2020 vision for Racingman

Thu, Jul 21, 2016

I’m here so I am, like. Where’s me thunder clap? I’m your real culture…coming here thirty year or more, so I am, with me fadder and me fadder’s fadder and me fadder’s fadder’s fadder… though not at the same time like…Sun rises in the capital of culture…the real one, ate a clock in the morning like…waking up in a crumpled hape…smartphone alarm beep beeps into me ear...one hand picks up and smashes it again the wall...not so smart now is it…Pokemon Go, Pokemon go and feck off with yerself…’tis Race Week…where am I...recessed lights in ceiling shine into me eyes...discover me pyjamas have a hood in them… …and jeans…fell asleep in the clothes again...where am I...not Mrs O’Brien’s b & bloody b this year…no a cheap hotel I found somewhere on the internet thingy… jaypers the state of me…open shirt buttons and spray deodorant under arms and head for the lift…head on me like Boris Johnson…close buttons, push buttons and fella in the lift mirror does the same...full Irish with bacon rashers and eggs... throw back the lugs and dive in...lash back the orange juice...parched I am...try to walk sober like, wan foot then the udder, repeat...I’m Racingman, I’m wide out…I’m part of Galway. I’m its culture too. Don’t look down on me ‘cos I don’t know Chekhov or ballet… I’m Racingman…there’ll be racing in 2020 too, don’t forget…down the square check out paddys ladbrokes boyles muls get the odds... and ends... too early to go out yet...sit on bench and look at fountain knocked on for the few weeks…knocked on for 2020…For the day…the trickle, they’d needn’t have bothered their...whole week I’m here for…sit on steps, legs sprawled…then light up, brighten up... wink at young wan heading to work down town, get scowl but scowl back at her... I’m in love, besotted, but she don’t know what’s she missing...missing in Racingman... me. the man. I’m a cultural ambassador…for Galway…I can be a cultural icon…I back Galway…I back everything in Galway…Everything I back in Galway normally falls coming up the hill towards the stand…I light another... hand shakes but ‘twould by now anyways Wednesday and all... phone dying just two bars...head dying just 25 bars...need cash...act fast...shaky fingers dance on vomit-splattered keypad at hole in wall...good job don’t need numbers 3, 8, 2 as they’re splashed pretty bad... cash comes out crisp clean only gives 300 so go to other machine... clean pad, thick wad jammed in arse pocket but switch to front... can’t be too sure... cute hoor watching ya catching ya but not me. I’m wide out me so I am, sham ya have to get outa the scratcher early to catch out Racingman…some fecker murdering a violin in the Square...where’s Lee Harvey Oswald when ya need him...get the Racing Post...to look cool like…in the know…and the Star...dash into Debbinghams cosmetics section and when the wimmen aren’t looking over, Racingman is lost in a spraycloud of Calvin Kyne, Packie Rabanne and Ralph Lawrence eau de sweat…lash on the lot of them…the cognac combo….then a splash on ur hand to look like ya know your stuff…spray some on that little card yolk… doubles up as a toothpick…smelling grand...looking good, give the auld Jogi Loews a scratch...ready for the road...ready for the course...hop into taxi...sit in front…legs sprawled…talk the talk…big head on him...air stinks of air freshener and stale conversation...he tells me country is fecked...emigrants should shag off home…to Mayo…Brexit. Tells me about the 2020 judges and how they were only here for the day but got the clap before they left…Asks me if I read Rita Ann’s poem…and how he agreed with it. Told him that I’m not into poetry that doesn’t rhyme. Then he said something about a rising tide lifting boats..knows his stuff this fella…crabbing on about emigrants taking our wimmen, can’t get jobs…and he’s from Lagos...three ways to racecourse...green, blue and red routes…an hour later we take a bit of blue and red and he drops me in a cowshit-spattered field near Castlegar church...walk that way he says... the brown route...and I walk...go to ring the boys but smartphone still smarting from batin’ I gave it… walk straight...shoes covered in dung...sham says ‘any wan want to try the three card trick the three card trick, watch out Char-less the shades are lamping the scene’... don’t fall for that not after last year not me cos I’m wide out...Racingman won’t fall for that...this year...in the gate...meet yer man from home he waves and says he knows a fella who knows Weld is the man…get card and biro...rip page from card and jam in raffle drum to win another shaggin’ night in another gombeen hotel...always been lucky, mother said, when I won the teddy bear at the sale of work but she didn’t know I stole it then sold it then stole it again...Guard nods at me I nod back ‘howya guard’ what does he know... probably has a file on Racingman... Maybe a whistleblower will get it for me…the big happy Templemore head on him and eyes red-out from reading Pulse all night…met the boys... the boys from home...lads shout yahoo at Ted Walsh and some others... twenty years since he rode her mother...run to the stand... spilling plastic pints down new Next shirt, it’ll live up to its name tomorrow...horse romps home...plastic pints go skywards...beef sandwiches all round... grease is the next stain for the Next shirt... Lads have quare wans’ mobile numbers… they want 200 notes for an hour of the bould thing... lads laugh when I ask for group discount….an hour I laugh, an hour of drinking time wasted...she says for 400 she’ll bate me with a whip til I cry and give me a happy ending…told her I can get a batin’ for nawthing outside the chipper…and if I want a happy ending, I can watch What A Wonderful Life…and the lads laugh…I know my culture…and then the streets...Latin Quarter with not a word of latin on me…nil desperandum and all that…from wan pub to another.…with the boys…Not a sign of any Latinos in the Latin Quarter… Racingman’s head’s in a spin...time for food...tuna melt with extra dolphin...staggered up the pedestrianised streets, avoiding the bikes and the rickshaws, like fecking Tianaman Square ‘tis...hops into taxi and shows him card from hotel...Lagos man again......more stale conversation...he’s up from Carlow with all the other taxidrivers…tells me he loves Trump…drives me around town nine times and then drops me back at gombeen hotel where room was chayper than taxi...birds are singing when me head hits the bed...zzzzzzzzzzzzz..ate a clock...smartphone about to beep its alarm, but decides not to...now that’s a smart phone...still only Thursday morning…but I love it. I love Race Week, part of my culture…part of what we are…there’ll be racing in 2021 as well...never forget…i back Galway and I back whatever Weld sends out. Hup ya boyahs…..

