Why ‘The Secret’ is a load of old bollocks…

The Secret is...people will believe anything if they have to pay for it.

MY LIFE SUCKS. If only there was a quick, easy-fix solution that involved me not taking any responsibility for any of my actions. If only there was a book I could get my hands on that would tell me everything I wanted to hear and offer to fix it without actually getting up off my ice-cream-loaded ass and being proactive enough to change things…but wait. What’s this? There IS such a book? It’s called ‘The Secret’? I’m intrigued already. It sounds so mysterious. Why would they call it that if they didn’t know some serious shit that could change the world?? I have to have this book. Let’s have a look. Oh, wait. It’s all sealed up. Wow. It must be unbelievably awesome. I MUST HAVE IT. It’s a bit expensive, but if it changes my life the way I think it will, then those few euros will be but a drop in the ocean of my massive wealth. I’m off to put all these universe embracing nuggets of wisdom into practice. Wish me luck.

Love

Dramatisation: DID NOT HAPPEN IN NANCY'S.

Friday night, Nancy Blake’s pub, 12.30am.

The Secret tells me that I need to act like I want to attract relationships, I can’t be negative, I need to be open to the prospect. So I wore an ‘I Heart Men’ T-shirt, wandering around packs of men singing Natasha Bedingfield’s ‘Single’ at the top of my voice and grinned like a Cheshire cat at anyone I found remotely attractive – just to let the Universe know I was ready for love. I saw one particular ‘target’ so I decided to focus all my energy on him. I fixed my gaze and visualised him walking over to me, asking for my hand in marriage, and we had a beautiful wedding surrounded by 1500 of our closest family and friends. When I came to some hours later, the pub was closed and the bouncer was rifling through my wallet trying to contact a next-of-kin because he thought I’d had a catatonic episode. I tried to explain that I was just visualising my future husband, but he just put me in a cab and shook his head sadly as it drove off. I must have done it wrong.

Health

And she STILL had a better run than me.

Having been unsuccessful in my attempts at finding lasting love, I now relied on the wisdom of The Secret to help improve my health. The opportunity presented itself not long after the Nancy’s disaster, when I caught a horrible head cold from after wandering around in that skimpy t-shirt in the shitty weather for so long. Instead of my usual four pints of Benylin 4-Flu and seven hot water bottles put into a duvet cover to make the ultimate warm bed, I decided this time, I’d harness the germ-killing power of The Secret. Armed with nothing more than a strong sense of optimism and a vision of my body being an absolute powerhouse of strength and disease immunity, I decided to go for a little 10km jaunt to show off my new-found bacteria-fighting power. I took off like a bullet, ignoring the coughing and sneezing fit that kicked off 30 seconds in. “Not this time,” I thought. “The Secret will power me through….”

Coincidentally that, apparently, is what I was repeatedly muttering in the ambulance as I was driven away with an IV drip in my arm and an oxygen mask strapped to my face.

Money

I'm just one positive thought away from all this...

With two failures under my belt, my faith in The Secret was starting to wane. Only one essential area remained that needed taking care of; the immeasurable wealth that I was assured would be mine, if only I just visualised it. Fair enough, I thought. I had been labouring for years under the misapprehension that if you worked, you could get paid, and if you saved as much as you could, you’d have money to spend. What a gullible tulip I was.

Being in possession of the knowledge that money could be exchanged for goods and services, which made life easier to bear and indeed far more enjoyable, I was very much in the market for more. So I sat in my house for up to four weeks, ignoring upwards of eleven phone calls offering work and gigs, and visualised stacks of cheques winging their way to my door. I imagined checking my bank balance at the ATM machine and seeing an amount the size of an international phone number staring back at me. It was awesome.

So armed with all this spiritual knowledge and the strength of my visualisation, I marched into the bank one Monday, proud as punch, and politely asked the lady behind the counter for ten thousand of their finest euro which, I assured her, was most definitely mine – according to The Universe. The fact that my account balance said €0.74 on the computer screen was merely a glitch, I reassured her. (Obviously imaginary cheques written on behalf of The Universe take as long to clear as personal ones down on Earth.) Nevertheless, I pressed on, arguing my case, content in the knowledge that I would be leaving the bank a reaffirmed devotee of The Secret.

With the help of the nice security man and a ride in the back of a cop car, at least one part of that sentence came true.

Conclusion

Go on, try it.

Four weeks and one competency hearing later, I am clear-minded and realistic. I now understand that The Secret is most definitely a way to make an absolute fortune – if you’re the author. Apart from that, you’re up shit creek…and down a couple of euro for your trouble. Not that I’m bitter or anything after my experiences, but I can’t pass a copy of that stupid fucking book without laughing hysterically and giving it the finger…and when I’m allowed back into the Crescent Bookshop again, I’ll probably do the same thing a couple more times.

You can bet your ass I won’t get fooled again. What a load of shite. Who pays for that shi…hang on, what’s this? ‘The Power’? Oooh, it’s by the same author. I wonder is there anything different in this one? She wouldn’t have written a second book otherwise. I just have to pop over to Amazon there for a second. Be right back…

1996? All a bit of a Blur to me…

In the midst of my diary-keeping days, I went to my first ever open-air big concert. It was June 1996, and at the height of Blurmania. I was always on the side of Damon Albarn. I had no time for stupid Oasis and their big hairy faces and mad sneers. So, being almost eighteen, I was allowed to go to a Blur / Supergrass / Black Grape concert all by myself. To say I was excited was an understatement. It was such a big deal it got a two-page spread in my diary. Yup, THAT big. Here in its entirety is my documentation of the day (as written). Well, as much as I could write before I got distracted by something else just as awesome. The picture below is the first page, and I’ll transcribe the rest so you can actually read it. There’s so many cultural references in it your face will hurt by the time you’ve finished reading. Names of participants have been changed, naturally. Enjoy.

