The Man with no Friends

Category: old people

LUMP

About 10 days ago , it was a Sunday , I was in the shower and found a lump on my hip. It is about the size of a golf ball. I’m an old guy so naturally I thought it might be cancer. The fact that I already have a couple of cancer like symptoms did not reassure  me in any way. I don’t have a doctor and haven’t  been to a hospital in maybe thirty years and am a great believer in the wise old saying , ” Ignore it and it will go away”. It has always worked in the past and I’m still here. The reason I am telling you all this is simply that this is the only interesting thing  that has happened since I last updated this blog. Now there is something important I have to say at this point – Please don’t email/message me/comment that I should go and have it checked out. I don’t need good advice and I wouldn’t take it anyhow. If on the other hand you want to make a 10 euro contribution to my funeral expenses that’s a different kettle of fish altogether……..

If , over the next few months 500 people were to read this post and send me 10 euros each I would be laughing. There  is , as it happens , a very nice phono cartridge on Ebay for just over 5,000 sterling which I quite fancy. I have an excellent Denon DL 102 mono cartridge which does everything I want it to do ( a classic warm mono sound) but it would be nice to have the Koetsu JP mc cartridge.  It’s all a matter of priorities. I like the old vinyl. I like the look and the feel of it and at its best there really  is nothing that sounds quite like it. But all this in neither here nor there and besides  I’m sure there are men of ninety  out there who are covered with lumps and are  as healthy as horses……

All of this is of course preamble to the fact that I don’t have anything interesting to say. Nothing of interest ever happens to me and I don’t do anything interesting myself  -hence this rambling blog post that seems to be heading nowhere……….I could of course lie. I could claim that I’m busy doing this that and the other………I could make myself sound far more interesting than I really am. I could , as Billy Connolly  say’s , make myself sound exotic. I could take on a new persona , start a new blog and make everyone envious of my wonderful life as I suspect some blogger do. I could be young , handsome , professional not to mention neo-liberal  and superficially cool with a dockside apartment to prove it. I could be SOMEONE. Unfortunately all of this requires effort and I’m rather lazy – so there you are.

I have often thought of getting myself a box and going into the city center and standing on it at the corner of St. Stephens Green and Grafton Street. I imagine myself with arms raised just  like Peter Finch in Network.….telling everyone who passes that we are all going to hell , that everything is pointless – or whatever else happens to come into my head. I could stand there with my longish grey hair and unhealthy complexion  shouting whatever rubbish comes into my head. Young people would stop and video me on their mobile phones and put me up on Youtube.  I might , if I shouted loud enough and talked enough rubbish go viral…….And of course , I could report what happens  each day on my blog. I actually think I would be quite good at this. But even if I was hopeless I probably would be regarded as an eccentric or a CHARACTER. There used to be a lot of such people wandering around Dublin in the old days.  One of the most famous was a man known  as BANG BANG. He was really famous , everyone , every school child knew of BANG BANG even if they never saw him. Back in the 50’s and 60’s Dublin buses had an open platform at the back and BANG BANG would hop on to this platform if a bus slowed down and point a big key he used to carry with him at the passengers and go BANG BANG. The passengers would pretend to be shot or shout back ” You missed”. Then when the bus pulled up at traffic lights he would jump off and get on another bus.

There was also a man called Johnny  Forty  Coats because of all the coats he used to wear. He didn’t do anything , he just had lots of coats on him. And yet another man was  called Hairy Lemon. All these men were nothing short of legends and are still remembered fondly by Dubliners  to this day.  I have always wanted to be legend and after all it would be something to do , wouldn’t  it. Let me know what you think.

THE BOY WHO SOLD ME A POEM

I was in town today. I popped in to see if any of the local record shops had gotten in some good vinyl and on my way I decided to check out the Oxfam Shop in Parliment Street. While I was walking up the quays just before Capel Street bridge I noticed a  sign outside a pub which read , ” Rooftop Market”. I went in and climbed up a flight of stairs and found myself  in an  empty room with paintings on the walls. It was a bit like something out of Dickens , very old , dark with a fire burning in an old-fashioned fireplace and what I think was a bar just inside the door. Beyond that it was just an empty room. Off that room on the right was another smaller room with about 7 or 8 stalls selling jewelry and brick- a -brack.  – –  And there he was. A young boy/youth  sitting behind a table upon which sat a little red typewriter and a little notice to say that he was selling poems. I don’t know how old he was , perhaps 16 or thereabouts. I’m very bad at judging age but to me he seemed just a boy. I had wandered  in there hoping there might be some old records and as I didn’t see any I left and went on my way. I managed to pick up a copy of  Louis Stewart’s  Louis The First ( I already have 4 or 5 copies of the LP) and a couple of Columbia silver/white labels which are quite collectible. I was going to go straight home at this point when I thought about the boy selling the poems so I went back to the Rooftop Market and there he was sitting there behind his little table with the red typewriter in from of  him. I told him I had a blog called The Man With No Friends and he just smiled and said , “I’m sorry”. I told him I wanted a poem for my blog and he asked did I want it dedicated to anyone. I said it was for no one in particular , just for my blog. Without hesitating he started to type. He had long delicate looking fingers  and with these he proceeded to peck at the typewriter. Peck , peck , peck……The other stall holders looked at him as he worked and it was very quiet apart from the peck , peck peck of his little  machine. Three minute later he handed me a poem and I gave him 10 euros……

When I got home I made a cup of coffee and put on my Louis Stewart record then sat down and  took out the poem. Here  it is just as it was written…….

