The Lung Brothers

Hanging out at the extreme end of the long tail ...

Monday, December 20, 2004

Monday Rant

I'd just like to say that I hate, loath, detest, abhor and am utterly repulsed by chewing gum and all those slob-bastard gum chewers who don't have the decency to lock themselves in their garages and suck their catalytically converted tailpipes until they twitch their last. Every day of my godforsaken working week I have to share a train with a rowdy gaggle of Spaniards who insist on yelling at each other conversationally and , worst of all, chewing gum like a bunch of hogs with chronic tapeworm. It's like sitting in a pigsty on wheels and I'm sick to the teeth of it.

There must be some government decree over here that every bus, metro or train wagon has to have at least one bovine native, slopping and popping into the ear of the person next to him (or more often her). I mean what is it with these people, are they so immune to noise, or is it more an in-bred fear of silence that makes it so impossible for them to sit quietly for two minutes? And just like the smoke from a cigarette always finding the non-smoker, any masticating peasant that boards the train while I'm on it, seems to go out of his way to seek me out. He will walk the entire length of a half-empty wagon just to plonk his ignorant arse on the seat across from mine and cheerfully continue to mimic the noise of a Neanderthal crossing a marsh along with his own particular style of oral farting. Uuugh!

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Heavenly Justice

Ah Sunday, sweet Sunday.

As is often at this stage of the week, CS and I wake up with the satisfied feeling of having vanquished all our primeval violent tendencies. Pray, allow me to elaborate.

We are fortunate enough to have an attractive apartment in a reasonably central quarter of Barcelona. The only catch with the flat is that it’s located a mere stone’s throw from one of the city’s hippest and liveliest gay/hetero mixed dance clubs. Now, it can only be speculated what gets snorted, smoked or popped in this establishment’s action-packed toilet cubicles, but all we can say is that, on weekend nights, the youthful clientele spill out of the doors at closing time with more energy than when they went in and absolutely no intention of bringing the evening’s revelry to a halt.

The result of all this effervescent joy is that some of the kids return to their cars which happen to be parked just under our fifth floor abode, open all the doors, put the stereo on full blast and start bopping and yelling in the street.

Now I like Janet Jackson videos just as much as the next man (lie), but to have a live action version explode under your balcony and five in the fucking morning is a little bit too much to take. And I’m not the main problem for these kids.

When my Spanish girlfriend CS is in a good mood, the beautifully strong features of her pretty Latin face radiate a warmth and serenity that is beyond compare. When she’s in a bad mood she looks like Joan Crawford with rabies. And one thing you do NOT want to do with my little poppet is to brutally wake her from her slumber at an ugly hour of the morning.

This is the reason why we always have a store of ripe aerodynamic tomatoes on hand over the weekend. We used to yell at the kids in the past but quickly realised the futility of this recourse. So now we go straight for the horticultural artillery. And, modesty aside, I’ve become quite a crack shot. My college physics professor would be so proud of me because I have learned to instinctively calculate horizontal vector force of launching necessary to play against the forces of gravity so that an arc of projection will be traced which will splat the soft fruit on the dingbat’s hood or windscreen. And what a satisfying sound it makes.

One thing we’ve learned is that you should always go for the car and not the man. The bourgeois Catalan brats get all stroppy if they feel personally attacked and might start pushing all the buzzers at the front door of your building. There is also the risk of actually hurting one of the little bastards and one of their Daddies is sure know a good lawyer or two. (Always puncture the tomato with your thumb before firing it) However, when you pop their cars with a good stainer, they shriek like pinched poodles, jump into the besmirched vehicle (which you have now realised probably belongs to Mummy) and head for the hills.

And that is why, on mornings like this, we wake up slightly groggier but much more satisfied than usual.

Friday, December 17, 2004

First Time Round

You know, sometimes I have to give the reincarnation theory a bit of credit, because occasionally I meet people that seem to have the knack of life from the day they were born. They seem to know where they're going, what the various stages of life represent and generally how the whole thing is supposed to work. Simple to explain, these people were humans before and made all the mistakes, developed their tastes and generally figured a lot of it out in their previous life, or lives. Now although all this valuable experience would have been wiped from their memory when they croaked and were consequently reborn, some of those fundamental instincts could have remained ingrained in the core their being. Bastards.

You see I'm one of the other ones. There is no fucking way I've been human before, because I simply haven't got a clue. I can never figure out how this bloody life thing is supposed to work. I don't know what society wants me to do or be and I'm not even sure I'd enjoy doing or being it in any case. I thought it would all become clear when I became an adult, everything would all slot into place and my mature instincts would open up like an easy-to-follow instruction manual. But no, it just got worse, all the external factors became more complicated and all the social expectations became more instincts didn't budge an inch.

I reckon I must have been an enlightened cat or something in my previous incarnation. And I either managed to accumulate an inordinate amount of karma in my one kitty life or there was some celestial administrative cock-up, the result of which was that instead of getting reborn as, lets say, a Malaysian Spider Monkey as would have been the case with the normal chain of promotion, I get upped all the way to homo sapien and get born an Irish chemist. (although it could be argued which of the two primates is, in fact, more advanced)

So that's it, My Theory. From cat to first-time human in just one spin of the reincarnational carousel. No wonder I don't have the knack of this life. I haven't had the chance to practice. I'm under equipped. It's not fair. Everybody else gets born with some sense of orientation and all I get is a bucket load of confusion and a fondness for napping on rooftops.

Democratic plus

One good thing about the recent election in the States is that it really raised the bar for lowered expectations.

No honestly, think about it. There has never been a wider choice of lesser evils to choose from. That’s got to be good for democracy, right?

