Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What's Happening?

On a personal level I continue to be an Irish guy plagued by English people who should know better. At 'The Lord of the Dance', Show on Saturday night, a woman with an English accent kept commenting through the performance. When the female soprano was on Stage singing, the woman somewhere behind me starting making jokes about the words in the song. I had (as usual) had enough. I turned when the song was over. Without thinking I spoke to her in her own accent, 'Are you going to talk all night? ' , 'I beg yer pardin?'She replied. 'Would you please Shut up?' I replied.
I turned away sufficiently pissed off till I heard a male voice over my other shoulder. 'Merci'. I was truly glad. Sometimes I wonder why I let it get to me. Sometimes I wonder why I always have to be the one to say what everyone else is thinking.
The show was great fun, but lacked an easy to follow thread in the first half. Either tell a story or don't. Don't half do it.
At 10 euro for a program and 30 euro for a CD, I was embarrassed to be Irish, and Mr. Flattley? No wonder you are ill charging those prices, shame on you.
On a more serious matter, some of you know I comment on International affairs from time to time. Here is the following for an Irish News site.....Lebanese Minister assassinated. I don't suppose the implied warning would be from the Syrians, to the U.S. who have 'asked' them not to get involved in Lebanon's affairs? Mr. H and Mr. Z, I hope your families are safe and well.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

I told you so

See? It must have been the full moon. I knew something was going on. Donald Rumsfeld, a man whom I thought the Devil Incarnate is gone. Now that is something to be really excited about.
To all those Americans who told all of us Europeans to go and jump, and stop interfering, and to mind our own business, well, see I told you so. Thank you all for kicking them out and hopefully some sanity can come back into the world now. Actually I doubt the Democrats are much better to be honest but I guess it's the best of a bad lot. When are you guys going to get a real democracy?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Turning

Well October and September were at best strange months. My brother in law passed away. It is a story with much beauty in it, that for my dear sister has obviously resulted in much pain, and perhaps it is not right to say the story has finished. Perhaps it is.
It has been a time where much of my doubts and fears had been cast aside. Doubts that had been ingrained due to the end of my relationship with my son's mother. Friends who mean the world to me, took the risk, the time, the effort, and gave the love, and came and visited. When I arrived here three years ago, there were a few people who had come to see me. Now the wheels have turned the very same few people are visiting again, and this time it is even better. You my friend who inspired Galina in my play, ( I promise only the person who understands this will know what I am talking about, anyone else will know I am weird) it was so great to see you and your friend. To hear you laugh, to watch you, to remember what it is like to be in your company, to see you enjoy yourself. How great that you came for a weekend and shared with us. How great that you feel good to come back again when you like. I sincerely hope you do. I still don't know what your parents look like.
My filmmaker friends were here too, Tom and Ann. I mention them because they are already famous on this blog and will be famous soon when you all click on the rascal film link or the James Connolly one in the side bar. (I can't remember which one, and I don't have it open just yet.) it was too short, they will be back. A sister in law, ( what do you call a sister in law who is your brothers ex? She is not sister ex in law is she?) who badly needed a holiday came to visit. I think it did her the world of good. It is difficult to get out of the mind set that it is not going to rain tomorrow. It is strange for us Irish here at the beginning. We read the sky and think, it will be a good day tomorrow. Tomorrow stretches into days, stretches into weeks, stretches into months and there is no rain. Then one day, there is a smell, something familiar, one looks at the sky and predicts rain within the hour. Fifty Five minutes later the heavens open and the locals look at you weirdly. It is what happens when you grow up in Ireland, but it only happens in the South of France.
I was on my back for almost a week after doing some more damage to my muscles by lifting an empty plastic bowl. Yes I can hear the howls of laughter but it is true.
I am more relaxed in myself but somehow my body is telling me things are wrong. My skin is falling off. I look like I have been beaten up sometimes or at best slapped hard. I have a bad skin, simply put. I am taking the steps necessary to sort myself out.
It has got colder. I haven't been swimming and I miss it. Tomorrow I will be at the beach near the Stadium in Monaco, I will be in the water, I will swim.
I met Hadia a few days ago, I had hardly been in touch with her since she left. There was friction between her and us at the start and she is so very proud. Then she rang and asked me to go gaurantor for a flat. I couldn't. How the shoe is on the other foot now. I had so many difficulties during my time alone here, finding a garantor was impossible. See for the moment the bills mount but who knows what lies around the corner? At this present time I am not in the position for her to miss a months rent. I can just about meet my own needs. I too continue to cut the corners for a little while longer. But there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Then Ken, who know the guy, who first went to Nice, then Croatia, then Denmark and then Back to the U.S. rang out of the blue. So howdy buddy. Get your ass back here. I didn't speak long, we were in the airport in Nice, I have just realised he was in the airport too, but in Virginia. See the point is I have a feeling of the wheel turning now. It's a feeling I haven't had for a while, movement in the right direction. Closure to many things but not all. There it is again, that line from the Elvis Presley song.......'and the world turns'. Cycles and full moons, and it is a full moon as I write. The value of Friendship cannot be estimated, but it has nothing to do with money.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

In memory

I have to be careful in what I write. I don't want to hurt anyone. So this, what I write is for me.
I remember you full of vitality. I remember you saving my ass in a manner of speaking when I was unjustly accused. I remember that sly secret smile you used to have around our family. The one that was truly diplomatic, where you thought one thing and knew better than to say it out loud and yet that thought made you smile, and I understood it. I felt your inner conflict. It frustrated me that the invisible wall of history was thrown up between us and we admired each other from opposite sides. Not condemning at all the other but neither capable to make the bridge over the political gap. I remember you as shorter and rounder than me. I remember you as sometimes very very deep, too deep, as someone aware, knowing perhaps more than people around you thought you knew.... I remember your voice, it would have been jazzy were you a singer, perhaps dare I say it, they type of voice white folk call black, raspy, like Louis Armstrong's voice. I remember you capable of taking a joke, of recounting a joke, of letting a guy know he was okay. I remember you being afraid. I remember the hassle when I went home to see you and everyone got upset that I was making a fuss. They told me you might only have six months, then you might not survive the operation, so for myself, for my purely selfish reasons, I left my dying marriage and found you frightened. I have no idea if anything I said made any difference. When I was home later, after your operation, to bury an old aunt, and you limped into the church yard looking depressed, it made me say to you 'hey how are you? Last time I saw you, you thought this would be you.'But you had perhaps rightly forgotten your previous fear as you struggled with your new incapacitating reality.
3 years later after the first discovery I saw you again. You looked the same as last time. Still afraid, still struggling and frustrated, understandable.
Now 4 months later, you need never worry again. My sister will be good. There are those who will take care of her. I am not her favourite and that is all I understand. I am glad you have let go, but I am deeply sad I wasn't there. I can't be there, I won't be there. I will visit where you lie whenever I get home, perhaps next year, who knows?
This is my small curse of never being home anymore, I cannot be there. I cannot mourn in real. I have to let go in absence. It is not too easy. It is difficult. It is the way of the emmigrant. I have to continue as if nothing has happened. I told my son, he is six, I don't think he even remembers you but he was sensitive to something being wrong. 'Papa why did Maman say OH no'? I am not good at keeping things from children, it doesn't help them grow to keep them too innocent. So I told him you had died. He was quiet. I asked him was he okay, and he said yes. I told him to tell his Mam he knew. She will flip out. Maybe that's just part of why she is my ex. You would hear me say that and smile.
I see that smile again now, like you understand but know something I don't. I know it is nothing compared to that which you have gone through. Your arm on my shoulder, that brotherly pat on the back. For we were brothers at one stage before we were in-laws.
I don't know why you went through it, nor why she went through it, nor anyone for that matter. My sanity and philosophy tell me it is just so.
So I excuse myself, I cannot be there. I cannot sing by your side as you lie at home, I cannot toast your memory, I cannot wake you, I cannot shed tears at your graveside. Thank you for not holding on too long, sorry I can't be there now.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Rip Off France

