Thursday, 8 January 2009

16 Facts Meme

J. Kingston Pierce from The Rap Sheet tagged me, and although I should be writing my Fifty Grand review, I figured I'd do this instead.

Basically, I'm going to list 16 random facts about little ol' me. Technically, I should tag another 16 people, but instead I'll throw it open to whoever wants to have a go. Either post 16 facts, or whatever amount you have time for, in the comments section, or do it on your own blog and come back here to post a link. Ach, come on. It'll be a a bit of craic.

1. I've never met an alcoholic drink I couldn't get along with.

2. I quit smoking (with my wife) the night we decided to have kids.

3. I got married in Cyprus in 2002. And I'm still married.

4. You can have my karaoke microphone when you pry it from my rubbery, drunken grip.

5. In the past ten years, I've spent £570 on tattoos.

6. When I was 12 I had 4 pet terrapins named Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo and Michael Angelo. My dad once put one in his mouth for a bet.

7. I almost got my wife to agree to naming our son Jack Daniel Brennan. When she caught on to my plan, I had to settle for Jack Gerard.

8. I can't dance. Not even a little.

9. I ran a Wing Tsun kung fu club for a year and a half.

10. Although me and my wife rarely allow our kids to eat food containing artificial colourings, preservatives or sweeteners, I'm addicted to Diet Coke.

11. I seriously considered robbing a bank when I was 20. Had an inside man lined up and everything. I chickened out when I sobered up.

12. I plan to kill the first boy that asks out my daughter, Mya. It'll send the right message out to all the other boys. And I reckon her uncles will help me find a spot to bury the wee fecker.

13. My parents own a tanning salon, and I'm paler than Casper the Friendly Ghost.

14. I played bass in a couple of heavy metal bands in my teens. We were quite good.

15. I want to learn how to play the bodhran.

16. When I was a baby, my mum had to bath me in the kitchen sink. There was no bathroom in our house. We made do with an outhouse. And my dad used to hang pheasant he'd shot there.

So, that's some stuff about me. What about you lot?

45 comments:

seanag said...

Nice list, Gerard. And don't worry, Mya. We'll give your fellow safe sanctuary in the U.S. when the time comes. Just till things cool down a little.

Yeah, I know. It might take years.

You know, I'd post my list, Gerard, but it might give you too many clues for the future...

Gerard Brennan said...

Seana - Thanks. It's always good to have you around these parts. Remeber, though. I'm getting pretty well-versed in crime fiction these days. I might start thinking about it in terms of research rather than entertainment. It seems to have worked for John McFetridge, Dec Burke and Peter Rozovsky. I'll find Mya wherever she goes!

gb

marco said...

Well,I thought it a fun idea and decided to try.
Hopefully the fact only Seana has commented means it won't be read by many people (sorry Ger).
Since I'm a very boring person I only managed 8 facts-but since I'm boring AND long-winded they're at least a paragraph each.

1
In my childhood, we passed every second weekend and at least a month in the summer in my paternal grandparents' house in the country.
I loved all the animals:pigs, rabbits, chicken, but also lizards, toads, country mice, spiders, scorpions (they were of a very tiny sort,not much dangerous),giant slugs and bats.
I was especially proud of my ability to silently stalk lizards and capture them with a single movement of the hand,without hurting them or cutting their tail,and was very sad when they mysteriously disappeared around the time my grandad brought cats to deal with the mice.
I was only afeared of vipers,surely for deep psychological reasons,but mainly because from time to time someone got bitten and had to go to the hospital.
My fears abated after I read Huckleberry Finn.A character in the novel (Pap?) survives a snakebite by emptying a bottle of whisky,which evidently acts as antidote.
Having no reason to doubt Mark Twain,in subsequent years I endeavored to have at all times at least a modicum of alcohol in my system;you never know when a viper might strike.


