Continued from Part Two.
                I do remember that on that particular March evening of every year, at a minute or two to midnight, we left the flat lemonade out in the middle of the sitting room with an air of trepidipity. There would be at least a dozen bottles sitting on the carpet awaiting collection. Father took charge of just a few things in the house: For example, he looked after the fireworks, the razors when Mother hadn’t pawned them, the smoked kippers, the drink, and that goddamned Ouija Board that was used to summon the Bearded Madonna.
                Employing a simple bottle cap from one of the mineral containers, Father would crouch over the board and perform his “stunt” – the calling of the Stunt Double Mary. Usually, it wasn’t a money making scheme but one time, crouching over that board, he won twenty seven shillings from the local exorcist curate, after getting 118 points with ZYGOTES.
                After the calling, there’d be the familiar whoosh of a broomstick on the rooftop, followed by a hefty, phlegmy cackle, a big hefting heave of a thing, coughed up from the very bowels of a tuberculoid’s shtomach.
                Up we’d leap off the sofa and the armchairs, in something of a mad panic, terrified that we ourselves would become consumptive – as our immunity wouldn’t have tolerated a mirror universe kind of tuberculosis, and scramble we would around behind the furniture, each of us children and the two parents to boot trying to get a good vantage point while also remaining hidden behind the furniture, fighting for a chance at a good view. Sometimes the fire may have been lit if we could afford it, and the weather was still cold. If this was the case that year, there was a spitting sound, and a gloopy noise heard above our heads on the roof slates that then manifested itself as a kind of bomblike whistling, before an ectoplasmic ooze landed in the hearth, dousing those flames with ease and gloop and shmoke.
                The blazing fire would be extinguished, indicating that Reverse Stunt Double Mary would soon be making her appearance.
                “Kawwwww! Tooo-whit! Tooo-whooo!” we would hear her shriek, followed by a screech from her evil cat Bastet. (Bastet the cat was kind of like a reverse Offensive Jesus, suggesting that Jesus plagiarised all his stuff from that cat worshipping Feckin’ Egypt. Bastet appeared in all the iconography under his mother’s head, with the piercing and cheeky green eyes on him.) Then, with just a whisper of magical – and sooty – fairy dust coming in down the chimney and out of the fireplace, the Reverse Stunt Double Holy Mother would materialise in our very living room.
                How and ever, this annual custom came to an end the day I prepared the empty potato sack and put it under the sofa.
                Backwards Bloody Mary, as she may have also been known, appeared in the living room with her shawl wrapped around her, her broomstick in her hand and her cat on her shoulder.
                “Where’s thaaAAAAT flaAAAAT lemonade?” she uttered, as her eyes fell upon the collection of bottles in the middle of the carpet. Rubbing her hands in cackling glee, she bent down to pick the first of them up – a lovely cream soda, so it was, opened it and brought it to her lips. Her head went back, glug, glug, glug, and in three or four little bobs of her Adam’s apple (Reverse Mary’s cross-gender indications being an added phenomenon to the myth), she had emptied the flat lemonade into her belly. She gasped and picked up a bottle of flat Kelly’s Cola. Now’s my chance, I said to myself. Her head went back to drink the next bottle and I leapt out from behind the couch, and threw the sack over her head. Her broomstick fell to the floor as she struggled against me, and I brought the meshy container straight down to her ankles.
                Both herself and Bastet the cat started to shriek in the darkness of that sack. Then, silence. The bag went lifeless and I released it. Falling to the carpet, herself and the cat had gone. In their place were hundreds and hundreds of heavily buttered egg and krill sandwiches, cut diagonally, but in reverse, so that the crust was actually on the inside.
                “What happened, Father?” I asked, looking up at him whimperingly, and back down at the stinky sandwiches. “I’m confused.”
                “We’re all confused, son,” he said, scratching his chin. “We’re all confused.”
                And then we all started to cry, and ever so slowly, Brother Larry - with his legs for teeth and his teeth for legs - climbed up onto the piano stool, and began to tinkle the top half dozen or so piano keys, as he stared into the middle distance in bewildered wonderment and awe.



