Innuendo By Queen Review!

Listening to Innuendo by Queen (1991) is sad for any Queen fan because you know that Freddie Mercury was near the end of his life at the time. Up to the end Mercury displayed his vocals to supreme effect leaving us all inspired and in awe as he did through all his music with Queen and indeed in his solo career as well. Innuendo is a strong album flowing from thundering rock classics into emotive rock pieces with ease. Let’s take a look at each track in detail:

Innuendo

The title track on the album opens proceedings. It has this dramatic intro which starts the album in good style. This song is theatrical rock at it’s finest mixed in with a gospel feel. There is a perfect mash-up of so many styles of music that normally wouldn’t go together or that most bands wouldn’t dare put together. That’s something you have got to love about Queen. Their fearless attitude. The build-up of the music throughout is also spot-on.

I’m Going Slightly Mad

This song by Queen is quirky and fun with a very catchy chorus. I was singing along to it once with my earphones in and my mum asked my sister what I was singing. I think she thought I’d lost it or something. My sister had to explain it was the song! :-)

Headlong

This is a thundering, powerful rock song that has that whole movie soundtrack feel. It has an 1980s’ feel to it and is constructed brilliantly. The guitar is amazing in it. It thunders headlong into your ears and through to your brain!

I Can’t Live With You

I Can’t Live With You is a very catchy, understated tune which is constructed with simplitic beauty.

Don’t Try So Hard

This is a beautiful song and is one of my favourite songs from Innuendo. It just has this beautiful story and lyrics which are inspiring and comforting. What I take from it is that you don’t need to be who other people think you should be or achieve what they think you should achieve. That all you need to do is try your best.

Ride The Wild Wind

Like Headlong, Ride The Wild Wind is a classic thundering rock song that has you headbanging along in an instant. Brimming with attitude.

All God’s People

This has a gospel feel to it. You almost feel like you are in a Church in America. Freddie Mercury was a fantastic rock singer but he was a great singer full-stop. He could sing anything. Gospel, soul, opera … there is a lot of different styles which run through any Queen record and Mercury sang all these styles with effortless ease.

These Are The Days Of Our Lives

It is difficult to listen to this song without thinking of the video for the song. I find that anyway. Every time I hear it I feel quite emotional. This is understated and beautiful and a stunningly written portrait of life. The guitar solo is beautiful and Mercury’s voice has a very storyteller-esque quality to it.

Delilah

This is quite a quirky, romantic song. The thing that always makes me smile in this song is the cat sounds! I love them! :-)

The Hitman

At first I thought this song was called The Hippie. That aside, The Hitman is thundering and full of power. There is a fantastic guitar solo in this song and the flow of the song completely works. Been a hippie of course I would have preferred it to have been called The Hippie but it might not have been rock ‘n’ roll enough. One can’t have everything in life I suppose!

Bijou

This is mainly an instrumental song except for a short part of Freddie singing. It has a very unique, stunning intro and has quite a haunting quality. Beautifully done.

The Show Must Go On

Dramatic and theatrical the closing track has a beautiful flow to it from tempo to tempo. It is very emotive and a great song to build up the ‘ole self-esteem. Stunning, strong and powerful.

Everything (A Book About Manic Street Preachers) By Simon Price Review!

Everything (A Book About Manic Street Preachers) (1999) by Simon Price is a stunning insight into the lives and careers of the Manic Street Preachers from their early days up to the time the book was published.

The book gives a glimpse into their working-class beginnings from Blackwood in Wales during the time of the miner’s strike. Been from a working-class background myself I could understand the aspiration to want to get out of a small town and just do something with your life and music was their way out of the town which Richey described as “a shithole, where the only way to escape was to create your own reality.” The book describes their early days as a band when they would send their music for the attention of A & R departments in London and ask talent scouts to come to see them perform in the local pub and their earlier life as a band when they signed to Damaged Goods and Hevenly and their more long-term signing to independent PR and management company Philip Hall’s Hall Or Nothing which he had founded in 1985 through to their mainstream success and Brit Award wins.

The part in the book about the disappearance of Richey Edwards was written with great compassion unlike a certain documentary called ‘The Vanishing of Richey Manic’ which the writer regrets been involved with stating that he had “entered into the project in good faith, swayed largely by the fact that Steve Lamacq, whom I trusted, was also involved.” Having seen the documentary I can say that I didn’t think he said anything wrong. The problem more lay in the vision of the entire piece and so many other commentators on the show. And the part in the book is also very fair by having various differing opinions on what people think happened to Richey about whether he is still alive or whether he passed on and has a lovely dedication at the beginning to Richey, “This book is dedicated to Richey Edwards, wherever he may be” with below it, “Our romance is having total power because we know we have nothing to lose. We’re secure in the knowledge that we already lost a long time ago”.

