The Heelers Diaries

the fantasy world of ireland's greatest living poet

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

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Sunday, May 09, 2010

honky tonk man

Afternoon in the heartland.
Ireland's greatest living poet is ensconced in Bradburys Cafe Newbridge at an upstairs table.
His handsome preraphaelite features are drawn and shaded.
On the table in front of him sit a cup of tea, a notebook and a cassette player.
The noble Heelers stares into the middle distance.
Enter John Coleman stage left clutching a coffee.
It is the same John Coleman who has on occasion taken parts in plays produced by Heelers.
We are meeting here today to discuss a new project.
You will perhaps remember gentle readers another such Heelers aluminus, a French actor called Michael Appourchaux who went on to fame and fortune, became known in France as The New Depardieu, and to whom Heelers still refers somewhat bitterly as The Left Ham Of The Devil.
Well Colers is The Right Ham Of The Devil.
For reasons not quite clear Colers chose not to pursue his acting career after appearing in my 1996 hit Vampires Of Dublin, and has contented himself since then with racking up the doubloons as a pharmacist.
I think he could have been a successful actor.
Over the years, I have cast plenty of actors I can't abide.
But I never yet picked a bad one.
By the way, another of my aluminusses from The Vampires, Reggie McGroarity, aka Daffyd O'Shea, hind tit of the devil, went on to appear in a recent Amstel Lager advertising campaign featuring scenes from the Bible, then starred in the Dublin production of Look Back In Anger, and has just been presented with an Irish national theatre award for overacting.
Ah, everyone's making it big but me.
A fourth of my aluminusses, Hilary Cotter is the number one voice over artist in Ireland.
That's some casting right there folks.
All I did was put up a notice on a wall in Dublin.
Boom, boom, boom.
Four novices replied and overnight I turned them into three professional actors and a pharmacist.
Taught em everything they know.
Oddly enough they've never thanked me.
Anyway Colers was better than any of the others.

Lousy ungrateful aluminusses.
May God forgive you.
(Alumini surely? - Ed note.)
Back to Bradburys cafe in the present day.
Colers sits with the disconsolate poet.
Heelers looks up.
Colers looks quizzical.
"What's wrong with you?" quoth he.
I gesture at the notebook and cassette player helplessly.
"I'm after paying Conor Mahoney 650 quid to put music to a song I've written," I tell him brokenly.
"Mahoney?" says Colers with some surprise. "The mad balladeer of the apocalypse? I thought you hated him."
Hmmm.
Hate is a strong word.
Mahoney's attempted projection of his homosexual fears about himself in my direction may have irritated me on occasion in the distant past.
But I hardly hate him.
It wasn't possible to hate him after I heard he'd had a mental breakdown.
Let's just say I hold him in mild opprobrium.
The noble Heelers nods grimly at the thought.
"I keep my enemies close Colers," he says. "You know that."
There is an awkward silence.
"So what's the problem?" enquires Colers finally.
Another hand gesture from me, meant to indicate futility but which more probably conveys the aspect and gait of a mad scientist.
"I gave Mahoney a full description of what I wanted," I explained. "The song is to be a rip off of the Friends theme, and is to accompany the opening credit sequence on my new sitcom Funny World. I explained to him that Funny World is an affectionate homage to American sitcoms. I told him how the British rip offs of American sitcoms are just cynical, sleazy and unpleasant but that our rip off would be upbeat and charming. I asked him to write music for my lyrics that would sound a bit like Friends. Or even a lot like Friends."
Colers leaned forward fascinated.
"What happened?" sez he.
I handed him my notebook.
It was open on a page whereon my finely honed lyrics had been scrawled.
"First look at what I gave him to work with," I instructed. "Think about the Friends music as you're reading this."
Colers read the following work of high art:

"My life is not an American sitcom,
Frasier never calls to sort things out,
No Ross or Chandler to drink coffee with,
No Fonzarelli just hanging about...
And if I told you that there was, I'd be lying,
Instead of sitting her at home moaning and crying
That my life is not an American sitcom,
Kramer never bursts through my door,
There's no Rachel or Monica flirting with me,
Not even a hint of Mary Tyler Moore...
And if I told you that there was, I'd be lying,
Instead of sitting here at home moaning and crying.
There's no laugh track when I make my smart remarks,
No blonde ingenues when I'm strolling in the park
No credits rolling when it starts to get dark
Because,
My life is not an American sitcom,
Nah na na na na na.
My life is not an American sitcom,
Na na na na na.
My life is not an American sitcom,
Ner ner ner ner nern nern ner ner."

Colers looked up owlishly.
"No Ross or Chandler to drink coffee with?" mused he. "You're drinking coffee with me. What's your f---ing problem?"
"Don't take it personally," I told him. "It's showbiz. Now listen to this."
I pressed a button on the cassette recorder.
Mahoney's thin and reedy voice filled the cafe.
His voice was accompanied by the whiniest melody in the history of popular music.
Scratch that.
In the history of unpopular music.
Mahoney's version of my song sounded like a dirge.
He'd changed the lyrics too.
This is what he was singing:

"Funny World,
But it's no comedy.
There's no canned laughter in reality,
Because this is life
This is not teee veee."

I switched off the cassette recorder.
"Do you hear that?" I proclaimed aghast. "It's no comedy. I explicity told him it is a comedy. This is life, this is not TV. Where does he think we're going to broadcast it? In space? Of course it's TV. I told him it's for TV. And do you see the way he says TV? He says teee veee, like he's some kind of psycho. And if you listen carefully after every teee veee, you can hear him murmuring the word co-me-deee. Bear in mind I told him he's writing the music for a TV comedy. How the hell did he misinterpret that? This is not teee veee, co-me-deeeee. Does he think a sitcom called Funny World, which I've expressly informed him is an homage to the golden era of American television comedies, does he think that means it's going to be a serious expose of the plight of urban youth? I mean what on earth was he thinking? What drugs was he using? What planet was he on?"
Colers' face was a study.
"Let me hear some more," he insisted.
I pressed the button.
We heard the following, dirgier than ever:

"There's no Frase Urr,
There is no cafe,
For your trendy friends to make your day,
Because this is life
This is not teee veee,
This is life,
This is not teee veee."

Presently, I could take no more and switched it off again.
"At least he mentioned Frasier," I muttered bitterly, "or Frase Urr or whatever he calls him."

I looked across the table.
Colers was grinning in a manner that he has for suggesting mild amusement.
"You realise what's happened here?" he enquired thus bemusedly.
"Tell me," I said.
"Mahoney has let you pay him 650 quid," sez Colers with the air of a sage. "He's let you pay him 650 quid to put music to one of his own songs."

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