Continued from Part One.
                However, Mary did have her counterpart in the modern physicist’s multiverse – and with that science being only in its infancy at the time, what with the springy cheese products made for the children, and the mozzarella for the fancy pizzas having not been yet invented, there was only one four-dimensional alternative to our own four dimensions. Every year, in order to appease the mirror universe Holy Mother, on the twenty-fifth of March in general – although a visceral feeling in the gut could allow for a votive offering to be made at any time of the year, Lord bless us all – where was I? Ah yes. In general, on the 25 March, people would leave all of their “sody pop” be it lemonade, cream soda, Kelly’s cola, or whatever other fizzy drinks were in the house at the time – out for the arrival of Her Good Reverse Self, as she was then known.
                The Mirror Universe Mary was actually something of a myth. But flat lemonade had to be retained for an entire year if it had run out of gas the previous late March, and stored in the house until her arrival.
                She was not known to us people of ignorance as the “Mirror Universe Holy Mother” or the “Alternative Realm Madonna”, as she is today on the National Geographic Channel when they open up the golden box, and show the footage of men wearing beards and towels on their heads with a bit of rope around them, and having a bit of a pray or the read of a scroll.
                No, a Thiarcais! Due to our inability to grasp even the most basic of Newtonian concepts at the time, due to the substandard hedge fund school education provided to the majority of the populace – shown in recent times to be built on a house of monopoly cards – she was instead usually called the “Reverse Stunt Double Mary”. Stunt doubles were the closest thing we had in terms of comprehension to holy apparitions from alternate realities. However, Oh worthy one – being the more bellicose of the two glorious women – she was also known as the stunt double Black Madonna, the stunt double Chocolate Momma, the stunt double Black Mariah, or simply just Stuntman Mary. But she wasn’t dark-skinned like the medieval Black Madonna statues. We were just a lot more ignorant of racialism in those heady, pre-eugenics days.
                This Shockin’ Holy Saint, Reverse Stunt Double Mary, would enter our universe through a portal that opened every March above the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth, or else at the gap of the four corners of Ballaghaderreen Cathedral that was focused in a burst as a kind of annual prism, or else in a hole over Antarctica caused by all the fizz being released every time a gassy bottle of sody pop was opened, depending on whose version of the legend you chose to believe – the one found in the actual Gospels, the one of local folkloric legend, or the far more apocryphal Late Twentieth Century Gnostic Bastard Gospel of Science, where it is believed that a little retroactive continuity with a cheeky wink at what’s going on in the real world in 1989, had been carried out.
                The differences between the real Holy Mother and Reverse Stunt Double Mary included the fact that the alternate reality Mary had a lot more hair on her chin than our own Mary. Hence she was also known as the Bearded Mary.

Continued in Part Three.



                Picture if you will a time of great superstition that will all end in tears. A time when there was no television or Raidío Teilifís a hAon (whether the “I” is on the “radio” or not is irrelevant, coz you don’t have to look at it), so people would make their own entertainment, with local sportspeople taking on the guise of more famous sporting luminaries.
                Now, what I’m trying to say is that it wouldn’t be unusual – for example – to go to the local tennis courts or the nearby shnooker hall to see a game of Stunt Double Wimbledon or Stunt Double The Crucible Sheffield.
                There was even a wedding for Wimbledon star stunt double John McEnroe, who married his childhood sweetheart from an Abba tribute band. It was such a fantastic party that people were lying around within an hour like they had been feckin’ shot by the security forces or the pro Treaty side or the anti Treaty side, depending on whether you were poring over the Press or the Indo or the Times we were living in and what have you, reading the sports pages to get any kind of a sense out of things.
                Because London was that little bit a lot more further away in those days, there were numerous stunt doubles pretending to be British sports luminaries in Ireland. So it was all very faux unless the Gaelic Games were being played.
                I recall one match between two fantastic shnooker stunt doubles, with a Stunt Double Jimmy The Whirlwind White taking on the actual Alex Hurricane Higgins, because he was in actuality born on this island, but both of them smoking like veritable chimbleys and knocking back the gargle as they lined up their shots and tracked the ball and performed plants of all sorts and sometimes fell off the table or went somersaulting over the slate to land with a thwack on top of the gorgeous looking female referee, made all the better by her rather feminely-cut tuxedo. And Jimmy got his hair fitted at the time. Fake hair for a fake sportsman – the real Jimmy White having got hair from his buttocks cauterised into his scalp at great expense some years previous. But they were all just stunts performed by the experts, not to be re-enacted at home or it could cause fatalities, and nobody got hurt.
Dennis Taylor
                Stunt Double Shnooooker Championships were a lot more exciting than their regular real world counterparts. Why so? Because of all the action. At a typical Stunt Doubles World Championship Final match that I attended as a youngster, the player playing “Steve Davis” – whose name actually happened to be Dennis H.W. deKlerK F.W. Bush Taylor – chipped the cue ball into the air and struck Stunt Double Dennis Taylor high up on the forehead, smashing his phwacking spectacles into his phwacking face and knocking him the phwack out. Dennis came round and ultimately cracked his shnooker cue over Steve’s back, before taking his final shot with Steve’s stolen cue. Phwack. The cue ball rolled across the velvet, at an even pace, everyone on tenterhooks.
Steve Davis
                And it all came down to that black in that very last game. Dennis sank that black like he was chugging down a richly hued pint of plain produced with the honey coloured Liffey waters just in front of St. James’s Fence. After the match, we all went to a gig featuring the Australian Doors with support from Bjorn Again, one of whose members happened to be married to the aforementioned Carbon Copy “John McEnroe”, and in triplicate at that.
                Now, the Holy Mother was Herself a part of the every day lives of the Irish at that time, us being of a far more Marist sensibility than we are today. And in fairness to the Irish, while some people were Marist, others were Maoist.
                There was a bit of a split – a social shkhckckchism, if you will, between those who popped off to Spain in the 30s to fight for what was “only right”, and those others who actually had a touch of genuine decency about them, and who were left here, and left there, over in Spain.
                But Mary was the Big Deal, whether you were a Fascist or a Democrat. And so too was her Mirror Universe equivalent. Those who still clung to the old beliefs considered the Holy Mother to be beyond goodness itself.


