The Posts I Never Write

When I look back over the 430 posts I have written here to date, I can actually feel quite happy about them. Well, some of them anyway. As I’ve said elsewhere, if someone were to go looking for ‘me’ in about a hundred years time, they will find the most about ‘me’ here. In among all the myriad inane natterings and trivialities, I have somehow managed to subconsciously distil quite a bit of what it is to be ‘me’. 

All well and good (and a wee bit self-satisfied, perhaps, sorry about that) but it does leave a bit of housekeeping to be done and I might as well get it done right now, if it’s all the same to you.

So this post is mostly for the ‘hundred years later’ guy (or gal). The person who is looking into me in the future for some silly as-yet unknown-reason.

Firstly, hello. Sorry I’m not around in person to answer your questions. I died, you see, quite some time ago. It was all a little bit sad but also not entirely unexpected. These things do rather tend to happen, don’t they?

Secondly, thanks for seeking out all the ancient technology to make these old posts readable again. Did you have to go to a car boot sale to get the kit? Although it’s probably a jet-cat-boot sale by now, isn't it? Whatever, thanks and welcome, I hope you find something to divert and perhaps enlighten you here in these pages. As I’ve said from time-to-time, there’s a lot of ‘me’ in here. It’s better than the old photographs and (God forbid) the videos you might have found (sorry about that 1987 one, I was young and foolish).

And thirdly, and this is the point of this post really, there may be some truth about me here but it isn’t all here. That’s the thing I want to emphasis with this post . It isn’t all here.

You might be forgiven for thinking that it is. Over the years, I seemed to have learned how to open up a bit in my writing and set things down with a fair amount of honesty, even when that has stung a bit. That’s the best thing I've learned in writing, I reckon, how to inject that little drop of blood from yourself that gives the thing a touch of potency and truth. 

One side effect of this drip feed of honesty is that an illusion of completeness is created. “This guy is ‘telling-it-like-it-is’ for him so therefore he must be telling it all.”

I just want to clear that one up for you, the hundred years later guy (or gal). There’s some useful stuff here but it isn’t all here. Not by a long shot.

I wish it was. That’s one of the aims, the agendas of this non stop blogging routine. To create a sort of a 'mosaic' where each little tile/post contains some modicum of truth so that, when you step back (or rather forward) a hundred years, a picture might emerge. That’s part of the idea.

Alas there are the posts I can never write and those posts will always be the crucial gap in any mosaic that might be created. The centre of the eye, perhaps, or the tip of the nose although, unlike a real mosaic, the viewer won’t know they are missing.

What posts are these? These ones I cannot write? Sorry but I can’t really tell you that because that would be akin to writing them, wouldn’t it? 

They are nothing earth-shattering, by-and-large, they are just posts that might have implications for people other than myself. Some of the stories I might tell could involve others as well as myself and it’s not for me to wash their slightly off-whites in public. I think that’s only fair. 

There are also posts which might contain some truths about life as I have seen it. In my damn-near-near fifty years on the surface of this mid-sized planet, many of the larger facts of life have been revealed to me first hand. There has been birth and there has been death and also pretty-much everything in between. But, when I try to write as dispassionately as I can about some of these greater things, I find that the result is too harsh to see the light of day. Some self-censor makes me stop and give up.

As Bob Dylan once sang, “maybe I’m too sensitive or else I’m getting soft.”

So that’s it, dear hundred year person, a small note for you to take on board. I’m here… but I’m not all here.

Perhaps, a little later on, when I’m even older and even more grizzled, I might be less concerned with holding my own counsel and a little more concerned with posterity, completion, and truth. Perhaps, when I am looking down the barrel of Sixty rather than a mere Fifty years of age, I will feel able to fill in some of those missing tiles on my mosaic.

Boy, the shit will hit the fan then.

Primary School – One Young Man’s Impressions

My youngest son, Sam, who is twelve, is finishing Primary School next week. Come September, it will be all-change at Secondary School. This week, his teacher asked the class to write an essay on his feelings about the whole Primary School Experience. 

Here, largely untampered-with, is what he wrote.

The first day is always hard. At least that’s what my Mum said. Of course, that wasn’t true in my case. I seemed to be the only one who wasn’t crying.

