Dear Diary

Happy Friday, folks. Another work week down for all of us young professionals, ha? Just clocking in and clocking out, amirite? Guys? Just workin’ for the man, paying our bills. It’s a crazy world, being a young professional. That’s what we’re called, right? Young professionals? I’ve heard that on the radio anyways. The radio, huh? Can’t live with it, can’t live without it, as the old young professional saying goes. Guys?

I recently started a writing class of a Monday morning because I inexplicably have a lot of free time. The first class was fun and typical. Most of the class was quite a bit older than me and the teacher was quirky, artsy and had the trademark breathy voice of a writer. She was cool and so were the other class members. Now, if I get a whiff of a full time job they’re all dead to me and FUCK WRITING. But until then, they are my brothers and sisters in arms and I love each and every one of them like family.
The teacher made sure to tell us that we should write in a journal every night. We are not writing a diary, (which makes the title of this piece fairly redundant, but hey, that’s showbiz!) but moreso a journal with writerly intent. Every entry was to be descriptive and awash with prose and feeling. Mundane events were to be transformed into something extraordinary. My life was to be interesting.
I gave it a go over the last few days. Here are a couple of entries.

01/10/19.

General shitheads, teenagers and asshole adults: “What films are on?” “What time’s the next film on?” “Can I go see Hustlers please?” “But I’m his mother and I say he can go see that film! This is ridiculous!” “Why do I have to pay an extra euro for a seat I didn’t ask for?”

Me: Guys, if I could just answer ye all in one sweeping statement. I appreciate that the signs are hard to read and that the writing is a bit small on some of the fliers. I know, too, that you’re his mother but, and forgive me if I’m overstepping the mark here, but you don’t work for IFCO nor do you work here. That’s actually my fault, sir. You can sit wherever you want and I’ll just inform the managers that nobody wants to pay for luxury. So, everyone, kindly, FUCK OFF!

02/10/19

Dearest Diary,

It is a blustery day here in the North of the City. The rains have stayed away for now but there is talk of a storm coming. Lorenzo, they are calling him. Isn’t that funny, Diary? I am imagining a big hunk of a man, of Spanish descent of course, riding in to our Emerald Isle on a horse and sweeping the nation up in hysteria.
Oh, Diary, it has been so long since anyone has swept me up in hysteria, if you know what I mean. Do forgive me, Diary. I don’t know myself sometimes.
The local picture house still holds me in employ, thankfully. I am looking for something more permanent but I doubt that an office will satisfy my need of popped corn and cola, HA HA HA HA. Oh, we do have fun, Diary.
Anywho, it has been fun. Until tomorrow, my friend.

Yours,
Ciana Dalton.

03/10/19

All I give you is love. I made a promise to love you forever, through thick and thin. I have upheld my end of the deal. I will love you forever, but you have to meet me halfway here. I can’t be doing all of the work. I can’t see you week in and week out just not caring about me anymore. It’s not just me. There’s a billion of us out there, loving you and needing you to just… care. So, as God is my witness, if you lose to AZ Alkmaar tonight in the Europa League I will still love you, but I will not like you.

I’m still working on my tone. Hopefully my teacher approves. Wish me luck you guys, xo 

Barry’s Rants: The Gym

Well, horse? How are we getting on now? You off training? The bag on your shoulder! You always have it with you. The gym? Ah jaysus, you’re not one of those lads, are ya? I had high hopes for you, Dalton boi. Just another young sheep is all you are!

I wonder would you be able to go out and do a bit of honest work with all your veins and your muscles, ha?! All for show, I’d say anyways. Bicep curls and ye lifting little plastic yokes. I don’t know what ye think ye’re doing but it’s not exercise. Ye’re getting bigger alrite, I won’t begrudge ye that! But at what cost? Doing a crabwalk down the aisle of the train when you’re getting on and off? Cramming yourself into the cubicle when you need a piss? Where do ye draw the line? One look at a bale of straw or a pallet of bricks and ye’d be gone home to flex in the mirror!
No, I worked in the office all my life, why? What’s so funny about that you langer?

