Niall’s virtual diary archives – January 2001

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6th January 2001

Annual end of year summary

15th January 2001

Bad case of the birthday blues + extracts from old paper diaries

16th January 2001


26th January 2001

Money talk

Saturday 6th January 2001:10.00pm exactly. Wow, still can't believe it's 2001, despite the last entry being clearly the last of the turn of the millennium. Well, I suppose this makes this entry the third new year's round up of this diary so far. For those of you not acquainted with this tradition, I normally summarise the main events (as far as I can recollect) of the past year - years 2000 & 1999 are as linked. So here we go:

  • I finished my degree & said goodbye to Hull
    My start of 2000 was mostly preoccupied with my final year degree project, and in essence the end of my time at university and my lifestyle of a student. There are so many things which happened to me during my last academic year which I was unable to put into these diaries that it is voluminous enough to put into a book, and I have been experimenting with the idea - it would be likely to take months at the very minimum, but then I have plenty of time. But in the end, my life in the cushioned bubble world of studentland came to an end, as these things always do.
  • I began to lose my sanity (did I ever have it anyway? )
    In the Easter of 2000, I began to experience paranoid hallucinations and these have continued since then, blighting much of my life and removing much of the joy I used to pride myself in having of being able to see the beauty in the everyday world. Nowadays I am reminded much of Hamlet's soliloquy "I have of late, wherefore I know not, lost all my mirth; indeed it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me like a sterile promontory". My memory might be a little off, my apologies if it is, I never was a good English student at school.
  • I lost Ruth
    Admittedly I only gained her a year before, and it may well have been that I only had thought I had gained her and never really did - but even the illusion of someone existing whom wanted and loved me was enough to give me a year of inner peace. Of course, there were many more factors regarding my happiness at work that just this, but I think for me it was really nice to be able to merely think about a specific person and get warm fuzzy feelings. I miss that.
  • I moved to Spain
    Resulting in the biggest shake-up of my life in four years since I first went to work in Cambridge aged eighteen. Never mind an inability to articulate oneself, there is a substantial culture shock to be endured by immersing oneself in a country so physically close and yet culturally far away. Germany and France appear often enough on UK television screens, as does the UK itself, so living in Ireland exposes oneself to these cultures subliminally. However, Spain doesn't do that at all, it could be on the other side of the world regarding how little one sees of it in the UK consciousness.

    However, I remain convinced perhaps more than before I came here that this country offers me an unparalleled opportunity for self-improvement. I cannot imagine how much would be different now had I not gone to the UK for the last three/four years, it's almost too much to comprehend. And I continue, despite recent events, to believe that my move to Spain offers very similar potentials. Right now, it's all a question of whether I can realise them or not.

And there lies the crux of my thoughts for this new year's review. I need to fix this problem regarding the hallucinations. The main problem is not the hallucinations themselves, for I am well conversed with them after all the psychedelics I have consumed. The problem is rather what they do to my self-confidence, because it's very hard to be confident of having a handle on the ball when people appear to be plotting to get me and while I know they probably are not, how can I be sure? And hence the creation of indecisiveness within me. It shakes oneself to the very core, and it isn't helping matters here in Spain.

But I think I have laid relatively solid foundations for a complete recovery. If one thinks about it, my condition now is considerably better than that after Laura, and much better than that after Kathryn. In addition, the new job I have started this week is full of promise so far and appeals to me greatly - I like working there, but we're still in toy time I suppose, the real work is yet to come. The rigueur it provides to my week may well prove beneficial, I certainly have had trouble deciding what to do today without work to go to (all the shops were shut because it's yet another holiday so my plans were somewhat shot to pieces - in the end, I read a book all day). I am on a plan of flat improvement, been slowly adding to my arsenal of tools with which to perform some construction. Before long, the weeks will fly by and not much longer after that, months will have passed and Spain may actually seem like a home, and possibly all the so important problems of now will then be much diminished.

