Posts Tagged ‘ thoughts ’

THIEF (2014) – My Opinion

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                                        The rather conspicuous home of the Master Thief

So I have been playing the latest Thief game for a little while now and I feel compelled to write about it, as I find myself thinking about certain aspects of the game as I play through its story for the third time. So here is my pretend journalist review/opinion of the game.

I had absolutely no intention of playing the latest version, having grown up with the offerings from Looking Glass studios during that rather brief but excellent golden age in PC gaming before the turn of the Millennium. This new Thief had poor early previews, which only served to compound my existing bias against a lot of these cross-platform remakes we’re seeing cropping up of late. I expected my beloved Garrett to be torn apart in a frenzy of console combat and click to be cool mechanics, but having been gifted the game by my brother I had to play it, he would be full of questions about my experience so some actual hands on was required. The answers I found in this new Thief were frustratingly more complex than I had anticipated. My worst fears were never realized, but what followed was an uneven grab at greatness that fell short of the prize.

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 The excellent implementation of first person perspective slots you into the eyes of Garrett

Now first person perspective is nothing new, but rarely is it done well. Most of the time we get a floating camera that levitates its way through the world without much feel. Even the mighty Half-Life 2 is guilty of this, and that’s a game that gets very little wrong design wise. Thief is among those FPS games that goes the extra mile to make you feel like you’re in the shoes of your character, quite literally. If you look down you’ll see your leather clad feet and when sneaking Garrett holds his hands out in that sinister lurking strangler like fashion. You can watch his careful steps across narrow beams and broken glass, climbing ropes, sprinting across rooftops, you have a body and it has limitations. Jump from a large height and hit the ground with a hard slap as your body compresses under the impact beneath you, jump a rail at speed and watch your legs dart out ahead of you, it all has a weight to it, I can feel Garrett as I move him around the world. With all of the HUD disabled it’s a very organic experience, I forget myself as I inhabit the role of this creature of the night, this is one of the games great strengths. If you’re in any way familiar with FPS games go ahead and disable the HUD, you don’t need it. Garrett himself will inform you of everything you need to know. An alternating white and dark shroud inhabits the very edges of your vision whenever you dip in and out of light, letting you know when you’re in danger of being seen. Finding the right tumbler when picking locks is done by watching the movement of his fingers, small twitches indicating when you’ve found the sweet spot, drawers and loot grasped with an actual hand, it all works well without distracting from that sense of inhabiting the flesh of your character. The extra HUD overlay just feels like it doesn’t belong, but the option is there for those that feel more comfortable with it.

The playground for the game is a delightfully dilapidated city seen mostly at night. Old brick and wood houses tightly compressed into narrow badly lit streets. It’s paradise for a sneak thief, especially the handy upper walkways and rooftops that litter every part of it. The city has two levels, street level and thief level. Street level is where you will find all of the guards, along with the few mute and disease stricken citizens that lay coughing in various alleyways. Thief level is where you should be spending most of your time, it’s yours and yours alone, looking down on all like a predator, watching patrol habits, looking out for opportunities. The city itself opens up as you progress through chapters, another word for missions, with early chapters serving to train you in the use of tools and various game mechanics. Side jobs are also available from your fence, Basso, which can be carried out between chapters as you explore the ever expanding city, so there is always something to see and do. But this exploration is always strictly controlled. Thief never lets you off the leash, it can become very broad and feel unrestricted at times, but your freedom is a carefully crafted maze of tunnels, only ever expanded when the developers want it to, piece by piece. It works, and it works well, but I get this nagging feeling that at the start of this games development they had other ideas. Even at its most expansive it still feels restricted, but you are left with a sense that with a little more creative daring, the developers could have made something truly free form. The massive clock tower which serves as your home is all but useless, unless you like to stare at the unique trinkets collected along the way, there is no point in storing any of your ammo or other items in the provided storage, you’ll always be using them and buying more. Your base is a safe refuge adrift of a proper context within the world they have built, It feels like they originally planned a proper open world but ran from the idea at some point in development.

