This weeks Boneyard Contributor is actor and musician Brenock O’Connor.
You may know him as Olly from Game of Thrones, or perhaps you’ve seen him perform on the stage adaptation of Sing Street. Or maybe you have listened to his music under the moniker of McGovern. You may also be aware of his role in the upcoming movie, The Spin, which is currently in production on the very streets you walk on. It’s all happening. The world of The Boneyard is merging with real life and the two are becoming one. I find myself asking what’s real anymore. The line between fiction and reality has become even more blurred. Meanwhile Brenock has found himself here with me, on the inside looking out. Trying to make sense of it all but also surrendering to the fact that there is no answer.. the only answer is to leave the gate open for mystery. Because that’s where the magic dwells. Another observer in the Boneyard.
Over to you Brenock…
Day Off, Not An Off Day
Days go from inevitability to luxury to necessity to scarcity so very quick. Too quick to notice unless you stop to check once in a while. The unemployed mind lets itself wander aimless until it settles on a perch that perks it up and varies the passing of time just enough that you can feel the minutes slide by again. It takes up new pastimes and reinvents old ones in the pursuit of a day not wasted in wasting away. Then, suddenly, just as the days melting together became second nature, indistinguishable as hour or month passing; the tide turns. The weight shifts and suddenly days filled with an abundance of absence, the claustrophobic void, are ruled by rigidity and regulation again. God save us and bless us. A blessing to count. I love a schedule.
So now, a new way is welcomed in. One that takes space and crams it full of beauty and benign bollox. Time set aside for self-assessment and soliloquies is playing second fiddle now to the band that was formed in a heartbeat for a passing boy. Do they know the hole they fill before it’s even fully dug? No time to wait for an answer, the trough awaits and although today has barely ended, the tongues lock into talk of tomorrow and I feel before I’ve even graced the pillow with my last hair, I rise once again to a world where tomorrow is now today and I’ve got some local bumf to produce. The pattern begins again, never truly following the same rules, perhaps vaguely attempting to use the same stencil but leaning to hard and shifting the outlines every time. This abstract rhythm is home to me and I wouldn’t change it for an extra heartbeat. A blessing to count, but believe you me, I fucking love a day off.
I only get one shot at this, so my god, I’ll make it count. At least until it can count itself.
Saturday morning, head thumps with the aftershocks of last night’s tab and tips. Throat on fire, tongue so coarse that it turns my teeth to sawdust, I keep myself cocooned for as long as I can. One glance clock-ward to see the damage. Nine fifteen AM. As eyes shut once more and body moulds to mattress, my mind replays the highlights of the night. A pint with a mythical beast disguised as a local, a polite conversation with the moon and all its craters, a promise to arise early for a swim with the lads in the Gortin lakes.
Though I crave the comfort of a cosy boy’s morning, I know my freedom is fleeting and shall be gone by the morrow, so I rise and sway. Sit again. Rise again. Sit. One finally time rise, return my skin to anonymity of a t shirt and jeans and grab a towel or two. I find the fellas, sat in semi slumber, all of the same mind that yes, this may be a terrible idea, but at least it is an idea. When a day could be wasted on none, why not waste a morning on one? The trip is short but the coffee along the way is shorter. I once claimed I was viceless, but now I’ll scream it from the roofs:
GIVE ME A ROLLIE AND A DOUBLE ESPRESSO OR GIVE ME DEATH.
Caffeine coursing and cig smoked, it was time to get soggy and cold. We did both with extreme efficiency. While my brain was still working, before the chill took it over and all I could think was a violent vibration, I was taken aback by how quick pain turned to numbness when still, and vice versa when moving. It was a pretty pain though, I’ll give it that. A blessing to count.
Once the lake had performed its cleansing nature and been cleansed itself, a solitary stroll was in order. A week or two of beautiful people surrounding your every day is a beautiful thing, and taking a moment alone among the mates is no insult and shouldn’t be viewed as such. So off to the river I go, a boy who’s fond of rivers at the best of times, let alone the most precious and stolen ones. A tune or two in my head, I stop a while and chisel my skull down to let the melodies out. Words follow suit, another blessing to count, and before an hour had passed, two tracks had been born. Will they live to see the spring? Who knows. But they live now, and that’s enough.
While recounting my steps and headed home, I found a woman with a dog, coming down the path ahead. I had no sense of foul energy or ill intention from either, so I continued on my journey. The dog seemed wary, the woman even more so. A few tentative steps towards me, then a few back, over and over, like the poor pup was locked in a canine cha-cha-cha. I bowed myself in his presence, showing an open palm and that I mean no harm, but the dance continued.
‘Maybe it’s your headphones’ said the woman, who’s eyes hadn’t left the ground since she’d caught mine. Scanning the tarmac for… something. I agreed she may be right, and removed my headphones and attempted another greeting. No better luck. Still stuck in the shyest head butting session a dog can muster.
‘He usually bowls folk over, so he does. Dunno what’s wrong with you’
‘Maybe he doesn’t like my hat?’ I asked, reaching to remove my bonnet.
‘Aye, or maybe there’s something wrong with your head.’
She may be right. I may be crazy. But it just might be a lunatic she’s looking for. No, no, it’s not a lunatic. It’s something else she’s after. She still hasn’t looked up from the floor and is hunting for something with a semi-fierce, semi-fed up scowl on her face. When I asked if she needs a hand, she tells me she has misplaced a key. Tragedy. I know the feeling well so join the search party.
The type: car key.
The size: car key sized.
And then comes the daftest question I could have asked, I feel my soul shrivel as it leaves my mouth and crack the afternoon peace right open:
‘Did you lose it around here?’
She turns, peels her eyes away from the ground for the first time since we met and stares deep into my being. Is it anger? Disappointment? Betrayal? Who’s to say, but she cuts me down with one swift line.
‘If I knew where it was, it wouldn’t be lost, boy’
Away she walked, key still missing,
September showers start gently pissing,
I walk home in awe of thunder
One day off, one day of wonder
Small town tales, local speak
I won’t witness beyond next week
So for now, take the risk, fuck the cost
I know where I am, so I can’t be lost.