I love Simon Price’s style of writing. I read a lot of books where the style is very objective and it’s so dull and so boring that the person, band or subject might be interesting but by the time they are through the overview or something I’m ready to fall asleep. This book was different. It was written amazing but it was also written with a human quality unlike some writer rattling off facts all the time and not injecting a bit of a style/personality to proceedings. It was very obvious that he was a fan as well as a journalist who had interviewed them over the years. I loved the bit when he spoke about a scene which didn’t make the band’s ‘You Love Us’ music video which Price was there for, “Nor did a shot involving Richey looking unspeakably gorgeous in a white wedding dress, a hand grenade stuffed in his mouth like an apple. I would have married him there and then.” It was just wonderfully down-to-earth and I think we’ve all looked at someone we fancy looking all manner of hot and thought that so it was very relateable and yes I could relate to it!

Alongside the eleven chapters there is ten essays analysing various aspects to do with the band including their sexuality, fans and the fan culture, self-harm, Welsh nationalism, their feelings about been a rock ‘n’ roll band and America and their relation to the band. It is an intriguing, indepth book that you will just get lost in. It is really interesting and a thoroughly, thoroughly good read.

Placebo Gig Review!

I went to see Placebo recently with my sister. It was an amazing night out. It was our first time at The Olympia and it’s a lovely theatre and the toilet was right next to us throughout the show which was brilliant in case old nature called!

Support was by Scottish band The Mirror Trap and they did seven songs and then Placebo came on. The lighting was pretty astonishing. No expense spared. It was brilliant and looked absolutely amazing. Songs included in the set were The Bitter End, Meds and Special Needs which they haven’t sung live in a while. The encore consisted of four songs starting with Begin The End then we had their version of Running Up That Hill and Post Blue and ending with Infra Red. Brian Molko’s voice is incredible and he comes across really nice and he’s sexy as hell. I didn’t think he could be even better-looking in reality because he’s so insanely handsome on TV and stuff but he actually is! He was very nice to look at indeed! He has this incredibly sexy voice and he spoke about sex which was, well brilliant. :-) He also spoke about the heritage of Dublin, noticing old fans and welcoming new fans. Stefan was brilliant on guitar and is very tall in reality. I knew he was tall but he was even taller in reality than I imagined he would be. Matt was amazing on the drums as well. He is a very passionate, powerful drummer. The instrumentals were amazing and they all seemed so nice. They came across really nice and Brian was very witty too. An amazing night and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

Vids Found On YouTube

Special Needs

Special K

Loud Like Love

Begin The End

I seen my camera and a bit of me rocking in this one. Hehe! :-) It isn’t hard to miss with it been a digital amongst mostly phones! Me and technology can be a little rusty at times!

The Bitter End

The X Factor Concert 2015 Review!

Recently my mum, sister and I went to The X Factor 2015 concert at the Three Arena.

We had a lovely time at the concert with everyone been brilliant live. My favourites live though were Ben, Andrea and Stevi. This year for the first time (well in the last three years anyway) there was an announcement of who was coming next which my mum has been saying for ages and she was right, it really worked with the show. The lightening was amazing and all the effects were too. Fleur and Stevi were surprises because I didn’t think they were going to be as good as they were and they were great. Fleur’s standout was Thriller and Stevi’s was Footloose. He’s not a bad singer and a great entertainer. Fleur has both the singing and the dancing skills. I don’t know how she does the two together and sometimes in heels too!

Andrea has this incredible emotive voice. It’s so amazing. You kind of sit there in awe. He’s brilliant. He sang four songs including my personal favourite cover of his Earth Song and then Ben is just as hot in reality. But his accent is even sexier. It’s very Croydon and very beautiful. He did six songs which included my favourite of his Highway To Hell which I just completely rocked out to of course! It was so lovely seeing a rocker as the winner and that reflected quite a lot with the crowd because there was more rockers than usual. He’s the best winner I’ve seen in the three years.

Lauren also gave a brilliant, slowed-down performance of Happy while Only The Young gave a fun uptempo performance of I Want You Back. Stereo Kicks done a lovely job of a Beatles medley while Jay sang Sigma’s Changing well.

Fiction: The Blood That Pours

This story is called The Blood That Pours and it deals with a lot of issues. The issue it deals with the most is domestic violence. I don’t think enough awareness is brought to male domestic violence and there is a lot of men suffering in silence. I also deal with racism and homophobia in the piece. I tried to be as realistic about how racists and homophobes speak and act, how I’ve heard them speak and act. It was difficult writing the violence scenes and the way racists and homophobes go on but as a writer my job is try to put a message into stories and if I sugar-coated the scenes I wouldn’t be writing anything thought-provoking. I don’t sweep things under the carpet. I think that only creates ignorance or people think it’s ok to be like that. I hope you all find the story a good read. Thank you.

