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Today I was supposed to go Drinking but I wore myself out being a dork first

So this blog went fierce idle for a fierce long time.  Here are a list of reasons why that happened:

1. I moved country and things got very busy in that new country

2. I was getting more and more anxious which was paralysing my writing work

3. By the time I was ready to come back my anxiety was too bad for me to write

4. I also got a Tumblr and… well, stuff got pretty hectic all up over there.

But I’m back now, officially reviving Bank Holiday Tuesday as a blog and a place where I post my thoughts, write stuff and tell you all things that are funny.  It’s strange to revive this blog; I’ve actually been up to rather a lot of stuff since I’ve been away.  When I was last writing here I was in a very different place and just in my first few months of Aberystwyth.  It’s now nearly a year since I moved home for my final year in University in Ireland and I’m making plans to go back to Aberystywyth and take up a job there.  I also finally got some much needed help for my anxiety problem.  It got pretty bad and dark there for a while and I’m quite stressed with college but medication and lots of support is keeping me stable.

So with all that said, here’s a return blog post, all about how I was supposed to go drinkin’ tonight but got distracted with dorky things.  Enjoy!

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Today I was supposed to go drinking.

But then I got up late, like super late.  My house was empty- older brother moved out last week, younger brother in work, Dad in work, Mam on a trip to Belfast.  So I slept late, sue me people who insist that only getting up before 9AM on a freaking Saturday makes you productive.  I got determined to do something positive with my day so I cleaned up my room.  Like I didn’t just tidy up, man fuck no I pulled all the dusty crap off my shelves and dusted this place the fuck down.  Got a big old basin of hot water and went to TOWN.  It was AWESOME.

PUNCH THE WINDOWS CLEAN

It was REALLY FREAKING INTENSE OKAY

So I cleaned my mirror, my window, got all my little ornaments cleaned and I even threw out a completely destroyed jewellery box I’ve been using since the age of nine.  It was really weirdly satisfying to see all this dust that I couldn’t even comprehend getting started on shift underneath my cloth.  I was a badass spring cleaning superhero in a floral dress, scrubbing down windowsills and tossing out basins of dirty soapy water.

After that I got down to getting Pathfinder ready.  I run a Dungeons and Dragons game for three of my friends and I’m just now getting the hang of running well planned, smoothly organised sessions.  I had lots of notes and ideas and they had great fun.  We went for three hours and I was flying so high.  We were all supposed to be going out drinking after we’d finished up killing some cultists that were chasing them down on a canal barge (I run a weird game).  Once the game was over though I knew I couldn’t go out.  It was like my energy bar had reached zero.  My sub tanks were drained.  I was so done.  The girls went off for a fun night of drinks and dancing, I stayed in and managed to drag myself up the stairs to get ready for bed, whereupon I found I couldn’t sleep, despite feeling so tired.  It’s an emotional tiredness; like I’ve had my dose of doing stuff for today, now I need to zone out to podcasts for a few hours, thnx.

Sometimes I forget that I’m on medication.  Sure it’s a low dose and I’m generally functional, but I can’t really grind along the way I used to, eating badly, sleeping badly and running the tank on empty.  I need to sleep twice as long to have half the energy and lord help me if I’m not eating well, like I’m not right now.  I go from being pretty productive- seeing people,  keeping myself clean and fed, getting work done- to just barely functioning on impulse power.  Today was a pretty nice realisation that it’s okay to wear down the limited energy I have to get stuff done.  My room smells fresh and clean for the first time in ages with all the dust that had built up cleared.  The party had a good session and managed to escape with their unconscious prisoner on the back of their horse (yeah it’s a weird game, Pathfinder).  I even managed to tuck up and get some work on my zine done.  And heck, here’s a blog post too!  Wow we are killing it tonight.

Always a relevant Gif

Always a relevant Gif

So I guess the point of this post is don’t be hard on yourself if, like me, you’ve got a lot of stuff going on in your life.  Don’t be so hard on yourself.  You’re doing okay, it’s alright to do stuff at your pace.  Not going Drinkin’ is not a sign of failure.

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Niamh ‘Sorry for missing your birthday drinks Ciara’ Keoghan

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More notes on leaving home: The war of the noticeboard, letting go of bitter things and early drafts of new year resolutions

The most important note to make on leaving home- remember.  To do.  The hoovering.  You are going to regret it so much when you neglect the hoovering.

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The notice board wars began in early October and have continued until now, the final week.  The debate over which side shot first rages on, but what is known is this; in this Welsh medium hall, on the noticeboard there is a welsh and English side to each notice.  Someone swapped all of the notices to display only the Welsh side, or only the English side, depending on who you ask.  The war began to escalate into a blockade of language.  The English notice would be pinned over the Welsh, the Welsh over the English, endless loops of passive aggressive pinning.  The battle reached a fever pitch when someone took a sharp object to the English section of a notice and slashed it through.  The war then entered an uneasy truce.  We all knew a line had been crossed.  The war was revived last week, when someone attempted to throw out the ruined and slashed English language sign along with a reminder to keep the kitchen clean for inspection.

The war entered a new, potentially explosive phase: That of the note.   A note was posted, berating the attempted binner of the notice and the slashed sign.  A reply was quickly posted, citing the reasons for the binning and signed ‘love, Batman.’ A final note was posted in an attempt to defuse the renewed hostilities.  ‘I LIKE TRAINS’, it proclaimed.  There could be no truer peace treaty than that, and for now at least, the warriors rest.

Peace in our time

So I’ve been in Wales for three months, and it’s been nice.  A new network of friends and interests hesitantly and shyly started to root out.  A lovely thing that happens when you’re completely removed from your old town is that all your bitterness and anger just flows away.  It’s so much easier to just let go when you realise that these things don’t really matter, that these things are shifting, that there are more people to see and places to go and things to do than you could ever possibly get through.  Why waste time being stubborn and unhappy?  I slowly started to reflect on the place I’d stepped out of and while looking at it from an angle I hadn’t seen before I began to see where my edges were.  Where all the things that I had raged and wailed and cried about didn’t actually matter one single fuck once you were out of there.  I slowly got back into performing, after a pretty bitter departure from it last year.  I rediscovered the old magic and sprang back into it.

