mother's Day.

Today was a day to celebrate motherhood, and my mother chose to celebrate it by trying to kill both myself and herself in the pursuit of moving the computer room from one side of the house to the other. Yes, the freaking room. The whole freaking room. Not just the freaking computer.

This all started when I stupidly enough made some remark about the fact that my old bedroom would make a better office space than my brother's old bedroom. And if my brother's old bedroom was no longer an office but a bedroom, it would mean that my brother would actually have somewhere to actually sleep in the house, and wouldn't have to crash out on the sofa on the rare occasion that he does come home. He's supposed to be sleeping in my old bedroom, you understand, but he is considerably longer than me - in that he's tall and I'm not - and he can't fit on the bed I slept in from the age of 9 to the age of 19. This got my mother thinking, and without any kind of hesitation, she'd bought some bland new wallpaper and encouraged me to rip the baby blue wallpaper off the wall of what was once my bedroom.

I enjoyed the ripping.

She then climbed ladders with her new flash hip and her other not quite so flash but still quite false hip, and wallpapered the my-old-bedroom-now-the-new-office (or "room 1") in a matter of hours. The bland coloured carpet followed soonafter, once we had carried all the things from room 1 into the once-my-brother's-bedroom-then-the-old-office-now-once-again-my-brother's-bedroom (or "room 2"). Room 2 was already full of rubbish I had moved from my sister's old bedroom to accommodate all of my precious things, along with rubbish my brother had left there when he moved out, rubbish both my sisters had left there when they moved out and rubbish I had left there when I moved out. Basically, a room full of rubbish, computers and everything Mum uses for work. What I'm saying is, there was a lot of stuff in there.

Yesterday, we made shelves in Room 1, me and Mum, with the magic of a power drill, some planks of wood, some things called brackets and some other things I don't know the names of. And some screws. It was very impressive, how my Mum in all her wisdom knows how to make shelves from scratch and has no qualms about using a power drill. Impressive, but not inspiring. I really need to marry a rich man who will be able to hire people to do things like that for me, so that I don't ruin my horrible square finger nails.

Today, we filled those shelves. With all of the aforementioned rubbish. Not all of the rubbish, of course. Some of it, we threw out. Some others of it, we put in bags and will be bringing to charity shops. The rest of it we filed carefully away in boxes bought from Argos and stacked them on the shelves. I'm looking at the shelves right now. It's all deeply impressive. The cat is also fascinated by the change in the room and she's currently crawling all around, trying to get into every nook and cranny. As I type this, she's standing on the computer monitor, and staring at me like it's me that's doing the odd thing.

Amongst the debris was a fairly impressive amount of letters people had sent me that I had declined to throw away over the years. And a vast amount of New Kids On The Block memorabilia, of which I managed to throw away over half. It's very odd the things that you think are important to keep. I was mystified by some of my choices, and horrified by others, and on the other hand totally enchanted by a lot of them. You don't notice your priorities changing over the years, but it's nice to be reminded so vividly of things that were once dreadfully important to you.

So here I am in the new office, which was once my bedroom. There's a different view to stare at out the window when the internet connection isn't working as quickly as I'd like, and that's novel enough to inspire me to write this long and boring blog entry. But it's a Monday morning when you're reading this, and you office workers care naught for entertainment, when it's only diversion you're looking for, isn't that right, Joanne / Dave? Ha. I'm probably still asleep.

20 March 2004
friday five...
... because I'm too tired to think for myself.

If you...

1. ...owned a restaurant, what kind of food would you serve?

Vegetarian food without mushrooms or aubergines (or anything with the texture of snails). And an option for toast and marmite, whatever the hour.

2. ...owned a small store, what kind of merchandise would you sell?
I would sell small merchandise. Toy dogs, miniature self-help books, bonsai trees and dwarves.

3. ...wrote a book, what genre would it be?
It would be hilariously and irritatingly self-indulgent, along the lines of any other book written by anyone who has ever kept a weblog.

4. ...ran a school, what would you teach?
I would teach girls how to trap and marry rich men so that they would never need to do another damn thing in their lives.