My oldest grand son is one of those personal trainers, yknow? Telling young ones and Junior B all-stars what way to bend down in the morning! Getting them to throw heavy balls off the floor and off the wall! He asked me the other morning if he could use my garage for work and I didn’t know he was at this shite so I let him at it. I came back after a few pints that night to hooks and chains all over the walls and the floor; big black ropes on the floor; mirrors at all angles! My own grandson! A sex-pest?? Where did his parents go wrong?? Is that what you’re into, ha?? Thank feck my bus is nearly here because my skin is crawling thinking about ye just staring at each other and grunting. Pack of weirdos, the lot of ye.

Look, all im saying is ye can lift all the weights in the world and I’d still bate ye in an arm wrestle down the Country Squire. I’ll be set up in the back room this Saturday night. Entry is the print of a Murphy’s. Bring it to me, wait for me to finish it and a packet of scampi, and then I’ll flip ye’re arms over faster than a feckin mattress.

Best of luck you gowl!

Sir, You Need to Calm Down.

“Sir, you need to calm down.” The bartender puts her hand up in front of her and backs away from me.
I start to laugh, wondering what she is talking about. I was just sitting here enjoying my pint and I asked for another one. She looks oddly familiar. I make to rise up off my seat and ask her what I did wrong when I feel a hand on my shoulder. I turn around a see a security guard. He’s tall, blocky with a shock of red hair.
“Sir, you need to calm down.” Again, I chuckle and look around at the other patrons, only now they are not there. The young couple sitting next to me, a fair haired man and brown haired woman, have moved to the other end of the bar. They are shouting something over to me but the music is very loud. After a small lull in the music I hear them shouting the exact phrase that the security guard and the bartender had just said.

The bartender has reached the end of the bar and hasn’t taken her eyes off of me. I can see her hand and lip quivering, terrified. But I still don’t know what I have done, and look pleadingly into the security guard’s eyes. He leans in close, his blue eyes boring into mine, whispering, “Just calm down. This happens to everybody.” I wrench my shoulder from his grasp which wasn’t that strong. I burst out the back doors, passing two bouncers who tell me to go get a coffee and to come back when I’ve calmed down. I look back at them, realising they are twins. They both turn to watch me walk right down the busy city street.
Pubs, clubs and restaurants adorn each side of the street. My friends are all outside one of them, beckoning me over and at the last second turning away. I hear them say, “But you work every weekend, we didn’t think you’d mind.”, as I continue on, confused beyond belief.
Further on, I see all the lads from America. For a brief second my heart leaps with joy. Cigarette smoke blurs them in front of me, each asking the same question, “Are you coming back? You said you were.” I can’t get through the smoke and tears begin to form as I shout, “I don’t know! I don’t know anything!”

Through the haze of smoke and tears I manage to hail a taxi. I hop in, speaking to the back of his ginger head. ‘Home, please.”
“You need to calm down. This happens to everyone, it’s normal to feel like this.”
“What is everyone talking about? I’m fine! I had one fucking pint and I got refused another drink! What is it with this fucking town?!”
The driver turns around and the shock of seeing myself in the front seat causes me to jump up in my seat, banging my head on the roof, hard. I begin to feel woozy, my vision slipping.
He, I, look down at myself, shaking my head and sighing. “He’ll be grand, it’s just a bad day.”

Barry’s Rants: Coffee, Pt. 2.

This week Barry declines my invitation for a coffee and goes on another expletive-filled rant. Starbucks, the mighty coffee giant, falls under his scrutinous gaze.

Jaysus, sure what are ye after now? Coffee? Where? Not a hope in hell am I going back to that Starbucks place. After the furore the last day and my girls giving me stink over that bleedin’ French press I said I’d go and have a look when I was in Blackpool. By the way, the only time I want to hear the words ‘French-press’ in my presence again are when the rugby is on. And even then, rugby is not allowed in my presence. Especially at God-awful o’clock in the mornin’! Good Irish games like football, hurling and soccer only. Maybe the tennis.
Anyways, I was down in Blackpool, looking at the shops and I said I’d walk over to the cinema. I saw a load of the boys from Sunbeam back in the day sitting outside Starbucks. Jimmy, Carl, Paudie and a few others. I went over and asked them what were they at. Should they not be walking around aimlessly or sitting next to Jack Lynch or Ronald McDonald over in the shopping centre like the rest of us auld lads?
“Ah sure, Starbucks does a great latte, Barry”, piped up Paudie.
“Do they do coffee?”, I asked him. The laugh the boys got out of that. I hadn’t a notion what they were chuckling about but I laughed along as if I made a joke. I was always the joker of the group inside in the factory.
“Ah, you’re gas, Ray. I’d say you’d be a mocha man, would you?”
I nearly lifted him off the chair with a slap before I stopped myself. I’m a tea man, and if anyone says any different I’ll run him up and down Shandon street until even the four faced liar asks me to stop.

