Spiders: What a Bunch of Bastards

All my life, or at least as far back as I can remember, I’ve been terrified of spiders. I hate the sight of them. Their appearance sends chills down my spine whenever I see them on television or up close. The miniscule sound as they scuttle across the floor sets my teeth on edge. The CGI efforts of Peter Jackson and Christopher Columbus in The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter: The Chamber of Secrets respectively had me close to evacuating my bowels upon the chair where I sat. Naturally, I can’t count how many times a spider has ruined my sleep, meal or video game session. They’re literally everywhere and I would say that everyone alive and dead has had an encounter with some type of arachnid.
The reason that I bring you this tirade against the eight legged freaks that often haunt my dreams is because I had no idea what to write for this blog. I have a few posts on the back burner that I will write in the coming weeks and a few ideas that need to be pared down. I didn’t want to rush any of them for you, lovely reader. You’re so nice and I would never let anything bad happen to you. I mean that. Whoever is reading this right now…I will protect you. Mainly from bad blogs but also from things like spiders.
I didn’t really know what to write about until it crawled across my laptop at 4 in the morning as I tried to go to sleep. The little bastard brazenly took his time to crawl over the keys, pausing every now and then if he sensed me moving. At first I thought it was a piece of fluff that was being blown around by the ceiling fan. I casually looked down, intending to brush it away and I was met by the cocky stare of an eight legged creature named Axel. He wore a ‘420’ snapback that covered six of his eyes, and a letterman jacket with an uppercase W on the back, probably for wanker. He smoked the last of the cigarette he held in his third right leg and then stubbed it out on my enter key. The smarmy prick. Axel spit on my bedsheet then and looked me up and down once more before smirking and walking away. I leapt in horror, frantically covering my man-boobs with my free hand while clutching my duvet to my lower-half in a vain attempt at hiding from the spider. I ran to the bathroom, dropping the duvet as I ran, completely forgetting my shame. I grabbed a handful of toilet paper and pulled it off the spool in reams shouting, “Fuck the environment! A spider is loose in my room and he gave me a dirty look.” I made a quick mental note to add that into my confession at Mass the next day and said a silent prayer apologising to God. The spider had me physically and mentally on the ropes. It was time for me to act.
Drenched in sweat I returned to the room. Axel had moved off the laptop and was nearer the wall. I was lucky to have spotted him as his body was pale. A young spider, I thought. They really are bastards even when they’re young.
Go tobann, I was filled with a steely resolve. Here was a creature no bigger than a two euro coin and I, an Adonis of a man was cowering with fear. I stood there, clumped up toilet paper in hand, readying myself to pounce. Countless bugs and insects had met their demise at my heel or palm and one more was going to join their deceased ranks. I moved quickly to the bed while keeping my eyes firmly on the little bastard, raising my hand in preparation of a strike that wold be heard all around the room. My mighty fist came crashing down on the freshly washed sheets, sending a small rippling effect across the bed. Axel was no more.
I sat on the bed a while later after checking to see if he had brought any friends with him. The coast was clear. I thought of all the spiders I had killed. There was the wide one on the wall in the living room at home who I had squashed after watching yet another episode of Made in Chelsea; there was the quick fellow who had darted under the front door as I cleaved him in two with the handle of a hurley at three in the morning; there was the spider that I caught in the middle of our kitchen floor when I came home drunk and proceeded to demonstrate my knowledge of karate at before I put him out of his misery. So many lives. I thought of the spiders I had let exist beside me. George, who had been a tiny thing who sporadically emerged from under my skirtingboard, harming no one; the spider with long spindly legs that my Mother killed while I danced a crying dance on top of a stool; and the monster I saw scuttle under my bed one night, deciding that that was a battle I was not willing to take part in.
I threw Axel away, along with his half empty box of American Spirit cigarettes (what a douche) and slept soundly in my bed. That night I dreamed of him. He was happy. He smiled at me and waved, doffing his 420 cap in appreciation a fight well fought. I awoke the next morning with a tear in my eye and had a strange feeling in my stomach that I could not pinpoint. Probably another feckin’ spider!

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Thank you for reading my dramatic retelling of the chilling events of this Sunday night just past when I spotted a baby spider near me on the bed, shrieked, ran almost-naked to the bathroom to psych myself up, grab a tissue, kill the youngling and stay awake until 5:00 AM before the night’s exertions and sleep took hold. Have a great week!

The Doorman’s Daytime – Week 2

The Emmys took place this past Monday and it seems that streaming services have definitely taken the crown for television viewing. Netflix, Amazon Prime and HBO swept the awards, the only awards for actual network television coming from late night talk shows and reality TV. Although SNL got a few awards which I am happy about.
There can be no real argument against this rise of streaming. Fantastic shows such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (haven’t watched it), Barry (haven’t watched it) and Godless (didn’t finish it) garnered multiple awards through their acting talent. In fact, if you look through the list of winners from the night you will see that most shows, nominees and winners are an “Original” from a webite or streaming service. Actors are getting drawn to the quality projects that sites such as Netflix, Hulu and Prime produce. They’re probably getting compensated pretty well for it at the same time.
The irony of it all is that broadcast television just aired their biggest loss of the war yet. Despite shows such as Game of Thrones, Westworld and Succession garnering viewers in real time as the show is first aired, a la broadcast television, the majority of users view the shows on demand. There are even plenty of Irish shows on these sites also. I’ll review these next week.
Anyways, after that diatribe, let me tell ye what I’ve been watching this week. Yes, they were all through streaming services.

