Six Million Dollar Boys…

This particular story was particularly enjoyable to write.

Growing up in the seventies as I did, I still have memories of an overcrowded car where we alternated our positions on the backseat to kneeling-sitting-kneeling (there were only six of us then), and we still managed to go pick my grandmother up to take us all to the beach.

My brother kept pigeons, and was part of a club.  He raced them from various parts of Ireland and Scotland, and like many other ‘fanciers’ of the day, he was obsessed with Belgian pigeons.   I cleaned the sheds for pocket money, and would travel with him if he was trying to trace the path of a Belgian race.  Cavan was a regular spot for him to send young birds to, and his birds won a few races too.

It was a time of constant ‘troubles’ on the news, bootboys, skinheads, dock-strikes, cod-wars, and the Eurovision dominated the radio waves, and fellas falling over their own trousers when trying to run away filled the streets.  The whole look and feel of the time is very mixed up, and has never really been revived.  Skinny bodies with huge dandruff riddled mullet heads, trousers with six button waistbands up to the ribs, invisible dick-lines, and then baggy as tents once nearing the knee.  Shirts with gliding collars and high ribbed tank-tops … all slightly glam, until the 16 hole high boots were put on, and the whole thing became far more menacing.  The walk of the time was a ten-to-two cowboy, and if you could get hold of a crombie, you went up the ranks.

For Mash get Smash was on tv, and in the shops; Angel Delight on every Sunday table; Shoot in every boy’s bag, Jackie in every girl’s; The Beano and Dandy, currency for the week, they could be swapped for a Whizzer and Chips …

Even thinking about the story sets me off back into the seventies …

It made Kevin Barry’s shortlist for a Moth Magazine competition too, so can’t be too bad … try the link if you fancy having a read.


Book release…

Matty Monroe in Paradise has just been published on Kindle.

This is a collection of seven short stories, many of which I’ve been putting together over the last year or two.  Writing them when working on the yet to be released novel ‘By Hook or by Crooke’, I found writing the shorts both good to get my head in gear for some food, which I invariably needed, but also just to maintain that discipline with the form itself.  I often find I like the more heightened style of writing found in the short form, and if I’ve an hour or two, and have hit a wall – or gone blank for a while on the novel – messing around with a short can be enjoyable and distracting, and oddly productive too.

I now have three of these short collections completed, and will upload them all, as well as the final ‘Complete’ collection ‘Three Dead Dogs’, which will contain an extra story of the title name.

Two of the stories in the complete collection (1 each from books 2 & 3) will also have short films that you can get to via the URL links, and I can only apologise for not having a third film ready for this, the first book in the series.  The films were fun to make, and have been shot and edited by the most excellent Stormfresh Photos.  They’re a simple instructive demonstration of the process involved in making the meals, and both come in around 2 minutes long, and can either be used as a stop-start recipe to follow, or just watched, before following the written recipe, which has now become much clearer after seeing the film.

My favourite story is the title story ‘Matty Monroe in Paradise’, probably followed by ‘The Bus to Ballybeg’, which tickles me, as I’ve set it in the town I was born, but it could’ve been set almost anywhere in Ireland.  I’ve popped a link on the bottom of this, if you fancy popping along and having a look.



Read ‘Matty Monroe in Paradise’ at