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                                                   The city through the eyes of a Thief

As briefly mentioned above, there are no shortage of tools for the Master Thief to employ against whatever obstacle that stands in his way. The bow returns, albeit in a far more lethal looking form, snapping to life in a flurry of strings and wheels when pulled from his shoulder, coupled with a wide array of arrows for various situations, much like the previous games. You have arrows to deal with torches and the bothersome light they cast, various arrows to kill, arrows to activate switches, choke arrows that knockout foes, explodey arrows, it’s a feast of choices and all work well. Even the rope arrows makes a welcome return, but like the city itself, in a strictly controlled fashion, allowing you to fasten them to designated posts only, becoming yet another way for the developers to facilitate the control of your exploration, rather than as a tool to create your own. Flash bombs to stun and health packs to heal are also present, along with poppy flowers, which refill your focus meter.

Focus is something I refused to use when playing and I made sure to disable it, though I did use it enough to see what it was about. It’s essentially a handy cheat system, Showing you every secret, piece of loot and object of interaction in any given area, robbing you of the satisfaction of exploring and finding these things yourself. You simply press a key/button and all becomes clear, a blue nimbus surrounding everything of use. It’s a cheap way for the developers to lead me through the game and to all of the delightful content they have in store. I found the game much more satisfying without it though, I may have missed some things along the way, but the feeling of actually having to use my own wits to spot traps/secrets made the experience of playing the Master Thief far more rewarding than had I used the focus system. Granted it has other useful features, you can ‘buy’ Focus upgrades with donations to an NPC character that improve Garrett in one way or another but they’re still shackled to that all seeing glowing eye that robs me of all mystery. The effect this feature has on gameplay is symptomatic of the problems with the story holding it all together, convenient magic that eviscerates depth or the possibility of depth. It’s a feature that should have been left on the cutting room floor as far as I am concerned.

The Gameplay itself offers just enough variety to remain compelling. Though a lot of the side jobs you pick up along the way are very samey. You break into a house/property and take something, which may or may not be hidden, the property will almost always be empty of living threats, so once you realize this the tension of breaking and entering dissolves away and it becomes just another routine to be carried out, an exercise in loot gathering. Exploration is fun though, tightly controlled as it is. You’ll often be rewarded for being catlike in your curiousity, and finding these secret places is always satisfying, especially when done without the aid of the magical Focus ability. Staying hidden is essential, as guards and opponents are all better at fighting than you, facing more than one is almost always certain death, you’re forced to use the element of surprise to pick off your foes one at a time and without causing a scene, which just adds to that feeling of being a cat like predator in the dark. You can also completely shun combat in favour of being a ghost, drifting through levels as if you were never there, leaving no trace, which while the most difficult way to approach the game, also offers the most satisfaction in terms of sneaking goodness. The difficulty is never overbearing but it does gradually increase as you move toward the end game, though not enough for my liking, once you figure out certain things about guards and how they patrol and react to you, you’ll find yourself abusing their poor vision to sometimes laughable extremes. The main chapters in the game are all varied enough in location and objective to keep your interest, until you come to the end of the game and it all starts to unravel somewhat, which brings us to the Story that holds it all together and ultimately defines the game as a whole. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD.

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                             The doe-eyed Erin is central to your journey through the game

