“Bad Hunger, Heavy Lust, Awful Music”
Woke up at noon with fifteen sheets a paper lain cross the bed, fallin onto the floor, couple shoved underneath my pillow, one in my trouser pocket, spent the day wanderin round getting ever more tense on account of a growing distress, a gnawing in the gut roughly 89% anxiety, and ain’t nothing could be done about that, but what’s this other 11% right here, this rogue fraction, the hell you representin, fool?
Turns out it was nothing any more exotic than hunger, on account of I hadn’t grabbed a bite a chow since the previous afternoon, not a single solid past the yap in 25 hours.
We Western types aren’t used to being hungry, choking on our own plenty like we are, and so yeah, took a while for The Duke to recognize this sensation. Most likely I assumed the pangs to be extraterrestrial in origin, or at least the workings of some kind a tumour of the kidney.
We Westerners ain’t never supposed to feel the roar in the ribs from a fortnight’s worth a flat coke and nothing else, that’s why the pedestrians all wander on and chatter bout what are we gonna have for dinner tonight, anyway, I’m fucked if I’m gonna be eating pasta again, and they never see the folks sat in the doorways with the shitty blankets cross the shoulders and the bunches a roses, couple quid a piece, maybe if you buy one I might get a burger or somethin, or maybe a cheap bottle gut-rot gin, since I’m gonna be hungry as ever an hour after I eat, and least if I get blind I’ll fall asleep and it’ll be Tuesday before I wanna think about ever eating anything ever again.
The thriving vibrant post-millennial stomp of Dublin City Center, and the ghosts of some horrific famine-riddled past just to the left, just down by the queues stood at the ATM, they don’t say nothin cause it’s bad enough having to sleep in full view of every meth-doused psychopath in the city, I don’t need a mouthful of “Leave me the fuck alone, you scummy bastard” on top of it all.
And Willy Mason in the ear-holes for a time;
“Look him in the eyes,
There’s no need to feel scared,
He’s as powerless as you and me”
And on the postcards, there she is, the woman sat outside the Gaiety Theater petting a dead Alsatian at her side. Walk on, is all, just keep a danderin.
And on the brochures, an old fella sat playing an accordion, he’s got a dignity in the eyes a fella notices long before he catches the vomit on his trousers, and the old suitcase open front of him, inside it says “No Music No Life Thank You”
Just keep walkin. Is this the road to the Natural History Museum? They got a whale hanging from the fuckin roof!
And a lad and his girlfriend, doubt if they’re a day past twenty, with their heads on each others shoulders, sleeping outside St Stephens Green.
So sat with the KFC in the paw, I’m all sortsa confused. Should I try not to enjoy it, or should I enjoy it all the more, on account of I’m lucky to have it?
Chew every bite till I’m grinding the teeth into my gums, or shove it down the gullet trying not to taste it for a second?
Most times where KFC’s involved a man don’t need to worry a damn about anything of the sort, since, usually, whatever “taste” there might’ve been one time long since went the way of the chicken’s tangled guts.
This here, though, this KFC right here, purchased in the food court of the Jervis Street Shopping Center, this is as fine an example of fast food as I’ve ever encountered.
I take the top off the burger, exposing the fine craftsmanship therein, telling Sir Fleming all about how back home they douse the fucker in mayonnaise till it’s dribbling to a man’s boots, but not these cats, see, just a subtle dab here and there.
“This is true”, Sir Fleming nods, “But on the other hand, the staff are obviously knee-deep in the kinda self-loathing can only result in an AK top the water tower.”
I look around me, folks shuffling along in the queues, greeted at the till by muttering mournful faces rippin monosyllabic snarls out the throat, eyes burnt black with some unfathomable hatred.
It’s the tortured artist thing, is what I suggest. Back home, you could hang around up at the till all day, you could shoot the arse-spit bout that new Oasis record or Batman Begins or The 120 Days Of Sodom, crack jokes and tell em all bout this girl you met makes you bubble in your shirt. The simple fact of the matter is that the food tastes like rancid goat-wank.
These folks here, though, these are obviously your Van Morrison types, the Dylan’s circa-66, geniuses twisted rotten by the weight of their own brilliance. They detest every customer, but ain’t one of those fuckers leaves unsatisfied.
Mind reels back to December 1999, wandering this self same city, ending up in a similar KFC, just turned 18 and in the midst of a three-day blackout, just the occasional glimmer of a Zinger Tower Meal here, or the cardboard advert for a Socialist Party meeting that I took down from a lamp-post as a souvenir.
2001, browsing through the record store cross the road from the hotel, searching for the first Clash record as a Sorry Present for my then-fiancée, on account of I got bladdered the night before and ended up ordering 24 hours worth of Cable Porn that I had no intention of ever watching, just cause why not, it’s what you do in hotels, you watch other folks screwin.