Oscar watched the disapproving looks flow across the table like daggers. His parents and his wife were looking at his younger brother’s new husband with their noses tilted in the air. Oscar knew why from experience. He was black. He listened to the nervous anxiety dripping into his brother’s words as he tried to ease the tension with tales about their life in London. No one was clearly listening. His brother soon got the message and stopped talking. From there ensued an awkward silence. The third Oscar counted in the evening. Oscar wasn’t sure he could handle much more of this. He looked to his new brother-in-law.
“Jay, welcome to the family.”
They shook hands. His mother handed him a napkin which he didn’t use. His wife threw him a dirty look. More silence ensued.
All the way home in the car his wife Alice didn’t speak. They walked into their house still in silence.
“What’s wrong Alice?”
“What do you mean Oscar? I would have thought that was obvious.”
“Well it isn’t so please do enlighten me.”
“The way you acted at the dinner table.”
“What about it? The dude’s married to my brother. How else was I suppose to act?”
“It’s unnatural.”
“What is?”
“I’m not the only one who thinks like this. Look, I can just about take your brother been gay. I can just about take him been a hippie. But marrying a black man! No, there is a boundary that one must not cross.”
“Alice, this is the 21st century …”
“Meaning I’m not entitled to an opinion?!”
“I didn’t say that but I’m entitled to be disgusted by that opinion. That is after all my opinion to be disgusted.”
“Look, just ensure you clean out the car and clean your hand. Otherwise don’t come near me or Bella when she comes back from her grandparents. And don’t touch anything in this house before you clean. We don’t need … well germs spreading.”
“Jay is perfectly clean!”
“Don’t raise your voice to me!”
“You have been raising your voice since this argument started!”
She raises her fist and punches him twice. Neither of them speak for a few moments. Then the usual ritual begins. She says he made her do it. She apologises, says it won’t happen again. He holds back tears thinking of his father’s words.
A man never cries. It is a sign of weakness.
She begins to bathe his eye. While her words fade in and out of his ears he wonders how it ever got to this stage. There had been a time when they were young and in love. A time when they were high school sweethearts bunking off school just so they could be together. They had married at twenty-two. It had went downhill from there. The first time she had hit him was two weeks after their wedding. She had told him that it was a once-off. But it hadn’t been. It seemed that whenever they disagreed she couldn’t contain her rage and verbally fight like normal couples did. He had decided to get out of the marriage but then Alice had fell pregnant with Bella and he had stayed. He loved his daughter but other than her it seemed like this marriage was a prison only in the outside world.
“You frighten me when you raise your voice. It’s the only way I know how to react.”
“You know I’d never hit you Alice. I don’t hit women. Or anyone for that matter.”
“I didn’t mean to hurt you. It won’t happen again.”
She kisses his lips gently and runs her fingers through his hair. He gets up.
“I’m going to bed Alice.”
“Can we come stay with you and Alice for the few days? Mum and Dad are making us feel very uneasy.”, his brother Clark asked as they sat down for a coffee in the cafe.
“I don’t know. Alice … Alice mightn’t like it.”
“Why? Oh right. I get it.”
“I’m sorry Clarky. But look, there’s a nice, little hotel in town …”
“It’s alright Os. We’ll check it out … since when did you start wearing a hat?”
“Ha?”
“Remember when I was wearing hats you’d say hats were for losers.”
“Well that was ten years ago.”
“Yeah I suppose.”
“Besides it’s a baseball cap. It isn’t exactly like your hippie DIY creations!”
“They were works of art! Coco Chanel, eat your heart out!”
“I have missed you.”
“You too.”
“So all good in London?”
“Except when we meet Jay’s literary friends.”
“Snobs?”
“Well not all of them. A few do look down their noses when I mention the dreaded R word. But us romance writers have to live! Everything good here?”
“Yeah. Alice treats me amazingly. We have the perfect life. And Bella is about to start school. It’s all wonderful. You and Jay?”
“Ah he’s alright. His jokes leave a lot to be desired for!”
“But he’s good to you?”
“Yeah. He’s gentle, kind.”
“Good.”
Oscar sat wrapping Bella’s books with wallpaper in preparation for school. Alice came in. She had been at the shops with Bella. She scanned her kohl-lined eyes over the scene in front of her. She took some ice-cream from one of the shopping bags.
“Bella, how about you get some ice-cream and watch some cartoons?”, she said while keeping her eyes on the wallpaper.
“Yay!”, Bella said and rushed off.
“What is this Oscar?!”
The sternness in her voice startled Oscar.
“What?”
“This is seriously a joke right?!”
“What is?”
She walks over to him menacingly.
“Don’t play all innocent with me! You know what! This! Wallpaper! Do you want our daughter to be some bullied little twerp?! Have no friends like her father didn’t?! She doesn’t even have the luxury of hanging out with her younger brother like you since her father isn’t man enough to produce another child!”
Fear rises inside Oscar.
“I can change it Alice …”
She takes a step back.
“Make sure that you do. I’ll get some nice paper and you can undo this mess tomorrow!”, she says storming out to join Bella.
