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: 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!

The Changing of the Guard / 4 Train

Packed like sardines in an old tin can we push and squeeze and excuse me.
There are no ‘sorry’s here in the no man’s land that is the middle of the cart.
Hands cling to rails and heads are burrowed in books and phones
While homeless people tell sad stories that would break your heart
If you didn’t hear the same story two homeless people ago.
Oftentimes the same story is told with little differences,
Like instead of a sick son it is a girl or wife,
But people don’t care for any of these hindrances
Because we all have places to go and people to see
In this Amazon jungle of a city.

We hurtle along between 59th and 86th at breakneck speeds,
Planting our feet in position to sway with the machine
As the conductor announces a delay at Grand Concourse.
A collective groan rises up, everybody taking part
In this collective self-pity parade of head shakes,
Low mutters and sighs of frustration.
Eventually, finally, behind schedule as usual
the 4 train pulls into another station
That is full to the brim of students, teachers, laborers, preachers
And other professions that won’t fit on the train.

My calves begin to cramp as we wobble towards Burnside Avenue,
Still no sign of a seat or even a space to lean against a door
While veteran riders apply makeup and read books while the place rattles around them.
Train etiquette is still observed as space is made for the elderly, poor
And pregnant passengers as the sea parts for such weary travelers.
The carriage almost empties at Mosholu Parkway,
Leaving me the carriage to myself as we glide into Woodlawn, the last stop on this train.
I swap out with tired people at the opposite end of the working day,
An extremely exhausted changing of the guard as haggard looks are exchanged as
They begin their day and I am almost finished mine.

A Star Is Born: Review

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A bit late to the party here but I finally got to check out Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut, a retelling of A Star is Born. This is the fourth version of the 1937 original film, with Judy Garland playing the star in 1954 and Barbra Streisand playing the same character in 1976. Lady GaGa and Bradley Cooper play the two main characters. Gaga is Ally, a waitress and sometimes performer named Allie, who is discovered by alcoholic and worn out country music star Jackson Maine, played by Cooper. The cheek of him putting himself in his own film. Brazen out!
The film follows the romance that immediately blossoms between the two and the burgeoning career of Allie as she eventually begins to outshine her lover and partner. She lands record deals and primetime entertainment television show appearances while he is being replaced in Roy Orbison tribute bands. Cooper’s Jackson slides deeper into depression and begins to lose his battle with addiction. Following a successful stint in rehab after almost ruining Allie’s career in a drink and drug fuelled Emmy Awards Night (as per), he realises he is holding her back. In a gut punching ending he sets her free and Allie delivers us his final gift: a love song he wrote for her in the event that he would ever leave. We finish with a close-up on her face as she looks deadpan into the camera and although she has made money and won awards throughout the feature, finally a star is born.

Personally, I think that I let too many people tell me this movie was brilliant before I saw it. It was good. It was really good. I love a good rom-com and I love a good musical. As much as they tear me apart Lisa I love an emotional ending. This movie had every one of those in spades and I really enjoyed the movie. However, I had read so many good reviews and heard tell of the wonders of the movie that I just had too high of an expectation. The Imdb rating is also 8.3 which should make it one of the best films of all time. Voting systems can be skewed but I would put the rating in the mid 7s.
The film starts out slow despite the presence of some boozy rock n’ roll and riveting French tones. After Allie joins Jack on tour the film becomes more lively but as a result of this it almost becomes too jumpy. Granted, I am being a bit too critical here because at 136 minutes, the film is long enough but still, it could have been fleshed out more. We jump from the lovers being happy and joyous to being at each other’s throats the next. Perhaps that’s a perfect reflection of the rock and roll/popstar lifestyle coupled with addiction and I’m just a doorman on the nightshift who’s more Indie pop/rock and IPAs. C’est la Vie.

I truly did think this film was fantastic. The soundtrack is brilliant and there are some standout tracks climbing the charts right now. The best part of the film was definitely the chemistry between Cooper and GaGa. Lady’s acting wasn’t on par with someone with the calibre of Cooper throughout the whole film but there was a rawness about her performance that struck a chord (pun intended). It also helps that she has an amaxing voice and is already a global superstar. The scene where she is dragged on stage to sing her original song with Cooper that he arranged for her is nothing short of spine-tingling. Her unsuredness and half-embarrassment at singing her song is adorable and makes you root for the character from there until the end of the film. So go for the tunes, go for the emotions. Go if you want to see Lady Gaga’s nipple around halfway  through the movie. Go for the love of it all!