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It might be us. It should be us

Thu, Jul 14, 2016

And so it has come down to this. Ten people standing in front of about 10 others. And trying to sell an idea.

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Cultural legacies are key to Galway's continued growth

Thu, Jul 07, 2016

Excitement mounts in Galway which has taken on a blue hue this week in support of Galway's final push to be selected as the European City of Culture 2020.

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Time for us all to see the sea

Thu, Jun 30, 2016

Sometimes when I think of Galway’s relationship with the sea, I am reminded of the insult that the famous conductor Sir Thomas Beecham uttered to a cellist who had performed poorly. “Madam,” he said, “you have between your legs an instrument capable of giving pleasure to thousands... and all you can do is scratch it.”

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Staying and leaving

Thu, Jun 23, 2016

I remember the scene about about a decade or more ago, when Inishbofin was annoyed that they weren’t getting something or other that they richly deserved from Galway Council Council, they told the council that if they weren’t getting it from Galway, they’d head off to Mayo and get it there. They said that they’d hold a plebiscite on the island, and in one fell swoop, they’d recommend that they pitch their lot in with Mayo County Council, because the Mayo islands seemed to be faring much better.

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Streets ahead — get off that couch

Thu, Jun 16, 2016

There are some things that are uniquely Galway, that are of us. There was the queuing for the advertiser accommodation list back in the day; there is the Ballybrit on the Friday or Race Week, there is the carol service in St Nic’s at Christmastime. And then there is the Streets of Galway road-race.

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Time for us to bring it home

Thu, Jun 09, 2016

Tomorrow five weeks, on July 15, at around ten past one, when you’re about to take the first bite of your lunchtime sandwich, with the radio on, you might rue the fact you didn’t do more, that you didn’t try harder.

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The many faces of bravery

Thu, Jun 02, 2016

We applaud bravery in all its forms. Physical bravery because it is an animal instinct, a desire to confront a challenge that is placed in front of us. We saw this in Edinburgh when faced with a daunting challenge, our team showed bravery to seize the opportunity, to show the world that their team spirit honed on hard days in the west of Ireland can produce a game of the power, strength and finesse which allowed them to claim the crown. That’s physical bravery.

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A man you don’t meet every day

Thu, May 26, 2016

We all like someone good batting for us. Someone who can go out, without resort to a note or a rehearsed rote-learned speech. Who sounds lyrical but not flowery. Who speaks sense. Who preaches what is right. We all love it when our leaders are people who orate easily, who can melt hearts with their smiles and their personality, who can defuse the most tense of situations with an ability to bring sides together. Because when our leaders look and sound well, we think that we look and sound well. If these are the people who represent us, by extension, then we are all the better for having them lead us.

