Christmas is Cancelled: Chaos Christmas Number Ones

Thanks again to everyone who came out for our Budget Day Special Chaos Thaoghaire on Tuesday. We’ll get the stories up online next week, but we’re feeling festive and cantankerous, so here’s something to hold you over in the meantime.

If we put Odharnait Ansbro’s song up against the Rubberbandits’ Horse Outside, which I, like you, woke up singing, for Christmas Number One, the bar would permanently be raised, and there would be no more of this X-Factor shite, or worse, that gimmicky “Rage Against the Machine for Christmas Number One”, or worse, the sickeningly pretentious “John Cage’s 4’33 for Christmas Number One” carry-on. And in a hypothetical fight between Zack De La Rocha and our friend Paddy Cullivan (which we totally didn’t start, by the way), our money’s on Cullivan, who spent the 1990s and 2000s being significantly more lucid than the pretendy anarchist dopefiend. Plus, he rhymed “Lenihan” with “venison” and “Cornucopia” with “dystopia”. That’s gotta be good for something. Give the man a statuette!

But we didn’t get on it quickly enough, so, much like we will not be bested by the Academy and so awarded Nick Kelly our own CHAOScar for his Oscar-shortlisted movie, Shoe, we’ve got our own Chaos Christmas Number Ones chart. And because we refuse to choose between our equally talented friends, and because whatever you’ve got we want two of the same, we’ve got not one, but two Christmas number ones. You’re all our number one. And we asked two of our favourite number ones to write some tunes for this month’s Chaos, and they blew us away. As always.

Please enjoy Odharnait’s “A Bailout From the IMF” and Paddy’s “No Presents for Christmas” medley, which will form part of the score for a musical he’s been working on.

A Bailout From The IMF (The Adjusted Days of Christmas) by ittybittyhearingtrumpet

Christmas is Cancelled by ittybittyhearingtrumpet

And if you’re wondering how on earth the recordings could have come out so well, that’s thanks to genius, composer laureate, producer, and dear friend Colin “Candyass” Morris, without whom Chaos Thaoghaire would have no archive. Would be less fun. Would have no anthem. Sometimes I drop the goofy act for a second and realise just how lucky we are to have such talented, generous, brilliant friends, who would even give us the time of day, let alone what they actually do, and how incredibly grateful we are that they go to such lengths to be part of Chaos Thaoghaire because it’s fun. That’s the biggest thing of all, when someone makes an effort simply because it’s fun. We love you people.

Chaos Thaoghaire has evolved a bit in the last few months, and we’ve started looking for a broader range of creative content. After all, there’s more than one way to tell a story. So if you’ve been hesitant to contact us because you’re an animator or a filmmaker or a songwriter or a puppeteer and you think there’s no place for you, you’re wrong. And there’s nothing we like more than being right! And showing you how wrong you are!

And before you ask, those of you who were lame enough to miss this month’s Chaos, our next Chaos Thaoghaire is going to be in February, when we will bring back what is now an annual tradition: Sex Chaos. But it won’t just be a repeat of last year! For the hardships we’ll endure in 2011, we’re bringing you SEXY Sex Chaos, our Sexiest Sex Chaos yet! Just you wait! We’ll be looking for storytellers, filmmakers, songwriters, underpants-donors, prudes, anatomical models, anatomically correct dolls, anatomical corrections, and gentle correction. Want in? (Oh, matron!) Send an email to chaosdublin at gmail dot com, or drop @janeruffino an @reply or DM via twitter.

Free Cheese! Tonight in the Grand Social!

I’m crying, writing this. I’m crying into whatever empty containers I have around the Chaos Crevasse because we heard a rumour on the internet that residential water is going to be shut off overnight. But that’s okay! Because we have plenty of tears for all of us, and we will offer them for free! More than plenty! Because when we need a reason to cry, we just think of something you did!

We can’t fail.

But here’s the thing. Now that you’re all gonna be renting my new crutches so you can get out during your lunch hour and fill your cup with coppers, now that we’re all (probably, we speculate) going to be paying water charges, and you’re all going to learn how to pay for everything in coupons like The Chaosettes do, we’re all going to have to do a lot more nicking. Sweets. Underpants (apparently among retailers’ most-nicked items). Booze (also regularly nicked). Magazines. Your face. In honour of our need for more nicking, and because yesterday was the patron day of St Nicholas, patron of finance ministers and other street cons, we thought we’d Nick-up our lineup with a couple of the best in town.

