Category Archives: The Daily Rant

The Daily Whatever: On Addiction Recovery.

The imagination is a wonderful thing. It can both inspire and save a life. When I’m at a meeting, and if I get the chance to say my piece, I use my imagination to describe how it is I cope with my addiction.

I picture it as a toy of some description, say a really ugly teddy bear, wrapped from head to toe in duct tape. Then I imagine the bear locked in a room with no windows or light. The only person who has a key to this room is me. Therefore the only person who can let my addiction out is me. Occasionally I hear a muffled cry come out from the room, but I don’t worry about it. My addiction is locked away. It can call out all it wants – but there’s no way I’m letting it out to play.

This is how I cope. It works for me and I find it empowering.

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The Daily Whatever: On James Bond and ‘Skyfall’.

So now we know. After three years of negotiation, the 23rd installment of the longest film series in history is now in production. The “will-they-won’t-they” confusion is at an end, and by this time next year, cinema goers all around the world will be able to make up their own minds as to whether Skyfall is any good or not.

The signs are good. Daniel Craig returns to the role and will continue to add steel to the coveted role of 007. It’s my feeling that this will be his last performance as James Bond. Give it socks, Daniel! Go out with style.

We have Oscar-winners galore. Dame Judi returns as M (maybe her last performance, too), Javier Bardem will be the bad guy, and Sam (American Beauty) Mendes steps into the director’s chair. This should be an intriguing prospect. But something has me worried. Before the official unveiling of this project’s title, a Sky News reporter suggested that Skyfall would be concentrate less on action and more on characters.

To this I say: What. The. F**k?

This is James Bond, movie people. We fans want action, gadgets, girls and exotic scenery. Okay, the last two Bond films featured a return to basics form of storytelling. Nothing wrong with this. But the problem would appear to be preferring one style over another. I have no problems with intelligent storytelling; in fact I demand it. But if I want a spy story that explores the nature of the business and why people keep secrets, I’ll go see Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. (I did, and it was brilliant.) With Bond I want something else. Escapism, danger, derring-do, humour, and a script that won’t insult my intelligence in the same way Die Another Day did. With Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace, a balance was found and I would like this to be maintained.

But I still want to see stuff get blown up, okay?

The Daily Whatever: On Strangers in Coffee Shops.

You have an hour to kill, so what else are you going to do but go for a coffee somewhere, right? This is Dublin, and like any major city, there are about as many coffee shops to choose from as there are pubs. But you like Fixx because the staff there make better cappuccinos than Starbucks (which isn’t hard, in all fairness). To them it’s like an art form,

You order, pay for, then collect your cappuccino and sit down to read your book. For once you get a good seat, a comfortable one that you can flump into. You hang your coat on the chair opposite so no one will ask to sit with you. You’re going to be with people all night; all you want is an hour and some space to yourself. Besides, the book you’re reading – 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami – requires concentration; a table to yourself is what you require.

Because your head is dug into a book all you see of the woman who sits on the table next to you is her legs. She’s wearing black tights and black calf-length boots. Your eyes move up and you notice that she’s wearing a grey suit. At that moment, though, you can’t see what she looks like because she’s facing away from you. Her hair is jet black and you suspect she might be foreign, Chinese or Japanese maybe (although she might be a touch too tall to be Oriental).

On her tray she has a small pot of tea, a brown scone, some butter and jam. You go back to your book – but it’s too late; your attention is diverted. Her hair is short but her fringe covers her eyes. You see, however, that she wears glasses. But she’s looking down. First at her phone, as she checks her messages, then at her scone, as she decides whether or not to eat it. She pours her tea but you’re frustrated that you can’t get a look at her face. She may or may not be beautiful.

She doesn’t touch her scone but instead stretches her legs. You spot that she has knobbly knees. But you still can’t see her face. You return to your book.

Then you give up because you’re fascinated by this woman, this stranger whose face you can’t see. You see a wedding ring on her finger and think, At least her husband knows what she looks like. She picks up her phone and either makes a call or checks for voice mail. She says nothing, in fact there is no reaction at all. She drinks more tea, but this time cuts the scone in two and spreads some butter on it. She takes a nibble and puts it back on the tray. Then she looks down at her lap, and it is then you wonder if she’s upset about something, this woman whose face you can’t see. This woman in a grey suit, wearing black tights to cover her knobbly knees, wearing a long fringe to cover her eyes. You’re still not sure of her nationality, but you suspect she isn’t happy about something because she turns away and stares out the window.

