Saturday, June 10, 2006



Dntel - (This Is) The Dream of Evan and Chan (Superpitcher Kompakt Remix)

Four thirty-seven AM. The party should've ended a long time ago. In truth, it has ended already. It's just the stragglers now. The hardcore drinkers. The clinger-on's who know that when they wake in the morning, it's a sore-head, and a day-job they despise that they're waking up to. You try to keep the party alive. The last light-bulb went out - filament snapped - just like your enthusiasm. Still you sway, drinking and smoking, lolling your head from side to side, trying to get a drunken glimpse of that beautiful girl across the room...

Why's she still here?
Why hasn't she left yet?
Does she love me?
Well, does she?
Perfect real-love?
Or faux-love?

And that girl you were with earlier...

...where is she now?
Did she really rest her head against your neck?

And... this what love feels like? The pulsating beat of a hang-over strolling towards you? A thousand questions and few answers? Nervous melancholy; insistent sadness; the end of a party; a miserable farewell; a downpour of rain as you stand watching the skyline; a sinking boat? A bundle of descriptions - gift-wrapped - that - like that new dress you bought (one of) your dearly beloved - don't quite fit? [pause] Sober up, kid. You've got a long day ahead of you. [Discover / Art]

Thursday, June 08, 2006


Two years ago, I watched one of my best friends smash a pint glass over his forehead, by accident. It remains one of my favourite memories. One day later and he was still alive, uninjured, unhurt, ready for another drinking session: but there would be no White Lightning this time. Nah, this called for pizza, and vodka. A lovely combination. Then the vodka ran out. What did we do? We drank snake wine: that is, alcohol which has been flavoured by having a real-life (but thankfully, dead) snake in the bottle. Needless to say, I was violently sick. So was my brother. That didn't matter: we still ate lots of pizza and sang along to Hot Hot Heat's fantastic Make Up The Breakdown.

One day later, it was Euro 2004, it was the final, lots of friends and myself and my brother, all drinking, all watching TV... We never saw the second half. Left the house and went to the bar. It's all still very blurred to be honest. I remember shouting along to these songs with everyone else; I remember going and nearly getting our heads kicked in for our religion; I remember my brother getting called a skater and throwing a pint glass at the ground near to where the guys were standing. I remember Jack getting on his moped which we'd promised we wouldn't let him do. I remember him coming back and shouting, "you's bastards! that was a test! and ye's fucking failed!"

I also remember Philson standing on my glasses the next morning; me labouring over them until they were fixed. Walking down to the bakery and feeling like we were about to die; laughing at Niall as he went to his gardening job. Going into town to meet Lauren; our heads still very much up in the clouds - walking into the wall, getting a milkshake, trying to stay upright.


Hot Hot Heat

Get In or Get Out

It was a crazy weekend, and Hot Hot Heat provided the soundtrack to it. The whole weekend is as vivid now as it's always been; it was brilliant, stupid, silly, drunk fun. Make Up The Breakdown will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason: because I remember going on the internet and finding the lyrics so that we could sing along. The World Cup starts tomorrow - so it may well be another crazy summer - and therefore, Hot Hot Heat are the perfect band to be listening to. After this summer I hope to be going to Uni, but I'll still love my friends and my memories, and let's face it, I'll always love Derry: "ugly or pretty, it's still my city".

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

erase you : ignore you

Sara Culler

At Least Like Melissa


I picked out a page, as blank as I could find. Found a couple more. An old textbook served me well for paper. The blank pages at the end. Over 100 novels resting on my bookshelf all with three or four blank pages near the end, near the front. Stories I'd read already, sometimes twice. I turned off the lights, closed the curtains, flicked a match off a matchbook, heard the clllick, saw the spark, lit a candle. Dragged a reluctant pen from its case and began to write. Wrote my whole life story, got it all down on paper in fourteen hours - couldn't sleep that night.