Doctor Who and Roomates

I started bonding with my roomates on the Pantycelyn international students corridor.  Three Americans, an Austrian and two French girls formed my little circle, along with some friendly Welsh and English from upstairs.  In a moment of near unrivalled glee, we ran up to campus as a group and found a Tardis parked in front of the Union, with a talking, lit up Dalek trundling around.  It offered a great photo op, both sweet group snaps and self indulgent selfies.

This entire year was worth it for this Time Lady picture.

This entire year was worth it for this Time Lady picture.

Now it’s nearly time to come home.  I’ve started into a new diary, a smart black notebook I bought to convince myself to maintain this diary- I paid 13 pounds for this notebook, for fucks sake, so I’m going to use it.  Around this time of year, I usually start to think about what I want to do next year, and reflect on what I’d like to develop, change or introduce in 2014.  I present to you here my rough longlist of new years resolutions for your consideration.

1. Become blood of the Dragon

2. Buy more mugs

3. Get really buff and strong.  Start lifting.

4. Also, get super fit and flexible. start yoga

5. Kiss more people.

6. Use the word ‘accoutrements’ more (Referring to luggage and bags)

7. Vacuum every week, so that your room does not become white with dust and the halls warden suspects that you’re dealing cocaine.

8. While deflecting this suspicion, illicitly brew Yakka in bedroom sink (not really, I promise. Please don’t kick me out if you read this…)

9. Listen to more podcasts. In fact, make one. It can’t be that hard.

10. Do couch to 5K, without ending up in a bath of cold water sobbing and eating oranges.

11. Learn to dance properly, and not like a complete berk. (seriously, you’ve made a name for yourself here as the ‘dancing Irish girl’. That’s not a good thing. You need help.)

12. Drink less soft drinks.  Stop being happy about being a non-drinker when you ingest about nine times your healthy level of sugar and caffeine every day.

13. Try to quit coffee.  not tea though.  You gave yourself a three day migraine last time.

14. Vacuum every week.  Remember how much you regret not hoovering enough this semester.  Remember it!

15. Post more letters. people like letters.

16. Practice yoga stretches, tai chi and herbal tea to become one with your spirit and nature.

17. Be less of an angry motherfucker.

18. Keep your diary this year. don’t just get bored after a week like usual.

19. Make lists that are a nice, satisfying length. Don’t end list blogs on an odd number.

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Niamh ‘Wait… fuck!’ Keoghan

Notes on leaving home

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I didn’t really think I had much of an accent before I left Dublin.

Of course, when you grow up in the Dublin bubble, of course it wouldn’t be noted much.  In fact usually it’s my lack of a distinctive accent that is remarked upon back home as it is now.  I have a voice that seems to shift depending on the direction of the wind and the regional accent featured on whatever TV show I last watched.  But suddenly when asked where I’m from, I reply ‘Ireland’ and people go ‘oh of course, yeah!’  Three drunk guys hardly able to stand who wandered onto my corridor picked it up from my irate yelling at 3AM and started doing mangled impressions of Dara O’Briain.

Leaving home is really weird.

My final week in Dublin was strange.  Packing up things for the first time was strange.  Sifting through clothes and finding I could actually fit all my outfits into one case was quite satisfying.  After a summer spent mostly alone whilst my friends got stuck into intern ships and J1s,  my final week was a flurry of fond meetings and cheery goodbyes.  I think it’s because it’s nice to say goodbye to someone who actually wants to go and have an adventure for a bit, unlike the goodbyes we’re all getting used to.  Plus, I am very lucky that I’m only going away for a little while.  Just to test the waters.  Other people aren’t so lucky and have to leap blindly into new lives without any set date to return and pick up all the threads they left loose in Dublin.  I was really lucky.  I could leave all my threads uncaught and they’ll still be waiting when I get back.

So far (A week in) assimilation has been swift and painless, probably because lectures have STILL yet to start so I’m been officially mucking around doing nothing for six months.  I sank instantly into my new bed and slept like a baby in a huge room meant for two people that I inhabit on my own.  It even has a sweet view of the town and the sea.  I don’t think anyone has ever landed smoother in a place than I have here.

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Laundry, far from being a chore was an opportunity to finally learn how to play poker.  The only moment of tearfulness was the very last moments I had before my parents got in the car and drove off last Saturday morning (and we all had the good sense to cut it off before we all blubbed in the Car park of Lidl.  It was more dignified that way)  On the first night I became paranoid and convinced one of my corridor-mates had stolen my freshly bought milk.  A day of crazed labelling and criminal profiling eventually led to the discovery that the entire fridge had been replaced in the night, with my milk becoming one of the old fridge’s casualties. I’m not 100% convinced that it’s not all just a very elaborate plot to steal my milk. Either way, this university owes me 45p.

The new town is very friendly, busy and exactly the sort of place I’d like to get lost in.  Students here don’t go home religiously every weekend and there’s things to do on Fridays.   I can walk from the top of the town to my room in 15 minutes flat. There is an incredibly satisfying to climb hill to my building.  It goes vertical at some portions.  I’m beginning to form the calf muscles of a mountain goat.  Seeing Freshers lose their minds and get absolutely shitfaced on freedom is funny until I remember I’m just like them on my own in a strange town for the first time.  The only difference is I’m 21 and really can’t drink more than half a glass of wine without keeling over.

My first pang of homesickness came when I skyped home, and saw my family all wandering around behind my mother on the camera. Making dinner, asking for things to be washed, arguing over the Playstation.  I ached for home for a second, until my brother came into the room, pulled down his pants and mooned me.  I quickly remembered why I left in the first place and reaffirmed my determination to not waste any time feeling angst for home.  It’s still there waiting for me to get back to, so for now I need to enjoy my sea view and eating bagels for every single meal.

