Monday 9 July 2012

Valium helps my back but scrambles my brain!

(If regular online colyoomistas are wondering what I'm on about, this is the first of the weekly print colyooms, back in the City Tribune every Friday and here each Monday...)
It’s all gone horribly wrong. The day started with the Snapper redoubtably heading off to her job in Galway, leaving me to a long country day in our new home, beautifully rural yet less than half an hour from the buzz of the city.
A bit of strimming to be done and then I'll write the first Double Vision colyoom to appear in this noble rag since 2009.
Planting my voluptuous arse on my rowing machine, I spend 25 minutes trying to concentrate on breathing and posture while instead my brain wanders off to gordknowswhere, only dragged back to reality by the clunking sound of the rowing machine hitting the plant pot on the far side of my bedroom. Seems I've rowed across the laminate flooring at the dazzling rate of a yard every ten minutes.
Today it is sunny. Bees are frolicking, cows are farting in the field over the stone wall and this scribbler is on a mission to strim.
The Snapper’s face appears in my mind.
No dear, I won’t overdo it. I know, my back, yes I know ...
But the mypex sheet that’s going to cover the strimmed remains of this overgrown jungle should have been down a month ago. The sooner the sheet’s down the better, so I attack the task.
On the third of the thirty three million stumpy lumps of mutated grass I need to cut, the strimming line breaks.
I change it.
The line breaks again.
Alarm klaxons start to howl inside my head: Jewish person with power tool! Alert! Jewish person with power tool! Danger! Bwaa-aah! Bwaa-aah!
Okay Adley, so ease up with the brutal stuff. Gently does it now.
I sway back and forth, just like real gardeners I've seen strimming. Three and a half hours later it's all gone, but I really should have stopped when I topped up with petrol two hours ago.
Stumbling over to the garden table, I take off my headphone sound-inhibitor thingies, ear plugs, protection goggles, radiation suit and body armour.
Every movement hurts, as if I'm built of brick.
Don’t overdo it. That’s what I’d told myself.
The shower is ohhhh that feels soooo good, but then my entire body starts trembling. The muscles in my lower back gather closer together, as if they’re at a rave and the DJ's building up the crowd for the grand finale.
Before I start scribbling I have to drive down to the village, send a letter to an agent, go to the butchers and do the weekly shop at the supermarket.
Quite a lot really. Better get it done then, before I seize up completely.
Over the weekend we had a freezer meltdown, so along with the regular bags, there are bags and bags of freezer essentials, and that’s a lot of heavy bags for my now bent double frame to carry out of the shop, load into and out of the car and haul up onto the kitchen counter.
Ohh. Pain.
I know! I’ll make a slap-up lunch of eggs and bacon and then take a valium, to relax the muscles in my back. That’s what I’ve got the little divils for, as well as the now happily-distant panic attack.
Lunch munched, dishes done, I sit down here in my office chair to muse upon what's happened to you, me, Ireland and the world since last we met on these pages, but my mind is a woolly boolly blank …dum dum dooby doo ...
Ah, that’d be the valium, Ted.
Maybe not such a great idea after all.
Ah but then again, just sitting in this chair right now is hurting me quite a lot - yes, I suffer for you, my colyoomistas - and that’s with the valium relaxing those knotted scrunched-up muscles.
So if I hadn't taken it I’d be in utter agony, incapable of writing a single word, whereas now I'm only in mild pain, my thoughts scratching patterns around my brain akin to those of a bumble bee trapped in a packet of marshmallows. Occasional heart-stopping ideas light up my cerebellum, only to simper and die a gentle drug-infused death.
So what’s happened since 2009? Oh lordy, do we have to? I'm driving this colyoom so we'll live in the present. Ireland is behaving itself, doing whatever Angela M and Christine LG tell it to, which feels to this Englishman crushingly sad, because after centuries of resisting occupation, you are now being led placidly and obediently by the nose back to a loss of sovereignty and the end of Irish democracy.
When the Euro finally does goes belly up, having been bled to death by medieval methods of economic surgery, the dreadful irony will be that all these years of Ireland’s suffering, through taking the ECB/ IMF/IVF/Dutch Cap/Contraceptive Bailout route, will prove to have been a complete and utter waste of time.
Isn’t it good to have me back.


If you’re under 25 years of age, chances are you didn’t buy this newspaper. Just as the entire music industry was revolutionised by digital, print as a medium is under threat.
Being a successful freelance writer these days requires luck. I know there are other columnists walking the streets of Galway who feel they deserved this spot, just as I know that there are loyal and hard-working people employed by this newspaper group who have suffered financially in recent years.
To both groups I plead that along with you and everybody else in Ireland, I too have recently been through hard times, yet never want my good fortune to come at others’ expense.
Having said that, it’s great to have Double Vision back in print, exactly 20 years after this colyoom first appeared in this noble rag. I’d like to thank all those who followed Double Vision online over the past few years. If you want to read that archive just Google my name and hit the first link. If you have opinions you want to vent, vomit, grumble or mumble, email me at

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