Plus Sean’s love ballad “You are my everything”, which is currently getting airplay on Public Radio in New York and on the BBC!
I have just added a new page, the ‘digital music store’ above. You can download three new songs from that page individually. The transaction is made via paypal so it’s absolutely safe. These songs I recorded in March when I was in New York. It’s just me and the guitar. You can only order one at a time so if you want all three you must make three separate orders. They are 99 cents each.
If you live in Sweden, I will be at Buddy’s Irish Pub in Uppsala this coming Friday, September 21 at 8.30pm. Buddys is at Dragarbrunnsgatan 53.
Friday, March 15: Buddys Irish Pub, Uppsala, Sweden. 8pm.
Saturday, march 16. Buddy’s Irish Pub, Uppsala, Sweden. 8pm.
Check out my one of my stories published this week in Irish literary magazine Wordlegs. Hope you like it.
If you’re in Uppsala in Sweden, come to my gig on Friday Nov 16 at Buddys Irish Pub, Dragarbrunnsgatan 53. 8pm!
Freddie Fee found himself once again hurtling towards the Bronx on the number One subway line. It was going home time. He checked his watch. A quarter past five. Another day over. Rush hour. The same frowning faces he encountered every day, huddled up like sheep in a lorry.
He checked his watch again. Yes, it was a quarter past five. The train lurched to a stop on Seventy Second Street, knocking a few people off balance and into Freddie’s arms. “Would yis hold onto the pole, for Godsake,” he whispered under his breath. “That’s what it’s for.” A new wave of coats and briefcases clambered aboard and Freddie found himself being pushed further and further into the car.
“Get out of my way,” some woman muttered.
“You get out of my way,” some other woman muttered back.
“Chill out lady,” some black guy said.
“Don’t you tell me to chill out,” she snarled…
And they were at it again. The same clashes every day, as everybody hurried to get out of Manhattan, out of the sewer.
“I have to get out of New York,” whispered Freddie, under his breath. It’s time. He had said that before, like a lot of his fellow passengers, thousands of times, but he had soldiered on in his quest…he sighed. His quest for what?
O he felt tired. It had been busy today. No end to the running around. The last bell had been checked at twenty five past four, five minutes before his check out time. He had done two hotels today, with his new partner, Paud. Freddie had stayed down at the controls, to give the youngster a chance to get to know the layout of the buildings. The floors were easy, it was the mezzanines and the boiler rooms and the elevator rooms that caused the problems. Paud seemed to get lost every time. All he had to do was look around. “Use your eyes,” Freddie had shouted into the walkie-talkie on more than one occasion. “Why don’t you come up here and show me?” panted the lad. “You have to learn the place for yourself,” answered Freddie. “It’s the only way. You’ll get it right in the end.” “Yeah right,” said the gossun.
He wasn’t going to go up. He had done enough running. Seniority dictated that he stay at the control panel. That’s the way it was. If the lad had complaints he could go to Joe. If Joe wanted Freddie to do the running, well, he could give him a raise. Six years was a long time to be working for him without a raise.
“ Alright come down,” he said, after the last bell lit up on the screen. Paud had gone straight out the hotel door, after coming down, his face red with anger. You could ear the interchange over the loudspeakers on the mezzanine, where all the offices were, and the cute, brown faced secretaries. Freddie knew that. Freddie was the boss. At least they knew that, on the mezzanine.
It took Freddie an hour to get home, long enough when you consider the five mile distance. It was too crowded to read a newspaper, too noisy to listen to his walkman. He had forgotten the walkman anyway this morning. He was in too much of a hurry. He was late. He had missed the alarm again. He was a heavy sleeper and he had come in late from The Nook, once again. All day he was suffering from a headache, which was going to be relieved as soon as he got home, by a glass of Powers: the only cure.
The subway car lurched to another stop. People got out, people got in. He got a seat and closed his eyes, sighing in relief.
“Folks it is not easy to stand here before you today, and ask for help. My name is Patrick.”
Freddie put his hands to his head and groaned. He knew the voice. Why did he always manage to choose Freddie’s car when Freddie was there? Could he not get even one day free of Patrick, the Irish beggar?