I blew the candle out; forwarded the makeshift book to a publisher. It wasn't marketable, it wasn't intriguing enough. Their editors said my life story was just the same as everyone elses - "But look at the grace and honesty with which its written!" I protested - it doesn't matter, they said, none of this does: who's your target audience? What type of genre are you going for? They took my story, and years later they cut it up into millions of little pieces. Tore me straight from the page - lifted my beating heart and found one that beat faster - replaced me with someone more beautiful. Changed the setting to somewhere more exotic - we were thinking of Thailand, Hawaii, Tokyo, Rome.

They took all those pages that I poured my soul into and they turned my memoirs into a novel full of high-octane thrills. The press loved it. The readers loved it. They loved the truth of it all. They loved the intrigue, the mystery. They loved the way it seemed so real, so genuine. Now I'm a wounded, stray dog, who's laugh is a nicotine coated bark.

I'm whispering, so my words can't be heard and taken apart and replaced. I'm a beating heart, I'm a bruised body, I am real, and I "spit out my smile" for all to see. Back then, I decided that my art from that point on was my life. In life I would be a readable book - but first you'd have to meet me, stare me down, watch me "shiver down the left" and "bleed down the right".

When my life story was drifting towards its conclusion, I didn't know how the last page should be read... I picked out my favourite book from that shelf - fittingly, it was a memoir - and cut out its last page, and then left it blank. No one knows what ever happened. But the critics and the readers alike, they tore the meaning apart, said I was too beaten down to carry on, got myself into such a mess I couldn't continue, so sad I couldn't get out of bed. My father died when I was only twelve, so the story goes, and I'd been hiding the sadness until I finally couldn't bear it and broke down. The ones who knew me, they whispered to each other, words coming out as breaths so as no one could hear, "I think he escaped".


This song took me by surprise. The instrumentation sparing and quiet, allowing way for the voice to float in with venom disguised as a platitude; a whisper in your lover's ear. Escape and freedom resonate from the ending chapter of the song where words are ditched in favour of ad-libbed vocals cascading along tributaries. It's the voice of a fallen Angel; still angelic and beautiful, but further from Heaven than any of us could ever know. And at the end of the song, as a deep breath is taken and then coughed back out, you accept your sadness. Because it's your sadness; no one elses. You embrace it with open arms; you look at yourself in the mirror and see it staring back at you - your one, true, reliable friend.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Wake up! Everything is ok!

The Cooper Temple Clause

Waiting Game (live)

Deep breaths. Inhale. Hold it. Exhale. Count from one to ten. You're standing still as you neck a full bottle of red wine. Oh how you hate wine. But it's a crap party - something has to be done. It's five minutes later: you're feeling slightly nauseous as the party gets into full flow and you're swept over to the side. You're ok. You're ok. Steady, steady. Feel the wall, it's still there, it's not spinning. Calm down. It's ok.

Deep breaths. Count down from ten. It's ok, you did it two hours ago, you can do it now. Talk to the person next to you. Talk talk talk. Ah, this feels good. Still alive. And yea, it is, it really is: it's two hours later and you're on top of the world, if you're even on the world. Seems like you're so high you're not even touching anything; the sphere looks so small from where you are. You can't feel your feet; maybe you're floating. Full of love. The alcohol has had the desired affect, it's just past two am, and you rule the Earth. The world hasn't ended. There was no Millennium Bug. It was all talk.

All the computers in the world haven't automatically shut down, the economy hasn't collapsed; you'll wake up in the morning and your head will hurt but you'll be alive. This was a good night - the fear led to an extraordinary amount of alcohol being drunk, and every guest at this party - like every party everywhere else - was in the mood for laughter - nervous laughter - and glad of the company they had around them. At least if the world was going to end, your last breath would've been in the company of friends. You turn to your friend, spilling his drink in the process: I really fucking love you.

Next morning: wake up, phone a friend.

"That was the best New Year's Eve ever, wasn't it mate? ... You remember that anthem they kept playing over and over? I mean, which bloody joker put the CD player on repeat, just so he could sing exuberantly, "And 'is this the end?' is all I can say". Was it Eamonn? He's got the best music taste... Bloody good tune, that was an'all... He's still a wanker like but now that it's over I can only laugh... Still; you don't know how relieved I was that they had no R-E-M. If them people in that house had started laughing and singing "It's the end of the world as we know it", I swear I would've just found the nearest balcony and jumped... Haha, aye, I figured you felt the same... But seriously mate, I had a great night. We gotta see each other more, yea? ... Yea I know man. Sure, I'll text you or whatever... Yea you too."