Oscar sits rigid on the sofa. As his fingers peel off the wallpaper he feels his hands shaking gently and then more violently. The book falls. He picks it up and starts peeling again. He wants to fight back but his fear is strong. Fear of never seeing his daughter again. Fear of saying that his wife beats him. Fear of the world knowing that he gets beaten up by a woman.
It was the last day of Clark’s and Jay’s visit to America and Oscar met them to have a few final drinks before they left.
“Alice couldn’t make it. She has an appointment.”, he explained.
“That’s fine. We just wanted to share some news with you Os. Me and Jay are going to start a family.”
“What?”
“We’ve been thinking about it for a bit and the time just feels right now.”, Jay smiled.
Oscar’s head was spinning.
You can get out of a marriage. It’s a lot harder to get out when you have kids. Yeah Jay seems a sound dude but what if he changes like Alice did?
“And you two are really sure about this?”
“Of course we are. We want to raise a child to have good values and be good to people and open-minded and happy. And we have so much love to give. Os, say something. I thought you’d be happy for us.”
Oscar sighed.
“Of course I’m happy for you both …”
The door of the bar swung open and Alice stormed in.
“I go home and my Mum is there with Bella. And I see you are drinking in the afternoon! Is that a responsible father?! I guess I couldn’t have expected anything else!”, she shouts alerting the attention of the other people in the bar.
“Alice, he’s only having a few farewell drinks with us before we go back. Two at most …”, Clark interrupts.
“I didn’t ask you to interfere in my marital problems. You have no idea about marriage!”
“Of course I do. I’m married too.”
“You call this a marriage?! You two?! Don’t make me laugh! Two men?! One black man and one white man?! That marriage theory is in your mind sweetie!”
“Don’t talk to my brother like that!”
“You home now!”, Alice snarls.
“He’s not going anywhere with you you mad bitch!”, Clark says getting up.
“Oh and what are you going to do about it?!”, she says squaring up to him.
The bartender returns from the stock room.
“This is a public place. You lot want to argue, do it on the street!”
Out on the street, Alice turns her attention back to Oscar.
“We’re going home now!”, she says grabbing hold of his arm.
Clark rushes over and grabs his other arm. They begin a struggle pulling him one way and the other.
“Crystal Lee was right about you! She told me recently you’d bullied her at school. Haven’t changed or matured much since, have you?!”, Clark shouted.
“Crystal’s a coked-up overly introverted weirdo!”, Alice shouted in retort.
“Is it any wonder with what you put her through?!”
“I will not be held responsible for someone’s drug addiction! We all have to fight those imperfections!”
“Well you have enough imperfections darling to last you a lifetime!”
“Will both of you just stop it?! For heaven’s sake, stop it!”, Oscar shouts.
Neither of them listen and the struggle continues until his hat falls off. He quickly gets down to pick it up.
“Oh my god Os, where did you get that black eye from?”, Clark asks.
Oscar puts his hat on quickly.
“Got into a brawl but you should see the other guy!”
“Brawling and drinking is about the height of your strengths!”, Alice snarls.
“You don’t get into brawls.”, Clark says, the shock and sadness evident in his voice.
“Well Alice is right. Lately I’ve been stressed and drinking a lot and getting into fights …”
“You’re lying …”
“I’m not Clark. Good luck to you and Jay with starting your family. Safe journey. I have to go home.”, Oscar said quickly and left.
Alice gave Clark a dirty look and followed.
“That bitch is hitting him …”, Clark began as he watched the figures of Oscar and Alice disappear into the distance.
“You don’t know that.”
“You got a better theory Jay?”
“Look, he’s physically stronger than her. It isn’t logical babe.”
“You don’t know my brother. He wouldn’t hit her back. He’d think he shouldn’t. And she’s taking advantage of that. And he won’t even release the pain through tears. Our Dad always told us to cry was not the way a man acted. Os took it to heart. I just seen it as restrictive, old-fashioned nonsense. He needs to cry. He can’t keep all that bottled up. Look, honey you go on back to London. Hold the fort. I’m staying here for a bit.”
“What?! But you have the deadline with the book …”
“I can write here. Look, I can’t leave now. He’s my brother. I love him and I’m not leaving him here alone fighting her himself.”
“Oh I don’t know. Getting involved in other people’s relationships never ends well.”
“But I have to try and stop him been hurt.”
“If you poke your nose in I’m more worried about you getting hurt. People can be funny about these things. If you’re wrong and you accuse his wife …”
“I’m not going to accuse anyone. At least not yet.”
“Ok but remember to call.”
“Of course I will.”
Jay cups the side of Clark’s face in his hand and kisses him lingeringly on the lips.
“Be safe.”
“I’ll walk with you to the airport.”
“Ok.”
They begin to walk to the airport.
“I should have married Joe! He would have set me up for life! He has his own accountancy firm! Instead I married a carpenter with a drink problem!”, Alice shouted as they came into the house.
“I haven’t got a drink problem!”
“You were drinking at half two in the afternoon!”
“Does the time matter?! I was hardly getting blind drunk!”
“What kind of an example is that to Bella?!”
“What?! I didn’t have Bella in the bar with me!”
“And did you think of the torture she would have to endure in school from the other kids?! Daddy was in the bar drinking with a black man!”