The Man with No Friends

For nobody.

 

He walks alone,

Untouched by the physical,

The shrieks and cries of the world,

Wash over him like yet another rain storm,

Yet another blizzard.

 

Still , onwards , he walks,

Company in the rhythm of his steps,

His thoughts and feelings

Broadcast across the internet,

Picked up by fellow travelers,

Weary of their interaction.

 

The young poets name is  Stephen Clare. I quite like this little poem. It is not perfect but considering the circumstance its not bad at all…..in fact it is rather good. I like the idea of a young man/boy sitting  behind his old-school portable typewriter in an old room in an old house selling poems to passing strangers. It gives  me hope that the world has not entirely gone to hell……. So there you are , you never know what the day holds , what little adventures awaits you…

 

The Man on the Wall

the man

 

This is the man on my wall. He has been there for about 4 years now and I’ve no idea who he is. I bought this  little painting at a small antique fair here in Dublin…..it was something of an impulse buy. I look at it every day. I have no choice really as I live in a one room flat but I’m not complaining……There is no signature.  ‘ No date either.

In between watching reruns of reruns on TV my eyes stray to this man. Who is he ?  At night when I’m in bed ( which is to say when I’m lying on the floor) my eyes catch out his and I find myself wondering , ” Who are you”….. I wish I knew his story…. He certainly looks like a real person and not just the figment of some artist imagination. He’s dead now whoever he is. And I’ll be dead myself soon enough and so , sooner or later , will you.  We all have THAT  in common.  In his life he could never have know that some day, generations after his death,  his image would be sitting on my wall . Somewhere along the way this painting of him has been abandoned  , made homeless and sent out into the  big uncaring world. The people who cared about him in his life are now long dead and those who came after must not have cared enough to keep this picture in the family or perhaps they  just forgot about him..

Now he has , after a fashion , been reborn into a virtual world he could never have imagined in his wildest dreams or worst nightmares.  He’s living in the either of the world wide web.  He has been reduced to a miniscule piece of binary code. He is timeless now and stateless too. He’s a million miles from where he was and just one click away. He is the man on my wall. He is my companion in the lonely hours – the wondering hours.

 

SMOKING IS GOOD FOR YOU

I have no friends. They are all dead. I only ever had a very few friends and that was all I wanted but they are all dead now. Before they popped their clogs they were forever warning me about my smokers cough. I have a more or less permanent smokers cough and I’ve had it for years. If I had a euro for ever time I coughed I would be a very wealthy man. But I AM still alive. And like I say , all my friends are dead.  Facts is facts as the man said and you can’t argue with facts and the fact is that I am still alive. I may be old sad unwanted neglected but I’m still alive –

I sleep on the floor. I live in a one room flat and there really isn’t room for a bed so I sleep on the floor. I actually sleep quite well , I have always slept well – this is a blessing in itself. But , like I say I don’t have a bed.  When I’m lying on the floor at night I always have four or five roll-ups ready to smoke and I smoke these  and cough  until  I fall asleep. In the morning I get up , make a cup of coffee and smoke several more roll-ups and have a good cough. I then go about my business  smoking and coughing  my way through the day  -and it hasn’t killed me yet. I’m still here. I’m still living. So there you are. You can’t argue with the facts.

It’s raining in Dublin today. It’s a miserable wet dull day and I’m sitting here typing this out…..I’m waiting for something to happen , something interesting that I can write about in my blog but nothing ever happens. Day after day after day and nothing happens……Nothing.  I’m like a character out of  a  Beckett play.  -” Nothing to be said”   My little valve radio is on in the background but I’m not really listening. It wasn’t always like this. I used to have a life. I used to be young. Now I’m old alone forgotten…….I have just now rolled another cigarette. God bless all smokers. They are the only sane people left in the world. Smoking is good for you , it’s good for the head.  Oh , right now , just this minute  I heard the announcer on the radio say that Pete Seeger has  just died at the age of 94. He didn’t smoke. And now he is dead. He was a legend in his day. I have been a fan of his since the sixties. Sad news. And to the best of my knowledge he never smoked a fag in his life.

