Monday, January 21, 2008

Lord of the Fops

Lord of the Fops

It all started on Saturday night when Gideon declared I was such a blighter I'd eat my own young like Staurn. The erudite accusation reminded me that - after all the Absynth - I was in fact hungary enough to eat a scabby child through a railing...even if it were my own. I said as much, and this prompted Barnaby to lament the fast dying tradition of eating infant beast meat in this cowardly, new, morally poxed world. Gideon subsequently proclaimed that we should, nay, must dine on some sort of young animal that eve, preferably cooked on a spit.
It was decided, nothing else would do.

Lamb was too low-brow, and veal not sufficiently gamey. We wouldn't be able to get our hands on an elk calf unless we called a hunt, and considering the state we were already in, there was little chance of slipping unnoticed into The Phoenix Park to requisition one.

'Sixty 6!' cried Sebastian. 'I seem to remember hearing about a charming 'faux-boor' style restaurant in Crumlin that time we were boar hunting there- apparently they serve a whole suckling pig.''But that's on The Northside!' I exclaimed. 'Have you gone quite mad, man? We were armed to the teeth last time we were there, plus we had Old Jim and his savage from up north - Man Goodfriday - with us for protection! You aren't seriously suggesting we go there now.'
'Yes, steady on there, Sebastian,' added Gideon.
Then Barnaby piped up. 'Yes, but that'll part of the adventure. P'pa did a tour unarmed in The Northside in '68 - said it was exhilerating - the most intriguing wildlife.'

The absynth's gone to his head, I thought...but then it started to make the other chaps brave too.
After a time they goaded me into a taxi and Gideon, who read linguistics at Oxford, ordered the cabby in Gaelic to take us to The Northside, to a place called 'Sixty 6' in Crumlin. The cabby started laughing and when Gideon protested, the blighter raised his voice. Poor Gideon took the expression of one of the characters in Goya's The Third Of May and started fumbling with the lock, trying to get away from cabby.
'Look here,' I said hoping he'd understand the firm tone of my voice. 'Just take us to restaurant Sixty 6, and be quick about it, or I shall have hanged for sedition!'He took us to King George's Street, and sure enough, there was the restaurant. How we rejoiced! No Northside. The chaps admitted they had just been trying to show off; the last thing they wanted to do was cross The Liffey.
We went in, had suckling pig-devoured every bit of it, including its liver. They allocated us our own personal carver and when there was nothing left, we demanded that he sever the pig's head and put it in a 'piggy bag' for us.
Later we got ejected from Odessa for plonking the pig's head in the middle of our very un-Golding of them!
Another Crisis In Foptown

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Up King George!

Up King George

Our bi-annual school reunion was on over the weekend, and rather than spending the day getting jolly sozzled at The K-Club or Druids’ Glen again, or hunting wild boar in Crumlin, I tabled the idea of a spot of paintballing.
"What a capital idea!” my old school chums cried. And my amusing plan was in motion...

We were all supposed to rendez-vous somewhere in the Wicklow mountains, and although the very idea of woods brimming with disenfranchised IRA trainees, moonshine makers and cattle thieves frightened me out of my wits, I was consoled by the fact that I’d have our Man - Old Jim - with us; a fluent Gaelic speaker and spectacular shot with a crossbow.

So while the others were having pre-bataille tea and cucumber sandwiches, the chaps from my old dormitory - King George’s - were busy readying a team of large horses behind and embankment.

We arrived late guffawing that cake was the done thing these days and chortled at the boys of St John’s and Weatherby’s - all grown ruddy, goutish and disgusting in the last few years - unlike the Dorian Gray fops of King George’s Rooms.

We chose our weapons and were allocated barracks to defend. When the others had trundelled off bellowing naughty, triumphant songs to their end of the battlefield, I instructed the men to don their codpieces; I’d heard somewhere that a direct hit in the Queensbury’s causes all manner of messy unpleasantness. I then whistled to Old Jim to fetch the horses and crank up the gramophone.

Imagine the terrifying sight of fifteen fops on horseback bounding over the hill, their crotches bulging, swinging Planet of the Apes nets to the splendour of ‘Ride of the Valkyries’! We thundered down upon the boys of St John’s and Weatherby’s, their peppering paintballs were no match for our nets and the great gushes of cheap Spanish sparkling wine we rained upon them. How they squirmed and reeled, wept and squealed!