I hence start the year 2001 recognising that the year 2000 hasn't been kind to me - I would even say it's been a bad a year for me. Year 1999 was definitely a good year in comparison, I remember describing it as a year of mixed fortunes but in comparison to year 2000 it was a real corker. One particular characteristic of year 2000 when comparing it to the end year reviews of years 1998 and 1999 is truly how little I accomplished this year in comparison to those - a quick look at the list of items shows that immediately. I regret this, it would seem that the energy expended on Ruth deliberations and that combined with the degree project, the much unmentionable in here and the lack of accomplishments due to moving to Spain (remove all time since the summer, as all of it has been Spain-related), and I suppose it makes sense. For the first half of 2000, my feelings are that I may well have excelled the pace set in previous years, but it's been very slow moving since the summer.

Anyway, I want to end this first entry of 2001 on an upnote. Year 2000 hasn't been good, fair enough. Let's stop looking at the past, and let's start looking towards the future. I am in a relatively good position with relatively good foundations, and there is a whole wonderful new set of possibilities awaiting me in the coming year. I look forward to an excellent year to make the previous one pale into insignificance, and I hope you'll all join me to read of my experiences!

Best of luck, happy new year, see you for my birthday entry in a few days! Until then, be happy!

Monday 15th January 2001: 7.05pm. Well, it's my birthday today. I'm twenty-three years old. Woo hoo!

I'm not really sure what else to say. I am now twenty-three years old and that means that I am now five years into adulthood. And I can't help thinking, am I in any better a state now five years on after when I was eighteen? Am I any happier?

It's probably the birthday blues, but I have been extremely depressed for these last two days. Much more so than usual. Normally during most of the year 2000, I just felt like crap, but in these last two days I've been far worse, far far worse. To the point where I have just got angry at nothing at all, maybe trying to direct all this anger welling inside me in some direction. Why the hell am I twenty-three already? People say "that's young, you've got your whole life ahead of you". Maybe they're right, but all I know is that I'm god damn well twenty-three and I still ain't any happier than when I was eighteen.

But what about all you've learnt and experienced? I could argue that as a loss of innocence, making me all that more painfully aware of how truly crap this world is. At least when I was eighteen I didn't know any better, I didn't know the faults of man and this new fangled society so acutely. Now, with all this worldly experience, when you decide to look for all the bad things, you do see so many more to a much more pervasive level than you did in earlier years. You see poverty, and you now know why it is created and maintained by the rich. You see loneliness and now you know how urbanisation creates the greatest distances between individual people. And etc. ad nauseum ...

I know why all this is happening to me of course. In many ways, I have been permanently fucked off with the world since I first had suicidal thoughts when I was about six years old. Any time during that period when I was momentarily happy was only because I was temporarily distracted from looking at the real meaning of the human race today. In this foul year of our lord 2001, I have run out of distractions - I've no sense of self-purpose and no women in my life. Hunter S. Thompson said 1971 was a foul year, well, I wonder what he'd make of 2001? Maybe we'll find out soon, he's meant to be writing a sequel to Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

Yeah, yeah, I know I keep going on about this. Well, to be honest this is my diary, I get to repeat myself over and over and say any god damn thing I like if I fucking well feel like it. If you don't like it, then fuck off. I'm in no mood today for anything other than self-pity and misdirected rage. It's my birthday, I get to feel as suicidally depressed as I feel like it today. For fuck's sake, I'm twenty fucking three years old. I can't get over that, I really can't. I just don't want it to be. I need more time.

In the end though, there is no one at fault other than myself. Other people find partners, fall in love and are happy ever after. Other people have a sense of purpose from the moment they pop out. Other people find no problem founding their belief systems on total & utter lies or part thereof. So if I am here and now, in this state, I have no one to blame other than myself. I am to blame for this. No one else.

I need to get into fixing all these problems. I need to adopt a plan and fix them. Stop crying like a god damn baby, stop wallowing in self-pity you lazy self-indulgent fuck, get the fuck up and do something about it. Stop thinking and start doing.

But I'm tired. I've been tired for a long time now. And that tiredness keeps me down, keeps me submissive, keeps me from actually doing one thing one way or one thing in the other. So, like Hamlet, I am stuck fast in a quicksand of conflicting arguments and the end result is absolute inertia.

Ruth just rang now to wish me happy birthday which was nice of her. She unfortunately got an earful of this. It probably shook her up something. I know I should feel bad, because she was only being nice and got saddled with all this, but as I've previously mentioned, right now I really don't care what anything thinks. Right now I'm on a self-destructive streak hurting myself and anything that comes into my path and nothing really matters. Not even myself. Maybe I should get horrendously drunk tonight? Sounds good.