The entire plot of the game hinges around a job gone bad, which serves as the prologue and introduction to the world for the players. Garrett teams up with another Thief, the slender, carefree Erin, to steal a gem known as the Primal Stone from the ruler of the city, known as the Baron. Erin seems to be the polar opposite to our player character in both personality and how she operates as a thief. She’s loud, proud and seemingly overconfident in her abilities, getting high on the thrill of the work and its dangers, leading Garrett through the opening phase of our story, doing her utmost to impress him with her bravado and ability. However, It becomes obvious as they progress to their objective that she is unstable emotionally, we don’t know why or to what extent but something seems off. Before we get a chance to dig deeper into her personality disaster happens, Erin is apparently killed and Garrett wakes up a year later with no memory of anything that happened in between. The city has changed while he slumbered, a new disease called the Gloom has ravaged whole parts of the city and is even spreading to the wealthier districts, a tyranny has descended and the Baron has seemingly gone mad with power, a new force rising up to oppose him in the form of the Graven, led by a mysterious character known only as Orion. It’s from this point the game begins to flower into the carefully crafted adventure the developers have created for us, how does it hold up as it blooms?

A lot of this games eggs are in the story basket, at first we’re left with a great big mystery. Garrett is confused and so are we. As the chapters progress we’ll come to understand the nature of this mystery more and more. A plot involving the primal stone you were sent to steal in the beginning, the shattered pieces of which you begin to amass as you make progress. Early chapters are strongest, having Garrett do what Garrett does best, be a thief, moving from location to location and stealing various items for interested parties, unwittingly setting up the final act in the process. Special mention must be made of a chapter set in a mental asylum, with clever use of sound and visual misdirection to create an atmosphere of ever increasing fear and paranoia as you explore.  But back to the ending, which is where it really falls down. What we’re treated to is a supernatural blow out that leaves the player feeling disconnected from everything the developers laboured so hard to build. All of your sneaking, thieving, intelligence gathering… It all boils down to a final confrontation in which you grab chunks of glowing green stone to extract primal energy from Erin, who it turns out was never dead, but held captive the entire time, a chunk of the magical primal stone lodged within her. She is revealed to be the cause of the cities problems, the disease and increasing violent madness of its population, what felt like an interesting and layered character at the beginning of the game turns out to be the big save the world reveal, and glimpses we get of Erin and her dark past along the way are left by the wayside, she is in the end, another damsel in distress. So that’s it, you save the girl and the threat to the city is averted, the game abruptly ends. (Though you can still roam the city and replay old chapters).

The entire story is problematic for me, the full extent of these problems only coming to the fore once you start getting answers toward the end of the game, you feel less and less a Thief as you move forward through chapters. The role of saviour is jarring, you’re given no choice in the matter too, no option to throw a spanner in the works, this is a linear tale that only ends one way. You’re part of a grand magical plot orchestrated by characters that feel like they’re not fully developed. The Baron and his brother Orion, the beggar queen, their personalities are never fully fleshed out through any other means between rare sightings, save for a few scraps of paper, a few lines of dialogue that are repeated far too often, their motivations are vague, everything about them is vague, just like the story itself, it tries to be subtle but fails. In the end I don’t really care, it’s just an overly dramatic climax designed to awe, but because the story refuses to play to its strengths, I am left feeling disconnected from it all, I go through the motions and save the city, huzzah. The magical elements of the story are boring and predictable, the game would have been much better served as a straight up thriller, with the supernatural elements used in a more supporting role, glimpsed and teased but not as the primary focus. A story that by the time it ends, leaves me feeling like the worlds greatest Thief and not like a confused errand boy hero. It’s a missed opportunity and one I fear we’ll be seeing compounded with the inevitable expansions that will be tacked on to the rather abrupt and open ending.  Erin, the supporting character that teased me with a past in the prologue, ends up being an almost omnipotent tool used to propel my Thief forward, what interesting things we do learn about her along the way end up meaning little to nothing come the end, she is not the troubled thief we see at the beginning, just a magic fairy lady whispering to us in glowing darkness every now and then, one that must be saved. I stopped caring. That’s the real shame of this story, it made me stop caring by the time the credits rolled. It should have kept things grounded, explored and expanded its base of characters, with a story that lends itself to the very name of the game, a story about thieves, mixed with the complexity of people and power. There was much potential glimpsed within the writing, but it took the easy way out in the end. Magic. END SPOILERS.

