In Which JOB Lays Down an Extensive Quote from FOB (MngC (BON(BON)))

For Father’s Day, my brooding brood had a thought that I should like to be Flann O’Brien someday – So they bought me his collected novels to help start me on my way….and holla! I’m half way there, sharing in the name and all that….


Here’s to your health, said Kelly.

Good luck, I said.

The porter was sour to the palate, but viscid, potent. Kelly made long noise as if releasing air from his interior.

I looked at him from the corner of my eye and said:

You can’t beat a good pint.

He leaned over and put his face close to me in an earnest manner.

Do you know what I am going to tell you, he said with his wry mouth, a pint of plain is your only man.

Notwithstanding this eulogy, I soon found that the mass of plain porter bears an unsatsifactory relation to its toxic content and I became subsquently addicted to brown stout in bottle, a drink which still remains the one that I prefer the most despite the painful and blinding fits of vomiting which a pluraity of bottles has often induced in me.

I proceeded home one evening in October after leaving a gallon of half-digested porter on the floor of a public-house in Parnell Street and put myself with considerable difficulty into bed, where I remained for three days on the pretence of a chill. I was compelled to secrete my suit beneath the matress because it was offensive to at least two of the senses and bore an explanation of my illness contrary to that already advanced.

The two senses referred to: Vision, smell.

On the evening of the third day, a friend of mine, Brinsley, was admitted to my chamber. He bore miscellaneous books and papers. I complained on the subject of my health and ascertained from him that the weather was inimical to the well-being of invalids…. He remarked that there was a queer smell in the room.

Description of my friend: Thin, dark-haired, hesitant, an intellectual Meath-man; given to close-knit epigrammatic talk; weak-chested, pale.

I opened wide my windpipe and made a coarse noise unassociated with the usages of gentlemen.

I fell very bad, I said.

By God you’re the queer bloody man, he said.

I was down in Parnell Street, I said, with the Shader Ward, the two of us drinking pints. Well, whatever happened to me, I started to puke and I puked till the eyes nearly left my head. I made a right haimes on my suit. I puked till I puked air.

Is that the way of it? said Brinsley.

Look at here, I said.

I arose in my bed, my body on the prop of an elbow.

I was talking to to the Shader, I said, talking about God and one thing and another, and suddenly I felt something inside me like a man trying to get out of my stomach. The next minute my head was in the grip of the Shader’s hand and I was letting it out in great style. O Lord save us…

Here Brinsley interposed a laugh.

I thought my stomach was on the floor, I said. Take it easy, says the Shader, you’ll be better when you get that off. Better? How I got home at all I couldn’t tell you.

Well you did get home, said Brinsley.

I withdrew my elbow and fell back again as if exhausted by my effort. My talk had been forced, couched in the accent of the lower or working-classes. Under the cover of the bed-clothes I poked idly with a pencil at my navel. Brinsley was at the window giving chuckles out.

Nature of the chuckles: Quiet, private, averted.

What are you laughing at? I said.

You and your book and your porter, he answered.

Did you read that stuff about Finn, I said, that stuff I gave you?

Oh, yes, he said, that was the pig’s whiskers. That was funny all right.

This I found a pleasing eulogy. The God-big Finn. Brinsley turned from the window and asked me for a cigarette. I took out my ‘butt’ or half-spent cigarette and showed it in the hollow of my hand.

That is all I have, I said, affecting a pathos in my voice.

By God you’re the queer bloody man, he said.

He then brought from his own pocket a box of the twenty denomination, lighting one for each of us.

There are two ways to make big money, he said, to write a book or to make a book.

It happened that this remark provoked between us a discussion on the subject of Literature – great authors lviing and dead, the characters of modern poetry, the prelictions of publishers and the importance of being at all times occupied with literary activities of a spare-time or recreative character. My dim room sang with the iron of fine words and the names of great Russian masters were articulated with fastidious intonation. Witticisms were canvassed, depending for their utility on a knowledge of the French language as spoken in the medieval times. Psycho-analysis was mentioned – with, however, a somewhat light touch. I then tendered an explanation spontaneous and unsolicited concerned my own work, affording an insight as to its aesthetic, its daemon, its argument, its sorrow and its joy, its darkness, its sun-twinkle clearness.

At Swim-Two-Birds, Flann O’Brien (Myles na gCopaleen (Brian O Nuallain (Brian O’Nolan)))


  1. Quin Finnegan says

    That's great stuff, and (imho) they only get's better: Dalkey Archive (which name was used for the press) includes an interview with St. Augustine in an underwater cave that is for the ages. That'll lift your soul. Sláinte!

  2. Rufus McCain says

    I had to look him up. How have I never heard of this guy? Real name: Brian!? Another weird clue for conspiracy theorists connecting Quin and JOB, it would seem.

  3. Quin,

    I look forward to it. Been wanting to get to this guy since when.


    And FLANnery O'Conner and JOB, don't forget.


  4. Jonathan Webb says

    Excellent thanks. Like an Irish Bukowski, but with faith and a sense of humor.

  5. Jonathan Webb says

    Excellent thanks. Like an Irish Bukowski, but with faith and a sense of humor.

  6. Jonathan Webb says

    Excellent thanks. Like an Irish Bukowski, but with faith and a sense of humor.

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