Monday, August 29, 2005

Drinking beer in the Deep South

Sometimes I think I should be writing more, and sometimes I am stuck for things to say. I think no one will be interested in the slightest in anything I have to say. Maybe that is correct, but tonight nudged me straight out of one of those moods. There I was in a bar with a New York Taxi stuck on the roof, a Caddy parked up outside, some huge trucks in the parking lot, the sound track to "O brother where are thou" was blasting through the bar, coors was on tap, the waiter was a stocky greasy haired hill billy rocker type, the barman was bald fat and bearded. Burgers and ice cream were being ferried out to tables as quickly as humanly possible and the pool table was worn and tilted, the weather was hot and sticky even at 10pm at night, but what would you expect from the deep south of.....FRANCE.
I was cracking up laughing to think that although Ken and Joe are gone back stateside, they would have had a huge laugh to look at the Texas Truck stop just outside Antibes, and have a beer, and yet listen to the staff talking in french.

Funny how you hear so much negativity about France from the U.S. side of things and how much the French and indeed the world admire certain aspects of American Culture. Pity that people of different cultures who know so little about each other, either completley admire or completely destest the other without knowing who the other really is?
So I guess I should take the opportunity to say that although I identify strongly with my passport identity, Irish, I don't think I would be considered typically Irish. I don't really know. Are any of you who read this typically American or French or English or anything at all?

Anyway the new job is interesting, lots of nice people and intelligent people which is always good. They all seem to pretty cool too. I can't and won't put in too much about where I work, some people might not be happy. Suffice to say I am learning and enjoying the challenge. I do have one worry, but will try to sort that out with the boss tomorrow.

Oh yeah the real news this week as I am clean out of cash and haven't a red penny because I had no work whatsoever for the month of August and having worked since July 7th, is that I got stung for 81 euros and 50 cents to get my 50cc scooter out of the police lock up, as apparently it was causing a security problem at 11am for a match that was kicking off a 9pm monaco time. The fourrier here is what they call the car pound and yes I was feeling well and truly skinned. Yes the cops in Monaco finally got me. What can I say? I had eluded them for so long, but not any more. The race is over, the competition is finished. They won't get me again as my free parking starts next month :-). I am really hoping the cheque doesn't bounce. Well August has been the most positive month I have had since I got here in June 2003 I reckon. Long may it continue.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Messing with history

I know, the dangers of writing when tired but since when was Leonardo da Vinci famous for David, well since Michelangelo sculpted him and I got the great men mixed up, that's since when. Oh well if I have an excuse there is a lot happening, but god, am I embarrassed.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Pizza Pasta Pisa Pastis

Well there I was minding my own business strolling through one of the many gateways of Pisa, when I saw it. I was stunned. I had seen photographs, postcards, drawings, etchings, images both moving and still, documentaries, in fact all sorts of representations, but nothing prepared me for the reality that is The Leaning Tower of Pisa. I was stunned by its beauty, but most of all by the angle at which it seemed to threaten to crash down onto the square below. How it manages to defy gravity is for more scientific minds than I, but it is certainly a spectacle to behold. If you have never done it, go visit. Along with the Cathedral and Bapistry the plaza of Pisa, is an amazing site. There is not one straight line or right angle in the whole set of construction.
Now I was thinking of working in something about eating Pizza in the plaza of Pisa but I reckoned it would make a clumsy sentence, and besides, I ate pizza elsewhere.

The food in Italy is half the price it is in Nice, which incidentally is half the price it is in Dublin. So basically by European standards it's very cheap. At one restaurant, at the top of a mountain, at the end of the track, at which there was nothing else but this restaurant, four of us ate, pasta frite, which is deep fried dough, pasta with mushrooms, wild boar with a selection of fried vegetables, two, desserts and coffee for all, and two bottles of wine, which my host assured me were very rude, for the princely sum of 48 euros. Let me put this in perspective. As I walked along Rue de la Buffa with Joe Bagent today and my son, we stopped at a small eatery. We ordered a litre of wine, two plates of carpaccio de beouf, one dessert, two coffees, and the price was the same.

I am still off the cigarettes.

Not even a drag, a puff, a toke, a sniff, a pull, nothing. But I have started drinking pastis (finally). ?????

Italians are a funny people. They claim to be the best at everything. They are a very proud, beautiful open people, and their claim at being the best, is not so much a statement of arrogance. It's plain fact (in their opinion). This is strongly opposed to the French way of stating they are good at something, which is to ram it down your throat, so strongly in fact that you begin to wonder are they afraid of you finding out it's not at all true. The Italians don't have this fear as it just isn't a problem.
So imagine my surprise when I realise the leather market in Firenze, is not the only thing this particular town has to offer. You see it was only when my companion pointed out to me that the statue I was admiring was Leonardo da Vinci's David, that I realised I was in Florence. This town is a place of such architectural beauty, Italian simplicity and the worlds best and most definitely worst waiters, that I was completely blown away. I met one who during our meal spoke five languages one of them Gaelic. Yes I was impressed. I met another who didn't even bother to try and keep us when he was sullen in response to our simple questions. We left, he went back to watching TV.
The town boasts some wonderful Cathedrals, and craftsmanship of the highest order you wonder about the Italian claim of being the best and for a very long time, you don't doubt it. However they do hold their hands up when it comes to making beer and admit that horse piss is probably better. Their wine is stunning to say the least and perhaps lighter than many of the french ones I have tasted.