Anyway, before I finish up, I have promised for the last two years to type in the entries for 1997 & 1998. I typed in the entries for 1995 and 1996 in the 1999 entry, go there if you want a look see, and as I mentioned then I wasn't able to type these in previously due to Melanie having my diary. But it's back now (actually was last year too, but I was too fucked on coke and champagne to be bothered), so here we go ...

Thursday 16th January 1997: Well, happy birthday Niall!

Due to the absence of family combined with the remaining members not knowing where I am, I got no presents - so instead I bought myself a CD - Tom Petty - seeing as it was about time I got the Gaeltacht music. It's quite good [Ed: "Into the great wide open" by Tom Petty was strummed on many a guitar when I was at the Gaeltacht (Irish summer school)]

So now I'm nineteen. Amazing. Doesn't seem like a whole year has gone past - but look at what's happened:

  • The Leaving Cert run up [Ed: Leaving Certificate is the last lot of exams before university in Ireland]
  • Me falling out with Aoife after sleeping together & finally repairing that
  • The Leaving Cert itself
  • Working at Colton - that whole Cambridge thing - Born slippy - Mark & the YMCA - Speed & new RPC + Clares & fellow programmers - an entirely wonderful, fun & excellent summer of 1996 that if I ever top I should most certainly be riding on a high [Ed: Born Slippy by Underworld was a song much listened to during 1996, it was like an anthem to us from the Trainspotting movie. Speed isn't the drug, it's my first commercially marketed program and an RPC is an Acorn RiscPC]
  • Stu, RO & Acorn etc. Stunning
  • Tornado II beginning to form
  • The grads - Ruth - both brilliant and much better than ever anticipated
  • Uni starting, and becoming a disappointment even beyond my cynical imagination. I still feel it all so unfair, unjust & just plain cankered
  • Uni life, and it not being particularly good at all. Oh for the summer again!
  • Returning to Cork & realising why home is home. Good friends, good times
  • My mother dying, but, thankfully, although robbing me of my mother, giving me a silver lining beyond all possible expectations & a realisation of significant proportions, especially when it comes to Aoife et al
  • Getting to know my father like I should always have done
  • Returning to uni life, but now finally living in a more alive place

Not much really. It would seem most of it happened during the summer really - quite understandable I think.

Umm - well, traditional birthday annual review over again for this year (& no Laura!) - even if it is a tad. And now, I think, it is time for bed.

Happy birthday Niall! ;)


Thursday 1st January 1998: Happy new year!

[Ed: I believe this is the last normal entry I ever made in a traditional diary - this virtual diary only started some five months after this entry. I do remember making entries on scrap pieces of paper, but they were angry ranting entries, and given the multiple changes in my location since 1998 there is no chance they have survived]

Well, it wasn't a bad Christmas. I've avoided the parties since that fateful Monday, but went out last Monday and last night too. I got pretty pissed on Monday and spent a lot of money. Still, a pretty uneventful Christmas, although I am increasingly unfamiliar with my social groups now especially with all the unknown people all my friends know so well. This saddens me. However, there is no alternative and sometime, I was have to let go. Not quite yet though.

An awful lot has happened since the start of 1997. 1997 has been an exceptionally good year to me.