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Why we all win if Connacht Rugby wins the long game

Thu, May 19, 2016

Momentum is a great thing. It has this kind of momentumishy factor that sort of drags you along and makes you achieve more than you would it you didn’t have that amount of momentumishness. It makes you stand up tall and take a deep breath and with your lungs full of air, it makes you more than you are and helps you stay there.

Connacht Rugby has that at the moment. At the moment, all is going great. Excellent. Winning does that to you, but it’s more than winning. It’s a sense of self. Of belief. Of confidence. Of not showing fear.

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People just want to get home

Thu, May 12, 2016

You sit there. Trapped. Frustrated. Angry at the car in front of you. Though there is little reason to be. They’re probably angry at the car behind them for looking angry at them. You bang your steering wheel. You swear. To yourself. And then loudly. You check your watch. Another minute has ticked by. Then another five. And you’ve moved 20 yards and to make it worse when the green lights ahead of you turn green, nobody moves, because nobody can move because people creep into yellow boxes and take chances because that’s what you do when you’re caught in traffic.

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The unbridled joy of thumbing the open roads

Thu, May 05, 2016

I saw someone thumbing the other day. And I thought serial killer. Freak. What are they up to now, trying to stop cars with a flick of their thumbs. Should I call the guards. Get them arrested, these weirdoes standing by the side of the road, expecting people to stop and let them in. Do they not know that these people have seen Crimecall? And have Twitter. And read scary reports about freaks out at night. Even though this is the morning time. And serial killers tend not to thumb.

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Forty years of staying on the line

Thu, Apr 28, 2016

Forty years is a major milestone. For humans and for organisations. To span four decades mean you span almost two generations of change. To span four decades in Ireland means you span almost a hundred years of attitudinal change.

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Time to stay home and be counted

Thu, Apr 21, 2016

If you’re planning a bit of extra marital atin’ over the fence, spreading the wild oats and praying for a crop failure, then next Sunday night is not the night to do it. Not this year anyway. Cos this is the night that the hotels of the country will be scoured to make sure that everyone in the room (registered or not) is lined up again a wall and counted for the purposes of the Census. For one night, fight your desire to avail of low-rate Sunday rates for liaisons of love. That’s the night that the staff will kick in the door, tap ya on the shoulder while you’re in flagrante delicto, ask who are you, what’s your name, have you any kids, how do you get to work, and how the hell did you manage to get into that position without ruining your back?

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Libraries — the delivery room of ideas for the enquiring mind

Thu, Apr 14, 2016

There’s something strange about being alone in a library in the dead in night, when everyone has gone home; the ‘librarial’ silence is even more silent, the expectant hum of a noiseless space long extinguished, the flapping of a turned page no longer a possibility. That sort of silence. Dead silence.

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’Twas just resting in my account. Honest

Thu, Apr 07, 2016

You never think these things will catch up with you. Do you? I mean, there I was in bed on Tuesday morning, just an ordinary Joe Soap, and I discover that I’ve all this money and belongings stashed away in the British Virgin Islands. (British and virgin, two words you don’t often see together). So I says to herself “Herself, what did ya do with the money I gave ya to hold, to mind for me. Did ya give it to anyone?” And Herself, she says, “Himself, I did. I gave it to a fella in the bank who said he’d mind it for us.”

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Connacht Rugby adds to growing sporting culture

Thu, Mar 31, 2016

A rather large unfurled Leinster flag, held high by two poles, blocked the views of fervent Connacht Rugby fans at the Galway Sportsground on Saturday.

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A week when so many never came home

Thu, Mar 24, 2016

Lives and families take a long while to construct. They are the product of memory, of experience, of thousands of repetitive episodes of the mundane. Of night time tuck-ins, or morning wake-up calls. Of late night pick-ups, Of meals prepared. And shared. And moments of greatness and of nothingness. Of hugs and tantrums. Families in whatever shape they take are honed over a lifetime of experiences, not all memorable, but all bricks in the wall that construct the web of togetherness.

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Next generation of Irish start from a stronger base

Wed, Mar 16, 2016

The past is indeed a foreign country. The past in Ireland certainly has been.

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One day I will....

Thu, Mar 10, 2016

Champagne was sipped and chocolates savoured in the office of the Galway Advertiser on Tuesday. Courtesy of owner Ronnie O’Gorman, it was a simple but thoughtful recognition of the female employers to celebrate International Women’s Day.

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