Posts Tagged ‘Lord of the Rams’

Strange Things Doctors Say …

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

‘Ya have to go to the doctor. Seriously.’

I had a lump on the side of my head that was pushing my ear out west like a signpost, and yet here I was in the office working away with not a care in the world. One person after another told me that such a sudden anomaly deserved the attention of a doctor, so at last I relented. Anything for a bit of peace and quiet.

Source: google.es via Emme on Pinterest

My regular doctor was on holidays when I arrived at the medical centre on a hot June afternoon in 2006. The replacement doctor welcomed me into her surgery, and I explained my symptoms. She then proceeded to march me up to a wall-length mirror and, standing behind me, she said:

‘Do ya see that now?’ Ya have a big lump there at the side of your head.’

‘Yes, I know,’ I thought. ‘That’s why I’m here. Where did they get her from?’

Sitting me back down on a chair, the doctor’s next question did little to reassure me that I was in capable hands.

‘What do you think it is?’ she asked.

Wonderful. I’m paying 50 odd euro for the privilege of diagnosing myself. I could have done that back in the office. However, I decided to help her out.

‘I don’t know,’ I said, shrugging my shoulders. ‘Maybe something glandular.’

‘Yes,’ she exclaimed rather excitedly. ‘I think you’re right. It looks like something glandular.’

And with that, she wrote out a prescription (more money) for antibiotics and told me I’d be right as rain in a few days.

Turns out it wasn’t anything glandular, but an early symptom of mumps that, over the course of the next three days, left me bed-ridden with a high fever, chronic diarrhea and a nadge bag the size of a football.

A day or two after I returned to work, I got a call from the medical centre. My regular doctor was back and wanted to see me. My guess was that the replacement doctor had killed most of his patients in his absence, and he was now trying to save the last few who remained.

Fortunately, I was in somewhat better shape a few years later when a health practitioner visited my place of work to offer free health check-ups. After conducting a quick-check cholesterol test, she seemed very enthusiastic about my results.

‘Your cholesterol is perfect,’ she said. ‘God, I wish I had your cholesterol.’

Moving onto the urine sample I had brought into the examination with me, she held it aloft in the light and stared in awe at it.

‘That’s very clear,’ she said. ‘You must eat lots of fruit and vegetables.’

‘Not really,’ I stated truthfully. In fact, at that time at least, I seldom ate five a week, never mind five a day.

‘Ah ya do,’ she said, not believing me for a second and taking another look at the urine sample. For a moment, it looked as if she wasn’t short of guzzling it down like a thirsty gazelle.

Although the diagnosis was good on that particular day, it was even better back in 2006 when the doctor confirmed that I had likely been enduring mumps instead of the glandular problem diagnosed by his colleague.

Completing his examination, he confidently assured me that the future was very bright indeed.

‘You’re going to live forever,’ he said, face beaming.

‘Ah now,’ I thought to myself. ‘Bring back the other lunatic. At least, she’s a bit closer to the mark.’

Ronan Smith is the author of Munterconnaught’s best selling comedy memoir, Lord of the Rams. Described as “a real treat to read that you will devour” (The Irish Post), “a diverting and entertaining read” (Evening Herald) and “genuinely funny” (Books Ireland), the book can be purchased for €10 (including worldwide P&P) directly from the author via http://www.lordoftherams.com/buythebooksigned.htm. Read FREE extracts of the book at www.lordoftherams.com.

Shame on you, Ray Houghton (Extract from Lord of the Rams)

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

So, after a 10-year wait, Ireland has at last qualified for a soccer tournament: Euro 2012. Our mere qualification should give the country a great boost next summer, and I’m looking forward to the draw and  the unfolding drama at the tournament itself.

I remember celebrating Ireland’s 2002 World Cup progress for almost a month, watching Packie Bonner save that infamous penalty at Italia ‘90, the great football songs from Euro ‘88 and the other tournaments,  and of course cheering on the team throughout USA ‘94.

This particular extract from Lord of the Rams captures my experiences during that historic ‘94 meeting between Ireland and Italy.

Ray Houghton has a lot to answer for. Sure, he is an Irish soccer legend who famously put the ball in the English net, but he’s also partly responsible for one of the biggest drinking sessions in Irish history.