Anyways, in I went. I’ll admit to you now, I was half nervous, and not just because of the coffee. The lads behind the counter were smiling away mad. “How are you, sir?”, and “Lovely day isn’t it, sir”, and I barely in the door. They all had hair that was too long for them. One fella had a long ponytail down to his arse. I tell ya now if I found a long, shitty strand of hair in my coffee I’d have torn the place asunder. The other fella had hair down to his shoulders, blond tips and all. They were too happy for my liking anyways. Nobody should be that happy in work. It’s grand having a laugh with the lads but by God you shouldn’t be smiling and laughing the whole time. You should be at the very least, a little miserable.

So I went up to the counter, right, and I said to myself, ‘feck it’, I’ll chance this mocha. If that leaves this conversation you are fecked, by the way. I said I’d chance the mocha, just to sound like I knew what I was at. “One mocha, please,” says I.
“Would you like to try the blond, sir?”
Well, I nearly hit the roof! “I don’t know who’s been spreading lies about me but I’ve been a brunette man all me life.”
You should’ve seen the two lads faces. Almost puce! I looked outside and there were all the lads pointing and laughing at me. I felt like going outside and throwin’ the three of ‘em into traffic. I turned around and the two lads were crouched over trying to hide themselves and their giggles. Eventually, after paying five feckin’ euro, I got my, “mocha”. Hot chocolate in a feckin cardboard cup! I saw your man going to put whipped cream on top and he nearly turned to stone with the look I gave him. Medusa wouldn’t be too distantly related to us as far as I know, so one of the uncles in Michael’s tells me.

I’d say I made it to Woodies before ditching that rancid muck. Never again. I’ll go to O’Briens for a tea and a club sandwich and that’s about as exotic as I’ll be going again! 

“Sorry to inform you…”

Those dreaded words. “We are sorry to inform you that you have not been selected for interview….you have not been shortlisted for progression.” Well, I’m sorry to inform you that I never even cared, and the only reason I’m reacting in an angry or a sad way to this news is because I just watched a very emotional documentary on Netflix.. oh, what was it called? I think it was something like, “Cian Dalton, you will never amount to anything.” Yes, very specific to me, I thought it was odd too.
No matter how much of a brave face you put on it still hurts to get an email like that. I like to immediately tell whoever knows about my interest in said job that I never really wanted it anyways. I assure them that I am so glad that I didn’t get selected for that cushy office job with at least 4 weeks paid holidays a year, free parking and half off the gym in the same business park. Sure what would I want all that for? What would I be doing with health and dental benefits? I haven’t been to either in years, HA HA HA.
It’s only when I’m on my own then that I sit and lament and mourn my four weeks holidays that I had already planned in my head.

My biggest problem is I hype jobs up i mo cheann. I’ll get a call or an email setting up an interview and in my gorgeous, big-brained head I will already have the job. I’ll plan out my holidays, have trips booked and weekends away all thought out. I’ll be singing the praises of the job to my parents and anyone who will listen. “Yeah, I’ll have Friday and Saturday off, right? Unreal, I know! I’ll just have to work nights for the rest of my life, work every single Bank holiday and miss Christmas Day, New Years Day, and most birthdays and anniversaries. Money? Haven’t asked em yet.”

I’m lucky I have a job, and a grand one at that. Sure look, things could be worse, I suppose. I could be unemployed, homeless or worse. I am very lucky and have had a great year. I’m just sick of getting emails saying my experience in New York isn’t worth anything in the Emerald Isle. I’m sorry now, but if I could become sort of friends with the homeless people who used camp outside the building in Manhattan and get them to leave before my boss came down in the morning, I think I could handle a few Americans asking, “Where’s the Blarney Stone? I want the gift of the gab!” I tell you now you’ll get the gift of the jab off me if you stand that close to me again hi!