5. ...recorded an album, what kind of music would be on it?
Rubbish cover versions of all my favourite Ben & Jason songs, totally ruined by over production and out of tune backing vocals but invoking an interest in the original artists so that people went out and bought their music instead and then Ben & Jason would have to reform and play concerts in Dublin, concerts to which I would be particularly invited and allowed in for free to, because I was the one that had resurrected their careers. Or, you know, some MOR jazz tunes.

Also, it has been drawn to my attention that today is steak and blow job day, a day for boys (or, of course, girls) who have had to shell out a lot of money for valentines day and today get what they think is their just reward. I applaud the instigation of this, a wonderful new holiday. I look forward to Hallmark catching wind of it and providing us with lovely greeting cards to give to our better halves.

17 March 2004
Happy Paddys Day.

Thought about going in to the parade this year, it being the first time for about 9 years that I'm actually in Dublin on the right day, but then decided that I really couldn't be bothered with all the screaming children, the tourists and the frustration of having to stand around for ages and then have hundreds of skinny American teenagers with blinding-white teeth, tan-coloured tights and stupid preppy smiles plastered across their frozen faces shimmy past, throwing sticks, twirling and dancing like their lives depended on it while all the time knowing that everyone in America is having a lot more fun today than they are, being in this freezing cold city surrounded by drunks and knackers.

But that's probably just because I'm only a "plastic paddy", according to the quiz on ireland.com today. I only scored 17 out of 40. Apparently "the roots are there but the green card is in danger of not being renewed". Imagine if this was how they tried to manage the current influx of immigrants and applications for residency. I'd be on the next boat out of here.

16 March 2004
Went to see my specialist today, having put off our appointment for the last three weeks for various different reasons that always seemed to involve me being somewhere that wasn't Dublin. This morning, dragged out of my pillow fortress by my mother who seemed to think it was important to keep telling me my age, I was paraded in front of my specialist who declared herself "very optimistic" about my condition. I'm mighty glad that she is, I can tell you.

She asked how I had been getting on, and I think I played it on the safe side by not mentioning the 7.5 hour wait for David Gray in the cold, the 8 hour journies to and from London by boat and rail, the nights out in Whelans dancing and stalking minor pop stars, the tours around the Burren, the double wedding plans, or the heavy drinking that led to a lot of the above, because I think she may well have frowned upon those kind of antics. We discussed my posture, the excercises I'm supposed to be doing, the fact that I still can't put my feet flat down on the ground, the leg cramps and the problems that I apparently still have with hypertension. But she still declared that she would indeed be "very optimistic". I was pleased for her, and glad that someone was feeling happy and content in her position.

She gave me some lovely, tasty sleeping tablets as apparently sleep is very important, and advised me to avoid sitting down as much as possible, and that I should really opt instead for lying down or standing up. This of course rules me out of getting any meaningful work placements for another little while, so it's probably extremely lucky that I haven't bothered my arse to go looking for something. It's almost as if I already knew.

Mum, though, has decided that I need some rehabilitation in order to become once more a useful member of society, and has decided that decorating my old bedroom is the way to go about it. So I helped yesterday by pulling all the wallpaper off the wall. That was a lot of fun, and I wanted to continue in other rooms, but when I started "helping" in the sitting room, she screamed and sent me back into my pillow fort.

15 March 2004
Today, Susan left for sunny London town, leaving me bereft of her company and suddenly lacking in any long- or short-term plans. It's very odd to suddenly be thrown back in to the mundanity of no job, no hobbies, no time-table, no goals, no plans to go on Viking tours in the next few days. I mean, I could carry on going on tour buses and wandering around scenic areas of Ireland, but it's not really the same without a chirpy English lady standing beside you, taking photos and talking about your cat. It really isn't.

Yesterday, we did a tremendously great thing, and went on the Viking Splash Tour, something I am now going to make everyone that comes to stay in Dublin do. I may also take to dragging tourists I don't even know on it, just so I get the thrill of driving straight off the road and in to water again. It really is the oddest thing you can do in Dublin. During the day at least.

The tour of Dublin itself is great, with the guide adding in a great amount of fiction to go along with the interesting facts (do you know that O'Connell bridge is the only square bridge in the world? I do), and roaring at unsuspecting passers by on the count of three is always a great thing to do no matter where you are, but the best moment is when you get to the docks and they make you put on life jackets and then say very serious things about drowning and safety and swimming and not panicking. And then. They. Drive. Straight. In. To. The. Water.

