Ages ago, an artist apprehended Abish’s Alphabetical Africa. Antrim and After, although abridged, assiduously attends Abish’s axiom
Alight at Antrim airport. Am aghast at airline article advertising abysmal appropriation: Apocryphally, all autumn, actors ape accumbent Aubagne author’s articles as audiences amble around allegorical area. Absolute arseholes! Also appalled at ‘Airporter’ anschluß agenda.
Awaiting Airporter’s arrival, armed agent appears agitated after acknowledging abandoned accoutrements. Alerts additional agents as antediluvian antagonisms are again adopted.
After an age, agents apprehensively approach accoutrements. Alarmed, author accesses Airporter. “Adieu Antrim!”
Bus’s buzzer breaches acceptable acoustics as arrive beside booze boutique. “Bienvenue a Balleymoney!” Am after breakfast: Bolivian blend and buns by bumpkin bar.
Anon breach booze bestower and appraise Bushmills’ best. Amount busts bank-balance but Bingo! Alongside blackmail brew, benevolent businessman’s bargain beggars belief. Buy bottle Blackbush and booze bought, aim at brand-new antecedents’ abode; Author acquired additional ancestors after alliance approved and articled by authorities.
Clouds converge crepuscular Causeway coast. Crinklies, cousins and chums clear carafes, chew chicken, chips and custard-covered apple crumbles. Cameras coruscate and all cheer as ceremonial cake cutting commences. After carousing cash-activated country classics, all collapse contentedly and as celebration concludes, collectively abdicate.
Cancer charity clamberers brave breezy Causeway cliffs, certain adverse characters contrarily clasping cigarettes. Breeze buffets cheeks. Consequently begin coastal autoroute. Bypass Ballintoy and crumbling castles beleaguered by chomping blackfaced beasties. Cradle cappuccinos and avoid achoos by busy Ballycastle bay. After dark, consume Chinese curry and chips: Aah, Cowtown customs!
Cousins and contented couple drive by drenched Belfast. Destination: Dublin. Dual-carriageways deserted as denizens digest digibox duplications: Blankety-Blank and Corrie compilations before, and after, church.
Am confused about border area. Actual border disappeared although border as apparition always apparent. After Dundalk, a bridge denotes distant battle between Billy’s Clementines, augmented by Dutch Blues, and dispossessed Catholics although battle actually at Drogheda. Anniversary action celebrated bigger beef at Aughrim but after calendar change, commemoration became Boyne.
During dinner at Dublin bypass, conversation drifts after De Bruin doping con discussion dominates. Car continues but detailing actual destination difficult.
After arrival, down Bourgogne and consider cousins’ considerable caffeine consumption. Cousins consume diet cokes and coffees by baker’s dozens. Author’s delightful companion drinks Australian chardonnay and crunches deli cooked crisps as ashtray’s contents double...
Cousins advance Byelorussian branded водка and diet coke. Curtail coke. Cousin’s birth dispenser arrives but declines drink. Detect distance but boldly challenge beliefs about absolution. “Absolution all about clearing baggage (cf. digestive disorder alleviator). Devotional contrition allows dark desires afresh!” Big blunder.
Author’s discourtesies decently dismissed and debate concerning complex bloodlines creates context allowing bedtime. Cork beckons after dawn, bye-bye cousins!
Evelyn chews chocs and dozes as city-bound choo-choo bustles by Cork countryside. Attempt exercising brain by beginning complex Calvino collection concerning concave and convex ellipses. By and by, book becomes exhausting as Calvino’s deft drift elusive. Blame boozy excess and eschew Calvino. Eventually, both enter cab at Cork. As car drifts downtown, cabbie declares “Downpours exceed current charts! Expect a deluge!”
Entering English bazaar after check-in; eye diverse delicacies and eagerly ascend escalier after exquisite edibles. Considering Casserole d’Eire et al, Evelyn chooses cheesy crostini accompanied by dresssed beetroot and endives. Eventually elect estuary catch aujourd'hui.
Evening echoes day’s dreich. Expedition advocated by Angus aborted after another drenching and Evelyn’s exasperation at erroneous directions. Drink double Carlsbergs and eat chicken curry assisted by bottled Chang. Bed awaits.
Following crud coffee and chaussure acquisition; former fiancé’s footwear being far from adequate for Cork’s climate. Crawford Art collection delivers consolation for fatigued consumers. Fantastic first floor finds both fascinated by Eirean artists, especially Broquoy’s Beckett although Edith’s depictions elicit admiration.