Cure for male pattern hair loss discovered

Playing international cricket has been found to have an incredible effect on male pattern hair loss.

Photo courtesy of Eva Rinaldi.
At least a dozen international cricketers and former cricketers have found their hair restored before it was too late. Why?

From the combination of wicket juices, red ball leather and the stress induced sweat that forms from playing an international sport at the highest level. So play international cricket now. Do you hear me, baldy?


An Early Childhood Chapter Ten (One)


Continuation from the end of Chapter 9

An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock, surreal autobiography by a fictional Irish literary figurehead, champion bodhrán player and broadcaster.

                When I say that I didn’t really take part in the Easter Rising, I was exaggerating. I’m not one for jumping on the bandwagon at the last minute, and I never did so when it came to taking part in the Rising. So I did take part in it. I was in Dublin at the time, working on my first collection of short stories called The Troglodytic Herbivore and Other Stories, and I was also co-writing a surreal, modernist, well-made play with the feminist Henry Gibson entitled Toast at the Odeon which we hoped would be produced at the Odeon because it would have made the title that bit more self-referential.
                I had a cousin named Barney who had served in a tedious conflict in South Africa around the turn of the century and he was living in Little Londingbridge Street in Sandymount in Dublin. The houses were all semi-detached, terraced and free-standing to allow for comfort and ease of movement. Barney lived in something of a shabby room at the back of number 113. He was a member of the Irish Volunteers, and his advice was often sought by his fellow Volunteers on matters pertaining to cookery, because he had been a chef when he served in the British Army. As well as military matters. His bedroom was beside that of a struggling artist, William Orpen, who would sit for hours at his window drawing sketches. Barney woke him up every morning, coming into his bedroom and shouting:
                “Orpen rise, Orpen rise!”
                It was a kind of a little joke between them, until William Orpen hit him and broke Barney’s nose one morning, and from then on, Barney let him lie in.
                Barney wasn’t allowed to keep any guns in his own little flat because he had served with the British Army and for a former soldier of Her Majesty (I speak now of course of Plump Victoria, rather than Liz Vindzor) to keep guns was frowned upon – whether he was an Irish Volunteer or not – but he let his artist drawing friend keep what little weaponry he had in his room. Being too old at this stage to take part in any action, Barney still retained a flare gun and a single flare in the top drawer of his little tenement’s neighbourly drawer’s chest of drawers underneath his drawers. Ultimately, Orpen headed off to do a bit of drawing with the British Army over in the trenches on the Continent.
                Barney had met revolutionary Padraig Pearse, as had I, and I felt Pearse - as a primary school teacher - was more than qualified and born to lead the Irish nation - as, of course, did Pearse himself.
                One man who disagreed was Professor Eoin MacNeill, leader of the Irish Volunteers. On Easter Saturday, while myself and Barney were eating our flame-grilled rats in his tenement apartment, a letter came under the door. Barney bent over to get the letter and did his back in and couldn’t get up again, so I gave him a fierce kick in the head and his body snapped back into its true vertical position. Barney thanked me while he sought his handkerchief in his dressing gown pocket to tend to the nose-bleed which had started out of him, and while doing so I opened the letter. It was from Eoin MacNeill, demanding that “all of your wonderful cookery be halted for the following week.
                “Signed Eoin Mac Neill.
                “Chief of Staff.”
                MacNeill had suspended all activities of the Irish Volunteers, including Barney’s cooking. We were rather glum, because we had heard rumours that there was to be an uprising. But with MacNeill suspending activities, any uprising must have been called off. Moreover, we could now not eat any of Barney’s fabulous meals for the following week, including the tasty flame grilled rats we’d just gone to the trouble of catching and cooking.
                Well, the following morning a second letter slipped over the threshold, and while myself and Barney were eating our chocolate eggs I reached out and snatched it up. Once again addressed to Cousin Barney, my ageing relative opened the letter and he perused its contents before solemnly handing it to me. It was a note from Padraig Pearse, countermanding MacNeill’s original order:
                “Happy Easter,
                Good Lookin’.
                I’d be very pleased if you would
                Keep cookin’.”
                Having read it, I looked gravely back into Cousin Barney’s eyes, walked soberly into the next, now empty bedroom to William Orpen’s chest of drawers, and I pulled the top drawer open. I withdrew the flare gun, loaded it with the single flare and cocked the hammer. There was to be an uprising after all.
                I was outside the GPO when Pearse made the Proclamation the next day. Commandant Pearse stood outside the post office on Sackville Street, watched by the group of Volunteers and Citizen Army soldiers who were inside the post office, as he began his exordium:
                “Irishmen and Irishwomen:
                “In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom…”

