Archive for the Advice Category

New Year, new list of ill-conceived, unachievable goals – or not

Posted in Advice, Favourite Publications, Words on January 12, 2014 by Johnnie

Sic itur ad astra

Every Sunday, I sit on my favourite armchair for approximately seven minutes (an unscientific average) and feel truly excited and inspired by the possibilities within my grasp. There’s a reason why this happens. I have flicked through my favourite sections of the Sunday papers for those seven minutes, made a mental reminder to return to my favourite parts of those sections, noted anything new or surprising that should get my full attention later, become unnecessarily lost in new fashion trends, and then I put it all down, knowing that other things require my immediate attention: usually work deadlines, grocery shopping and breakfast. Yet, as I set about those tasks, the nuggets of culture and indulgence I glimpsed for those few minutes remain snapping, crackling and popping in my head, filling me full of optimism and belief – a personal, silent thrill of assurance that everything I used to think was inevitable and just around the corner in life really are there for the taking.

Then work starts, each line of it pricking my enthusiasm with its own individual fishing hook, until my soul is perforated and dragged down, and my optimism bleeds and flows, halal-style, into the gutter of drudgery. Sunday morning begins as the tremulous launch pad of impending greatness, but soon darkens and creeps into Sunday afternoon, which begins as the precipice beyond which lies the piercing stalagmites of Monday and the soul-sapping, inspiration-dampening week ahead.

It’s a little bit like New Year’s resolutions: the gusto and bluster of those inebriated self-promises generally withers and dies within a few seconds’ exposure to reality, routine and the supermarket crisp aisle.

So, in 2014, I’m going to set myself some better, more realistic goals. Healthier, happier, more fulfilled. That’ll be me.

Here we are, then: Continue reading

Reader Poll: The results are in…

Posted in Advice, Grave News, Unwanted Comebacks, WhingeRantMoan, Words on March 6, 2013 by Johnnie



Yes, it’s March, so obviously it’s spring time and this blog’s year-end. Actually, regular readers (who aren’t regular in the conventional sense) will point out that they thought the blog ended ages ago, such has been the sporadic nature of posting. So, it was to a few of those regular souls that I sent a poll about IHGN‘s very future.

The questions were:

1. Are you still a reader of I Have Grave News

2. If not, why not?

3. If so – thanks – but what would you like to read more of here?

In a sobering show of indifference, a “whopping” 20% of those polled bothered to reply.

The results were: Continue reading

Medium rare

Posted in Advice, Dearly Departed, Geeks, Star "Style" on September 3, 2010 by Johnnie

I’m not one for giving free advertising to any old spooky crank but I feel it’s my duty to give this chap a little exposure.  Meet John, who’s evidently the Austin Powers of the parapsychological world; he’s not just a psychic medium and clairvoyant, he’s an international psychic medium and clairvoyant.  Just cross his palm with plastic and the fog will lift on “your pathway of destiny”, allowing you to more easily “explore the possibilities of your future”, all from the comfort of your own home if necessary.  The boy will even attend your house parties – what could be more perfect and reassuring for those getting on a bit than a clairvoyant turning up at your party to remind you that the dead still hang around and talk to parties?  All the same, image is everything these days and it’s a pity John didn’t explore the future possibilities of his own hair loss, allow the fog to lift from his own mirror and listen to the voices from well before the grave:  Continue reading

Skirting around the real education issues in Dublin 4

Posted in Advice, Star "Style" on September 2, 2010 by Johnnie

With schools returning from their summer recess, the focus shifts to our children’s education once again. At this time of year, difficult choices lie ahead of them; as always, one wonders just how well-equipped they are to cope and whether potentially life-changing decisions, which have to be taken at such a tender age, will stand up to close scrutiny.

Take the words of one concerned young girl on a public message board as an example of the sorts of dilemmas facing today’s teenagers: “I was just wondering how short you think the skirts girls wear to Wezz should be? Some of them are ridiculously short but what do you think is acceptable? Just curious…!”

