MMS Friends

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The other Fiona McCann

My mother accused me the other day of having a blog. I mean accused me in that passive aggressive “I’m just inquiring” kind of way mothers have, that makes it clear straight off that there’s more than just inquiring on the line here. My mam was basically upset because I hadn’t told her about said blog, so that she could print it out for her scrap book (my mother has been collecting clippings of my work since I first put pen to paper). Keen to uncover all my shady cyber secrets, my increasingly internet-savvy mam finally got around to googling me and came up with Fiona McCann’s blog. But not mine. As it transpires, there’s another Fiona McCann, who lives in another corner of cyber space and is wandering through the net world, and most likely other worlds too, under my name. Alarming, and even more so because it’s not just my mam that keeps coming up with her. Everybody who googles my name (our name) gets her, before finally happening on me somewhere into the fourth or fifth page (perseverance pays, my friends). OK, I know this isn’t exactly outrageous alien-invasion level oddness, but it’s still enough to spark at least my curiosity. So I went to Fiona McCann’s blog, and wrote to her. Or me.

Dear Fiona McCann,
My name is Fiona McCann, and every time somebody googles me, they end up on your site and I go through the whole rigmarole of explaining that I am not you, or you are not me. Today, I googled myself, and once again, it led to you. In a moment of existential uncertainty, I thought it best to write and confirm that we are not, in fact the same person.
Fiona McCann

And the delightful Fiona McCann (I knew she would be), put my comment up on her site and wrote this:

“I plan to definitely email this Fiona McCann immediately and ask her some pertinent questions about her life and if I like what I hear, I will offer to exchange identities with her so that people looking for her who end up here will be in the right place.”

A lively exchange between two (or was it just the one all along?) Fiona McCanns ensued, as you’d expect really, where we made it clear that neither of us were porn stars or water polo players (for more of this: Fiona McCann ).

I know all this has been done before, a la Dave Gorman, but not by me, and now I sort of get it. There’s something kind of cool to find someone else wandering around living a whole other life under your personal alias. So bualadh bos to Fiona McCann. Now we just need to find the porn star and the water polo player, and we can take over the world.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Ode to the general practitioner

I'm not one to wax lyrical about the way things are oh-so-much-better in my homeland, which I am aware that I still left for some suddenly unfathomable reason. But today, I have an ear-ache and it really pees me off that I can't go to a GP and sort it out. I have been diligently saving up my minor medical complaints because I only want to have to go see the doc the one time, and am hoping to get the lot seen to in one fell swoop. Oh but here's the thing: that doesn't work in a country where there's no such thing as your jack-of-all-trades GP. You have an ear problem? Go to the ear specialist. You have a sore toe? Why the toe doc is the one for you. You need to renew your pill prescription? Get thee to the pill-presciption renewal specialist. And what, smartypants specialist, if I have all three problems at once? That'd be the Emergency Room for you little fall-apart lady.

Well today I have an ear-ache, and I don't want to go to the ER and sit and wait beside a man with a knife stuck in his chest (this actually happened to me - well, sort of) and be treated by a random doctor who doesn't know me from Adam and is already rushed and bearing no resemblance at all to any of the handsome doctors from the show of the same name. I want one of those docs that has known you since you were two and will sagely say something along the lines of: "Fiona, you know what that ear-ache could be? Remember you put a pea up your nose when you were seven, and it never came out?".

Friday, May 05, 2006

touched indeed

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

touched by the hand of god

People often ask me why I came to Argentina. Depending on my mood, their appearance, time constraints and the likelihood of them actually listening, my answer ambles somewhere between the factual, the lyrical and the outrageously inventive. But sometimes, when it's a very special type of person, and I've had a very special amount to drink, I slip in the all-important word, the one that above all others lies at the very heart of it all. Maradona. The big M. Apologies to those of you who find this cliche in the extreme: I never intended to be so obvious, but, what can I tell you, I am. Because at the end of the day, Maradona's role in my trans-Atlantic transfer cannot be overstated.

It's worth pointing out at this juncture for those who haven't read my entertaining profile that I'm Irish. And that as a general rule, we Irish have never been able to boast massive victories on the sporting field. Sure, we once made it to the World Cup quarter finals. So euphoric was our response to said moment, in fact, that a million people turned out to greet the team when they came home from what most countries would consider abject failure rather than a victory meriting a national holiday and reception from a quarter of the country's entire population. Because lest you've forgotten, a million people in a country of four million is an alarmingly large precentage. What I'm trying to say is that, much as we'd love to bring a World Cup home one day, we've never even gotten close. Not with our own team, anyway.

And then there's the English. I'm not going to bang on about the centuries of oppression, and all that rigmarole. But it just so happens that our arch enemies across the Irish sea have a considerably stronger history of World Cup showings than we do, and we'd really rather they didn't. Numerous Eurovision song contest defeats are not nearly as satisfactory as you might think, so there's nothing we love more than watching the English go down at soccer. Cue Maradona.

No need to mention the glorious hand of god goal that shut the English up once and for all? To tell you how my father, suddenly nimble on his feet, danced around the room like Maradona around the English defenders? OK, so we're not Argentinian. But when they defeat the English, we're as close as two nations can get.

Now I'm not much for celebrities. Brushing shoulders with the big wigs really does nothing for me, and having had my share of rock-n-roll moments I really thought I had perfected some sort of jaded celebrity immunity. But I was sorely deluded. Picture the scene. Through a series of fortuitous circumstances, I've ended up at the Four Seasons hotel at U2's post-gig party in Buenos Aires. I'm in a room with Bono et al, calmly snarfling the free food and quaffing champagne, and remaining largely oblivious to the presence of some of the world's biggest rockstars. Keeping my cool. Chillin'. Whatevs. And next thing you know it, in he walks. The earth moved, the ceiling span, and my legs almost fell off me. The man himself, my long-time idol, the man who put the balls in footie, was in the room. The same room as me. I'm not joking you, I pretty much wet my pants. I. MET. DIEGO. MARADONA. Once I remembered to breathe, I literally bowled over Bono, pushed Larry Mullen aside and launched myself mini rocket style onto his lap. Of the meeting itself, I remember little, apart from my own anxious babbling, and his courteous acquiescence as I took seventy six photos of me clung to his side. I do know he was sweetly willing, and patient with me. I also know that he was short. I clock in at not much over the five foot mark myself, so it's rare I meet a man that I actually fit into the same photo frame as. But the thing is, the glorious, heart-clattering thing is, I met him. I met Diego. I have photos to prove it. The hand of god has touched me. And after four years in Argentina, avoiding poop in the streets and being run over by insane taxi drivers, after four years of peso salaries and tramites, tramites, tramites, after four years of having to wait till eleven o'clock to have my dinner, it's all, all been worth it. I met the man. The big M. And as soon as I can work out how to post photos here, you'll be witness to the proof.