It was June 1994 and, with just one final exam to sit in the Junior Certificate, the Rams and his mates were already in party mood. Rams and Mara had been attending discos at Springs for almost a year, and now Stano, Terry and Boo Boo were also on board, meaning they all potentially had a great summer of partying ahead of them.

The football World Cup had kicked off, and the Irish team faced a daunting challenge in their opening match against Italy at the Giant’s stadium in New York. The game was to take place on a Saturday evening Irish-time, and it was to be broadcast live on a big screen at Springs, with a disco to follow. The lads hopped on a mini-bus in town, and arrived at Springs early enough to secure a table with a decent view of the screen.

First they had to get past the bouncers. Normally this wasn’t a problem, only this time there were two gardai inspecting ID cards at the door. The Rams had a bit of a predicament on his hands because his precious fake ID had been confiscated by a bouncer on a recent visit to the club, and now he didn’t know how he was going to gain entry.

Fortunately, Lady Luck was in town that night and so was Paschal Baugh. Paschal was a fellow Munterconnaught man, in his mid-twenties, and a hell of a sound fella to boot. He had been playing with his popular band, Abinitzio, in the lounge bar of the Springs that evening, and was packing some of the band equipment into his car when the Rams spotted him. He quickly darted over to Paschal and, following a few minutes of small talk, asked if he could borrow some form of ID from him that would help him get past the gardai. Ever the obliging chap, Paschal rummaged through his wallet, but only managed to produce a blood donor card, which had nothing but his name on it.

‘That will do. Cheers Paschal,’ said the Rams, and he rejoined the queue for the nightclub.

When the Rams reached the top of the queue, the local Sergeant greeted him and pulled him aside for the obligatory interrogation.

‘Could I see some form of identification please?’

The Rams searched through his wallet for a few moments before calmly replying.

‘I seem to have left my ID at home, Sergeant. All I have is this blood donor card.’

‘There’s no date of birth on this card,’ growled the Sergeant in an attempt to rain on Rams’s parade.

‘Ah, but you have to be at least 18 to carry one of these cards,’ grinned the Rams, pleased that he had surely put the Sergeant back in his box.

‘Is that right? Tell me Paschal; where are you from?’

‘Munterconnaught.’

‘Easy question,’ thought the Rams. ‘Keep them coming.’

‘Have you any brothers or sisters?’

Now this was a strange one. The Rams didn’t know the Baugh family well. Paschal was the youngest in the family. He had an older brother, Damien, but that was about as much as Rams knew about the Baugh family tree. Nevertheless, surely any answer would suffice in order to appease the Sergeant.

‘Just the one brother, Damien.’

‘And what’s your mother’s name?’

‘Fucked if I know. But sure I’m on a roll here. I might as well fill this lad full of shite.’

‘Bridie, Sir.’

‘Now you listen here, Son,’ roared the Sergeant. ‘I know the Baugh family very well. I know Paschal and all of his many brothers and sisters. I even know his mother. Hell, I could probably tell you what the Baughs had for breakfast this morning. I’m warning you now. If you ever darken this door again, you’ll be in a whole heap of trouble.’

Having confiscated the donor card, the Sergeant proved that he wasn’t a complete ogre by allowing Rams into the club, despite his deceitfulness.

‘Jaysis, it’s a small old world,’ said the Rams, stating the obvious as he rejoined his friends at a table close to the dance floor. Shortly thereafter, the DJ began fuelling the soccer frenzy with classic Irish football songs such as Put ’em under pressure and Give it a lash Jack. Rams was the only one amongst his group not drinking beer. Most of the lads had recently begun experimenting with drink, but Rams was holding tight—at least for the time being.

Mara began guzzling back the pints with the thirst of a well-parched camel and, by the time the pre-match coverage started, he was as pissed as a fart. Spirits were high throughout the nightclub as the match got underway. Italy may have been the hot favourites, but you can never count out the Irish. With only 11 minutes gone in the match, Houghton intercepted an attempted clearance from Baresi and then, from 40 yards out, he quickly turned and fired an incredible shot over the head of the out-of-position Pagliuca. Everyone in the Springs, along with every other man, woman and child in the country, began screaming in an unparalleled and unified moment of euphoria. As the time ticked by, Ireland’s other hero of the day, Paul McGrath, played out of his skin to help his country secure a historic win. Once again and, not for the last time that night, Put ’em under pressure and Give it a lash Jack reverberated throughout the club. People were dancing all over the place, sworn enemies became best friends for the night, and there wasn’t a single soul failing to contribute to the electric atmosphere.