I’m living in a Welsh speaking hall which is a baffling experience to tell the truth.  Most spectacular was the mix up yesterday when I sauntered into my safety induction talk 10 minutes late to find I was sitting in the Welsh language session.  Welsh speakers don’t fuck around, man- Irish speakers will alternate between Irish and English every few sentences, but here it’s about ten minutes of welsh with a quick sentence or two summation at the end for the non-speakers.  There’s a sign in the bathroom that I’m pretty sure tells you how to work the shower head, but which is solely in Welsh.  Everyone who I say ‘I live in Pantycelyn’ to chuckles and wonders why they stuck all the Erasmus people in there.  I shrug and just remain thankful that I wake up every day halfway up the hill and don’t have to climb the whole bloody thing.

I discovered that our generation on the whole loves getting postcards.  They’re a lot of fun to write, and after the format was rammed into me during leaving cert Irish and French I’m rather good at them.  Stamps are 88p to post to Ireland, so anyone who gets one ought to appreciate TEH FUCK out of it.  They might as well have been written in my own blood.  So far so smooth for my Welsh adventure.  We’ll see how it goes when the work actually kicks in.

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Niamh ‘Don’t you dare quote Mock the week at me, I’m cross with you’ Keoghan

The Fucking Bathroom scales (and a bit about cycling)

Any regular readers of BHT will know that I’ve been on a weight loss kick since last September and so far, I’ve done pretty well. Since then I’ve lost a stone and five pounds. Over the months a few people have asked me about how I did it, what kind of diet I used and do I have any advice for them. I’m always reluctant to say anything- I’m not a doctor and I don’t know what will work for other people. I’m also coming from a place where I spent years hating my body quite intensely and comfort eating to an alarming degree. A lot of the people who asked me about weight loss were also not overweight themselves, which really changes the game. The difference between losing a stone when you’re already 3 stone too heavy is very different to dropping nine pounds from the upper threshold of a healthy weight. I didn’t really diet so much as I started weight watchers, which is cool because it’s more about monitoring how much you eat and the quality of that amount- basically what a diet should be with no gimmicks. That idea of ‘not eating like you’re preparing to hibernate’ served me pretty well, and then I started exercising, which has got me going again.

I’ve become aware of the fact that once you start losing weight, it does become a sort of personal challenge, and I’ve begun to beat myself up a lot when I don’t lose anything for a few weeks. Not out of anger at how I look (I look and feel fantastic overall compared to a year ago when I’d just eat another bag of crisps and cry) but because not losing makes me think I’ve started ‘slipping back’ on my good habits and that I’ve done something wrong. I think I’ve discovered the root of my problem- the fucking Bathroom scales.

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owning the number

We recently got a lot of work done in the house and part of the work was a shiny new bathroom with shiny new tiles and a shiny new bathroom scales. We’ve never had a scales in the house before; as a teenager I’d weigh myself at my grandmothers on her absolutely flawless set of scales from 1980 but because that wasn’t a regular thing I wasn’t able to put the number on the scale into context. Until I was 17 I didn’t know what my healthy weight ought to be. I just had the vague knowledge that I was some degree of ‘fat’ and lived with it. When I started weight watchers I got used to being weighed once a week. Being weighed once a week is brilliant. It’s just long enough to keep a watch on it but also not so long that you can do any serious damage. I’ve never gone up by more than 4 pounds in one week before I brought it back down. But then we got the scales in the house.

It started that I’d just ‘check it’ on a Sunday to make sure I was keeping on track to losing that week. Then it was every time I had a shower. Then it was every morning. The scales became a daily habit, something to tick off having done. Since we got them in February, I haven’t lost any weight. I just go up and down around the figure of 13 stone. And every single day the needle would stay on that number and madden me. I began to get very depressed. Even my dad noticed, which means it must have been bad. I started skipping meals and fasting, which is just fucking stupid. it was my dad who actually had the quote that snapped me out of the mindset- ‘Up a pound or down a pound, it doesn’t fuckin’ matter- you’re still alive you know!’

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Back in the good old days

I finally understand what people meant when they cautioned me not to get obsessed with my weight. Having a scales there every day in open view is a nightmare, because weighing in every day is pointless- having a cup of tea can add on a pound, peeing can take it off again – at least when it’s once a week you can take that number away and work on it. So no more daily weigh ins and no more depression sessions about it. The amount of frustration and reduction that number creates is frightening- no matter how fit or good you feel that day, it still marks you down as ‘fat’. Not fun. See I like the Weight Watchers model- I know it sounds strange, going in to get weighed. It does *sound* very judge-y, but I’ve always found it to be a very positive way of keeping a handle on things. The person running the class is usually someone who has successfully lost weight themselves (personally, my local weight watchers leader is HILARZ) and it’s always framed in a very positive manner. Obviously not for everyone and at a tenner a week, not the sort of thing everyone can afford, but I’ve found it useful.

So yeah, fuck bathroom scales, fuck daily weigh ins and fuck that level of body monitoring. It’s scary how easy it is to fall into that habit and how natural it feels- even now, I have the itch to go and check my weight even though I was weighed AT 6PM THIS EVENING. It’s scary. My only advice to anyone trying to lose weight is this- only weigh yourself once a week. And do it in the morning or just before you go to bed. And do a big poo before you get on the scales.

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Cycling

One thing that has become clear to me is that eating a healthy diet, avoiding fast food and just generally trying to moderate my comfort eating has taken me as far as I can go with this whole journey. I still feel quite doughy and unfit, while having this lighter, more mobile body that I can put to use. So I tried running for a bit which was a disaster. I’m just still too darn heavy and my knees were bearing the brunt of that. Swimming is a lot of fun but it’s a pain getting out to my pool now so instead I managed to get what I’ve been hankering after for a while- a brand new bicycle.

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Me last summer pre weight loss on the most ridiculous bike ever.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find a shop that stocked Penny farthings (Actually that was fortunate because they’re actually really hard to ride). It had to fit two important criteria

1- sturdy enough to cope with moderately long cycles

2- girly enough so that my brothers wouldn’t ever be inclined to ‘borrow’ it.

The second criteria ruled out anything like a racer and my childhood of bounding around on a series of rusty mountain bikes has left me with a bias against them. I finally found a nice heavy roadster that looked nice.