On the technical side of things, the game looks beautiful, even if I had to turn texture settings down to a paltry low. Though the difference between low and high is not actually that much texture wise, all other settings I could crank up without issue. The lighting is all well and good, shadows are shadowy, the feel of the world itself is excellent. Sound design is poor, really poor. NPC’s will often repeat a single line of dialogue again and again and again, without any fade in relation to their distance from you. I have no idea if this is just a problem for me or the game itself, but as someone with a top of the range sound set up, who never has issues with sound in anything else I play, I am going to blame it on the game. Sometimes sounds will cut out for no apparent reason and you’re left listening to just a single string of sound, like rain. It can really disconnect you from the experience at times, which is a shame, because they went to so much trouble to fit you into the skin of Garrett visually. The music is mostly uninspired and sometimes overbearing, nothing to write home about. You’ll want a system with plenty of Ram, at least 4gb. Any decent mid-range GPU/CPU combo should carry the game off nicely.

All in all it’s a very enjoyable game, when it’s busy being a game about a Thief it really feels alive and you’ll feel incredibly connected to your character, with excellent gameplay to keep you entertained, once it deviates from its strengths though, you’ll find it a weaker experience, the story that holds it all together is just not up to the task.

Oh, and Jebediah Chokes is a right prick.

I am Batman.

A Wonderful thing happened tonight.

I was standing at my window, observing the night sky as the darkness set in. My cat Wilbur was laying low in the grass, Lucy sat in front of him, panting in that retarded yet adorable way only a dog seems capable of pulling off. I could barely make them out, faint as they were in the dim white light of my laptops monitor behind me.. facing the window with me, watching the pair.

Lucy had made a fatal error in judgement, her tongue, dangling as it was from her mouth… Would soon trigger the instincts of Wilbur to attack and pounce… I probably could have called her in the time it took Kitty to attack, but why should I? Lucy needs to learn a lesson and I need some mild amusement at 11pm on a Saturday night, so just as I feared…Wilbur leaps onto Lucy’s face, leading with her barbed little paws, and it was at this moment that something amazing happened, maybe it was the yelp Lucy let out… But just at that moment, as my own instincts were triggered by the high pitched bark… An enormous shaft of light shot into the sky from a great distance, I’m not kidding… It shimmered along the low dense cloud cover as it searched the sky with great fervour, I was dumbfounded, gobsmacked even, my eyes followed the heavenly light. Left, right, left… Right! Why? Why was it doing this? Surely it was making a call… A plea for help, in one brief instant in time, I let myself be convinced that the light being shot up into the sky was in-fact for me, because they needed my help.. and who am I?

I am Batman, that’s who this silly light in the sky has convinced me I am, The Dark Knight, morally ambiguous anti-hero driven by childhood trauma, I may not have any actual superpowers, but I have some really fucking cool gadgets that you will most likely find in a toy store near you, along with a clearly phallic bat mobile that fucks any scumbag unlucky enough to be illuminated in its blinding headlights. I am an alpha male, I eat sleep and shit manliness, there is always a new attractive woman on the horizon who has everything in her life except for that one key ingredient… Me, but I will not stay with this woman, because she only signed on for one movie and I wouldn’t be very anti-hero with a wife and 2.4 children now would I?, so I must live as a perpetual bachelor with the occasional passionate but brief affair. I also pretend not to care about social issues by living the life of a playboy millionaire, but really.. deep down in my dark heart. I do, I fucking care… Like, a whole fucking bunch. So I must answer this light in the sky, I must wear fifty pounds of leather and endure the agony of relentlessly itchy balls an outfit like that would surely cause, I must wear eye shadow, because without it my helmet would look crap, you’d clearly see the skin around my eyes and it would clash with my expensive dark body armour and this would not do. But most importantly of all, I must wash the scum from the streets of Gotham with my reign of Vigilante Justice, I must help.. for i am needed.

All of this flashed before my minds eye as I stared into the distant probing light.