Tobacco is good for you. It makes your hair grow. I’ve always had a good head of hair and so did my father and he smoked a pipe all his life. In the old days  everyone smoked. The stars of the silver screen , they all smoked and they  managed to look sexy doing it. The good old days ? Now it’s all clean air and political correctness.  Landlord culture / X Factor culture……and hate crimes. You can be arrested in these days for HATE CRIMES.   It’s like something out of Brave New World or Nineteen Eighty FourThe new intolerance. The neo-liberal now . Don’t get me going on all that…..I’ll only get indigestion. Funnily enough a cigarette is a great cure for indigestion. Tobacco smoke is holy smoke. Hitler did not smoke. A vegetarian who didn’t smoke. Enough said.

x This Blog is XRated.

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I was sitting here trying to figure out what I might write about. I don’t really have any news as nothing much happens in my world but then it struck me that there is something which you the reader might find interesting. It has to do with suicide. I’m not the suicidal type.  I’m not mentally ill and don’t suffer from depression. I am depressed but I have good reason to be depressed. For quite some time now I have been thinking about death on a daily basis.  My quality of life is , and has been for a long time , very poor . This has to do with my accommodation , my flat.  I won’t bore you will all the details but  for 25 years now my living conditions have been very poor and in the last five years I have found it more and more difficult to deal with the situation.  I literally have not had a normal nights sleep in a quartet of a century.

I like life and have various interests which give me pleasure but the negatives side of things has  begun to outweigh the positive and it seems there is no way out.  It’s quite natural to think of death in such a situation. Now here is the interesting bit…..You might think that there are services and such out there for people in my situation but there are in fact none.  There is of course The Samaritans but what is the point of speaking to some stranger over the phone ? I am now 67 years of age and my health is not great although I can still get around and ride my Mezzo d10  on a daily basis.  I enjoy cycling and  collecting  records and spend hours and hours every day listening to my old valve radio. But the space I’m living in , my home , is not a home but rather a living hell for me. It’s a very strange feeling to sit in your  flat and wish you had a home , somewhere to go to when your not feeling well or even just tired.  It’s impossible to get a  flat now in Dublin , the homeless numbers are growing by the day.  But everyone needs a place of their own. Somewhere to relax , unwind and close the door behind you . But what do you do if you literally hate that space you live in ? What do you do if you have nowhere to go to ?   Well , the answer is quite simple – you look for a way out and sometimes the only way out is death.

All of this sounds very depressing but this is my reality. If I was living in the USA I know exactly what I would do. I would go out and buy and gun….and I would start shooting people.  Not just people in general ….not just random people but the people who have made my life into the hell it is. This is not the sort of thing you should say in your blog. This is not the way to win friends or new readers. Nor is it a way to gain credibility.  But it is the truth. And I would kill those people without even blinking……….and yes , I know what your thinking. But if your thinking what I think your thinking then you are wrong.  I’m neither mad nor bad. But life , as they say , is not a dress rehearsal. This is it -and you don’t get a second change at it . My landlords did me more damage than any criminal was ever likely to do. And no one forced them to. It was their choice. They were strong and I was weak and they took full advantage of that fact. They knew what they were doing , they understood fully the damage they were causing.

But all of this is academic as I don’t have a gun. I’ll get a bit sicker , a bit older and things won’t get better. I will write my blog , play my  Tubby Hayes records , ride my bike and come home to a home that’s far from being a home.  But this is not life , it’s existence and little more . Oh well , as my mother use to say , “there’s always someone worse off”. Indeed indeed.

Funny thing happened just now.  My finger hit the wrong button and this got posted on my blog before I could even work out a title…….or before I even made a final decision to publish it or not.  -Worries worries…..

MURDER IS BAD FOR YOU

A few days ago a neighbour of mine was murdered in his flat . I live in the same complex at Cambridge Court in Ringsend in Dublin.  He was a nice quiet sort of man who I’m sure never did anyone any harm. The Garda forensic team were here today which made it all seem so very real . It’s a sobering thought to think that a man was beaten to death just a few feet away while I slept the sleep of the just. These sort of murders are commonplace now in Ireland….there seems to one every day….human life has become cheap , very cheap.

Watching all those young  police officers in their white csi suits made it look like something you see on  TV – and of course it was on TV – except that this time there would be no credits rolling at the end….. It was , funnily enough,  all very depressing which  came as something of a surprise to me.  I keep thinking of the song , ” Another one bites the Dust”. I can’t get it out of my head and for the life of me I  can’t remember who it’s by.  – Oh , I’ve just remembered now……Queen.  Strange how the mind works.

I’m sitting on my own in my flat , the radio is  on in the background. On the floor beside me is an original early pressing of  Live Dead by the Grateful Dead which I picked up to-day …… I like the ‘Dead .  Most of them are dead now ……  Most of the original  DeahHeads are probably dead  too….or at least  close to it…………A few weeks ago Lou Reed died ……..    Everyone is dying.

Meanwhile , back at the ranch , a Garda is on patrol outside the complex.  It’s very cold.  A thankless task.  Two small bouquets of flower are stuck in the railings outside the dead mans flat  — Nothing more  to be said.

I still can’t get that song out of my head….

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