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They see me rollin’, they hatin’

So I set out for the first time and tried cycling around my area. The great thing about cycling is that you can feel like the cat’s pyjamas rolling out of the drive way and speed through your estate to the coast all in fifth gear, then you turn around to go home and find a subtle uphill climb waiting for you. There’s something very satisfying about it. It’s the same sort of satisfaction I got from walking, except you go faster and farther. There is a strange, simple satisfaction found in bringing yourself to a new place by the force of your own feet (and some forgiving down hill slopes). As exercising, it’s rewarding. You sweat all over and your knees feel like jelly.

The honeymoon was short. After a day, I had my first puncture and after 2 days had my first crash into a parked car on an empty road. The next day my mother came home with a hi vis vest and shouts at me if I don’t wear it.

BUT, the best thing about cycling everywhere isn’t the weight loss part of it (I actually haven’t gotten any lighter since I started- I’ve gone up a little bit because I’m eating more and making myself crave sugar). The best part is after three weeks starting to feel my body get a bit leaner and fitter. Hills are still an absolute BASTARD but I’m recovering faster and I’m lasting longer. now that I’ve got a feeling of control over my weight and my body, I can actually do fun things with it. That was my problem all along- I didn’t have a weight problem, I had a control problem. I felt utterly powerless and out of control when it came to my body. I was a slave to my compulsive eating, which meant I was a slave to being overweight, and then a slave to whatever clothes they had in my sizes.

It’s nice to feel like you’re putting your body to good use rather than just losing weight to sit around and look better. Being lighter means I can actually do stuff that before was just so fucking hard. Seriously no lie, I had a mountain bike last year and every hill I came to I had to get off and wheel the thing up. I was just too goddamn heavy to pedal myself up the hill. The bike was constantly punctured and I’m pretty sure that was a combination of being an old bike and being unable to carry my weight. Probably the best thing about getting fit again though is all the time I spend on my bike is time spent thinking about blogs and writing, which I’d fallen out of doing since my commute ended.

So in summation- Bathroom Scales bad, Cycling good.

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Niamh ‘Can all car drivers please look for cyclists before they fling their doors open onto the road’ Keoghan

 

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Eurovision 2013 Liveblog

This concludes tonight’s 2013 Eurovision Song contest live blog.  Goodnight Europe

11:50- there it is folks, this years winner- Denmark!

11:10- ‘SHE GONNA EAT ME IN MY SLEEP’- Screams BHT as Lena gives the points with perky jumpy aplomb

10:55- It’s not the winning r beating the UK that counts, it’s the shirtless men.

10:50- Azerbaijan looks like the Predator Alien.

10:45- GOOD FRIDAY AGREEMENT MY ASS.  800 YEARS.

10:42 Sweden’s judge looks like a character from Final Fantasy.  Ireland got two points, ripple of ‘wooos’ spread through the room.

10:40 BHT is hugging her wine bottle, sobbing and singing along to winner takes it all

LIVEBLOG SUSPENDED because how on earth could you top that.

10:25- ‘Is this really funny or do I just really like Sweden?’ ‘You just really like Sweden.  And you’re drunk.’ (Then the titties happened)  SKIRT RIPPING

10:10- Maybe this is the wine talking, but BHT predicts A MILLION POINTS for Dreamboat Dolan tonight.  Interval act is a medly by last year’s winner, wearing a dress that has crashed into a seagull on the way to the Arena.  Sex Kitteh likes her hair, but is uncomfortable with the juxtaposition of ‘We got the power’ alongside white flag and military jumpsuits.

10:05- Georgia are really fuckin’ boring so instead we’re waiting for DREAMBOAT DOLAN to wrap up the show, and seeing what kind of riverdance knock off Sweden have planned for the interval

 

9:55- ‘FUCKIN’ DUBSTEP!’ BHT declares, spilling half her wine drunkenly as Danaerys Stormborn takes the stage for Norway.

9:50- Team BHT now wondering what happened to make Lena so fucking weird the year after she won Eurovision as Italy takes the stage. Fun fact- Italy were never regular attendants at Eurovision until recently, where they’ve performed… dreadfully. Italian singer having a bit of a wobble during his song.

9:45- Hodor?

9:40- The most homoerotic song of the night from Azerbaijan.  Greece next with ‘Alcohol is Free (but trousers are expensive)’.  Any song with a bazooki solo is fine by me.  Sex Kitteh wants to vote for Greece, so Germany will have to pay for the party next year.

9:35- Denmark is tonight’s favorite to win doing a Sandie Shaw and singing barefoot.  Sex Kitteh and bearded Avenger have named her Hermione Granger.  ‘If there’s nothing but teardrops between you I’m sure you could sort it out with some vigorous sex.’  Thor representing Iceland now, which seems like unfair advantage to BHT. Then again, only other skilled singer from Iceland=Bjork, who is probably an Alien.

9:25- BHT’s brother would like it to be known he wants Hungary to do well because he did three weeks of chef training in Budapest.

9:20- ‘Thats just what Bonnie Tyler SOUNDS like!’ BHT snaps defensively to Sex Kitteh and Bearded Avenger.

9:15- Romania, otherwise known as the best fucking song of the entire fucking decade.  BHT is excited, BHT sex kitteh is intrigued and BHT Beard Avenger asks ‘Is that the bad guy from Tekken?’  We will hear no bad words spoken about counter tenors.  Second Dubstep breakdown of the evening.

9:05- Jesus up there currently.  Armenia is so boring we muted them so we could listen to 2011’s winner, Lena.  First glasses of wine cracked out.  the Nethelands up next, dark horse entrants into the contest from last week.  BHT hopes Adele is listening.

8:55- Eupoooooooooori- Whoops, sorry.  We meant Gloooooorious.  Germany standing atop the bare staircase of Austerity.  Pretty symbolic.

8:55- Malta, home of Malteasers on stage now.  Poor guy sounds like Bruno Mars with kidney stones. Worst instrument miming of the night goes jointly to the Acoustic Bass and ukulele mimers.  Maltese Bruno Mars, following girls is not cool.  Russian entry singer needs to reconsider the position of her parting as she continues the scourge of maxi dresses.  Cascada up next for germany, prepare to relive  MTV in 2006

8:40- Estonia has broken the Eurovision by switching off the colour.  BHT sex Kitteh is dissapointed with the lack of skirt ripping so far. Maxi dresses and beach coverups dominate tonight’s wardrobe.  Enough dry ice to smother the first five rows.  Giant disco ball from which emerges slutty Taylor Swift singing for Belarus wearing a Gina G style sparkly dress.

