Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Colonel's Adventure Through the Looking Glass

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 my old mucker, Alan, 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.

Mountjoy Square?!

Oh sweet Christ! I am 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”.


*Anything can happen at backgammon - Clark, Goldsmith and other London clubland poshos.

[The adventure will continue this afternoon. I have to get my bus through the northside.]

8 Comments:

Blogger Copernicus said...

I can't get back into my blogger dashboard at the moment, but there is a link to full text of original article at the every amusing Clare Hurlers board at anfearrua.com

http://www.anfearrua.com/db/default.asp?a=topicdisplay&tid=231942

5:30 p.m.  
Blogger Badman said...

One funny thing about this - oh so lame - article is the following:

"hurtle through the doorway into Mountjoy Square, which is as you know, a sad wasteland resembling Berlin circa 1945.

What! Overnight, someone has completely rebuilt it with elegant offices and apartment blocks."

Erm. Mounjoy square has not been rebuilt since about 1830. It's still pretty much 100% Georgian and it still has a half-dozen derelict buildings.

"horrible old Gardiner Street appears to have been transformed into a boulevard in the 17th arrondisement"

The difference between Gardiner street today and in 1980 is that some of the tenements have been rebuilt.

From which I surmise that Kevin hasn't visited the North side since 1980.

6:30 p.m.  
Anonymous fústar said...

Here's the whole yoke.

As I was saying, before being so rudely interrupted . . .

MAY, 1980, and I start from my sleep after the most extraordinary dream, one in which I am working for years and years as a newspaper columnist for The . . . no, no, I won't go into the details of where and who and so on. It's all too preposterously unbelievable.

I gaze at the alarm clock, before leaping up, yelping with horror. I'm late for my morning shift at The Indo! I leap out of bed, and in my panic, feel I am drawn into a strangely trilateral flush, which suffuses my entire being. Then I recover, and tumble downstairs from my flat above the Family Planning Clinic - my condominium - and hurtle through the doorway into Mountjoy Square, which is as you know, a sad wasteland resembling Berlin circa 1945.

What! Overnight, someone has completely rebuilt it with elegant offices and apartment blocks. A strange flat-faced gentleman passes by. "Excuse me, sir," I ask, "but can you tell me what's been going on here?"

"Xctlgh Abklds vhghta," he murmurs melodiously. "Bnhghstd mklllp."

"I see. Thank you very much."

How odd. The Dalai Lama apparently has moved here. But why? After catastrophic economic mismanagement through the 1970s, tens of thousands of people are fleeing this Ireland of 1980. I'm the lucky one: this morning I have a freelance shift in Independent Newspapers. I scurry past the ruins of Gardiner Street: but stay! The ruins are gone: vanished! Indeed, horrible old Gardiner Street appears to have been transformed into a boulevard in the 17th arrondisement.

Now I didn't touch a drop last night. So what is going on here? I head towards the once great Gate Theatre, now in an abysmal decline. No modern drama ever here. Sad, sad, sad. Yet hold on! Hoardings insist that the Gate is staging "Waiting for Godot". What? Mac Liammoir as Estragon? And Edwards as Vladimir? But that'd be like John Wayne - who died just nine months ago: RIP - playing Lady Bracknell. No, no, it cannot be.

Dizzy with incomprehension, I totter down O'Connell Street, of all of Europe's capital main-streets, perhaps the most depressingly dereli . . . My God. It's utterly unrecognisable. There's a big shiny yoke sticking out of the street between the GPO and . . . The Anne Summers' what? kind of shop? Indeed, just about the only thing that remains from yesterday is that newly-opened McDonalds, the first one in Ireland, and the last, I'll be bound. McDonalds will never catch on in this country. Irish people just won't take to fast-food.

Irish people? What Irish people? The Tower of Babel has come to Dublin. Everywhere there are Balts and Bosnians, Gauls, Galicians and Greeks, never mind Poles, Apaches and Pathans. Some are spouting languages without vowels, others flute ones without consonants, and others still without either. What's happening to me? Is there something in the Mountjoy Square water? I half expect to see a chanting impi of Zulu warriors come trotting over O'Connell Bridge . . .

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. So I lower my head and scurry to Middle Abbey Street, hoping to wake up when I reach the sanctuary of Independent Newspapers.

Except it is gone. Yes, it too has vanished. It was there yesterday; but not today. Should I go back to bed? Probably. A gentleman who rather resembles the prime minister of Ghana, complete with fly-whisk, passes by. And I know I'm having a true Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds experience when a ban-garda shimmers into view, and on horseback. Naturally.

"Excuse me, ban-garda," I cry to the she-Mountie, "What's happened to Independent Newspapers, please?"

She looks at me curiously. "Moved to Talbot Street. And a little less sexist talk, if you don't mind." She then clops out of my dream.

Talbot Street? But Talbot Street is Stalingrad. You couldn't have newspaper offices there. And what's "sexist talk"?

I stagger back to O'Connell Street, past bistros selling mysterious comestibles I've never heard of: lattes and chorizos and pannini and mochas and even wraps. Why, we'll be munching sock-pie next. Meanwhile, the dream is getting steadily more ludicrous: Talbot Street, once populated by wizened, whey-skinned jailbirds with soggy cigarettes drooping out of their mouths, is now almost as cosmopolitan as Manhattan. I ask a little Eskimo for directions, and with the aid of his harpoon, he politely points out the new Independent building.

"I'm feeling a little out of sorts today," I gibber haplessly at some swagman at reception. "Is this newspaper still run by that O'Reilly fellow?"

"Of course, mate."

"Hallelujah! I thought I was having the weirdest dream, in which Ireland of 1980 is incredibly prosperous and attracting immigrants from around the world, and the receptionist at this newspaper is an Australian . . . "

"Which I am, cobber. But the year is 2006."

"TWO THOUSAND AND SIX? What! Am I some sort of Rip Mac Winkle?"

"Rather well put, sport. You used to work here, until you missed your shift back in 1980. Did you feel your complexion redden first thing after you woke up?"

"Yes! How did you know?"

"Because you vanished into the Florider Triangle. You're just out of it. Do yourself a favour. Don't look in the mirror, not quite yet, anyway. Otherwise, welcome back to the newspaper you used to write for, 26 years ago."

Ah. Really? So, as I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted . . .

7:33 p.m.  
Anonymous fústar said...

"I half expect to see a chanting impi of Zulu warriors come trotting over O'Connell Bridge . . ."

I'm sure he actually does see them...regularly. And hordes of cannibalistic feminists with murder on their minds...

7:41 p.m.  
Anonymous Stellanova said...

From which I surmise that Kevin hasn't visited the North side since 1980.

Thank goodness for that. I'd like to think I was as far away from him as possible for most of my life. Also, that's the most inaccurate depiction of my native half of the city since, aged 15, I was told by a kid from Terenure that everyone from the northside lived in a caravan.

And as for the rest of it...well, I think the Colonel is at his most painful when he attempts whimsical humour...

8:08 p.m.  
Anonymous londoner said...

didn't he live in phibsboro for many years before re-locating to kildare?

10:15 a.m.  
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