                Few people noticed him; passers-by did just that, passing by, ignoring him and not apprehending the significance of the event. As he continued, my heart began to glow with pride at being Irish and burn with rage against the English. I was angered by the apathy of the people passing by on their daily business, paying no notice to this great Irish primary schoolteacher.
                The Proclamation was supposed to be a bloodless demonstration of the Irish people’s right to self-government; I was having none of that, though, and as soon as Pearse finished I pointed the flare gun at the nearest truck with British markings and fired. It just so happened that the truck was full of ammunition and it exploded, and with that, Ireland was thrown into a veritable jihad for the rest of the week.
                The Rising had been supposed to be bloodless on account of the fact of the Great War keeping the British very busy and it wouldn’t have been fair to start a revolution at that time. My argument went that the Great War was a war of imperialism and there was nothing noble about it. It was all about great powers asserting themselves and millions dying into the bargain. So I thought some of those British soldiers deserved a bit of a holiday from the Western Front, and indeed some of them did end up in Ireland for Easter week, eating the very Catholic Easter eggs they were trying to break, for want of a better metaphor. And very Catholic they were, for they had a kind of a prima facie Humanae Vitae about them, which could be ignored once they were blessed, and could then be eaten.
                Well, myself and the rest of the Citizen Army and the Volunteers present went dashing into the General Post Office and I shouted at everyone:
                “Get out this instant!”
                Old women, young women and children picking up their King’s shillings on account of their husbands’ involvement in the Great War were busy lining up in the post office awaiting their payment. They looked up at me and the group of soldiers now surrounding them and they laughed.
                “What’ll you do if we don’t get out?” one of the young women asked.
                John Fisherman-O’Reilly, one of the Citizen Army, fired his rifle into the air and a big chunk of plaster fell from the roof and hit a two-year-old child on the head.
                “Oh Jesus!” John Fisherman-O’Reilly burst out of him and the little girl began to bawl crying. Everyone crowded around the toddler, who was overcome with the pain, and the blood pumping out of her skull.
                “She’ll need stitches,” one of the women said, “Is there a doctor in the building?”
                “I’m a doctor,” one of the Irish Volunteer boys, Eamonn Gorman sez, and everyone stood back to let the Volunteer tend to the child. Eamonn Gorman looked like a “reared”, so young was he. “Reareds” was the Hiberno-English word for teenagers. “Sure, you’re only a reared!” people would say if you bemoaned at them about the state of your life. 

              Young Eamonn moved forward, and from a Gladstone bag which he placed clinically on the floor he withdrew a thick textbook filled from beginning to end with philosophical writings. He began to read from David Hume’s Treatise on Human Understanding and over the course of the next five minutes the child was lulled into a wonderful sleep. Young Gorman was in fact a doctor of philosophy and had little or no medical knowledge. But slowly and surely, all of the women and children nodded off, and we abruptly carried them out onto the road and laid them end to end up Sackville Street, tying them to each other with ropes and handcuffs – binders and binders of women, lining the whole length of Dublin’s main thoroughfare – until they came to a few hours later, but by that stage the GPO was boarded up with our rifles peeping out through the now smashed windows.

                Then a strange thing happened while we were waiting for the British soldiers to arrive. We heard the jingling of bells in the distance and the braying of reindeer and the clomp clomp cloppety-clomp of hooves on concrete.

Continued in Chapter 10 Part 2.

An Early Childhood Chapter 9 Part 4

Continued from Chapter 9 Part 3.
                Air anus, we formed our little group of freedom fighters in our village one summer on my return home from the nation’s capital for a holiday. Charlo Mallooolly, John Fisherman-O’Reilly, Sean Tubridy O’Reilly, Tancred Moorphy M’Nally and myself, setting off along the rail tracks with the trains full of Brithishers chasing us. I was the brains of the operation as I had written a few anti-imperialist articles for republican publications – or "republications" as they were known – as well as a modestly successful book of poetry and a few advertising slogans. Just a few of the "republications" in which my work featured included An Phoblacht, An Tiocfaidh Ducky, and Tiocfaidh 2: Chucky's Voodoo Nightmares ins an Chistin leis an Maicróbhaibhe Obhain agus an Piping Hot Dobbling Coddle Hot Pot.