Ripped Off AGAIN
Okay, I have been away longer than I thought. See I had an accident a while back. My scooter was written off. It's only a 50cc and I was only doing 15km an hour but I still managed to hit the guy who pulled out in front of me.
Now I could have been killed. I could have been crippled, incapacitated, truly fucked up and unable to work but I was lucky. I was in shock for a weekend. The front wheel was slightly bent and the forks unaligned. It was enough. No more independence. No more getting to the beach easily. Still have the insurance to pay even though I know the bike is useless.
Finally things get sorted out and I am told by my insurance guy to bring the scooter to the workshop. He will go down and assess with their experts.
I ring a tow truck company, they want 120 euros to call to my house, put the bike on a trailer and bring it a mile down the road. HOLY F@*K.
A friend offers to drive 20 miles/30km with a trailer attached to a small car, wait for the day, drive me home, pick up the bike and bring it to the workshop. It is done. The scooter is deposited outside, and the next morning I have to hurry down to ensure it is okay, drop off the keys and now it will be taken care of, right? WRONG.
I get a call two days later telling me it won't be repaired. The assurance company will buy it off me the workshop tell me. They order me to come and get it. Two days later they ring me again. They ask me when I am coming to get it. I have organised my friend again to make his 60km round trip to help me. We go to pick up the scooter and the main headlight is conspicuously absent. .... I ask the lady behind the counter, and she goes to look for it. She comes back telling me she can't find it. She will ring me when it is found. I know this sounds ridiculous but it's what happened. Remember the conversation is happening in French. Remember I am not too confident in French. Remember the guy with me is 6ft 6 inches tall, or nearly 2 meters, oh and is French. :-).
We load the bike and he is willing to drive off. I am perturbed. I go back into the shop and ask how it is possible to loose a headlight (which is set into plastic about 3ft, 1 meter wide and about 1.5 ft, or half a meter high) which was attached. She walks off and comes back with an explanation that the mechanic took it off and now he is not here. I go outside and explain to my friend. He comes in looks disdainfully at the girl. He questions her about what is going on. She explains the assurance company will buy the scooter off me for a sum of money, he explains it should therefore be in one piece non? She agrees and disappears again. A young man in his twenties comes out and immediately I know I am being ripped off. He refuses to look me in the eye. I flounder for the words that would come so readily back home. I am drowning as I am being violated barefaced and dishonestly. I can see it happening. They are stealing from me and they don't care.
He agrees to deliver the piece when it is found. He takes my number on a scrap of paper. I am getting more and more angry. I leave knowing there is nothing I can do at that point in time. I ring the next day I can't get through. I spend the weekend making myself ill at the thought of how I can burn the place down, break all the scooters parked outside, injure lightly the people working there, get the place closed down, force them to pay me for the piece........... I don't like being abused, I spent my life living in a country abused by it's neighbour, since I have been in France people have taken advantage of my inability to communicate and ripped me off and now well, to quote the newsman in the movie, I am mad as hell I won't take it anymore.
I rang 4 times yesterday no answer. Finally today I get through. I am in luck. The guy who answers the phone is the one who took my number, he tells me the mechanic has not come back yet. I tell him in French it's nearly a week what's the story? He says it's not a week it was last Thursday, today is Tuesday. Yes I tell him, NEARLY/ PRESQUE une semaine.... I inform him if the piece is not found I will have to begin a procedure of justice to get it back. He agrees. I will let you know what happens, but I have a question. If anyone reads this here is the question, Do I let it go, Do I get the piece back or thirdly do I wait till the assurance buy the scooter back and then let them deal with it. What would you do ?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Happy Birthday To Me

Well today is my birthday. There you go I am not old yet. Am I wiser than I was this time last year? Dunno!
I am a year older so what? I am a hell of a lot fitter. I have been training by swimming every day and doing some other sports from time to time. I am apparently 180cm and 81kg, which is okay by me. If you can't figure that out do a search online for weight conversions.
What's changed really for me in the last year?
Lot's of people have left the area with whom I was friendly. Some people back home are having a rough time. In fact it is a year ago to the day that I was made permanent in my job. That was a huge relief. I live in a different place. I have a good fun healthy relationship that is improving all the time.
I can finally see a way I might start writing again. I am more secure in myself around my son.
Physically this part of the world is beautiful.
Regardless of the type of year it has been, I always get a) nostalgic for old friends, b) concerned about the future and c) excited about the prospect of a celebration of the day I was born.
I celebrate because I don't believe in Bad experiences and perhaps not even good ones, only experiences. I learn, I grow, I live, I am alive, I have so much that is positive, and I celebrate it.
I celebrate because I am able to love people easily and those I have chosen to have as friends I do so because I can love them. (Yes even those of you not here) .
I celebrate for them and with them and because of them.
Today I bought flowers for everyone in the job. It cost not too much and it was nice to see the smiles on people’s faces in the street as I walked passed with 40 red roses. ;-) . It was nice to see the people I work with moved a little and now there are flowers in all the offices.
I know I am a softie. But today is this fighter’s birthday so I can do it if I want. :))

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Wind That Shakes the Barely.

I went to see this film about a forthnight ago. When it finished and the four of us, An Italian, A french couple and myself, were seated on the red velvet seats of the old fashioned cinema. Nobody moved. 'Oh well' I said, thinking that if I didn't move no one would. My companions were slow to rise up. Outside, I proposed going for a beer to talk about the film, the French lady said , 'What else is there to say?' They seemed deeply effected ( or is that affected?) by what they had seen. Even though it was a very familiar story, an no where near as violent as many films today, I was in a turmoil. It stayed with me and is still present. I am Irish because of my wonderful culture, my outlook, my history and the place I was born. But it does raise the question of identity that I have perhaps touched on in many of my posts. I am not like most Irish people I know. The story portrayed is an international one, not just an Irish one. My own civil war continues in my soul as I struggle with my nations history, dreams, and reality, and therefore too, my own.
I cannot do any justice to this film save showing you here an email I wrote to the company of the director of the film........

Hi Alistair,
I hope this email finds you keeping well. I wanted to write to Mr. Loach to tell him how I feel about his recent film. Le vent se leve, or The Wind That Shakes the Barley. I am a man from Ireland who now lives somewhat unwillingly, but not always, in the South of France.
I was born in 1967 and I remember well in the 1970's passing across the ' border ' to visit relatives in Dungannon or Coalisland, and the 7 of us(my mother and six children of whom I was the youngest) being made stand by the side of the road in the rain, as soldiers pulled our small Fiat 850 apart in search of bombs.
I was hoping to write a reveiw of the film on my blog but I haven't managed to as yet.
You see I have carried for a long time what many would call a chip on my shoulder. I hate the notion of a 700 year old chip, mine is or was the same age as myself and created by the society in which I grew up, and was incultured in. I am not even sure if it is right to call it a 'chip' as there was a good reason for it to be there.
I have spent my years trying to first of all explain to Irish people why they should be angry, and then to the many wonderful English people I have met, why I myself was so angry, perturbed, annoyed and angry again.
Many times my heart was broken by paramilitaries as I struggled with the wonderful notions of Connolly for an Ireland united and free, and witnessed, the struggle, the war, the fight, the hate, the loss and the general humanity and senselessness of it all.
Many times I have been involved in discussion groups, political groups, liturgical groups, psychological groups, all geared towards finding a solution no matter how futile it seemed. I never lost and always had tons of hope and vision. This alone prevented me from ever becomming bitter. Thank the Gods I never got bitter.
What I am trying to communicate is this. The film has now allowed me to let go in many ways that were just plain unthinkable before. I don't have to defend or explain or carry the chip anymore. I can just tell people who ask, go and see that film by Ken Loach, The Wind That Shakes the Barely.

I cannot with all the years of film studies I have done, all the attempts at scripts, after the 1000's of films I have watched in my life actually reveiw the film. As a friend said when we finally walked outside, 'what else is there to say?'. The film says it all. Anything else is a verbal superflousity that would be inaccurate and wasted and not do justice to the work.

I would like to thank Ken for his time and his effort. I heard him say the other day he would like people to share the burden of the criticism or some such sentiment. I would say to him take it all and bathe in it. It is a true sign of having touched a truth that for many years even in modern times is all too well hidden.
Thank you for not dramatising hollywood style the violence. If I ever get to write my own film I hope it's half as good as this one. Not only should you have got the palme d'or but the Golden Lion and that small bauble the Hollywood set measure the value of their life work too.

I am not the one to heap plaudits on Mr Loach for his film or on his team, and having been both an actor and runner, and even a Loader in the past I do understand what it takes.
I just wanted to say thanks. I wanted to shake his hand give him a hug and maybe have the opportunity to chat sometime if our paths cross over a nice bottle of Muscat, or Rose or beer or Chianti or whatever his favourite tipple is.

Please please forward this to Mr Loach.

Respectfully yours,
Warrior
PS even this email cannot touch the profound effect this film has had on me.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