  • Derek committed suicide, and I took action. I hope he would have agreed with what I did.
  • I left Trinity College Dublin
  • I spent a month preparing for England. Realising how important good friends are. Regressing into the past for a while.
  • The summer; Cambridge again; the excellent work - what I learned; Mark, little Mark, Andy, Jason, Natasha etc. Not as good as the last summer, but how bad nevertheless ....
  • Hull, B block, Kathryn, love, problems, good people. A place where I am happy. At last!
  • Losing touch with Aoife and in some ways, the past and the good things about it. Unfortunate.
  • Finishing Basictoc. Year long project.
  • Return to Ireland after some nine months. Strange how things change.
  • Reliving that magic - knowing it still exists - being alive
    •  that night with Sorcha. Really clicking with someone. That magic alive fabulous dizzy happy feeling. Good to know it doesn't never happen again. Pity me & Kathryn never had it [Ed: I just exclaimed to myself when I read that "Did I really write that?". I mean, I shouldn't have written that at that time, and if I did, well, if it means what it seems to say, well, that's ... interesting]
    • walking home last night, along the Cork streets at 5.30am, just before the dawn of 1998. Incredible, fantasmical, magical feeling. Like at the birth of something fantastic. Just like falling in love, just like with Sorcha [Ed: I have watched the dawn of every single new year since then trying to recapture that memory, and I have singularly failed. Maybe by expecting it you can't receive it]
  • First major infidelity. So easy, but will hurt Kathryn so much. But, at the end, it is something she needs to know because it is a part of me, part of someone she should know about. And something I may do again [Ed: I can't believe I wrote this nowadays. I can only attempt to mitigate this by saying I was very much trying to rationalise my actions at the time, and additionally there was an element of me getting too big for my boots - I thought I had easily found what others take years to - ironic looking at my life now]

And that's about it. I'm feeling quite magical and alive right now even - contemplative. I've watched Forrest Gump and Before Sunrise (a story of two lonely 20-something's who meet on a train & enjoy a 24-hour romance) in a row, and after last night - it's strange. Similar to being on ecstasy but - more - real. Like how I had magic with that girl at my grads but when it wore off - it meant no more. However this feeling is real - and perhaps it's best described as happy. Right now I'm uncontrollably grinning. I'm happy. Last night, as that magic occurred, I grinned. With Sorcha, I grinned. In my work I grin. With Kathryn I grin.

Maybe, just maybe, I grin because this happiness is not transatory [Ed: Hahahahaha!] Perhaps, after this start of a new year and the thoughts of life evoked by Forrest Gump and the thoughts of love evoked by Before Sunrise, I am seeing that my life, this life, is not only good now but is getting better. The outlook is so good. I have love, money, happiness and peace within. Why, given this, can I help grinning?

The future also never has been so certain. I am now capable of maintaining a relationship. I know I will not be alone - I have fallen in love and experienced that magic such as in Before Sunrise many times now - it is almost familiar. That road is no longer so worrying - it too is almost familiar. In work too, I am coming out of that three year long absence of major completed projects. There is so much work available, and I am one of the best in the business for my age.

Indeed for my age, I have got life sussed. I have found, at long last, a winning formula. It is incredibly good fortune for someone of my age. I have tested and tasted much - and am beginning to feel comfortable with myself.

[Ed: Anyone want the sick bag? Reading this now makes me want to wish death on myself. What a slimy cocky little git I was? Serves me right really]

However, getting back to this year, I have also seen much sorrow and pain. Derek's death. Droves leaving Trinity. Many from Pres now disillusioned and lost, unfocused. In Cambridge, many with problems. Pamela, Ruth and Aoife also lost, unfocused, unsure. I am very lucky to be where I am. And I realise it, and understand that this happiness may yet be fleeting.

It is now 3.50am. Time to sleep, and prepare for returning to Hull.

Good night. May you sleep well. And have a good year.


P.S.: This is the end of my notebook. A year and half of my life. From certain times, through uncertainty, and back to more certainty than ever.

Life is good, no doubt about that.

My new year's resolution: to get to know more people better. May I succeed


It's weird to read it all now. Unlike the 1995 and 1996 stuff which seems a world away now, the 1997 and especially 1998 are far more closer to home. Especially the 1998 spew, a lot of it was providential knowing what I now know - I was just waiting to get tripped up, but I couldn't see it.

God, still can't believe it's the year 2001. When I was fourteen, I thought things would be much like they were in the year 2000, give or take. But by the time I was twenty-five, two short years away, things were very different in my imagination of then. I suppose, despite what I said earlier, I still do have time on my side. But only just about. Let's hope some really dramatic turnarounds happen this coming year. And please god, don't let me fuck it all up like I've always done!

Right, it's after nine, gotta be in bed within the half hour or I'll never get up tomorrow. Good night world, see you sometime soon. Be happy.

