A woman

I know a woman in her mid-30s concentrating hard on reconciling herself to a future without children. In forfeiting the path more trodden, she directs her energies to the endless possibilities available through travel. She is relieved at the prospect of entering worlds unknown; of infinite corners up ahead. She never wants to stop turning into them, they are all she has ever known.

I know another woman who spent the bulk of her child-bearing years trying not to get pregnant. She craves a child as the final curtain is lowered on her fertility; uncertain who the victor will be – chance, or the clutch of luck.

I know one woman who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy. In choosing a termination, she rationalises the biological status of twin blue lines in the context of her body and soul. She also reasons that it is the end of a potential dream in another place and time. She perceives it as the end of potential life. Of something. Of conception. She says she would do it again but thinks the question daft. The present cannot be re-written.

I know a woman who struggles against the odds to cling on to potential life that threatens to slip away along with two blue lines a few short weeks after they first appeared. Hope began before conception. The odds are winning. Biological truths mean nothing to her in the context of her body and soul. Of what could be one week; of what might not be the next.

I know a young woman standing on the precipice of the grown-up world.  She is looking down trying to locate her potential place within it. She casually predicts the number of children she will likely have once she gets the hang of it. Her audience is her best friend who is just as fond of inhabiting the role of clairvoyant to herself.

I know a 40-something woman with a young child who points out the bags under her eyes reminding her of her advanced maternal years. Too advanced to chance a punt on luck for another.

I am all of these women.


Since they’ve been gone

Scuttling through the door famished from swimming finding me pretty much where they left me. Folded in three on the sofa with legs under knees peeping out from beneath the paper lowered in surprise at their return. So soon. Already?

What they don’t know is since they’ve been gone, I have given air-guitar career defining performances. Scaled the dizzy heights of lip-syncing precision. Had all the dolls and teddies eating out of the palm of my hand. Oh yeah, baby. In a drab housing estate in Norn Iron where beige is the new rock ‘n’ roll, boundaries of domesticity have been pushed to the outer limits with a bog standard sweeping brush. Stand aside Tinkerbell, there’s a new diva in town.

Family members fixed me with framed smiles as I navigated abandoned Lego like a swirling dervish reaching crescendos along with a feverish Patti Smith. Tinkerbell toppled over in ecstasy from almost knocking herself out with head-spinning punk pirouettes to New Order’s Ceremony. She’s no match for me.

“I know who I am, I’m not who you think I am.”

I’m rock

I’m roll

I’m in Dexy’s giving it Northern Soul

Stopping briefly in Japan…

Looking for angels with David Byrne

I’m Polly Jean Queen

Free for another fifteen

Mere minutes till they’re back

And I would’ve gotten away with it if it wasn’t for the pesky volume button left at top tonsil to scare the bejaysus us out of all.

Warning: The news was not made to be played loud.



A prayer to St. Valentine

“The relics of St. Valentine, some of his bones and a vial tinged with his blood – are in a small casket under a shrine in Whitefriar Street Church – a beautiful old church full of echoes and candles, just off a busy Dublin city street. On the shrine lies a simple, soft cover notebook, where locals and tourists write their prayers to Valentine.

People write to Valentine about what they long for, asking him to help, telling him their secret hopes or fears – all there within the pages. It’s an incredibly compelling document, discovering it is almost like finding someone’s diary – except it’s public.

st. valentine

Writer and comedian Maeve Higgins has been visiting the church and the notebook for over ten years. In 2012, she decided to make a radio show about the people who write in the book – who they are, what they ask for and, of course, whether or not they find what they are looking for. Finding people willing to talk on air about their own private matters of the heart proves difficult – in short, nobody wants to.

So Maeve speaks with Fr.Brian Mckay – one of the Carmelite priests based in Whitefriars Church, who allows a notice to be placed on the altar, asking people who use the book to contact her, and talk to her about their relationship with the book. She waits, and hopes, and has almost given up, until one day, her phone rings…

This radio show is a portrait of quiet Catholic church that is – fleetingly- filled with the most romantic and dramatic, and hopeful and private moments of peoples lives.”


A real heart-warming listen.

Preview: Thursday 11th February

The  cosmos returns tomorrow with another dazzling line-up that promises to deliver the usual swag-bag of fist-clenching crackers. First up are The Managers. The elusive group make a rare appearance for one of their tumultuous live performances. Expect plenty of baseline data and drumming of fingers.

Going forward into the afternoon The Two Loud Fuckers Upstairs have been kicking off recent appearances with a parade of tracks from their Greatest Hits album. The duo is currently working on new material with Do You Fancy a Wee Tray-bake with Your Tea? getting a test-run last week. They’ll be followed by dilettantes Some Pair with an abundance of catchy frivolous pop including new single Look At The State of Yer Wan (Eye-roll).

Hyperbole springs eternal when it comes to the description-defying M1. Few resist the charms of perennial crowd-pleasers such as All Pile Into Apple Green, I Must Have That Cigarette Lighter With My Child’s Name On It, and the mournful Burger King It Is Then.

In the ten years since Friends Reunited got together, they have been thrilling each other with special requests. How Much Did You Lose This Week is a dead cert for the encore before the headline act responds to their self-consciousness with a carefully crafted lack of any. AKA Róisín Murphy.

She was brilliant, probably.