Bopping with Niall JP O'Leary

Niall O'Leary insists on sharing his hare-brained notions and hysterical emotions. Personal obsessions with cinema, literature, food and alcohol feature regularly.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ryanair, Ryanground

from my arrival at the airport indications were that there was an half hour delay. 12.30 had become 13.00. We took the time to occupy the bar, naturally. Friends of Simon's on his wife's side (presumably) joined us, but soon became numerous enough to set up their own bar colony and we were left to consume alcohol as God, and the bar, intended. Unexpectedly at 12.20 or so the call went up to go to the gate. Apparently we were leaving only slightly later than planned after all. We downed our drinks sadly, but happily boarded the plane. Of course then the bladder began to complain, but I determined to hang in there until we took flight (well, I didn't really have an alternative). Then they dropped the clincher. Eh, we made a mistake, there will be an half hour delay after all. To be fair this was a scheduling thing (or a rumoured air traffic controller strike), but all my determination suddenly vanished and panic set in. I put on my puppy dog eyes and asked, could I please go. Again to be fair, the allowed us all. I stuck on the headphones and waited the delay out.

The Smell of Pasta in the Morning: Victory!

Off to Simon's wedding in Castel Gandolfo today. A week in Italy! Needed, believe me.

Friday, May 30, 2008


They're filming a new Colin Farrell-starrer on my doorstep. As I made my way home, I saw assembled before me gardai, technicians and lots of standing people (only some of them bystanders). Seeing a name on the director's chair I did a quick IMDB search. The movie was 'Triage', by Serbian director Danis Tanovic. Interesting, but not that interesting. If there's one thing I know about filming it's that there's a lot of waiting involved, and I can't be a*sed (no dinner yet for one). One thing I did note, however, was a man with a laptop sitting right next to the director's chair, presumably watching the newly minted digital takes.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008


I so love Prokofiev. I know no one cares but just listen to the 'slow' movement of the second violin concerto knowing what he is capable of. This nice, accessible, almost romantic, stuff in the light of glorious madness. The man was a wonderfully insane genius, an iconoclast, a musician who understood music. Why can't anyone just listen? But remember it is all in the context of everything else. He understands what has gone before and still does what he does. That is the essence of structuralism and more pertinently post-structuralism; the knowledge of where you sit and the determination to do what you do anyway and use all else to achieve your aims.

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Sunday, May 25, 2008

Hellfire and Violinists

Speaking of things demoniacal, I read a short story, 'The Bishop of Hell', by Majorie Bowen. Poor stuff, no doubt inspired by Byron, though the last image of the eponymous bishop anticipates the Ghost Rider iconography.

(Just did a little search: how could a writer so dull come up with a novel called 'Black Magic: A Tale of the Rise and Fall of the Antichrist'?)

Speaking of anticipation, one episode of the the fourth season of 'The Twilight Zone' (1963) (when the format went hour long), a story by Charles Beaumont called 'Valley of the Shadow', anticipates both the replicator and the transporter from Star Trek. A reporter gets lost and ends up in Peaceful Valley, a town with a secret so big they don't want him to leave. It also reuses his earlier 'The Howling Man' theme, wrapping it in pseudo-scientific garb and changing the ending for a less apocalyptic denouement.

Only getting around to the fourth series now, I also watched 'He's Alive' and was startled to see a young Dennis Hopper take centre stage playing Hitler's American protegée. Given the episode's preoccupation with the evils of the Nazis, it had to be a Rod Serling story. Not the greatest story, but Hopper is pretty electric.

And that reminded me of a film that featured a rivetting performance by William Shatner (honest!) in a similar role. Roger Corman's 'The Intruder' is well worth a look.

Watching 'Poltergeist 2' for the first time yesterday (it was on at teatime on MGM, so why not?), I realised why I have avoided it for so long. It's no good and does a great disservice to the great original (that's why not). Do you really need to explain the previous events with an evil cult?

Di Caprio's environmentally friendly 'The 11th Hour' was on tonight; now that's a documentary that might have benefitted from a little intervention from the Bishop of Hell. Catching the last twenty minutes, it nearly sent me out to the nearest MacDonald's (leaving the lights and tv on while I went) to buy a Big Mac with which to litter the street (wrapper and burger would I discard, for even an evil me couldn't eat one of those things). When you hear crap like 'Love is what makes us human', you almost want the Bush's of this world to destroy us all. No, love is not what makes us human and it ain't going to save the environment either. Recognition that we're all going to die if we don't do something about it might. Hell, just go to Peaceful Valley and ask why we can't have the replicator!

Maybe the rest of it was better. I suppose when it comes to the environment, even 'bad' publicity is good publicity.

Luckily evil me did not make an appearance at the retirement party last Friday. I was reasonably well-behaved. I tried to chat up the female entertainment, a fetching Dundalk violinist, by discussing Prokofiev's First Violin Concerto, but she preferred U2 'any day'. That didn't shake me though, nor did the wine, Guinness, sambuccas or lager. Forgive me Bishop, for I didn't sin.