At Swim Two Birds..........................NOT

God what a day. I have a maximum 2 hour lunch at work and I normally swim in the sea.
Everyday since the beginning of May I have made my way down to the beach at lunchtime. I swam 20 meters the first day, and almost drowned. These days I can get 300 to 400 meters if I am patient with myself. Actually I promised myself I would do an Iron Man one day and that's where it started.
Today it was raining. Hmmm there is a pool next to the office. Hmm need a swimming hat and a swimming suit that sticks. This might be embarassing. hmm
Right then, I had forgotten to reserve my lunch via email. So, I ran into the pool for information. The lady tells me 2 euros 30 cent to swim, last person in an hour before pool closes, need a 'bonnet'and a mollet maillot....swimsuit that sticks. (Corrrect my french please).
Hmm well I don't have any of that and hats are selling at the pool for 9euros. Pool closes at 2:30pm and it's 12.55pm now. That gives me 35 minutes to get my ass back here. I am starving.
I run off to buy my lunch. I have to queue.
I get what I want, run to the sports shop, can't find what I want, see a cheap swimsuit, my size, I pick it up. I can't find the bloody hats. Ah 4 euros a hat, great, no green? any colour but green? What you got something against the Irish have you?? (joking).
Anyway I queue up to pay, and hand over my fidelity card. It doesn't work. The ensuing process takes more than a few minutes as the Oh so friendly girl at the counter tries to render service to the idiot who didn't activate his card correctly and who seems a little perturbed that his card hasn't been registered.....(Yes almost dear, I am on lunch, in time frame, I understand how Oh so nice you are.....)...pardon? what? Oh right, another pause as I get confused with the difference in pronounciation of i and e in French and of course J and G, and ah yes, finally. Thank you. Off I run with a plethora of bags, feeling like a John Cleese sketch at this stage. I arrive again at the swiming complex. Hand over my money and run where? Oh down the stairs, thank you. Crusty but Benign Old guy at the bottom of the stairs greets me, 'Vous avez un peice d'un Euro?'why is he asking me for money. He explains, go back up stairs and get a 1 euro piece. You will need it for the locker. Right so. As I go back up the stairs, I hear more words uttered about money. I come down again take off my shoes, put them in a plastic bag and hand them over the counter. He ties the knot in the bag for me as it is my first day. I am given a plastic piece with the number 81 on it. I realise when he asks me if I have the bonnet, that the comment as I was going back up the stairs was about the bonnet and not the monnet.(bad joke I know, but there is more).
Go through the Orange door to the 'Vestiare'. I find the door and go through. There are many cubicles, some the doors don't close, and others have no locks. hmmm? I realise finally there is an ingenious method used. The seat folds back and you close the door, fold the seat forward again and the door is now locked. Great. I strip and pull on the swimming costume, it gets stuck just below my ass around my thighs.....OH SHIT. Not MY size, a size too small at least. I open the tie thread and pull, stuffing myself inside it. I now look like bread dough rising out of a tight plastic covering. I slip the silicon hat onto my head and instantly remind myself of a condom. I am sure I now know what my dick feels like personally when he is dressed in a condom.
Anyway out to the locker, in with the bag for my lunch, the bag with my purchases and of course the bag with my beach gear and clothes in it. It doesn't all fit. I put one bag into another and push hard and it fits....but the lock doesn't work. I change lockers and realise I still have the plastic 81 in my hand. I put it in the locker and take out the key. I strap it around my wrist eventually and ask the stunned guy next to me the way to the pool. He glances in a direction and mumbles something so I follow his gaze. I find the showers. Amazingly a guy I know is there, I tell him I swim in the sea and he says its too cold. I laugh and Lie that I will be in the sea all through winter. I get to the pool and realise I have no goggles. SHIT. Back through the showers, open the strap, open the locker, pull the bag I forgot to close, and everything flies everywhere, including my lunch. I am now so nervous I am shaking. That's a nice image isn't it, Wobbling bread dough in a condom?
I tidy up and finally get back to the pool where I promptly slip on my ass. I pick myself up as no one else bothers to do so. I ask the gaurd how deep the water is, as if it would make a difference. Finally I get in. The experience is unpleasant after the sea that I am used to, and after 100 meters I stop, I look outside the window and I think, things are so much easier in Nature.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Tribute To Croc Hunter

A man called Steve Irwin died recently while shooting an underwater wildlife documentary. A certain well known news site has asked if it's public would watch the video of his death.
I responded as follows.
"How little we have progressed. I will make my argument on a purely human level I hope. Leaving aside the religious argument even the sacred or privacy arguments. I am shocked that neither person who wrote, deemed it worthwhile to mention a simple moral obligation. What have we become if all we want to do now is get turned on the pornography of death? Why would anybody find it appealing? Why would anyone risk bringing down the barriers of this taboo to a society that is perhaps not ready to deal with it in a healthy way. It is not enough to say ' Don't watch it if you don't want to'. Many of us have morbid curiosities and have no idea of the effects of witnessing something until we witness it. What happens soldiers who come back from battle after seeing people die? Dont get me wrong. My first job at the age of 18 was watching old men die, cleaning down their bodies and sending them off to the morgue. I have seen death. But I find it uneducated that we would even tease ourselves with this question. There are millions of peole dying in Iraq/Afganistan/Africa/Aisa, if you really want to watch someone die, give up the day job, go visit and try help them do it peacefully perhaps. But the reason for watching a guy die because he was famous, is no reason whatsoever. Do we want to see Elvis, Marlyn Monroe, Michael Hutchins (apologies if I have the name wrong) die? What ever happened to real news? Showing dead bodies blown apart or a guy dying slowly, doesn't change anything neither does it inform. It takes a moments reflection of what it means to die, to understand. Perhaps it is better if you ask what does it mean to live. Instead of showing his death, show his life's work. There are plenty of lessons there for us. I find this discussion somewhat depressing and adolescent.
sincerely.
[to the editor- I often reply to posts I see here, just this once I would like if possible that this one is published. Thank you.]"
So to the family of Steve Irwin. The Croc Hunter taught me a lot, I hope you are all bearing up under this current strain. ...................

I promise I will write the review of the Ken Loach film 'The Wind That Shakes the Barely Soon.' Cheers

Monday, September 04, 2006

The Boy and I

So the boy was here all weekend. It was hilarious. Sometimes we struggle with each other because of the time span. Sometimes we knock the crack out of each other so much we are sick laughing. The weekend was moreso the second.
Much of our laughter comes from things where you have to be there to understand the funniness (is that a word?) of the situation.
All three of us spent the weekend traveling 300km round trip to get even more bits and pieces for the appartment. Yes, I know, nine months and we still haven't got it together. So shoot me. I have bills to pay, so does Aqua and we will get there when we get there. Anyway Sunday morning was spent assembling various bits and pieces, refixing the fan to the ceiling, that still hadn't fallen on our legs, despite my not fixing it to the ceiling right the first time.
I had an image of us both 'getting jiggy with it' and a spining fan falling out of the ceiling and slicing bacon of my ass before it hit the floor with a thud. But Aqua's encouragement and boys eagerness to anything Bricoler centred (DIY), drove me on to get back up the ladder and battle the vertigo. To be honest vertigo would be more preferable to bacon slicing. In the morning I gave him his ceral in the kitchen and he decided to look behind himself, at me, as he left the room. A sharp shout of 'DOOR' managed to prevent him smacking against the open door and a quick grab managed to save the bowl of ceral (and floor) as he turned quickly, stopped dead, his nose one centimeter from the edge of the door, and started to convulse in laughter.
Then at the beach later when all was assembled and we had met up with friends, had lunch, I had swam my one kilometer, which was probably only 300 meters but it felt like a good mile, and boy was insisting I throw him in the air and let go,.... he surfaced from a large wave coughing and spluttering, 'J'ai avalé un poison' ( I swallowed a fish), he said wiping his mouth and grinning, at which we both fell under the next wave in fits of laughter. Later I was treated like a climbing frame as his lithe musclar frame, kicked, pushed,punished and punched me into having a bagarre with him. (fight). It is difficult to resist but I tell myself it's good for my overall figure :) .
Finally home, and I did one of those things that intelligent stupid people do all the time. You will know what I mean when I explain. We were telling our friends about the line of palm trees on top of the mountain. I explained it was the water treatment plant for the area. Because of it, we had great water pressure, so strong in fact that sometimes the tap fixing explodes if I turn on the tap full blast. They doubted, but 10 seconds and 5 soaked people later, plus a broken tap fixing, convinced them I was telling the truth. Boy nearly choked himself laughing.
Then it was back to his mam for an early night. The first day in big school is arriving. Now there will be home work and soon there will be classes in English where he will wipe the floor with the other kids. ( he is competitive already). I miss many of these firsts and sometimes I don't laugh about it.
I wonder how he will turn out as a Man, my Boy. Will he look to his father for advice? Will we still be able to knock the crack out of each other when he is 30 and I am 64? Yes, the song asks the questions that are true not just for lovers, but for parents too. Will he stop at the age of 16 decide his father is an idiot, like a lot of men, and then not get past that, like a lot of men? Or will he know how hard it was for me to stay? Will he know how glad I am that I did?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Don't say I should have, say I did it

God I am so proud, I didn't do anything but God I am proud. My brother and his wife are one of the most amazing couples I know. As I write this they have just completed a 3 week sailing race across the Atlantic Ocean, in the Challenge Transit 2006.
They know little of sailing but their motto is ' Don't say I should have, say I did'. The link is in the side bar for those of you interested.
Here are some extracts from the last log posted.

"The conditions we've experienced have been extreme, from 40 knots to nothing. We've surfed down waves in total darkness at over 20 knots, swam across the foredeck doing sail changes and also sat going backwards in the current with absolutely no wind."
"Sometimes we've spent whole watches working solidly through the sail wardrobe, no one has complained, hesitated or even questioned what may have seemed on occasions dubious decisions."

Yes people who do this sort of thing are nuts that's right. But I would rather be crazy and active, than sane. Imagine being able to look back over your life and not be able to say, 'damn it to hell, I did something'.

I understand not everyone has this urge to leave some mark, some statement. Those of you who don't, I would ask why?
Is it really that you feel that this sort of thing is too unimportant? Is it that perhaps you feel your place is to pay the bills, raise the kids, get the retirement, play golf, and then die? Or is the real truth you are scared shitless to stand outside what you know and feel the thrill of the drop as you hurtle over the parapet of a new experience?