You find the CD, and you put it on repeat - just so as you remember that hook, how'd it go again? The twinkling keys and steady shock of the guitar chords make you feel higher than Heaven - or maybe that's the alcohol; hasn't quite left your system yet. Beep Beep. Text comes through on your cellphone: "How much did you drink, in the end up? ... Bloody great night all the same yea? ... You were really something else... Daft eejit"

Malcolm Middleton

A Happy Medium

Occasionally you hear a song, and it's like hearing the essence of happiness. It's a sunny day, and it's the feeling of being outside walking along the street, or cycling by the river. Deft leg movements, the feeling of fitness. Passing by the alcoholics in the carpark, and then you've gone further than you meant to - actually on the cycle path now; looking to your right you see the Toucan II - the Derry boat that'll take you along the river and back again.

It's beautiful looking to your right, all this potential, all this greenery far in the distance; mountains, when you look further still. The water's filthy - travel further, you're nearing Sainsbury's and before-you-know-it you're looking over the edge: there's a shopping trolley ditched and thrown over the railing. But, like I say, the sun's out, the water's sparkling - clear and true - and you're smiling, and you don't really know why. Maybe it's the season, maybe it's the feeling of forgetting everything else going on in your life.

This song is a wonder, in that it conveys the very brilliance of being alive. Maybe you're generally not a happy person, but there are pure moments of absolute joy that you experience, just like the rest of the world, and you're glad the world's not over, that you still are alive, that everything - for the moment - is A-ok. "Woke up again today, woke up again today, woke up again today". Hear the twinkling, the pleasing calm guitar notes, the ecstatic drum notes, the chirping of the birds. It's the same birds you heard this morning when you were out walking, getting the paper and a croissant. And to be honest, it's quite amusing, the lyrical honesty of it all. "Realised I hate myself". It's one of those songs that you hear and you actually realise everything's ok.

It's a song of hope. Realising the error of your ways, some things need to change, some part of your life needs to change, you're in it for the long-haul but by the end of it you're going to be a better person; you'll feel brilliant. This isn't the sound of silence, it's the sound of the sun coming out, illuminating all the dark spots you've been too scared to look at. It's not the end of the fight, it's not a white flag; it's the start of a summer full of golden opportunities - they're staring you right in the face, laughter trickling down from the sky, eyes twinkling in the mid-day sun, and you're staring right back, beaming the most genuine smile you've shared in a while. Every song's an anthem. Every smile's a blessing. Every day's an opportunity. "Everything's ok / I'm obviously unhappy".

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Stop The Pretense and Just Drive

That's the ugliest limo I've ever seen. Not that exact one. But one like it. Just outside, there now. If you're going to spend money on a limo why not get a nice one? Maybe that would be a good idea, no? But instead you waste a wee bit of money on some silly looking thing. And then...

Staring at me whilst I'm smoking a cigarette through the passenger window is really not going to make me like you any more. Seriously. I mean, ok, maybe you're dying for a fag. Gasp, gasp, too much alcohol was drank tonight, I'm dead stressed about the hang-over I'll have in the morning, I would love a cigarette. That'd be okay probably - I understand that situation. But when you have a look of sober contempt on your face, through the glass of a cheap wee rented limo as if you're better than the rest of the human race - well, suffice to say you've moved beyond the "probably wouldn't want to talk to you" category, to the "I will never ever allow myself to be in the same room as you for the rest of my life" category.

What's wrong with cars? I hear they work just fine.

Stop The Pretense and Just Drive - Mini Mini Mix

Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars (Acoustic)
Imogen Heap - Speeding Cars

In case you were wondering, the moon looked lovely tonight - probably still does. Had a lovely little halo of white dust floating around it. Clouds illuminated just enough to see them moving away from the reservoir of the moon, and away to the ocean of darkness surrounding it. So life is good. Some people are not, but they're the select few, and luckily I don't hang around with cheap limo-renters. It's. All. Good.