Just some of the ingredients found in a Dobbling coddle hot pot
                No sooner had we formed our band of rebels than we decided to bomb the local army barracks, and no sooner had we decided that than the local British commanding officer of the region, Colonel Sir Edward “Gold Bollocks” Tiptoft, got wind of our plans and deemed it necessary to arrest and execute us.
                We were in a safe house at the time; Charlo Mallooolly had gone to the local market to buy half a dozen eggs, a pint of milk and a pinch of salt. Ever wary, Tancred was keeping look-out from the roof of the house. He wasn’t any longer than a blink of an eye on the roof than he roared out of him that a regiment of English soldiers was approaching, and quickly clambered down off the roof while we loaded our weapons.
                I had yet to meet Colonel Sir Edward Tiptoft in my true guise as an Irish patriot, having met him once before as a pretend baby, but I had heard of him by reputation, much as he had heard of me. He had a reputation as a gambling addict and a womaniser and carouser, a heavy drinker, and he had the ear of the British monarch, Charles I, which he kept in a jar on his desk in Dublin Castle. He was of the old school of the English Ascendancy, a devout Church of England worshipper and regular Puritan churchgoer, a follower of John Knox and Calvin and the other chipmunks, staunchly convinced that the British, and a fortiori the English - in a kind of a syllogistic Venn diagram of a thing - were the educators of the world, and the leaders of the rest of the world. According to his warped philosophy, the English were put on Earth to show peoples indigenous to less flourishing regions of the globe the custom by which to live.
                Colonel Sir Edward Tiptoft had a head of jet black hair that was greased back and parted in the middle with a streak of grey running through it. He never went anywhere without his pipe, which he held cupped in his left hand, which was an artificial hand, what with having lost the real hand in the Boer War some years previous. He had earned the nickname ‘Fake-Left-Hand Eddy’ as a result. His face was wrinkly, blotched and pocked like a used minefield, and that’s what it was, because as a young commissioned officer Tiptoft had volunteered his face to be used as a minefield in training exercises. His nose was purple from his fondness for the brandy; he had had it replaced with an artificial nose. He had a huge chin which stretched out and down to his chest. The chin was a prosthesis, as he had lost the real chin when he fought on the side of the Prussians in the Franco-Prussian War, thus earning the nickname ‘Chinless Eddy’.
                His body seemed very trim for his age and he gave the impression that he took good care of himself, but appearances can be deceptive—he wore a girdle. His testicles were made of gold, because his real testicles had been blown off in the American Civil War while serving the Confederacy. His torso wasn’t real either, and he had two artificial legs, and two glass eyes and a third one – for to see you all the better with – in the back of his head. He also had a fake brain, comprising a miniature steam engine and circuitry composed of tiny vacuum valves. He was Montgomery’s right hand man in Ireland, which was fortunate because Tiptoft’s right hand was the only part of him that was real. He was also Churchill's left hand man, Lloyd George's pinky toe man and my mortal enemy man. I was to have many a confrontation with Colonel Sir Edward Gold Bollocks Tiptoft over the succeeding weeks, months and years, and the following chapters are an account of my adventures against him. But first, my description of the Easter Rising.

Chapter 10 begins here.

Blue Peter phone in cover-up exposed

A Blue Peter phone-in competition in 2004 that involved the winner spending the night with Jimmy Savile has been exposed as fraudulent. Callers to the Blue Peter programme were given the impression that they could in fact be in with a chance of having a "Sleepover with Savile". However, the lucky prize winner - a television producer's niece - was in actuality handpicked from inside the BBC studios. Furthermore, there are reports circulating that she was not allowed anywhere near the late tv legend, and that repeated requests for the sleepover - from both Savile and the unnamed winner - were declined by television bosses.

Television viewers have already been left traumatised with recent reports that Jimmy didn't care much for young boys. When recording his show Jim'll Fix It for the BBC, Savile liked to have "a good, healthy group of girls - as many girls as I can get my hands on" in his studio. He was often heard telling studio technicians "I want to have a good group", pointing at the girls who were watching from behind the cameras.

Danny Price claims that Jimmy turned down the then ten-year-old's request to drive a tank in 1986, instead insisting that he permit his sister Katie to be "Princess Diana for a Day".

Having had a taste of fame, twice married Katie now courts celebrities assiduously. Paying thousands of pounds for plastic surgeries over the course of the last fifteen years, she has been romantically linked with big name footballers and Pop Idol winners. The novelist even has her own fashion line. Danny claims:
"She tries to get into polo club functions, but they turn her away. All because of Jimmy bloody Savile."

Katie today
Savile was a massively popular entertainment figure in Britain for four decades. The thousands of children who phoned the competition line that was given out by Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq during the 2004 programme will now be seeking compensation. Konnie Huq has herself been in hot water previously due to similar incidents. Known as "the Huqster", she colluded in the past with such accomplices as fellow presenter Steve Jones. In 2008, along with Jones, a number of acrobats and hundreds of members of the general public, Huq made an attempt to have a mashed potato throwing incident classed as a genuine world record because it was "The biggest indoor foodfight on trampolines in the world".

With the exposure of the latest scandal, Huq has been arrested and a file has been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.

An Early Childhood Chapter 9 Part 3


An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock, surreal autobiography by a fictional Irish literary figurehead, champion bodhrán player and broadcaster.

