Hang sangwidges

There was ructions above in the digs last night.

Oh dear I’m sorry to hear that. What was the problem?

Hang sangwidges! That was the cause of all the uproar.

I see. Of course the simple ham sandwich can stir great emotion in the breasts of men.

O, indeed it can. And it certainly did last night. For hadn’t the landlady announced that as she was going to the six o’clock novena she wouldn’t be cooking a full evening meal. No, on this occasion she was doing platters of sangwidges with pots of tay and they could all help themselves just this once.

Well no harm in that. One must attend to one’s spiritual needs now and again. Even the Landlady surely?

Definitely. I’d go along with you there all right. The soul must be fed from time to time as well as the body. Of that there is no doubt. But the problem started when she brought the platters into the dining room.  The brother says all hell had broke loose within a minute of her having set them on the table. On the face of things all looked right and proper as, says he, the tuna were fine, not a bother at all with the tuna. No, the tuna ones were first-rate. And so were the corned beef. The corned beef were well up to snuff no question about those lads. Fine things they were altogether says the brother, and them in both brown and white bread too. All perfectly in order and indeed tasty as well, and being mopped up in double-quick time by one and all like a swarm of locusts decimating a cornfield.

I’m struggling then to see what then was the cause of the unrest.

Why the hang ones man! The hang ones was the problem. The brother who does love his hang sangwidges made a move on them immediately and took a quare bite out of the first one ready to give it a good chaw, but in the event it didn’t pass muster at all. Only his good upbringing prevented him from spitting it out onto the carpet there and then.

Goodness! What was wrong with it?

Well I’m still getting over the shock of it myself to tell you the truth because wait til you hear what I’m going to tell you next, for the brother says it had that wafer-thin stuff in it. Not even proper hang! Imagine that will you, hang sangwidges and made with that flimsy pink papery stuff that’s never so much as seen hide nor hair of a pig let alone come offa one. Well of course the brother was livid and wasn’t going to let it pass so he rings the bell to summon the Landlady back, and when she comes in the coat is half-on her, the hat is already on her head with the hat pin in the mouth and her ready to go away out the door and down to the chapel.

“Yes?” says she. “Is there some class of problem?”

Well the brother holds up the hang sangwidge like it was some class of vermin that’s been found under the settee and says nothing at all for he doesn’t need to. He just gives her a look and it’s enough. And of course didn’t she fold immediately and gave them all a full apology on the spot with the tears nearly tripping her. It seems that she had no time to slice the ham offa the joint in the normal manner as she’d been running late for the novena, you see, and had “taken a chance” and used the packet yoke “just for quickness”.  Well it was touch and go and there a lot of sour pusses on them all; but after a bit of jawing backwards and forwards they decided that she could perhaps be forgiven on this one occasion, albeit understandably a little grudgingly, for some were shocked to the very foundations of their being,  although now the brother wasn’t letting her off lightly. O, he accepted the apology all right, for he is as gracious as the next man in victory, but has now drafted out a specification that is stuck to the fridge with one of them little magnet yokes, detailing what’s expected the next time hang sangwidges is on the menu.

Firm but fair, that’s your relative.

Indeed and he is. And when the tumult had died down didn’t the Landlady come back in with the new plate of hang sangwidges that would have done your heart good according to the brother. Presented on nice white bread they were, not a brown round of bread in sight – for the brother’s specification won’t allow brown within a mile of hang – and the shlices of hang themselves at least a quarter of an inch thick in each sangwidge. Powerful good they were by all accounts. I’d say the Landlady has learnt her lesson over the whole sorry affair and won’t be buying packet ham again. She had to miss the novena as the brother had insisted on that under the circumstance, but sure a trip to confession next Sathurda will have her soul shining like a new pin.

Oh it will indeed.

Ah here’s me bus. Cheers!

True love and fiscal woe

Excuse me friend but do you have a minute?

I fear that I’m in rather a hurry and if you will forgive me I must dash. Things to do and so on, another time perhaps.

Now just hold your horses there. Sure it’ll only take a couple of minutes.

