Diary of an unknown football legend

teds over 75s

He’s going to shoot any minute now …. action from  the All-Priests Over 75s Indoor Challenge match on Craggy Island … or is it from my weekly  five-a-side game?

Saturday, April 30:  When is it over? 

Fifty-eight years old, I’ve wintered way too well and those ankle ligaments strained way back in November are still not right. But it’s just a twinge now and as the evenings begin to stretch the senescent sap is rising in my strung-out hamstrings. My Wednesday night indoor soccer game is calling me back. 

How dignified is it to be still drawn to that draughty old sports hall to run … trundle …  around red-faced and panting and kicking ball for an hour with similarly deluded/evergreen old boys? Sure even my 10-year-old son told me I have no pace. And he wasn’t slagging, merely observing.

When is it over? 

Why am I thinking of Father Ted’s All-Priests Over-75s five-a-side showdown against Rugged Island? 

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Milky Way a bar to artistic integrity?


How big a part does context play in determining aesthetic merit? This was the conundrum I had to consider on this morning’s North Beach ramble with Bella my seashell-crunching terrier. And all because of a discarded Milky Way wrapper.

 We had barely stepped on to the familiar strand and the tension of the most recent battle to get my young teenage daughter out to school in time was dissipating with every soft scrunching step on the familiar carapace of crushed shells and sandy grains. 

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If only is a wish too late — the real story

From a Cure lament to goodbye to the pal I failed to meetbilly-mackenzierober-smith

I had an interesting Twitter correspondence the other day with the intriguingly  twitter-handled Yoor Woolie. Has to be a Scot, you’d reckon? Just call me Sherlock ….

It also brought up a guilty incident from my own past, which I will come to later.

Woolie had originally tweeted: “20 years ago today, we lost one of the most unique vocalists this country has ever produced, Dundonian, Billy Mackenzie”

Mackenzie (above, left)  was perhaps best known as the man with the lovely soaring falsetto vocals on songs such Party Fears Two, with the Associates, but to me, he was the tragic musician who died by suicide and was the subject of one of my favourite Cure songs, Cut Here.

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Lightness of being on a deserted winter beach

The lightness of being on a deserted North Beach

crowBack on the beach. The tide is but a distant swoooosh, a faintly pulsing thrum that draws you in to listen for its intermittent soothing surges. The light is low and the air is grey and heavy but throbbing high and low with trills, tweets, warbles and whistles.

The sounds are coming from every direction and none in this sweeping quadrophonic soundscape. So bracing, so full and so invigorating.

The sand scrunches pleasingly beneath my feet as I make for a low square, perfect sitting rock.

The acrid whiff and tang of sea air assails my nostrils in such a good way. Breathe it in, sucking it up, up, up until it fills my skull and permeates my very being. The ultimate saline solution!

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Tripping along the magical Blue Nile

Ken Sweeney’s In Search of the Blue Nile documentary a must-listen


Steeling myself for a bunch of mindless but necessary ironing, I put on something for the soul. A Facebook-flagged podcast on The Blue Nile. It’s called In Search Of The Blue Nile,  and  was made by  music journalist Ken Sweeney, who also narrates. I believe Ken lives just up the road from me, in Skerries.

It’s dark and dreary outside but my rainswept window becomes a time-bending portal to a brighter, higher world. The gently ruminative and rhapsodic world of The Blue Nile. Over the hillside beyond the sodden wasteland I am wandering in the whimsied mists of other days … ha, you see, that’s what it’s like, giving yourself up to the magic of The Blue Nile.  A diffident magic created  by three Glaswegians, of uncommon synths and sensibilities, who transformed that hardest of hard cities into Tinsel Town in the rain.  Paul Buchanan, Robert Bell and PJ Moore.

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Litter and sewage spoil Rush beach stroll

Will the dog poo always be with us?


At play on the North Beach in Rush, Co Dublin. Just don’t mention the raw sewage being pumped straight out to sea nearby by Fingal Council

low swathe of diaphanous cloud is puffing across a clear denim-blue sky as down Kilbush Lane we go, Bella, my wiry black and white terrier mix, and I. We’re on our way to the North Beach in Rush, Co Dublin, for our early morning ramble.

There’s a north-easterly wind would cut through you though, and an old salt who has stepped out from a galvanised shed for a roll-up, welding mask pushed to the top of his shaven knobbly head, remarks, “It’s a bit blowy.”

“Tis a bit,” I reply in kind.

Blowy? The fur on Bella’s black face is parted and her ears are flat against her head, making her look like a startled hawk from the front.

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Walking Dublin city blues

(As Perceived Quarterly, Volume 1, Number 1, November 2016)


St Patrick’s Park, Dublin  … where the soft drift of mellow voices wafts over me.

Summer girls in summer dresses and young men rippling with confidence and expectation. They are the ones I mostly notice anyway on this rare sun-splashed day in Dublin city as I revisit old haunts and take in new delights. 

An unhurried man in my inconspicuous fifties, I am invisible to these youthful creatures as I stroll up the broad O’Connell Street boulevard. 

Looking across at the massive GPO, its six granite columns glinting in the sun, I am thinking of Patrick Pearse standing outside its smouldering doors in Easter 1916 proclaiming the Irish Republic. 

A hundred years of myth and legend have since weaved their emotive colour into history’s fabric and marked this country forever. Not something today’s strolling natives or camera-clicking tourists are likely pondering on for long. 

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