Continued from Chapter Nine Part Two.
               Often, the eight convicts in the cell would be replaced by eight different ones, much to the confusion of the guards who attended them, but they didn’t really know there were different people in the cell because, of course, all Catholics look the same to Protestants. I informed the cell of the plans of the Protestants, and the men were all shocked, but we began our own plans in earnest to counteract the nefarious endeavours of the Orangemen.
                A week later the Octogenarian Apprentice Boys’ Band were having their Proddy parade through the Catholic streets of Dublin, and – as they began their march – huge awnings on the floats were removed to reveal the vast and offending pictures of Mary and Joseph making love. But our own movement was ready with the condoms, and we hurled the fully filled up and used contraceptives at the paintings, and the fluids therein melting the paint off the mock pietas with acidic effectiveness. Hundreds more rubbers were thrown to land in the faces of the Prods, and dozens of the heathens were reduced to vomiting at the feeling of Jippi Longstockings slapping them across the forehead and their contents trickling over their eyes and into their mouths. And then – of course – we started with the nappies. Those diapers had been filled by the very children who would not have been born were it not for the encouragement of the Church, of course.
                The whole event came to be known in Vatican lore as the Prophylactic Attack at the Heathens.

                 The entire fracas went down in history as being the most effective method of protection from Protestant evil, because the Octogenarian Apprentice Boys didn’t really bother us thereafter, and went north to Belfast, but they gave a little charley bird a good box in the snot.
                I was summoned to the Vatican by the Pope, and I went into St Peter’s Basilica to meet him. The Pope reprimanded me for my plan – he had heard about it all in La Republicca or some such Italian broadsheet, and had been quite disgusted that I and my fellow Catholics used the weapons of sin and fornication to belittle the Protestants. I would have been excommunicathered on the spot had I not reasoned that the instruments we used were not true contraceptives, but rather the fingers from rubber gloves. The Pope agreed that I was thus in the right, and he issued a bull advocating the use of rubber glove fingers in the war against all non-Catholic movements. That’s how you always know you’re in a good Catholic household when you volunteer to do the washing up after dinner and there are no fingers on the rubber gloves in the cabinet under the sink.

                It must be said that once the threat of Protestant tyranny was removed from Catholic life, the armed forces of the Empire began to lay down the law, and politics replaced religion as the noose which endeavoured to wrap itself around the already bruised collective adam’s apple of the pontiff’s people. I was chased from county to county on my return from Rome, as English soldiers followed myself and my colleagues – a band of merry men, were we – from mountain to valley to lake to river. The number of action sequences that took place over that period of time was startling, and I shall now recount a few of the many to give you an idea as to the audacious existence of our little squadron at the time.
                My section consisted of five men including myself, their descriptions forthcoming in the next few lines. I say “my section”, but really we were each of us – to a man – primus inter pares – which means that we shared cooking duties.
                Charlo Mallooolly was six foot seven inches tall, a Goliath of a man in those days, of course, tall in stature and tall in personality. He had a kink in his hair whereby if he was running at full speed, his fringe would bounce up and down off his forehead, so he compensated for the fact by tying a handkerchief with a piece of twine over his head. Action heroes and Brithish sunbathers later copied the look.
                John Fisherman-O’Reilly came from a hook, long line and sinker of fishermen that was thought to stretch back to the Galileans of Christ’s time, and so it was believed that his ancestors may once have met Jesus. Fisherman-O’Reilly’s family had been taken prisoner by Crusaders of the thirteenth century and brought to Western Europe where they had been inducted into the Priory of Sion because of their inheritance, but in the sixteenth century they had joined the Catholic religion as they left the Priory because they’d all sworn off the dhrink and decided instead to pursue a more mainstream form of worship.
                People from far and wide had come to John Fisherman-O’Reilly to shake his hand in order to shake the hand of someone whose forebear may or may not have shaken the hand of Jesus. The fact that John Fisherman-O’Reilly’s genetic heritage comprised a man who may have met the Christ gave us all a warm feeling in our shtomachs—if John Fisherman-O’Reilly was on our side, well then sure as God so was the Messiah. John Fisherman-O’Reilly had spent much of his life seeking the legendary Trout of Fierce Intelligence, but more about that later.
                Sean Tubridy-O’Reilly was related by marriage to John Fisherman-O’Reilly. We always joked that John Fisherman-O’Reilly and Sean Tubridy-O’Reilly were inlaws, but at the same time, they were outlaws, and we had a right laugh about that fact.
                Tancred Moorphy M’Nally was from Muslim origins but found that the Proddy element of Orangeism was tinged with bigotry and racism. Tancred Moorphy M’Nally was a good man. Tancred didn’t use guns but he had two swords which he kept on his back, a blow horn and a longbow with a quiver filled to the brim with arrows, or quarrels, as they were also called, because whenever Tancred killed an English soldier with one of those arrows before anyone else could squeeze off a shot, he caused a fierce argument.

The continuation is here.

An Early Childhood: Chapter Nine Part Two

Continued from Chapter 9 Part 1.