“Oh for heaven’s sake Alice no one is even going to take a blind bit of notice of that. Maybe if it was the 1950s which I’m pretty sure you wish it still was!”
She punches him in the stomach twice and he falls to the floor in agony clutching his stomach. She begins an onslaught of kicking while he is on the floor in his ribs, his legs and his back. With each kick he begins to feel weaker and weaker. Blood is flowing onto the carpet beside him.
He lies on the floor feeling weak in his body. He stares into space wondering how it got to this stage. Why it had to be him that married the woman from hell? She comes over and sits down beside him. He wants to move away from her but he feels too weak. She takes him into her arms and he tries his best to struggle free.
“Oscar don’t be like that with me. I just lost my head. How else would a good mother react when her daughter’s reputation is been destroyed?”
“A good mother probably wouldn’t beat her husband up in response. And reputation, she’s five years old!”
His words feel difficult to get out of his mouth because his lip is burst and still bleeding.
“But a mother worries. You wouldn’t understand. A mother’s love is stronger than a father’s could ever be.”
“I love that little girl just as much as you.”
“In your own way …”
“Just as much.”
She’s the only reason I’m still here.
His cell phone goes off on the floor next to him where it fell as he had fell to the floor. Clark’s name flashes up on the screen.
“It’s Clark …”
“Don’t tell him anything.”
She picks up the phone, answers it and hands it to Oscar.
“Hey Clark.”
“Hey. Just ringing up to see if you’re alright after earlier …”
“I’m fine bro. Absolutely fine. But look I’ve got to go. Alice and I are going out to a friend’s barbeque. I’ll call soon.”
“Os …”
The phone call ends.
“ … I’m staying in America for a bit.”, Clark finishes even though he knows the call has ended.
He slumps himself on his hotel bed and begins to cry. His brother had always been his best friend as well as his brother. It hadn’t been a case of having the same blood only in common. They were close. He remembered his brother standing up for him when he was been bullied, helping him through all his problems and watching out for him when he used to date the bad boys of the neighbourhood growing up. He remembered going to rock concerts with him, talking for hours about their love lives or celebrities they fancied and catching up on the football and baseball results together. But now when he needed him most he felt so helpless. He punches the pillow and cries heavier. His mind is filling with thoughts of his brother’s black eye and the horror of what else she has done to him.
Not to Oscar. He’s a good person. Kind. Gentle. I’ll kill that fucking bitch!
“Is Oscar here Alice?”, Clark asked at the door when he came over the next day.
“I thought you were going back to London.”
“I decided a little more time in America would be a nice break. Been snowed under lately with the book.”
“How long are you staying?”
“Not sure. Haven’t decided yet. Depends. So is he here?”
“He’s not feeling too well at the moment …”
“What did you do to him?!”
“You are letting your imagination run away with you! His flu recurred …”
“He seemed fine yesterday. Recur overnight, did it?”
“Sarcasm. Learn that in London, did you?”
“I like to think it was always there. Well if he’s ill I must bring back some soup for him …”
“I’ll give it to him.”
“I want to see my brother Alice.”
“Well you can’t. It’s …”
“Contagious?”
“Well yes. Very contagious.”
“You are so predictable.”, he says barging in past her.
“Where is he Alice?”
“You really better think hard about your next move!”
“Threatening me, are you love?”
He opens the door of the bedroom where Oscar is lying in bed with bruises on his face, black around his eyes and a burst lip. Clark feels tears brimming under his eyes.
“Os …”
Words desert him. Faced with the vision of his brother in such a bad way he feels like vomiting.
How could anyone do this to another human being?
“Clark, I got into a fight with the wrong guy …”
“Stop it Os. I know what’s happening here. Don’t shut me out. I’m your brother. I love you.”
“I’d like for you to leave.”
“What? No, I’m not leaving you now.”
He rushes to the bed and sits at the side.
“You need to go to the hospital Os.”
“Clark, I’m fine.”
“You’re not fine! I want to help. Tell me how I can.”
“Help? Look bro I just got into a fight. There’s nothing to help with. Had too much to drink. Shooted my mouth off. The guy got angry. That’s it.”
“Please Os.”
“Please what?”
“If there’s something more going on here, please don’t deal with this on your own.”
Oscar laughed. It sounded like a fake, nervous laugh.
“There’s nothing going on here. I told you what happened. Don’t be silly, worrying yourself like that. You are a born worrier Clarky. But thanks all the same. For caring I mean.”
All the time Clark could feel Alice’s eyes boring down on them with a vicious, warning glare. She seemed to him like this woman possessed by something. The devil? Rage? Power? All three? Whatever it was it created a dangerous aura. The type of person you hope your brother never ends up with and the situation that you hope your loved one never ends up in. Sharing their life with a demon possessed by evil. Intent on hurting everyone including those she was supposed to love. Choosing the evil path over the good every time.
Two days later, Oscar came to see Clark with Bella.
“I have to go and get some things in town. Do you fancy coming with us Clark?”