Oh, very well, but please do be brief as I don’t have all day.

Sure what’s your rush? You’ll be running yourself out of the race before the starting gun’s even been fired. I’ve some quare news for you and no mistake. So listen up and you might do yourself a favour.

Please do hurry along as I have an important engagement to attend to in Trinity.

Wha? OK, so…now the brother was only saying to the crowd above in the digs, just the other night mind, that this financial situation, what with the Euro and so forth, has the lot of us on our way to hell in a handcart. We’ll all be in the poor house before the month is out if we’re not careful the brother says.

Your relative has a point and certainly in this current climate money is indeed something of a concern.

I’d say it is all right. And in particular for a fella in your position. I’m guessing you’ve more than likely mentioned it to the missus. Would I be right?

I have indeed had occasion to discuss it with her…err…since you bring it up it.

Sure I knew fine rightly you would have done. And now no disrespect intended, and not wishing to talk out of turn here, but that woman’s pretty high maintenance I’d say. Always turned out in fine order she is and duds like that don’t come cheap.

Now just a second. What business is it of yours my wife’s grasp on the current fiscal position?

It’s nothing personal nowIt’s just that the girls don’t have the same outlook as us boys if you get my drift. “Sweetness,” says you one day,  “I’ve been thinking we’ll have to cut down on such and such an item and tighten our belts until this confounded recession blows over. So now my pet, and now please don’t get cross, but the new frock you have your eye set on for the sister in Wexford’s upcoming nuptials might just have to go by the wayside.”

But sure no sooner have the words left your mouth but doesn’t she have a face on her like a wet weekend in Mohill; and then that’s you in the doghouse for the next few days. Amn’t I right now. Go on! Tell the truth and shame the Devil!

Well now that you come to mention it…

Sure I knew I was right so I did. And that’s the very thing I want to put you straight on. The brother says that at times like this the man of the house needs to put down his foot with a heavy hand, a very heavy hand indeed if you’re with me; or the little woman will be running you ragged man! Now for example I hear tell that you like a game a golf with the boys of a Sathurda?

I do indeed enjoy the majesty of the links, it’s true.

Beautifully put, and sure who doesn’t, but not unless you lay down the law with a bit of vim and vigour then your membership at the club’ll be one of the first things she take a swing at. You can’t tell me that she’ll stand by and see her clothes allowance cut to ribbons and still allow you all your perks. No way man! It’ll be you that’s the loser if you don’t pay heed to what I’m going tell you next.

Most disconcerting indeed. What do you recommend I do then to avoid any curtailment of my own simple pleasures.

Well now it’s not me recommending annything exactly, but the brother says the answer is divorce man! You’ll have to hand her her hat. It’s the only way in this class of business he says.

But that’s rather drastic. I mean I’m really rather fond of her, deep down you know. We’ve grown quite close over the years.

Sorry, but sure there it is and it can’t be helped. Divorce’s the only way in these situations according to the brother. It’ll be kinder to you both in the long run.

No, but surely there must be some...

There’s no other solution. I’m sorry. Oh! Here’s me bus. Let me know how you get on next time I see you. Cheers!

101 A quare auld number

The lads over at Google Ireland have commemorated the occasion of Flann O’ Brien’s 101 birthday. Tremendjus lads! Just tremendjus!

And now of course you can’t tell me that the brother hasn’t had something to do with it.

Always the man for the grand gesture is the brother and of course him very modest with it too. Many’s the one would’ve left it at a simple card in the post: “Many happy returns…” “On this your special day…” “Grand old age…” etc.  etc, but not the brother. He does things in style though you wouldn’t know it for there’s no big head on him at all; suffice it to say he knows some people in high places and you can be sure that it’s him that did this. O yes, definitely the brother all right.

Hail to the Chief

Who do you think is going to win?

Excuse me, I’m not sure what you mean. Win what exactly?

Who will get the big job over by in Amerikay?

Ah, the forthcoming presidential election is it?

Exactly. Which one of them will win would you say?

