These series of postings that pinpoint parts of my life to precise points on google maps is something i’ve intended to do forever – for completely selfish reasons. I always thought it’d be cool to be able to look at a map and see important [or at least semi-important] places relevant to me at a glance – this is obviously made possible now by the genius of Google Maps.
I don’t know about you, but i’ve been obsessed with Maps in general for a long time. The arrival of Google Maps has just digitised that interest. Not only do i get a glimpse into completely different cultures from the comfort of my own home, but it’s inspiring to see the subtle changes of architecture, city colours, trends and even clothing styles across different places. My mind gets lost on Google Maps sometimes, like when i see a person clearly running [that doesn’t look like a runner/jogger] i’ll think ‘what were they running for or from?’ – or when i look at the historic streetview photographs of a certain location and see it fall into disrepair, i’ll wonder why that happened – ‘did the owner sick or die?’. I know it sounds odd, but i often use Google Maps for inspiration for all my writings – it’s hard to write a dull line when you can see most of the real world in photographs. It opens up a completely new frequency on the brain. Try it!
I started working for Dell Computers in 2006 pretty much immediately after the breakup of Mascara Story. Although i started ‘Rescue the Astronauts’ the day after Mascara broke up, i figured that it’d take me a while to find musicians anywhere near as good as Sean & Jay – so i might as well make some bucks during the search. The job itself was a standard customer service role. About a month or two into the job, i noticed that agents were freaking out when they received calls about WIFI connection issues – as these were by far the most complicated issues to resolve. Sensing an opportunity, i swotted up on everything WIFI and began offering to take on these calls on their behalf. I made a note of these successes and approached my bosses to take me off the phones and reassign me to strictly resolving WIFI issues – which was met with a resounding head-nod. From that point on it was plain sailing and i actually began to enjoy my role in the company. All during this phase of trying to set up a wireless team, i was being helped massively by a mentor called Christy – who had taught us job fundamentals from day one and was a really cool guy. We hit it off instantly and started partying together at the weekends and beyond. He casually mentioned one day that he was looking to move home and as it was something i’d been thinking about too; we decided we should room together to save money and to accentuate craic. This is the only place we looked at and it was perfect for us. In the streetview image below, it’s the penthouse at the very top and to the left, with the extended balcony. Great times were had in that apartment – we even had a pool table right in the middle of our living room! You can see a picture of a very-hairy me and Christy here.
2. Tourist Information Meeting Spot
I realise this location looks like nothing special, but it was the central meeting spot for everyone when i was a young teenager. It was like our version of the spire in dublin. It was where we’d all meet after school before breaking into our little subgroups and dandering around the shopping centre like Mallrats. You can see a photo of me jamming on guitar at this location here&here. For a such a static and basic place, i have a thousand memories from here. From people starting relationships and ending them on this spot, to people fistfighting, to the acoustic group singalongs, to the serious heart-to-heart conversations … and everything in between. The generation after us still continued to use this place, but whereas we liked to call it what it was ‘the tourist info‘, they cleverly refer to it as ‘the horseshoe‘ – which is way cooler. Still though, it’s cool to know it’s still being used a meeting spot.
3. High School
When i think back to my high school days, i really wouldn’t change a thing. I left this place with pretty good grades in all the important areas, and for one of the class clowns that was always trying to make people laugh and have fun, that’s good going. I had the option of attending a school that was a little bit more ‘elite’ than this one, but opted for this as it was close to my home and a hefty majority of my childhood friends were attending. That wasn’t a lack of ambition on my part, i just never placed that much importance on this particular period of life because i never intended to have a normal job, even back then. I loved these days though and i still miss them. A year or so ago, before the school unfortunately got torn down, myself and my friends Sean and Aaron actually got permission to walk around the school one last time and revisit old rooms and old memories – it was awesome and i made sure to capture the moment with many photographs. It’s a real shame that it no longer exists. But i guess that’s how you know when you’re getting old; when they begin tearing down your old haunts because they’re falling apart! I wrote a song about the school that you can listen to below.
4. Primary School
Literally just up the road from my high school stood my primary school. This is where i discovered my love for poetry. I even won a poetry competition in Primary four when i was in Mr McGuigans class and i still have that certificate to this day. Nothing majorly eventful really happened here but it’s still a pivotal location in my story.
5. The Birth of Mascara Story
This is the very spot where Mascara Story became an official thing between myself and sean. He was studying art in college and i was studying music – he would frequently stop by our rehearsal room at the end of the day to have a listen to my band at the time, Traffic Episode. When that band fell apart due to a couple of the guys leaving the course, i was eager to start something new quite quickly. Myself and sean had already been in a little school band, so we had an existing musical relationship. On this night [circa January 2004] as was common to our friend group at the time, we’d assemble in a public spot like this with our drinks and get ‘tipsy’ before we hit the bars – partly because it was always brilliant fun and partly because most of us were too broke to be able to drink for an entire evening in a bar. I knew i wanted to have this conversation with sean for quite a while, but the only delicate component of that conversation was asking him to be the bassist when he was a guitar player that had taught me the basics of guitar a few years prior. Many years later, sean told me that this wasn’t even a talking point as he’d never really practiced guitar whereas i wasn’t seen without one for many years. After that conversation, we shook hands and decided that we’d start a band together – that band became Mascara Story.