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Double Vision

Online gambling doesn’t compare to the bookies!

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According to Charlie, online gambling doesn't compare to the experience of the bookie's shop

About a mile from my childhood home there was a cluster of shops and a bookies around a crossroads that served the local council estate.

To this middle class boy, they looked strange and mysterious, inevitably tempting. Side by side stood the transport cafe and the bookies.

The concepts they represented were not strange to me. I had eaten in restaurants and both my father and my grandmother liked to place a bet on the horses every now and then.

They lifted their phones and called their bookmakers. It was all very efficient, but somehow rather cold and distant.

My first job was milkman’s boy, jumping on and off the float to pick up the empties. Jim showed me how to make sixpences dance around his fingers, blatantly lying to me that it made the housewives laugh.

I knew well he was doing it to short-change them but I didn’t care because I was seven years old, unable to discern such adult rights from wrong.

After we finished the round, Jim took me to the transport cafe. I loved it, made a complete fool of myself and actually enjoyed all the men laughing at me when they heard my clipped accent. In there I felt no pressure, no expectation and more, enjoyed an acceptance of some kind, powerful enough to change my life in later years.

After several mugs of steaming strong sweet tea and snarfing down a fried egg sandwich (two slices of toasted white slathered in butter and ketchup, dripping yolk and dropping white as you ate it), Jim would lean back in his chair and belch incredibly loudly. His burp sounded like mix of someone being sick and an opera singer tuning up, which all seemed to me a bit behaviourally extravagant, seeing as how we were in public. To my bourgeois mannered amazement nobody twitched an eyebrow.

“Right, Charles me boy! On your toes son! Just got to pop next door and then I’ll return you safe to your mum.”

Fantastic! We were going to visit the bookies next door. The not-very-swishy strips of filthy dirty plastic hanging over the bookmaker’s doorway acted as a portal to another universe. Being in the bookies was like watching telly, which was black and white in those days.

There was little daring to declare itself beyond monochrome in the scene before me. Men in flat caps talked to others in boiler suits, rollies permanently stuck to bottom lips, staying lit, being drawn on every now and then.

There was a long queue of men trying to put money on a race that had already started and a very short queue of men (rarely more than two) who were trying to pick up their winnings from the last race so they could put a bet on this other race, the one that the other men wanted to bet on, even though it had already started. It used to make me giggle.

These grown men doing the same silly thing every day. They knew that the bloke behind the counter would tell them they couldn’t place their bets on a race that had started and everyone knew well that everyone else knew that was the case and every day everybody ignored it.

 

For an extended version of this column see this week’s Connacht or Galway City Tribune

Connacht Tribune

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

Dave O'Connell

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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.

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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.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Angels took pain out of hospital Christmas

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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.

 

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CITY TRIBUNE

Don’t be a slave to the algorithm

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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.

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