A large puddle of vomit consumed an area close to where the lads had been sitting. It wasn’t the watery type of puke one might associate with over-consumption of alcohol. Instead, it looked like someone had been mixing cement and poured it onto the floor. It was obviously the creation of some gobshite or other who had opted for chips and a few burgers before taking more drink on board than they could handle.

Undetected by Mara, the cement mix seemed to be drawing him closer to it as he danced a drunken dance that no man had ever seen before or would like to see again. In no time, Sean George was gyrating atop the puddle and, as people ran for cover in case they’d be splashed amid the horrific jig, he slipped in the mess, covering himself from head to toe in the vomit. Puking over oneself is never good, but dressing in someone else’s regurgitated dinner is just inexcusable. Nonetheless, Mara seemed unaffected and, getting to his feet, he continued the dance that was—because of the fall—now more gross than it was entertaining.

As the madness ensued throughout the club, the Rams decided that he’d bite the bullet and sample some alcohol. With money constraints at the back of his mind, he decided to take a swig or two from Boo Boo’s bottle of Heineken and, once that went down okay, he made for the bar to buy his first beer.

That infamous night in Springs in June 1994 marked the beginning of a long era of drinking sessions that would take the lads to many strange towns, resulting in numerous eventful and often hilarious adventures. Shame on you, Ray Houghton; you set the wheels in motion for all that followed.

Ronan Smith is the author of Munterconnaught’s best selling comedy memoir, Lord of the Rams. Described as “a real treat to read that you will devour” (The Irish Post), “a diverting and entertaining read” (Evening Herald) and “genuinely funny” (Books Ireland), the book can be purchased for €10 (including worldwide P&P) directly from the author via http://www.lordoftherams.com/buythebooksigned.htm. Read more FREE extracts of the book at www.lordoftherams.com.

Celebrating Lord of the Rams Day

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

This Sunday 24 July 2011 will mark the three-year anniversary of the launch of Lord of the Rams.

To celebrate the most auspicious occasion that is Lord of the Rams Day, I have released a new Lord of the Rams story, which is available exclusively to followers of my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lordoftherams.

Those of you who read Lord of the Rams may recall a story about a dog eating something vile that he shouldn’t have. A number of readers have mentioned this part of the book to me over the past few years, and some said I went too far – that I perhaps shared too much information.

So, if you are of a weak disposition, I must warn you. This new story is utterly disgusting. I like to call it “A Genuinely Shit Lord of the Rams Story”.

Until next time!

Ronan Smith is the author of Munterconnaught’s best selling comedy memoir, Lord of the Rams. Described as “a real treat to read that you will devour” (The Irish Post), “a diverting and entertaining read” (Evening Herald) and “genuinely funny” (Books Ireland), the book can be purchased for €10 (including worldwide P&P) directly from the author via http://www.lordoftherams.com/buythebooksigned.htm. Read FREE extracts of the book at www.lordoftherams.com.

Travelling the World—A Lot Done, More to Do

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

How many countries have you been to? And how many cities? What is your favourite place in the world?

It’s very seldom these days that you meet somebody who doesn’t like travelling. We are remarkably blessed to live in an era where we can travel to the other side of the world in less than 24 hours. Once you have money and time at your disposal, the world really is your oyster.

Anybody who read my comedy memoir, Lord of the Rams, will know that I was already 22 before I went on my first foreign trip. However, I’ve made up for a bit of lost time in the 11 years since then. Although I’ve never taken a year out to go travelling (as seems almost obligatory these days) I do try to get away as much as possible.

