Christmas Stories: When Santa Looked at Papabear Unacceptably

Well it’s the favourite and tackiest time of year in our little family’s calendar and to celebrate the entire clan booked a fancy meal in a nice-ish hotel that HAPPENED to have an 80’s tribute band playing on the night.   SWEET!!!  The tables in the room were all themed and whilst I fumed that we did NOT get the Madonna table I was somewhat appeased to find that we had been given ”Family Ties”.  I immediately pronounced Lilsister to be the Little Sister of the programme, owing to the actor Little Sister being a bit chubby, and Lilsister’s gut, whom she calls Fred, getting bigger by the day, due to Lilsister’s extreme aversion to healthy eating and exercise.

To get the festive spirit kicked off, I purchased a pint of the black stuff for Papabear, and he regaled me with a story of being in ONE of his locals for a Christmas beverage a couple of years ago, where upon the bar he espied a dancing Santa machine ornament thing.  I’m not sure why this particular bar would have a singing, swaying Santa, it being frequented by a particularly rough and militant crowd in the inner city of Dublin, but there you go.  Papabear was NOT impressed to find Santa bopping to some awful poptastic Christmas song, and resolved to block it out of his mind’s eye with several dirty pints, which he began to inhale.

Some hours later Papabear was seen yelling at the barman to tell that ”dancing prick” to stop staring at him (Papabear) or he would send ”it” back to the North Pole.  Unfortunately, the electronic representative of Christmas was left ”on” and Papabear became increasingly concerned that it was ”looking” at him in a way that was not becoming for the season that was in it.  Enough, thought my drunken father, who wandered over to the bar, and promptly headbutted Santa off his perch, where he smashed to pieces, and stopped singing.

This COULD have been a ”bah humbug” moment except that the barman said nothing, the patrons never noticed, and Papabear continued his Christmas, unhindered.

Dirty Pints and Oscar Wilde (part 1)

My hair gets really fuzzy.  In rain, or sun – it fuzzes.  THIS is what I was thinking about last Saturday night, well Sunday morning, as I lay in the field near Trevor’s house and looked up at the stars.  It was only afterwards that Oscar Wilde came to me and said ”we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”  Well I was in the gutter, looking at the stars, and could think of nothing deeper than oh damn, the grass is very wet and I BET my hair gets fuzzy. 

Which it did – horrificially so.  I really must learn to control my ugliness.  It is having a shockingly adverse affect on the hunt for a boy plaything.

Dirty pints on Saturday with Trevor, as aforementioned.  We started out classily drinking prosecco in the garden, in the sun, and discussing our ageing process and who currently has the most wrinkles (I have shocking crow’s feet but Trevor is CONVINCED her frown lines more than make up for any lines I may have – they don’t).  She also was good enough to tell me that I am ”pretty, but need to wear makeup.”  Nice.  ”I’ll always tell you the truth,” she mused, while I wailed in the corner after witnessing my rosywithwine cheeks, sans makeup, and felt distraught.

Dear fuck, I’ve just realised that as I type this I’ve had some form of the antiques roadshow playing in the background.  I’ve just kicked the telly through the window and stuck ”Your Song” on instead.  Cheers Elton!

So after applying enough makeup to sink my crow’s feet and Trevor’s frown lines we declared ourselves sufficiently tanked enough to take to the streets of Trevor’s suburb and hit the local Italian, who had messed up our reservation and stuck us at a tiny bar waiting area with a child barman whom we insulted into serving us before everybody else, with dirty pints.

Dirty pints don’t go well with Italian but we ploughed on nonetheless, feeling quite drunk after our one course (we missed the early bird and refused to pay full price on anything else – there is a recession going on you silly restaurant owners, didn’t you know?).

