Archive for February, 2012

Dear reader, meet Screenreader

Posted in Music, New Stuff on February 29, 2012 by Johnnie

At the end of January this year, young Cork trio Screenreader released their self-produced debut album Disconnect The Dots.  On first listen, there’s little doubt that it’s a “homemade” record but it doesn’t take long to grow on you.   It’s a charming triumph of aspiration and conviction over quite obvious fiscal restriction.  These are attic recordings with loftier ambitions.  On show are some blisteringly good riffs, inventive arrangements and lyricism that often walks that perilous line between inspired and complete codswallop. Continue reading

So, whatever happened to Rocky Johansson?

Posted in Fiction on February 29, 2012 by Johnnie


‘Mock Turtles… Menswear… Jesus Jones… it’s a treasure trove of ‘where are they now?’ bands.   What else have you got in there?’

‘Well… what I was looking for was… where is it… here!  Remember this guy?’

‘Rocky Johansson… remind me..?’

‘“There’s only one of you? / Damn me if that’s true / Your love is like headlice / headlice…

 ‘Oh, God, Miserable Farewell, that takes me back.  You had a t-shirt of him, didn’t you?’

‘And the rest!  Posters, books, magazines… I bought everything he ever did.  Not that there was much.’

‘Look at that photo – looks a bit up himself, if you ask me.’

‘He probably was, a bit.  But I liked him.  He was the first star I wanted to run away and marry.’ Continue reading

Embracing hunger for Lent

Posted in Ecumenical Matters, Food & Drink on February 20, 2012 by Johnnie


I don’t normally observe the annual Shrove/pancake/ fat  Tuesday routine.  To me, it’s always been, as Curiosity Killed The Cat would say, just another ordinary day.  Nor have I ever thought about giving anything up for Lent – not for any anti-religious purpose,  just because I couldn’t be bothered thinking about sacrifices.  Well, that’s about to change.  This year, I’m going all ‘austerity’ and embracing hunger.

I don’t mean that to sound flippant, pious or patronising; there is neither a political nor a charitable motivation, it’s not about solidarity or empathy.  It’s not about trying to make anyone feel guilty either.  It is, perhaps, my acceptance that gluttony is too easy for those of us fortunate enough to be able to buy food.  Even that sounds vaguely Bono-like.  All I mean is that I’d like to take ownership of my own hunger and actually enjoy it as a controllable urge. Continue reading

Death becomes us, on the internet

Posted in Dearly Departed, Grave News on February 15, 2012 by Johnnie


How fondly the dead are remembered.  For most people, but most especially the extraordinarily famous, their death becomes a celestial slate wiper.   No matter the circumstances of their demise – suicide, years of self-abuse, murder, or ‘natural causes’ – all sins are returned to the shadows as the internet comes alive with inconsolable grief.   Repeatedly, press, television, and the online kangaroo court known as Twitter, focus on all the good the deceased ever did, and can never do again.  In death, angels are born.

The living are not afforded such luxury.   Continue reading

Shadows of Love

Posted in Fiction on February 14, 2012 by Johnnie

Creak… thump… thump… rattle… rattle… … … thump.

It takes only a few seconds each morning but it’s a time I look forward to and dread in equal measure. She’s regular as clockwork, and quite the best reason in the world for me to get up at 3.30 and vacate the bedroom. I can’t be there, I have to be gone, and now I actually look forward to that half-hour’s breathing space before she performs her little routine.

The first time I heard it was only a few days after she passed on. I’d been having a dreadful night’s sleep; somehow, I knew something wasn’t quite right in the house.

Continue reading

Old rope on a soap

Posted in Favourite Publications, Geeks, TV on February 7, 2012 by Johnnie

Oh dear.  Slippers: check.  Cardie: check.  Pipe: definitely on its way.

Today I wrote an email to the editor of venerable Irish weekly Woman’s Way to correct, in as nerdy a manner as one could possibly achieve, one of their little trivia boxes on their soap pages.  Titled ‘The Rules of Soapland’, it stated that, unlike in real life, no two soap characters will have the same first name.  Much as I was tempted to let that go and turn the page, I couldn’t help the little Trekkie at the back of my brain shouting: “Well, actuallaay, in point of fact…” Continue reading