The Good Place

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This comedy offering had been sitting in my Netflix list for months. I didn’t see the appeal based on the twenty seconds I watched of the trailer. Nothing was tickling my fancy one day so I threw it on and binged the two seasons in two days. It is nothing short of a masterpiece. Created by Michael Schur, who wrote episodes of the Office, Parks and Rec and Brooklyn 99, it blends drama, philosophical questions, mad fantasy and superb comedy into one unreal show.
It stars Kristin Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who wakes up in ‘the good place’, ie ‘Heaven”. The only thing is, she has been mixed up with another woman of the same name who was of much purer character. Hilarity ensues. The show stars Ted Danson as an ‘architect’, or angel, and he is definitely the funniest character in the show.
The rest of the cast are impeccable. Adam Scott, Dax Shepard and Maya Rudolph appear in guest roles throughout the series. Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, William Jackson Harper and D’Arcy Carden make up the rest of the main cast and while you may have not heard of most of them, they are all hilarious and perfect for their roles.
I would recommend watching this as soon as possible because season 3 premieres on Netflix the 27th of this month. Get to watchin’ and don’t be chillin’ while doin’ it ya sick pervs.

Jack Ryan

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Amazon Prime has been advertising the hell out of this eight part thriller based on Tom Clancy’s novel of the same name. It seems to have made its mark with over 140 countries around the world streaming the show. The show focuses on CIA analyst Jack Ryan who is drawn into the world of active anti-terrorism, showing he is much more than a desk-jockey.
John Krasinsky plays the titular character. He directed and starred in the horror hit of the year, A Quiet Place, but is better known by millions around the world for his role as Jim in the American Office.
The show itself is action packed with many twists and turns, but that is to be expected. It’s not as action packed as I’d like, however. The dialogue that takes place whenever the terrorist leader Suliman is on screen is brilliant and the tension is palpable. Krasinsky doesn’t feature half as much as we were led to believe in the trailers, a lot of screen time being given to the villain’s story.
This show is bound to draw criticism for apparent Islamophobia and inciting hatred given the subject matter. I would disagree, given that it paints the Americans and Europeans in just as bad a light. The world can no longer be painted in black or white as everybody’s motives are drawn into question.
Jack Ryan is worth a watch but I wouldn’t go subscribing to Amazon Prime just because of the show.

White Boy Rick

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White Boy Rick tells the story of Rick Wershey Jr., a teenage drug kingpin in Detroit in the mid 1980s. The film charts his rise from a gang associate to drug lord between the ages of 14 to 17, as well as the FBI coaching him on how to drugdeal and snitch while paying him. The film depicts the hard and cold nature of Detroit in that decade, especially for Rick, who must deal with his runaway drug addict sister, his father who wastes his time selling guns and thinking of his video-store business, the FBI who keep hounding him to sell drugs and obtain information for them and an increasingly suspicious gang leader who may have it in for our titular character.
Hollywood heavyweights Matthew McConnaughey, Bruce Dern and Jennifer Jason Leigh lend the star power to this one but Richie Merritt, who plays Rick, is a future star and is definitely a new force to be reckoned with.
It is a very good movie that could have used a bit more action in the final third, but well worth the money for a watch.

Top 5 Musicals OF ALL TIME

Normally, when these lists pop up on people’s newsfeeds from Buzzfeed or Cracked or wherever, you get the usual suspects populating the article; The Sound of Music, where Julie Andrews kills a load of Nazis or something; Rent, where a load of LGBT New Yorkers struggle to pay rent in a fancy loft in Manhattan the spoiled bastards; and Moulin Rouge, the tale of a prostitute telling lies (shock horror). Not that I’d have any experience with prossies. I’ll get you one day, Tina!
I’m here to give you the real lowdown. In no particular order, feast your sockets on the real list of the five greatest musicals of all time. Don’t @ me because I know you’ll agree.

The Lion King 2: Simba’s Pride (1998)

This masterpiece of a film was released four years after the original. It was the best sequel since the Godfather II and was only matched by The Dark Knight. Don’t even try to fight me on this, but I prefer this installment over the first Lion King. It’s not even classed as a musical but with songs like We Are One, Upendi and He Lives In You, it’s just one banger after another. However, the one song that propels this into the definitive list of the best musicals of all time is One of Us. Taking place when Kovu, the son of Scar from the first film, is exiled after he is mistakenly believed to be part of an ambush on Simba, this song has stuck with me through a lot of my life, even getting playtime in bars around Manhattan. Hear for yourself.

 

Mamma Mia (2008)

A musical based on Abba’s songs, they said. What a crazy idea, they said. I don’t know who said this, and I have no credible evidence to prove anybody did, but if they did then they are probably dead now. That’s how stupid you would have to be to not realise that a musical based on Abba’s music is a simply wonderful idea. Those people died. Think about that. Tragic.
The cast is star studded, with Amanda Seyfried, Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Stellan Skarsgard and Julie Walters (Molly Weasley) in main roles. The singing can be patchy at times but the film is fun, weird and great for a hangover. Meaning it is one of the greatest musicals of all time.

But be warned, Amanda Seyfried is the most annoying character in this movie, especially if you take my advice and watch this movie with a hangover. I’ve never wanted to fight a woman, but Seyfried came close.

Mamma Mia 3: The Fast and the Fabulous

After the success of the second movie a third installment was announced straight away. Small details of the plot have been released, setting the movie in a dystopian future where Amanda Seyfried’s character has assumed the title of Mamma Mia, the demigod ruler of a world where men are low in number and being hunted. I’m not sure what Abba songs they’re going to use for this one but I’m sure it will be a hit and so goes into my list.

La La Land (2016)

No jokes. Loved this one. Went on my own to the cinema where I worked and the place was fairly full of auld wans and young couples. I don’t need anyone as long as I have my large combo and maltesers on the side.
After the finale dream scene in which Emma Stone pictures her life with Gosling’s character while happily sitting next to her actual husband, some old lady started clapping. It is a very bittersweet, emotional scene but this was in Ireland, where we bottle our emotions. Leave the clapping after a movie and when a plane lands to the Americans. Now, as I want everyone to know, I’ve never fought a woman, but that old lady came very close.