2
My gaydar must be a very defective model.
Sometimes it is difficult to maintain a straight face when a guy tells you that he can instantly recognize 'them queers', like that one there,or that one two rows back,or that other one...
After a few unpleasant experiences stemming from my failure in successfully making my orientation known before the gaffes start (oh,but I didn't mean you, really! only those who flaunt it!) I gave the matter some thought:after all,I'm not really that butch-looking,and my voice is annoyingly squeaky.
Finally it dawned on me that most people cannot compute the fact that an over-35 gay man still hasn't mastered the fine art of color coordination,wears jeans that are really worn out and not faked,and probably unpaired socks too.
(The fact that I've bought a stock of socks with the same design and minimal color differences is perhaps indicative of my approach to the field of fashion).

After my coming out,I often found myself thinking “did so and so make a pass at me?” (usually months after the fact).
Since so and so was generally going out with a girl,married,a Christian Democrat,or any combination thereof,and I wasn't yet acquainted with that universal phenomenon so brilliantly exemplified in recent times by many US Republican Representatives,I thought I was imagining things.
I missed subtle hints,like when a married man managed to put his hand on his crotch and make strange faces everytime he found himself alone with me (I thought they were tics).
Though I did in fact suspect that the older gent I met when I was travelling in interrail with a (heterosexual) friend,who spoke at length about how he liked Italy and how he had a very special Italian friend, wasn't solely motivated by the renowned German sense of hospitality when he proposed us to pass the night in his house in Frankfurt.

….

Of course we didn't go! Frankfurt is only home to bankers,financiers,accountants and similar shady characters.

….

Though accountants who practice martial arts are a paragon of virtue and ALL RIGHT IN MY BOOK.Really.


3
Much as it pains me to admit it,I'm a very bad football player.I may have claim to some extenuating circumstances,like not-really-flat feet-but-something-similar or bow-leggedness, but the sad truth of the matter is that the collision between my feet and the ball is used in Physics courses to illustrate Heisenberg's uncertainty principle.I lived by the sound advice of a P.E. Teacher who told me “Chi non ha piedi abbia gambe” roughly meaning “if you don't have (sensibility in the) feet,at least have legs (to run like a madman)”.
I had legs,and, perhaps more importantly,lungs,so my contribution to the matches was generally to cover twice as much of the ground as any other player,running after the guy who left me on the spot with a dribbling.Thankfully,as long as I didn't have to change direction,I was a quick runner,and generally managed to come from from behind (er..yes) and tackle either the ball or a leg.
My promising career had a turn for the worse when I myself fell victim (karma?) to a rather clumsy move.A guy unbalanced my leg,twisted my knee,and then fell on it like a ton of bricks.
The result was me passing out for a few minutes,and what is euphemistically called
unhappy triad.
While on average football is not the sport I most enjoy watching (volleyball/tennis),it certainly was the one I most enjoyed playing,however badly.
One of my fondest memories involves a match played under torrential rain in a quicksandlike terrain (probably b/c the conditions evened out the playing field).
However,the last time I played 90 minutes,two years ago,I nearly collapsed,and I'm afraid I'm even more out of shape now.
I'm also a fan of rugby,especially after I read an aphorism by some guy who said that the sport was invented in order to further the spreading of homosexuality in all-male British public schools.
A worthy cause,I'm sure we all agree.Unfortunately,since Italian Tv doesn't broadcast many matches,I'm a bit too thin for the sport and tend to be kind of defensive about my knees of late,this interest remains mainly theoretical.

marco said...

4
I like walking.Hours and Kilometers,lengthy excursions.
Every two years I participate in the Perugia-Assisi peace march,and generally I'm the the only one in my group of friends that completes the march (35 km with a steep climb in the last section),come hell or high water,instead of making a symbolic stroll and then taking the bus.
I don't like driving,especially a) in big cities b) for long distances.Combined with the fact that I try to look after my carbon footprint,this means that I take public means of transport everytime I can,even when it's not an entirely sound choice.