Me and Susan didn't stop laughing for about 5 minutes, and didn't hear a single thing the man said. It was so terrifying and hilarious and wrong and stupid and brilliant. And you see the back of the building that U2 record their albums in. From the car. While being in water. It's the car in the water that appeals to me, you see.

So that's the best thing we did in Dublin, other than meeting Aqualung. And spending over €100 each on Clinique products in Arnotts. And getting french manicures for our nails by a lovely chinese lady who made my nails all square and ugly.

And now Susan has departed. JC has emailed me, asking "have you covered your face in ashes and made a fort out of your pillows that you refuse to come out of?" Which has given me an idea.

13 March 2004
friday five

1. What was the last song you heard?

Ben Folds singing "Zak and Sara". It's playing continually in my head, which is surprising, considering the Aqualung fixation I've developed. Again.

2. What were the last two movies you saw?
Donnie Darko and Towering Inferno. Both on DVD, both in the privacy of my own room. I don't get out to the cinema a lot, because I hate people coughing and talking and kicking and eating around me.

3. What were the last three things you purchased?
Two Aqualung badges (one black, one white), a bottle of beer and a Tia Maria and coke. These were all last night, you understand.

4. What four things do you need to do this weekend?
I need to put some washing on, go to my tutorial, go shopping in town and buy a birthday present for my brother.

5. Who are the last five people you talked to?
The last five phone calls I took were -
JC: we talked about his hangover and my coughing skills;
A woman from a recruitment agency: I said I had no interest in her stinking jobs;
Joanne: she was at work, so I mocked her and her working ways;
Edel: who has hurt her leg - I advised a bath but she said she'd probably just watch SATC and go to bed instead;
Vicky: she rang to tell me I looked like Vicky Fowler from EastEnders (I don't).

12 March 2004
Hello again.

I'm cheating by fixing the time on this blog to pretend this was still written on Friday, because in actual fact it's just past midnight on Saturday morning, and by rights I should be tucked up safely in beddy byes watching Fist of Fun with Susan and the cat tucked up beside me, purring. Yes, both of them. But I'm not. Instead, I'm here blogging and waiting for the retarded printer to print off copies of my first, best psychology essay, for which I have a class very early tomorrow morning. If I had any sense, I'd be either bunking off the class tomorrow and out drinking tonight, or I'd be tucked up in bed with the other two purring beside me, getting ready for another challenging day tomorrow. I'm doing neither, of course.

I went in to UCD today to do aptitude tests in preparation for my landing on top of the world of psychologists next September, when they inevitably pick me as one of the chosen, golden few to do the HDip in Psychology I've been blathering on about for so long. What with how important all of this is to me, you'd presume that, with such a big test ahead, last night was spent on the net trying to practice these standard tests and getting a lot of rest and water and dark relaxation so that I was on top of my game when test time rolled around. But no, no, no, no. I chose to spend the time shaking, grinning, singing at the top of my croaking flu-infested voice and then dancing about like a lunatic at Whelans instead.

That's right. Aqualung were in town, and we made sure they knew we were also in town, and also in the same building, and at times in the same room. Following on from the disastrous David Gray gig in London last week, we were very pleased to find that Matt Hales had willingly leaped in to the hole in our hearts that once held Mr Gray in such huge esteem, and has filled our minds, spirits and vocal cords with his fine melodies and lyrics. The gig was special in many different manners, and myself and Susan kept finding that our faces were strained with the force of having to express such great pleasure. It really was great. We liked it, sometimes a lot.

After gig, as is our tradition, we mugged some roadies for set lists and then beat a retreat for the backstage area, that I am already very familiar with thanks to my previous stalking tactics of Glen Hansard and pals. Matt Hales was kind enough to invite us through for drinks and a chat, and he congratulated us on our singing accompaniment, telling us that Dublin, unlike many of the British cities, was very much in tune. Dublin, give yourself a nice pat on the back.

