Classifieds Advertise Archive Subscriptions Family Announcements Photos Digital Editions/Apps
Connect with us

Double Vision

A tale of two Santas and bucketloads of Jewish generosity

Avatar

Published

on

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

Snow was falling onto the sodium-lit London street outside my Rats Alley flat. The Winter of 1986 was so cold, the water in my loo froze over. All down my road, cracked toilets bowls lay dumped outside the flats, like rejected Christmas presents.

Chris and I sat in my living room for hours, staring at each other in silence, hunched against the old plastic sofas, wrapped in layers of clothing and blankets. Broke. Utterly boracic and lint: skint, the pair of us, with only two days to go until Christmas.

“Hey Charlie, have you got any old whiskey bottles?”

“Yeh, there’s two empties in the kitchen. Why?”

“Aha! Bring them to me, and bring out that fan heater you hide in your bedroom. We’ll have a drink yet!”

Ten minutes later, we were lying on our bellies, eyes at carpet level, watching whiskey seemingly appear from nowhere. Chris had stood the two empty bottles in front of the fan heater, which was running at full blast. The heat from the fan was hitting the cold glass, thereby condensing the holy juice out of the bottle. Where before there was nothing, we suddenly had a couple of inches of Christmas Cheer. So we did.

“Yay! Nice work mate! Happy Christmas to you and your cunning ways! You’re a bloomin’ genius!” I exclaimed.

The phone rang. It was my landlord, who also owned the shop below my flat. He was sorry to ask at such short notice, but he wondered if I wanted to earn some cash? And did I know anyone else who needed some too?

Did I?

He explained that the shop owners of the street were looking for a couple of guys to stand outside dressed as Santa Claus. They would be collecting money for the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

“Sure, yes, we can do that!” I told him, “But how can you pay us if we’re collecting for a charity? We wouldn’t stoop so low as to take money from the sick kiddies!”

He explained that our presence was going to attract punters to his shop, one way or another.

Well, fair enough then. More than fair, but just one more thing. This was Golders Green, the most Jewish suburb in North London. How kindly were the locals going to take to Father Christmas?

“Well, he was Jewish, wasn’t he?” came the inscrutable, irrefutable reply.

Yes, Jesus was indeed Jewish. He was born, lived and died a Jew.

1,986 years later, in the tiny back room of a shop in frozen London, Chris and I were falling about laughing as we tried on our costumes. We were unsure if Santa was meant to be naked underneath his regalia, but the freezing air settled our minds on that issue.

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Connacht Tribune

Space and silence – it’s all us oul’ lads ever wanted in pubs

Dave O'Connell

Published

on

Dave O'Connell

A Different View with Dave O’Connell

The crowds that flocked into the centre of Dublin last weekend provided the clearest indication yet that, thank God, a cure had been found for Covid.

The masses dancing and hugging on the streets was vindication that all of the self-isolation had been well worth it, when you could now congregate as close as you like to each other, to your little heart’s content.

Or so you’d think.

One weekend of slightly relaxed licencing laws was all it took, and in the blink of an eye thousands of revellers were up and at it like this was Paris in 1945 after it was freed from the Germans.

The newly-imposed regulations for relaxation would suggest that all of these bouncy people at least had the benefit of a nine-euro meal inside them – how else could they get served?

So, we’d better brace ourselves for when they go out on an empty stomach.

Much has already been made of the fact that pub life will never be the same again – and that might well be the case.

Social distancing is bad news for the publicans, limiting their ability to wedge the entire student population of NUIG and GMIT into the equivalent of a phone box.

But it’s great news for curmudgeons – particularly for those whose capacity for imbibing alcohol is shot.

Advancing middle age has seen the tolerance of the early twenties reduced from the equivalent of a sizeable plastic bucket to an amount that once wouldn’t have even pass the standard definition of being out.

Three pints? That’s what you’d order when they rang the bell at closing time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app

The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Angels took pain out of hospital Christmas

Avatar

Published

on

Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

More than any other time of the year, when we sit around our dinner tables on Christmas Day, we are aware of who is there and who is not. At the age of 17, having performed impressive acrobatics with my Yamaha 250, a saloon car, a ditch and a barbed wire fence, I spent six weeks in hospital over Christmas and New Year.

My femur was snapped in two, which is no mean feat with thighs like mine, and my tibia had a crack or two as well.

Bed-bound, with my leg in traction, I developed a bronchial chest infection after an emergency operation.

Every two seconds for six weeks I coughed in hacking spasms, thus shaking my smashed leg, which was hung in a sling, supported by a metal pole they had driven through me, just below the knee.

Suffice to say I came to terms with pain.

In our part of the ward, there were four beds and three bikers with broken bones.

There was Kev, who had fallen off his sleek and mean Suzuki GT750 (a two stroke 3-into-1, since you ask), and opposite us two was brick shithouse Yorkshireman Gary, ex-SAS, and mighty embarrassed, having survived several covert tours of duty in Northern Ireland, to have to admit to falling off a Honda 125.

Compared to the other patients in the hospital the three of us were well off.

We were not sick. We’d had our operations, and apart from antibiotics for wounds, and pain killers for broken bones, we needed very little medical attention.

We were young, male, bored, and allowed to drink beer. Naturally, we tried to attract the attention of the student nurses as much as possible, and equally, they were happy to have a bit of a laugh with lads who were not ill, physically, at least!

For more, read this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

Continue Reading

CITY TRIBUNE

Don’t be a slave to the algorithm

Avatar

Published

on

Charlie Adley

Double Vision with Charlie Adley

Saying “I love newspapers!” feels these days like buying a ticket for the next David Bowie gig, but I do: I love them. When I read a newspaper, I’m not a slave to the algorithm. Were I ten years younger, I’d read all my news online, on apps that I’ve set to my personal preferences.

Even when I visit media sites I’ve never been to before, there are cookies and bots and gordknowswot working away to offer me more of what the algorithms think I want.

Every link off each page is tailored to please me, but that’s no good.

I don’t want to be fed things that only fit into my areas of interest and opinion.

Sitting at my living room table, mug of tea and two slices of toast (peanut butter, since you ask), and a paper – any paper – open in front of me, I can see the full wonder and horror of the world, as interpreted by The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Irish Times or Daily Mirror.

As I browse into the heart of the paper, far from major news items, I let my eyesight fall all over the place, because each page is full of varied items, and, here on page 14, I’ll find the big story that’s being buried: the story they have to report, but are under instruction to dampen down.

Also here are stories that no algorithm-driven link would ever lead me to. Quirky little tales, able to dissolve an adult brain in seconds.

When driven sufficiently doolally by what I’m reading, I tear that particular piece of madness out of the newspaper, placing it on top of the wobbly towering stack of other torn madnesses by my desk.

There are dark torn madnesses and fearsome ones, but today I’m in the mood to prowl the ones that force me to furrow my brow, gasp for breath, pout my lips and grunt “What the -?” at the universe.

Notes are seeds, from which every writer will grow different fruit. When that writer is working for the Daily Mail, the fruit need bear only minuscule relation to the seed.

To read Charlie’s column in full, please see this week’s Galway City Tribune.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Continue Reading

Local Ads

Local Ads

Advertisement

Weather

Weather Icon
Advertisement

Facebook

Advertisement

Trending