5
While I strongly believe in freedom of opinion,worship,and so on,I've always been a wee bit resentful of the disproportionate influence of the Catholic Church in Italian politics.
When I was younger I used to daydream about the ending of Watchmen,only it happened not in NY,but inside the Vatican.The thought always cheered me up.
Over the years I've met a few oddball priests,of the kind much more interested in social justice than in who you slept with and how many times,my son.Some I admire,two I consider friends.
A certain catholic mindset has always been present however.
In High School I thought it a good idea to render my contribution to a drug rehab project for street children in Brazil more meaningful with a personal sacrifice,so I sold all my Lps and gave the money to the project.
I felt very proud of myself in the few hours before the withdrawal symptoms kicked in and I realized what I had done.Needless to say,in subsequent years I bought back nearly all the records,and when I read the story of Dante Gabriel Rossetti,who exhumed his wife to retrieve the only copy of all his poems,which he had buried in her grave,I thoroughly empathized with his stance.
I knew all too well the long-term effects of hasty decisions made under the sway of powerful emotions.

6
I know a married couple who totalizes 19 siblings (12+7) between them.
Most of them have emigrated to other countries,for work,love or other reasons,and mingled,married and settled there.
One lives in Kiel,in the part of Germany that borders with Denmark,three in the U.S.,one in Argentina,one in Mexico,two in the Philippines,and probably I'm forgetting some.They all have mantained contacts and visit themselves with regularity.
This couple has a daughter who is engaged to a boy who comes from Burkina Faso.
Every time I think that the color palette of their extended family runs from the palest white to the darkest black,covering many shades in between,a broad smile appears on my face and I feel a bit better with the world.


7
I've been a volunteer in environmental organizations and human rights organizations,I've participated in peace initiatives,protest initiatives,migrant rights groups,campaigns for workers rights and against water privatization,and had a job with a social co-op which also meant a lot of after-hours work for free.
Of late I've noticed that reading and commenting on some foreign blogs,mostly with a crime-fiction bent,helps me escape from a political and social situation in my country that I find depressingly bleak.It has become an addictive habit,but also a therapeutic one.

8
I'm actually a rather shy person,and the idea I might someday meet face to face someone who has read all this freewheeling bullshit colors my face many shades of red.

seanag said...

Marco,

Although you never know when the idea of blackmail may rear its ugly head, given the dark side of my personality, in fact this is a lovely self-portrait and I wouldn't worry too much about meeting anyone who reads it. In fact, I wouldn't worry at all.

Gerard,

Your extensive reading and writing of crime fiction might give me pause, except I've also been reading the likes of Declan, John and Peter, so unfortunately for you but fortunately for Mya, I will always be one step ahead of you. Also, in The Big O and Dirty Pretty, the main female leads, though admittedly of larcenous intent, are also pretty sharp and usually succeed with their plans. (Although I'm pretty near the beginning, so if things go badly wrong for Roxanne don't tell me.) Since, basically, I am going to be using their powers for good, I think I am pretty much invincible.

seanag said...

Oops. Even though I have McFetridge's title right in front of me, I am still mixing it up with the (excellent) movie 'Dirty, Pretty Things'. The title of the novel is Dirty Sweet, for anyone who doesn't already know this.

Gerard Brennan said...

Marco - Thanks for sharing, sir. And don't worry, although you had two goes at it, I'm not insulted. In fact, I'd be hard pressed not to agree with the common sweeping opinions on accountants. It's probably why I'm still part-qualified.

I still think you should get a blog on the go. Maybe if you stuck to a theme (like crime and sf) it'd be a distraction from Italian politics.

Seana - Damn that Dec and Fetch! I fear I've been bested.

gb

adrian mckinty said...

"I'm a very bad football player"

Did you write this drunk? I've never heard an Italian admit that before.

marco said...

Gerard,Seana,thanks.You're too kind.

Blog-I really have more fun this way,and I'm bad at non-spoilerish reviews.
I don't know.
Maybe if I succeed in convincing the publishers to buy the rights of Adrian novels and from then on I decide to give literary translation a serious try I could follow the model of some translators whose blogs I visited- a bit in English,a bit in Italian,some current affairs,some literature,excerpts of my translations,and consider it a way to advertise my work.
But we're a long way off from that.

Thanks for the encouragement,anyway.

marco said...

Did you write this drunk?

Er,no.I don't get drunk anymore.
In fact I've discovered that not only alcohol isn't an antidote for viper poison,it magnifies its effects.
This made me lose my faith in literature and brought my spirits down a notch of two.