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The Omen - eh, not the Movie

I went viewing some apartments today, from a buying point of view (though I still believe prices have some way to go yet before they're even close to being acceptable). Before leaving, I took a brochure, a floorplan and a two-page price guide that I tucked carefully into the brochure. As I left the building, and I kid you not on this, the price guide somehow got blown into the air (remember it was tucked in the brochure), split into two, the two pages screaming separately away in laughter. (Okay, the laughter bit I made up.) I managed to reclaim one sheet, but the other page detailing the one-beds, the one I wanted, disappeared into the void, a.k.a. Dublin City.
To my dying day I will hear that demoniacal laughter....

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Miracle of Brain Cell Sharing

I flicked through the tv channels and caught a pirate band singing a pirate song to a 'Euro beat'. And we hung our collective heads in shame at the Turkey! That, my friends, is why the Eurovision is second only to Ebola as entertainment of choice in my world.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Holy Merde, Batman! I don't write for a week or so and suddenly I drop out of Google! What's a guy got to do to get listed these days? Maybe I should take up dancing.

The Book of Lists: Abridged

  • Just watched 'Charlie Wilson's War'. Wellmade (as to be expected from Mike Nichol's with a high-powered cast), but very uncritical and not nearly as intelligent as it thinks.

  • Boss retires next week so big party tomorrow night. Mental note: don't get too drunk! Well, that's stupid. Mental note revised: try to be nice drunk.

  • Rental of this apartment nearly completed until the landlord decided to change the agreement we had agreed on. I have revised the revised agreement and await eviction.

  • Feel like I've been on auto-pilot these last few weeks; not much to get excited about.

  • Recently read Martin Amis's 'The Rachel Papers'. Smart writer, but shallower than a stream in the Sahara. Of course, 'shallow' is part of the point of a book that has a truly obnoxious 19 year-old as the protagonist. That we read to the end is testament to Amis's smartness. Or maybe it's just the sex.

  • Gave maths grinds last night to an aunt of mine. Without a steady diet of 'Texts and Tests', my maths mind has melted, my mathematical muscle become mired in mush. But I don't have any exams! Nyah, nyah, nynyah, yah!

  • Thinking about the road to the PhD though...thinking....

  • While staying in my parent's house (they were on holiday), I knocked linen into an inaccessible part of the hotpress (it's big, okay!). My solution? After a coathanger, I resorted to the hoover. It worked.

  • Needing a Nitelink, I hopped on to discover the fare is now €5. I refused such an outrage and paid €15 instead on a taxi. Several days later I realised my buspass would have got me on for free. Drink!!!!!!!

  • Moths! This damn apartment is infested with moths! Damn pine wood furniture!

  • Oh, and congrats yet again to Brian, Deirdre and new baby Caoimhe!

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Having apartment-sat for over four months, it now looks like I'll be taking over. Francisco, the Spaniard, who had occupied the place, is heading back to Barcelona, so I get a chance at taking over the rental. Of course the landlord also took a chance on boosting up the rent, considerably so. Initially justifying some of the hike by promising to renovate, he's now backed out on that, reducing the price slightly, but dodging the promised fix-up. And as to this rubbish report I read today about rents going down! All through the newspaper article there were sprinkled caveats; urban centres may be different, landlords may not have registered their properties. Get real! Most properties are not on any register and rents in urban centres, or more specifically Dublin, are definitely going up if primary source for the report,, is anything to go by. Well, at least I have my space.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

You have to laugh at would-be slasher of Gerry Adams' throat, Michael Stone. Laden down with half the arsenal of the U.S. military as he tried to gatecrash Stormont, he wasn't intending any mischief, just a little 'performance art'.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Wedding, Credit and Sim

The sim card in my phone died on Sunday. In my grief, I huddled in my room, unwilling, well unable to make contact with the outside world. I don't know which is worse; that we depend on our phones so much, or that we think we do. As it happened, I had to conserve energy and resources for Monday anyhow.
My old video producer (he's younger than me, so I hate to think what that makes me) was getting married on Bank Holiday Monday in Trim. I can't remember when or even if I was in Trim last, but the castle certainly makes an impression when you arrive. The church was right next door to the church too, which made things even more attractive. Anyhow Barry, the best man, if you're reading, you should have done stand-up; best best man speech I've ever heard. And that was the tenor of the whole day. With the setting, the incredible weather and the inevitable alcohol, it was good-humoured right through to that 5.30 stagger to bed. Only wish I got tall girl Deirdre's phone number; damn that sim card!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Something's in the Air

You can feel a warmth in the air that doesn't quite seem natural, welcome though it is. May starts and for once so does summer. Strange, for Ireland.
I was in the Long Stone on Friday night - among other places - and Dan, the manager from our old drinking spot, Conway's, seems to be managing it now. I never really liked Conway's, but I was in the minority in our group, and it's the people you're with that matter in the end. I haven't been in the Long Stone in quite a while, but I hope Dan doesn't weave his magic on it. We didn't stay too long (the 'John Horgan's mouth' fireplace was breathing down our necks), going next door to McTurkel's instead. A seriously drunk Mongolian tried to make friends with us, but all I could make out was that he hated working in a kitchen and wanted to be a soldier. After his friend failed to get him to leave, the bouncers succeeded in the job.
At that stage it was inevitable that we should have our own run-in with bouncers and when we headed out for a 30th birthday party in Clondalkin, it was only with the intervention of the birthday boy that we managed to get in. And after such a trek it would have been a pity.
All the above was written yesterday, but I didn't get a chance to post. Now look at today. Not just warm air, hot sun too. Summer? In Ireland? Inconceivable!