8:30- Spain off key and boring.  Awkward instrument miming all up in here.  BHT co-host ‘sex kitteh’ asks ‘What are the chances some of Spain’s dress coming off?’ Wishful thinking, BHT SK.  Are bagpipes native to Spain?  Belgian performer is only 18 but still has the eyes of a serial killer (BHT Sex Kitteh thinks he’s sexy.) (no she doesn’t).  BHT SK- That’s ‘the is it thrush?’ dance from the Belgians.  FIRST DUBSTEP BREAKDOWN OF THE NIGHT

Eyes of a killer… Eurovision act, that is!

8:25- ‘Oh wait!  There it goes!’ Skirt is growing.  Resembling a volcano.  As Finland takes the stage, Feminists everywhere gird their loins for the problematic lyrics.  WIND MACHINE VEILS

8:20 First superfluous dancers of the night from Moldova AND a bloke miming the piano.  BHT party currently arguing about Molodovan performers skirt.  ‘Is it growing bigger? No thats just the lights on it’

8:20- Everyone in Lithuanian entry singing off key.  Strobe lighting giving BHT and co-hosts a small seizure.  Verdict- this really sucks.

8:15- BHT waiting patiently for the ABBA reunion interval show.  Assuming Benny and Bjorn are backstage trying to squeeze into their stretched out jumpsuits.  France first, a rather jazzy entry of the style which has left them bottom of the table in recent years.  Entry looks like Ke$ha and Country Love crashed in midair.

8:10- Out Ireland comes in dead last.  BHT hopes this is not an omen of things to come…..

8:00- Fuckin’ neon butterflies invading Malmo via the sea.  If BHT was the olympic opening ceremony BHT would sue….

7:55- Fever pitch!  Here’s our spotting guide and an awkward photo of Dana

1-Skirt ripping (or someone emerges from someone else’s skirt)

2-awkward attempts at humour from the host

3-Ethnic chanting/dress/instruments

4-completely superfluous dancers

5-Obviously mimed instruments

6- Graham Norton says something bitchy

7- Marty Whelan tries to sound like Terry Wogan and fails.

7:45- dreamboat junction in fifteen minutes

She wants your heart

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7:30- Prep underway.  Hair blowdried and backcombed, leather pants applied.  Wine uncorked.

total eclipse of the Bonnie

11:30AM – Bank Holiday Tuesday will be liveblogging and tweeting the 58th Eurovision Grand Prix tonight from 8PM.  Follow on twitter @Keofunkel and @BankHolidayTues for the proceedings which are sure to include alcohol, camp and shrieks of joy at the sight of the return of those leather pants to Irish eurovision hopes.

DEM PANTS

Restrain your orgasms until tonight, ladies.

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Niamh ‘BHT is back in business baby’ Keoghan

GUEST POST: Riding the wave with Catherine Brophy

‘Set in the years of the Celtic Tiger, Burning Bright is told in the voices of Kerrigan family members and friends. It’s funny. It’s believable. And it will definitely make you laugh.’

This week’s guest post comes courtesy of Catherine Brophy, a storyteller, broadcaster and author.  Her new book burning bright is available through Amazon both in kindle and paperback.  Here she talks all about different ways of coping with speaking in front of a crowd and gives us all a few pointers

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FOR NIAMH

RIDING THE WAVE.

They say that the two greatest fears are:

1. Death

2. Speaking in public!

Wow.   Speaking in public is almost as scary as death!

I LOVE speaking in public.   I love standing up telling stories, giving a talk or giving a workshop.  I love the moment when all the eyes are looking and I know I have them in the palm of my hand.

It’s to do with a certain kind of power.   But hey…not in a Neuremburg rally kind of way!   It’s about the power of two-way communication.   Not just me telling you and you listening, but about you telling me something back and me listening as well.   Here let me explain.

There are three ways to respond to an audience.

THE FIRST

Eeeeeeeeeeeeekkkk !!!!!

They’re all looking at me!   What’ll they think of me?   They’ll think I’m stupid.  I’ll make a fool of myself.   I’ll get mixed up.   I’ll forget what I want to say.

So you get up, you do all the things you predicted.   You stumble, you forget, you make a fool of yourself, you embarrass the audience and afterwards you feel terrible and you swear that you’llnever do it again.   Either that or you run away and afterwards feel terrible and wish you had the courage to do it.

Rating: 0 stars!

THE SECOND

Create a mental glass wall.

Someone advises you to imagine them all naked.   But, when you’re standing up there, that’s difficult. So you take a deep breath and mentally cut yourself off.   Then you deliver your words.

This works reasonably well.   You get through your speech.  You don’t make a fool of yourself.  Afterwards you feel relieved and pleased that at least you did it. But the communication is only one way.  Because of the invisible wall, you were unaware of the audience response.   Ever sit through a talk/ lecture/ performance where you’re stifling the yawns and wishing they’d stop waffling and just hurry up and finish?   That’s someone who’s created an invisible wall.

Rating: 2 stars **

THE THIRD

Ride the Wave.

Anyone who has ever stood in front of an audience knows that you can feel something from them. Some kind of energy.   And that every audience feels different.  But every audience has one thing in common, a positive hope.   Please be good, they’re hoping, entertain me, inform me, interest me, make me laugh, make me cry, horrify me, thrill me, excite me.  Nobody gets themselves ready and leaves the comfort of home in the hope of being bored!  This means that:

Every audience is on your side.   Yieeeeeeeeeeha!

Every audience is willing you to be fabulous. Yabbadabbadoo! That’s what you feel when you stand up in front of them.   A wave of positive hope, of them willing you to be wonderful.

But then there’s the stuff going on in your body.  The huge cloud of butterflies fluttering about in your stomach.

Butterflies are the physical expression of adrenalin.

Adrenalin is the chemical that pumps you up to perform.

Butterflies love oxygen.   It helps them to fly in formation.    Take a couple of deep breaths.