I fear I’m in no position to comment as world affairs is not a strong suit of mine.

Well of course the brother has it all at his fingertips already. Powerful well up on the subject of global politics he is and has the result all figured out before the polls is even opened. But daren’t go public with it for fear of intefering with the choice of the electorate. Says he, it would be grave burden to carry for the next four years were he to open his trap and help the wrong man get his feet under the table.

Well of course I see your relative’s position and can readily appreciate that he needs to be careful indeedOne unguarded word and…who knows where that might lead.

O, exactly! The brother was telling them all about it in the digs last Sundea. Now according to the brother yer man is a great fella all right. Has the big heart and is likeable and popular with the man on the L Train. His record stands for him and rarely does he put a foot out of step. He’d do a grand job no doubt about that. A statesman who won’t be pushed around be anny hop-o-me-thumbs who start acting the goat. Firm but fair, that’s yer man all right. A cool and calm head on a sensible pair of shoulders that lad.

Well that’s a relief and no mistake.

Ah it is of course, but now as for the other fella, well he’s a different kettle of fish. The brother says you’d need to watch your step with him, and shur if he was to get in then it would be a completely different ball game. All bets would be off and the brother says we could all end up going up in shmoke before next Easter. For the other fella is ‘gung-ho’ and a ‘loose cannon’. Mark my words, were he to get the top job then it would be a tense time all over the place. The other fella comes from the school of “shoot first and ask queskyins later”. Diplomacy wouldn’t be his thing at all at all.

Most disconcerting indeed. What’s to be done then?

Well nothing out in the open now and in full glare of publicity if you follow me. The brother couldn’t be seen to be nailing his colours to one mast or the other. But he told the Landlady, on the q.t. mind, that he has been approached be one of the two crowds. They are after his expertise, for the brother’s reputation does be going before him, even in as far-flung regions as Amerikay.

That’s very heartening and of course I’m sure he can be relied to do what’s best for the free world.

Indeed and he can. You can rest safe in your bed all right for the brother is on his way out to there next week. That’s The States now I mean, first class mind and all expenses found be the crowd that wants him too. He’s to head up a think tank that will be designed to get the message out to the ordinary voter. The brother is keen to see that the right thing is done and he won’t flinch from doing his duty. Says he owes the world as much. He has a keen sense of what’s right and what’s wrong and can’t stand idly by and see things being done skew whiff. The result will be the right one if the brother has annything to do with it. You may count on that.

Now keep this to yourself, but shur the brother does be in and out of the Dáil Éireann every other day helping out if you follow me. This place would be completely destroyed be now if it weren’t for him. And he doesn’t side with one crowd or the other either. O no not the bit of him, he is driven be doing what’s best for us all man! Isn’t above knocking a few skulls together on either side if it’s what’s necessary. This place wouldn’t be gettin back on the up-and-up without the brother’s input; but of course keep that between me, you and Jack Mum.

Of course my lips are sealed. How lucky we are that your brother is there for us all.

You maybe never spoke a truer word in all your puff friend. Ah, but here’s me bus if my eyes aren’t failing me! Cheers now.

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WAAMA # 4

It’s here at long last!

My mailbox has been swamped since yesterday with Dublin’s, and indeed the entire nation’s literati, all desperate to a man or indeed woman to learn about what’s on offer for them with WAAMA’s Gold Service.

Well relax for I have all the dope here and will now relate the salient facts of the matter to you all; so stand back there and let me draw a breath if you will and I’ll reveal all.

This highest of all services not only incorporates each and every one of key benefits afforded by the Bronze and Silver services (as detailed yesterday and the day before but that I will nevertheless list once more if for no other reason than to get my word count up),

Bronze

  • A complete read-through of the manuscript – no matter how terrible it is.
  • A 300 word critique of the same – no profanities are guaranteed.
  • Suggestions of what may be done next in order to mould it into something that’s presentable to an agent N.B. This may include burning the whole thing.
  • Up to an absolute maximum of three suggestions of plot twists.
  • Two additional characters that may be added at the author’s discretion. However neither of which can become the main character without a further payment to WAAMA of €500.
  • A selection of classy phrases and words (up to fifty phrases and two hundred standalone words) that will be cut and pasted into the manuscript at the WAAMA Wordsmith’s discretion. A supplement of €25 will be charged for ten French words or a Latin phrase.
  • The burning of the author’s manuscript, gratis, should the WAAMA Wordsmith deem it too dire to see the light of day.