Tuesday 16th January 2001: 4.22pm. I feel a lot better today, I suppose I couldn't have felt much worse than I did yesterday. Man, things are tough right now. I have this terrible realisation dawning on me that I am losing everything I hold dear: I have lost Ruth; I have lost my friends; I have lost my life - and I am increasingly losing my sanity. Additionally, these paranoia twinges are getting worse, even though I have removed all the main triggers they are increasingly incurring into my normal every day life. Yesterday was bad, on the tube and even in work. Maybe it's time to seek help. I'll be talking to a psychologist whose details I got from the British Embassy tomorrow afternoon, I'll see what she says.

Anyway, that's all I wanted to say. Be happy wherever you are.

Friday 26th January 2001: 7.16pm. I was just working out that I've been here now for some fifteen weeks. Another week and a bit it'll be four months. Same time as I spent in Germany when I was fifteen and more than I spent in Canada too.

I've spent the day reckoning my income and expenditures - seeing as very shortly I'll be receiving my first pay packet. Here's how it goes:

Total Income after tax:   ~200,000 ptas
less rent: (80,000)
less 512KBit ADSL line: (20,000)
less telephone bill: (5,000)
less electricity: (5,000)
less transport card: (8,000)
Total remaining: 83,000

That works out to about 19,000 ptas per week. Which is roughly a tenner a day in English money. Which is much as living in uni again. Which means I'll be little better off here working thirty five hours a week than I was at university.

Of course, I'm trying to bear in mind that I'm in the middle of a capital city (this couldn't be done in London for example) and the other difference was that some of my university income came from my father whom of course has now cut it off. But it is still a little disheartening to know that I'm really not a lot better off.

But the story as it's always been. I remember when I first went to Trinity College Dublin I felt really gutted - no, tricked would be better - because at secondary school we were all always promised that once we got to uni, everything would be better. All that work for the exams, all of it would be over on the other side.

Of course, when I got there, I found it was even more work and less fun. And hence my diversion to Hull for three years. And now, after studying for a degree after which we were promised a high-paying job - well, I have one, but I'm no better off than I was at uni?!?

Being here in Spain is of course the main reason, and it is true that money carries a lot further here. Hence of course the pay scale is correspondingly lower. In the end, it doesn't matter how much you earn - what matters is how much you relatively earn. It's all about how many times more money I earn compared to the average person.

And I can't escape the reality that being here doesn't maximise my earning potential. England's the only place for that. I can't be content with earning twice the average wage, I need to earn five or six times the average wage. As a minimum. I have the capability, it's just a case of putting it into effect.

Anyway, such talk is years away, right now I need to seriously put some money in the kitty. I have found a psychiatrist. She's quite an elderly woman trained partially in the US who has spent much of her life treating US soldiers stationed at US bases here in Spain. I've had two sessions so far which at around 10,000 ptas a go are going to be a very serious drain on my finances - but I see little alternative in a spanish speaking country. Anyone capable of counselling in English is bound to charge for it. Luck of the game. Anyway, luckily I need not pay until the end of the evaluation which isn't for another two months, so I have a short breathing space for now.

She seems very keen to stick me on tranquilisers, but as I have said to her repeatedly, I didn't give up drugs just to get put back on them again. I don't think she can see why this is important to me but I suppose in the end I feel the herb is my one true anti-depressant and once I get cured of this terrible affliction I am expecting to return to a smoke-filled life as quickly as I can arrange it. For now though, while the herb is unavailable to me, I wish to stay completely sober. All or nothing in some ways. And besides, I have seen enough times the flattening effect trannies have on your emotional state - they don't lift you, they more flatten you. I don't want to have the edges of my emotional wings trimmed (because for all their prevention of depression they also prevent the opposite). I want to have the centre of my emotional balance thoroughly skewed in the euphoric direction. Artificial, sure - but having seen life without the herb again I can genuinely say I don't have a problem with that. Quality of life was better when I was stoned all the time.

Anyway, I'm off to upload this and find some museums to visit tomorrow as something to keep me occupied tomorrow. Sunday is cleaning day. Then we're into another week and have escaped total mind and spirit crushing boredom for another weekend. Next weekend at least I don't have to worry because I'll be back in Hull for my graduation (woo hoo!), and all the likely parties and getting smashed it's going to entail. Yes, I will be breaking my fast for that weekend. God knows, I need it.

Hope to see many of you within the week (I'll be in Hull Thursday afternoon until Saturday morning). Until next time, all be happy!

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