As my Mum lead me into Junior Infants, Miss Nestor (who would later be known as Mrs Moore) put a sticker on my jumper that said ‘Elliot’. Luckily, it was changed before I met anyone so I’m still known as Sam in the class. My Mum brought me over to Mark, who she said was ‘John Dolan’s brother’. I had no idea who John Dolan was but me and Mark ended up friends anyway.

My Dad frequently gave me the wrong lunch, meaning I had to go down to my brother’s class and swap lunches with him. At the time, John – my brother – was in 4th or 5th class, and they were pretty-much giants in our eyes. Even though I got my lunch quickly, I always dreaded going back there. 

I think it was the same year that the ‘Food Dudes’ started. In my opinion, this was the stupidest thing the school ever did. What happened was, every day we’d get little bags full of truly horrible fruit and vegetables and we were given a prize if we ate it. The fruit was all right, I guess. I mean, how can you make fruit taste bad? But the vegetables, Oh my God, the vegetables! I swear they were found in a toilet. And the prizes were not satisfying at all, they were just bobble heads that broke within five seconds and stickers. So, all in all, it was terrible and I truly hope that the younger classes will never have to experience it. 

A year later or so Jim, the Caretaker, retired. We had a big leaving ceremony for him, which I thought was really nice. I’m fairly sure most other schools don’t care this much for their Caretaker.

Another year later, the St Patrick’s Day Band started their practice sessions. Of course, I wasn’t in it. I hate the sound of the tin whistle and I therefore don’t count it as an instrument. As me and the rest of the rejects sat in the class while the band practised, Mr Rocke said to us, “I’m really disappointed in you. You didn’t put in any effort at all.” This really, really ticked me off so, the next day, I came in, knew all the tunes, and got in the band. Take that, Mr Rocke! On the day of the parade, I’d forgotten all the tunes again so I just pretended to play. I have done this every time I have had to play that awful instrument. Sorry.

In the next year, Mr  McHale retired. This was really sad because he was a great Principal and, in general, a really nice person to be around. I suppose it was for the best because now I can grow my hair as long as I want and nobody but my Mum complains.

This year, going into 6th Class was great! It’s such a good feeling being the biggest in the school, except for the teachers. So far, 6th is just the same as 5th except you get much more respect and feel much more mature. I really feel ready for Secondary School.

Over the eight years, a lot of classmates have come and gone. Przemek, Sean, Paulo and Daniel have come and stayed. I’d like to take the next few lines as a tribute to our fallen comrades. In memoriam of Olisa, Ibrahim, Mantis, Adam, Ben, Saw and, of course, Fred.

School, in general has been really awesome so thanks to everyone I met along the way. I’ll miss ol’ St Pats but I think I will enjoy Secondary School. 

Watching Things Get Made

This all started in-or-around 1982 when I was going to college in Dublin and living on Lower Sherrard Street on the Northside of the city. 

I went to bed one night, having just walked quite a distance to find a post box so that I could post a letter I had written. Then, when I woke up the next morning, I found, to my grave consternation, that there was a post box right outside my window.

Why had I walked all that way to post a letter when there was a post box practically within arm's reach of my bed? The answer soon became clear. It wasn't a real post box at all, it was a movie post box. 

Some time, in the wee small hours of the morning, a large movie crew had set up on my street to film a 1950’s period drama. Yellow lines on the road were covered with sand, fancy old cars were wheeled in and, yes, a convincing post box was set up right outside my bedroom window.

And there, in the middle of it all, was a Movie Star. Actually it was a man I had never seen before but one look at him and there could be no doubt that he was a Movie Star. I was right too, he was or, should I say, he would be. Not quite yet. Not for another few years after his day filming on Lower Sherrard Street on the set for a film called ‘The Country Girls’. Not until he had gone on to do ‘Reilly, Ace of Spies’. But yes, Sam Neill was destined for stardom and I knew it the first moment I saw him on my street.

So that was the first thing I ever really saw filmed and it instilled a bug in me. A few years later I moved to live and work in London and I would often travel around the city to watch bits and pieces of movies and TV being shot. ‘Mission Impossible’ at the old GLC Building, ‘101 Dalmatians’ in the middle of Leicester Square. When I lived in Acton, Arthur Daley’s garage was just around the corner from my flat so there was often a bit of activity there. I enjoyed watching the slow-moving action, the method. I just enjoyed being close to the feel of it all, I guess.