But then there’s stuff going on in your head.  Will I remember?  Is it okay?  Assuming you know your stuff and that you’ve prepared – yes it will be fine.  Stand securely, feet shoulder width apart, relax your shoulders. Look at the audience. Yes look straight at them.   See all those shining eyes?   They love you already.    Breathe in that wave of positive energy and ride, baby ride.

Then something magical happens.  Suddenly you find that you can improvise, make off the cuff comments, make  jokes. And if you stumble over a word, forget something or make a mistake you have the confidence to laugh at yourself and instead of thinking you’re an eejit the audience loves you for being human. But most important of all, when you ride that wave, you become hyper-sensitive to the audience reaction.   You know when something is working and you know when to cut something off.   You now have information that will feed your next performance and make it even better.

Riding the wave means that you have to open yourself to your audience.   The first time you do it takes courage but the rewards are so great that next time it’s going to be a doddle!

Rating: 5 stars *****

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Catherine Brophy’s ‘Burning Bright’ can be found on Amazon here–  for kindle and here–    for Paperback.

Ps-you may have noticed a lack of updates lately here.  This is due to builders in my house and upcoming college exams. Because of the fact that I don’t have a roof, desk or any time to spare, Bank Holiday Tuesday will be taking a brief hiatus- See y’all next month! xx

Niamh ‘I’m just stepping out and may be some time’ Keoghan

The great Facebook War of 2010 (or- why ‘Frape’ is a really dumb verb)

I was sick for a vast portion of last week and consequently spent a lot of time aimlessly dicking around on Facebook and Twitter. To be fair, this is what I do every day but this time I was in bed with absolutely nothing else to do.  And a strange thing happens in the middle of the day to college students on both of these social networks. They all start updating their statuses about some of the following topics:

1. Really bad diarrhea.
2. Their penis is stuck in something.
3. Something stuck up their vagina.
4. Their sudden coming out as a homosexual/heterosexual and their appreciation for the genitals of men/women.
5. Description of their STI symptoms/general genital rash woes.

Those five themes pretty much cover every sort of ‘frape’ I’ve witnessed.  As a comedic endeavour it’s pretty limited: you only have about five minutes tops to think of something witty.  Another feature of the frape is often violent sexual language: people talk about the rough anal sex they had last night and how sore their bum is today.  And that’s funny because… anal is a completely acceptable sexual act?  Wait, why is fraping funny you guys?

A few weeks ago now there was a Senate discussion on cyber bullying. Dopey Senator Fidelma Healy Eames spoke of the TERROR facing “our youth” (a phrase always used by people whose children left college and home in 1998) online, using the example of “fraping – when you get raped on Facebook.”  That quote has been circulated widely, but you know what?  I knew it was going to come and bite us in the ass eventually.  There is a problem with equating the mildly embarrassing experience of someone posting stupid shit on your social networking page with a deeply violent and invasive betrayal of your personal space.

Our generations gone a bit bongo mongo with the term ‘rape.’ You only need to walk down the street and see a bunch of lads jostling and messing before one of them will howl ‘RAAAAAAPE!’ As if, again, a violent invasive crime is equivalent to your friend playfully jumping on your back.  I’ve heard people talk about raping essays and raping people in COD.  Fraping and twaping (Twitter rape) are the most commonly used terms on social networks. And now can I respectfully ask for two things:

1. We stop using the term frape. It’s really deeply insulting to rape victims and cheapens the meaning of the word at a time when rape culture is a massive societal problem.  My friend once suggested the slightly less catchy but far more accurate term ‘impersa-face’ to refer to Facebook pranks.
2. Can we actually make Facebook pranks funny?

Maybe it sounds like I’m being negative and moany. I am infamously grumpy about people messing around with my Facebook and Twiter, so I do have a personal bias against these sort of jokes. But I am being honest when I say there has only been one occasion when I experienced a funny Facebook prank.  It was 2010, in the early days of my life on Facebook, and I’d been in my friend Tara’s house.  I checked Facebook and left myself logged in.  I walked home and then logged in on my laptop later that evening.  Tara had access to my Facebook for about half an hour.

She had liked nearly 100 different pages dedicated to Justin Bieber, Twilight, Miley Cyrus, Fianna Fail, Margaret Thatcher, Country Music, Marmite: anything that she knew I didn’t like, she had ‘liked’. She pranked me so deeply and effectively that three years later I’m still getting Facebook ads for Twilight books and Bieber concerts.  She updated my status telling all of my friends how I’d been SO WRONG about Twilight before, that Bella was SUCH a role model. She did it so subtly people couldn’t tell if it was me being sarcastic or someone messing.  I STILL haven’t managed to remove all of the shit she liked that evening.  She was a downright pro about it.

What that evening launched was a Facebook war to end all Facebook wars.  Phones were wrestled out of hands, people would leave for the bathroom, shriek ‘OH FUCK!’ and sprint back into the room and punch you in the stomach to get the iPad off you.  I once accidentally posted on Tara’s mother’s page that she was going to ‘give up on men forever and join the nuns in the South of France.’ It was a WAR.  It was a dirty, hilarious war that stretched on for months.  Apps were deleted, texts were sent saying ‘you fucking bitch get OFF my Facebook.’ It was INTENSE.  So when people tell me I ‘just don’t get’ what Facebook pranking is about, I laugh.  Please, I learned from the master, and she created her own worst enemy.

I know what a lot of people will say about this: big fucking deal, who cares about the word frape? It’s just a word!  But the thing is, language has importance and weight.  You’d be surprised and amused if I told you how emotional and angry people can get over words like ‘feminist’, ‘cunt’, ‘slut’ or ‘llama’ and it’s the same with ‘rape’. There are some words we need to take the venom out of, like ‘fat’ (or ‘llama’), and there are other words like rape that need to be kept to define only what rape is. There’s too much bullshit and disagreement over what’s a ‘legitimate’ rape already, we don’t need it being claimed as a catch all term for all mild impositions.

Finally, y’all need to up your games, guys.  Status updates about poo and itchy privates are fine when you’re in like, sixth year. But this is UNIVERSITY.  You’re adults now.  You should be getting more sophisticated in your pranks than willies and rashes.  You guys are the future of Irish Law, medicine, commerce and in the case of Sociology/English students, the retail and fast food industry.  We owe it to ourselves to AT LEAST do a decent impersa-face.