“Um, yeah sure. But Os, can we talk first?”
“I was hoping you might say that.”
Clark smiled to Bella.
“Bel, do you want to watch some cartoons before we go on this big day trip?”
“Yeah Uncle Clark.”, Bella replies happily and Clark makes sure she is settled in front of the television with some lemonade.
He then returns to Oscar in the kitchen.
“Tea? Coffee?”
“Coffee please.”
Oscar begins to make them both some coffee.
“You were … you were right the other day.”, Oscar tentatively begins.
Clark sets the coffee down in front of them.
“I kind of knew that Os. How long has this been happening?”
“Too long. Very soon after we got married it began. I think once we did she felt she owned me. And felt she could do what she liked. I stayed. I stayed because I loved her. Because even though she was no longer the woman I first fell in love with, she was still Alice. And I hoped that maybe this was just, I don’t know, a phase or something that wouldn’t last anyway. Then I chose to get out. Enough was enough. Then Alice became pregnant with Bella and well, I couldn’t leave, could I?”
“You are a good father.”
“And I’d lose Bella Clark. Alice would make out I hit her or something when it is the other way around. And fathers don’t have a leg to stand on in these cases most of the time. Then she wouldn’t let me see Bella. And I can’t leave her with her.”
“Do you think she would hurt her too?”
“I don’t know. I like to think she wouldn’t been her mother. But I can’t take that chance. Maybe not now when she’s kept quiet by ice-cream and cartoons but what about when she’s a teenager? Say she starts dating a guy or girl that Alice doesn’t approve of? Or if she is rebelling? What then? Alice has a very short fuse. It’s frightening. The things the rest of us can verbally argue about she doesn’t seem to be able to.”
Clark wraps his arms around Oscar in a hug and the tears flow from Oscar’s eyes.
“It’s going to be Ok.”, he says to sooth Oscar’s fears but even as he says the words he isn’t sure of them.
“No it won’t. But thanks. Clark, I had a key made of our house. It’d just make me feel safer if you had this.”
He hands the tiny silver key to Clark.
“I feel silly now crying.”
“Don’t.”
In town Oscar goes in to collect a sofa Alice has ordered. Clark and Bella are sitting outside the store. A black man walks by and Clark sees Bella physically flinch. He walks into a grocery store.
“Bel, you alright?”
“Mammy said black people are possessed by the devil …”
No that would be Mammy!
“Did she?”
“Yeah and that we shouldn’t talk to them. There’s this black girl Susie at school and she wanted to be my friend but Mum said I shouldn’t be friends with her. And I ignore her and I feel bad.”
Clark watches as the black man comes out of the grocery store and walks over to a white homeless guy. They begin to talk and laugh. Clark points over at them.
“Look at that Bel. They both seem nice people and they are getting on. I’m married to a black man.”
“Really Uncle Clark?”
“Yeah. His name’s Jay. You’d like him.”
“But I’m not sure I like black people.”
“That’s your mother talking. That isn’t you. I know that isn’t you honey.”
“But it’s me saying it …”
“When you were talking about Susie you said you felt bad for ignoring her. If you didn’t like black people you wouldn’t feel bad for ignoring her. Because you would think that was right. You know it’s wrong. You are a good girl Bel.”
“So all black people are good then?”
“No, I didn’t say that. There’s good black people and good white people. And there’s not so good black people and not so good white people. It doesn’t come down to the colour of a person’s skin. It’s what’s in their hearts. That’s what matters.”
When Clark arrived back at his hotel room, Jay was sitting on the floor with his cases beside him. He smiled to him.
“Well this is a pleasant surprise. What are you doing here?”
Jay begins to get to his feet.
“Well I was midway through a story set in the 18th century about a family …”
“Highly interesting!”, Clark laughed with mock sarcasm.
“Well we can’t all be writing about wedding proposals and the like.”, Jay smiled getting up and giving him a kiss.
“And as I was writing the book Clark I realised I was abandoning my own family when I was needed most.”
“You were hardly abandoning me. You phoned every day.”
“On the phone hardly makes up for real, intimate, physical contact.”, Jay says seductively holding Clark near to him.
“God I’ve missed you.”
“Me or my body?”
“Both. Get inside.”
“Oh I love it when you get all demanding.”
“Shut-up Jay.”, Clark giggles, opening the door and pushing Jay’s cases inside. He then steps inside and pulls Jay inside by his tie.
Alice is sitting in the living-room when Oscar and Bella come in. Her eyes are brimming with sternness.
“Did you meet that man?”, she asks.
“What man Alice?”, Oscar replies.
“Jay? I seen him with his cases in town.”
“That’s Clark’s husband …”, Bella begins.
“So you did meet him Oscar …”
“No. Clark just told me his husband was Jay …”
“Then you must have met Lucy?”
“Bella, go have some sweets and ice-cream. Your mother and I need to talk alone.”
“Yeah that’s right send the child out of the room! Stop her hearing what a lousy father you are! What a lousy man you are!”
Bella looks nervously to her father who mouths lowly to her to go to the kitchen.
“I just don’t think we should be fighting in front of Bella Alice.”
She walks threateningly towards him.
“So what about Lucy? Are you leaving me for her? If you do, I’ll make sure you never see Bella again!”
“I didn’t see Lucy! I was undecided between the two of you in high school. High school! It’s years ago! I chose you!”