I thought a lot when I was there. It has been the first real holiday I have had where I wasn't coping with another family's politics or stressing out, or taking refuge,in about eight years, it was just a holiday. Broke and waiting to start my new job next Monday it was probably the best time it could arrive.
Funny for me then that the Italians play the Irish in a match amicale in Dublin tomorrow night. Even funnier to think that next year I will be able to fly home when I like and treat my son to what he wants. :)

We cut the holiday two days short to facilitate my ex as she couldn't find any one to look after my son. She couldn't cut hers short to facilitate me starting my new job next Monday. Why do I bother mentioning this? Well I might need a published record some time, but it is also to remind myself when I am older and wiser what an idiot I have been to get involved with a selfish individual, and also as I need to find someone to mind my boy next Monday, writing it down here is a stress relief in a way.
So the last month, I have found a very decent woman, spent lots of time with my son, found a real job finally, and learnt a lot about people who will fuck you up for a beer or a coffee and others who are real friends. That's life folks, at least I know I am living it. Thanks for reading and commenting. Back very very soon.

Friday, August 05, 2005

U2 Bono and all that in Nice

Yes I did. I saw U2 the band in the Nikkia Arena in Nice. Well I do live here after all. Last night I made my way along the voi rapide (Just realised I don't know how to spell that) and traveled easily along well controlled streets and got to park up beside the stadium. Organisation was amazing except for the 3 CRS guys (bad cops) who shouted at me "En Face" about 6 times. In front of you, was were I was going so why where they shouting it at me.The fat one decided I was either deaf or stupid, so I told him I didn't speak good french. Ahead he said. Finally they parted and I could see the "En face " where I wanted to guy. Christ but I hate grunts.
Now let me clear, I grew up in Dublin and heard these guys practicing near to where I lived, so I am not for a moment star struck. I didn't even want to criticise but what the heck it's not every day a body can be a critic, (or is it?).
So the light show and the stage where fantastic. However, I was convinced these guys had become Swiss. (the bass player Mr Clayton looked like his mother had told him off and went and stood in the corner for the most part). The group were due to start at 9:45pm and they did. They played exactly till 11:25pm and finished, came back on and played till 11:45 exactly, came back again and finished at midnight sharp. Now maybe they all had to run for fear of turning into pumkins, but at 58 euro a ticket and 30 euro a T-shirt, you would think that these guys could have thrown in a freebie.
Mobile phones were inoperable for the show until Bono asked us to text for charity. It was an impressive sight and somewhat scary to see 53,000 mobile phones being swung about and I was partly convinced he did this simply because he could.
You see a few years ago we used to tell the joke about the rock star who dies and goes to heaven. St Peter is showing him around and the guy says "Hey is that Bono?", and St Peter says "No, that Jesus Christ, he just thinks he's Bono". Well last night I realised why they told this joke about Dublins most famous. He hailed his public like a Roman Emperor or dare I say it a God. It was a strange phenomenon to see a front man so bent on being great, loved, admired, on being a hero, on being a saviour, backed up by the three most ordinary blokes who ever graced a stage. He talked about third world debt, (a worthy cause), he talked about the fighting between the children of Abraham, Mohamed, Jew, Christian, about Coexist (the x is the star of david in his show). I wondered of course about the daughters of Isis and the children of shiva and how they might feel.
He parodied a Nazi, even giving the Nazi salute, no he isn't Nazi he was making fun of them, but this is the South of France and people are sensitive to that here, so maybe he should have asked someone. By my crummy math I reckon the four of them made about a 1/4 of a million euro each for 2 hours work and perhaps they deserve it, but given that I can't afford to pay my phone bill, I have to say I felt like telling bono to whip out his phone and send his own bloody text. I also wondered for all his lip service to the cause of Africa, where were the African support group or African musicians playing alongside? Or even African technicans or security???? None were in evidence.
Musically people seemed to prefer the older numbers, Sunday bloody Sunday, or New years day, got huge responses while the newer stuff was enjoyed, but not as enthusiastically. With or without you was a big hit, it is after all a great song.
The highlight of the night for me was when Bono promised to be able to speak perfect french next year, he then asked Edge for a comment, I quote, "Je suis un Rock Star et j'habite in the south of France." I am sure someone could right a song about that, (if they hadn't already).

So the gig was a good gig but as I have already said, the guy is a great singer, I just wish he would let someone else do the talking.

Right other news
My boy is nuts about me Hooray. I haven't even had a drag of a ciggarette since last Sunday night Hooray again. Mind you there was a humungous amount of very sweet smelling herbs being smoked last night all around us.
I am off to Italy today with the lady who got me the ticket for the concert from friends of ours whom we were supposed to hook up with. But, when your phone is blocked finding a friend in a crowd of 53,000 isn't that easy.
When I come back the new life, struggle free starts. The job, hopefully I can manage it. I am sure this has tons of spelliing mistakes as I am exhausted and I have to pack a bag and make breakfeast. But you know what. I am not an English teacher any more, the spell checker isn't working and I can always fix it later. Here's hugs to ya.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Maybe I should own up?

This is not the first time I quit. I quit around 1991 for 3 years. I have been smoking since the end of the 3 years. But hey still strong. still off.


*%)@ smammmit. I am dying for a smoke but not even a drag of one for nearly 40 hours. Yes I could tell you how good the weather is and how many babes are on the beach and how great my mates are. But fuck it I would love just one drag.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Giving UP

For a month I talked about it. Nobody believed me. I gave up smoking on August 1st, in fact my last ciggarette was July 31st. It's driving me nuts, I can't sleep and I know this is the hard part. Oh well nothing like cold turkey to sort you out now is there. Is there?

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