Silver

  • A complete read-through of the manuscript right to the end and no questions asked.
  • A 500 word critique on Amazon awarding the work 5 stars if ever published (to include works that are self-published).
  • A suggested dedication thus: To my dearest Gloria / Tarquin without whose tireless encouragement and support this bilge may never have seen the light of day.
  • The whole damn thing rewritten in legible English by a competent ghost-writer at an additional €600 per 70,000 words.
  • Two wordsmiths masquerading as literary critics will somehow (though God knows how exactly) inveigle their way onto the RTE and discuss the work in glowing terms on some class of “Arts Show”.
  • Provide a selection of positive quotes for the jacket: ” Simply spellbinding”. “Shavian in its scope and breathtaking cheek.” “Better than Chekov and with a few more laughs too” “Move over Roddy Doyle” “An absolute triumph!
  • The provision of and insertion into the manuscript of fancy words, phrases or combinations up to a level of 50% greater than the Bronze Service. French and Latin supplements the same

But now get this, all of that stuff is not even the half of it!  The modest €3,450 that the Gold Service commands will get you the personal and exclusive attention of your very own WAAMA approved wordsmith. Each and every one of them there at your beck and call on the end of their personal email address twenty-four hours a day.

So say for example the would-be novelist needs to compose the dénouement of a mighty tome. Panic sets in as they are lost. They haven’t the faintest notion of where to begin their ending. They realise in that moment that they have been kidding themselves in thinking they have what it takes to be a polished novelist. The awful truth is that they have been stabbing away blindly all this time and have left at least three subplots unfinished. The blank screen leers at them and they think of hitting the delete button destroying five years of painstaking hard graft. It has dawned upon them that as a struggling author with limited experience of anything much that of course they won’t have a sufficient depth of knowledge to write something clever or convincing that will finish the blasted thing off.

But fear not, for as a subscriber to the WAAMA Gold Service they simply email the lead-up to the big moment to their personal wordsmith, away then with them to put the kettle on and by the time they’re back in front of the computer with a cuppa back comes something along these lines.

Sir Phineas Limetree surveyed the palatial grounds of Dalraddle. Against all the odds he had secured its future for his family for the next two hundred years. He turned to his wife Clarissa and with dewy eyes enfolded her in a warm embrace.

“My dearest Clarissa. I cannot tell a lie and for a while there I thought Dalraddle was to be lost to us. To think that it would pass into the clutches of those dash’d Schofields pained me deeply.”

His wife looked at him with the lovelight in her eyes. “Phineas, all is well that ends well,” she murmured.

They smiled and stepped lightly hand-in-hand onto the west terrace. Sir Phineas buttoned his topcoat and wrapped Clarissa’s shawl around her shoulders quite tightly.

“You must keep warm my darling,” he said.

She laughed and even as she did they both realised that it was a sound neither had heard now for some months. It was infectious and then he too laughed.

And so together they walked towards the lake laughing as they went. Dalraddle had indeed been saved. Everything was once more right in their idyllic world.

The end.

Well of course I don’t think there’s any more to be said. For even if the writer’s novel had up until that point been planned as a futuristic tale about a dystopian world, they’d be mad not to immediately change it into a historical romp.

Anyway, I’ll leave it to yourselves to decide which of WAAMA’s three services might suit you best. But your humble servant knows which of them he would avail himself of. And before you start pointing the finger I have no involvement with the WAAMA crowd. None whatsoever.

WAAMA # 3

It gets even better

Today and following on from yesterday I will further illuminate on what’s being offered by the recently reformed Association of Irish Writers, Actors, Artists and Musicians (WAMMA) and the peerless service being provided to the literary community by its highly qualified wordsmiths.