More fool me!
“Are you sure you didn’t see her?”
“I’m sure. I swear.”
She backs away from him.
“Ok. Ok. I just get so crazy jealous of you sometimes Oscar. It drives me insane … now I best get in and undo your brother’s guide to parenting with Bella.”
He holds onto her arm.
“How do you mean?”
“Explain to her that it’s not normal to marry a black man when you are white. Explain to her that it isn’t normal for two men to marry.”
“Alice I won’t let you do that.”
“Surely you wouldn’t like your daughter growing up to be one of those hippie-like love to all people types.”
“I want her to grow up treating everyone with respect. I never wanted Bella to be prejudiced Alice. Why on earth would I want that? And I want her to grow up knowing that whoever she loves when she’s older be they a man, a woman, a black person, a white person that she is going to be just as accepted, understood and loved by her father.”
She calmly pulled her arm free.
“Maybe you are right.”
“Really Alice?”
“Yeah. Maybe you are right.”
Oscar smiles and says he’s going in to help Bella with the ice-cream. Alice looks at the scissors on the mantle piece with murderous thoughts abounding in her mind. Just as she is about to reach for it, Oscar turns around and smiles to her. She pulls her hand away quickly before he has noticed.
“You know I’m proud of you.”
“Why?”
“We argued and you didn’t get violent.”
“I hate hurting you.”
“I knew deep down the Alice I loved was still in there.”
“Let’s have a special dinner here tonight? Leave Bella with my parents for the night. Try and get some of the magic back.”
“I’d like that Alice.”, he says going into the kitchen.
Alice begins to set her plan to murder Oscar in motion.
Never again will he disagree with me.
Clark extracted himself from Jay’s arms and sat up at the side of the bed.
“I better go over and see Os. He hasn’t called all day. I’m a bit worried.”
“I’m coming with you …”
“No, you stay here babe. You know how Alice is.”
Jay sits up and places his hand gently on Clark’s shoulder.
“Are you going to be alright?”
“I’ll be fine Jay. I’ll call you on the way back to let you know I’m safe. Ok?”
“You make sure you do.”
Clark leans in and kisses Jay before getting dressed.
“Oh your famous beef stew Alice. Remember we used to have this each summer?”
“You couldn’t get enough of my beef stew or me I seem to remember.”
“Still can’t. Still can’t again.”
Alice sat down across from Oscar at the table in the kitchen.
“Why don’t you select some wine from the fridge?”, Alice smiles.
“White or red darling?”
“You decide Oscar. You always were good with what was a good wine. Remember that time we were in France and you were obsessed with the vineyards.”
“I know. I became a right nerd on that journey which was kind of fun.”
He gets up and goes to the fridge. Alice takes the knife from the kitchen counter when he has his back turned.
Clark walks up to the front door of the house, raises his hand to knock at the door but stops. He already has a bad feeling about this and he doesn’t want to waste time knocking at the door. Instead he takes the key from his pocket and opens the door. When he walks in he sees that there is no one in the living-room and continues to the kitchen. What he sees when he enters the kitchen is the most horrifying sight that every brother dreads. Alice holding a knife above his brother’s back while he is looking in the fridge. Without thinking he grabs another one of the knives from the kitchen counter and rushes at Alice sticking it in her back. Oscar turns around, sees the knife in Alice’s hand as she lies on the floor with the other knife in her back. He looks at Clark who’s face is gone as white as a sheet.
“We need to … to call an ambulance.”, Clark says with tears of fear coming into his eyes.
“I’ll do it. You get out of here. I’ll say it was between us …”
“No! I’m staying. It was self-defense. She was going to kill you. I had no choice. They’ll understand that surely. The ambulance Os …”
Clark pulls out his cell phone when he sees no reaction from Oscar.
“Clark, stop.”
“She’s still alive.”
“We’re the only ones who know that.”
Clark’s mouth falls open.
“Os, what are you saying?”
“She’s poison.”
“We can’t let her die Os!”
Clark begins making the call and this time Oscar doesn’t stop him. However, by the time the ambulance arrive Alice has died and Oscar deep inside can’t say that a part of him isn’t relieved even though she is Bella’s mother. Deep in his heart he is only sad about Alice’s death because his daughter has lost her mother. He isn’t sad to lose his wife.
Oscar and Bella say goodbye to Clark and Jay a few days after the funeral at the house. Clark and Jay go to the airport.
“I killed her mother. Someday I’ll have to tell her that with Os.”
“You saved her father. Look at it that way Clark. You were put in an impossible situation. Heck, if it was my brother I’d have did the same.”
He cuddles into Jay’s side.
“All that you need to think about is those adoption leaflets I brought over. You are going to make a great Dad Clark babe.”
“You too Jay.”
Clark smiles and takes the adoption leaflets from his pocket. He smiles to Jay.
“I kind of got lucky, didn’t I?”
“How do you mean?”
“With you I mean. My brother fell in love with a monster. I got a gentle giant.”
“A gentle giant?! Ok, I’ll take it but do not say that around the place! I have got a macho reputation to uphold here!”, Jay smiles and Clark giggles.
“I love you Jay.”
“I love you too Clark. But you are wrong. I was the one that got lucky.”
“We both did then.”
They kiss.