So look, I’m sorry to inform you, but I don’t want your poxy job anyways. I have an extremely successful blog. Haven’t heard of it? Check my C.V.

Jesus Christ this is on my C.V.! No wonder I’m feckin’ unemployable.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017)

There’s something about sports movies that just get me going. The storylines are always uplifting and you are almost guaranteed a happy ending. Even if the sequel throws up some new troubles and questions for our sports star, they almost always come out triumphant at the end.
Goon (2011), was the first time I had seen Seann William Scott play a role other than a loud-mouth, fast talking degenerate. The kind but clinically dumb Doug Glatt transforms from bouncer to hockey player and fighter extraordinaire, leading a rag tag team to semi-professional, Canadian hockey glory. He beats the crap out of every team he plays, meeting his one and only match in Ross Rhea, played be Liev Schreiber. The finale of the first movie is Rocky-esque, the two knocking each other to the ground at the exact same time in an icy punch-out.

Seann William Scott

The sequel, Last of the Enforcers, picks up with Doug ‘The Thug’ married to his girlfriend Eva, played by Alison Pill. Injuries are plaguing him and threatening his career, while a new threat in the form of Anders Cain (Wyatt Russel) proves to be too much for our hero. He is forced to retire and prepare for a life of fatherhood and desk jobs. But will the lure of the ring and the bloodshed be too much for Doug, and will his marriage be strong enough to allow him to fight and be a father?

I enjoyed this movie but like most straight to video, or now straight to Netflix, sequels, it is not as good as the first one. I found myself checking how long there was left in the film. Whereas in the first instalment, we knew Doug was stupid yet it was his kind nature and inherent goodness that drew us to him, this time around it is used for far more cheap laughs throughout. Scott doesn’t have much to do here and is just there for the fights.
Alison Pill puts in a strong performance as the suffering Eva, lending a note of seriousness to a production of cheap laughs.
Wyatt Russel is O.K. as the villain of the piece. He is hauntingly good at looking… well haunted, by his fathers domineering nature and lack of love and his own failures as a player.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017)
Wyatt Russel and Seann William Scott

However, when all is said and done, I still love a sports flick, and the Highlanders’, and indeed Doug Glatt’s, journey to the playoffs is full of great hockey moments and fantastic fights.
Schreiber is a welcome addition, reprising his role as the punch-drunk and alcohol-drunk Rhea.

Rating: 3/5.

Hangover watchable: Definitely.

Dog Soldiers

This past weekend, myself and Katie went to Spike Island After Dark. That’s the name of the tour. We didn’t sneak onto Spike Island after dark. We paid money to go and hear a Q & A from horror actors, talent managers and casting directors. Get off my back, GAWD!
Liam Cunningham was the main reason I wanted to go. He was magnificent in Game of Thrones, and I had completely forgotten that he was in War of the Buttons, one of the films of my childhood. The Q&A was fantastic. We really got an insight into the changing landscape of Hollywood and how the onus of power has switched from casting directors to producers and agents.
After our tour, the talk with the guests and a small break we sat down to watch a horror film. Due to Cunningham being one of the guests, the film of choice was the 2002 cult hit, Dog Soldiers.

Set somewhere in the Scottish highlands, a routine military exercise turns into a nightmare as a unit is hunted by more than just their comrades…and the damage is deadly real.
Cunningham stars as Capt. Ryan, a delightfully morally corrupt soldier who knows more about their attackers than he lets on.
Kevin McKidd is Cooper, the fearless, calm and collected Private who refuses to believe until its almost too late.
The two leads are fantastic in this movie. McKidd embodies the spirit of what we would associate with a soldier; willing to die for his brothers in arms and not afraid to stand up to the nefarious Ryan.
After hearing Cunningham speak in his Dublin drawl,it was almost disconcerting to hear him speak in a prim and proper upper class British accent. He delights in antagonising the other characters and his smug sounding voice is perfect.

Liam Cunningham

The film itself is not necessarily scary. There are a few jump-scares that are telegraphed from a mile away. The werewolves themselves look hilarious by today’s CGI standards. However, I can see exactly why this is a cult hit. It is just the right mix of scary, funny, dark and ridiculous to make you not look at your watch for an hour and forty five minutes.
I like McKidd and Cunningham from different roles so I was delighted to see them together in this, even as foes. The supporting cast are great, providing a lot of laughs and gruesome deaths.