                Now, I won’t go into my own politics. I prefer to avoid the political quagmires that such talk engenders among my Irish brethren. As you can naturally discern, I prefer to tell tales of when I was a lad, the poverty we were living in, of how we stole a big tray of doughnuts from Mr Baker on Main Avenue and went running off down the road with the doughnuts affixed to a piece of string, tying them onto the back of Mark Flearty’s wedding carriage.
                Or when we were walking across Main Demesne and we stumbled across a cache of arms and ended up taking statistic pleasure in shooting the rabbits and we killed 42.6 % of the rabbits that we shot outright and little Samuel Clarke got his little head blown off his shoulders by mistake.

                Or – if we are to touch on Ireland’s Problems, if only incidentally – when Daragh Fitzpatrick was hailed as a local hero for uncovering a rather dangerous mine in the vicinity of Mr McShocknessy’s farmhouse in the Gortnamassey Townland. Little Daragh was awarded a medal from Judge Rarely-Smyled. Daragh’s legs were fetched from the roof of the farmhouse by the local fire brigade and put in the museum and he went to the hospital and the good Indian Corkman Doctor Singh removed his testicles from his nostrils and restored them to their rightful place in the area of his gruan.

                I have a lot of pride in my heart when I tell of the time when we were on the Main Down with the Boy Scouts and we played ‘Pick your nose and eat it, Eugene’, and I won, having run all the four miles to the Main Road, left, then right and straight into the deed poll registry office in Main Avenue to change my name, to wit Eugene, thence returning to the Down immediately, finger in my nose before I reached the grassy plain, one lad, Rocky ‘The Rock’ Tumulty five seconds in front of me, and by the time I reached the Down he still had his picking to do, but I was already prepared with a fingernail full of the stuff, and I showed it proudly to the adjudicators before scraping it onto my teeth, Rocky only getting down to the picking at that stage. And the decision was made; although nobody had seen me in the act of nose-picking, everyone agreed that there had been snot on my finger, and my argument went that nobody in their right mind would eat somebody else’s snot. So it was decided that it was my own snot and that I had won the race fair and square, Rocky ‘The Rock’ Tumulty be damned. Of course, I changed my name back to Paddy as soon as I won my ‘Pick your nose and eat it, Eugene’ badge, but if you ever do meet a fellow called Eugene, you can be pretty sure he was a member of the Thirty-Seventh Brigade.

I prefer then, as you can gather, the less potentially offensive and more innocuous style of anecdotal storytelling, than the ramming of politics down the throats of my readers. I do have to say though, that Lord Kitchener didn’t have much of a profound effect on me until much later in my life.
                Neither did I get caught up in the Easter Rising, as I didn’t feel that it was my cup of tea as I was only just nearly out of BabyGros and nappies. The whole idea of holding a revolution at Easter and the notion that men were sacrificing their lives for their nation – just as God had sacrificed his Son for humanity – it was all a bit too symbolic and blasphemously facetious for my liking, and I’d learned my lesson with the crucerfixion of poor Brother Lefty. But the execution of my contemporaries in that revolt repulsed me to such an extent that I immediately became an active member of the nationalist movement. Anyway, more about the Easter Rising later in this exegesis of my life.
                As an undercover operative, I infiltrated a Protestant political party known as the Anti-Katholic League, or Ankle, as it was acrimoniously titled. You see, the Protestants had to spell the name of their organisation in such a way that the letter K was used for the word Catholic, but those bedevilled pseudo-Christians didn’t give two left peas on a plate after dinner how Catholic was spelled as long as they looked clever oh begorrah. Kingsley Kipling, the leader of the movement, addressed us one night at the fifth Ankle conference, known as the Finkle, insisting on a scourge which would wipe out a number of Catholics for good because, according to his design, they would ultimately have fits and heart attacks. He addressed his audience of Protestants as follows:
                “I advocate a general strike into the heart of Dobbling Village with a full scale assault on the
                senses of the Catholics, we’ll make them change their tune.
                We should show them pictures of Mary and Joseph in the throes of passion, that will make
                them faint and swoon.”
I was shocked at what I’d overheard, of course; the psychical ramifications of any such idolatrous deviancy would result in the certifiability of even the most lapsed and alcoholic Catholic, so I knew I had to get back to warn the resistance cell.
                The resistance cell was in a prison, which is from where the term ‘cell’ originates. The prisoners held there pretended to be prisoners, but they came and went as they pleased, thanks to a hole in the cell wall covered by a poster of Mae Wisht that led through the sewers for the length of seven Gaelic football fields and out into the River Shandy.

Continued in Part 3 of this chapter.

Six Degrees of Leonardo

Watch as we brings you through Six Degrees of Leonardo!

Leonardo di Cypriot starred in Martha’s Room with Meryl Lynch and Diana Keaton.
Photo by Firooz Zahedi

Ronan Keaton sings in Westlife. They are connected by their Christian names. Westlife singer Brian McAddams left to pursuit a solar career. As everyone knows, he was going out with Australian singer and actress Delter Goodrem. Now, Delter was in Aussie soap Ramsay Squares, and who else was in Ramsay Squares in the early days but Rustle Crow? Rustle Crow and T0m Hinks have both got Grammy awards…and what did T0m Hinks star in hunting for secrets from the past? None other than Catch Me When I'm Done, which he was hunting for Leonardo di Cypriot in the 1950s!

