May 2006, and I am prised from the sweet arms of Morpheus having had the most extraordinary reverie, one in which I work for year upon Sisiphusian year as a crazed polemicist for The Telegr…no, no, I won’t go into the details of who did what to who, where. ACHAB* as Alan Clark used to say.
I glaze at the alarm clock, er gaze, before leaping from my bed looking like an immortal god, the rosy fingered Dawn indicating that I am late for my morning shit at The Bindo! I leap forth, and in my panicked search for loin girding, feel I am drawn into a strangely trilateral flush, which suffuses my entire being. No, I don’t know what that means either. Realising that never mattered before, I recover and tumble downstairs from my flat above the Family Planning Clinic – tripping over my condominimum, left with the milk bottles at the threshold; not for bastard-getting I – and hurtle out into the street. Still, sharp-eyed readers will have noted, in a state of ungentlemanly undress, I stay my gallop for a moment outside to take in my surrounds.
Oh sweet Christ! I'm on the northside!!
What! Overnight, someone has completely moved me to the northside! As I had long suspected, they do not look like us over here. They have flat-faces and speak inscrutable oriental mishmash. “Excuse me, sir,” I ask one, “but can you tell me where the white rabbit went. I’ve come down the wrong hole”.
"Xctlgh Abklds vhghta," he murmurs melodiously. "Bnhghstd mklllp."
“I see...I want my mummy!”
Not for the first time, I am dizzy with incomprehension, and totter down O'Connell Street, like a working class female in stilettos and white mini. Of all Europe's capital main-streets, this is perhaps the most depressingly dereli . . . But what’s this? Anne Summers? What kind of shop can it be?
Two hours later I re-emerge blinking into the daylight, a brown paper bag clasped to my ample bosom. But where are the Irish people? The Tower of Babel has come to Dublin, and that gives me an idea for a column or two. I know just how to put the willies up people, especially since I acquired this brown paper bag. By the time I’m finished, people will half expect to see a chanting impi of Zulu warriors come trotting over O'Connell Bridge . . .
It is then I finally realise what's going on. This is all part of that mad dream, the same one in which I was writing a newspaper column for decades. A mad newspaper column. So I lower my head and scurry to Middle Abbey Street, where I have no desire to wake up when I reach the sanctuary of Independent Newspapers. But it’s not there.
Provoking even greater suspicion that I haven’t bothered to research the latest developments on the northside for my column, I completely fail to notice the rather obvious tram system and turn my attentions instead to immigration and my obsession with Edwardian social values. I think of an African gentleman in the language of H Rider Haggard and mischievously use the arcane and dismissive term "ban-garda" to describe a female police officer. In my dreamscape, however, I cannot help but imagine her astride a snorting stallion adopting the tones of a stern governess…
Having returned to Anne Summers momentarily, I make my way to Talbot Street.
Eskimos are funny, by the way.
Having located Independent Newspapers, I rush inside and gibber “Is this newspaper still run by Doctor Sir Anthony O’Reilly Pasha, God keep him?”
“Of course, mate. That’s him over there stroking that white cat.”
“Thank God. Ever since the Major went at the other place, I just haven’t felt comfortable.” My voice cracks slightly. “I had…I… They made me work for a woman over there.” Oh God, the shame burns my cheeks. Another flush, another triangle. Still no idea what the hell I’m on about.
“I had a dream that things had moved on in this country and that there was incredible prosperity and progress in our attitudes.”
“Oh that doesn’t matter around here, mate.”
“Hallelujah! You mean I can go back to saying what I was saying in 1980 and to what my forefathers were saying in 1880?”
“Ah really? So, business as usual then...”
*Anything can happen at backgammon. If you have to ask, you'll never be U.
That's all I had/have time for. It's almost as phoned-in as the Colonel's own jaded effort, but it's exam time and so....exeunt copernicus, stage right.