Rating: 3/5. The werewolves look absolutely ridiculous. Like, you know when you see girls wearing heels that are far too big for them and they’re falling all around Daunt Square at 3 in the morning? Yep.

Hangover watchable: Definitely.

Barry’s rants: Coffee, pt. 1.

I bumped into an auld fella at the bus stop last week. Short, half hunched over, half a major burning away in his hand. He was wearing an old, patchwork jacket and a flat cap. He saw my Cork City jersey and we started chatting. Now, I didn’t let on to him I know sweet feck all about the team bar a few of the players and the fact that the season has been poor. The conversation really got going as soon as he asked what I was drinking. The answer, ‘A mocha with whipped cream’, sent him into a frenzy.
All I know about him is that his name is Barry, and he is, “Cork city born, bred and raised, boi.”

Yerra, it was far from mochas and cappucinos and lattes I was raised! Back in my day if you asked me for a cup of coffee I wouldn’t know what you were talking about! All we had was tea and boiling water. Now, there’s all sorts of coffee and different types and blends and what have you. There’s even coffee cake! Coffee feckin’ cake?! When will it end? If you got a glass of water for your birthday and you got let off without a belt to the back of the legs you’d be happy. And my daughter the other day asking me to go halves on a French-press coffee maker for the young one. I will in me French-press go halves! Off to Dunnes and buy some Maxwell House. Maxwell will sort ye out or I will. “How much is it anyways?”, I asked. 20 euros! “Away! Out of my sight”, I said to her. If I ever spend more than 3 euro on coffee I’ll have broken a bond to the coffee from Maxwell’s house. When her Mother, God rest her, sent me to the coal quay for a slab of instant coffee I nearly had her brought to St. Michael’s to be checked in! Coffee, I kept saying, is a ploy by the British to get back in and start another famine. We’ll become so dependent on the stuff that one day, there’ll be a coffee bean blight and you, my daughter, her young one and the rest of the hipsters in their beanies will perish. Ye’ll be talked about in history books. Away now, and don’t be bothering me.

Now, I am partial to the odd Americano. I couldn’t tell you the difference between an Americano and a mocha, except for the feckin’ price. 5 euro for hot chocolate with whipped cream inside in that Costa coffee?? Costa feckin’ lot of money, so it does. I might have to branch into town and see what they have on offer. My grandson is always on about Gloria’s Jeans. I think there’s a coffee place next to her clothes shop. Or else he’s staring at women named Gloria without a morsel of remorse, the little prick. Anyways, thanks for the chat. What was your own name? Dalton? You’re not from Cork anyways, boy. I’ll chat to you again, best of luck!

Unbelievable

It is rare that a show or movie leaves me speechless. I won’t lie to you. There were a number of times during the show that I was a bit uncomfortable. The subject matter is extremely shocking and it was tough to watch at times. Rape, especially the rape of women, is a common thing that we hear of almost every day. It fills me with a great sadness to hear of any incident of rape or sexual assault, whether it be from a person I know personally or a random person on the internet who is sharing their story. This show, despite me being hooked and enjoying the storytelling and the acting, made me sad. I can only be thankful that I am just sad at what has happened and what is happening and not suffering from it myself. The women depicted in this story, from Marie, Amber, Lily and Sarah to Detectives Duvall and Rasmussen, are all heroes. The women who live with what has happened everyday, all over the world, are heroes.

Unbelievable tells the story of Marie Adler, played by Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart). In 2008, Marie was raped at knifepoint, bound and blindfolded. The detectives who took her report didn’t believe her and Marie, after intense questioning and definite coercion, ended up saying she made the whole thing up. Living with the reputation of a false accuse, Marie’s life spirals out of control. Meanwhile, three years later, two detectives in Colorado, Duvall and Rasmussen, feel like they are both looking for the same rapist. Can they catch the monster, and is it all linked to Marie?

My lame attempt at making you want to see the show is unnecessary. If you want to watch a show that celebrates the power of the victims to hold onto their lives and the power of the female detectives who believed when so many men didn’t, then this is the show for you. If you want to watch a show based on a true story in which a violent monster is taken off the streets and his victims can live with at least a glimmer of hope for a better future, then this is the show for you. If you want to watch a show that is unafraid of exploring the brutality of rape and the aftermath of such a horrific act, then this is the show for you. If you can’t bring yourself to watch and see the toxic nature of a lot of male behaviour in the modern world, then this isn’t the show for you. But you should watch it anyways and learn.

