The Man with no Friends

Category: senior citizen

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.

 

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