Me > Moon

July 19, 2014

In honour of the 45th anniversary of the first moon landing, Headstuff.org asked me to write a little something.

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   45 years ago today, man walked on the moon for the first time. And quite frankly, it feels like everyone’s been banging on about it way too much ever since. The moon this. The moon that. Oooh, isn’t the moon wonderful? Isn’t the moon beautiful? Isn’t the moon doing a great job with all that tide business? To be perfectly honest with you, I’m sick of hearing about the moon. It isn’t all that. It’s average at best. So, here are three reasons why I’m better than the moon.

   Reason #1: Train Door 6th Sense. I’m quite good at knowing where the doors of a train will be before it arrives. When I get to a train station, I have an uncanny sense of where to stand so that the doors will stop directly in front of me, therefore increasing my chances of getting a seat on said train. There is no recorded evidence of the moon ever displaying such skills.

   Reason #2: Good Legs. My wife assures me that I have “decent legs” and that I should wear shorts more often as they suit me. They’re “definitely” one of my “best features”. She didn’t have to say this. I didn’t ask her what she thought about my legs. This compliment was entirely unsolicited; therefore I can only assume that it’s accurate. The moon, on the other hand, doesn’t even have legs, let alone decent ones. It’s just an awkward, inelegant, limbless floating ball.

   Reason #3: Parental-Techo-Patience. I am extremely patient when my Mam or Dad call to ask me how to use high-tech devises such as laptops, phones or televisions. I never get short with them and never raise my voice, no matter how frustrating the exchange becomes. Notably, I once walked my Dad through the forty-minute renewal of a Norton Anti-Virus subscription. That was my Fifth Symphony. I accept that, as the moon has no parents (that we know of), perhaps this is an unfair comparison. But I’m so good at this that it’s safe to say that even if it did have parents, it wouldn’t be able to match my blend of insight and light touch.

   There are a further eighteen reasons why I’m better than the moon – each more compelling than the last. However, as one of them (#13) is ‘a sense of when brevity is required’, I won’t drag it out any further. I believe I’ve made my point. So yes, by all means celebrate the anniversary of the moon landing if you like. But maybe, just maybe, I’ve made you think about whom it is that you’re mindlessly showering with your awe and admiration. And maybe, I’ve made you question, just a little bit, whether it deserves it. Thank you.

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The Wizard/God Dilemma

March 5, 2014

Last year, myself and a few friends were ludicrously lucky enough to get to make a sitcom with our formative comedy idol, Graham Linehan. In the UK. For the BBC. In a proper TV studio. With a massive crew. And an actual budget. It was, to say the least, a little surreal. We shot last December in Teddington Studios, on the banks of the Thames, where the art department had created the two floors of our fictional family’s, fictional house.

We had dressing rooms. We would’ve happily changed in the corner. Perhaps taking turns to hold up a beach towel for each other. But nevertheless, we had dressing rooms. So on day one, I went to find my dressing room. I say I went to find it – I didn’t – I was shown there by the 3rd AD, but that’s another day’s mind blower. The point is, I could have found my own dressing room because it had my name on the door. You see, that’s what they do. They put the actor’s name on the door – just in case we’re not the best at remembering places or numbers. So as I entered, I glanced to my left to see who was in the dressing room next to me. And guess who it was… No don’t, that would take all day. Piers Morgan. It was Piers Morgan. Piers Morgan was in the dressing room next to me. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof.

Piers Morgan? I’m not a fan. He’s sort of somehow managed to bundle up all the snide, cynical, slimy, smug, irresponsible, disingenuous, smug, smugy smugness that I hate about the modern world into one human shaped shape.

Have you ever daydreamed about horrific scenarios? You know the type where an evil wizard or some sort of God type entity puts a gun (or his magic staff) to your head and says: “You must pick one person in the world that will die this instant. But if you refuse, I’ll pick instead. And I’ll probably pick someone really lovely, like an inspirational life-affirming teacher working in the inner city or a gifted researcher on the brink of curing cancer or a hero fireman father of eighteen.” Ever imagined that sort of thing, while sitting on the bus? I bet you have. I think about it all the time.

I keep trying to get myself to brush up on current affairs, so that when the day comes (as I’m almost certain it probably will), I’ll know the name of a terrible warlord or a dreadful serial killer or perhaps someone currently fighting a high profile ‘right to die’ high court case, whose name I can submit. Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t give up any other human being’s name with anything other than horrible, horrible, anguish, but I’ve got a magic staff to my head here. And I forgot to mention, I’m not allowed submit my own name. That’s one of the wizard/God’s rules. 

The thing is, I’m embarrassingly bad on current affairs, and even worse when it comes to peoples’ names. So even if I did research someone I should pick, I’d probably forget his or her name or mispronounce it (landing some other poor innocent sod in the shit). I know, deep down, that when this day comes, with the staff to my head, sweat dripping down my brow, wizard/God shouting at me to hurry up, I’ll be reaching for a name and, in the heat of the moment, with all the stress – I’ll probably just blurt out “Piers Morgan”.

So knowing all this, how would our inevitable meeting in the Teddington Studios hallway go? Would I take the opportunity to tell him how I feel? How I don’t like him very much and to act otherwise would be hypocritical on my part? Or would I just be polite? Offer a cheerful, cowardly ‘hello’ and a smile? Or would I apologise for how I’m likely to shabbily treat him in the outlined-above scenario?

What I’d love to do is offer my hand to shake, but then pull it away at the last second with an optional “Psych!”. But the truth is, I’d feel too guilty to do that. The truth is, I feel sorry for Piers Morgan now. Sure, he’s a total cock. But that doesn’t mean he deserves to die. No one deserves to die.

The next day I bought a fruit basket and an ‘I’m Very Sorry’ card, that I planned to anonymously leave outside his door. Unfortunately however, I learned that the recording of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories had finished and he was no longer in the building. 

I promise though, that I’m going to buy a newspaper today, find some really awful, evil warlord – I mean really awful and really evil – and learn the hell out of his (or her) name. That’s a promise I’m making to poor Piers. Take care, buddy, OK?

 

Shane is a part of the comedy team Diet of Worms and their show ‘The Walshes’ begins on RTE ONE at 10.15pm on Thursday March 6th and on BBC FOUR at 10pm on Thursday March 13th.

This piece was written for HeadStuff.org.

Theatre Review

April 27, 2009

Generally I like to keep my writing upbeat and positive, but we all have yangs as well as yings so one of the ways I like to get out all my negativity as well as earning some pocket money is by doing reviews for various publications. Basically you can be as big a bastard as you like and it’s OK. So here’s just one example of my work…

‘No, I’m scared. I don’t want to do this. I want to go home,’ says one cast member during yet another interminably dire ‘scene’. Please. A recurring theme here is the tortured equation that ‘effort’ plus ‘cute’ is apparently enough to make us give a shit. And, therefore, one class of six year old “actors” minus a decent script equals an extremely regrettable waste of anyone’s time. St. John’s 2008 Nativity Play in aid of Sudan appeal, one out of five, avoid at ALL costs

…Not Also, But Only