 

Once (2007)

Irish movies always have the best soundtracks, or even the best placement of music throughout its movies. Once has been a hit on Broadway, the West End, Dublin and even in South Korea of all places. I only saw it a few years ago by chance when it was in the sale bin in Golden Discs. Ah, Golden Discs. Simpler times.
It is a touching movie that pulls at the hearstrings as Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova sing and act beautifully together. Any Americans or Irish that haven’t seen this, definitely give it a look. And for the Colombian and Malaysian people who have viewed this blog, give it a look. I miss you guys.

 

Watfords’s Title Hopes Suffer Setback

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Domestic football is back after two weeks of the Nation’s League/United Nation’s/Legion of Doom group games. This new format will be a blight on our intake of Premier League action this year but at least United’s players might actually play well for their country! I joke, I joke.
Mourinho has always been a master of using his press conference’s and post-match interviews to draw the attention away from a poor performance. He did so yesterday, going on several rants about the media and Rashford’s playtime. He has been under a lot of criticism and pressure lately due to Pogba talking to the media. If a player spoke to the media like that in Fergie’s time he would have surely been shown the door. Nevertheless, the game has changed and the rest of the players seem to be not openly disrespectful.

Today’s game against Watford was an important one. United had to build on the impressive 2-0 away win against Burnley before the break. There was no Rashford this week due to his red card in the previous match, so it looked like Martial would get a chance to impress as a substitute. Pogba played supremely for France against Germany and United fans were wondering why he couldn’t do the same for them? Calibre of player? Desire? Relationship with the manager? All three, probably.

The match started off in promising fashion with Lukaku coming close only to be stopped by former United keeper, Ben Foster. Quickly, though, the first half turned into a Watford special. They constantly threatened the back four. Smalling and Lindelof held true but the threat remained everpresent in the first thirty five minutes.
The match was turned on its head when Lukaku used his stomach to push the ball into an empty net from a delflected Ashley Young cross. Two minutes later, Big Mike Smalling scored a peach of a volley from close range. His haircut might be suspect but his finishing was not.
All in all, United could be happy with the first half, successfully defending and scoring alike. Mourinho looked jubilant when Smalling’s goal went in which is always nice to see.

The second half started the same way as the first, with Watford quickly settling in and getting a hold on the game. This time they didn’t let go. Their constant pressure culminated with a fine Gray goal in the 65th minute. Others would have followed but for the fine performance of Fellaini on the edge of the box clearing wayward crosses. Young played well on the left.
Pogba had a much freer role in the first half which allowed him to play his flowing style of football. Watford pressed higher in the second half and, especially after they scored their goal, upped the pressure for the full forty-five, meaning Pogba wasn’t allowed as much time on the ball. As well as this, his teammates weren’t showing for him as much as they should.
Martial came on with twenty minutes to go and made little impact bar a close chance.

Watford came dangerously close in the 93rd minute, DeGea repeating his first half heroics with an absolutely brilliant save from a close-range header. He really is United’s best and most consistent player. He’s also in my fantasy team, so thank fuck for that.
United were lucky to come away with the three points but that’s two wins on the trot. Hopefully the performance will be better in the Champions League opener against Young Boys this week.

Top Three Performers

De Gea: Many impressive saves as usual but the two close-range stops, one from the ground and one from a header in the last minute show us once again how valuable De Gea is to the club.

Fellaini: Two good games in a row for Sideshow Bob. In all seriousness, he made some extremely important tackles and assisted the second goal. Fair play.

Young: The absence of Luke Shaw worried a lot of United fans, for the right reasons. Young played well today in his defensive capabilities, crossing in the ball for Lukaku’s goal also.

Honorary Mentions: Lukaku had a good game up front, bagging another goal and making an impressive backtracking run in the dying minutes to stop the Watford counter-attack.
Gray up front for Watford always impressed me when he was at Bournemouth, and he played well today too, finishing well for his goal and holding the ball up well.

The Doorman’s Daytime – Week 1

As I mentioned in my last blog, I am going to up the effort on the blogs. I enjoy writing them but I’ve gotten lazy over the summer. The weather in New York has recently taken a turn for the wet but it was a mighty three months that was full of booze, craic and the odd bit of exercise. Plenty of time for writing but have I done much? Not in the grand scheme of things! With the move home fast approaching and what promises to be a tough academic year following fast in its stead, I realised that I better get the finger out.
The beauty of the night shift is that throughout the morning and early afternoon, when the lads are gone to work and before I go to sleep, I have the freedom of the T.V. and the house. This means that I can watch what I want and do what I want, which usually consists of Netflix and Playstation. Pornhub blasts solidly in the background. Lol. Kinda JK.
Anyways, the doorman’s daytime is just a fun little play on words. Look at us all having fun. We’re just a regular bunch of rascals! Daytime was literally the only word beginning with the letter ‘d’ that I could think of that related to this weekly series on my recommendations of movies, books and T.V. shows. We’ll see how consistent I am.

Eighth Grade

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Bo Burnham has been one of my favourite comedians and performers for the past…12 years? Jesus. Time is a bitch. He first arrived on the scene when YouTube was still somewhat of a fledgling website. He sang funny, crude songs and was a flamboyant performer. He graduated to comedy shows and bit parts in movies, but his Netflix specials were a joy to behold. His blend of choreographed intros, hilarious and thought-provoking songs and almost alarming self-deprecation was his crowning glory. That is, until his directorial debut came out.
Eighth Grade tells the story of a shy, self-conscious girl named Kayla during her last week of eighth grade. She is awkward, an introvert and has a sever lack of confidence. In short, she is all of us at one point or another in our lives. She slowly grows in confidence throughout the movie but it ultimately almost all comes crashing down. An indie movie if I ever saw one, the flick is not for everyone, but there is a profound connection that I think almost everyone will feel to the main character or to a number of side characters. It also deals with a number of serious issues, not least sexual harassment and gaslighting. It will be on Itunes Movies in the coming weeks, I believe.

