Kells after midnight.
Tweet I walked from one end of Kells to the other after twelve tonight. While I may have undertaken this journey about ten thousand times, I very rarely did it sober. Apparently nobody else does either. I was followed home at a distance of about 10 yards by a bandy legged dude eating curry chips. The night was so balmy and still that I could smell the curry at that distance. He was singing that rotten, monotonous Fratellis bum chunder-fest to himself, the one that goes 'derp derpee derp derpee derpee derp', except in a slurry Kells accent so there were lohhhts of long vowehhhhlllsss on the derps. Every pub I walked past was having some sort of lock in. The chipper was full of swaying people looking at themselves in the polished metal bit over the counter. People always do that when they are waiting for their chips. They look at lumpy, shiny visions of themselves in the slightly dinted and polished metal. For some, its an exercise in self loathing, "there ye are, polluhed on Sunday as usual, filling yerself with chips and work in the morning, ye useless fuck." For others, it's an exercise in self love, "here I am, lookin' class, gehhin' me chips, and work in the morning. Jaysus I'm a legend." I sometimes wonder how much of Ireland actually runs on drink? Drink certainly lubricates Kells; its ebb and flow, its cycles and stories. I remember being a townie in fifth and sixth year at school, and at that stage, being a seasoned weekend regular in the somewhat alternative local pub (at the time) The Chaser. For me, the big night out was a Saturday, when I would skull a pile of pints with like-minded geeky friends and play Stone Roses songs on the jukebox like we were the first people who ever heard them. Then I'd come into school on Monday morning, fresh faced and ready for double maths. Yet, all around me, loads of lads from out the road would be sitting at their desks rubbing their heads and moaning melodramatically about headaches. "Look at the head on Corrigan! Hard night was it?". "I'm fucked lads. I've some head." Head. Me head. The head on him sir! The head on me. That's some head. Fucking heads. Of course, half of them had never even been near a pub at that stage, (the ambulance-tastic Debs quickly demonstrated how many of my classmates had drank before) yet they saw the hangover as a badge of honour. Some of the sadder teachers went along with the charade, "Sure I know why those French verbs aren't done" *wink wink, "had one too many at the Drumbaragh dinner dance did we?" Looking back, it makes me a bit sad. Why was having a pretend hangover the ultimate badge of culchie coolness on a Monday morning? It is so dispiriting to think that now, some of the same lads are going to be nursing real uncool hangovers after swaying sadly from pub to bookies, and from bookies to pub all day every Sunday, before stuffing their faces with chips and getting a cab home to a bland four-bedroom pile of bricks two miles outside the town. And doing this same thing a la 'Groundhog-Day' every weekend for years in a forever advancing boozy timelapse, while their waists bulge, their youth withers, and 'the craic' turns into a mulchy grey memory of the past. Have you ever noticed how, as you get older, how 'the craic' is often something that invariably happened before? Once you hit your late 20s you'll find people saying things like "last night was great craic. We spent the whole night talking about the craic we used to have". That is more depressing than a faded photocopy made out of a black and white print of a picture of something that might have been beautiful before the toner started to run out in the printer. I'm guilty of all this too. I chase rainbows. I get maudlin and I definitely drink more than my fill on plenty of occasions. So, I guess what I'm trying to communicate is that there is something a bit bleak and empty in towns like Kells that seems to reveal itself at the drinking hour. Especially on a Sunday. We used to call it second chance Sunday. There is a breed of person who haunts the town on a Sunday. They go out early and home late. If you were to spend a Sunday in Kells you'd know what I'm talking about. It's a strange and not very pleasant buzz. The nightclub (Vibe) is half empty. It plays '80s music. The clientele seem older. There are cougars, messers, out of towners and career alcoholics. It's like the town is enveloped in a big shadowy bandy-legged bubble that smells of piss and drink. And it's not just Kells. The odd Sunday I venture into Whelans I see three or four of the same depressing heads, creepily hanging in corners of the smoking area, wearing the same stringy clothes and facial expressions, nursing warm beers and most likely discussing the craic they used to have. The only time these guys (in their thirties) flicker into life is when a young woman who never met them before strays in front of their decreprit, cynical radars. Meh. Okay, time to yank this doomy outpouring onto something positive before bed. An MP3. MP3: Jurgen Paape-So Weit Wie Nacht Nie. I often feel like a bit of a quack when I blog about techno. This is because the people that really know about it REALLY know about it, and definitely look down on CD surfing techno tourists like me, especially when the stuff I blog up is about three or four years old. I know about as much about drum programming and the delineations between dance music subgenres as a chimpanzee knows about existentialism. What I do know, though, is that I love the honest, human heartbeat simplicity of the 4/4 rhythm and the amount of character, soul, humour and yearning emotion that many German techno artists put into their work. It knocks the shallow posturing of a lot of current indie outfits into a cocked hat. I find it baffling that people still see the Germans as cold. Possibly because of dusty old stereotypes? They are the most progressive, warm, welcoming, open-minded and romantic people in Europe as far as I can hear. Most of the music I've swooned to recently has been German techno. The bare sample at the end of the above Jurgen Paape track is so hair-raisingly evocative I ration it out to myself in case I wear it out. According to my pidgeon German the title means that "so far tonight (or now) is like never before" Try this oldie out too. Magic abounds. MP3: Heiko Voss-I Think About You