So this morning when JC rang to tell us his latest news (he had a hangover), I was in the middle of a strong coughing fit that was threatening to bring back up the chips we had unwisely purchased on our way home last night. And getting to UCD for 1pm proved nearly impossible as my body refused to move as quickly as my brain was asking it to. Even so, I think I did fairly well on the aptitude test, since it turned out to be one of those multiple-choice mensa-type things, and I'm quite good at them. I've a recorded IQ of 131, you know. I'm not sure I've mentioned that often enough.

Picture it. Dublin. Back stage. Aqualung. Matt Hales & Comedy Lounge. Tell you in the morning.

xx

11 March 2004
Hello to Super Special Friends Dave and Joanne (now known as "Mrs. Bishop"), who both managed to discover the updates, read the updates and text their thoughts on the updates to me and Susan within moments of the aforementioned updates going online. Our thoughts are with you as you sit in your work place while we dance around in our pygamas all day. Imagine that.

I am very pleased to report that the double wedding plans I commented on in last Thursday's post have been confirmed, via text message from Dave Mum, who said that they were "still on". We cheered when we heard and set out choosing our veils, bridesmaids and flower girls for the fictional weddings set to take place in the year 2027, i.e. when me and Susan are 50 and over the hill.

We got back from Galway via a long and unsteady drive in our rented Vectra, who we named Roger after a small, plastic dog owned by Gareth Tunley. I hated every second of the journey, as Susan drives like a mental, holding her head out the window and screaming profanities at everyone who dares to drive in front of her. She swerves around the road like a demon possessed by another more violent demon, throwing bottles at pedestrians and deliberately and indiscrimately running over wildlife and domestic animals. Seriously, folks, it's a wonder I'm still alive today. [NB - none of this is true. I just put it to see if she'll read my blog. Read the real account of our trip here.]

Plus we had to stop in Enfield for a bathroom break, and that was as terrifying an experience of the Irish netherworld as I'm ever likely to experience again. I am never leaving the jurisdiction of the M50. It's just not natural to live in a world where electricity is still viewed with suspicion and fear.

For our first night in Dublin, I decided to introduce the young English lady that we all like to call Susan to the comedy club in town I've been attending with JC. I forgot, of course, that all Irish comedians still living and working in Dublin like to play the Anti-Brit card as often as possible, and cringed in embarrassment as each and every act started in on tired old nonsense about the Troubles, the Famine, the Oppression and forgot completely that we trashed their arse at the rugby last week, which is what they should really have been going on about. Susan didn't seem to mind, or if she did, she had the good breeding not to mention it.

The ratio of Good Comedians to Bad Comedians in Dublin is teetering on the brink of disaster now. It now stands at 6 Good Comedians to 8 Bad Comedians, and I don't count open spots or Gerry Mallon in that, because they can't fairly be counted as comedians, being either beginners or just mentally unsound. Happy news is that JC is slated in to perform at the club in the next couple months, perhaps making the scores slightly more even.

And speaking of JC, this morning we thankfully received a call from him, as we hadn't heard from him for a while and had started to think impossible things, like maybe he had better things to do than ring us and slag us off from the comfort of his flat in swanky London. We had come up with four reasons why he was not responding to text messages from us with his previous enthusiasm, and these were as follows:

1. He had fallen down, broken a hip and couldn't get up.
2. He had run out of credit.
3. He no longer loved us as much as he used to.
4. He had been in some showbiz based accident, fallen down and couldn't get up.

It was none of the above. He simply had lost the use of his thumbs, and had been crying all night at the thought of not being able to reach us. Thankfully, he instead used his fingers to call my house, and then laughed a lot at the thought of coal being delivered. Like a mental. All is right again.

Tonight: Aqualung at Whelans.

08 March 2004
Internet cafe. Galway city. €4 per hour. This must be fast.

Today, we set ourselves the task of finding a hidden and secret treasure that appears on no maps and is in the middle of the arse-end of nowhere. Today, we found the Father Ted House.

Following instructions that you find off the internet, you'll probably already know, is never the best way to do anything, especially not make bombs and especiallly especially not try to find houses that once appeared on Channel 4 sitcoms. So, after 2 hours of driving with no idea around the Burren, we rounded a corner on a road that was leading nowhere and veering everywhere, and there it stood before us: The Parochial House from Father Ted. We immediately started laughing uncontrollably, which was bad because after two hours of driving aimlessly around The Burren we needed bathrooms and refreshments. Still, we took tons of photos, laughed, looked at a horse, laughed some more, took photos of some sheep, spoke to a farmer, and then laughed again. It was great.