Today we move to the Silver Service and you can be sure I’m not gabbin on about putting food on plates with a couple of spoons and forks. Not the bit of it at all. No sir! This is for the keen writer wishing to hone his or her manuscript to an edge sharper than that of the crease on a pair of Major General’s trousers.

The Silver Service, priced competitively at a modest €758 affords the would-be bestseller the following benefits.

  • A complete read-through of the manuscript right to the end and no questions asked.
  • A 500 word critique on Amazon awarding the work 5 stars if ever published (to include works that are self-published).
  • A suggested dedication thus: To my dearest Gloria / Tarquin without whose tireless encouragement and support this bilge may never have seen the light of day.
  • The whole damn thing rewritten in legible English by a competent ghost-writer at an additional €600 per 70,000 words.
  • Two wordsmiths working incognito and masquerading as literary critics who will somehow (though God knows how exactly) inveigle their way onto the RTE and discuss the work in glowing terms on some class of “Arts Show”.
  • Provide a selection of positive quotes for the jacket: ” Simply spellbinding!”. “Shavian in its wit and breathtaking in the enormity of its scope and scale.” “Better than Chekov and with a few more laughs too” “Move over Roddy Doyle” “A triumph!”
  • The provision of and insertion into the manuscript some quare fancy words, phrases or combinations thereof up to a level of 50% more than the Bronze Service. French and Latin supplements charged at the same rate.

This ups the ante considerably on what I outlined in the Bronze Service yesterday and any writer whether they be aspiring or already published should ignore this opportunity at their peril.

Tomorrow and if you can bear the tension I will come clean and tell you about the top of the range Gold Service. And if you think what’s on offer already cannot be bettered then you’d need to think again. The stuff that’s coming tomorrow couldn’t have a price put on it at all, but thankfully the corner boys and chancers running WAMMA have shamelessly decided that it’s going to cost €3,450, but assure all that it will be cash well spent.

WAAMA # 2

Right, here it is!

The keen follower of this blog, whose very raison d’être (there’s one on the house already) is to devour its every word has no doubt been on tenterhooks since yesterday when I announced the reformation of the Irish Writers, Actors, Artists and Musicians Association (WAAMA), and furthermore when I said I would give an indication of the Association’s charges for utilising the professional services of its high quality wordsmiths. (see above)

Well relax for the wait is over and I have in my possession early indicative prices for services that will be indispensible for authors of all abilities.

There will be three levels of service. The Bronze, The Silver and of course, The Gold; all competitively priced to appeal to the budgets of everyone. Today I will outline the key features ofThe Bronze service.

The Bronze service is aimed at the first time novelist and for a mere €500 will provide the following.

  • A complete read-through of the manuscript – and to the bitter end, mind, no matter how terrible it is.
  • A 300 word written critique of the same – this to contain no profanities or derogartory remarks aimed at the author.
  • Suggestions of what may be done next in order to mould it into something that’s presentable to an agent. N.B. destroying the whole wretched thing totally not to be ruled out.
  • Up to an absolute maximum of three suggestions of plot twists.
  • The provision of an optional two additional characters that may be added at the author’s discretion. However neither of which can become the main character without a further payment to WAAMA of €500.
  • A selection of classy phrases and words (up to fifty phrases or two hundred standalone words or combinations thereof) that will be cut and pasted into the manuscript at theWAAMA Wordsmith’s discretion. A supplement of €25 will be charged for ten French words or an entire Latin phrase.
  • The burning of the author’s manuscript, gratis, should the WAAMA Wordsmith deem it too dire to see the light of day. Worth the price of the service itself surely.

The cowboys in charge of WAAMA believe that the service will be warmly received by the literary community and are approaching Trinity College to have it bolted on to the college’s Contemporary Creative Writing Course.

So chew on that for now and tomorrow I will be filling you in on The Silver service; and if you think The Bronze was quare stuff then wait until you see tomorrow’s offering. It’s mind-boggling.