Whatever about the Merits of voting, about the merits of not staying quiet and speaking out against injustice, there is one thing I beg you all not to do.
Don't accept what you have and believe that it is all you are entitled to. Accept it, yes, be proud of who you are, yes, but don't stagnate. Grow. Explore yourself and your limits. Why? why the hell not? Because you don't want to be old, with no friends, no memories and regrets. Just be old whatever way it comes but for sure, for absolute certain, don't be old with regrets, with the I should have done, I could have done, but it got away from me.

So Team Pindar the boat my Brother and Sister in Law were on have crossed the Line first and I am very very proud.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Hungry Feeling

There is a song that I attribute to the great Irish writer and even greater drinker known as Brendan Behan. It's called 'The old triangle'. The first bars are sung 'A hungry feeling came over me stealing'. That feeling is with me now. My partner is away. My ex is celebrating her birthday so again my boy is not with me when he should be. I am too nice really. My Water Woman has migrated for the weekend back to the land of the Azzuri, in an attempt to reconnect with long lost acquaintances of childhood as a school reunion is planned. I find myself strangely unmotivated to do anything.
Friends who were conscious of me being alone dropped by, J noticed some Irish music and we got to talking about 'The North', the countryside, the music, the welcome. So the Hungry feeling comes over me stealing and I wish I back home. But the sea is wide and I cannot cross over, even if I am listening to the tune of Carrick Fergus ringing out from the CD player. It's a slow somber tune and in typical Irish fashion will be followed by a nonsense song that makes us laugh.
This weekend I am alone and it is good. I drink scotch whisky, only because there is no Irish Whiskey left. No I have not made a typo there, the Irish spell it different to the Scottish.
I have a cut on my foot which is hindering my movement. Yesterday I sliced my hand. It seems life is telling me to be sedentary this weekend. However A and J have offered Via Ferrata tomorrow. Seeing as I have nothing better to do, and, I have never done it before, I am up for it. It involves basically hanging of ropes and cords over chasms while you walk for miles. Sounds like fun no? Especially if like me you have vertigo. I am tired and need to go to bed. I will figure out when they ring me if I am going or not. Depends on how sleepy I am. It's great to see them. Weird the song that followed the serious one was about a gay chicken. See us Irish have a funny way of doing things. We love to be sad, but not for long.

Yes I changed. I am no longer who I was. Before you ask, Warrior is the spiritual fighter, the one who struggles with himself, who fights, who wins, who returns to base to train again and reflect on what has been learned from his latest battle.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Moving Forward

Well my boy is back and my stress levels drop 50%. The smile on my face is almost permanent. I give little laughs to myself and I am sure people think I have completely lost the plot, and that whatever loose screw there was, has finally
fallen out and rolled away.

Five to six weeks is a long time to go without seeing my child. It is difficult being a father with no transport. I rely on my partner to get me there or at least get him back. His mother while I am sure is content doing her thing, unsurprisingly she still doesn't often lift a finger to help us out in that respect. He will be
devlivered when it suits her and only if it suits her. But you know what? I don't want to be wasting my energy with that.

My relationship with my son is probably a little unusal. If he hadn't been born and been around at the beginning of my new life, I would have gone straight home when my marriage broke up.
I try not to get involved in wasting time on regrets or anger. I have often recounted how I felt like I was treated like shit, but I can forgive because it wasn't intentional. Maybe it was intentional but I don't think I could cope with that. Just yesterday someone who knows a little of what happened was uncharacteristically charitable. She said that my in laws were not bad with me they just undermined me unintentionally and disregarded me actively. (whew).


Now things are better, Aqua my partner is a constant support and defends me from myself when I get silly. Now I stay also for myself. My french is improving all the time but it is never easy. There is a stress level that is ever present. This stress level is non existent when I am at home in Ireland. It is to do with unfamiliarity. When you live in one place for thirty plus years, you know it well. When you live in a foreign country for just over three years, you cannot possilby understand, the flow of traffic, the nuance of phrases, hand gestures, a look, even the drift of cloud. I am beginning to understand the vastly different sky. I am now able to communicate that I don't understand the banter.

Besides my focus is my relationship with my boy. I think too many parents are not conscious of the things they do that cause problems for kids later in life. Mind you being conscious of it doesn't mean you automatically solve it, or mean you don't at least create other problems. However I can but try. So we do the obvious things as much as possible. Talk positively for a start, for example,.. 'we'...cannot be 'alone',...we are together, or.. You don't do things 'wrong'...but, you could do that another way. I pay attention to make sure he knows that our place is his place. He is a lucky boy to have two homes. I try to create the space for my partner to feel she is included, she has rights, she has love and is loved by him. He sees her romantically as cinderella sometimes.
It's difficult when a child is entrenched in the notion of the nuclear family. It is odd in this day and age that thinking like this for a child is possible. There are not too many unseparated couples that I know. I am sure over 50% of the parents of children in his class, have been divorced. It just seems that this is how to live here. It isn't that romantic really.

Anyway The dinner on Friday night was a resounding success. We ate pasta with mushrooms, we ate grilled beef, vegetables, and a spicy sauce made from Herbs, lemon, honey, garlic and, well, spice of course.
The weather has picked up again and the jelly fish are back. It puts a hold on my swimming.

I am toying now with the idea of changing my profile, inventing a pseudonom and then feeling a bit more freedom to write whats in my heart and mind.

Summer is in the last throes and hopefully I can swim today. I am toying with the idea of doing one crazy thing in my life. I decided on an Iron Man. Given that I smoked like a trooper for the greater part of my adult life, this is perhaps
not the wisest choice. When have I ever made the wisest choice? So I have been swiming since May. I am what the French call 'null' in the water, completely crap, but hey, a guy has to start somewhere. :-)

Friday, August 18, 2006

A Middle East Truth

This is a comment posted on one of my earlier postings. It deserves publicity and to be read by any who pass. Thank you Mr Z for this posting, for the time it took for you to write it, and for you generous spirit and openess. Here is what Mr Z said in full and unedited.

As Tom said, it is indeed very difficult to refute Galloway's statements on a rational basis. It is true that the Middle East conflict is essentially fueled by the Palestinian problem. As a matter of fact, Lebanon has paid and is still paying an enormous price because of this conflict, while most other Arab countries (except Syria and Iran - which is not Arab) are either in peace with Israel or totally unengaged from the conflict; they do, however, send huge amounts of money whenever a disaster happens. It helps to comfort their conscience.

As a Lebanese, I wonder if we still have to sacrifice the well-being of my country for a cause that no other Arab (except Palestinians) is fighting for, honestly. Throughout Lebanese history, Christians have once allied with Israelis to crush on Muslims. Also, Muslims have allied with Syrians to crush on Christians. None of all this helped in creating a stable country. You can’t get peace and stability when a part of the country feels frustrated. That is what Israelis don’t seem to have understood in their conflict with Palestinians; I am actually not convinced that they really want peace. Although I neither agree with Hezbollah’s thought nor with Iranian ideology, Hezbollah represents a large number of Lebanese that just can’t be ignored if we truly want a unified Lebanon. Its demands have become Lebanese demands (accepted by the most prominent Lebanese leaders). Although the Lebanese right in the Shebaa farms is unclear, our right in returning our prisoners in Israel is righteous IMHO. In that sense, kidnapping Israeli soldiers and proposing an exchange is also righteous, IMHO. During this last crisis, and for the first time, Lebanese leaders stood by Hezbollah or at the least refrained from criticizing it. This has worked as, in my opinion, Lebanon has won this last war (because of the unity of Lebanese and regardless of the international political alliances of the several parties), judging by the declared objectives of each party. Israel can destroy our country but it can get neither its soldiers back nor peace and stability this way. If it truly wants peace, then it should now sit and talk to us on an EQUAL to EQUAL basis. Whenever we get our demands, then we will righteously ask Hezbollah to disarm and I think that it will be smart enough to disarm. If Israel doesn’t want peace, then it is condemned to loose on the long run, judging simply by demography.
By Z friend of H

To any who get this far, say hello, drop a line, tell me what you think.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

And now the end is Near

So summer is over. The fireworks are mostly finished along the Cote D'Azur. The weekend was crazy in a good sort of way. My son's 3 week holiday has turned into a 6 week holiday. He hasn't spoken English in all that time except the odd phone call. Obviously I am upset but there is little I can do. He is on an island in the Med and will finally be back on Saturday night. At the age of 6 it must be strange that you can't go on holiday with both parents and both families and that when you are with one, you have such a good time, you don't really care about being with the other, even if you do miss them.

The weekend we ate out a lot, and ate with friends a lot as is now usual for us. We have 8 people (counting ourselves ) coming tomorrow and as usual the food will be good. We will have fun.