Dennis Lehane

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Boston-born author Dennis Lehane is a writer who I didn’t know that I knew. His novels, Shutter Island, and Gone Baby, Gone are two of my favourite films of all time. Shutter Island rocked me in the cinema when it first came out, the ending being one of the first times a twist had struck me to my core. I watched Gone Baby, Gone, for the first time about a month ago. I was speechless at the end. I couldn’t believe it.
I am a massive fan of IMDB and love going down the rabbit hole and spending hours trawling through actors and trivia of different films. It just so happens that both films were based on novels written by Lehane, so I bit the bullet and ordered the two novels from Amazon. I got them on the Monday and they were finished by the Friday. Both novels are gripping and the twists and turns are numerous. Shutter Island is a bit more faithful to the book than the Casey Affleck led film but both books have that tiny bit more that makes them a slight superior to the big screen. I have always been a fan of both literature and film and I couldn’t recommend both forms for these fantastic pieces of work. Dennis Lehane is well worth a look for all of his work.

Psych

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Unfortunately, I have been slacking on my television binges. I still have to watch Ozark season 2 and I am currently rewatching the Office for the fourth time. I have a long list on netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime respectively to get through but at least I will have plenty of material for this series of blogs. However, a not so hidden gem called Psych, a show revolving around a young man with a good eye for detail and a skill for noticing obscure things pretends to be a psychic for the local police department, is in all its eight season glory on Amazon Prime*. The show was shown periodically for a while on RTE 2, but that was late at night or early in the afternoon, and it wasn’t always in order either. Like, what is the actual sense in that? RTE mess up so many shows.
The dynamic between the main cast of the show is brilliant and the show which is literally about a guy petending to be a psychic, doesn’t get old or tacky. There is a fresh storyline in each episode and there’s almost always a fairly attractive female guest star. She almost alwaays turns out to be a villain or an accessory to a villain, which is odd. But she’s hot so it’s all good. Right?

*Is Amazon Prime a thing in Ireland? It’s fecking class, lads.

The Fear

This blog will do an in-depth analysis of Ireland’s greatest practical joke and live sketch show, The Fear. Imagine. Ha, nah. The title is of course referring to the state of absolute dread one might find oneself during a day after the beer. Extreme cases of, “The Fear’, could plausibly carry on for a second day, where the individual still feels sluggish and vulnerable to the world around them. A three day hangover has never been heard of in modern times but legend has it that the great Paddy Losty was perpetually hungover and never lived a day of his life past the age of twenty four completely sober.

People all over the world claim to each have their own cures for a hangover. They swear by this cure as the one true secret to feeling right as rain early on in the day. Some people drink water after every few pints to combat the hangover. That is, however, not a cure and is blatant cheating in the noble Irish sport of binge drinking. Some people drink a pint of water immediately before bed, as if your first non-alcoholic drink after eight pints and fourteen shots will stop the creepy crawlies in your head the next day. A lot of people have homemade remedies for the following morning, such as a couple of egg yolks raw…yeah, jog on. Most people believe that another bottle or cocktail will sort you out. The problem with that solution is that you have to catch the hangover at the right time. If you’re feeling rough but also a little tipsy and you start drinking again you should be good to go; but if you are just rough agus tà pian i do bholg, STAY. AWAY. FROM. BOOZE. It’s not going to help. You’re kidding yourself.
Yes, the only way to beat the hangover is to go the old Irish way and just suffer through it. Stay in bed if you have to, or if you’re an unfortunate soul who drank before a morning engagement, suffer through that with a fake smile and frequent trips to the bathroom. While it’s easy to talk about suffering through it, and God knows I have suffered through my fair share of them, it’s tough to know exactly what the fear is. It is a state of mind that fills you with self-doubt and paranoia. Let’s have a more in-depth look at some of these horrible times of existence.

Paranoia

Everyone’s out to get me. Everybody knows I was drinking last night. Oh God, they all know I got sick. They all think I’m useless. Was he looking at me on the train? She definitely got off at 59th street ’cause there’s a smell of booze off me.
An absolutely horrible state to be in, paranoia can send the most confident person into an almost depressive state throughout the day. The Fear thrives on the paranoia because it manifests itself into little movements at the corner of your eye, or a noise you thought you heard, or a breeze from an open window that you were fully sure was something crawling on your body. Any movement from your friends or coworkers is an act of digust on their behalf that you drank so much. Oftentimes they were right there beside you for the whole night and are thinking the same thoughts as you.

Self-Doubt

As the paranoid thoughts start to settle and eventually drift away, you start to have doubts about your day, your job and your whole life. Am I in the right job? Why don’t I always love it. I should love my job. Ugh, maybe I should move home. I’d be happier at home now with all the lads. I wouldn’t be this bad if I was at home. Do I have enough friends? Are they really my friends? Maybe they don’t like me.
All these stupid little thoughts sail through your head for a while, hindering your ability to focus on anything much. Not that I’d be doing much actual work, wha?!

Vulnerability

The work day is almost over. It’s coming up to 5 o’clock, or whatever time you finish, and you just want to be in bed after a nice feed because your stomach has finally settled down, but the journey is not over yet. The finish line is in sight but you still have to interact with a few more people before the day is over. Unfortunately, that’s being packed on a train, or stuck in traffic, or being jostled on a busy sidewalk or bus, and you’ve just had enough. Why are these people not sitting closer to the edge and why is it my knee they have to knock into when they stand up? Don’t they know I’m a fragile husk of a human and deserve love and attention.
Fair play to everyone with an attentive significant other who is there to care for you and hold your hair or rub your back when it’s time to get sick or when you’re feeling especially vulnerable.

