If you bike in Dublin, park it here

To Have the Apprentice in the Sun, Marcel Duchamp

Dublin has a surprisingly little known treat hidden away on Drury St. A free indoor car park for cyclists, provided by Dublin City Council. Given the inordinately high number of bike thefts in Dublin, the place is a god send. It’s open every day, until midnight or one except on Sundays and public holidays, when it closes around seven. It’s really central (just around the corner from Fade St), and I’ve never seen it completely full – although it’s getting busier every day.

Just last year a dear little lady named Chloe came into my life, and I’d be broken hearted if another were to steal her away. If it weren’t for a well guarded prison such as this, I’d have to lock her up at home!

Fantastic Comedy Writing Opportunity in Ireland

Are you the next Chris Morris? No.

There aren’t many opportunities to break into comedy writing in Ireland, especially on television. If you can rope a producer in, you can make something for the beauty contest that is RTE Storyland,  you can film a sketch and send it in to Republic Of Telly, but that’s about it. Until now.

For the first time ever, an Irish production company are soliciting spec sitcom scripts. Sideline Productions are looking for original 30 minute TV comedy scripts, from new writers. Ultimately, they’re seeking to bring 6 – 10 writers onboard as contributors to future comedy projects. Almost no one does this any more, even in the UK, so this is an amazing opportunity.

Sideline have several programmes in production on Irish TV, including perhaps the most hilarious thing broadcast anywhere right now, Take Me Out, so this is a genuine effort to bring new writers on board. They’ve got writing tips, and a long submission form, as well as a blog post outlining exactly what they’re looking for.

The projects can be either studio based (i.e. live audience) or location half hour comedies. TCDW will offer writers an intensive reading, editing and workshop process over 3 x 2-day sessions…

The end result for any successful writer(s) will be professional training, feedback, script editing and input from outside professionals plus all other members of the course leading to a hugely improved script, expanded network and potential for a long term career.

All successful writers accepted to the workshop are in with a chance to have their final script performed and read by professional actors in front of a live audience as part of the first ever Dublin Sitcom Festival planned for autumn 2013. For this special event broadcast executives, comedy commissioners, agents and talent managers will be specifically invited from Ireland, UK and USA.

I really can’t emphasise enough how rare this opportunity is. Submissions are open till March 31st, so get cracking. NB – They want printed copies too, so don’t leave it till the last minute. If you need some tips about structure, script writing tools etc, check out the ‘Script Writing For Sitcom’ presentation from Open Learning Ireland / Exchange Words, below.

A Mysterious Package For Dr Freeman

I checked my post this morning, only to discover a mysterious mystery. An apparently ordinary looking envelope…

But dear reader, this modest parcel was in truth anything but ordinary, for inside lurked something tremendously suspicious. A typewritten letter accompanying a second, plastic envelope.

Text of the letter (misspellings preserved):

Dear Gareth,
I hope this letter finds you in time for I may not have long.

Within this letter contains one small piece of an unending jigsaw. A tiny fragment of my research that has led to me upturning a lot of rocks and finding a hideous insectoid life living beneath it. Inscedoid that have their antennae in a vast array of important government pies.

As a fellow skeptic you will undoubtedly know the importance and significance of such a finding when you open its plastic cover and read beneath its pages.

Who am I you are asking and why have I been burdened with such knowledge.

We have never met but your reputation as a fellow investigator of the unknown has been spoken with hushed reverence in many circles in which I traipse and it was vital that this envelope left these shores as soon as possible.

We are through the looking glass here. If you wish to continue with my work in finding the truth go with care.

I wish you more luck than I have had.




Ex historia damnatur qui non referre.

What strange clue was this?

Quickly Google Translate informed me that the final quote in latin was a literal translation of the phrase “From the history of those who do not is condemned to repeat it.” Rapidly my tightly disciplined mind deduced a mistranslation of George Santayana‘s famous quote “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Curiouser and curiouser. My tormenter was not a native speaker of the Roman tongue, likely a crank rather than a true scholar of the insectoid / inscedoid race. Few of us who research this grim threat possess the tools to utterly penetrate the arachnoid mystery. More often than not promising candidates, brave men and women who offer some hope that the menace may be quelled or at least understood, disappear never to be found, as perhaps this poor fool had.

Along with the letter was another package.

Hmmm… A simple graphological analysis revealed that the handwriting suggested the following traits: modesty (indicated by a lack of underscore and indeed the lack of a signature), impulsiveness (no starting strokes), orderliness (orderly writing), and mysteriousness (indicated by the mystery). But what was inside? Hastily I peeled back the pastic cover, careful to preserve all possible fingerprints.

Ye gads! A copy of that most secret magazine ‘Freemasonary Today’. Legends tell of this illicit container of mystic lore, passed from one High Carbuncle to the next for a thousand years. Written on the skin of slain unicorns, in the blood of baby Pandas. How had such a rarity found its way into the postal system? Surely the automated machinery of the illuminati is designed specifically to prevent such an outrage? Was this a trick? A false piece of provocative evidence designed to blow my cover as an investigator? The lizard men are crafty, and their masters the insectoids / inscedoids even more so.

I had to resolve the puzzle of it’s origin.

It seemed my confounding epistolarian had concealed the originally intended recipient of the package with a mere sharpy mark. Something any common or garden house cleaner could erase.

To the cupboard!

Aha, a veritable clue! With judicious applications of special issue Tesco All Purpose Cleaner I was able to reveal the address, hidden beneath the crude sharpy mark. The package it seemed, had been originally intended for a certain gentleman of London… Could it be?!?

Armed with the address, I went straight to that tool gifted us by the lizard cameras themselves. Google’s all seeing ‘maps’.

(Details redacted to protect the conspiracy)

Aha! Now my search was narrowed to a certain segment of London, wherein the original recipient had at one time lived / lives / will live (assuming time travel). To Facebook to confirm my suspicions.

Aha, a veritable admission from my associate, codename ‘Mark’! I questioned the origins of the mysterious package. Where had ‘Mark’ found such a thing? The reply came!

The brave theft admitted in his own hand…

Funnily enough the came from the creepy guy who used to live in the house before us who we think was a spy. He had extra security cameras installed, 7 locks on the door had guns on the wall when we were shown the house and said he worked for the government AND was a member of the masons!

Finally, my suspicions confirmed, and a mystery solved. Mr Freeman, we meet once again. Mark, I salute you!