I keep a close watch on this heart of mine. That’s why I run and I walk and I push myself at football and rugby and I walk to work. And like the man in black I keep my eyes wide open all the time. It takes an hour or so from Muswell Hill to the west end but if you keep your eyes open you’ll see the world even though normally I just see pockets of broken men from the Emerald isle.
Even at seven thirty in the morning. And that’s what I like. On days like this when the sun is peeking through the hills of Alexandra. Through the palace and touching the Archway Road. Under Suicide Bridge past the Whittington. Irish labourers await their lifts. In their wedding suits and boots awaiting Mr Murphy. Away from Cork and Limerick and just six hours after staggering out of the Archway Tavern. And The Woodman and any one of the pubs on Holloway Road they are ready for digging the dirt on these streets of North London before commencing their evening shift of Guinness and lager.
They will spend Saturday night in the Forum and the Gresham. Johnny Doran – who lives in the bedsit directly below me - drums with Davey Boy and the Playboys. They have a residency at one of these joints. Keeps asking my mates and me to go and see them but it’s not our style. Johnny’s a cracking lad as is Bernie - that has the bedsit next to mine and awakes me most nights as he stumbles in shit-faced. But it just ain’t for us. I don’t dig that republican shit. Not interested and I’m sure sixty per cent of the people in there aren’t. It’s the forty per cent I’m bothered about. I’ll drink with any man and fuck any girl. I’m not bothered where they come from but I hold no truck with human beings that blow other human beings up. Don’t get it.
Our kid’s in the navy. I tell him the same but… well we argue all night about it and it’s best unsaid I suppose. As I say I’ll have a drink with any man and I always have a drink with our kid. Got to look after him like. He’s my mum’s favourite. Will always be “little Alan”. Even if he wants to blow people up for a living. She says that he’d have joined the army if that was the case and that he just wants to see the world. Hey good luck to him. Girl in every port and all that but I’ll stick with a girl in north, west, east and south London, thank you.
There are gangs of Irish men throughout my journey. From Archway to Tufnell Park to Kentish and Camden Town before I get to Mornington Crescent and the final stretch to Tottenham Court Road. Pick up a crusty cheese roll and nip into Glen House. Home of Global Holidays. My workplace. A fucking laugh it is as well.