Afterwards we bumped into some of Trevor’s neighbours in the toilets and I did a ladywhizz while she tried not to slur her pleasantries.  Once they’d left I signed my name on the toilet checking roster as Terence Trent D’Arby (80’s musos rise!!!) and then we sang many songs.  I’ve now just remembered there was a disgraceful drag queen singer in the restaurant, singing along with a karaoke machine – the food prices may not have been recession proof but the ”entertainment” had surely been haggled in on a knockdown price.  For any songs we didn’t know the words to, or refused to admit we knew the words of, we sang the Irish footballing anthem ”Ole Ole Ole” or, to give it it’s official title  ”Put Em Under Pressure” as released by the Irish football team once they qualified, for the first time ever, to play in the World Cup in 1990.  Now that Ireland has qualified to play in the Euro football finals for the first time in 10 years, the song is enjoying a resurgence and is being sung by our Green Army once again, in great hope and trepidation that we may actually succeed, for once.


It’s Jolliday Time

Spent the weekend being a social butterfly, which is unusual for me, and banned under the Irish Unemployment Rules, which states that if you are unemployed it’s your own fault, and you must be miserable, and thankful for the spit that befalls you when someone in the social welfare office bothers to look down on you and judge you for your general unworthiness.


Friday Lilsister and Scarydancer went on their jollidays to the sun, a holiday which was thankfully booked pre-redundancy.  Speaking of which, scrap my earlier rant about the place where Lilsister did TWO interviews and then never heard from them again – at my prompting, with a large stick, she rang them up and asked for feedback on her interviewSSSSS as there did not seem to be any earthly reason why she didn’t get the job (not having farted in the interview or anything, which I was deeply concerned about as Lilsister is VERY gassy).  They didn’t take her call so I told her to email them and they did reply, saying that the process was on hold and that they would get back to her next week.  So not a complete fuck off, and a ray of hope begins to glimmer.

As Lilsister was on her jollidays, this meant that MINE could start too, and I have moved into her apartment for the week to abuse her chocolate press (a WHOLE press yes, devoted to junk food oh the humanity!) and her car, which makes me feel like a normal person again, what with having somewhere to live and a method with which to get around in.  Hurray! I spent the first half hour running room to room, giggling at the space and lack of parents killing each other.  The silence was like a velvetly blanket hugging me.  I embraced it back and began giggling again.

My new founded ability to have my own space prompted invitations to Sisinlaw, who lives in the apartment block opposite, and Preggers, who lives two floors down with Firstbrother, to pop up for a visit, and a chat.  I found a quarter bottle of champagne in the fridge and had a glass of that, while Preggers had the dregs of what was left, and Sisinlaw brought her half bottle of red, and we all settled in for a night of discussing my brothers and their shortcomings, politics, and solving the world’s problems, in that order, until Sisinlaw decided she needed more wine, and ran downstairs to the shops to get some, and I discovered a bottle of prosecco in the fridge, which I did NOT share with Preggers, as she’s pregnant, then we ate some cheese I had just bought, and Preggers and Sisinlaw decided that the red went really well with the cheese, so they had some red and cheese, and I kept drinking, and then it was 2.30am and Preggers and Sisinlaw stumbled out and I decided to wash the dishes, which meant I was quite drunk.

This would all have been fine, except it was Smasher’s 30th birthday the next day, and I had agreed to drive to her apartment, drink more prosecco, then do dinner, a pub and a club.  Unfortunately when I awoke my headache was coming out of the side of my neck, and no amount of my fabulous scrambled eggs with extra salt would appease it.  I felt old, and horrific.  I looked worse.

After seriously considering not going at all, I dragged my sorry bones and Smasher’s pressie to the car and took several breaths, and drove slowly and safely to her apartment, where I had a lie down for an hour and then a glass of prosecco before heading to the Thai place with her and P Diddy, and Smash’s other friends, with whom I had to make conversation.  I did though, and felt triumphant, until the newly wed couple beside me began to banter about their honeymoon, prompting thoughts of bitterness and hatred towards Exhimself, which I did not mention.  I had been given pork belly with a spicy dip, and I just kept eating and looking at our handsome waiter, who was very handsome, but sadly, knew it, rendering him unattractive in my eyes.  Not in Smashers’ though, as she loudly proclaimed in her outside voice that his bum looked like two peaches in a hankie, when he was about ten centimeters away from her.  Then we all told her to use her inside voice and she told us all to fuck off, he couldn’t possibly have heard her.  Then we kept getting served by a nice girl.

