The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Saturday, October 21, 2006

where angels fear to tread

"Go in and call your father. He's still in bed."
The words of the Mammy rang through the Chateau de Healy.
It was Friday afternoon.
The noble Heelers had just arrived home from some farflung place, (Newbridge probably) piratical and swaggering, his handsome features flushed with the light of destiny.
(My features get like that after a few cups of coffee.)
I was in such cheery humour that like an idiot I did what the Lildebeest was asking.
I went into the Dad's bedroom, a place known to scholarly anthropologists as the Valley of the Gwangai. There was scarcely a sound in the primordial gloom. What to do next... I chanced a few hollers.
"Time to get up." "It's getting late." "Are you awake Dad?" and other such sundry idiocies.
The Dad opened his eyes and gave me to understand in no uncertain terms that the hollers were not appreciated.
He was quite eloquent on the subject.
But it was the comment about my nose that really hurt.
Back in the kitchen a wiser weaker Heelers plonked down opposite the Mammy.
"I can't believe you asked me to do that," I told her. "And after all these years I can't believe I did it."
"What do you mean?" quoth the Lilt.
"Asking me to go into that room where angels fear to tread," I mumbled.
"You're no angel," shot back the Mammy triumphantly.
And she spent the next five minutes chuckling at her own joke.

Friday, October 20, 2006

lady windermere's what

Wandered into a theatre shop in Dublin this afternoon.
Uncle Scutch is talking about staging the play that dare not speak its name. So we need props.
By the way, I wrote the work, nay opus, in question several years ago.
It dare not speak its name because its name is Lady Windermere's Fanny.
The programme notes for our earlier production in June 2003, described it as: "A short satire on sex, class and body image."
Our advertising slogans at the time included these three gems:
"The thinking man's Vagina Monologues..."
"What is this world if full of care we have no time to stand and swear..."
and
"Oscar Wilde didn't write this crap..."
Ah memories. But today I'm in Dublin looking for props.
Prop really.
I need an inflatable dolphin for the greatest scene in theatrical history. The greatest piece of writing I have ever accomplished.
The greatest... (That's enough greatests. Ed note.)
It's a scene where Sir Reginald is asking Lady W to marry him.
And he says: "Cecily, I have come here with a purpose."
And she says: "Oh goody, I love dolphins."
Hilarious I know. But that's not it. The greatness of this scene is in what's not said.
For at this very moment, the doorbell rings and the butler shows in Lord George who has also come to ask Lady W to marry him.
Lord George arrives resplendant in coat and tails. He is clutching a dolphin under his arm.
The lady takes all this in and claps her hands with delight.
Yup that's the scene I'm really proud of.
Truly I'm a strange man.
Anyhoo.
Dublin. This afternoon. Me in the theatre shop.
The tired looking woman behind the counter addresses me.
"Can I help you love?"
She speaks with the rich cadences of working Dublin. Her voice contains history, poetry, culture and just a hint of what scholarly anthropologists call "if you mess with me I'll do you."
I am a little bashful about my request.
"I'm looking for an inflatable dolphin for a play," I tell her.
She favours me with a gentle smile.
"No love, sorry. We don't have any dolphins. There's not much call for those"
A thought strikes her.
"I can get you an inflatable sheep," she says brightly.
My face turns an interesting shade.
"It's for a play," I remind her. "We expressly need a dolphin."
She smiles at me beatifically.
"I know love," sez she. "That's what they all say."
And there our story ends.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

midnight walk

seek ye first the kingdom of God
and his righteousness
and all these things shall be added unto you
alleluia

Found this quote tonight. It touched most nearly upon my heart. It's about wanting only to know God, and the idea that then everything else in life will be given to you. It's part of a song as well in the Christian tradition. A rather nifty song, in that the thought is poetic and the melody is sweet.
As I stepped out the front door with Paddy Pup tonight I addressed the creator of the universe frankly.
"Sure how could I genuinely want your kingdom more than the things of this world? " I asked. "Honestly Lord. How could you ask me to want your kingdom first when my body really just wants the reflected other and my mind just wants poetry and the rest of me wants money?"
Then I corrected myself. For I genuinely hadn't meant parts of what I'd said. There was never a clash between my poetry and the kingdom. And I never cared about money. Never for a second.
"But Lord the reflected other," I continued. "How could I ever want heaven more than to find her?"
I strolled on the leaf fringed avenue with Paddington. The dog was unusually quiet. Halting when I halted. Walking when I walked.
The night was almost completely still with only a hint of the softest possible wind. Cloudy sky. Dampness in the air after the rain.
Words came to me.
I listened.
The words filled my mind.
It was personal stuff mostly.
I'm telling you bold readers it is quite an experience to feel you're getting a personal reply from he who made the stars and set them in their courses. But I was concentrating closely to see would a proper answer come to the question I had asked.
At the end of the walk I spoke again.
"Yes Lord, but still if I'm honest, I don't see how I could want your kingdom more than the other thing."
I felt the Almighty smiling.
Then I heard this.
"Because my kingdom is real."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

the chairman of tails

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

if you live long enough you'll see everything

Phonecall from the bun.
"Jamie you won't believe what happened today."
"What happened?"
"I was in Little Caesars Restaurant having my dinner and they were really awful to me."
Ah. This is a place in Dublin. Low low rent. I brought she who knows not fate to it when we first met five years ago. I thought the waiters were rude and never went back.
She on the other hand did go back. Frequently. And much to my chagrin.
In fact it seemed any time she was bored with my company, she could just declare: "I'm going to dinner at Little Caesars tonight," in the sure knowledge I would not be going along. She did this a lot.
Anyway, it's five years since I cared whether the staff of Little Caesar's lived or died. (Okay, strictly speaking if I was filling in a consumer survey I might admit to a slight preference that they should go beneath the earth retching blood... And be immolated for all eternity in the seventh ring of hell.)
So, all in the past for me.
If they're rude to me once, it's their fault. Twice and it's mine.
But I digress.
Where were we?
Oh yes.
Big Hair's tale of woe.
"I was in there today and I complained about the orange juice and the waiter was really sarcastic. He explained in a really condescending voice that all the glasses were clean and the orange juice was fresh. And then he poured my orange juice into another glass and tasted it. It was just the way he did it. He was really lousy. So I just wanted to say you were right."
A moment's silence.
"Jamie?"
"Hodders I'm stunned."
"Why?"
"Because that's the first time in five years you've ever admitted I was right about anything."

Monday, October 16, 2006

quackser fortune has a cousin in the bronx

"Would you like a humour column, love?"
The words were mine, spoken in a whimsical Dublin accent to a flower seller on Grafton street who goggled appropriately as though I were a loon.
The flower sellers of Grafton street are notoriously tough women. Often if you pause for thought as you walk through this hallowed thoroughfare, such a lady will appear at your shoulder with the faintly insistent murmur in pure Dublinese: "Would you like flowers love?"
I've spent ten months getting up the courage to try out my own version of this sales pitch on one of them.
Ten months since the cancellation of my humour column in the Leinster Lootheramawn.
Ah.
Life goes on.