Shit, what’s this, a guilt pang? Now, four years later, a slap in the back of the brain says “Yeah, you were a cunt sometimes”, and this is true, but also, only when I was drunk. Which I ain’t been in two years, and yet myself and Sir Fleming sat in a bar by the name of Major Tom’s, and I’m seventeen times as disoriented and frenzied as I was back then, back when I was trying to shut a fella up stood outside the Olympia Theater, fresh out a knuckle-bustingly brilliant performance by Shane MacGowan & The Popes, and here’s this fella stood shouting loyalist diatribes at a buncha natives cross the way got a tricolour round the necks.
For fucks sakes, man, you’re not in County Antrim no more, I’m in no mood for a blade in the fuck on account of your piss-soaked gnashing.
No need to worry about anything of the sort here and now in 2005, Sir Fleming gone to grab a pint, me trembling in the corner with a Red Bull in one fist and a mobile phone in the other.
“We’ll be there around 11 or so” it says.
What it all concerned was that a friend of The Duke’s, a lass by the name of Sinéad, happened to live in Dublin, and since we’d only bantered over phones an net connections it seemed like the most sensible thing in the world to meet up, head out someplace throbbin with industrial grindcore mania, someplace where nobody ever knows your name because most likely they don’t even know their own names, most likely they’re in the corner getting a quick one off the wrist and blinkin amphetamine dust out the eyes.
The Duke and Sir Fleming, here in town as delegates of Mondo Irlando on Important Fucking Business, and right up on top that list of Immediate Concerns it says;
Contact Sinéad. Tell Her My Head’s On Fire. Must Find Spirit Of Brendan Behan. Owes Me Money. The Fucker.
Earlier in the day the phone had rang. I enjoyed the vibration in the pocket for a moment, and then yeah, hi, who is it?
“Hi! So yeah, I’m gonna go do stuff, but we’ll meet up later, yeah? We’re gonna take you out, I’ll talk to you later.”
Sinéad and her friends, they’re gonna take us out, is what I tell Sir Fleming. She’ll talk to me later. A pause. We may well lose our minds.
“I should fucking hope so!”
So here, in Major Tom’s, with the appointed hour getting all the closer, Sir Fleming’s detecting that all my banter bout how no, don’t be insane in the head, I ain’t got no thoughts of that sort whatsoever, about how no, all those songs about “And no I won’t embarrass you, by talkin bout those eyes, the blue that burns from out the frame, Sinéad” and “Yeah, the music died some time ago but I just took hold her hand regardless, and I danced with sweet Sinéad” and “Where once was nothin, less than nothing hind my smile, now sits Sinéad in Savage Purple, an I sing to her sometimes“, all that was just metaphor, see, it’s about Iraq, for gods sakes, he’s coming to a conclusion along the lines of The Duke’s done been talking out his arsehole.
“You’ve got thoughts in there! I see the fuckers, clear as day!”
“No!”, I’m saying. “I got no thoughts! I’m thoughtless! I couldn’t think a thought if my last fuck depended on it!”
“Then what’s the big deal? Why all this gods-cursed anxiety? Why the yammering delirious?”
“Because why, because I dunno why, is why. I mean, if truth be told, yeah, probably I fell asleep most nights the last couple months thinkin bout something she said, so what? I used to fall asleep thinking bout John Cusack. Do I got thoughts about John Cusack? Only in Say Anything, Grosse Point Blank and for maybe a couple scenes in Con Air, you’ll be aware.”
Lighting a cigarette, forgetting about the No Smoking thing, putting it out with two fingertips, nodding apologetically at the barmaid, and oh, furthermore;
“I admit that maybe I think too much about her laughin, this is true, and maybe it makes me laugh and sometimes it takes a lot to get such a thing goin, but no, she manages it with a couple words everytime. Maybe she’s the only one I don’t mind calling me a useless cunt, because the artistry she uses with the insults, Sir Fleming, I dare say I’ve rarely heard the like ever before in the here or there. And perhaps, aye, I think I’d probably die of a splosion in the brain-guts if I touched her hand for the slightest of seconds, but this is nothing to be analyzed nor assessed, and it’s got absolutely nothing to do with why the hell we’re still sat in this bar, this place is fucking wretched!”
It was wretched, or at least ill-fitting for the occasion. A man thirty-nine sheets to the last whisper a sanity has no use for the thumping techno and the glamour-yapped cocktail-chewing pseudo-bohemian air of the likes exhibited by Major Toms on that particular evening.
Curse the every beat, I hollered. No one paid attention.
Twilight conversations regarding The Simpsons, regarding poppers, a ghastly chemical beloved of high-school students on account of it makes your head thump for fifteen minutes and gives you a nosebleed, regarding Maniacts starring Jeff Fahey nailed to a cross, regarding the perfect running time for feature-flicks, being 90 minutes, anything longer and an application must made, then subjected to a process the likes of which might greet a Disability Living Allowance claim made by a fella with a bad cough and a headache.
Conversation hung like tar, and then the phone.
“Hi! We’re at the Phil Lynott statue!”
“Fantastic! We’ll be there in fifteen minutes.”
The Duke resides at Mondo Irlando