Afterwards we went to a trendy pub where trendy people were drinking and I wondered how I had gotten in.  Probably because of P Diddy’s fabulous organisational skills, which are as good as any professional event planner.  Drinking several pints of Tiger beer, I began to get mellow and sheepish, and my headache moved away from my neck and disappeared into the abyss for a while, while I bopped away from the trendy people, lest my unemployment miserableness rubbed off on them and caused them to spiral into despair.

We then hit the streets to Ri Ra, a nice club I hadn’t been into for many moons, and whilst looking for a bathroom I found a dancefloor that was playing Salt n Pepa’s ”Push It” – naturally I had to dance there, and myself and P Diddy enjoyed the 80’s and 90’s medly until some smelly boys and their groping got in the way of us busting our moves.  Good stuff though until that point.

Towards the end of the night, Smashers became seriously drunk, as evidenced by the general ranting and waving of hands to.emphasise.every.single.word. so we were very alarmed when she suggested going to Leeson Street for further boogeying.  My neck had begun bulging again and P Diddy really wanted some junk food.  Outside the club, as Smashers discussed further clubbing, we waited quietly and fretfully while she made up her mind, fearful to tell her what to do on such an important b day.  Luckily, P Diddy spotted Smashers taking a breath mid-rant, and quietly suggested that we go eat, which was immediately accepted, being as Smashers is as much of a savage as the rest of us, and then we ran into the middle of the road, to get to the food, and avoided being murdered by the many taxis, luckily, very luckily.

The night ended quietly after that, apart from my feeling very odd watching Smashers lean against the railings of the Bank of Ireland, pulling her tights and knickers up, which she protested were down around her knees, something I can’t confirm.  She gave them a good yank upwards though, and after food, we were home and for some reason I was showering in her apartment and climbing into bed at 4.30am, and apart from a cock crowing about half an hour later from somewhere within her apartment block, a decent night’s sleep was had by all.

I’ve also promised Sisinlaw and Preggers a meal tomorrow night, which will hopefully not involve more wine and my neck as ceased it’s constant banging and I can walk upright now, as opposed to stooping, or crawling on the floor.  And no more 30th birthdays for a while, it is highlighting the fact that I am nearly forty, and therefore, consigned to the dusty shelf for being crap.  Sniff.

And now to the post office to post an actual job application!!!!  The glimmer gets slightly bigger…

Family Misfortunes

Christmas Eve spent popping headache tablets after neck and shoulders got VERY tense watching Paranormal Activity 2 with Lilsister in Mammy’s bed.  We had one of those fancy blanket things that hangs off the ends of beds in only the best houses, which was convenient as we needed something to block out the tv screen, in case we actually saw any of the scary stuff on the telly.  Didn’t hold hands as much as last time; Lilsister’s were too sweaty, but we did curl around each other to protect against anything that might jump off the screen, which meant I was in a giant human knot shape by the end (which was horrific, from what I can gather).

Slept fitfully afterwards but must have fallen asleep at one stage as was frightened awake by Lilsister having fullblown nightmare beside me which consisted of very faint but wailing sound of ”noooo, noooo” and legs and arms kicking and lashing at me.  In my dozed state, all I could manage was to grab her by the head and try and shake her awake by saying ”it’s cool Braille, it’s cool,” and having her awaken, wide eyed and shocked to be in a midnight head lock.

