In an orgy of self-indulgence, partly in answer to repeated meme taggings over the last year, and partly as an exercise in disclosure, I give you now 101 Random Facts About The Author of Irish KC.
A lot of these factoids are quite statistical in nature, and that’s because I never lie, and also because the more emotional stuff appears on American Hell.
Also only a couple have been mentioned or alluded to previously, so this will help me plan another, oh 101, posts.
Onwards then. It’s a turbulent story of survival, and raging desire.
1. The longest distance I have cycled in a single day is 135 miles from Dublin on Ireland’s east coast to Galway on the west coast.
2. Over a tomb deep in the woods of Ireland’s County Meath I once saw a ghost float as I heard a loud wail. I was eleven and terrified until the next morning when revisiting I saw the pulleys and sheets.
3. The second time I went to the Gaeltacht it rained every day bar one of the three and half weeks. It was the best holiday I ever had.
4. I once dropped a full pint of beer and then caught it after it bounced off my umbrella handle, losing less than an inch of beer. Nobody else saw it.
5. Just to buy a spanner (wrench) I once traveled over 1,400km by train from Prague to Hamburg, and back again.
6. The most pints of Guinness I have drunk in one day is 28.
7. As the poll clerk assistant in the Phoenix Park, I was responsible for checking the President of Ireland was who he said he was. He said he was Patrick Hillary. I appeared on the national news watching him vote, although in reality he had left five minutes earlier and I was mindlessly complying with television production requests.
8. Derry was the last of Ireland’s historic 32 counties I set foot in.
9. The first time I saw New York City was from the saddle of the bicycle I entered it on.
10. Citrus fruits, and pineapple especially, give me hives.
11. A sheep once jumped down towards Lough Tay and its death, just to get away from me as I passed very slowly on a bicycle in the Wicklow Mountains.
12. The most invigorated I have ever felt was after a seaweed bath in Enniskrone, Sligo. It included a steaming and cold showering.
13. Twice I have been to the top of Croagh Patrick.
14. American Hell gives me more satisfaction that Irish KC.
15. Several times in Ireland and England, for no particular reason, I have gone out in the evening and walked. And kept walking through the night with the final distance walked being 20 to 25 miles.
16. I’ve won medals in Soccer and Gaelic Football.
17. Just to prove a point I once drank a full bottle of tabasco in one go.
18. The most I have ever been laughed at was in the jungles of Cambodia, for several miles one day by women who saw me cycling on a dirt track.
19. If I wanted to go out with you, you would be the last person I would tell. If even.
20. Greece is the only country I have ever entered drunk. I was on a bicycle.
21. Four is the most number of films I have seen at the cinema in one day. It was during a Dublin Film Festival.
22. I can count to 10 in Turkish. In fact if I think for a minute or two I can probably count to a million.
23. Although I have given away many paintings I have only ever painted one painting for somebody that I then gave it to.
24. In 1992 I gave away my CD collection.
25. When I went to the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur they were then both the tallest building in the world at 1,483 feet. It never occurred to me to go inside and up them.
26. I have drunk over 100 cups of tea in a single day, many times.
27. When Krzysztof Kieslowski died in 1996, Zhang Yimou became my favourite living director.
28. In a work challenge to see who could keep a fruit pastille in their mouth the longest before swallowing, I won with a time of 28 minutes.
29. I had turned 30 before I found out there were such things as laying hens. And that they all seemed to be from Mayo.
30. The longest I have gone without a haircut is over
5 10 years. And counting.
31. Though it’s been a while since I tried, I used to be able to climb to the top of telephone poles, regardless of whether they were wooden or metal.
32. The 1st time I went to the Cliffs of Moher I stood on the edge of that slab and stepped onto an adjoining one that jutted out. The next 6 times I went, the nearest to the edge I went was to lie on the slab and crawl to the edge to peep over at the 700 foot drop.
33. One evening I read all of the letters ‘A’ and ‘B’ in the Dublin Area code telephone directory. There are a lot more A and B names in Ireland than in America. I still plan to finish the book.
34. To help with my painting I once gave up reading books for a period of 5 years, allowing just one break in year 3 of a week when I went on a holiday, a painting holiday.
35. In religion class in school I once said I didn’t believe in Napoleon. Out of a sense of tradition I remain unconvinced.
36. When walking Dublin’s quays I cross every bridge rather than stick to one side of the Liffey.
37. Traveling somewhere in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia I found myself with diarrhoea after a night’s hospitality by some family in a mountain village. In the barren sunblenched countryside I would drop the bicycle beneath me and run off the road to squat behind some dry low bushes, which while not ideal worked fine until the time a full passenger train passed directly behind me.
38. I once stood on one leg for 4 hours.
39. I have gone to a train station in England, picked a train randomly from those departing, got off at my unplanned destination, and then just walked for over 20 miles.
40. Changing a lightbulb scares me.
41. Simply because he chased me I have run away from a policeman, even though I hadn’t done anything wrong.
42. When Star Wars was released in 1977 I was 11. It wasn’t until 2005 that I saw any of the Star Wars films.
43. When I first arrived into the centre of Verona in northern Italy I felt very embarrassed because it was so beautiful and that only made me realise everybody else already knew about it.
44. Once in Dublin I saw someone killed.
45. The best thing I’ve ever bought is Xtracycle’s FreeRadical extension for my bicycle.
46. One job I had as a teenager was a golf caddy, and watching the diabolical temperaments of everybody I saw play put me off golf for life.
47. I hate drinking water.
48. I have only ever purchased 2 albums at full retail price.
49. I can name the starting lineup of the 1982 Brazil team that played in the World Cup in Spain. And the subs.
50. I have had a beard continuously for over
20 25 years.
51. For 2 years in a house in Dublin, my housemate and I used a 12 foot bamboo to change the channels on the television. We called it the remote.