I've never heard an Italian admit that before.

Well,I could spin tall tales as much as the next guy,like for instance "Did you know that once I scored three goals at Villa Park that time that Carrickfergus FC beat Aston Villa 5-0 in the semifinals of the FA Cup",
but I believe honesty is the best policy,you brummie hater.

adrian mckinty said...

Marco

I really did "score a goal at Villa Park". Carrick Rangers wouldnt be let into the FA Cup BTW, only English and Welsh teams mores the pity.

There was talk a few years ago about having a Belfast United in the English or Scottish leagues but no one liked the idea (except me apparently) and its died.

seanag said...

Gerard, nice try at lulling me into non-vigilance, but it won't fly.

Did you write this drunk?

Now see, Adrian, this is exactly why Marco posted this here and not on your blog and why he's currently peeved with me for posting the link to this. I think in the spirit of international concord, as well as to assure that he actually does a good translation of your work instead of one that makes you look like a jerk, you ought to post your sixteen things list as well. Quid pro quo.

Sure, I'd do it too, but in the interests of sanctuary, national security, etc. I really can't.

Accountants are great by the way--right up to the point where they do in their daughters' boyfriends.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

Oh I dont think its TOO bad. I'm not the biggest football buff myself to be honest. Rugby was always my game and rugby has a connotation in Ireland - makes you think of Proddy boarding schools and middle class twits just a bit too thick to get into the golf or the yacht club.

In America its even more upper class. I used to play for a team called The Gentlemen of Aspen...

seanag said...

Gentlemen of Aspen. Oh, dear lord. I didn't know there were gentlemen in Aspen. I thought they were all ski bums.

But they let you in, huh? Did you have to show your Oxford bona fides or something?

Or, as I really feel bound to ask at this point, were they drunk?

adrian mckinty said...

They COULD drink I'll tell you that for nothing.

marco said...

Did the Carrick Rangers ever make it into the Uefa Cup?

And how do they call the derby with Carrick Celtic? New Firm?

you ought to post your sixteen things list as well.

Yes,you should.

The Gentlemen of Aspen

I may have said it already,but here in Italy rugby is truly considered a gentlemen's sport (where gentleman means "someone conforming to a high standard of propriety or correct behaviour") ,especially when compared to football.
In our romantic view rugby is rough but very fair,it bridges class differences,there are never skirmishes on the field (unlike with football),the tifosi are very respectful of the other team,players don't do drugs and don't visit nightclubs,and after the match traditionally both teams have a beer together.

Gerard Brennan said...

I was tempted to leave this post at 16 comments as that's the general theme and I'm a bit OCD that way (bet you can't find a post with 13 comments and most of those at 14 feature an unnecessary one by me), but there's too much going on here not to comment. Wow, that's a big sentence. Excuse me, I'm hungover.

Marco - blog/translation, a worthy ambition. Best of luck with it buddy. I'm starting to think you're on to something with the whole not-drinking thing. I'll give it more thought in a couple of years.

New Firm - I chuckled.

Adrian - I believed you about the goal scoring thing. Hand on heart, to clear it up for everybody else... did you?

Seana - I don't know what you... ach it's not gonna work, is it? I'm investing in a crossbow.

Cheers

gb

John McFetridge said...

Marco, as big a confession as your football limitations may be, an Italian who's fasion sense is off? I still remember seeing a news item from Rome in the late 70's in which the cop was wearing a pastel jacket and a t-shirt - a year later Miami Vice premiered in America.

seanag said...

John, yes, an Italian with no fashion sense--go figure. You can see why Marco might feel compelled to get this off his chest but in a place where he misguidely thought no one would read it.

But bear in mind, his idea of having no fashion sense is only in relation to the fashion sense of other Italians. I don't think we'd better get on our high horses just yet.

Adrian, so who did the Gentlemen of Aspen play? The Louts of Larimer Square?

Gerard, the crossbow, huh? It is hard to stay one step ahead of a crossbow, I fear. I guess I'd better start investing in armor for the crew. Please don't practice when you're drunk, though. Or, come to think of it, hungover.