“Folks it is not easy in this country without papers. I have a wife and three children to support and no job. If you have anything at all to spare I would appreciate it very much…”
Freddie looked up at the enemy to his peace. He hadn’t changed since yesterday; the same thick black hair, the same desperate black eyes of a hunter; the same cap held out as he swung among the passengers with surprising dexterity, the same dirty jeans and sneakers. Freddie felt ashamed. Why didn’t he get a job? They knew each other, him and Freddie. Patrick used to put his cap all the time in front of Freddie until Freddie finally said: “Go fuck yourself you knacker!” Nobody knew what ‘knacker’ meant of course but it didn’t stop Patrick from jumping out at the following stop. Now, whenever Patrick saw Freddie, he lowered his eyes and passed him quickly, dropping the hat to his side. Freddie Fee was not easily fooled. He was tempted to warn the others that this was a con artist but he didn’t. He saw them give blindly, hands guiltily fumbling through the pockets… “Folks it is very embarrassing to do this..,” he said. Who was it embarrassing for, him or them? The fools. They were all fools, Americans.
When he got home he checked his messages. None. He took off his shoes and went out to the kitchen. He counted the remaining bottles of Powers in the press. Twenty seven. He had gone through eight, since Mimi left. Eight bottles in two weeks. Not good. But what can you do? He was in a strange situation, a situation which he was not used to. Mimi had left after two years of togetherness. He never drank whiskey, under normal circumstances. The reason he had so many bottles stacked in his press was simple. Mimi worked in a liquor store and it was there he first saw her. He was going in to get a bottle for some of the lawyers who were working with the illegals trying to get them amnesty. There was a meeting that night at the Immigration Center and Freddie wanted to be there. She smiled at him at the counter and he knew he had fallen for her. He liked her type. Blond piglets, tight body, short skirt. He came in the next day and the next for thirty days, buying thirty bottles of Powers until he finally found the courage to ask her out.
“You took your time,” she said. “I know you don’t drink whiskey.” This was later, when they were kissing on the couch of his basement apartment.
“How do you know?” said Freddie.
“You think I’d go out with a guy who drinks a bottle of whiskey every night? Are you crazy? I know a whiskey drinker when I see one. You wanna know how long I been working in that liquor store?”
“No,” said Freddie.
A week later she had moved her stuff in.
“I’ve always wanted to go out with an Irish guy,” she said. “They’re so cute.”
She held onto her own apartment, though. Just in case things didn’t work out. Freddie was fine with that.
There was no point in calling her. He had left several messages already. She had probably moved back in alright. Some swanky guy probably swaggered into the liquor store and offered her the world and she saw his Mercedes parked outside…
She’d be back. Freddie knew she’d be back.
And so, for want of something better to do, he had started going to The Nook again, his former haunt. He used to go there all the time. When he met Mimi he brought her down a few times until the lads started groping her and asking Freddie questions.
“Is she really yours? What’s she doing with you?”
She was well able to stand up for herself.
“Go away, you gorillas,” she would say, until they stopped going there altogether.
You don’t need a bar when you have exactly what you want.
He apologized to Mimi about the lads. “I’ve known them for years,” he said, “they’re just a bit-”
“You don’t have to apologize,” she said. “I deal with that every day.”
Freddie was impressed.
With a certain amount of self satisfaction in his voice he said:
“They wouldn’t know what to do with a girl if they got one itself…”
And he never set foot in The Nook again, until a couple of weeks ago…
“Freddie,” shouted Molly, soon as she saw him walk through the door. “You’re back. It’s great to see you. Where’s Mimi?”
The bartender remembered her name after that long!
“She’s gone to Florida,” said Freddie, with a shrug. “0n a little vacation.”
The boys looked at each other, knowingly.
She even remembered what he drank. She opened a bottle of Coors Light and set it up on the counter. It wasn’t that hard to remember. Everybody drank Coors Light…
Freddie poured himself one more shot of Powers. There was no need for ice. He drank it in one go. He put on his leather jacket and looked at himself in the mirror. His nose was red. The cold. Yes it was cold in New York, the middle of winter. The Fenian moustache that dropped over the sides of his mouth would keep part of his face warm. He combed his hair, looked at his teeth and forced a smile. “Go on Freddie,” she’d say, watching him from the bed as he looked at himself, “gimme a smile. I like it when you smile.” And smile he did. Then he’d start making faces, till she was in stitches. O she’d come back alright. How could she do it without Freddie?
He banged the door behind him. Tuesday. Three more days till the weekend.