I’m also a sucker for statistics and, in researching my travel habits for the work-in-progress Lord of the Rams travel memoir, I’ve realised that I’ve:

  • Been on 44 foreign trips (an average of 4 per year) since 2000
  • Visited 23 countries
  • Visited 57 cities (plus many towns, villages, etc.)
  • Spent more time in London than any other city (43 nights over 17 visits)
  • Spent more time in England than any other country (50 nights over 19 visits)
  • Spent 219 nights outside Ireland, of which I have spent:
    • 127 nights in Europe
    • 36 nights in Asia
    • 33 nights in North America
    • 19 nights in South America
    • 4 nights in the air between continents

But of course travelling isn’t about statistics. It’s about new experiences, people and places.

Over the years, I’ve walked the Great Wall of China, peered into the Grand Canyon, trekked to Macchu Picchu, and rambled around the excavated city of Pompeii.

I’ve bob-sleighed in Sigulda (Latvia), hang-glided over Rio De Janeiro, segwayed around the streets of Copenhagen, gone horse and camel riding in Terelj (Mongolia), sea-fished in Mar Del Plata (Argentina) and Helsingborg (Sweden), rode the Bullet Train in Japan, travelled across great swathes of Siberia by train and retraced the steps of Vlad the Impaler in Transylvania.

I’ve stood atop the Empire State Building and the Sears Tower, walked under the city of Edinburgh, explored caves in Postojna (Slovenia), gambled in Las Vegas, stormed around Graceland in Nashville and treaded silently around Anne Frank’s house (Amsterdam). Museums, palaces, an unhealthy amount of European castles, and an almost endless list of tourist attractions have all been conquered in London, Saarlouis, Saarbrücken, Metz, New York, Manchester, Boston, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Utrecht, Beijing, Xian, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Ljubljana, Postojna, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Antonio, Austin, Nashville, Memphis, Chicago, Riga, Cesis, Sigulda, Kaunas, Vilnius, Dusseldorf, Cologne, Eindhoven, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Ulan Bator, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Ekaterinburg, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Berlin, Basle, Budapest, Brasov, Sighisoara, Rome, Assisi, Hamburg, Sorrento, Positano, Rio De Janeiro, Lima, Cusco, Aguas Calientes, Buenos Aires, Mar Del Plata, Swansea, Cardiff, Bath, Liverpool, Copenhagen, Helsingor, Helsingborg and Malmo.

But travelling isn’t always plain sailing. I’ve been defrauded of thousands of euros by Nigerians in Tokyo, witnessed sickening bouncer violence and police corruption in Cologne, slept outside in sub-zero temperatures in Basle, cracked several of my ribs in Copenhagen and—worst of all—been accused of being American or English on more than a few occasions J But you have to accept the rough with the smooth, or you might as well stay at home.

Right now I’m planning a trip to the east side of Canada this summer. And there’s still a tonne of other places I want to experience: Chile, Bolivia, Columbia, Poland, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam all come to mind; not to mention the unvisited continents of Africa and Australia! And there’s many places I would love to go back to: Rio, Cusco, New York, Texas, Mongolia, Beijing … the list goes on and on.

London, New York and Boston all featured in colourful detail in Lord of the Rams, and I’ve also posted stories from my time in Las Vegas and Latvia ( i.e. extracts from the work-in-progress follow-up) on this blog. I look forward to sharing more misadventures in the future.

In the meantime, it’s time to get back to planning Trip 45!

Ronan Smith is the author of Munterconnaught’s best selling comedy memoir, Lord of the Rams. Described as “a real treat to read that you will devour” (The Irish Post), “a diverting and entertaining read” (Evening Herald) and “genuinely funny” (Books Ireland), the book can be purchased for €10 (including worldwide P&P) directly from the author via http://www.lordoftherams.com/buythebooksigned.htm. Read FREE extracts of the book at www.lordoftherams.com.

Feel free to share your travel stories in the comments section below.

Writing a Best Man Speech: 7 Tricks of the Trade + Video

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

I was very honoured and proud when Stephen, one of my closest friends, asked me to be his Best Man a number of years ago. For me, the role of Best Man is perhaps the greatest honour one male friend can bestow upon another, so I was genuinely humbled and excited by the task ahead.