But as soon as I had convinced myself, I knew in that same instant that it was a sham. I’m just some schmuck dreaming his life away, and the light.. Wondrous as it was… Beamed from some fancy nightclub with shite music and fancy lighting in a town called Navan, not twenty miles from where I now sit. Awwwww, fuckin reality. Why must you insist on gatecrashing my dreams?

But dejection soon turned to amusement, Lucy and Wilbur lay together on the grass, the cat licking the dogs face, who in turn let out a prolonged groan of satisfaction into the night sky, all is well in my sleepy home, and I really need to see that new Batman movie.

The Criminal Impulse.

Well…

I’ve gone and made a grievous error in judgement. I came in to work this morning with the sincere belief that I’d be a good little busy bee and get something done.. But fate and my own impulsive nature have scattered such delusions to the wind.

It all started with a simple trip to the local Centra store to get a ham and cheese roll, I should have known the omens were bad when the woman at the deli counter gave me too much cheese, nothing good comes from too much cheese.
No matter how many times I ask, in the clearest language possible (“Just a tiny amount of cheese please, I mean a really small amount.. A trace amount.. One single piece of cheese”) She pours a mountain of grated cheese into the roll, I resist the urge to force feed it up her ass so far that every time she opens her mouth a Richard Marx level of cheese comes vomiting forth, a bit harsh and slightly out of proportion with the wrong that had been done to me, but it’s one of those mornings, I pay for it and go.

Since I am not driving I had to get a lift from one of the youngsters working for *Blankety CeNsOrEd blank* on an apprenticeship, who shall remain anonymous… 19 years of age, he insisted he had to make a quick stop on the way back to the workshop… Quite fine by me, a perfectly reasonable request. So we drove down the back roads of County Meath, those narrow slips of tarmacadam that invade the lush greenery, meandering and bumpy as the ground shifts beneath it, the hedges slowly reclaiming the road as the branches from trees form a high pitched snapping drumbeat on the windshield… Beautiful clear day, my kinda lazy day… Finally arriving at a shack of a house that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of Deliverance.

Exiting the vehicle we proceeded inside to visit a friend of Anonymous… As soon as I stepped foot inside the house a wave of something hit me.. I’m not sure now if it was trepidation or an overwhelming smell, danger smell, drug smell, there was a serious amount of Narcotics on the premises… It was probably a mix of both.
I was amazed, these boys were only out of school and already neck deep in the criminal energy of men twice their age. The house lived up to my initial impressions, it was falling apart, neglect and time were taking care of that… It was like something from 1950’s Ireland… Perfectly preserved like some famine house of old. We moved into a bedroom… A large drawer was opened, I couldn’t believe my bulging eyeballs… Drugs of every description in the kinds of quantity that ensured free accommodation in any one of Ireland’s fabulous prisons for half a lifetime. I was struck with a terrible and sudden Urge, I should beat these two men into unconsciousness and stuff every last illegal substance into a giant bin bag…  How delighted would my friends be if I showed up like some kind of deranged father Christmas at their door… Reaching into my large bag to give them the kind of present they wished their parents would get them for Christmas, those matching socks would look rather dull compared to a kilo of Amsterdam’s finest vacuum backed into a brick of pure compressed joy…but I must never listen to that voice in my head, no-no… I must put it back in its box… I must smile and stand in the corner, back to the wall Keith… It’ll all be over shortly.

And over it was… Anonymous simply reached into a large bag and grabbed a clump of something nice and green, he had a toothache and this was to be his cure. Beating a hasty retreat we stopped at an old Stone bridge… Sitting out in the sun, it was a glorious day, too glorious to be working inside a stuffy factory… I sampled the painkiller, if anonymous had any pain in that tooth beforehand, I doubt he could feel it now, let alone his entire melon head (his head does actually look like a melon, so that’s not an insult).

So finallyback in work, It’s time to reflect.