I learned an awful lot from this show. Like any series based around the search, capture and imprisonment of a criminal, the intricacies of a police station is extremely intriguing. The different acronyms for scientific tests are interesting to hear about, as are the different hunches that detectives and their partners have. What struck me the most about this was the fact that rape victims have to relive and relay the information so many times. I know that it is important for police, detectives and doctors to have statements and to know what to look for, but I can’t begin to imagine how vulnerable the victim must feel in that moment.
I know that while I’m writing this it may come across as preachy and full of woe. A man, a big man at that, who has never felt at threat on his own walking down a dark road, or been in danger of being sexually assaulted is lamenting the plight of women and being a ‘white knight’. But it is sickening to think about and this show is important for people to watch.
As uncomfortable as it may be for some people to talk about it, the toxic traits associated with masculinity, mainly the perceived ownership of womens’ bodies or their perceived right to touch and feel women in a pub or club, need to be assessed and talked about in detail.

Rating: 5/5. Unbelievable show, pardon the pun. Go see for yourself.

Please read the Pulitzer Winning article of the true story that the show is based on.

https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/12/16/an-unbelievable-story-of-rape

Extra Ordinary

Extra Ordinary (2019)

It is always a pleasure to get Irish movies into the cinema. None will ever reach the heights of Young Offenders. Given that it is set in Cork city and showcases a lot of the suburbs and the city centre, it was always going to be hard beat. Unfortunately, other Irish movies never get the audiences they deserve, at least in our cinema.
I had seen the trailer for this flick a couple of months ago and had a feeling that I would like it. It takes place in an unnamed rural Irish village. Rose, played by Maeve Higgins, is a local driving instructor with a spooky past. She doesn’t use her talents anymore but used to converse with the dead and with spirits with her late father. Martin, played by Barry Ward (Jimmy’s Hall), is a local man plagued by the spirit of his unhelpfully helpful late wife. When his daughter Sarah is placed under an evil spell by unsuccessful musician Christian Winter (Will Forte), he contacts Rose and so begins their adventure to save Sarah and get Rose her groove back.

Barry Ward and Maeve Higgins

I enjoyed this film. Like every Irish production, the plot is thick and has many different threads. This one doesn’t get too muddled up and is relatively easy to follow. The ending is a bit mad, even for a movie about ghost-whisperers in modern rural Ireland. I won’t ruin anything but you will laugh out loud and wonder whether they will show what they show. They do…tastefully!
I think that a lot of people would be surprised at how much they would enjoy this movie. The twists and turns are delightful and the performances from the principle cast are outstanding. There are a few slapstick moments and a few well constructed jokes. There are a few intense moments followed by silly interactions. The movie has it all, really.
Extra Ordinary plays out like a long episode of The Savage Eye, or Father Ted even. The comedic possibilities of Irish countryside and the folk that inhabit it are endless. You see a bit of people you know from your own road and village in this movie.
Fans of the Channel 4 smash hit Derry Girls will enjoy the cameos of Sr. Michael (Siobhan McSweeney) and Ciaran (Jamie Beamish), who play a town gossip and a self-obsessed county councillor respectively.

Will Forte and Maeve Higgins

Maeve Higgins is extremely funny as the lonely, awkward yet charming Rose. Her bumbling delivery of her lines is perfect, as Rose is constantly thrust into situations she doesn’t ever want to be in again. Higgins is definitely the star of this production.
Will Forte is also hilarious as the evil yet highly incompetent Christian Winter, constantly failing as a musician and in his quest to get back on top.
Special mention must go to Barry Ward for his turn as the many different spirits that inhabited his body.

All in all, this film was extremely enjoyable. I laughed out loud a few times which is always a good sign. I think if more people gave it a chance they would really like it but unfortunately, IT: Chapter 2 and Downton Abbey are both new releases also and will rule the roost for the next few weeks.

Rating: 4/5. Loses a point for Claudia O’Doherty’s character. I really like O’Doherty in Netlfix’s Love, but the character is just too crass and vulgar for this dry, Irish movie.