Obviously the Best Man has a number of roles, but the most important one is undoubtedly the speech. I had already attended a number of weddings but could remember very little of the Best Man speeches – i.e. many of them were instantly forgettable. For Stephen’s wedding, I wanted to deliver something that:

  • Would make the newly married couple and their families proud, without embarrassing or offending anybody
  • Would be original, entertaining and fondly recalled by the guests.

In the months leading up to the wedding, Stephen gave me a Best Man speech-writing book he owned. He and I both presumed it might be of use. Upon reading the book, however, my first thought was that it was rife with bland and clichéd examples, boring advice, and negligible humour. I knew there was virtually nothing in the book that I would use in my speech. Part of this probably stemmed from the fact that, for better or worse, I often tend to do things my way – by ignoring or tearing up the rulebook.

So that’s what I did. Right from the off, I envisaged doing something visual – perhaps telling a story via a PowerPoint presentation. This might seem like a brave move – one to be tackled only by somebody who is very at ease with public-speaking. But in fact the opposite was true. I had never spoken in front of 130 people before, and I dreaded the thought of standing in front of them – everybody staring at me as I draw a blank and forget my lines. If at all possible, I didn’t want to be relying on notes either – fumbling through them to find the next part of my speech (as I’d often seen at weddings).

A PowerPoint speech would help deflect the guests’ attention from me to a large screen. It would also act as a visual aid, helping me to remember my lines easier. Possible technical issues aside (with the laptop, projector and remote), the PowerPoint option seemed like the way to go.

So I began thinking of ideas for the speech – running them through in my head and then looking for images to bring the “story” to life. Despite my insistence of doing things my way, there were a number of “rules” that I tried to follow, and that I would advise others to follow when writing a Best Man’s speech.

1        Know your audience
There will be a broad range of people at any wedding: young children, elderly people, maybe a priest or two. With that in mind, make sure the speech is profanity-free and that you don’t talk about ex-girlfriends or how your friend was a big slut in a past life – this is neither clever nor funny.

2        Reach out to your audience
Your speech should appeal to a large demographic. Not everybody at the wedding will know the groom well, or the bride for that matter. Your job is to ensure that you talk about the groom in an entertaining way so that your stories paint him in a strong light and reveal something of his personal life. Even though the speech I wrote for Stephen’s wedding was a tongue-in-cheek sketch of sorts, I did manage to incorporate plenty of real-life facts such as Stephen’s school nickname, his achievements at school and college, his science background, the first date with his wife, etc.

3        Don’t forget about the bride and bridesmaids
Most Best Man speeches should begin with compliments, firstly to the bridesmaids and then to the bride (I edited this section out of my speech on YouTube in order to cut to the chase). Towards the end of the speech, you should try to introduce the bride into the proceedings – perhaps with a funny tale about how she and the groom met.

4        Rehearse – but wait until the day before the wedding so that the speech is fresh in your mind
I was fine-tuning the speech for Stephen’s wedding right up until the evening before the big day. Only then did I begin rehearsing it. First I rehearsed it using sheets of cardboard  (containing the entire text for the speech) and then I began rehearsing it without the notes – only referring to them when I got stuck or drew a blank. After I had delivered the speech about three times without forgetting any bits or leaving anything out, I was reasonably confident that the work was done and I was (almost) ready for the real thing. To rehearse any speech, I would recommend that you are in a room on your own, free from distractions. I also used the TV remote as a practice microphone to help with the rehearsal process – you’d be surprised how awkward a microphone-shy speaker can appear if he hasn’t held a mic before.

5        Accept that not everything will go right on the day
No matter how much you rehearse a speech, it’s unlikely that you will remember everything you intended to say. I’ve been fortunate enough to be Best Man at three weddings (Stephen’s was the first) and, for all three speeches, I can recall inadvertently omitting small-medium chunks. Fortunately, all my speeches were in the 10-15 minute range so when I forgot something, I just moved on – and my audience was usually none the wiser. And sometimes I didn’t even realise I had left out bits until afterwards. If you’ve practiced your speech enough, then you won’t forget anything critical on the day. There will always be natural wastage, but chances are you will add a few ad-lib pieces on the day, so it will all balance out.

