I’m not a hater of pop music as such, it’s just not really my cup of tea. Puppychild won a CD recently and insists that it’s played at high volume whenever we engage in any sort of car trip whatsoever, so if I never hear ‘Every Day I’m Shuffling’ by LMFAO ever again, it will be far too soon.
Laughingboy is also a fan of this Godawful stuff though. He likes to have TRENDY FM playing loudly in his room and, much like his tooth grinding, it’s a very difficult sound to get used to.
There is one song, however. Whenever the cheesy announcer dude calls out that this song will be next, I find myself running in to find some random chore to do in the kid’s room. I find myself bopping very, very subtly, lest the neighbours should discover my weakness through the window.
For a long time, I had no idea why I liked this song. It was when I was hoovering the living room rug that I figured it out.
The harmonic sounded very quietly above the din of the sucking machine. It was Sir Fartsalot, humming along to the hoover’s engine. I remember doing that too, when I was a kid. Puppychild piped in with a higher note.
“No! It’s not hmmmmmmm, it’s HMMMMMMMMM!” she protested.
They both HMMMM’d away until they got to the same tone as the hoover and continued until I’d finished the job. It filled my heart.
That’s what the song reminds me of. If you can stand to listen to the following ‘Tube clip, you’ll hear the doppler-effect bass line dip and rise during the chorus, just like the sound one of those extremely heavy 80′s Hoovers used to make when they were negotiating tight corners.
That was when I was very small, and was afraid that the nasty machine would suck up not just my toys and hair-bobbins, but me along with them. Didn’t stop me singing along with it though. Good times.
So there you have it! Gots me an x-ray today that says I don’t need no nasty support pins inserted into my buggered wrist. Turns out wrist is not so buggered! I started popping some homeopathic Symphytum 6c a few days ago and the weirdest thing happened… it worked. The cracks on my distal radiator have faded to thin wee lines within a week. But of course that could be a coincidence. Whatever. Four weeks left of no driving.
This wrecks my head.
Or does it?
I’ve been pardoned from all sorts of things. Previous stresses have just… melted away. The flu that’s been farting around my chestal area has disappeared. Stressed-out-woman-flu. Gone! Baths are a pain in the ass with a fibreglass arm, but I can’t bite the nails on my right hand so they’re kind’a pretty now. Ying and yang.
I can’t look after the Accidental Terrorist in his post-operative state, though, that’s a bummer. He has to spend his birthday this weekend in an old folk’s home. I haven’t found the silver lining in that one yet, besides an opportunity for bets on aul’ones in wheelchair-races down hill-slopes.
A spare xbox would definitely cheer him up though, and I’m sure as hell not giving up mine!
But the worst thing of all is that I have to give up Laughingboy. He’s booked away for ten days, umpteen bags are packed in the hallway. Nebuliser meds, feeds, kangaroo bags, tubes, syringes, baby wipes, funky rocket pyjamas… he’s been there for most of the week already, he came home yesterday temporarily and I missed him.
I put Florence and the Machine on for him and spun him ’round on his roof hoist sling even though I’m not supposed to and gave him a head-scratch with my new nails. He’s a sucker for a head-scratch.
As I tucked him in, I did the usual under-cover sweep of arms and tubes to make sure one would not reef the other causing eruptions of stomach gunge (as you do), and as I did my hand was grabbed. Laughingboy has never really done that deliberately before. He squazzed my hand tightly and gazed into nowhere and purred quietly, his gaze fixed on something out the window. Or the window itself, or a far away galaxy maybe. I stayed until he loosened his grip. The chicken nuggets got slightly burned, but it was worth it. He’s going away tomorrow, I’m going to miss him so much, the sort of hurt I wish they could put pins in.
Yet more apologies for being so anti-social. I don’t mean to neglect this writing lark, it’s just that two months goes by awful fast. As do six months, and twelve. I wouldn’t know where to start in my descripshuns to you of the minutiae of it all, so I have just brief highlights for you.
I organized a table quiz! We made about twelve hundred quid which brought us nicely up to the halfway mark of the final €10,000 we need to raise for the school. Sweet. It was an excellent night, a spurious friend of The Accidental Terrorist saved the day by acting as compere when the usual dude chucked a sickie at the last minute, so I’m hoping this redeems me from random committee scattyness to come.