The Day itself passed as it usually does, in a haze of mood swings, beers and catching up with the brothers and respective partners.  Dinner was grand except the ham tasted funny.  Well I thought it did – the pregnant girlfriend of Firstbrother inhaled her entire plate in about six seconds, beating even Lilsister, which is no mean feat.  I don’t know her well, but the girl will fit in grand with the women in our family if that’s how she does her food.

Ended the evening in a STORM of killings after playing skins, or post-its in our case, where you put the name of someone on your drunken brow and attempt to guess their details through a series of questions, before realising you have no idea and you need to lie down.  I think I got the name of every bloody soul diva from the 70’s and 80’s EXCEPT the required Chaka Khan which was very disappointing to Babybro who had placed the name there, as I usually hold myself up to be such a culture vulture of music to him.  Firstbrother finally broke the confused spell by telling me that the name on my head had a record called after her, and the record was called ”Chaka Khan” – that wasn’t the name of the record, but I eventually picked up on his subtle signals.

It all went so well that we decided to do it again on Stephen’s night, so excepting Middlebro, we piled up to Babybro’s and Sisterinlaw’s house and attempted to play the awful Family Fortunes, which I had not seen since the eighties, but which, worryingly, Babybro and Sisterinlaw are big fans of, and therefore experts in.  Anyway, if you have a life you may not know that the game consists of being asking inane questions, answering as best you can, and hoping that your answer is on the ”list”.  If it is, happy days, if not, something else happens but I don’t know what because it was all too much for me.  I paired with Lilsister and Middlebro’s aforementioned pregnant girlfriend, versus Sisterinlaw, Babybro and Firstbrother.  Lilsister’s new man, Scarydancer, wisely decided to compere and was treated to five hours of tears, laughter, arguments and disownings for his troubles.  He also nearly split up with Lilsister during their HALF HOUR argument over the ”what do you pay once a year” topic

Lilsister answers: ”tax”  .

Scarydancer replies ”can you be more specific”.

Lilsister says ”no”.

Scarydancer (firmly) ”well you can’t just say ‘tax’ as there are different types of tax so you need to be clearer on what type of tax you mean”.

Lilsister (squinting eyes in evil way) ”WELL THEN IF YOU’RE GOING TO BE A PRICK ABOUT IT I can say car bleedin tax can’t I!”

Scarydancer has the ‘eeh enn’ buzzer thing that you hear on the show, and slowly, and quite deliberately, presses it.  The buzzer sounds and he states that car tax is NOT on the list, and therefore, our group, which I think we called ”Bump” after the impending baby, or ”Mannilow” –  I can’t remember, has lost this round.  It is a crushing blow, and the words that come out of my sister’s mouth would not be heard in the Dublin docks after a night on the rum.  This causes Scarydancer to throw down his answers and declare that if Lilsister is so unhappy with the way the game is going he can assist her by walking out and going home.  I begin singing ”It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” and this diffuses the situation somewhat, and we plunder on.

The night wears on and Sisterinlaw ends up hitting the tea due to fatigue, she’s clearly not in our family long and doesn’t have the stamina for fighting and capacity for hate that we all do.  She’ll learn.  Silly answers abound and Preggers interrupts Babybro whilst he is on a role naming things that he only has one of (nose, head, mouth etc) by asking him why he hasn’t mentioned his dick, and Lilsister wonders aloud why ”arse” hasn’t been mentioned either.  Answer of the night goes to Firstbrother for stating that of things that would make an alarm in an airport go off  ”like, old, historical shit” would be his guess.  After confusing the lot of us, he began to explain that this could mean ”like, chalices” at which I queried why one would carry a chalice at the airport, would it be because one was too good to drink one’s tea from a mere mug?  Cue further infighting and declarations of war.

By two am we were exhausted, and Firstbrother was weary of defending himself, after also answering to the question of ”things you buy that you use in the morning” as ”toilet”.  It was a night of intellectual thrills.

And now it is the 27th, and Colin Farrell is on the telly using his Dublin accent which is always refreshing.  He appears to be discussing horse tranquilisers so that’s nice.