My Lebanese friend arrived out of nowhere the other night. I shall call him Mr H cause it sounds cool and his buddy Mr Z(I am not joking here). It was late, we gave up the firework show in Cannes to see him but were treated to the view of one in Nice as we drove back along the motorway.
I enjoyed talking to both of these guys. Obviously me the political animal I am, I couldn't let go of the questions. Both of these two are Christians. They went to school together. They showed me different views of what should be happening, is happening and has happened. Each ones view equally worthy and interesting. Mr H wanted people to talk. Now the ceasefire is in effect nothing has changed, the status quo is the same. I agree. They could have just sat around a table talked it out, done the business and got on with it. It would have saved lives, infrastructure, and millions of currency units.
Mr Z told me how Lebanese are being held in Israeli jails for years, how Hezbollah are not supported by everyone, how Israel's action just provided more soldiers for Hezbollah and how many Lebanese now support them as they know the Israeli action was wrong. How the Lebanese fought off everyone before. How they must learn as a people to agree on a minimum. He taught me about the Government, the different factions, and he showed me his pride and his passion. I felt similar feelings in relation to Ireland before and during the ceasefires. I agree with and can see both views of Mr H and Mr Z. I hope I can stay in touch with these guys.

I asked them to read my post 'A view of what's really happening' and to leave a comment. They haven't done so yet but thanks to those who did. I am interested in how the world sees this. I am surprised that of the 70 or so visitors I had only 2 bothered to respond. I wonder why?

Well the dinner is ready, my wine glass is empty, my heart a little low after talking to a boy who was more interested in where he was than in speaking to his daddaí­. No worries, I understand. I just have to be myself and let him be his.
I swam today. I am off the cigarettes one whole year and 3 weeks. I have been swimming since the end of May and those that haven't seen me in a while tell me I must have been weight lifting, nope, just swimming. Summer is at an end, it is raining hard, the ceasefire will hold, my son will come back. I will realise somewhere in it all how blessed I am and how my worries are hardly worth a thought.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sensual Nights in Monte Carlo

For those who know me this will seem weird, but I have to confess, I have done it, and done it again. This time it was amazing. I am afraid I have to confess that secretly, without many people knowing, I have been involved in something not a lot of people ever do. If they knew about it in my home town I would have to hang my head in shame, or so I thought till last night.
You see I come from a place where the so called higher arts are for the snobs, and us plebs, who are happy to tread the boards, gig, street perform, sing along, even mime, know nothing and care less, for men in tights.
I can assure what I have been doing lately has everything to do with men in nylons and of course (the phrase demands it) nothing.
In the last year I have been privledged to witness, and victimised to endure, some of the best and not so best, of the world of Ballet. Now, what I know about Ballet you could write on a stamp. So for any indignant readers, just hold on to your tutus for a minute.
What I know about entertaining, engaging the audience, recounting a tale, spectacularising the mudane..... well a post office full of stamps wouldn't be enough that's for sure.
So I have watched sometimes with intense interest, and sometimes with acute boredom(in the same hour), as dancers strectched, contorted and convorted accross stages that were often too fussy, too busy,and too unfocused to make it simple to follow what in hell was going on. Note I said sometimes.
That was until last night on the Terrace in Monaco. Ha! I can hear them, the ghosts of my past are roaring laughing, as they imagine the grand heights I have risen to, Monaco and Ballet,,,,, Monaco and Ballet Ha! and encore Ha!
Stuff them.
Last night I saw the most amazing mixture of Manga, Religious worship, Hentai art, Tarantinoesque tale, Kill Bill scenario, Romantic story telling, I am ever likely to witness in the ever more unusual world of plain ordinary dance, sorry,...sorry,,,, of high art Ballet.
I give you in Memoriam by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (SHERKOWEEE), performed exquisitely by dancers of the Ballets de Monte-Carlo.
words are perhaps a waste in describing what can only be described and spirtually uplifting. I never imagined to see Men in Skirts, Samauri style,(never mind tights) battling with women, in a scene during a ballet, as if it were 'The Last Samuari' itself on show.

It was a choreography to make the most accomplished cinematographer proud, the most adept story teller envious.
I was taken away on the wisp of wind by the interpretation of Gioia Masala. As she flowed accross my vision the lighting flashed over the distant mountains, the cool sea breeze brushed our skins, and Gioia flew.
I was riveted to her connection to the singers from Corsican, and their apparent reverence of her and her partner. Their voices were the ladders by which Gioia and her companion managed to brush the stars.
Now I can truly say, that (apart from Bejart's Bolero,) this is what I have been seeking in the world of Ballet.
The spectacle, the story, the passion and intrigue of life, that is not lost behind an elevated language of the body that few plebs like I understand. Rather an honest heartfelt exploration of what it means to be alive, to love, to live, to be human and perhaps, to remember what it is to be human. Madmoselle Masala, Madmoselle Koike, and Sir Cherkaoui, I thank you from the creative font of my soul.
Thanks to my honey to for bringing me in the first place. ;)

Friday, August 11, 2006

A view of what is Really Happening.

I was going to write about Nanotechnology today, and then I was going to tell you about how I feel about my Lebonese friend back home in Ireland. But then another friend of mine sent me this today. I was amazed when 12 hours later it was still online. I hope it is still on line when whoever clicks on this link does so. I hope you all have the patience to get to the end of it. It's 9mins long. Just 9 mins that might change your life. Then of course it might just make you never come here again
I urge you to see it through whatever view you have. I will not say it is right. I will not say it is wrong. I will let you decide that for yourself. As someone more literate that I once said, I don't believe in conspiracy theories, I know conspiracies exist.

I don't know what is going on in the world but I don't believe it is what they are telling us. I find it very very odd that every time now that there is bad news happening in the world, news that might make people stand up and protest against what is happening, suddenly there is a security alert, a large scary security alert. Please leave a comment about what you think you see and understand. No need to be rude, but honesty and some intelligence will of course be welcome. Post anonymously if you have to but please leave me a comment on this. Teach me something.

Lastly if the Afganis and Iraqis are the one waging the war against the free world oh and now the Lebonese, how come all the terrorists are either Saudi or Pakistani? It's a bit like invading Mexico for something the Canadians did. Isn't anyone really listening?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Did it

Well I said I had an exam, I was really nervous. I was sure my french would let me down. I was allowed to make 5 errors on 40, no more than that.
We left Monaco in a car with an 18 year old girl first time behind the wheel. Given that driving in Monaco is difficult the best of times, and at one stage she let go the wheel and laughed nervously, instead of breaking gently, well you can understand why I was a nervous wreck by the time I got to Menton. The trip took about half an hour or 40 minutes and the distance was about 15km ( I think). The instructor ran through the questions before hand. I managed to get all of them wrong. Boy was I confident? NO! We waited around for an hour, went in and I worried when the tester examined my passport. Maybe this was another French civil servant who didn't know European law. The exam started and it was okay. Then I forgot to validate a question with the button and I panicked. There were lots of different types of questions. I didn't do well. One or two I didn't understand at all but I took a stab at the answer.
We handed in our zappers (look like remote controls) at the end and the results were printed off, given to the instructor, and he took us outside. He turned to each one of us, he shook his head, 'Sept Fauts'7 faults 'non', '6 fauts, non', My God and some of these people, well it was the 3rd or 4th time they had tried, and it was my first, he looked at me, .........ca va, and continued. One of the younger students I didn't know jumped up and whacked me on the back. I was speechless. I had passed. I was so proud of myself. 3 years struggling in French being told I am no good, being corrected all the time, and my faults being pointed out as faults and errors that only I posess, and being scolded, for not speaking perfectly when no one around me communicates perfectly, anyway 3 years and I managed something a lot of french people don't manage in the first go. ..............well lets just say I was on air and I still am.

On another note, I am cracking up laughing realising my last post was 69, it must have been fruedian or something. I do wonder what he meant when he spoke about the Irish. I wonder was it an amazing complement, out and out racism or an admission that his science wasn't exactly perfect?

Monday, July 31, 2006

Life changes at every signal.

You know I haven't really taken the time to blog a lot. I surf and lurk about, and I have found the most popular blogs are those dealing with how you like to fuck someone whom you don't know, whom you never met, who lives on the other side of the world and you have no idea what they look like. But they write great foreplay. It would involve being unfaithful, cause terrible guilt, end in divorce, but by christ the orgasm would be worth it. ......? Hello blog world? Yes I have good sex, not enough, but I am not going to tell you all about it here, not in this guise anyway. Yes I have posted information regulary here, but apparently it's not blogging unless it's deeply personal and definitely sexual.....hmmmn.( Why don't I have a pseudo?)
It does however seem appropriate to tell you two things, and neither of them are related to sex, unless a) you fuck in your car, and b) after 40 your sex life took on a whole new meaning.
See I woke up this year sometime around Paddy's day, and realised I am no longer a kid. This year I am 39 years old. Virgo/Libra cusp... so how the fuck am I only getting around to doing my driving theory test this week?
It's a question I ask myself a lot. I have spent my life doing what? Apart from trying to pursue dreams and then plans at various different stages, I have actually been pretty practical. My adult life was basically working in an expensive but bascially small captial city, so I was priced out of a car/insurance and didn't really have the need either. I occupied myself making friends, none of whom I am in contact with now, I had some religous experiences to follow up on and I now I am lapsed. Then I was blocked into university exams, then I was trying to make a career,then I was having a kid, getting married, then I was moving to France, then I was learning French and getting separated, and now I have learned french, and I look back and think how fucked up and badly planned has all of that been? How did I get this lucky?...Well I don't know, but I have my theory exam next Thursday morning, I think I am allowed to get 4 questions out of 40 wrong. Don't get me wrong I got 40/40 in Ireland, but that doesn't count. I drove for a year in Ireland on a provisional licence, but this is France, it doesn't count. The questions can be very tricky even for those who speak the langauge, however I am plunging in and still it might not count. So Hopefully for my 39th birthday this year I am giving myself a driving licence. It doesn't matter a damn if I can drive or not, just as long as I past the test. Most people here think indicators are Christmas decorations, and overtaking on the inside is a national sport. So too, is parking in a space half the size of your car. Lots of dents in cars here by the way. So it's the driving licence for me and learing the signals.
The other signals are that I am nearly 40, what does that mean? I still miss people I knew when I was 18, and probably still think of myself that way too. I wonder how they have all changed? Being 40 probably means nothing if you are 60 but I am not. What does been 40 mean? Well I guess I should get to 39 first and feel that one out for a while. Just like my partner who has a licence but has me beside her giving advice on how to drive ( the brazen cheek of me) , I should probably not mention 40 again until it's here. Like I shouldn't tell her how to drive till I pass my test and even then I should be very careful. You see life changes and the signals are there, I am just trying to read them early and to get the head start that never happened for one who was born 7th.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Neneh Cherry - 7 seconds and a Million voices in Nice.