6        Nerves are Normal
I was very nervous on the day of Stephen’s wedding – sweating like a pig in fact. And because my speech was dependant on the seamless integration of a laptop and projector, I had to worry about potential technical difficulties as well as fluffing my lines. Apart from a nervous start and almost tourettes-like use of “Em” throughout the speech (which I also put down to nerves), I think I delivered the speech as well as I could. But practice makes perfect, and by the time I delivered my third Best Man speech in June 2010, I can honestly say that I wasn’t nervous at all. Nerves are normal though. Try to ensure you open your speech with a witty one-liner/introduction – this will help put both the audience and you at ease. Then you can relax and charge on with the rest of your speech.

7        Enjoy the Experience!
Speaking in front of a large audience at a wedding can be a very rewarding experience. You will never have a more receptive audience – and the free-flowing wine at most Irish weddings certainly helps in this regards. Have a few drinks yourself to relax, but don’t overdo it. Once the speech is behind you, you can enjoy the rest of the night and hopefully bask in the glory – plus handshakes and multiple congratulations – of a job well done. Remember, your friend could have asked anybody in the world to be his Best Man, but he chose you. So you owe it to him to do your best. As my mother used to say when I was a young lad, ‘As long as you do your best, then I’ll be happy.’ Touché.

So, here’s my speech from 2006. I hope you enjoy watching it as much I enjoyed doing it.

Best Man Speech by the Lord of the Rams

Ronan Smith is the author of Munterconnaught’s best selling comedy memoir, Lord of the Rams. Described as “a real treat to read that you will devour” (The Irish Post), “a diverting and entertaining read” (Evening Herald) and “genuinely funny” (Books Ireland), the book can be purchased for €10 (including worldwide P&P) directly from the author via http://www.lordoftherams.com/buythebooksigned.htm. Read FREE extracts of the book at www.lordoftherams.com.

Getting on the Property Ladder

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

As mentioned in a previous blog, I recently purchased an apartment in Dublin. My new home is in Mountjoy Square, an area steeped in history and associated with a number of famous writers such as James Joyce, Sean O’Casey and WB Yeats. Lawyers, churchmen and politicians have also lived in the square in the past—and Joseph Napier, appointed Attorney General for Ireland in 1852, lived at my exact address—one of a number of Georgian buildings that have been redeveloped as apartments in recent years.

Arthur Guinness spent his later years in Mountjoy Square until his death in 1803. Dáil Éireann held meetings in the Mountjoy Square home of the republican Walter L Cole prior to the foundation of the Irish Free State. And most recently, the critically acclaimed movie Once was filmed in an apartment on the Square.

And it is in Mountjoy Square where I hope to continue my writing after a four-month break due to the stresses and trials thrown up by moving house. Although this is my first venture onto the property ladder, it reminds me of an episode from my life some time ago (as featured in Lord of the Rams).

I was about to start second year in college and had made the long two-bus journey from Cavan to Waterford to view prospective accommodation. Goosey, my flatmate from First Year and long-time friend, had stated clearly that I could get any place of my choosing so long as it was not Flat 4A—the infamous hovel we called ‘home’ the previous year …

Exclusive Extract from Lord of the Rams: The Greatest Story Never Told
Arriving in Waterford, the Rams had a little less than two hours to find a home. With the internet still in its infancy, the only way he could hope to spot anywhere remotely suitable would be by combing through the morning’s newspapers. Unfortunately, a few phone calls confirmed that most decent dwellings had been snapped up a few hours prior to his late-afternoon arrival in the city. At last, however, he happened upon an advertisement for a three-bedroom house, centrally located and within a few hundred yards from the phone box where he was standing.

‘This looks promising,’ he thought, dialling the number included with the advert. A gentleman, who identified himself as an auctioneer named Joe, agreed to immediately meet the Rams on a city centre street.

Ten minutes passed by and the Rams was still waiting patiently for Joe to arrive. For the majority of that time a suited businessman had been leaning against a railing a few feet away, occasionally glancing over in Rams’s direction. Realising that time was against him, the Rams called out to the stranger, the returned greeting leaving him in no doubt that he was now speaking to the auctioneer. Joe seemed almost surprised that Rams was the same person he had conversed with over the phone, but the confused expression quickly gave way to one of cheer, and he spoke amicably with the Rams as the pair walked the short distance to a house around which Joe provided Rams with a grand tour before sitting down to talk business.