Now I don’t normally consort with the criminal element, but it struck me… Rhe Drug trade in this country is being run, at least at the Lower to Mid-Level, by boys, most of whom are still in school or of that age at least. I could see the attraction for them, there is a sharp sense of danger in this line of work, a thrilling menace you only get from doing something the law of the land forbids, they seem addicted to it, like a drug in and of itself, unable to see themselves slip deeper and deeper into the quagmire… Not really bad people, just addicted to the thrill… and I must say, having the kind of addictive personality I have, I can definitely see what is appealing about it, which is exactly why I must stay away from that Criminal Impulse.

Back to shitty work, or at least pretending to work.

Randomness

My cat hates me. (Not really, he loves me to bits)

It’s official, months and months of careful affection nurture have come crashing down in a brief but turbulent period of sickness. The Vet said it was a touch of pneumonia, His little adventures would have to come to a close while his body rested and recovered, no more outings to the Barn.
It’s not that he doesn’t appreciate the gravity of his situation, he certainly does… But his thirst for adventure will I fear only be quenched by death, never has a saying been more true, Curiosity will indeed kill your cat… If you let it.

So it was with great dismay I discovered him MIA this afternoon, my nieces, bless their sweet little visiting hearts, had deemed that all the doors to the house should remain open at all times… A logical conclusion for a child that has just arrived at her sixth birthday. Happy Birthday Lauren, by the way… I know you won’t see this but happy birthday anyway…Sorry I didn’t show up at the party or get you a present… yet! I was too busy getting annihilated with my good friend Philip, who I might add, has the affections of a certain lady by the name of Lucy, I see a definite future in it for the pair of them, but I digress… It was a logical conclusion for my Nieces to have all of the doors open… They could freely move in and out of the house at any point whenever the whim took them, bad news for my containment of Wilbur however.

I seem to have mislocated my drink now also, I could have sworn I put it on the floor…but now I’m faced with a mystery too complex to solve, defeated at the first by half a dozen or so older drinks of similar origin… Scattered about my room, all of various sizes… The only way to be sure is to test drink every last flat room temperature one of them… A task too great given my current condition, I must chalk this one up as another loss on my already significant “things I’ve managed to lose” list. Still, I need to get my drunk on.

Stop the press… I just thought of the ultimate gunfight, special thanks to Daithi for helping to inspire this…Clint Eastwood vs Charles Bronson, High street at noon.. Pistols… Both in their prime. Eastwood, that tall thin bearded frame that looked as if the wind might blow it away with the dust balls if it were not for the simple fact that Clint is cooler than the wind, so the laws of Physics clearly don’t apply to this man… Standing in the street, facing down Charles Bronson, the man with the Death Wish who cannot die… He’s some kind of native Mexican type… You just can’t tell, It’s like he just crawled out of the Arizona desert as a baby and threatened some poor woman to raise him… Or else. Who would draw first?…Is the fabric of space time strong enough to resist the pull that these two men, standing faced off against each other… I’m not sure… Let us just be thankful such a thing will never occur, found my fuckin drink.

Anyway… Where is my poor sick cat? (I found him shortly after, all is well)

Good Cop… Bad Cop.

So last night I swallowed a bottle of Sour Puss in a single go… Seemed like a bright idea at the time, it did have 15% alcohol… Which would have set me up nicely for a relaxing nights sleep, except for the fact that the other 85% was mostly made up of Sugar… A long night of agitated hyper drunk ensued the likes of which I’ve never experienced before, worse still than those childhood times when I would buy those bags of pure sugar filled fizzy powder and snort it like it was Pure Grade A Colombian Snow. So very little sleep… 2 hours at most, by the time I did… At around 6.30am.. My cat decided it was a fine time to attack me remorselessly with his razor sharp claws..an adorable little game he plays which usually ends with me bleeding profusely…So I had to wrap my blanket around me in a defensive ball to keep the little shit out (I Love You Kitty) …Finally drifting off sometime later…waking up at 10am for work… Oh Joy.. Day of number crunching  ahead.