The Nice Jazz Festival is anything but Jazz.
Tonight we witnessed, experienced, and tasted the talents of Joe Jackson, Beat Assilant(sorry I don't know who they are), CIRKUS featuring Neneh Cherry, wow.....let me pause for a moment Neneh Cheery.........wow. Oh and Randy Newman. If my kid was there he would have asked for Monsters Inc.
Now it has been a strange but wonderful weekend and to inform you of all I have done would take too much time so lets concentrate on the music. A friend met her man inside who was one of the riggers, and the first words out of his mouth were JJ was shit, so the company didn't really want to hang around, I was dissappointed but delighted with the bits I heard which although unkown were damn good. I think the 'Is she really going out with him?' is about the only song everyone knows, check him out here, it was a good gig and although people seemed to be sparse on the ground everyone was having a good time of sitting on the grass, looking at olive trees and easy listening,....I know it sounds weird, but take my word for it, you had to be there.
Afer some reasonably priced beer 25cl on tap or 33 in a can both for 3 euros (??? ) we waltzed into the arena. The french are very particular about their music. If there is a seat they will sit. Sit they did. Some of the most body popping, hip hopping, soul dropping, politically aware riffs and beats swam over the crowd from the CIRKUS and the only one digging the jive apart from the greats on stage seemed to be yours truly, In fact the audience was so dead it turned into a night long rap between me and the band.... I exaggerate, but only mildly. Neneh made the point it was a shame they couldn't communicate in french, I offered to translate, and she thought about it for a second, or maybe a half a second, or maybe I flatter myself. Basically a lot of new music, great great great stuff. The rapport between the band members, the children of the musicans, and the audience was typically french. Those on stage had a blast, while I had a lady behind me tell me sit down, its a seated concerted. I told her to stand up as it was music debout, stood up music,. She glared Neneh smiled and I had a blast. Sorry to Nenehs man, you were great with your dedication of the song 'Asshole'to George bush. I wondered later if it's why Randy Newman tried his new song, informing us they weren't all that bad. Also a dedication to those in Beruit and rightly so I thought.
Newman was fun, he was on late, but half way through he got maudlin and with work crying in the morning, I wondered about his political correctness, singing about short people, 'niggers' and rednecks and it got just a wee bit tiring. He also sang the song about the apparent, hipocrasy of freedom and what rednecks think. I was shocked as I usually am when I hear that N word, and at the end of the night I was left wondering was he serious or tounge in cheek?
It was a great set of gigs, no matter what your politics, a shame there wasn't any jazz, great to hear some political music again and hopefully CIRKUS and Ms Cherry and co will continue. So if you are around next summer and wondering where you could possible hand out on warm summer nights, don't worry there is no jazz, no shakespear, but plenty of good gigging.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Northern thoughts in the Summery South.

You know often I think some people visit blogs out of a morbid fascination about how other people live their lives. The people who write probably like me have nothing better to do that is taking their time, or perhaps like me feel they have something to share, or perhaps like me, like to show off a bit, or even like me, just do it for the hell of it. Many people write about GOD. Some people write about their own lives in a foreign country and how they are fitting in. The ones that get the most comments are I have found, the ones that have pics of naked people, erect cocks, naked boobs, and the subject is porn, sex, and all the variations therein. These blogs are not necessarily dedicated to the joys of the body but certainly lean heavily that way. And why the hell shouldn't they write or post this stuff, God knows, just like me, the human is drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Some of it seems to be hotter than earthly flame but what the heck, you want traffic in this world, apparently a bit of skin is the way to go. ....
I sit here in a darkened room a light (too light) breeze blowing in the window, it's about 30C inside and tomorrow will be about 42 outside in the Sun. There is a lot of sun and sun worshippers. Even in this heat, on the beaches, young horny men eye up the often topless not necessarily horny, women, (the old horny men do to). That's just during lunch break Monday to Friday.
We all try to dress as coolly as possible and I don't mean style here either. Few clothes, see through clothes, strong smells, glistening skin and fumes scent the hot summer air. People appear lazy but in truth they don't operate well in these extremes. Night time the towns are alive and throbbing because it's bearable, the beaches again crowded with a different group of people, the jelly fish move away from the coast. They hide waiting for the water to heat up again at first light and sting painfully, any foolish enough to cross the path of their invisible scorching tenticles.
These are the thoughts of a Man from the North living in the Summery South. :

Monday, July 17, 2006

So what is so phoney about war?

I read today a Mid page liner on the bbc news website.
It says 'The phoney war' written in that exact way. It reports how Syrians feel about Israeli/Lebonese war.
The story is written by Marting Asser and is in fact called 'All quiet on the Syrian front'.
Here's the link Now will someone please tell me who the idiot is who decides to link to this story by calling the war phoney.
A phoney anything is something that isn't what it is pretending to be. May all the gods help all the people to come out of this? Can you Israelis just stop for a moment and see what you are doing? You are the stronger ones so it's your responsibility to stop. Can the phoney who made this headline resign and go and do something he or she is good at?
Perhaps you are just a victim of the times that people don't give a shit anymore.

Friday, July 14, 2006

NO to racism and anti semitism

'Israel is demanding Hezbollah free two Israeli soldiers. More than 60 Lebanese have been killed in the offensive.'
This is taken from the BBC news website today the 14th July. It's Bastille day in France. 60 people have lost their lives because 2 have been held hostage.
I am not racist, having learned at hands of those who are what that is like. Neither am I anti semite which I understand is to be against jews and their religion.
I am simply human and this action is beyond unjust. How can a nation of people so unjustly persecuted even today, happily follow a policy of wanton unjustified destruction of its neighbours? Stop it now. You have no excuses. I mean NO excuses. Where are the men and women who are able to stand up and with the wisdom of solomon strive to make peace with the men and women who live next door. We will all finish blind toothless and cripled following this policy. Please I beg you. Stop it now.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Bob Dylan ( You have gone your way, I'll go mine)

I was wondering what to call this small piece.
I had some ideas, like 'The Night Woodstock proved it was dead'but that was just too long. Then I thought of 'There must be some way out of here.........said the joker to the thief but he kept playing for a moment and then shuffled off. Then of thought of 'The times they aren't just a changing, they went a got a full body and brain transplant and are living near St Tropez somewhere'.
What am I talking about? You see we just came back from a Bob Dylan Concert in a closed arena in Le Cannet. Yes I got to see the Legend on stage, albeit from a side view only. I was in front of the stage but the maestro seemed to think the front of stage was off left behind the drummer.
The show wasn't really a show per say, It was Bob Dylan with a bunch of musicians who played music from 8pm sharp till just before 10pm. Now let me explain, on the Cote D'Azur traffic is so bad, nothing ever starts on time, and for 45 euro a ticket there is usally a support band. Seems old Bob got punctual along the way somewhere.
MY lady was feeling bad as they forbid us to bring in the 2 litres of water we had brought with us, telling us it was the artists desire that it be so. They said drink it on the spot or it goes in the bin. My hard earned money wasn't going in bin. It went back to the car. I looked at my girl who was no hot and thirsty, so I told her to Lay, Lay across the big dirty floor, but instead she went and searched out water at the bar for which she paid 4 euros for Litre. Geeze Bob I hope you got a cut from that price hike. We have now spent 100 euros to see the Master who doesn't look at his audience, or even acknowledge them, or speak to them till the end of the show. He tells us who the musicians are. He doesn't even say the word thanks, or Merci, or even fuck you. It's 30 degrees Centigrade in the room, the only air conditioning is the open door about 200 meters away. Mr Dylan sings in a style which can only be described and mumbling jumbo, and if you didn't know the song you wouldn't know where he was. Even some of those I did know I figured he was changing the lines but still couldn't follow. Hey a title, 'Bob sings chinese dialect on the Cóte'? naw I couldn't tell it was chinese either.
In between each song the lights came on. At the start of each song they went out. Now I should have been better prepared. I wasn't going to see a legend. The 20 somethings all reacted when I said I was going to see Dylan, 'Is he still alive'they said. Okay they are french kids of 21 st century really so I could sort of understand....actually I couldn't.
I couldn't understand either how Dylan in his old age seems to have sold out lock stock and smoking barrels, guns, rockets, and space ships. It appears he has wound 'up on cripple creek' really. Maybe he had stage fright but I don't think so. I understand personalities, but hey Bob you are a very rich man.
It takes me a full days work and then some to earn the money we spent to see you tonight in an overheated, sparsely crowed (yes there was a lot of space) auditorium with bad sound.You probably earned more in 2 hours than I do in 2 years or even 6 years.
I expected more from what I have heard from Legend. Sadly I was dissappointed. I text my buddy in Ireland on the way home along the 'endless highway'. I was awed but dissappointed at the same time. I told him Woodstock was dead. He replied that maybe Dylan was Dead, Woodstock will live for ever.
Oh Well Bob nice hat, send it to me if you ever read this piece and show me I am wrong. I would wear it with pride. But then the music machine perhaps won't allow you to know just how far down the road you drifted away from your original self. I hate the music industry. There is a way out of here, and you may be a joker but I certainly aint the thief. But I will think twice Bob cause it aint all right.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

The hero shows he is a man.