My best story from watching something being filmed happened on a Sunday afternoon in London back in about, ooohh, 1986. I happened upon a film shoot while strolling around and, of all things, they were shouting an episode of Sherlock Holmes, that great one with Jeremy Brett as Holmes. They were filming on the steps down to the South Bank from Westminster Bridge and a nice little crowd had gathered to watch the work being done.

Jeremy Brett wasn’t actually there, as far as I could tell. The scene featured Edward Hardwicke, who made such a wonderfully calm and convincing Watson during his long tenure. In the scene, Watson had to descend the steps, looking perturbed, and retrieve a newspaper from a paper boy who was standing at the bottom of the steps. He had to then study the newspaper headline, look even-more perturbed and march off purposefully. I’ve never seen the episode with this scene in it, I wonder if anyone knows it?

It wasn’t going terribly well, the scene that is. Quite a few takes had been done and the director still didn’t seem happy so he called for another. As a side note, it was interesting to see that the newspapers which the paper boy had were all blank sheets of paper except for the first one which Watson got. Anyway, everything was set for one more take and here came Watson, purposefully rattling down the stone steps to where the paper boy waited. 

But he was too forceful. Perhaps the director had asked him to be a little more forceful, who knows? Whatever the reason, Watson pulled the newspaper from the paperboy and ripped it neatly in half. 

Everyone stared for a moment.

I should say that I never speak at film shoots, I’m too respectful of the process, but this was too good an opportunity to miss and, after all, the shot was already ruined. Watson was staring at the ripped paper, the paper boy was holding in his giggles, when the duffel-coated guy at the back gently spoke up.

“Well, that’s torn it, Watson.”

The reason this is such a fond memory for me? That’s easy. Everybody laughed. I love to get a laugh and this was a very good one. On the Sherlock Holmes set, in the drizzle, everybody got a little laugh.

And the next take went much better. 


I think a person who might read my blog from time to time would pick up stuff about me here. There’s quite a lot of me buried in the hundreds of posts, mostly in the corners.

I don’t think they’d have got this part though. I don’t think they’d know how very stressed I can sometimes become. 

Maybe I’m wrong, maybe this stress thing, which is such a feature of my life, permeates the posts in a way that I can’t even see. Maybe that. I don’t think so though. My tendency towards stress in my own ‘inside-thing’ and I don’t tend to shout about it very much. 

Hopefully it goes without saying that I know I’m not alone. We all get stressed. Many people get stressed a whole lot more and a whole lot worse than me. I know that. It’s just that this is my stress and that’s all I can scribble about with any conviction. 

I’m only scribbling about it now because I’m coming off the back of a seriously stressed-out period. No, you don’t need to know the details. I've raised the barometer about as far as it should go in this last week and now I’m tumbling back down towards relative-normality again. It’s a time to reflect. A time to look around. A time to try to get some bloody sleep.

Gosh, I’ve made it sound like a big thing now. I’ve made you reckon that this is one of those pieces of writing where you’ll need a flamin’ help line number at the end of it. It’s not like that, it’s not a big deal. Well it is, actually. When I’m in the middle of a stressed-out shit-storm right here in my head, it’s the biggest and the only game in town. Nothing else matters. 

When I was younger, I surfed whatever stress I generated within myself like a… great big surfing person. But I’m getting older now (rapidly) and episodes of enormously-high stress now seem like nothing other than a complete pain in the arse. I  am over stress, completely and utterly. It’s just a shame that it does not seem to be quite over me.

It doesn't happen all that often any more. Every now and again, something will open the door to stress in my head and off we will go. I recognise it straight away and try to I shut it down, logically and calmly. Sometimes that works but not always. A foot has been wedged in a door and logic and calm will not always close it up again. A chain reaction will now occur and then food and sleep and all other such minor considerations will go out the window for a period of time.