I'm going to be updating the last two weeks in a really sporadic fashion, due to not having much time, having too many other things to do, and having forgotten how to type or use computers. Please refer to previous entries for the delightful stories of, to take but one humble example, the people I have agreed to marry over the last week and a half.

07 March 2004
Sunday night: comedy night in Galway. In Bar Cuba, if you ever want to attend. We attended tonight. We advise that you're probably best not to bother. Not, at least, if Gerry Mallon is in attendance.

Goodness me. Where to begin?

We thought it would be a great and good thing to enter the joke competition to win some prizes, and to do this we thought it would be great to do it with some quality entries. To that avail, we texted some comedian friends of ours, who write jokes for a living and therefore should be good at things like that. The joke that we were to write a punch line to run thusly:

"What's the difference between a suicide bomber and a heavy drinker?"

We got some stunning entries from our comedian friends, and out of a selection submitted four of what we considered to be the best ones. We wrote clearly and concisely, and put our lovely names at the end. Then we sat through one of the worst nights of comedy I've been lucky enough to witness in Ireland, not least because through the night compere Mallon got more and more drunk and reckless and rubbish.

By the time the joke competition final rolled around it was all we had left to live for. And then the bad man Mallon did the worst thing he could do - he stood on our punchlines. He stood on them four times. He pre-empted. He mis-read. He misunderstood, misinterpreted and simply did not read them out properly. Thusly, the audience were cheated out of our fabulous prize winning jokes (they were our jokes. We commissioned them and we made it clear to the comedians that they would not be receiving a whiff of the prize. Our comedian friends agreed to these conditions. Therefore, I repeat, they were our jokes). And we were cheated out of our fabulous prizes.

Mallon is a bad man. Boycott his club for this reason, if no other.

Many thanks.

05 March 2004
We've been on the telly! We are international - well, national - well, national if you live in the UK - telly stars! Well, the back of our heads are. The back of our heads have been on the telly! And the side of Susan's face!

We were in the audience for the Terry and Gaby show, with Terry Wogan and Gaby Roslyn. For those of who uninitiated, it's a kind of down-market Fern and Philip, with T&G appearing for a mere hour every morning from 11am - 12pm on Channel 5. The audience in the studio tend to be maniacal OAPs, gay men, and mentalists who think this kind of thing would be fun. We were none of those, in case you're wondering. We were there to interview the talented Emma Kennedy.

In the audience room before we went in to the studio we were concerned to note that two of the special ladies in the queue appeared to be wearing home-made t-shirts. Upon arrival in to the studio, they grabbed the front seat bonkettes, and our fears were realised when they degowned to reveal TERRY and GABY themed t-shirts, each more frightening than the other. Terry and Gaby themselves did not make reference to them once at all, perhaps afraid to acknowledge their presence in case they attacked. The show was quite fun, although I wouldn't have watched it the whole way through had I had the power of the flicker.

JC caught our appearance, and rang us that night to tell us we looked like a "couple of single mums with nothing better to do". Which was exactly the look we were going for.

04 March 2004
Vivid memories of Wednesday night. Vivid. Multi-coloured, layered with meaning and some nausea-inducing mental images. Vivid, if not particularly clear. We drank, you see, a lot on Wednesday night. This comes from having a free bar tab, being completely unchallenged when asking for continual beers, having beer and shots thrust upon you by MTV VJs (that's right, look impressed), and having some boys around you with which to flutter eye lids.

It's funny how conversations that you have with people while you are out drinking mean so much at the time, make perfect sense and seem totally suitable for the occasion. In retrospect, however, it probably should all have not been said.

We agreed to marry some boys, Susan and I. Actually, I think what happened was that she agreed to marry a boy, and I agreed to marry the other boy because I felt left out, and then the first boy agreed to have an affair with me behind Susan's back, and then my future husband decided that he would have an affair with Susan in that case, and so it went on into some weird Abba-esque agreement. At the end of the night we professed our undying love for each other, and we've not heard a word since. Maybe they didn't mean it after all.