I am outraged and disgusted. I am so dissappointed.
Yes I am still on football. It's over, the Italians won, well done, the city is quiet in my quarter. I am gutted. I have watched him for years. He graced our screens and world stages with an intelligence unmatched in the sport, and not just for the sport.
Tonight he turned around and dropped some guy with a headbut to the chest. Why?
Zizou how can I tell my son you are an example to be followed? Now every young non white French guy and a lot of white french guys will take this as permissable behaviour.

The English web press are reporting the end of the career of Zinedine Zidane in disgrace. The are talking about a needless, unforgiveable, unexcuseable headbut. As usual they are talking bollocks.

I saw it, and yes I agree to a point, it was disgraceful. But I can dream and imagine into what I saw. If I was the greatest player in the world who had come out of retirement, and succeeded almost single handedly in getting my team and my country to qualify for the world cup, then played crap in one match, got subsituted in the next, was banned for two yellow cards in the third, as the world spoke about me falling out with my trainer and that in short this was a world cup to far and I was finished,.........then I play to knock out rounds as perfectly and sublime as you will. I make goals, I score goals, I make the other good players look ordinary. The world once again calls me great, recognises my talent that has formed and grown against the odds, recognises that I am a great player for my nation, while some 'great political minds'talk about how their are too many of my kind in the national team....what the f*@'K? I qualify for the final and some dickhead calls me a low down ignoramous sheep shagging drunken alcholic irish man, ? I wouldn't just deck him with my head, I would pull out a gun a shoot him..........probably. So Zizou well played. Good goal, Good headbut too, and Matzerati? Great fall, but you know what? He demeans himself who pulls down the truly great man through whatever reason. He who walks away remains and enhances his own status as hero. So now I would give the offender my gun and say here, try again, it still hasn't worked, you man child without a penis that likes sucking shit. Then I would have let him hit me with his head and get sent off. Not too bright on the heat of the moment Zizou.
Here's the rub though. In Ireland our hero Roy keane did things like that and was pilloried and hated for it. I have to admire a nation that in the final of the world cup, the hero shows his humanity and the local press, say...........ít's okay, we love you. thank you for all you have given us. We played well, we will miss you now you are gone. Zizou only you could have had this response.
He stayed in the dressing room. He didn't come out to see his team mates cry. He didn't come out for his medal. I wonder if he had just had too much racism thrown at him in his career and this Algerian man finally cracked in his last ever match? In twenty years you will read this and not know the names or quality of men lIke Muller, Pele, Mardonna, Ruminegahr(can't spell) Plantini, Zico, Socrates, Cruff, Zoff, Ricardo and of Course Zinedine Zidane. ZZ twice the man Zoro was apparently. I would like to meet you some day because I think what makes you tick is close to my ticker too. ;-) So I await the Euro qualifiers Ireland has a great new set up and maybe they can allow me to bring some pride their way. Zizou? how about a match together some time ?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Celebrations of the Mediterranean.

Last night was Italian night. I had ate with 5 Italians around football match. We ate different courses of the meal before the match, during half time, just after full time and during the extra time. Of course I was shouting for the Italians due to Irene and Our friends being Italian. I couldn't understand much of what they spoke about but I am sure I was in agreement. I went to pee Italy scored in the 119 minute. I came back and the scored again. in 120 minute and the game finished they are in the World cup Final. The players were delighted the Italians were delighted. The one German guy who works with us was Gutted this morning.

Tonight French night. France held out to win 1:0 at the end of normal time. I don't think I have ever seen two teams so exhausted at the end of 90 minutes of football. The French were out on their feet,but it didn't matter as the Portugese were exhausted but kept going for it. Zidane was a pale shadow of himself this time and lost the ball a lot, Thuram played a blinder but was wrecked at the End.He was almost emotionally distraught. There are less people blowing horns and going crazy than when they beat Brazil. They have just qualified for the world cup final and people are seem to be more calm, quiet and reflective.
At work the only one to wear his French Jersey was the black guy. I wonder does the multi ethnic national team of the french hold some hope for the ordinary joes who are not white french? They prefer their rugby but then, in France it's not a class based sport like in Ireland.

No one believed at the start of the tournament this would happen. Even commentators rubbished the idea of France playing in the Final, the last 16 was the best anyone could hope for. This was realistic. They hardly qualified at all coming just top in a mediocre group. The team had mainly retired and had to be coaxed back in to play when Ireland drew with them in Paris. It is this old team that might now win the world cup.
I have no idea what it is like to win the world cup but I am very in touch with my emotions so I can well imagine the joy that must run through a nation to be proved the best in the world for the next 4 years.

I wonder about the muted French Celebrations.....why are they so reserved? Their next door neighbours the Italians are crazy like the Irish. The way I think people should be, get in touch with your feelings and let go of yourself. It's an amazing freedom. It's like flying.
I know at home I would have been in a bar and dancing on the streets if Ireland were playing but life is going on as normal, some people are passing by the appartment blowing horns or it may be just the same guy driving around :).
Either way Sunday the Italians will be back here, there will be good food, hopefully a good match and hopefully someone somewhere will really Celebrate like a Mediterranean should.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

They Don't know the Samba in Paris

What is going on? This is crazy. Car horns are blaring each time they go past the window.The teenage kid in the appartment upstairs starting leaping about like he just saw Monica Belluci lying naked in his bed and I struck dumb. The dance that is all the rage here is Salsa. I always liked the latin rythms, and in Paris they don't Samba. France the team that no one gave a chance to, the team that had the same group as Ireland in the qualifiers, France, the team of old guys and crap managers has qualified for the semi finals of THE World Cup. You know, the one with countries from all over the world. It's a long long saga that got them here, but suffice to say they struggled out of their qualifying group to be in THE World Cup.
Then they struggled in the worst peliminary group and played like brainless pensioners. They managed at last gasp to qualify for the knock out stages and in meeting Spain for the last 16 were expected to be well beaten. They turned in a show of the old days, and ran out 3:1 winners in a great game. Now they have gone even better. Brazil 0 France 1. They have played two magnificent matches. It's like watching a bunch of guys find their youth again and Zizou is god. But Henry? Well cheat comes to mind and the phrase he used after the European cup, that he wasn't a woman,well I think we will see him in skirts soon. Too much diving, faking, and looking for the foul instead of doing what he does best.
I'll give you an image of how bizzare this is. As a reporter went from the studio to the ground for the first match in the peliminaries, she asked the commentator what chances France had, would they reach the final?, he laughed and said it was better not to dream. Maybe he was right, and so the explosion of joy I am hearing around me, and the burning of rubber, is all the less contained because they didn't dare dream. Now they can.
The English on the other hand will never stop dreaming I guess. The got beaten on penalites yet again. Oh how sad. Ha

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Thousands protest in New York no comment

Des dizaines de milliers de manifestants contre la guerre en Irak à New York
HERE

This means tens of thousands of protestors against the war in Iraq in New York. So what I hear you say? Well here is the so what. I got this headline today, April 30th 2006 from a french website that, gives an overview of world news. I read it. It says 300,000 people marched in New York today to protest against the war. I thought that was a significant number myself. So to get more details and perhaps a view on what it means for the white house. I went to CNN, they were covered with George Clooney and Darfur, sure it's a problem, but no protest, no New York. How about Sky News,? Nope not a mention of it there either? Well surely the BBC would post it, after all Jessie Jackson, Susan Sarandon (sexy talented and intelligent, wow),and Cindy Sheehan were there, but no, they had this tripe about the President saying 'Screw them'to his detractors Here

Two things, both right wing presidental candidates of France are fighting it out dirty, investigating, bribing perhaps, and doing everything they can to take down the other. Still the French website shows some thing it believes important. Mainly the march in New York.

Secondly, the English speaking world is being brain washed in Abstentia. The powers that be have decided by not giving us information they think we won't find out. (AHem... some of us can speak more than one language, many Europeans manage 4 or 5.
This is a sure sign that rich and brainy don't necessarily go together.