Anyway, in work now, going over the accounts of some company that’s been ripping us off for the last few months, I’m talking fierce ass pounding here… Savage Greed, the kind that really gets under my skin, mark ups of up to 600% on some things that we have been ordering. So they sent over their general manager to try and sort things out. This Gigantic bloated man with no Neck… Obviously Fat and swollen from years of sucking people dry with criminal overcharging… By the time he left this place he was sweating like the pig fucker that he is… My Dad did all the talking, I sat behind Jabba silently and nodded at the appropriate moments, holding all of the damning Invoices as my father listed all of the overpricing from the previous months, Good Cop, Bad Cop routine.. The greedy swine was doing his best to play down the affair, trying to infuse the meeting with annoying banter to which I stonewalled, it was a lovely tense affair… He came with a statement saying we owed him money, by the time he left, the opposite was the case… We gave him the proverbial spit roasting of a lifetime, now in future such reckless freed won’t be a problem, as Hunter would say..Take no Guff from these fuckers.

On a darker note..just flicking through the Guardian newspaper… Came across a story that made me sick. Young couple who happened to be Goth’s were walking home through a park when they were set upon by a gang of teenagers aged around the 15-16 age mark, they attacked the boyfriend at first, punching him to the ground and then kicked and stamped on his head until he lost consciousness, his girlfriend was hysterical… She managed to get to him and cradle his unconscious body only to be attacked herself even more savagely…they beat her so badly that when the Police arrived they couldn’t tell if she was male or female, she spent the next two weeks in a coma before she died, her boyfriend survived but suffers from severe memory loss… His girlfriend beaten to death by what was effectively a gang of children. Each of the 5 involved all deny they were the instigator and blamed the others, as cowardly little cunts are want to do.

I’m not sure what to make of it.. What does Society do with people that young who don’t bat an eyelid at the prospect of beating two innocent people to death merely because they liked to wear a darker shade of clothing and make-up?…So fucking uneducated and neglected are these children that when in packs they turn into mindless savages, each egging each other on to commit these brutal acts… How do you rehabilitate people like that?… You could lock them up for years and throw away the key but they’d eventually be released and be just as if not more savage for their time spent in prison. How do we reverse the tide of Hate? I struggle for answers… A dark part of me thinks they should be lined up against a wall and shot, bill the parents for the bullet, Chinese style Justice… But that is hardly the answer, you’re not tackling the source… Which is neglect at home, it has to be… Parents who don’t take their job seriously, to mould the people they created and brought into this world into human beings and not animals, to respect the value of a human life, it’s a vicious cycle… These same children grow up to shower their own offspring with the same neglect, rinse the blood and repeat.. Rinse and repeat. It goes much deeper again, right to the core of what western society values, it requires more thought and understanding on my part, I’m just sick of seeing stories like this.

On a far brighter note… I have a ticket to see Neil Young at Malahide Castle in the Summer… As far as I know I’ll be there with my friend Ste, and Phil has four Tickets.. So I’m sure we’ll get more to go. Daithi is too sophisticated for us and opted for the Marque gig in Cork, which I imagine will be a classic gig also. Been a few years since I’ve seen the old man play… No idea what to expect when he plays, you never what you’re going to get.

 

Just what I like.

Give the dog a bone.

“Heart, of what is it yer made?
It’s blood, and blood can be remade
I cut you, and looked into your veins
Blood, the blood is just the same as the mans
… Oh heart, please don’t get bitter”  -Simple Kid

I made a new friend, it’s not often I do…. It’s been a long time since I’ve made one that I’ve actually kept, I still have my Companeros, my Amigos, they know who they are… From the early years, I hope this will always be the case, I think it will, I have that feeling, I hope they know that I will back them to whatever diabolical end we must face, should the need ever arise, ask anything of me… but I digress… Back to my new friend.