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Philosophy of the treat

Last Wednesday and I decided for no good reason to go and get shitfaced. I have really cut down on the amount I drink and even at social events I don't automatically get trashed ASAP any more. But every once in a while there is a kind of homing instinct that grips me way down in me giblets and I'm drawn towards some Anglophonic establishment where I imbibe copiously and talk utter dross without the slightest feeling of remorse. It's a pressure gauge. It's a treat.

We're only talking once a month or so, for God's sake. I try to explain to my Spanish girlfriend (CS) that, although this might register as a worrying habit for your average European male, it doesn't even cause a blip on the screen for an Irishman. Fortunately I'm blessed with many a Celtic friend who could quite easily illustrate this fact for CS any time she likes.

This whimsy tends to strike on a Tuesday, a Wednesday or a Thursday, i.e. one of the drabber days of the week. It occurs to me that I am completely opposite to my mother when it comes to having a splurge. For Mum, a luxury is something one should save for a special occasion and so she keeps all her fine consumables hidden away in storage just in case some head of state pops in on a flying visit. She is an extravagance hoarder, Lord bless her.

I, on the other hand, truly believe in the expression, ‘Save it for a rainy day’. Special occasions are already special, they don’t need any extra props to make them stand out in your diary. A caprice is something that should be used to alleviate the suffocating greyness of a Tuesday in February, when your staring morosely out at the drizzle and asking yourself “Is this it? Is my whole life going to consist of days like this?”. That’s when you should crack open that 25-year old bottle of Glenhoddle single-malt scotch that your beloved Uncle Alfred gave you two years earlier while fading fast on his deathbed. Instead of bemoaning the insignificance of this particular 24-hour period, celebrate it. Open the windows wide, feel the winter droplets kissing your cheeks, take a deep breath of God’s own air and raise your glass high...........

“Here’s to you Alf!”

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Lung Bob Square Pants

Ahh ... I knew once I got Lung the Younger out of the bar and online, he'd be the prolific one. Meanwhile I'll occasionally nod appreciatively. Trouble is, you can't seen that online, so I don't look all sage and wise ...

Maybe I can pull off some kind of "Silent Bob" persona from Kevin Smith films? That
would, of course, make Lung the Younger into Jay. Meanwhile, I'll do pages of nodding, and then the occasional outburst:

BOB: Why don’t you shut up? Jesus! Always yap, yap, yapping all the time. Give me a fucking headache.

(to Holden) I went through something like what you’re going through. Years ago. Same kind of thing with a girl named Amy ...

JAY: What’d she ‘Live in Canada’ or something? Why don’t I remember this?

BOB: What you don’t know about me I can just about squeeze into the Grand fucking Canyon. Did you know I always wanted to be a dancer in Vegas?

Rogue Thought

They say that many empires and civilisations follow similar patterns during their cycle of existence. At the moment the URSA is favouring foreign colonial-type wars, hereditary rulers, religious fervour, sexual repression, a highly conservative model of the family and distain for the poorer classes.

Do you reckon they’re entering into their Victorian phase?

The Red/Blue distinction.

I think that following the last election there should be a clear-cut distinction drawn when talking about the USA. OK, I realise that everyone’s calling for national unity in the face of such political polarity but I just can’t help it. I can no longer consider the States as a whole.

So for the sake of simplicity, any gross over generalisations from now on will be either directed at the URSA or the UBSA – R and B naturally standing for Red and Blue.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Never thought I'd see the day.....

Ah, where to begin................................

You’ve heard of an American in Paris right? Well this is something similar, only without Gene Kelly….. or music…… or Paris…… or talent for that matter........


OK, I’ll Start again.

LB1 and I have been living on and off in Barcelona for the past ten years.

He’s American and I’m a Mick and we both work in more or less tekky jobs. We have each of us made feeble efforts to leave this city but have always somehow ended up back here due to some sort of emotional elastic band that tugs us no matter how far away and how cosy we get. I guess we should just own up and admit that we love the place. We now have Spanish spouses (or is the plural spice?) so any further attempts to flee the country will involve two veracious Latin ladies ripping our spleens out of our armpits.

For want of a less kitsch expression, LB1 and I are kind of soul mates. He gets a kick out of how many references to American junk culture that I get and I enjoy his Euro-American cultural perspective. (‘mid-Atlantic eurofag schizophrenia’ is the technical term, I believe)

We also have a lot more in common despite our separate origins:

As youngsters we were both nerd/jocks (Jerds? Nocks?) i.e. We played Dungeons & Dragons but were also fairly good at sports*.
(*LB1 figures that he was a second level jock and a fourth level nerd but that he rolled with a +2 when pitching a softball. I on the other hand was a third level jock and a second level nerd but rolled with a –1 when heading soccer balls due to astigmatism)

We both met just after arriving in Barcelona and were leaving behind us a couple of really awful break ups, so our first few months of friendship consisted of bouts of drunken misogyny in some of the dodgier bars of the Gothic Quarter – a bonding experience by any account.

Now, years later, I still get together with LB1 on a regular basis, usually on the wrong day of the week to quaff fizzy bottled Estrella and talk shite into the wee small hours. And what I have always admired about LB1 is that he is essentially a man of faith. Despite our advancing years, he still believes that we CAN solve the mysteries of life and work out all the worlds problems if we…just…have…one…more…beer.

Lately we have both become blog junkies and it occurred to me that all the drunkenly philosophical crap that we spout during our bodega sessions was completely going to waste. There’s a whole world out there that needs to know what a pair of sad, middle-aged pseudo-intellectual barflies that we are.

… here’s to bustin’ out of the bodega and going on line.