03 March 2004
Just a quick message to the reading world, but specifically to Joanne that should be doing work, but is instead annoying me with pleadings to update the blog... Really, child, you should be doing more work.

London town is a very exciting place full of bright lights, boys and alcohol. We have been mainly staring at the first two, and drinking a lot of the last. I will be updating the blog as soon as the moment presents itself, which should probably be the weekend.

Finally, 3jims has been on to me because he doesn't like his name. After a vibrant debate in the pub last night, which quickly degenerated in to a brawl and some very tense moments over the quiz machine, I think it was agreed that he should now be referred to as JC, even though that seems to look like I'm talking about the Lamb Prince of God, which obviously I'm not. He doesn't look a thing like him. No beard for a start, and I've never seen him astride a donkey or wearing sandles.

Hope that's cleared up. Happy now, Josie?

02 March 2004
We were interviewing the lovely Waen Shepherd today and after the interview unwisely agreed to accompany him to a nearby public house, after which the night turned into a small debacle. Lots of other lovely boys turned up, and it all ending up being a little like a typical night on the tiles in Edinburgh during the Festival. Highlights, as far as I can recall, include JC turning up and challenging us to several rounds of the Pepsi Chart Challenge. I helped a lot by answering the questions a good three seconds after everyone else had, and we managed to lose JC a hefty sum of money before he wisely decided to end the game and retire for some pizza. There were also tense moments in Pizza Express, (which I have decided is my enemy and I will eventually destroy) when I noticed that there wasn't a tiny thing on the menu that I could possibly eat, being both vegetarian, allergic to cheese and also really fussy. I settled, you'll be keen to hear, for a salad and some dough balls.

01 March 2004
Team Comedy Lounge do David Gray.

As it were. No, not like that. You dirty thing. We were lucky enough to be expressly invited to participate in the David Gray experience, in that we won tickets to the special passport gigs purely by being the jammiest people you could ever meet. I didn't actually win at all, Susan did, and she was kind enough to drag my ungracious self along to the gig, which was in the smallest venue you could imagine.

We thought that, since this was a special one-off appearance, and since people seemed to be paying literally hundreds to buy tickets on ebay, that the gig would be kinda full of the old Gray fans, and so we thought it would be best to turn up for the gig around 10 hours before doors open. To be on the safe side, you understand.

When we turned up, running slightly late, we were stunned to see not three, not four, but no fans at all standing outside the gig chanting and holding up banners. Two American ladies who had been just about to go for a wander to Camden market did come back across the road, and introduced themselves to us as two of the American mentalists who had spent thousands coming over for the gig. We were suitably impressed, and invited them to pull up a concrete slab and make themselves comfortable for the endurance test that was to come.

The day went by quite quickly in some respects, because we found that the steady stream of appearances by David and the rest of his backing band kept us amused for hours. The closer the time came to when the doors were scheduled to be opened, the more violent we became at the thought of other people turning up.

When the doors opened, we experienced more anxious moments as the "passports" were handed out, and we were - quite wrongly, in our opinions - given numbers 9 and 10. Susan spotted someone approaching the desk where they were giving out the wrist bands before any announcement had been made, and we bundled up there quick smart without a care for our own safety.

Wristbands attached, we then hurled ourselves at the door to the stairs which would lead to the stage, and started waiting some more. The waiting, it was fun. The gig... well, it'd be lovely to say that it was worth the waiting, and then some. But, frankly - and I'm not going to lie to you here - it kind of wasn't. Lovely Mr. David did tons and tons of new stuff, which we welcome with open and glad hearts, because new songs means new album means new tour means us following him around Europe again, but the concert itself - not worth paying thousands for. The new stuff was great too, I particularly liked Sea, Far From Here and Slow Motion. But overall we were very glad that we didn't, and very sorry for our new American buddies that had.

The set list, for those who care:

Far From Here
The One I Love
Money
Sea
My oh My
Long Distance
Ramona
Laughing Gas
Slow Motion
Alive
Model Life
Sail
Fargive [sic]

L's Song
Babs [Babylon]
Silver