Evening at Cork Arts: Am babyishly amused by director’s dated dungarees and camouflaged arts correspondent’s biro cliché – a chewed bic.
An agreeable audience awaits actor after auditorium darkens. An amateurish affair detailing a fait d’accompli covering Derry’s domestic damage done by callous cops: Cops deal death and agitator flees. Following flight, feckless father brutalises dependants for decades. Falling action finds father abandoned albeit acolastic.
Curtain closes. Exeunt. Applause. Actor bows again and again. Bloody actors, always after additional adoration.
At Counihans Bar, decide Beamish beats fizzy Carlsberg although another brand (can’t be denoted) also attractive. Acting discussed and dealt final blow. Fortunately clouds clear as cigarette ban forces chain-smokers alfresco. A friendly fellow eyes Evelyn attempting chat. Evelyn easily avoids eye-contact. Fellow feebly backtracks but finds comfort as drunken friend emerges and both belch befuddled codswallop – craic civics, author decides.
After Cinderella’s deadline, Evelyn famished and despite extensive fast food choices comprising cheeseburgers, döners and further deep-fried crap, calls for boarding establishment’s fine fare. Anticipating an appetizing assortment, Evelyn furious at fridge-flavoured crayfish, cheap aioli, floppy frisée and extraordinary expense. Four-star cuisine? “Fucking farcical!” fumes Evelyn, “Culinary dolts!”
Gut-wrenching gastronomic disaster finally forgotten after espresso fuelled awakening. Aim for Glucksman gallery; apparently an architectural gem erected amidst college grounds. Evelyn enthralled although author feels edifice fuses Corbusier and Doom (an archaic computer game) and dislikes fussy forestry clad façade.
Four autumns earlier, gallery almost carried away elite architectural accolade but bested by adjacent country: Gaelic cousins’ governmental debating chamber aced all comers.
Assumed grievances aside, exhibition garners college collection: artists’ efforts are curated as evolving: Before and forthwith. Artworks are acceptable but featured guest academics’ carefully composed extrapolations are claptrap; base common denominator art criticism and Freudian foolishness.
Favour Donoghue’s deathly depictions and former conceptual ‘Art and Grammar’ gallant Doherty’s corded geometries.
Gallery exit forced after corporate event goons gather and emphatically discuss bourgeois feast arrangements. Aah, fine dining amidst desirable artefacts delivers datum for au courant cultural economies.
Around campus, black-capped and gowned disciples await graduation ceremonies accompanied by gratified ancestors. Elsewhere, docents garner greenhorns (aka freshers) for familiarisation course.
As chapel bells clang, fiendishly formulate excuse for ghoulish excursion about Cork’s environs: George Boole, algebraist extraordinaire, and formerly from close-by Ballintemple, famously expired a fortnight after a commute accompanied by endless aqueous droplets.
Boarding Blackrock-bound bus, enquire about Drumcanion Castle. Driver assumes Castle at Blackrock but ask for announcement at Ballintemple.
Evelyn again after cartographic details, Am evasive as details are dismally deficient. Bus arrives at agreed district but Evelyn abrogates disembarkation as borough-conveyor gestures at exit. Dumbfounded, community-circulator continues and, after extensive detours, arriving at Blackrock, again calls author’s attention: “Blackrock Castle!” After another discussion, extension agreed at additional cost.
As designated déjà-vu emerges. Debate between author and Evelyn becomes fiery, acrimonious even. “Ballintemple!” cries exhausted coachman. Argument abated although depart charabanc alone.
Ballintemple deserted. Also devoid of Boole dedications. Espy butchers and ask assistant for cemetery. Assistant’s eyelids, bordered by effervescent blue eyeshadow, flutter as caked fingers - dried bull’s blood, author assumes - designate direction.
Assume frisking cemetery fruitless and, as day beautifully bone-dry, entertain ambulatory caricature as ghostly commuter.
Arrive downtown, albeit damp and clammy from exertion, and discern Evelyn down dingy backstreet getting a cut and blow-dry - for a bargain considering Cork’s amplified costs. Canal-side, a freak films Evelyn and gurns about caresses. Gesture at filthy deviant and guess film fodder grist for future fondling.
Ensconced at Emporium Anise, guzzle Côtes de Bourg, gnaw Confit de Canard and green beans. Aah, cuisine française! French grub always eminently advisable for gustatory fulfilment.
Honeymoon continues as happy couple head for coastal Cobh – historic centre for exodus during famine. Accordingly, as destination formerly British ex-colony, Cobh flooded by blaring Americans hailing from gigantic cruise-liner docked at harbour.