Thirdly when 'The Leader of the free world'can only come up with screw them, as opposed to a well thought out argument, delivered in a powerful but respectful way, to prove his detractors wrong, well, you know politics has died and America is no longer the land of the brave, except for the 300,000 marching in New York that is.
Susan Sarandon, your man is a lucky one.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Rules for what now?

Rules for what now?

It's unusal for me. One of the few benefits I had from my vast religious education (I am being saracastic) is that I heard many proverbs and, the word escapes me, rules of thumb as I was growing up. Even today I still ponder the phrase 'Take the log out of your own eye before taking the splinter out of someone elses'. Or 'Consider the birds, they do not reap or sow..........( an no, to paraphrase Monthy python I am not having a go at the birds now either). However there is one phrase that I never remember accurately, but in brief it means the laws were made for the benefit of humanity, not humanity for the laws. It means, in my humble interpretation, that people are more important than rules. Humanity is more important than structure. Understanding the motivation of someone is far more important than reacting and telling them they are wrong. In other words Justice has it's place but not above that of compassion, tolerance and understanding. If you don't understand, how can you possibly judge? If as the Good Lord is reported to have said, vengence is his, what are we doing with things like the death penality and wars on terror and such? Mute point perhaps and not the subject of this entry.
However what does it benefit a man, or woman, to have all this wonderful insight into humanity and rules, when the people with whom he or she interacts clearly don't have it?
Now don't get me wrong, the adage (ha, nearly the word I was looking for but not quite) of 'Be careful when you point the finger, there are 3 fingers pointing back at you', has been examined and mediated on I can assure you, and.....Yes I am going to point the finger.


I wrote an email the other day. I said I would come up with a report for a volunteer group with whom I am facilitating. (note that word facilitate, it is not the same as control). I received an email from person x asking if there input was still important,and EOB which I suppose is the polite form of saying Excluding Other Business (extremly old bitch, eradication of boys, educated out back???), they would forward me said information.
Apparently the EOB got in the way as this morning there was an email outlining they had not received aforementioned report. No mention of the information they were supposed to send that was supposed to be in the report and hence my reason for not doing it.

I owe money on my card. I am late with a payment. The bank send me a letter asking me to contact them. I ring them explain it will be paid the next day. They send me another letter telling me they have blocked my card and I can't use it and my credit rating is affected or should that be effected?? hmmm I can never remember. They give me a number I go to a branch of my french bank who say they can't do it. I fax my branch and get a call saying its not the right number. I ring Ireland they repeat the number. I ring the lady and tell her the number, broken down into its component parts. She doesn't understand. My french is correct. I am not making an error. She just doesn't understand that I am giving her a number broken down. I say bank code, bank address, account number. She just understands a 20 digit number. So I hang up figure out what is what from a french example and ring back. Same digits in the same order, just all together this time. She understands. I don't

I could go on. Does it really matter if I cut my salad? Does it really make a damn bit of difference if we write in red, or begin emials with a terse see below.

See Here's the rub, I don't like when people are rude. I don't even mean to be rude myself. I certainly can't stand when people are narrow minded and blocked into a routine way of doing things and not able to see beyond the boundaries. I hate it when people tell me there is a way to do it and that is it. I really dispise the games around this that are played too. But at least I strive to understand. I strive to have an open mind and not things personally. I try to understand why people want to control, and have power in this meaningless powerless existence. I try but I don't always suceeed. However when I am asked and challenged to think outside the box, to the consider the possibility that everything is possible, to find a better way than the perfect way which already exits, or even just another way, I cannot refuse. It is these small discoveries that give me my joy in life.

By the way my boy has measles, I never had. I cut his hair really short and his mam doesn't like it, but he loves it. (good, yes I can be vindictive, shock horror) I didn't think measles could be as nasty but open sores on the testicles, tounge and ass are not fun. I guarantee it. However here's a helpful tip. Ice cubes in a towel stop the itching.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Contracts Egos and Enemies

The last time I wrote here some annonymous person left a nice message. So, it's nice to know that people still read this blog.
My job (thank God I have one), is going okay. I am extremly busy learning new applications. I have taken on the responsibility for a group of volunteers to help improve the communication in the company. Imagine my surprise when someone(a now ex friend), sent an email to me and copied to management, twisting all my words and basically trying to make me look incompetent. In short said person want a share of the responsibility, but being unable to assume the responsibility they already had in the group, and given the manner in which the went about it, I quickly covered my ass by emailing management and telling them I was flabergasted, and then by emailing said person and explaining they got it wrong,(copied to management) then going to see them face to face. I was even more shocked when I was challenged about refusing to share, so, on principle I very politely told them there was no need. Management rang. Shock and amazement, they supported me and then rang said idiot. The feedback I got afterward was in everyway an indication of support but of course damage done, throw mud it sticks.
Now can anyone venture to suggest why someone in a company, who is liked by seniors and juniors, who is doing a job and getting paid for it, and who has little in the way of complaint in life, should shoot a friend in the back for something so petty as a volunteer group?
I am still flabergasted when I think of the complete waste of energy, company time, effort, and not to mention no little stress, it causes. How can apparently nice people be so fucking selfish. Weird.

Any way looks like the Unions and the students won their fight for the retraction of something they didn't want. Now don't get me wrong, I thought democracy was about people and what they wanted and that the politicians elected would give them what they wanted. But apparently like George, there are also those like Dominique and perhaps Silvio who thought it was just the right to cast a vote and nothing more.
Now Dominique really, if people are burning cars and blocking universities, I mean students now, and not the group of people that Sarky sarkozy called scum,...ah I see, this is the great mistake in this story. Someone must of told de Villepin that the protesters knew no better and to push on with the thing. I hope so because if not it has been another costly wasted effort due to one persons entrenched bitterness with the world and an ego so large it appears to have its own moon.

Okay till soon. My son's birthday this week. Life is good if busy. Hugs to you whoever comes to read.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Blogger time

So I haven't written for a while. Well since the move in with the girlfriend to a bigger and better place, the goodbye to the box I was living in that was in hindsight, well and truly a kip, I can honestly say that what drove this blog initally, it's reason for existing if you will is no more.

However new reasons are developing.

Without going over old ground, almost everyone I knew who supported me and backed me in my time of need are no longer around. The Muslim Algerian girls are gone, well one of them moved to school in Lyon, and I promise you, if you are seeking a civil engineer this woman is for you. The other has decided to study English literature. Ken the friendly crusty but benign American, had to return to the States, put his aged mother in a home, bury his cancer ridden sister, get pissed off with his usless brother in law and is now in Denmark soon to be Croatia.

There are other people, the basketball player who I felt really let downby, the Columbian who just isn't in touch anymore. The russians. My ex neighbours who in turn split up and are now living through what I did.
I wouldn't wish it on many people to be honest. But I notice how I have changed. How I am growing once again in my life. How I constantly loose contact with people, or they move on, or I get careless. How the wheel and spiral of life conspire and turn and then how a friend rings you out of the blue past, and tells you
"sorry I couldn't ring my chemo was too hard". ..........Makes ya realise how lucky we all are.

It's been a year now since I have been home. My son will be 6 next week.
I still have debts, haven't written my film, haven't sorted out my driving licence but by god I am alive, don't let me waste it.

What am I going to write about now? The big book deal that will never come? Porn, just to get visitors? More observances on why French people strike against a new law for working contracts brought in by a stubborn government and why Irish people don't strike? Or maybe the film I am still not writing?

Or perhaps why my son asked was Chirac in Fashion because he is always on TV and when questioned and asked did he know who George was, he replied 'A Muppet' Out of the mouths of babes.........
For anyone who still pops in, it will be easter soon, don't forget the chocolate. :)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

International Womens Day

Okay so I am pissed off. Pity it takes International women's day to get me back in the saddle to write this blog. So I sent an email today to all the women I work with. I said "Well it's your international day, so Happy day and well done and congratulations on all your achievements to date. "

I did mean it in the best way that I could mean it. I do understand the frustration and I am (contrary to popular belief) a feminist. Not a raging liberal but just someone who doesn't agree with the differences we impose on ourselves. I meant I know women are treated like shit the world over but I dont' support it. I meant I admire (even more so in this part of the world) that you run the gaunlet of eyes everyday judging your physical shape and wondering what you are like in bed. I am aware you are taken on your appearance and the size of your boobs rather than the phd you have in computer science.
I know a lot of men have walked away from the responsibilities of fatherhood and left you holding the baby, literally. I know you have been raped simply becauase of your gender. I know you have been killed, disposed of like rubbish, hidden, beaten, mistreated, poisoned,disregarded, shouted down, ignored, beaten again, whistled at, abandoned, abused, forgotten and all because you are a woman. So those of you who live in fear of it, who have come through it, survived it, gotten over it, done something about it, done nothing about it, I say happy day to you. I admire you, well done.


Your sex has an international day and I think it's great. Mine doesn't but before you tell me Men don't need one they have all the power. ....... I say Leonardo Da Vinci was an artist and a man. I am a man but I couldn't paint if my life depended on it. And maybe not just because they are men but many men have endured and suffered exactly the same list as above. We all live in a world where some are more equal than others.

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