Throwing Gawks

I think this is a Munster saying. I haven’t heard it used anywhere bar Cork and Limerick, and I possibly should have put this bit before the Paranoia paragraph. But I’m tired and don’t care. Don’t @ me. Following on from the last point, however, ‘throwing gawks’, or getting sick, is the best and worst thing to happen throughout the day. It would definitely be better to have someone there to give you the odd bit of encouragement. “Go on, get the last bit up there, good man.” However, I am proud to say that I face the toilet alone, and although I have never won a personal battle with the toilet seat as I puke my guts up, I have stared into the murky brown reflection and after a few minutes of quiet shame, I have emerged a new man.

Doing It All Again

Ah, the following weekend. Usually following an episode of The Fear (the state of mind and once again, not the fantastic TV show), one will swear off the drink for the foreseeable future. “Nah, I’m off it bai, I’m sick of feeling like shit all the time. Oh, and I’m off the fags too.
Cut to Friday night and while Shotgun is being played for the thousandth time you kneck another sambucca and traipse out to the smoking area to ask another lucky girl for a lighter. Shine on, you beautiful diamonds.

 

On a different note, I’m going to up the ante on this blog. I’m happy that some of my friends have seemed to like some posts and while most of the praise has been for these types of tongue-in-cheek blogs, I do like to write the odd United one. So Tuesdays will be personal blogs, Thursdays are going to be reviews of the movies I’ve seen, whether they be new in the cinema or whatevers on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon prime, and I’ll do a United preview/review/analysis on Saturday mornings. If people have made it to the end of this long-winded post that was written so that I wouldn’t fall asleep in work tonight, I humbly thank you. This is only really a bitta craic for myself but if there’s anyone that enjoys these, ily so much.

An Uncertain Start

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It has been an awkward beginning to the season for Manchester United. A winning, if slightly shaky, start against Leicester gave us three points off the bat which was unpleasantly followed by two losses on the trot; a 3-2 embarrassment against Brighton and a 3-0 hammering by Spurs. The 2-0 victory over Burnley over the weekend gave the fans some hope and restored some of the faith in the players and the manager.

The two losses, to Brighton and Spurs respectively, were tough to watch. United seemed to be nervous in the back line for the whole of the Brighton game. The goals we scored were a penalty and a good piece of situational awareness by Lukaku, which gave some of us hope for the Tottenham game. That obviously didn’t pan out as he missed in front of an open goal after rounding Lloris brilliantly. The French goalkeeper was still absolutely steamin’ after he was caught drink driving. What a lout!
All jokes aside, the first half of the Tottenham game was OK. We attacked well and created opportunities, some of which should have been put away. That’s right, Rom, I’m talking about you again. Don’t @ me. However, within ten seconds of the restart, the defenders who had played so well in the first half, fell apart and allowed two easy goals past them. The third goal was painful to watch, especially as Moura eased past Smalling, who had played well by my estimations in the first half.
Following this loss, Twitter was abound with calls for Mourinho’s head and for Woodward to be burned alive at the stake.  Many fans wanted him gone immediately and for someone with a more attacking style of play to be instated. Others wanted all the fans’ total backing of the manager and the players. It was vintage Premier League era views on the value of a manager and how high his success rate should be.

As I just said, United fans seem to be divided into a, “Sack him now’, or a,”Back him until he’s sacked’, point of view. Neither option glows favourably on Mourinho and how he is pervceived by the fans. I would tend to agree with the second option. It is perfectly fine to want a new manager if the quality of football is declining and if the results are against us. However, it is a whole other thing to keep harping on about the manager when certain players aren’t pulling their weight or are in a slump. I do believe that Mourinho will be gone by the end of the season (as I don’t see us challenging for the top 3, especially if this level of play keeps up) but if he isn’t, and if the results are good enough that warrant him staying, then I won’t care. If he is gone and the results warrant him going then I’ll be delighted to welcome a new manager to the club, preferably one with an attacking style. I will not be happy if Mourinho is gone so early in the season because of outcry over the fans due to lack of spending in the transfer market; a transfer market that we trust Ed Woodward with, and who should be blamed.
Despite all this talk about Mourinho and whether he will have a job come the end of this year or the season, there have been some positives in the first four games.

  • Luke Shaw has been trememndous in the last three games for United. He has been bombing up and down the left wing, cutting in and getting the ball in dangerous areas, especially in the last two games. He seems to have responded well to Mourinho’s criticisms last year, and perhaps this success story will be what Mourinho needs to keep his job.
  • Andreas Pereira has had a solid opening to the season. I was delighted that he didn’t get loaned out, and the fact that he is with the Brazil sqaud for the International Break is testament to his prowess in the last few years.
  • Lukaku seems to have found his scoring boots in the last few games, even if he did forget them in the dressing room against Tottenham. Despite that glaring miss, I do hope he continues this run of scoring.
  • Alexis has continued to be the most creative player on the pitch. Even though he does frustrate me with how much he loses the ball, he is always trying to create something. He is a pleasure to watch and I think this will be the season where he starts to produce much more for us, especially with Champions League football back on the horizon.

It has been an uncertain start and it looks like it will get more confusing before we begin to see consistent results. That doesn’t bode well for José but it mightn’t do us fans any bad. We’re so used to success, trophies and accolades that perhaps another year in the wilderness of mediocrity will humble us before our inevitable rise to the top of English and world football. Before I start to go into a Third Reich style speech I will end this brief analysis of our season so far. Our next match is against Watford, who are also not to be taken lightly, especially seeing as they are joint top of the table! A bad result there could bring the Special One’s teetering empire toppling down.