Some of my questions were;
Olympus Mons is the largest volcano known to man. Where is it?
Which country has a birth rate of zero?
Who was the first Bond Girl?
How many Oscars has Alfred Hitchcock won?
What is the only Olympic sport that has a finish line that no competitor will ever cross?
How many grooves are on one side of an LP record?
Which Irish Saint is said to have discovered America a thousand years before Columbus?
Which is the non-contagious disease that is most common in the world?
What is Borborygmus?
What does the circle in the centre of the Celtic cross represent?
I made a dingbats round, a caricatures round and a lyrics round. The latter backfired on me totally.
Someone on the committee (a pox on her!) decided it would be good craic if I sang the lyrics, so sing them I did. As embarrassing as it was, it was amazing how easy it is to spark a song in collective people. There was Whiskey in the Jar, Frank Sinatra, and Parklife (John’s got brewer’s droop, he gets intimidated by the dirty pigeons) and this one bloke even lept into the air when I sang ‘Her name was Magil and she called herself Lil… But everyone knew her as Nancy‘ and carried on with ‘Daniel was hot, he drew the first shot, and Rocky collapsed in the corner-errrrrr!‘ ‘Twas awful funny. I should have given him the mike in hindsight, dammit. His name was Dan. Figures!
Apart from that, there are Nazi Zombies (as usual), various knitting projects, yoga(!), disciplinarianism with terrible two year old, cupcake practice for communionisms, and many many sleepless nights.
There have been the throwing away of old things:
And restoration of old things.
I wonder is there money to be made in photo restoration? I need a job. Still. Ugh.
I hope you’re all suckin’ diesel out there?
PS. Here are the answers (not necessarily in order, heheh): Mars, Vatican City, Ursula Andress, None, Swimming, 1, Saint Brendan, Tooth Decay, The sound of a rumbling stomach, The Sun.
Laughingboy invented a new music genre today, I call it Dub Angst:
Isn’t it lovely? If I play it back to him during a shouting spell he calms right down instantly, but only for the duration of the track. I may have to record an album and turn him into a gazillionnaire.
I created the file using the ‘LaDiDa’ app(lication) for the iPhone. Sorry. I’m aware that last sentence made me sound like a tosser, but technology does have its perks.
Apart from attending weddings and helping with school libraries and hunting in vain for knee length socks and stitching costumes back together and carving halloween pumpkins and knitting nothing in particular very fervently in an attempt to (yet again) quit smoking, this week I be mostly reviving my violin.
It’s been lying inside a dusty box in various parts of the house untouched for the last twelve years which would make my Grandmother twist in her very pretty grave high up on the hilltop if she knew.
See, every time I consider opening that case, I would remember my teacher and suffer from huge pangs of guilt and would walk away and close my eyes and hope the guilt would dissappear under the bed again.
My teacher was a nun, a very small nun who reminded me of Ghandi and who was at least 125 years old if she was a day. She would make me go limp like a powered-down robot before every lesson, and told me that pressure was a waste of time, that I could only be as good as I am, so why worry?
I remember enrolling for classes with her at some stage during my school life, and picking up a violin and making it screech horribly. I could already read music, that wasn’t the problem, it was the damn bow not doing what it was supposed to do and the fact that the notes on the strings are entirely invisible. With a piano, at least each note is pre-defined, a black or white key to either be pressed, or not. A violin relies on the ear of the player, a finger slid slightly too far south makes the music sound a bit like a vomiting goat.
After a few months of learning scales and arpeggios and chromatics and the like, Sister Ghandi told me I was to do an exam. It was at this point I wondered if she actually switched on her hearing aid at all during lessons, surely no examiner would want to entertain me after just a few months?!? No matter how much I protested, she went ahead and enlisted me for exams anyway, not for some low grade warmer upper, no no. She went right ahead and booked me up for Grade SIX.
I had an impossible modern mumbo jumbo piece and an increadibly weird hungarian dance to learn in a tight space, but she had faith in me and made me do it, no matter how much I complained.
I passed it, too. I did really well, and became leader of the band geeks, of which I was entirely proud.