John McFetridge said...

Marco - there's a precedent of convincing Italian publishers to buy the rights of English crime fiction and being the translater. Maybe this guy culd help:

http://www.elmoreleonard.com/index.php?/forums/viewthread/484/P15/#2961

(ha, my v-word is: sublestr, which made me think I'm not being very subtle...)

marco said...

Seana

Now see, Adrian, this is exactly why Marco posted this here and not on your blog and why he's currently peeved with me for posting the link to this.

I just knew he would have jumped at the chance to twist the knife...


Gerard

I'm starting to think you're on to something with the whole not-drinking thing.

Well,I don't want to leave you with a false impression.
While my consumption of liqueurs is now limited to a shot of Nocino or Grappa as after dinner when the occasion calls for it,beer still maintains a prominent role in my diet.
But it takes a lot of beer to get drunk.

v-word:syriangod

marco said...

John

Marco, as big a confession as your football limitations may be, an Italian who's fasion sense is off?

And to think my father averages more time in front of the mirror than my mother, and my grandfather, a carpenter,brushed over and over his beautiful Sunday suit every day.
What can I say? The origins of my surname aren't very clear.
Maybe some genes inherited by distant Irish ancestors have resurfaced.

Marco - there's a precedent of convincing Italian publishers to buy the rights of English crime fiction and being the translater. Maybe this guy culd help:

Thanks.I already contacted him through his blog a while ago and he seemed willing to help,however the scenario he prospected for DIWMB wasn't overwhelmingly optimistic-the book is a few years old now,and in the case of midlist authors the rationale behind translation choices is rather mysterious.
Fifty Grand may have a better chance,especially if it generates some buzz.
But we have agreed that,towards the end of January,when I'll be ready to start and he'll have completed the translation is currently working on,we'll discuss a strategy and I'll ask him for pointers.

John McFetridge said...

Marco - I'm glad to hear you contacted him previously, and I hope it works out.

I hope I'm not out of line here (I'd email you but I can't find an address), but the Canada Council for the Arts has a grant program to fund foreign translations of Canadian novels, if you might be interested in one of mine?

The application has to come from the foreign publisher but I could certainly help with grant applications from here.

(I guess if something comes from this we owe Gerard a cut...)

seanag said...

I just knew he would have jumped at the chance to twist the knife...

Yeah, I saw my mistake as soon as I posted the link. Sorry about that. But cheer up--true confessions about fashion sense don't seem to have hurt your job prospects any, now do they?

Gerard, getting back to your 16 facts, how is it possible that you are proficient enough at Kung Fu to run a club but can't dance at all? I'm afraid these two facts side by side are bit suspect, and I suppose I should hope your wife doesn't read this list. Or should I?

adrian mckinty said...

I was impressed by the Kung Fu thing actually.

Gerard Brennan said...

John - The current rate is a signed copy.

Seana - You're not the first person to question that. It's weird, but I have pretty good balance, if I do say so myself, and my footwork was always pretty good. But just today, with nobody watching, I re-examined the phenomenon again and danced with my daughter. Lead feet. Maybe I'm a superhero and phat beats are my kryptonite.

Adrian - Thanks. If you're in a Where's Wally/Waldo sort of meed, you might be able to find me here under the WT Irland button.

gb

marco said...

John

Fact is, I don't have previous experiences in literary translation-commercial yes,but that's a completely different world.
When Adrian asked me if I could translate DIWMB at first I told him I didn't feel up to it,but he insisted and convinced me.
I'm still scared,but also excited,and if things work out I'd like to pursue it as a career.

Recently I've suscribed to a translators mailing list-on the one hand I've realized that most translators didn't have specific qualifications when they started,but on the other that the number of those that are trying to enter the market is legion.
I don't know if a publisher will take a risk on me.

I'd be glad to translate one of your novels,I already meant to order EKTIN with my next batch -and I can suggest your name to the publishers along with that of Adrian,and also mention the possibility of grants.
I'm sure the backing of two writers won't hurt.
But again,this will be a first for me.Both of you are taking a bit of a gamble.


mail is

marcolin(at)lillinet.org

or

giubbani(at)alice.it


v-word:dialos

adrian mckinty said...