Defining Decisions

 

Image result for batman logo wallpaper

In my relatively short time on this earth I have come to the conclusion that there are a finite number of defining moments or decisions that lead us to our final destination and shape our personalities. It doesn’t matter whether we lead a long and fulfilling life or meet an untimely end. As Bruce Wayne, philanthropist and billionaire playboy from Gotham once said, “it’s not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us.” Bruce has recently been spotted around Paris with Selena Kyle, enjoying a frappé on le Avenue de Champs Elysee by the newest addition to my staff, Alfred Pennyworth. He is my roving photographer and although he’s going a bit senile, he has an eye for all things Bruce. Stay tuned.
Anyways, here are some of the defining moments of my life thus far.

Being Born

I don’t have a strong recollection of this event but I’m told I was one of the main cast. The events immediately before and after are a blur. In fact, the next few years afterwards aren’t very clear either but so far, in my twenty four and a half measly years on this earth, this has been the most defining experience of my life. It literally made me who I am. I distinctly remember that right before I emerged victorious into the world, a large, robed man with a glorious, white beard knelt beside me. We were in a sort of white, astral plane of nothingness. He put a hand on my tiny shoulder and said, in the thickest Cork City accent I’ve ever heard, “Go easy on them Newports when you’re in America, kid, all right? Ha ha. Go on ya chancer, chat ya later.” I’m sorry I haven’t heeded your advice, oh God almighty.

Crying in 4th Class

I was a sensitive child. I’m a sensitive man but I hide that with whiskey and cigarettes. As a child who expressed himself I did so with tears, and lots of ’em. The last time I properly cried outside of the house was 4th class during big break. Oh, how we lived for big break. The reckless abandon we used to have as we played ‘chase’ against the older classes. My family had just moved to Cork from Westmeath and while I didn’t have many friends in Westmeath, I had begun to fit in well with my new classmattes. I almost destroyed that one afternoon.
For some reason, the boys and the girls were ‘fighting’ during break, and both factions spent the whole break not talking and avoiding each other. I knew this was a joke but after break, as we spilled back into the class room, I burst into tears and told our teacher that the boys and girls were fighting all afternoon. I did Justin Timberlake a solid and cried him a fucking river. Bear in mind I was only nine years old and prone to being sensitive. The teacher gave out to everyone else and comforted me. I’m just thankful that kids sometimes have short memories and looked past my childishness and still became my friend. Obviously it was primary school but those kids helped me transition to a new school and I also learned that you can’t cry over just about everything. Not in public anyways.

Braces

I got braces when I was fifteen. Or rather, my parents got me braces when I was fifteen. Two years later they came off and the taunts of ‘brace face’, and ‘metal mouth’, stopped. At least from my parents. My grandmother still asks me if I’m going to the train tracks again every time I ring home. I laugh, but inside I cry.
In 2016 I had a dental check up and learned that I had two cavities that needed to be filled and two root canals that needed to be done. I admit that I have never been the most diligent with caring for my teeth but I brushed at least once a day and flossed at least twice a year, if not three times. I was surprised that my teeth weren’t in good shape but attributed it to working in the cinema and indulging in far too much popcorn.
I carried on with my life and got the procedures done. Before the last one I decided to chat with the orthodontist I had been seeing for years and we discussed my teeth. He told me that the problems I had been having were probably due to having braces in the first place. It was like the villain’s reveal in a made for tv movie about a white kid’s teeth. Fuckin braces. Braces that he had recommended. Braces that he put on himself. Braces that he charged thousands for to my parents.
So I have braces to thank for my first real nemesis that wasn’t caused by fighting them on a football field.

New York

I could write a paragraph on college and how it has defined me but it wouldn’t be true. I had an unreal time and loved every minute of the craic we had but honestly, all I did was drink and scrape by in class. I’m looking forward to doing my Masters and I loved college. Living away from home defined me but I couldn’t write much about that bar liking having the freedom to do sweet fuck all.
New York, however, and the decision to live here for a while has defined me. This place toughens you up and makes you work with a hangover like a champ. I’ve met some fantastic people and I’ve reconnected with old friends. I know now that I can survive in this city and that means I can pretty much survive anywhere. Of course it was handy being Irish and having family here but it would have been easy to leave last summer and slip back into not doing much at home.

I predict my next defining moment or decision of my life will be when I finally vanquish the evil orthodontist and destroy his lair on Patrick’s Bridge in Cork City. That’s right, Aidan Murphy, you fat prick. I’m coming for you. And please stop calling your patient’s parents, ‘mum and dad’. I was seventeen. It creeped me out. What did you make of that, Alfred?

“Oh, we burned the whole forest down, Master Dalton. Trees were a knickel for a dozen back then. We just wanted to watch it burn.”

Thanks, Alfred.

It’s Back!

Image result for premier league is back

Rejoice, one and all! The Premier League returns today with the evening game between Manchester United and Leicester City. This summer has been choc full of sporting action. The World Cup was a fantastic tournament as always and threw up plenty of surprises, while the new system for the All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship has given us some of the greatest battles in recent memory. However, when the hurling and the football are finished come September, we will not be facing any vacuum of sport as the Premier League will take its place on our T.V.s and, I daresay, in our hearts.

The hidden beauty of the World Cup is that it shields us from the rancid nature of the transfer window. I, personally, didn’t pay much attention to the window this year, opting to look to the wall until the sweat dropped down my balls. Ah, skeet skeet, motherfucker! Ah, skeet skeet, God Damn. The rumours I did pay attention to, though, I have jotted down here along with reasons as to why they will help or hinder their new team.

 

Arsenal

Arsenal’s new boss, Emery, has brought in a few meaningful signings. Lichsteiener arrived on a free from Juventus while Sokratis (I’m not typing his last name), from Dortmund, joined for an undisclosed fee. Lichsteiner enjoyed Switzerland’s decent run at this year’s World Cup and has been a solid performer for Juventus over the last couple of years. He and Sokratis will shore up the back line with Mertesacker retiring. Goalkeeper Bernd Leno, from Bayer Leverkusen, also signed as Cech, despite still performing well at this late stage in his career, will surely finish up or leave Arsenal in the next season or two. However, have ye seen the picture of Cech? What an absolute unit that man is.