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Niamh ‘I frape, you frape, he/she frapes…’ Keoghan

Pope Bootillicious I is still the pope of my heart.

Pope Bootlicious

-Elected on the fifth vote of the conclave, one more than was needed to elect her predesessor Pope Benedict XIV

-Benedict, now Pope Emeritus, will take up residence in the granny flat at the end of Pope Bey’s garden and shout at her how he’d do everything better.  His duties will now included cutting the grass, wearing sandals with socks and being grumpy about retirement.

-will adopt the Papal name Pope Bootilicous I, after her classic pop hit, ‘Bootlicious.’ Speaking from the Balcony of St Peters she informed adoring and jubilant crowds that her body ‘too bootilicious for ya babe’ and that the crowd was ‘not ready for this jelly.’ she then led the crowd in song and prayer before delighting them with her patented ‘single ladies’ move.

-First American, black, married and second female  pope.  Also first grammy winner and oscar nominee to win the papacy in a move that media outlets speculate is an attempt to modernize the church.

-A native of Houston Texas, Bootlicious was a surprise choice, not being a cardinal, ordained in the church, baptized Catholic or present in the Vatican during the vote.  However through copious viewing of MTV bases’ countdown of Beyonce’s 47 best dance move, Cardinals unanimously agreed to make the shock appointment.

-Of of course, none of this happened and instead they elected a conservative elderly man who hates gays and democracy. But close enough!

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Niamh ‘The Pope can’t handle me’ Keoghan

FEMINISM GETS YOU LAID MORE (A guest post)

I have an illness that’s stuck on shop demo.  Since last Thursday I have had a sore throat, fever, dizziness, nausea, motherfucking partial blindness, aches and pains, shivers, cold sweats, a chesty cough and a congested nose.  I haven’t been able to do much except lie in my bed, cry and occasionally roll over and beg for someone to make me tea.  

Obviously in this state, I haven’t been able to write anything so it’s lucky for me that I had a guest writer lined up!  This Blog all about why Feminism facilitates rather than impedes people getting laid is all the more relevant now considering the recent totally rational backlash to feminist ideas surrounding consent, masculinity and sexuality. We seem to be in a bit of a series at the moment, discussing why feminism is not at all anti man or anti sex.  Of course, seeing as my own sexual activity is a bit limited, I thought I should call in the services of someone with a bit more experience in the matter.    

Our Guest Blogger is a noted sex positive feminist, erotic writer and enjoyer of sex who very kindly sent me on this post explaining how by furthering the cause of feminism, you are likely to get laid a lot more.

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Hello, lovely readers of BHT! It’s very exciting be here, talking to you, hoping I might be able to entertain you for a few hundred words.

I’ve had too many conversations with straight horny college boys [henceforth SHCBs] – and read about too many other conversation with SHCBs – who complain about feminism in one breath and complain about not getting laid as often as they’d like in the next. Anti-feminist SHCBs probably don’t make up a huge percentage of this blog’s (lovely, charming, intelligent, sexy) readership, but if there are any lurking – and for the amusement of the rest of you – I would like to offer up a primer on why SHCBs should like and indeed vocally support feminism.

[Note for all the already-feminists: all of the things I’m talking about have vastly huger consequences for women than they do for SHCBs, obviously, and please don’t think I’m trivialising that. But “what about the menz?!!?” is a frequent if stupid complaint and “the world doesn’t in fact revolve around you” is a fact some SHCBs struggle to understand. So here’s an alternative response.]

FEMINISM GETS YOU LAID MORE

Reason #1: Feminism makes it safer for us to respond to you hitting on us (and for us to hit on you)

There’s no cute way of putting it: if I flirt with someone at a party, decide I’m not interested, and then later on they rape me, there is a 5% chance that person will ever be convicted. There is a pretty decent chance that anything I say about their actions won’t be believed, and if they boast about getting with me, their friends will congratulate them.

This kind of puts me off flirting with people at parties.

Anti-feminist SHCBs complain – frequently – about women falsely alleging rape. But believing and supporting rape victims, as well as squashing anyone who says things like “a no is just a yes that needs some persuasion” or catchier, rhymier versions of that complete bullshit, is a great way to reduce the number of rapes. If “rape” is eliminated as a possible outcome of “hitting on cute SHCB” then I will be a whole lot more likely to ask SHCBs if I can buy them a drink.

Reason #2: Feminism does not like transactional sex

If I can buy them a drink? Me, a lady-type, buying a boy-type a drink? Isn’t that all back to front and terribly modern and think of the children etc?

By “transactional sex” I do not mean prostitution. I mean the faux-prostitution of “you buy me dinner, I give you a blow job.” Where sex is something that men want and women endure in exchange for something else.

This is not a good approach. I mean, I like having people buy me dinner because I am a poor student, but there’s no dinner/blow job causation here. Sex happens when both parties want sex, not when one party has spent the required amount of money. Maybe this doesn’t mean more sex, always. But it means sex where both people want to have sex because having sex is fun and enjoyable, not because stuff has been bought. Isn’t that way better? And less expensive?

Reason #3: Feminism does like contraceptive choice

You know what else is expensive? A baby.

If having a baby was a possible consequence of having someone put their penis in my vagina – if I could not get condoms in every corner shop and my preferred brand of the pill for €10/month and the morning after pill for €40 and if all that lot fails then an abortion an affordable Ryanair flight away – if all of that did not exist, I would not be letting anyone put a penis in my vagina. I probably wouldn’t let anyone put a penis near my vagina. I would probably start exclusively dating ladies, in case the proximity of a penis tempted me.

Really, “an abortion an affordable Ryanair flight away” is not good enough (I am lucky enough to be able a) to afford it and b) to be an EU citizen and thus able to come and go as I please – there are a lot of women in Ireland not in that situation), but it has been a long, hard, feminist struggle for all the rest of it as well. Wanting to put your penis in a vagina while wanting to restrict what the vagina-haver does with the consequences of that penis-putting is… my kindest option here is “optimistic.”