An Early Childhood: Chapter 9 Part 1

Continued from Chapter 8 (Part 3)

An Early Childhood by Paddy Flanagan is a mock, surreal autobiography by a fictional Irish literary figurehead, champion bodhrán player and broadcaster.

                So that was the end of my family as I knew it. Of all the fifty odd children who survived childbirth, a mere one became an adult, both mentally and physically, or near enough to, and that was me myself. And a few others, of course. Malachy, swimming with monks, and a few others still.
                And with no work available to me when the factory closed down, the best place for me to go was the nation’s capital, to establish myself as a literary figurehead. To be Frank was impossible, of course, unless you were Frank yourself, because his style was inimitable. But Frank O’Connor was my first flatmate and friend in Dublin, and we came as close to lovers as was possible for two men to be back then. In all honesty, I couldn’t really settle in in Dublin for quite a while, as the Home Rule movement had transmogrified beyond all recognition into a revolutionary group.
                Since the 1860s, Liberal Pinko Mister William Gladstone had been trying to pass a Home Rule Bill or three in the House of Commons. He would come in with his Prime Minister’s bag – which he had named after him, God love him, and he’d sit himself down on the plush leather upholstery and then stand up in the House and tell people that Charles Stewart Parnell wanted Home Rule and he was on his team, so he’d better get Home Rule, with a parliament set up in Dobbling Village, or there’d be slaps. Each time the bill passed, Disraeli would be sitting in the seat opposite Gladstone across the Commons floor, venting loud farts of fury with his teeth clenched, the grinding of the elderly Conservative’s dentures causing a noise greater than the raging flatulence. The way the shtick worked was, the bill invariably went up to the Lords. The Lords, being of a bluer Tory hue, would send the bill back down. And so it went on for decades. And just when Home Rule got passed around the time of the Titanic – through a clever trick from the Liberals that meant that the Lords could only delay legislation, instead of blocking it entirely – we finally had our Home Rule. Then the entire bloody World War Bloody One broke out. So it bloody did. What a terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, terrible, bloody war.
                Now, at the time of the Great War, Kildare Street – where some of the government offices were located – was mined to the teeth and you couldn’t drive down that street day or night in car or bus without fear of an explosion. Frank stayed in the flat with me until he earned enough money to move out to his own house, which was in fact more of a kind of a prison camp. Then Erskine Childers and Patrick Kavanagh moved in. Erskine took to eating Polish bacon, but this practice was frowned upon, and so he went on the lamb, and not long after that, he went on the lam.
                Patrick was always out clubbing, on the piss, so I had the flat to myself for the most part, unless he had a spare pill or two of the morphia, which meant I could go out clubbing too. But if alone in the flat, is when I started exploring my dulcet tones, no more than about seven, I was. And sitting in the flat, practising with my diaphragm, which was important if I wanted to get into radio.
                “Hello, good morning folks, this is Homey O’Fire, and welcome to the Homer O’Fire Hour,” I would say in my velvety hued voice to the spoon in my hand in front of the mirror which aided me when I went into television. Homey O’Fire was a name I gave myself. Because it sounded a lot like Gay Byrne, but I don’t mean that in a homonymical way. I don’t go in for that kind of tomfoolery at all, except of course, with Dirty Frank, as I’ve mentioned above. Oh, no. I just mean they were synonyms, so that I would see myself as the top broadcaster of the time, the man who straddled over the entire national broadcasting system for ninety seven years as if atop a Harley. Gay. Byrne.
                I did finally feel at home when, one day, while I was returning to my apartment from the bakery shop which I often frequented, a long stretch limousine emerged from the Protestant university through the gates and onto Dame Street and emerged and emerged and continued to emerge, and kept coming out, until it all of it came out, and the car pulled up to the curb on what’s known as Nassau Street today and the window rolled down to reveal a hair-oiled, walrus moustachioed English gentleman with a monocle perched up regally glued above his eyebrow with some sweat’n’snuff in the fashion of the time in the back seat.
                “Excuse me, peasant,” he addressed me with the customary courtesy of the typical English gentry. “I beseech thee to grant know-how o’ the means to travel to Dobbling Village, a jolly ho-ho yaw.”
                “Dublin City?” says I in response. “Why, that’s just up that street, there.” Pointing up Kildare Street I was, the most heavily-mined street in the town, and so the Englishman departed in the limo, the car turned onto Kildare Street, a loud explosion ensued, and both a hubcap and a monocle rolled back out into Nassau Street from Kildare Street. I allowed myself a little smile, and thereafter considered myself a native Dubliner with a rather thick country accent which I tried to disguise in order to hide my parochial origins and insecurities.

Next part is here.