Within minutes there wasn’t a fat man standing, and the fops galloped round them guzzling real Champagne, huzzaring and pelting the vanquished with rotten quail eggs.

In the end old Tobias Wheatcroft had a mild heart attack, but they were awfully good sports about the whole thing.
Another Crisis In Foptown

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

It's all relative

Yesterday I took the most altruistic of tasks upon myself and showed a distant cousin round Dublin- anything to keep M'ma out of the laudenum.

The unfortunate devil had just moved to Ireland from Athy. "At-eye?" I mimicked and questioned with respectful interest. "I'm not familiar with that town...Oh, and it's okay, Jean Paul, you don't have to pronounce it in English; my French is quite fluent, I can assure you."

I then pronounced it in French for his benefit, "Ath-ee, n'est pas?"
I asked him in what coin of France it's situated. He seemed confused and though his accent was thick, I was able to glean that - according to him - Athy is not in France, but in a place called Kild'aire. I assumed it's one of those unrecognised separatist regions like the Basque country or the regions of Occitane and Languedoc. These separatists can be unspeakably peevish about nationality, so I pressed him no further and continued in English. I have no idea what dialect they speak in the Kild'aire region.

I quickly changed the subject and declared myself quite the flaneur. I was befuddled to find, considering his 'French' background, that he didn't know what a flaneur was. Perhaps Baudelaire isn't popular in Ath-ee. Savant was a word that sprang to mind when talking to Jean Paul, or JP, as he preferred. He certainly had an extraordinarily unsophisticated manner of dressing: he was clad in a shiny, bright green T-shirt, jeans and trainers, all topped off with a Burberry cap. He didn't seem to possess, or miss a coat in the evil Orwellian weather. Had he not been a kinsman, I should have set the dogs on him, the truth be known. I was half-afraid a bobby would think I was accompanying him to buy opium or something.

In any case, we braved the weather and I showed him the sights. But he wasn't interested in the Wilde family home or Trinity College, so I suggest a swift half of ale.

In the pub he asked about me. "Well, as you can see, I'm a self-professed fop-" Again he quite a loss. It really is perversely difficult to converse with the lower orders! I endeavoured to explain just what a fop the modern context.
After a time he asked me if Wesley Snipes is a fop, not having understood a word. I told he that there are no black fops left in the world because Chris Eubanks ruined it for them. He seemed to perk up at the mention of the pugilistic arts. He went on and on ad nauseum about Prince someone and Cassius Ali. He was such a bore that I was forced to excuse myself and fled out the door for fear that all the jock chat would give me male pattern balding.

If you ask me, distant relatives are better kept at a distant. It's altogether possible there was a damn good reason for their being distant in the first place!

Another Crisis In Foptown

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Apocalyptic Horsemen

After a night of hearty merriment in a city centre tavern last night, I was horrified to find that the taxi drivers racing past me, roof lights ablaze, didn't seem to appreciate my drunken Saltelero. So I tacked my way up to the rank on The Green, only to be faced with a queue that stetched for what must have been a thousand miles.

My attention was then drawn to the charming gathering of hacks just beside the rank.

While I like a good carriage ride as much as the next man, the problem with them in Dublin is that they are driven by the worst kinds of tracksuited ruffians and ne'er-do-wells. I've always thought it curious that they should go to such splendid lengths with their choice of vehicle and then dress like something that crawled out of a hooligan's arse.

I took up the odds: I could either be set upon by a gurrier on my way home, or borne home by one in my employ.

Tentatively I approached the carriages and decided that only a barouche would do. Next came the difficult part - trying to explain to the driver in the few words of Gaelic I have that I wanted to be taken to Rathgar.
"I say, can you take me as far as Rathgar...Amm, craic, ceol, Eire?" I asked, my voice trembling not a little.
The chap then launched into a barrage of guttural squawking.

I persisted, "Ammm, ah, amm...Rath-gar. Me want go to Rath-gar."
He then said something to one of the other drivers in Gaelic and started chortling. Perhaps he doesn't know of Rathgar, I thought, it's possible.