Reason #4: Feminism does not like body policing

SHCBs, hands up if you fancy this hypothetical woman: size 8, tallish, able-bodied, white, DD boobs, blonde hair down to her nipples, mostly hairless below the neck, no stretch marks, spots or general standard-issue crinkly bits.

That’s OK, I think she could be hot too.

Now take your hands down if you would sleep with a woman who did NOT match that description.

I really hope there aren’t any hypothetical hands staying up. If there are, lads, I have news for you, you’re not going to get laid very often.

Our culture is really good at making women who don’t match up to all or most of those criteria feel shitty about themselves. That sort of feeling shitty about themselves that results in “No sex with the lights on in case he sees my crinkly bits” or “I’d love a shag, but I haven’t shaved my legs in a couple of days so I told my SHCB that I was busy tonight.” This is colossally sucky for all concerned. Obviously body policing occurs for men too. But the amount of things on their bodies that women are supposed to care about – and feel insecure about – is ridiculous. SHCBs, when you say that women with armpit hair are gross, 1) you’re shitty human beings but 2) consider how much your boner would actually care.

Reason #5: Feminism does not like slut-shaming

“Why won’t any of these disgusting dirty sluts sleep with me?!”

This one should be self-evident. If someone will think less of me for sleeping with them, I am not going to sleep with them. If someone is going to insult me for sleeping with them, I am not going to sleep with them. If someone is going to mock me with their mates for sleeping with them, I am not going to sleep with them.

I’m kind of a slut. I use slut to mean “person who has a lot of sex” and I use it in a neutral/positive way. But I don’t fuck anyone who uses it in a negative way. Because I only sleep with people who like me, and someone who casts a moral or social judgement on women who have a lot of sex does not like me.

 

You know, I could go on. If the average woman didn’t have to work 13.9% longer to earn the same amount as the average man, maybe she would have more average time to have some average sex with him. Maybe I would have been having sex with SHCBs more often this past year if I hadn’t needed to go on so many sodding marches for the sake of basic bodily autonomy! Sex with SHCBs is a LOT more fun than standing in the rain chanting “never again,” but I direct you to reason #3. There are a whole load more things I could list here, but frankly rewriting feminism as a movement to get SHCBs laid more becomes depressing if you keep it up for too long.

Feminism! Good for women, good for horny college boys who want to get laid more often. And now back to your regularly scheduled programming. Over and out. 

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Niamh ‘I’m Niamh Keoghan and I approve this message’ Keoghan

Drama was my one thing- a letter to NUIM Drama

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FINAL EDIT: NUIM Drama, I am glad to no longer be involved with you guys.  end of.

When I was 13, I started going to a drama group in Clontarf. While I was there, my brisk no nonsense teacher guided me through the craft of being a good performer. No bullshit, no arty farty crap, just how to act and how to speak well. Drama became the first thing that I was just… good at. Acting was easy. Even when it was challenging it was easy. It was fun. Drama was the one thing. Drama was my one thing. I might be fat, or stupid, or lacking in subtlety- but I could do a decent monologue and that was all that mattered. Acting became something really important to me not for productions or the limelight but for a small inner peace I had never known before. When I fell into the character of another person I could forget how much I hated myself. Eventually, as it went on I slowly began to accept myself. If I could do this well, I could do anything well. If I could turn in a good performance, nothing else mattered.

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Drama basically helped me work through all my problems and my anxieties. It was enriching and rewarding and fun. My little group still keeps in touch- my fantastic, no-nonsense teacher is now training me to take the teaching exams myself after college. I’m still welcome in that class now. When I started in NUI Maynooth I hoped that the Drama society there would be just as fulfilling.

NUIM Drama, you have beaten me. You’ve exhausted me, and you’ve won. You have finally, as a society, killed my love.

The Play I was in the cast of before Christmas, The Last of the Last of the Mohicans, is going to the ISDA festival, and my part is being re-cast. Going to go public with this and say right now how much NUIM Drama have ruined my love of acting. Every time I’ve gotten involved with that society as a performer I’ve come out the other end feeling used and badly treated. Last year, it was to do with politics that had nothing to do with me directly but concerning the play I was a cast member of and now it’s about me directly. With your cliques, your politics and your complete disregard for my self worth as a performer, you’ve beaten me. You’ve used my ability to act for two productions and once again, you’re discarding me as an inconvenient piece that won’t fit. I hope Mohicans and it’s cast are brilliant at ISDA because they will be going at the expense of my good will towards your society. You’ve lost me. You’ve lost me as a writer, as a performer, a director and a well wisher. You must have realized this was the only reaction I could have to your standing by as I’m airbrushed out. You have burned your bridge with me. I’m not even angry; I’m just very sad that I matter so little as a member of your group. Whatever the reasons are for re-casting my part (and I was told it wasn’t based on my actual performance, which was fine), I reserve the right to be very hurt.

You’ve turned something that I fell into as a vulnerable kid for escape and enjoyment into something that I dread to think about. I’ve lost all confidence in my ability to perform and I don’t think I’ll ever have the same love of drama and stage ever again. I’m not bitter, I don’t wish any individual member any harm (Many of you are my good friends and I wish you all the best) but as a person and a performer I feel utterly rejected and alienated. I won’t be participating in any productions anywhere for a long time. The thrill I used to feel being a part of something is lost- the confidence that used to flow in me is all drained out. You’ve taken a very important part of me away, and that hurts. That hurts me deeply. You kicked me out, and I’m not going to limp away without noting how much exactly you have taken away from me, how much it meant to me and what it’s cost.

I’m not putting this post up to have a go at you or make you look bad- as a society you are full of talent, boundless creativity and incredibly good people. That’s why I haven’t named anybody specifically in this letter. I’m not even mad. I’m not angry at the fantastic cast of Mohicans or the fantastic director who made the decision to re-cast me. I’m just really, really sad. I’m alone. I’m back in the place I was when I was 13.

Consider this my retirement notice from NUIM Drama and from acting at large. I will never participate in a production in Maynooth ever again. As for anywhere else, I’m still not sure if I will. I won’t write it off forever, but for the foreseeable future I can’t see myself being able to face it. Which is a pity. I wasn’t half bad.

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Niamh ‘And no you can’t borrow my vintage radio for the set this time’ Keoghan