Rugby’s Irish Women & Men Make It An Irish Weekend Of Glory!

It’s been a fantastic week in Irish rugby! Yay!

First up on Saturday we had the Irish mens’ rugby team doing the business after beating Scotland 40-10 in Murrayfield after Wales bet Italy comfortably 61-20 in Rome earlier in the day and England narrowly missed out on winning the title after beating France 55-35 in an amazing, thrilling match at Tichenham. They needed to win by 26 clear points so Ireland retained their title on points difference. The lovely people at Murrayfield let fans back in to witness Ireland lift the trophy.

Next up was the Irish womens’ rugby team who won both the Triple Crown and championship after beating Scotland 73-3. France’s win over Italy last weekend which gave Ireland the chance to secure complete top honours at the Broadwood Stadium today. Ireland repeated their feat which they already secured in 2013 after a win against Italy 6-3 that year.

Congrats to both and all concerned! Great weekend for us in Irish rugby. Very proud.

Belated Happy Birthday Hozier & A Look Back At His Other Voices Special!

Yesterday was a big Birthday for the amazing Irish singer/songwriter Hozier who turned 25! Happy Birthday to him! In celebration let’s look at three of his cracking tunes:

Take Me To Church

To Be Alone

Angel of Small Death & The Codeine Scene

Recently Hozier appeared on Other Voices which was his first TV show appearance when he was starting out. The show is presented by the also very handsome actor and presenter Aidan Gillen

Speaking about his first appearance, Hozier said,

“I remember in the soundcheck my voice was starting to go. I was freaking out… trying to drink ginger lemon tea. I was in a terrible state of panic the whole day.”

On the topic of his amazing and well-deserved success he said,

“I thought I had many years of work ahead. In Ireland it is crazy – the level of support is insane. I didn’t imagine anything like that for a long time. It’s a hell of a lot busier – there are a lot of new experiences.”

Speaking about performing he said,

“I’m much more comfortable on stage now. On Other Voices, I was dropped into a learning curve of performance. ‘How the hell do you articulate that music on stage?’ I didn’t have the equipment to make that happen.”

On the success of the amazing Take Me To Church he said,

“I was proud of it and excited – I had managed to get all these ideas into that song. I didn’t see a top 10 hit. I hoped maybe people would like it or appreciate it.”