A whole lot less.

Creativity returns at last. The one stipulation Marisa had regarding our recent trip to The Bahamas was that I bring nothing, no guitar, notebooks or other tools of creativity. It was to be a week of nothing and that’s exactly what it became. A week of staring at the ocean, from the shade, getting lightly sunburnt through my clothes and finding relief in similar tales from other northwestern Europeans we met on our late night walks. Since returning I already have the starting blocks of a new E.P. already, who knows what I will eventually keep but it’s a pleasant distraction while I wait for the new Supersmall record to be mixed and everything else that comes after that. I feel the record is a good indication of the direction we are now going.

This time last year I had a fractured hip and was dragging my fat arse around town on a cane. The three days at Governors Ball was the final nail in the coffin of a growing hip injury. This year I went for just one day instead of the full three. I really wanted to hate on Ryan Adams because of his onstage feud with Neil Finn but he blew me away. A classic rock concert with an awesome backdrop of 80’s nostalgia.

Björk was Björk and as I discovered, not really a concert act. More a work of art to be viewed and appreciated. Several other smaller acts grabbed my attention but considering I drove there and back, mine was a sober experience with far less walking and just the natural high of witnessing Ryan Adams dissing Deadmous5.

Now summer seems to be here on a more regular basis, I can write on the balcony with more frequency than before. My sad excuse for a little balcony farm is slow-growing, even the basil is hard work. It’s the simple things though, really. there is nowhere else I’d rather be on a morning like today. So, I’ll end on a line from ‘A Better Life’ from the new record. “There’s more to life than this, I can feel it just beneath my skin and it’s just us, and a whole lot less”.


I recently found an old folder that I used when taking a Photography class in NYU around 2005. During this time I had writers block and had quit music. For almost three years I done nothing creative and worked solely on getting rid of my debts and settling into my new NYC life. Frustration began to show due to my artless existence so Marisa pushed me into taking a photograph class at NYU. Each week we learned about the science and art of photography. Building our own cameras and experimenting with different techniques. I loved it, I’d been interested in photography since I was young but never pursued it as a career. It was too much fun. 
In the folder I found some old photos I took during the class. I scanned them and posted them below. 
The class got my creative juices flowing and the following year after much procrastinating I decided to try comedy. This then led to everything I do now including a return to music. I view those three years as a reset. I work even harder than I ever did before. Anyway, I’m not in the mood to write about “art” or “creativity” right now. Let’s just say I’m glad I took the class. 

Old Day Job
Handsome Devil

Published Online

A segment of my writing series New York Shots got published online recently. You can find it here on the comedy website Chortle. I’m very happy about it as it’s a website I’ve been reading every day for the last few years. It’s also the leading comedy website in Ireland & The UK.

Other good news, Spring is here at last which has allowed me to write this post on my balcony.

New York Shots #6


He banged from below over the slightest noise but he was quiet tonight. Then the buzzer rang. Most of the time that meant it was the landlord or a vulturous religious nut, but when I opened the door, this time I found a small thin man in his early fifties. His suit, although sickly green, was crisp and neat. His greying hair was styled as if he had nothing else to do with his time. He pushed his wire frame glasses up his pointed nose and smiled. Although I had never met my cantankerous neighbor from the apartment below, I knew it was him.

“Can I talk with you?” he inquired as he entered my apartment.

“Sure” I said, pretending I had any choice in the matter. He scanned my sitting room smiling as if it was exactly as he had imagined it.

“Your water is leaking down” he said, pointing to the bathroom.

“That’s impossible.”

I was in the bathroom, casually showing him the bone dry floor tiles when I realized we were actually strangers.

“The water is not coming from here.” My voice became stern.

“Let me show you.” He said motioning for me to follow him downstairs.

His apartment was organized and sterile. It was a mix of fashions from several past decades. The furniture ranged from retro to antique; collectively it resembled a thrift store. The bare light bulbs made him look older and the apartment far bigger, but less inviting. It lacked a woman’s touch. It was a man’s apartment, minimal and efficient.

He showed me the ceiling where I eventually spotted a faint watermark. I decided to put an end to this as I had cold beers waiting upstairs and a free evening in which to drink them.

“I work in construction,” I said. “What’s happening is that some water has leaked in through the outside wall between our apartments and trickled down. It’s not coming from my sink, toilet, kitchen or shower, okay? I suggest you let the landlord know about it as it’s his responsibility. Get him involved, not me.” I was polite but firm.

“I’ll call him I suppose, maybe tomorrow.” He shrugged. It didn’t seem so urgent now. “Another thing…you have music here.” He pointed up to the corner of the ceiling.

“Yeah, that’s where my computer is. You’ve seen it!”

“You have a subwoofer or something.”

“I don’t, but I’ll try and keep it down.”

“I can hear it sometimes y’know? Boom! Boom! Boom! Y’know? And the walking, you make a lot of noise walking around.”

“All I’m doing is living up there and that’s not going to stop anytime soon.”

I snapped. We stared at each other in silence for a few seconds. I felt guilt rising in my gut.

“How long have you lived here?” I asked him.
“20 years.”
“Where are you from?”
“Romania. Where are you from?”
“You here long?”
“Five years.”
“That’s not very long.”
“It is to me.”

We stared at each other again in silence. This happens with immigrants sometimes. We should have so much in common but we don’t. I turned to my left and saw a cabinet with a large collection of vinyl records and a record player. Below it was a large bar with every liquor you could want. He saw me looking at it and snatched a bottle like a child grabs candy.

“You want a drink?” He widened his eyes.

“No thanks” I said. He forced a smile and lowered the bottle back.

“You live here alone?” I was just trying to make conversation.


He leaned back into the cabinet and told me a brief history of his life up to the moment he rang my buzzer. He came to New York with his wife to study. She died soon after arriving and he married again. His second wife left him. They had no children and now he lives alone. He showed no bitterness towards his second wife and I could tell how much he loved his first by his face when he spoke of her. He was a software engineer but lost his job many years ago. Now he worked in wallpaper.

“You design wallpaper patterns?” I asked.
“No, I hang wallpaper.”

I looked around his apartment and its bare painted walls. “You don’t have any wallpaper in here.”

“I know” he said with that dismissive shrug again. The silence started again as we both stared at the walls.  

“I gotta get back.” I started moving towards the door.

“What have you got planned tonight?”

“My girlfriend is visiting her mother so I’m gonna sit in and have a quiet night. I need to catch up on some stuff anyway.”

“You sure you don’t want to have a drink here?”

“Thanks anyway but I really should be getting back.”

I made my way to the door. He followed me out to the corridor.

“You should call the landlord,” I said.

“I will if it happens again,” he replied. “It’s not really that bad”

“No, it isn’t I guess.”

I was making my way up the stairs when he called after me.

“Do you like fishing? I go fishing.”

I made a face, I did not.

“I like eating fish.” I smiled.

He nodded and returned to his apartment and I returned to mine.  

Both of us spent the night drinking alone for entirely different reasons.

– April 2008


New York Shots are those small moments that happen while living in New York. They’re so small that they are rarely mentioned yet take up considerable space in various notebooks I carry around with me at any given time. This blog was started as a writing exercise and I thought this would be a nice way to write shorter snippets of life in NYC. They won’t always be interesting but I don’t want them forgotten either.