There's very little in life that you can't fix by throwing money at it. I extracted my coin pouch and shook it, indicating it was heavy. I then offered it up to the blackguard.
He seemed to raise his crop at this. I cowered back. He said something I could just make out as "sixty Euro". By God they're well able to speak English when it comes to money! I handed him a hundred and instructed him not to spare the horse...and to stop at Abrakebabra en route.

Another Crisis In Foptown

Wednesday, January 2, 2008


The bell-wearing Christmas beast has finally spat me out and I'm crouching here in the corner, blubbering and afraid. Don't ask me why my laptop is in the corner of my wine cellar.

I got a blizzard or texts lol-ing at the New Year's wishes I'd sent friend and foe:
"Happy Birthday Mam" was the result of Christmas ham fingers and stupored gobbledy turkeying.

There is little point in recapitulating or summing up the festive period, just as it is pointless to try to wring some sort of meaning out of the year that has passed.

What I will say is that people seemed to be lamer this year than before. I found myself calling everyone bores over and over.
Being accused of being a frightful bore used to send the chaps lunging for the booze stand, but this year it was I, Party Jack, who was the bore for trying to flog the dead horse of the night. Reprimands of 'grow up' and 'slow down' and 'it's not funny anymore' and 'seek help' were woven into their sighs and excuses of fatigue. I felt like a leper.

Has Time finally wattled and daubed us to the walls of our thirties? It certainly wasn't like this a year ago when I was clinging on for dear life to the fleeing hours of my twenties.

So, I start the year with a certain malaise.

Another Crisis In Foptown

Sunday, December 30, 2007

It's been a spicy Christmas

In the run up to Christmas I unwittingly ended up in late night curry houses no less than seven times in two weeks, with the result that I now have shares in The Tandoori Bite and I broke out in a rash. Don't get me wrong - I'm a huge fan of curry and late night drinking, but there are limits.

The perpetually benevolent and infinitely tolerant staff of Dublin's surprisingly small number of late night joints have seen me at my messiest; in fact, I'd go so far as to say that they have enough on me to quite ruin my reputation in society. I suppose small-hour Indian restaurants are our generation's brothels or opium dens...with similar discretion exercised by staff vis-a-vis their gentlemen clientele.

They are wonderfully ararchic places; there's something of the pirate rowdy dow in them. I've seen all kinds of wonderful things in Indians: from butter knife fights to chilly eating contests, men face down in Vindaloo and girls having wings eaten out of their decolletage.

I especially lament the passing of the old Taj Mahal. It typified a less regulated, more scallywag Dublin that's being sanitised bit by bit in favour of diffused lighting and fusion cuisine.

May the last few good Indians standing maraud on into '08 and beyond.

And may this rash not...

Another Crisis in Foptown.

Monday, December 24, 2007


I rather stupidly went along to a Christmas gathering in a certain so-called 'It' bar in Dublin some night during the week. I can't be expected to rememeber the names of days during the Xmas follies. I suppose I was hoping I'd have the chance to see Glenda when I opened the toilet lid and then let nature's call call me.

Anyway, the person I'd gone with kept fluttering off on me. Now normally I wouldn't notice such a thing as I'd be fluttering myself senseless too, but these kinds of bars have a distinctly chavvy flavour and that scares me, to tell you the truth. One could quite easily look sideways at the wrong blond and end up with a child called Shakira.

So I skulked about drinking too much Vermouth, with the result that I very soon blacked out. I came to with my date pulling at my arm insisting that I was going the wrong way down Dawson Street. It turned out she was right. You see, fops are born with no sense of direction; it's a trade off- God endows us with impeccable taste, rapier sharp wit and timing, but challenges us by denying us the ability to get our bearings.

My date then informed me that on being introduced to the owner of the bar, I promised him six of the best and then pushed him. The man, reportedly a fop himself, simply looked at me blankly. I must tell you this kind of ungentlemanly behaviour is farcically out of character for me;I couldn't fight off a head cold. This prompts the question: why would I do such a thing? My date was sure I'd been spiked. I think the reasons were much more complex and altruistic. It can be summed up in a question. If you'd met Snow Patrol before their unexplained rise to fame, would you have bludgeoned them to death with a lump of hard Italian cheese...for the good of humanity?

I rest my case. My hands are clean.

Another Crisis in Foptown.

Have a very merry Christmas everyone in Fopland. And remember, where ever you may be, let your fop flag fly. And avoid chavvy 'It' bars.