A foggy realization that Madness hadn’t become a tribute band to themselves, and that Yusuf’s voice is more father than son now, Saturday started predictably. Jools Holland left me asleep on the couch at 12:30. The pain in my lower back at 3:00 a.m. had spread, Mexican-swine-flu like, to its attached legs, arms and head by the time I woke up in bed later, too tired and with a proper hangover but having to get up anyway.
Shannon V. Garryowen – 2:30 Coonagh
Later on William St., in a temporary euphoric state, Gerry told me about his 80th and his aneurysm. Myopic gray sends her calling card. I listen and tell him how his healthy lifestyle will stand to him when they select keyhole over open stomach surgery. Gerry’s a beautiful person; I want to be at his 81st. On Chapel St., I drop €2 at the sad eyed accordion player’s feet and ask after his occasional accomplice, the man with the horn rimmed glasses who sings Raglan Road. A hernia operation marks him absent. Pete the shortest Dutchman I know has been selling his cheese in the market for a while and the recent TB scare was just that. The smiling girl says facaccia a little too loudly, she knows I’m Looking for parmesan but I like the way she says it, she knows this too. A penny for your thoughts and I give her €500 of post-celtic tiger whining. She recoils. Lamb and kidney bits then from O’ Connors, for the stew, and coffee for the edge.
All Ireland League semi-final, don’t forget last year.
Carrots, parsnips, leeks, onions, lamb and kidney bits and a stock cube, simmer for a long time.
Stir at three, at four, turn off at five, serve at six, please.
Later on at seven, the heat is still on.
Don’t be late
Tailback at Clonmacken, no through road up the village. Park and Ride. Park and bloody ride on a bus.
This is a Garryowen bus,
from a lurker who catches me off guard.
I know, I got the smell on the way in.
Straight away I regret it. By the time the bus fills, Steven Kelly has scored a try but by the time we arrive, they’re 9:7 up. Mary Costello stands defiantly but unknowingly in front of the exit asking us for entrance money. There are four other people taking money outside. My euphoria passes. I notice the gray clouds.
Keith Earls scored a try last year, when they kicked us up and down the field. It was a lousy way to end a season. Then we had the general meeting and the extraordinary general meeting and the 2nd extraordinary meeting. People sneered.
It starts to rain and stays raining for the next sixty minutes, rugby games take eighty but Mary and the busman took twenty. It’s that type of rain where your cigarette gets wet. Torn between two lovers, I move up and down the rails between my new and old friends. I try to get them to come together but it never works that way. Coonagh is a sodden blanket of gray. We laugh at bad jokes in our saturated clothes. Colm O’Brien offers us a stick of chewing gum, I give half mine away. It tastes nice, I shouldn’t have.
Shannon score a second try, a penalty and win by four points. They are a much better team on the day and in the conditions.
I should have gone home. We empty into the clubhouse and watch the door as a procession of cats who got the cream, float across the floor in a loved up bubble. We stay too long and resonate. Euphoria says hello. I look for myself in the pictures on the walls. I used to pretend I was there on the front walls, I’m not though, I’m hidden down the back somewhere. I think they know anyway. The team ramble in, God they look young. Outside smoking alone, I hear the lads chat,
You couldn’t miss them, considering she had none last week.
Times have changed over here.
Final against Clontarf, here (thank God) in a fortnight. No texts so far, there were four bad ones, already, this time last year when we lost. I won’t bother.