Finding sensible, supportive advice to these sensitive issues from reliable sources is crucial at this stage of a child’s development. Fortunately for this particular poster, a sound, commonsense opinion was forthcoming: “I think skirts look reli hot, wit a respectable top, lyk if u have a reli short skirt and a reli revealing top, u just luk cheap.” Continue reading

The first sign of madness

Posted in Advice, Film, Grave News, Words on August 12, 2010 by Johnnie

I talked to myself a lot as child.  I would act out TV dramas on my own, playing all the parts, goodies and baddies (but obviously romantic entanglements were out because I couldn’t play women, and there was no such thing as ‘gay’ when I was growing up), always timed to last as long as the real programmes themselves, including ad breaks (where I’d go to the toilet or have a snack).  I was frequently overheard, because your childhood bedroom is never the soundproofed, reality-protected haven you hope it is.  For these crimes, I was always described as a “Cadbury’s” (as in, Fruit and Nut) and threatened with the “wee green bus”, the one that comes to take you “away”.  The threat was never rescinded, as I recall.

I still do talk to myself.  Sadly, the threat of the straitjacket never stopped me.  Not only do I talk to myself, I answer too; the first and second signs, they always said.  I still catch myself mid-self-conversation, no matter where I am.  Usually it’s around the house but it can just as easily be when I’m walking a busy street, alongside traffic, where drivers, passengers and commuters can see me and judge what they see perfectly adequately.  I get mildly embarrassed at the time but it goes away.  The wee green bus to Bedlam hasn’t pulled up quite yet. Continue reading

Waiter, there’s a woman in my soup

Posted in Advice, Star "Style", Travel on July 30, 2010 by Johnnie

It’s hard to believe that the boom-time obsession with spas hasn’t gone away.  Glossy mags, weekend supplements and the provincial press are still plugging these idiotic, aery-faery dens of self-gratification, a hangover from what already looks like the tackiest bygone era in history.

We’re already well into the first year of a new decade, and a more circumspect era, you’d think.  I had hoped most of the detestable things about the noughties (Ireland’s answer to the south of England’s Thatcher era) would have dissipated like the fads they were.   I should say, it’s certainly not that the noughties were all bad – let’s face it, any decade that began with The Gray Twins, David and Macy, as its biggest selling musical artists had really nowhere to go but up.

But it did herald the worst extremes of lame, low culture – not just the obsession with self-pampering, but the lamentable cult of non-celebrities taking up magazine space where actual celebrities would be, were there any actual celebrities.  Continue reading

The effluent society

Posted in Advice, Food & Drink, Shopping on May 10, 2010 by Johnnie

I was making my way home on Saturday night (quickly, to the strains of ‘Funky Town’ by Pseudo Echo), and, despite fully expecting the streets to be swaying with drunken idiots, and peppered with discarded snack boxes and copious pools of chunky semi-digestion that operate as sole-mines all over Temple Barf, I still found myself being absolutely repulsed by the sight of grown men urinating up against walls.  Not even the slightest pretence of hiding behind something (normally something really clever, like a lamppost), but right there in full, streetlit view of everyone.  Apart from vomit-dodging, there’s little in life more exhilarating than skipping over a flowing stream of alcoholic piss.  I was delighted to see that a party of well-dressed European tourists got to witness for themselves this entertaining display of Jedi-like liquid-sabre wielding.  I’d love to know what they’ll write on their postcards home: “Loving Olde Dublin – interesting and quaint pre-Roman sewer network, which criss-crosses the footpath-cum-litter-bins, which is both fun to negotiate and aromatic to inhale, like German wine.”  Possibly.

Anyway, the sight of these ambassadors for Dublin tourism reminded me of the product you see above: the ‘Pocketoilet’, which is a ‘glove box necessity’, apparently.  It’s only for drivers?  They’re taking the piss, aren’t they?  Why not for drunks?  Continue reading