She lives on the other side of the planet, Canada to be exact. You may at this point ask how you can possibly befriend someone who is just text to you on a screen, but believe me, you can get to know the real meat of someone when you take every other equation out of the Social book other than the communication one. She is very like me, it is kind of disturbing actually, I thought I was a one of a kind mutant for a while, so I’m both disturbed at my own loss of uniqueness but also strangely heartened by the fact that I’m not as isolated in my thinking as I thought I was, contradictions have been a consistent theme of late, this new friend is no different.

Keep in mind that when I describe aspects of this new friend, I am also describing aspects of myself, such is the uncanniness of the resemblance. She is a wounded creature, isolated in many ways… Partly her own doing, but also partly the fault of this too hard world crushing the goodness out of us all with it’s divisive cruel ways… Good souls struggle in this world, to live a kind life takes a lot of strength when the world around you rewards callousness and the betterment of yourself over your fellow man. The human heart can only take so much beating before it retreats, shrinks, hardens and ultimately protects itself by becoming the very thing that has abused it so savagely, I hope this doesn’t happen to my new friend, I would like to help prevent that in any way I could, I hope I have the strength to finally stand on my two legs and hold against the tide, I feel it rising… I live in hope

This next part will make sense only to one person, so for the rest of you, your confusion will mark you out… Feel free to skip.

The wild dog… separated from man..returns to its primitive state… Fearful of the hand it once enjoyed softly upon it’s brow, or in the case of many… The hand that cast it out into the wild… Like you said Jen, when confronted with man again the wild dog will stand aloof… Mistrusting the intentions yet longing for the affection that grows as it inches closer. Perhaps waging the bone and coaxing its attention is the wrong thing to do…What if you were to fall to your hands and knees… Looking the animal straight in the eyes without showing fear, as they sense these things… It might evoke a different reaction… Beat your fist into the ground and say without words, in a single look… That you are just like it and it is just like you and the only reward you can give is the company you also crave.

Just a thought, you have to throw these things out there.. Again… I’ve not gone Mad(der)… One of you at least will understand the above, that is good enough for me.

In other more shitty news, Hugh has been taken into hospital with a collapsed lung… Not good. I don’t know if he will ever have the strength to leave the hospital again. I hope so, as I feel I’ve not communicated myself to him in the way that I fully wanted to (Story of my fucking life) I don’t want him to leave this world without me understanding that core thought I know resides at the centre of his being, we’ve been dancing around each other in conversation, getting to know each other better, figuring each other out, though I suspect he’s far ahead in that game, cunning mind that he is. My brother Alan will also be out of hospital soon, hopefully back on his feet… I have only visited him once so far, but mainly because I know he doesn’t want me there now, seeing him in that way… Which is sort of a relief, because it is hard. No other major news. I’m going to Galway next week to see my Companeros for a day or two… Which I badly need, I must confess, it will be good to get together with the gang again… Laugh… Get fucked up and forget our troubles for a while.

Ciao for Now

Rain.

Well… I am in work (No, this is not a parallel Universe you have drifted into, I am working part time again) and the rain coming down is absolutely insane, why the fuck I am blogging about rain I don’t know (Helps me avoid actually working) But it really is heroic in its downpour, the kind of rain that stops the world, I knew as soon as I walked outside of the office here I would find everyone downstairs standing around just watching, I already pictured it in my mind, I was drawn to the same sound they were, the angry march of a million raindrops prancing around the muddy work yard. So all of us stood around silently… Watching this monstrous downpour, what is it about heavy rain that makes us step back and take stock?… I swear as I watched the their faces I could see each and every one of them lost in some deep personal thought which meant the world to them… Be it a happy or sad memory, it was an important one,  and all because some liquid was falling from the sky at a quicker than usual pace… Very strange indeed, and now as I write this the deluge is slowly coming to an end, the sound of machinery notable in its absence…lovely silence. A fitting end to this pointless blog, time to go home and sleep, the last week has seen very little of it so it’s time to catch up.