Then I left school after my leaving cert and never looked back.
I could have called the convent to see if she was still alive, but I never did. I could have checked in on her to thank her for all her hard work, but I didn’t. I couldn’t handle the fact that if I did call the nuns, they would tell me that she had shuffled off the mortal coil and was now fiddling at the Lord’s right hand side in heaven. I just couldn’t bear to hear that.
Which is stupid, because there is a slight chance that she’s still alive. I’m just too afraid to find out.
So, in her honour, I am attempting to re-tune these tired old strings and learn all over again via Internet Karaoke.
Internet Karaoke?!?!? Again poor Granny turns in her grave!
There’s a very excellent scene in Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’ – I’m sure you know it. The Fun Lovin’ Criminals robbed a sound byte for their ‘Scooby Snacks’ track it’s that cool. Skip to 1:20 in the following video if you have no clue what I’m on about.
I was reminded of that quote tonight.
I stole Pacino’s cat. I fear that if it had been left with him any longer it would soon be an ex-cat. It’s tail is, for the want of a more scientific term, pretty crusty. It looks like you could break it off and smoke it.
I heard Puppychild giggling in the bedroom earlier… I went in to investigate to find her upside down, her upper shoulders dangling under the bed – she looked like a decapitated pink chicken. I heard the engine-roar of a large cat’s purr from the darkness somewhere.
“What ya doin’?”
“Playin wit the cat!” said a muffled child’s voice.
I don’t go to concerts much. I’ve never been to Oxygen or the Electric Picnic, but I plan to change that eventually. I went to Radiohead once, the most exiting part of that gig was watching the kids spewing all over each other… I think the downer music was a bad buzz. They should have called it the ‘whitey’ tour.
I went to U2 once, but can’t remember much of it. There was no drugs or booze involved, it was just… meh. I wouldn’t have minded sticking around for the fireworks, but the crowds were too damn huge and ducking out early seemed a wise idea at the time. As much as I respect Bono and his efforts, he is an undeniable twat. His is the only assassination I’m actually looking forward to for curiosity value, but that wasn’t me that wrote ‘DIE BONO DIE’ towards the Grand Canal part of the Dart line, I swear.
Then there was Paul Simon. Supported by Van Morrison, Blind boys of Alabama and The Fun Lovin’ Criminals, this was easily the best concert I was ever at. I was kicked out twice for acting like a mad thing while sitting on TAT’s shoulders, and almost passed out when Paul returned my tinkerbell wave. Hey, my crush on Paul Simon cannot be explained, let’s just leave it at that, eh?
Tenacious D of course almost made the winner of the ‘best concert ever’ award. Almost. I’m looking forward to the porn version; The Prick of Destiny. I want to see a REAL cock push-up.
Oi! Hands up, cheater.
I went to Bon Jovi once, but don’t judge me, they were free tickets. I followed two women around and watched them shatter their reputation as classy independent women and wished I had brought those vodka injected oranges after-all. Men that age shouldn’t wear leather trousers, that’s all I have to say about that.
Guns ‘n Roses was another freebie. It was exactly what I expected it to be.
The Red Hot Chilli Peppers was absolute kak. They botched the speaker-rig in center-field so I spent the whole gig searching desperately for at least one of the twenty five people I’d come with, with my hands clasped tightly over my ears. The only place the music sounded halfway decent was from the porta-loos. I got used to the smell eventually.
Now, thanks to a lady who may or may not be the full shilling, but who has thankfully developed a crush on my taxi-driving husband and ‘uses’ him at least fifteen times a week (and booty calls him at least twice that amount), we have tickets to UB40 at the O2 in November. Apparently her dad works for a large publisher and is the man to ask for tickets and back-stage passes.
I’ve no idea what I’d say to UB40 if I wandered into their stoner-room though. ‘Did you have to bastardize Reggae so blatantly?’ I might say. Or… ‘Don’t you think it a bit of a cop-out that all your top hits were cover versions of someone else’s music?’ Then again I might not. I might just say ‘Howyeh Maxi… this concert made me feel really old! Thanks for that, mate.’