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“Tell Stephen Hunt I just want to talk about what happened.”

Burnley

Sean Dyche’s men are still unsure whether they will be playing European football this season. They have the second leg of their third qualifying round next Thursday against Istanbul Basaksehir. The tie is tensely poised at 0-0 on aggregate and with Burnley playing at home they will have to be on song to secure a place in Europe’s second-tier competition. They had a phenomenal season last season but unfortunately their first choice and second choice keepers are injured. Nick Pope, who was a star last season, was injured during Europa League qualifying against Aberdeen and will probably be out until Christmas.
Joe Hart has been drafted in on a two year deal from Man. City. Hart has had a torrid few years; losing favour at the Etihad after one too many blunders was followed up by loan spells at Torino and West Ham respectively, both of which ended with, let’s say, mixed reviews. Hart has been remembered at both clubs for his knack for misjudging the flight of the ball or rushing off his line when he doesn’t have the pace he once did. Perhaps Burnley’s defensive set up will help him regain some form.

Chelsea

Chelsea also have a new manager this year. Maurizio Sarri, who made Napoli serious contenders in Italy over the last three years, has brought in some exciting signings in the form of Jorginho, from Napoli, and Kovacic on loan from Real Madrid. Kepa, the new keeper from Athletic Bilbao, was bought to replace the loss of Thibaut Courtois, the gigantic Belgian, to Real Madrid. However, a part of me thinks that Sarri might be clinically insane, as he also bought Rob Green from Huddersfield. There is no doubt that Green is a good keeper, but at this extremely late stage in his career he must be pinching himself. Who can forget his gaffe against the U.S. in the 2010 World Cup?

A lot of keepers make mistakes in big games, including De Gea in this World Cup, but Green had also made many mistakes domestically. Perhaps he’ll be used in the F.A. Cup and he’ll shine. Who knows? I do. He won’t.

Liverpool

The Scousers played the most attractive football in the League last year. The partnership of Firmino, Mane and Salah was a a joy to behold as a football fan and a horror to witness as a Liverpool hater. Klopp is still at the helm and I can’t wait to see what mad antics he gets up to on the line this year. Every time his team comes close or is pinning the opposition defence down, he makes a face at the crowd as if his team is on a roll and he just won a free-in from the 21 in the All-Ireland final.
They’ve made some great signings this summer, most notably Fabinho from Monaco and Keita from Leipzig. However, I think their best signing will be Shaqiri, who spent the last few years languishing at Stoke. He proved he can do it on a rainy night in Stoke and he proved in the International Champions Cup over the last few weeks that he can do it anywhere, He’s a special talent for such a little, blocky man.
They also signed Alisson from Roma as Klopp finally realized that his keepers were shite. Although Liverpool did put seven goals past him against Roma last year. So…yeah. Best of luck ye pricks!

Man. City

Guardiola and the rest of the blue wankers have finally added Riyad Mahrez, 2016 Premier League Player of the Year, to their squad. See, I can’t even write as descriptively as I want when I’m talking about Man. City. Liverpool was a stretch and a half to write about but Man. City get nothing but hatred from me.
I know that United fans get a lot of slack for being from anywhere but Manchester. That is true. The brand has grown and enveloped the whole world. Some fans know that we have to hate City and that that game is the most important of the season, no matter the standings, but I’ve always hated City. Reading up about United when I was young, I found out that City and Denis Law, our former star striker, relegated us to the second division with a FUCKING BACK HEEL GOAL in 1974. I still remember reading that and just wanting to get sick. Then there was a period in the 2002/03 season, I believe, when City and Robbie Fowler beat us 4-1. Tough times. Dark times. But good for them, they got Mahrez. Shitheads.

Manchester United

The majority of United fans are angry and frustrated with the way the transfer window has gone this summer. After an initial increase in activity just before the World Cup it seemed that Woodward and Mourinho just put the feet up and went back to choosing which young stars to send out on loan.
Diogo Dalot signed from Porto. The young Portuguese national (Portuguesan?) has been praised by sports sites all over the web but I can guarantee you that only a small handful of them knew who he was before he signed for United. I didn’t. And I’m one of the feckin’ best! Hopefully he can be a good back up for Bailly, if the African is fit. Oh, God I hope so.

The marquee signing was of course Fred from Shaktar Donetsk. The Brazilian didn’t see any action during the World Cup but did look good in spots against Madrid in the International Champions Cup. He will be effective in the middle between Matic and Pogba, if Pogba doesn’t go to Barca. If he isn’t, just don’t @ me. How good was his announcement video, though?
The best bit of business that Mourinho did, however, was to keep Andreas Pereira at the club instead of sending him out on loan for the fiftieth time. He excelled in midfield during our friendly matches and just looks like a complete attacking midfielder. Here’s hoping he can deliver.

Wolves

Wolves are going to finish in the top half of the table this season. They destroyed all in their path last year to comfortably win the Championship, with just a little help from Chinese owners, super agent Jorge Mendes and high calibre players such as Neves. They have added Moutinho and Rui Patricio from Portugal to their impressive squad, as well as Boly to shore up their back line and Afobe to continue scoring goals. I know that it takes time for new players to gel together but when one of those players, Patricio, is the starting goalie for the Portuguese national team, then you know he will fit in to any club. Watch this space.

It’t tough to know who will finish where this season but I can’t look past City as eventual winners for a second year in a row. Chelsea have added wisely to their squad so they will be in the top four. Liverpool have also added wisely but their ability to fall short is amazing and hilarious. Arsenal have not added enough firepower for my liking and will finish outside the top four. I would like to think that United will be in the top two again, and hopefully the gap will be closer this time. We will see. Anyways, get excited!