I was in a collage-type mood in the 90's. I regret nothing. Except the 'Doin' him tomorrow' phrase. Ugh.

4th July 1996

Omigod. The Concert was Fantastic! It’s 4th July at 11.45am before I get ready for Summer Camp. Let me take you through the day of Saturday 22nd June 1996 from start to finish.

11am – left house wearing white v-neck t-shirt, ‘short’ shorts, Levi’s hoody and Doc Marten boots. I brought a pair of knickers with me to throw at Alex. (Bass player from Blur – I didn’t get to thrown them. To this day he doesn’t know what a lucky escape he had.)

11.30am -In town chillin’ with Jo, Sharon. Laura + friends went their own way. We followed this Jonny Depp lookalike around Arthur’s Quay, buying drinks n’ stuff along the way.

1.30pm – The ticket said ‘Coach departs 1.30pm Sharp – LIAR!

2.15pm – Finally left Spaights. Bored already. Sharon dying for ‘drink!’ Good craic on the bus all the same. I sang along to every song played on Atlantic 252. I swear if I don’t hear ‘Mysterious Girl’ by Peter Andre ever again, it’ll be too soon! Good all the same, though. Stopped in Portlaoise at Supermac’s, and we just got worse –> maxi-hyper would be an understatement!!

5.30pm – Saw queues outside RDS, plus a multitude of empty beer bottles –> Sharon is muttering about what a waste it is, just because she didn’t get any….

10.00pm – Unbefuckinglievable! This is what I want! Screaming crowds, singing along, mass hysteria – YES! I WILL do this….I will be there soon…! On the way back, Peter Collins played ‘The Universal’ on the radio for all the Blur fans at the concert!

So there you have it folks. That was my first concert. Knickers and all. Thanks, Blur…

 

 

If A Young J-Ro Made Greeting Cards…

I knew there was a reason I hated all those stupid Facebook slogan pages that people ‘liked’. You know the ones; face-melting cringey slogans like “If you love someone, let them go..” and other such wishy-washy bullshit that people latch on to in order to make their existence more palatable. The reason I hated them so much was because I used to write that very same shit myself in my diaries as a young ‘un. At least I made them up myself. Maybe I should go into business. I’d make a fortune selling them in Easons.

This one that I found recently nearly made me turn inside out with the mortification. Naturally I’m showing it to all of you. Don’t worry. I have many volumes of diary-related gold just waiting to be unleashed. You lucky things. Enjoy…

Date unknown, probably in my late teens / early twenties...note the symbolic illustration of the disembodied hand, and the irony of the 'Don't let Go' slogan next to it.

 

A Teenage Manifesto

It’s 1994, you’re 16, and all you want in life is a brand new tattoo of Sylvester the Cat holding a red rose. It holds the answer to all life’s problems, and will sum up everything you are as a person to anyone who sees it. You will be a badass. A person to be reckoned with, someone who is far too cool to be concerned with the likes of bullies, grades and stupid homogenous girls in a rural secondary school who all look the same. Not you though. Oh, no. You’re an individual. You loudly proclaim that you prefer ‘Bleach’ by Nirvana, as opposed to their more obvious ‘commercial’ release ‘Nevermind’ like the rest of Transition Year.

So you gather up your courage, turn down your Soundgarden CD and casually stroll up to the sitting room to put your case forward for getting this life-altering skin picture to a woman who can’t understand why you would willingly put needles on your skin for fun, and thinks tattoos are for soldiers and prisoners. And so far, you are neither. She says no. You’re devastated. This is an affront to your civil rights. You are being oppressed. You can no longer express who you are as a person. How is Alan in Sixth Year going to know you’re cool and not like all the ‘normal’ girls if you don’t have a Sylvester the Cat tattoo?? Life is as good as over.

So you storm off down to your room in a rage, full of righteous indignation and an ever-expanding martyr complex. Then you decide to do what many afflicted artistic souls have done before in the face of adversity and suffocation on behalf of a corrupt authority. Something which will shake the system to its very core, and lead to your mother throwing herself on your mercy and begging for forgiveness and even paying for your tattoo which will change your life for the better.

You write a poem. In your diary. That’ll show ’em. An unpublished tour de force that that nobody will ever see.

Until now. God bless the internet.

I regret nothing.

Viva La Revolution!

When Kildimo became South Central…

Sunday Mass started to look a bit different in the village...

The peaceful rural idyll has been shattered. Children are being dragged back indoors by frantic mothers. Urban life has descended upon Kildimo. The reason?

A car alarm is going off.

This is MOST irregular. Next there’ll be gunshots, police sirens and crack whores peddling their wares outside the local GAA pitch. Ross Kemp will be filming a hard-hitting documentary from the corner of Slattery’s pub about the deadly rivalry between the U14 and U16 hurling teams. Rappers and gritty hip-hop artists will film music videos here just to prove how hard they are. HBO will commission an extra season of The Wire to be filmed almost entirely outside Kildimo Post Office and the local garage. Brothers and sons will be divided in bitter gang wars while constantly living in fear that their tractor might get ‘jacked for its hubcaps, while bloodied bodies litter the streets, victims cut down in the prime of life simply for wearing the wrong colour overalls in the wrong side of the village. Nothing but crime, catastrophe and carnage awaits us now.

Still, it’ll be nice to have a bit of life in the place…