Then I had a brain fart, inspired by a coffee shop I used to visit a lot in Blackrock shopping center which was plastered floor to ceiling with old musical manuscripts.
Ok so I probably should have screwed the doors back on before showing it off, but you get the idea.
This is how I did it:
- First I downloaded some free piano sheet music here, and printed it off onto extremely cheap printer paper (the more absorbent the better)
- Then I found a large tray and added two kettles-full of boiling water to about six teabags (including raspberry tea for interesting colour). The printed manuscripts went into this massive brew to soak overnight; I sprinkled a few teaspoons of instant coffee between layers to add interesting speckling.
- The next morning I heated the oven to its max, and began to dry each sheet individually for about a minute per sheet (this part requires intense babysitting obviously) until I was left with a stack of crispy, slightly burnt paper that looked like it had just been rescued from a 200 year old vault.
- I then mixed some PVA glue with a little water, and plastered it to the surface with a wide paintbrush. The bonus here is that PVA glue is waterproof, meaning that the finished plastered surface is washable and permanent, provided that an extra coat of PVA is applied to finish the effect. Happily this doesn’t mean that the surface ends up glossy, but with a pretty nice textured matt effect instead.
While this whole ordeal is slightly labour intensive, it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than buying paint or wallpaper, and a lot less messy than applying same.
Thanks to Chaplin’s (ex) coffee shop for the inspiration, and to Art Attack for glue enlightenment.
Oh, sometimes skies are cloudy
And sometimes skies are blue
And sometimes they say that you eat the bear
But sometimes the bear eats you
And sometimes I feel like I should go
Far far away and hide
‘Cause I keep a waitin’ for my ship to come in
And all that ever comes is the tide
-Hard Time Losin’ Man, Jim Croce
I spent most of today with my hand clamped firmly over Laughingboy’s mouth. He’s been suffering from… something… for a few weeks now. Could be teething problems, could be growing pains, could be gas, could be that the planet under the control of his amazing brain power somewhere is suffering from the turmoils of wartime. Everybody offers opinions, but it’s anybody’s guess. Either way, he spends most of his time red faced and screaming, his limbs clenched tight like rusty vice-grips, his eyes wild with anxiety. There’s only so much pain killer a kid can take before he either becomes immune, or suffers from liver malfunction so it’s a case of trying one thing after another until he eventually falls asleep.
Problem is, most of the day must be spent quietly while TAT sleeps off his night-shift, so I must stay glued to Laughingboy’s bedside, gagging his yells with the cupped palm of my hand, stopping briefly every now and then to scream profanities into a soft cottony Spongebob pillow. I caught myself yelling at Puppychild for singing ‘ring a ring o’ roses’ in her sweet little voice over the calamity caused by Cryingboy in the same room. Hers was the voice of peace, but I only saw that once I had shattered it and she looked at me with big eyes brimming with tears, confused at what she had done wrong. It killed me.
When silence briefly reigns, I must spend it washing or cooking or sweeping, or simply staring into an open fridge for two hours. I miss the good parts, the quiet smiles, the interludes.
It grinds a girl down, it makes her want to sleep, to find her reflection in the bottom of a bottle, to forget about sending wedding thank-you-cards and emptying spare-rooms and sunbathing in rare Irish tarmac softening heat. I wonder when things will start to perk up again.
Then something silly happens… in this case, while I was setting up Laughingboy’s feeding bag tonight, and I stood on an up-turned plug. My reaction sounded something like a birthing hyena and it sent both children into hysterics. All three of us, collapsed on a bed, ripped into shreds of giggles and forgetting the bad times. It was right then that I figured it isn’t Laughingboy who has special needs, but me. It’s a need to know that giggles are no good without tears, quiet smiles are accentuated by loud frowns, stress breeds peace.
Whatever it is that Laughingboy is suffering from, it will be but a distant memory someday. I should take this opportunity to teach Puppychild how to deal with stress by example, and to remind Laughingboy what my heartbeat sounds like, instead of having him taste the salty bitterness of my sweaty hand. Nothing comes from nothing, everything comes from understanding.
Like Grannymar once said on her blog; “Be thankful for a lawn that needs mowing, windows that need cleaning, and gutters that need fixing because it means you have a home.”