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Pól Ó Lorcáin
Paul Larkin

Chroniclers are privileged to enter where they list, to come and go through keyholes, to ride upon the wind, to overcome in their soarings up and down, all obstacles of distance, time and place.
Charles Dickens - Barnaby Rudge, Chapter The Ninth

Living in a rough area - a pub conversation

Not so long ago, I was involved in the following conversation in a pub in the centre of Dublin. I may have forgotten the exact wording but the memory of it fits me like a glove.


How ya! It’s Paul isn’t it?

It is. How you doin? Er…Justin?

It is indeed. Jeez, you have a good memory

Well you remembered my name so even Stevens

Yes but it’s not everyone who translates Ibsen. That’s how come I remembered your name..Paul Larkin.

Paul Larkin it is. Do you want to join me Justin?

Well I’m meeting people later on but if you’re sure Im not disturbing?

Not at all – there’s loads of room. I'm heading off later myself

(Justin puts down his pint and draws the seat closer to the table. He then lifts the pint and takes a long draught.)

Ah! Now that’s better. What a week! I’ll get a bit of weed later on and chill with the lads.

You busy Justin?

I wish it was just busy Paul instead of completely fuckin bananas.

What work do you do?

Accounts. Anymore obscure Nordic trolls to translate?

You think Ibsen is obscure?

Ha ha…Only joking Pablo cheers!

Cheers dustbin

Ha ha touché

(a moment of respite as more beer is consumed)

You must work from home then do you Paul?

I do yeah and I must say I should have done it years ago

Where do you live?

North Circular Road

(Justin lowers his pint)

Whoh! Which part?

Which part do you know?

Mostly the Phoenix Park end. 

That’s exactly where I am.

Know it quite well actually but as for living there..

Great spot

Yeah right Paul …just near where that murder was not so long ago  

Which one?  

Was it the one in Cabra or the one in Drumalee? I can't remember now. See! So many of them. Fucking dodgy area you have to admit.

Where do you live yourself Justin?

Just outside Malahide. ..(drinks his pint) Would you not think of moving out.. you know, and you a writer an all that? I mean you dont imagine professional writers round there.

How do ye mean?

You know for the peace and quiet. No bogies or blacks where we live mate. And as for all them lunatics

What lunatics? Oh all the motorcades and sirens coming in and out of the Áras every day?

Ha ha very good. No. You must have seen them. Guys running up and down - roaring at the traffic, muttering to themselves

Tell me this Justin. How do you know the area so well?

Well my father has connections and my aunt used to work as a volunteer there

A volunteer? What shooting drug dealers? That was some time ago. are sharp No. In the local parish. You know helping single parents. We dont really see much of her. Look I better go.

No finish the story. What about your dad? What's his connection to the North Circular Road?

Well actually he's had properties there for a long time but I'm not going to say which ones.

He’s a landlord then.

He’s a landlord. (Justin half rises from his seat)

Landlords are the biggest problem we have on the North Circular Road (Justin sits down again and slaps his pint onto the table)

I don’t know how you make that out Paul. We're providing a social service.

What by taking cheques from the welfare and then dumping  the tenants in our area and not even checking who they are or what they get up to in their properties? The return of the absentee landlord.

Oh no. Not another bleeding heart labour party type

No Justin. Im just a bleeding communist full stop.

(Justin rises indignantly, glaring at his adversary but Larkin just carries on)

You see, if you were to dump the same social mix of people in Malahide, along with the homeless, battered women, immigrant, refugee  shelter and halfway houses, all in the same tiny area, and then just take their welfare cheques and run, you'd have the same catastrophe that we’ve got. But we have something you dont.

We pay our taxes you know.

No, those blacks and bogies you were talking about pay your taxes, and your three or four cars, your exotic holidays and that weed your going to get tonight from those same bogies you so despise but to finish my point - what we have is happiness.

What are you talking about, you idiot.

Think about it Justin. You know in your heart of hearts that you are simply leeching off the People. So you have to belittle them to justify yourself. When the people see raw greed and avarice like that, it gladdens their hearts that they don’t have that particular disease.

You are obviously deranged.

No Justin. I’m just a happy troll.


@Paul Larkin Meán Fómhair 2010

Cuarbhothar Thuaidh


1 comment:

Super Pablo!!

That's a scenario,!!!, albeit a rather 'unhappy state of affairs'!

But I know full well the scene and the way it goes from a "Hi' superficial, 'Let's shoot the shit together' to a rather annoying discovery of ignorance...
I've just started work in a class of French gypsies and I love it but, Christ, if I tell even some of my very good friends, well, there is a certain cause for alarm as they fling injury, insult and racism toward the travelling community....odd, I think and quite frankly I amn't sure I would ever understand.
That said since I have begun I have experienced happiness and delight from youngsters that know how to burst into song and dance.
And yes, we belittle the 'disposessed' and find ourselves reassuring our inadequacies....
Oh for many happy trolls!!!!!
by: Finn Anson (contact) - 22 Sep '10 - 10:35


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Title: Living in a rough area - a pub conversation
Date posted: 21 Sep '10 - 22:53
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