Oh Marco you're so cute, if I were gay you were 10 years younger and had some fashion sense and believed me about Villa, I'd ask you out...

marco said...

Oh Marco you're so cute, if I were gay you were 10 years younger and had some fashion sense and believed me about Villa, I'd ask you out...

Feck off.
Noone's ever called me cute and lived.(noone has ever called me cute,but if they did,they wouldnt have lived long).
And it's me who should be 10 years younger?
What about you 10cm taller?

Gerard Brennan said...

Hah! This is too funny. And for the record, being cute has gotten me a lot further than my unimpressive salary ever could. No need to be ashamed, Marco. Embrace it.

And how the hell did I manage to write meed instead of mood? The e and o keys aren't even close to each other!

gb

seanag said...

Gerard, I guess I shouldn't give you a hard time about everything, so I guess I'll accept the lead feet theory. That's nice that you dance with your daughter, though. Or maybe I should say it's nice that she's still willing to dance with you.

seanag said...

And here was me thinking that meed was one of those incomprehensible Norn Iron sort of words...

Marco, what I think Adrian was really trying to say is that if he was gay and you were ten years younger and you looked like Angelina Jolie, and in fact actually were Angelina Jolie, and he wasn't actually gay and he wasn't actually married, he would date you.

But only if you really, really believed him about Villa Park.

Gerard Brennan said...

Seana - My daughter, the four-year-old genius, also told me I looked like a rock star today and, when asked, promised to keep me looking fashionable (her word) ten years from now (my time-scale). Surely you understand my need to kill anyone who might take her away from me now, right? I figured I owed her a dance at least. She seemed unimpressed, though. Go figure.

gb

adrian mckinty said...

10cm taller!

ouch!

right in the soft spot - sure Brennan's not been teaching you KF?

BTW I thought I mentioned that Ger was the cute but that must have been in the other post.

marco said...

Seana

Marco, what I think Adrian was really trying to say is that if he was gay and you were ten years younger and you looked like Angelina Jolie, and in fact actually were Angelina Jolie, and he wasn't actually gay and he wasn't actually married, he would date you.

But only if you really, really believed him about Villa Park.


:) :) :)

Yeah,that's what I thought

marco said...

Adrian

right in the soft spot - sure Brennan's not been teaching you KF?

No,it's just that every time I read novels in my favorite genre (as you all know,romance/chick lit) I start daydreaming about the YOUNG,HANDSOME Irishman that brings me to the debutante ball,and I tend to see him around my height.
It helps during the dance and the breathtaking kiss sequence,but I suppose it doesn't really matter much in the scenes that follow.

Gerard Brennan said...

Marco - What if he were in platform shoes? Or Cuban heels, even?

gb

adrian mckinty said...

Cuban heels and a David Brent leather jacket - nice!

marco said...

Cuban heels and a David Brent leather jacket - nice!

I didn't get the reference,so I wikigoogleyoutubed it.
Haven't found the episode you mentioned,but now my fantasy as morphed into a scene in which a young, handsome, vertically challenged and slightly overweight Irishman plays guitar and sings with a mixed up Norn Iron/Cockney accent "Free Love on the Freelove Freeway".
And to cap it out,he also has the moustache of that guy you said would've been the new Doctor.

But seriously,I owe you something.
The clips on youtube are tremendously funny.

Gerard Brennan said...

Adrian - You got class.

Marco - I think the leather jacket features in an episode from the second series of The Office. Well worth tracking down both seasons and the Christmas special. Comedy gold. Extras is very good too, though I've only seen the first season of that.

Cheers

gb

colman said...

16 MEME FACTS on http://crimecutcelt.blogspot.com/

Better late than never, but I'm not technical enough to do a proper link

Colman

Gerard Brennan said...

Colman - Excellent. I'll pop on over now, man.

gb

colman said...

feel free to revisit as I've just put up another 16, go Keano!

www.crimecutcelt.blogspot.com/

Colman

Gerard Brennan said...

Okey dokey, matey. I'll head over in a bit.

gb

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