Having endured half-hearted efforts at another gallery, head for caffeine-hit far away from Californians and Hawaiians. Café enhanced by hilarious African-Eirean hybrid dishes. Hazard café’s head-honchos have complex history.
As everywhere else, Huge cathedral figures centrally. After hauling asses heavenward, clerics across cathedral’s history are chiselled, actually engraved above head-height. Half-admire church’s artful aggrandising across centuries.
A halting descent finds both hungry as high-noon approaches. Entering highly esteemed establishment and expeditiously accommodated, hear Americans haranguing a French-looking food-attendant.
Fingers click. “Hey, here!” Harassed employee hastens and a female American demands geographically bounded brew. “He has beer!” female drawls, denoting another diner’s glass.
“Eh?” answers employee, “Ee hass Bulmers.” and endeavours explanation: “Er, erm, aha! Ees Cider!” employee happily exposits.
“Awh dang!” female answers, “and beers?” “Bieres,” employee echoes, “Ah… Budweeser et Eineeken.” Female American hisses and chooses H20.
Generally, globalisation hoiks hackles but American’s absent adroitness and guileless consumerism distracting.
After a decent dinner, augmented by avoiding any cross-Atlantic conversation, depart Cobh for Cork and assume again an earlier expedition aborted by drenching. Destination: Barry’s Bar.
Erroneous directions and haphazard cartographic design almost ensure another failure but hassling denizens brings fruitful conclusion. Again fizzless Carlsbergs are default brew but Barry’s cultivated garden delights assorted clientele. Especially after dark as bulbs and candles gleam and glow above garden furniture.
Author hastens against defining barman as Barry because basis historical: Barry became bigshot general and famously bloodthirsty brigade blew British conscripts’ bodies everywhere.
Daybreak brings big boo-hoo as is final day. Bags bulging, board airport bus belongings and all. AM channel blares call-ins as callers’ dreams decoded immediately. After despondent ‘drowning brother’ dream, a fellow excursionist complains “Death dreams destroying holiday. Can driver alter channel?”
Faux fragility irritating. An impatient car driver almost causes catastrophe but hiccough hardly hinders. Arrive airport and converge at check-in.
Idiotic bucket airline employee insists hold baggage exceeds allowed heft incurring forty-five euro increase! Is certainly Blackbush and champagne added after Causeway. Irate, conduct excess items into backpacks avoiding extra fleecing by company feigning customer-focussed fiscal frugality.
An additional irritation almost has duo ejected at gate five after Evelyn caught holding extra hand-luggage; a diminutive item containing duty-free chocs destined for her colleagues’ eager gobs. A fight ensues and Evelyn emerges champ after flaunting an empty duty-free bag. Despite assorted “frassarassums”, after Dick Dastardly’s accomplice, flight boarded and belts fastened.
As global economic downturn continues, all allegedly ‘budget airlines’ invest in ideas examining how corporations can extract greatest amounts from customers and ensure continuing confidence in company’s cheap and cheerful brand?’
Internet: formerly fastest booking approach but as auto-checked extras expand – endless insurances, carbon-compensation, accelerated boarding, etc. “Distended design bamboozles inattentive form-fillers and extends booking duration indefinitely – almost equals extent of flight!”, author exaggerates.
Flying-circus commences: Attempt after attempt by cabin crew gradually divests consumers’ bilifolds – “Different denominations accepted!” holler entire crew as drinks, dodgy digestibles and even etch-cards (basic fodder for gauche gamblers and hard-up hopefuls alike) are foisted atop ensnared itinerants - even built-in cabinets above display adverts!
Have heard in-flight coin-operated commodes extract Euros from desparate excreters but fail can-check as busy cursing cordless-blower flight-mode ban and fending away cretinous cabin attendants.
Fleecing continues apace, almost equalling antipodean herd-clipping champion. Fortunately, “Flight-attendants! Adjust doors for arrival and cross-check” announced. Aircraft descends and debacle almost at an end.
At arrivals hall, both bewildered by absent identification check for incoming Irish flights considering date is eighth anniversary for Global Commerce Hub’s destruction: identical cloud-busting buildings collapsed after guerrilla-appropriated aircraft collisions. Also awol aegis appears best bet for illegal incomers entering Great Britain from Ireland although author figures China is already immigrants’ favoured destination for increased economic advantages.
Back in Blighty, both found holiday fairly fleeting and decide honeymoon extended indefinitely. Champagne chilled, cork ejected and bubbly dispensed into fine flutes…
3rd-11th September 2009
Published in tiktoc04