I know some people who suffer with bouts of stress see them develop into full blown panic attacks. I’ve thankfully never had one of those. I have my defences; breathing, exercise, I even have a little mantra I repeat to myself. No, you don’t need to know what that is either. Those things help me to kick a gap in the long line of tumbling dominoes in my mind.  I’ve never had the full blown tsunami of a panic attack but, heaven knows, I’ve felt the waves rippling at my knees often enough. 

It’s over now, for this week at least, and I obviously know that I didn’t have to do it at all. It served nothing. It was silly. But knowing that I don’t have to do it and fully realising that it is stupid does not send it away. Actually stress tends to cackle maniacally at shit like that, particularly around 3.15 in the morning.

And when it finally goes… it would be a cliché to say that it is a relief. It is a relief but not an easy, straightforward one. Stress can have me bouncing, mentally, six foot about the ground. When it goes, the overwhelming feeling I get is one of being grounded. I feel a bit like Bruce Willis in Die Hard, in the corporate bathroom, making fists with his toes. Every stone on my path, every weave of my carpet seems more precious and real. I’m back on the ground again. Grounded. It’s a word that has happy connotations but some sadder ones too.

I fear that stress may, quite literally, be the death of me someday. My family history is not all that wonderful when it comes to matters of the physical heart and you really have to be inside my head to fully appreciate how very uncomfortable my own version of stress can get when it approaches its zenith.

I’ll continue to try to be good. I’ll always aim to be sensible and not to get too wound up. But if you hear someday that I’ve completely blown my main gasket, in the middle of some super-high-pressure thing, then maybe come back here and acknowledge that, at the very least, I saw it coming. 

Thanks For Dropping By

I had a whole blog post planned out for this week, as I usually do. I’ve been writing it in my head over the past few days, as I usually do. All was ‘as normal’ or, at least, as normal as it gets around these here parts. Then I sat down to actually write it, to type it out as I am doing now, and my brain just started talking to me. 

“Wait,” my brain said, “this post is going to be really boring, You know that, don’t you?”

(Photo (cc) Dena Rosko)

“Well, yes, I suppose I do.”

“Write something else then.”


“I don’t know do I? I’m just your brain.”

So here I am, faced with the proverbial blank page… well, not quite so blank now but still blank enough, and not a clue what I should put on it.

… ...

What should I put on it?

Then I thought (not with my brain, obviously), I thought, “why not just say thanks to the people who stop by and have a read now and again?”

Why not indeed?

So that’s what I’m going to do.


Thanks very much actually. I never say it and I should so now I am… saying it, that is. Thanks.

By coming by here and having a look at my stuff from time to time, you play an important part in the life and general well-being of the blog. You are the blood that keeps the creative heart pumping. I appreciate the time you spend here. You raise me up. All that kind of stuff.

Sometimes I ask myself, would I still write the blog every week if nobody ever came to read it? I’m not sure I know the answer because, thankfully, some people do come. At times, I can convince myself that I would. I can make the case that the blog is a place to loosen up for other writing, to consider some of my thoughts with a little forced clarity, to perhaps leave a more detailed picture of how I ‘am’ in a better way than any photograph will ever do. Yes, I can cheerfully assert, even if none of you ever came by, I would still write the blog.

But would I? Really?

Today, I don’t necessarily think that I would.

There’s a clue, I think, in how I promote the weekly blog post. All I usually do is stick one link on Facebook, one on Google Plus and Tweet about it a few times through the week then whatever will be, will be. Some weeks hardly anyone comes by, other weeks, it gets quite busy. Whatever…

Yes, ‘Whatever’. Except, Ken, what about on those weeks when not so many people come by? Don’t you tend to tweet a few more links than you normally would in those weeks? Eh? Don’t you? Isn’t that some kind of signal that the people who come here to read are more important to you than you often give them credit for? Isn't it just a bit less-fun when fewer people come by?

So, yes, I can brag on about how I’d still be scribbling away here if nobody came to look but I’m not at all sure there’s any truth in it. I hope I don’t get to find out anytime soon because, the truth is, I value your stopping by. It means something to me. And, no, I’m not trying to guilt you into coming around more than you do. Nobody needs to do that. Drop by now and again. ‘Set a spell’, as they used to say on The Beverley Hillbillies.

I may not say ‘thanks’ every time you come by but I’ll say it now and hopefully that will count for something into the future.

So, y’know…

… thanks.