52. In a work challenge to see who could keep a malteser in their mouth the longest before swallowing it or it just dissipating, I won with a time of 14 minutes. Then again nobody else would play.
53. The biggest painting I have ever done, was painted in the smallest place I have ever lived.
54. If I had to name 5 favourite books in the sense of them meaning something special to me, they would be, Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon, World Encyclopedia of Naive Art by Otto Bihalji-Merin and Nebojsa-Bato Tomasevic, A Widow For One Year by John Irving, and An Evil Cradling by Brian Keenan.
55. My sixth summer holiday in Ireland was my first not to be on the coast (it was in Roscommon). Until then I had believed a holiday not on the coast to be a contradiction.
56. On September 11, after the first tower came down, and before the second did, I picked up the phone and booked flights from America to Ireland. There was a good reason.
57. I have scraped food off a wet city street and eaten it.
58. Directed to “smooth asphalt” I once cycled a painfully jagging 30 miles on a cobble road in rural Macedonia that led up a mountain where the road then turned into a track that bore more resemblance to a rocky riverbed. It was dark so I gave up cycling and slept on the top of the mountain. In the morning sun I saw I was 100 yards from a road all the way down the mountain, a perfectly smooth asphalt road.
59. I once put one of my older sisters’ heads (she had three) through the window. She deserved it.
60. Once, during the Thatcher years in Britain, I gave away all of my savings. It was thousands of dollars. (in sterling)
61. When I was 12 I bought a handmade candle and have been waiting to give it to somebody, or for a reason to light it, ever since.
62. For many years I wouldn’t visit art galleries or exhibitions because they gave me severe headaches. Eventually I discovered this was because of how one of my eyes was behaving and nothing to do with the quality of the art.
63. My favourite colour is different every time I wonder what it is.
64. It was mostly by listening to people talk that I taught myself to swim. Remote education?
65. The number of times I have ever danced in public I can count on two hands.
66. I have camped in only five of Ireland’s 32 historic counties.
67. When given the call to join a FAS course on computing at lunch time the day after everybody else started, my introductory speech was short, saying only my name, my age, and that I had just missed “Neighbours”.
68. If you ever sent me an email I still have it - on a disk, online, and possibly printed out too.
69. In Kathmandu I was one of half a dozen people who danced for a video by some pop band.
70. In England I once cut up my health insurance card because I was against private health care. The boss ordered me a new one which I then cut up in front of him.
71. As an artist I love line more than colour.
72. I want to cycle across Australia.
73. One friend let me cut their hair once, using clippers. I treated it as hedge sculpture. Everyone seemed happy with the results.
74. Going to Venice on a bicycle was one of the more stupid things I’ve ever done.
75. Toyah was my first gig. I went alone.
76. During all of 1984 I went to bed before midnight on just one occasion.
77. When Margaret Thatcher was ousted as Prime Minister of Britain, I opened and drank a bottle of champagne I had been given a year earlier.
78. Never having played golf because I hated it, I accepted a challenge from a twice a week player in England because he was tired of losing to me on the office PC computer game, and a ritualistic putting in my place seemed in order. It was very embarrassing all round, but I won. And retired.
79. When it comes to maps my memory is almost photographic, albeit in the short-term.
80. My favourite day on an 80-mile walk of The Cumbria Way was the day my walking friend and I fell asleep in the pub at lunchtime, and when we woke and eventually caught up with our other walking friend who had opted to skip the pub, we found him sitting in a shed outside a locked hostel at the top of a cold windswept mountain, where he had been for hours.
81. I can and do happily look at wooden gates or brick walls for hours.
82. In 2002 and 2003 I wrote a book, that still needs a finish.
83. Years after somebody mistreated me they bumped into me and shook my hand thanking me because they said they didn’t know if I would shake hands with them. I asked why wouldn’t I when my hand was good enough to wipe my arse?
84. I once gave up drinking tea for Lent. I’m never doing it again.
85. When cycling in the Czech Republic, freakishly early wintry weather turned one of my feet purple and it took an hour of massage to bring it back to life.
86. I want to cycle across Antarctica.
87. It was in the late 1980s that I stopped buying birthday and all kinds of greeting cards.
88. I maintain a “will” of paintings to be distributed when I die.
89. In a small village in Hungary I pretended not to understand the Hungarian word for “shower” so the person talking to me would keep miming it. And she did.
90. The longest distance I have run is 8 miles. I remember being bored.
91. Of all the times I’ve spent in some of the world’s major cities, like Rome, Moscow, Paris, and Milan, the two weeks I spent in Hong Kong are among the happiest because of the birds I watched there.
92. I really can’t stand water in films (movies)
93. It’s true, I have never been to Dublin city centre without seeing somebody I know.
94. For 1985’s Live Aid I donated nothing.
95. When cycling through southern Serbia by Kosovo during the Yugoslavian wars, one day I was followed for hours by a helicopter.
96. More than once I have given up drinking for 6 months.
97. One day in France, confused after a long cycle in the heat, I spoke in Irish rather than French but still ended up being given a room thanks to the similarity of the Irish word “seomra” to the French word “chambre”.
98. My favourite number is five-million.
99. After about ten visits to London I decided I wanted to have a good look at it so I opted not to use the Tube or any form of transport, choosing only to walk and to sleep rough for a weekend.
100. More than once I have received a bouquet of flowers.
101. Cycling on the Asian side of Turkey I was surrounded one lunchtime by up to 100 Turks. As they crowded around me, with the closest being just three feet away, I got the giggles.
If you really read all of that, consider seeing a therapist.
For the record there is no significance in the order, and they do not include the things I regard as the most important. But you knew that, didn’t you?
Shout out to SassyWho for provoking the completion of the post.
to the French word