For You Know Who,

I hope you have found what you are looking for.

I heard today that the Promise Ring broke up. For many years, they were my favorite band – when indie rock was dying around 1996 or so they stepped in to save it. There are few records I know as well as their Horse Latitudes singles comp, Nothing Feels Good, and Very Emergency. Their most recent record – Wood/Water – was a disappointment, a blatant attempt to discard the “emo” label and be a more “mature” band (whatever that means). The songs weren’t bad per se – live they were just as great as any of their other songs – but they lacked the energy and feeling of the older stuff.

Songs can be living or they can be dead. When a band breaks up – they die. They’re an artifact, a memento of something that’s gone forever. I can’t help feeling sad listening to dead songs – The Promise Ring, Jawbox, Braid, the Pixies, all the bands I’ve loved over the years. Especially Nirvana.

Besides hearing about the Promise Ring’s breakup today, I also saw the “new” Nirvana video for the soon-to-be released original track, “You Know You’re Right.” This is the king of dead songs – written just weeks before Kurt Kobain’s suicide, the victim of a vicious custody battle between Courtney Love and the surviving members of Nirvana. Watching the video – a collage of clips of Kobain performing taken from a variety of sources – you can’t help but feel the tragedy of his suicide. It’s such a great song – it hints at what the next Nirvana album might have been. And the images of him alive and playing music – they really effect you.

The day Kurt Kobain died I was saddened that that was it – he couldn’t’ come back to life. There would be nothing else. And all those great songs were dead. Releasing a video for “You Know You’re Right” only helps to accentuate the reality. I’ve been waiting for eight years for a new Nirvana song – and now that it’s here – I can’t help feeling like maybe it should never have come out. Perhaps the hope of something is more important than really getting it – because this is it. There will be nothing else.

Some days it is too hard to force a smile and will my lips to shape the mindless noise my vocal cords produce.

I prefer to sit alone, slack jawed, in silence.

My timing really sucks.

This girl - let's call her Mary - came to stay with me at my new university this weekend. Finally I acted on something I've felt for the longest time and kissed her. She kissed me back; we spent the rest of the weekend together.

You should know some stuff about Mary. She is entirely lovely. Her best bits are her eyes, and she is maybe the sweetest natured person who cares most about the fate of the world in general that I know. Also, she is the most touchingly vulnerable and open-hearted person in the universe. She is extremely intelligent and extremely pretty. Actually, the specifics might be better left up to you. Just imagine someone lovely. She's probably less lovely than Mary.

So. Naturally I'm elated. Except -whoops! - I chose to kiss her for the first time less than a week before she leaves the country for a very long time. She's going away on her gap year for not eight days, or weeks, or even fortnights, but eight months. This is about 245 days. This is ages, in my book.

Mary is off to Australia for three months, where she will doubtless meet loads of people called Brad; and then to Russia for five, which is by all accounts brimming over with people called Vlad. I'm entirely realistic and don't expect her to be celibate off the back of a twenty-four hour relationship, just as I think it's fairly unlikely that I won't move on a bit in my first year at university. But now I know she likes me I'm so incredibly fucking frustrated - this could have happened months ago.

I feel in a very odd mood. I'm pinching myself about the fact that the perfect girl thinks I'm pretty neat too - she likes me! she likes me!; I'm punching myself about the fact that she's going to be on the opposite side of the world consorting with surfers. But there are good things.

The best of which is that she's coming to the same college at the same university as me in a year's time. Hooray! So perhaps something will happen then. Also, at least we don't have enough of a relationship for there to be serious emotional issues about what best to do for the next year.

Still - the tortuous thought continues to run through my head that twenty four hours ago she was lying next to me half-asleep with her extarordinarily pretty head on my big tough masculine chest (pfft) and right now - she isn't. She won't be for quite a long time.

What self-indulgent crap. But I couldn't concentrate. (How is one meant to write two thousand words on Dr Faustus when one is lovelorn?) I'm done now. Your brief insight into my fascinating life is finished, and will hopefully not resume at any point (for both your sake and mine).

My grandmother died last night.

She was old, crippled with Alzheimers and dementia. People always say in these situations that it's a release for the person and their families.


She was my grandmother, my Nana, my father's mother. Now we have to bring her back to Ireland, attend a catholic mass where some priest will waffle on about what a great woman she was, how she always lived life to the fullest and how she touched the lives of everyone here.

This priest never met my Nana. What the fuck does he know? How dare he stand up there at his altar justifying her life to everyone present?

If I had my way, I would forgo the whole church bit and just have a private service where people could say whatever they wanted and remember Nana in their own way. But she was a religious woman and her last words were words of prayer to God, old Irish prayers that I hadn't heard in years.

I am sad. I loved her very, very much. I cried once, last night when my father called to give me the news. It was the first time I had ever heard my father cry, the first time I've ever seen him totally overcome with emotion. This is what made me upset. Not the news of the death, but the way it was making my father feel.

"She's gone Paul, she's gone. Ten minutes ago."

That's all he could get out. I never wanted anything more in the world than to be beside him at that very moment and give him the biggest hug I could muster but I was 50 miles away in London. I told him I loved him and we said goodbye then I had a cry for him.

Whatever else is unsure in this stinking dunghill of a world a mother's love is not. - James Joyce.

Goodbye Nana.

I just want to send out some well-wishes to Packers’ quarterback Brett Favre, who banged up his knee on Sunday and had to be carted off in tears. I really hope to see him out on the field in two weeks ( The Packers have a bye coming up), keeping his record string of 164 consecutive starts alive.

I’m not even a Green Bay Packers fan.

It may sound a tad sappy, but I’ve loved this game since I was a little boy. And over the years I’ve watched its players degenerate into a bunch of egotistical fuckheads. Players like Terrell Owens, who pulls off a new and different LOOK AT ME! stunt each season, or Randy Moss getting paid $70 million dollars to play “when (he) wants to” (i.e. take plays off and just stand around). And I won’t even get into cokehead scumbags like Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders. In the modern day NFL, Brett Farve stands out as one of the few class acts left. No one plays with more passion, no one has a better attitude toward the game and its fans.

Get well soon Brett.

NOTE: Apparently an MRI on Monday showed no structural damage to Brett’s knee, and there’s a good chance he’ll play on November 4th against the Miami Dolphins. Chalk one up for the good guys.

I came back to my room at uni today and found that the door was open, unlocked. My money, my month's budget for november was gone. I locked my room this morning. The cleaner is the only person with a key to open it, apart from me. Without too much confusion, I can conclude the cleaner left my room open. Now I feel violated that someone else took advantage of her stupidity and has been through all my personal possessions. I don't feel safe, even though the door is now locked.

I knew as a country girl I wouldn't make it in the city

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