 

 

Differences

I’ve always been amazed at how fast time seems to go the older we get. I read that it is because when we are young, we are experiencing everything for the first time, such as school, inside jokes or playing sports. Time was not a blur of routine and familiarity that it is now. Indeed, the first time you take a new route to work or try a new bar or restaurant will stick clearly in the mind for longer than your fiftieth time at the same place, or the monotonous ride on the 4 train.
It is still alarming, however, to know that the older you get, the less new experiences you will get to enjoy. Then you realize that it’s already August and that colder weather is not too far away. The G.A.A. season is almost over in New York and the euphoria of the summer will be replaced by the contentedness of the Fall. That’s not a bad thing, but it leads me to question how many memories I will retain of this summer, or even of the whole year! Truthfully, it has been probably the best year of my life, narrowly beating out my years in college.
It doesn’t seem like a year and a half since I left Ireland, and I will be returning in the New Year. I have no doubt that I will be back to the States after my Masters but I know that initially I will struggle with whether or not I made the right choice of leaving this place that is filled with money, the craic, more women than I can handle and my best friends. It is something I struggled with after finishing college too, but I soon realized that not everything can last, and you have to do what you think is right. I am still in contact with the people I consider my best friends from U.L., and I know I will be in contact with both groups of lads for the rest of my life. As I said earlier, I’ll be back! I’ll probably do a post just for myself on some funny memories in the future. For now, I’ll get away from the totes emosh side of things and give you what I think are the major differences between New York and Cork. Forget about the weather and the money; this is some real shit!

  1. PigeonsImage result for pigeons album cover

     

    This is no joke. There is a stark contrast between the pigeons and general birds we see around Manhattan and Cork City (and I’m not just talking about yer wan from Gurran, wha!). The pigeons in Cork are numerous and annoying. They’re everywhere, sparking rumours of a gang war between the pigeons and the emos on Paul street. However, they’ll get out of your way in a hurry if you walk towards them, alerting all the other pigeons in their gang to the danger of human feet. A blur of grey-blue wings is all that meets the eye when you assert your dominant authority. Pigeons in New York, on the other hand, are a different breed. They’re arrogant and have no intention to give you the right of way. They’re like every other C You Next Tuesday on the feckin’ street that stops dead in the middle of a busy street to get their bearings. You walk towards a cluster of pigeons in Madison Square Park and they have the absolute audacity to look at you as if to say, “Oh, you tryna get through?”, and then move into your path. As you walk around them, they say, “That’s what I thought, bitch.” I enjoy cooing at pigeons as I walk by them. It’s funny for me, weird for passers-by and I assume, confusing for the pigeons.

  2. Public Transport 

    Cork’s public transport is seen as a bit of a joke, mainly with regards to buses transporting people outside of the immediate city limits. Now, I’ve never had any trouble with the buses I’ve needed to take, and while I might have had to wait for the next bus to Limerick once or twice, I decided to smoke a few rollies and move on with my life. However, I wasn’t in a rush and I have read enough posts on Facebook to know that waiting two hours for a bus to Bishopstown or Balincollig is not ideal. Not that I’d set foot in either of those places, am I right keeds?!?!?! NYC’s public transport system is full of problems and train delays and the like, but is only really seriously scrutinized by New Yorkers. I’ve cursed the 4 train and the R train and every other feckin’ letter train but without it I’d be lost. Since my schedule changed I haven’t had to deal with rush hour as much anymore, but By God would I prefer to be waiting in Parnell station for the 215 for forty minutes rather than chain smoke while everybody around me chain smokes, waiting a half an hour in the baking heat for the 34 bus or the 16. Everyone crams in, pressing up against people you don’t know and body parts you didn’t even know existed. Harrowing stuff. I still get nightmares and wake up screaming, “Please stand away from the door! Please stand away from the door!”

  3. Television 

    For the love of God, make sure you have a Netflix/Hulu membership or download Showbox or Megabox onto your phone or tablet because the amount of ads on television over here is sinful. Half an hour sitcoms are split into three or four parts, depending on how many times Celino and Barnes want to tell us that they are the best injury lawyers around. It will still only be a half an hour of your time but the enjoyment of your show will be diminished because of those two amadans. Catchy tune though. “Celino and Barnes, Injury Attorneys, 800-888-8888”. Although the T.V. in Ireland consists of sport in the summer and Friends reruns all year round otherwise, at least we don’t have to put up with ads every five minutes.

  4. FoodImage result for pizza's here

    NYC wins in the food department. Local bars and restaurants in Woodlawn serve up delicious food, and the area surrounding us in Yonkers also has plenty to offer up. Meatloaf from the heritage is just class. Unreal. Followed by about eight pints of Heineken. Vitamin H. Unreal.
    Pizza from Angelo’s in Woodlwan and Bravos in Manhattan would put Fast Al’s to shame but I must say that Centra, Spar and Dunnes delis are a mile ahead of their New York counterparts. Give me a chicken fillet roll over a greasy, manky, end of the line chicken cutlet hero. Blegh.

  5. The Craic 

    I’m afraid to say that New York wins out again. I love nights out in Cork. It is great craic on a Thursday night when all the students are out and the weekend is fantastic with the older crowd and a load of Spanish Erasmus students floating about! But there’s something about the phrase, “Yeah, we went out in the Brooklyn to a concert in the park and then went to karaoke in Koreatown.” It sounds cocky and pretentious but that’s how it is. Don’t @ me.Image result for the craic is mighty

 

So with my limited time left in the Big Apple for the foreseeable future I’ll probably start doing some really clichèd ideas like, “5 best bars to go to”, or, “Best spots for a night out.” “5 really shit ideas for a blog,” would be a good one too. I’ll put my own spin on it but like I said, it’s all a bit of craic at the end of the day!