The house was nothing special, but it goes without saying that it was a definite improvement on Flat 4A. It had three reasonably sized bedrooms and its location was quite close to the part of the city the Rams was most accustomed to. Having asked the usual pre-rental questions regarding bills and utilities, Rams put the million-dollar question to the auctioneer.

‘So how much is this place per month?’ he asked.

‘It works out at 32 pounds each per week,’ replied Joe, alluding to Rams’s earlier comment that he would be moving two other people in with him. The rent was a little higher than Rams had hoped for but, with only 20 minutes remaining until the bus for Dublin departed, this was not the time to be playing hardball.

‘Well, I’d be fairly interested in taking the place. How much of a deposit are you looking for?’

‘Five percent of the value of the house and, once I receive that, I can hold the place if you’re waiting for your mortgage to be processed.’

‘What was that?’ gasped the Rams, scarcely comprehending what he was hearing and almost needing to hear it repeated lest his ears were deceiving him. ‘You said something about a mortgage there. Is this place not for renting?’ he asked.

‘Of course not,’ Joe replied, looking slightly peeved upon realising that he had wasted valuable time showboating the house to the poorest student in Ireland. ‘I was thinking you were a bit young to be buying the place,’ he added, before quickly showing Rams the door.

With mere moments remaining until the call of Cavan beckoned, Rams sprinted to a nearby phone box and dialled Mickey Rooney’s mobile number. It was the last thing he wanted to do but, given the circumstances, he didn’t see himself as having much of a choice.

Mickey’s phone rang for several seconds before an unmistakable gruff voice could be heard at the other end of the line. Rams rushed through the necessary small talk before asking if Mr. Conway had any properties other than Flat 4A available for renting at that time. Apparently Conway had a nice vacant town house, which would be perfect for the lads. But since Mickey was attending a horse racing event in Tramore that day and Rams was rushing back to Cavan, it was agreed that Rams would ring Mickey the following day to continue the conversation and perhaps—at least in Rams’s mind—provisionally agree to rent the property.

Unfortunately, the resultant telephone call squashed any hopes Rams had of living in anything other than squalor for the college year. Mickey, changing his story from the previous day, stated that the house was undergoing refurbishment and wouldn’t be ready before Christmas. All was not lost, however, because another property was available for renting immediately and at a fair price.

‘Goosey, how’s it going?’ yelled the Rams into the telephone receiver.

‘Not too bad. How did ya get on in Waterford?’

‘I have good news and I have bad news.’

‘What do you mean, Rams?’ asked Goosey, sounding slightly concerned.

‘The good news is that I found us a place to live in for the year.’

‘Nice one; for a minute there I thought you were going to say you got nothing.’

‘Well, the bad news is that it’s Flat 4A.’

And with that, the phone went dead.

Did you like this story? Maybe you’ll enjoy Lord of the Rams, featuring anecdotes and misadventures from my student apartment in Waterford in the late nineties. Purchase Lord of the Rams: The Greatest Story Never Told (with free worldwide post and packaging).

London Book Fair

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

March was a quiet month on the Lord of the Rams front after a relatively busy February in the UK during which a review of the book appeared in The Irish Post and an interview featured in The Irish World.

During April, Lord of the Rams will again be making its presence felt in the UK – this time at the London Book Fair. I don’t know too much about book fairs if truth be known – I’ve never attended one, but such events present another opportunity to market the book – albeit an expensive option, which may or may not prove worthwhile. Time will tell, I guess!

The London Book Fair is the second largest venue, after Frankfurt, for international rights trading, including translation rights, digital rights, and television and film rights. With over 25,000 members of the global publishing community all together under one roof for three days (20-22 April 2009), it certainly won’t do any harm to have the book at the event in some capacity. Let’s just hope someone spots it amongst the myriad of other books vying for attention at the event.

Given my other work commitments, I won’t be at the event in person. However, Lord of the Rams will be one of a number of books displayed by Trafford at the book fair (as part of the “New Title Showcase” exhibit).

So if you’re in London during the event, please do drop in – and tell them the Rams sent you!!


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