Then she lowers her head again, concentrating on her lap. You think she has closed her eyes. You are utterly entranced by this stranger, and you find this weird because normally you don’t pay too much attention to other people (a strange trait for someone who writes, no?). She nibbles at her scone once more, then returns to her reverie. You are convinced she’s sad.

Then she gathers her coat and bag and heads off to the toilet. You wait for her to come out so you can get a good l00k at her face. But when she does she remains as enigmatic as when she came in. You think she may be beautiful. Sad but beautiful.

You return to your book. You now have thirty minutes to kill.

The Daily Rant: ON Windfalls.

Imagine you’re cleaning your house or apartment (which is something I do, by the way: I imagine I clean; I rarely do it in real life), when all of a sudden you find some money, money you never knew you had. It’s a substantial wad of cash and it could come in very handy in these times of severe austerity. You’d make use of it, wouldn’t you? Like pay off a few bills and treat yourself to a holiday or other such luxury. In other words, you wouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, right?

Due to an accounting error and human error (with the left hand not knowing what the right hand was doing), it appears Ireland isn’t as broke as it was previously thought. We are now richer to the tune of 3.5 billion euro, an amount of money that was found by accident. So what will our government do with this windfall? Wouldn’t it be a wonderful gesture if every tax-paying adult got a little something extra this December in the Budget? Say about €10000 each?

As Eliza Doolittle sang in My Fair Lady, “Wouldn’t this be lovely?”

The Daily Rant: Court TV

Who was it that decided Dr Conrad Murray’s trial for the manslaughter of Michael Jackson would make compelling television? Does he/she/they know anything at all about how these things work in real life? Court proceedings are terminal bores, even for those who are unfortunate enough to be part of the action.

Unlike films and television, there is very little excitement. We don’t have the surprise factor, where either the prosecution or defense attorney pulls a fast one on his opposite number. There is no drama, just layers and layers of detail repeated ad nauseum. Where is Petrocelli when you need him?

Guilty, your honour. Take them down.

The Daily Rant: Raving on ‘Misfits’.

The concept of the television show Misfits is simple. Take a disparate group of dysfunctional young men and women, give them some super powers, and then watch as they come to terms with their new responsibilities and hopefully put away some bad guys. So far, so very X Men and Heroes, right?

Well, kind of right. Throw in some exceptionally foul language, a bucket or two of blood, a heap of sexual shenanigans, as well as the most quotable dialogue this side of The Princess Bride, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for the freshest television series I’ve seen in many a year.

Last Sunday saw the premiere of Misfits‘ third season. Already it had its back against the wall because it had lost its leading star Robert Sheehan (Nathan) and many fans had claimed the show would suffer for his leaving. Enter Joe Gilgun, an accomplished actor in his own right. The show would sink or swim on his performance and character.

I am delighted to report that none of the spark has gone. If anything, I think Gilgun’s addition to the cast can only be a good move. His character, Rudy, is certainly more sympathetic and much more likable than Nathan. His power – the ability to create an identical copy of himself – is intriguing, especially when each copy has a personality of its own, and will lend itself to some interesting stories this season.

My favourite character, though, is Kelly. For me, and I think for most of the viewers last night, she had the best line. Check out the clip below and you’ll witness her deadpan response to an offer of brunch.

Exquisite.

 

The Daily Rant: Raving Haruki Murakami and 1Q84

Rather than rant away on some topic that’s currently got my back up, today I wish to rave about an author I’ve recently discovered. I don’t know a lot about Japanese author Haruki Murakami, but 200 pages into his new novel, 1Q84 (first published in his native country in 2009), I am astounded and captivated by this literary marvel.

This is a long book and was originally published as a trilogy. However,  the American publishing company Knopf published all three novels in one volume last week and it’s this edition that I picked up in Hodges Figgis. For reasons best known to myself I tend not to read foreign authors (my recent attempt to read Les Miserables stalled at the end of the first volume), but it appears Murakami’s style is distinctly Western by nature.

I can’t give too much away about the story mainly because I don’t really know what it’s about. Okay, it has a fantasy feel to it because of its theme of parallel universes and a race of beings known only as the Little People. But it’s the power of Murakami’s prose that’s holding my attention. He is a very ‘readable’ literary fiction writer (an oxymoron if ever there was one) and his characters are uniquely drawn and compelling.

From what I’ve read so far, there is murder, sex, religious zealotry, magic realism and a 17-year-old Japanese dyslexic who may or may not have written a book called Air Chrysalis. It is this girl, Fuka-Eri, around which the plot revolves.

At the moment I’m taking every opportunity to read this novel, whether it’s stealing a page or two while working, or whole chapters when I have more time. Like I said, I’m only a fifth of the way through the novel. but already I feel like I’ve discovered lost treasure.