So we have Nick McGivney of The Emergency, ad man, all-around brilliant person and superdad telling a story he calls Chasing The Girl. And we also have one of our other favourite Nicks (also an ad-man)! We’ll be screening Nick Kelly’s movie, Shoe, which, if you’ve been alive this past week, you’ll already know has been shortlisted for an Oscar, bringing Chaos Thaoghaire to a grand total of two brushes near Academy Award glory. If you won’t let us on the red carpet, we’ll just bring our own!

Not only can you look forward to free fluids at tonight’s Budget Day Special in The Grand Social. Not only can you be guaranteed not to go dry at Chaos Thaoghaire the way you will if you stay in your sad little hovel in Dublin City, we’re also besting the government, who are right now, as I write this (crying) fleecing you, your children, and every generation from this one until the day the rich people all go live on the moon, by offering you free cheese. That’s right, not only are you going to drink my tears, you are almost certainly guarantee some cheese that is actually edible, thanks to our friends at Sheridans Cheesemongers, who have kindly offered to frontload some of the cost of some proper Irish cheese. None of this dairy equivalent of lips and ears muck. Like if cheese were sausages, this shit would be Superquinn or some kind of organic sage bullshit from your local fancy butcher that isn’t even open on a Sunday.

Are you ready? Don’t forget, if your team comes dressed as rich people or otherwise wearing symbols of wealth, we will frontload five euro of the door price. That’s right, you’ll get in for the Jackie Healy Rate of twenty-five euro for a table of four, instead of thirty. That’s amazing!

Gonna Need a Brigger Brudget

As you know, the Chaosettes and Brian Lenihan are releasing budgets on the same day. Morto! We like to be so exclusive! And not to be upstaged by a couple of Brians! Not only has our edge been dulled by this tremendously amateurish misjudgment, but we thought we were cool because I have a cocktail named for me in a fancy restaurant, and we have enough arts degrees between us to keep the fire going until well after Christmas, but it seems the Brians are so underground, so down with the bankers and the actuaries, so downright bradass, that they have a whole number named after them. They’re so awesome that they even did the 2010 budget in Brillions. We want to know: how much is that in Jallions? And how much again in Amiellions?

Wikipedia page for Irish budget. Breakdown of 2010 budget showing billions and 'brillions'.

(See for yourself . It’s some kind of new math*, isn’t it?)

Don’t forget, Chaos Thaoghaire’s Budget Day Special is only two days away!

Our lineup features political satirist Paddy Cullivan, also known as Clint Velour and leader of the Camembert Quartet and the Late Late Show house band. We’ll be joined, too, by a man without whom there would be no phone sex in Ireland, and also a member of the Late Late band, Jim Sheridan, photoshop wiz, wit, suspected genius.

We also have Naoise Nunn of political caberet Leviathan, the mind behind the Mindfield Festival, and co-author (with former government minister John McGuinness) of The House Always Wins. And that’s not all! We also have the gorgeous, hilarious, also suspiciously genius-like Odharnait Ansbro, and absolutely not least, Paul Hayes, of Beach Hut PR, former marketing exec in the games industry, who has hinted that he may have been tangentially involved (okay, by association) with the desecration of an American national monument.

Okay, not an American one. A Texan one. And everyone knows that Texans are like Cork people: they’re armed, they can’t talk properly and they’ll never let you forget they don’t want to be here.

All along with our budget, quizzes you can’t Google, and, of course, free cheese.

Bring all your brillions!

* Sorry, mathssssss.

Free Cheese and an Oscar Shortlist

We like to win. We want to win so badly that we don’t even care what we win at. While you’re busy trying to explain that not everything is a competition, we’re quietly making a score sheet and adjusting the results to show why you’re wrong and how we just won the game you didn’t know you were playing.

We want to win so badly that we’ve been wreaking destruction on the motorways. On the airports. On your knees, your elbows, your social plans, and we are all over the covers of your newspapers.

Newspaper headline. Chaos! Tailbacks! Deaths! A picture of an icy landscape where no one has bothered to shovel!

Chaosettes: 1, Mother Nature: 0 (With thanks to Jen Keogh for the pic)

And I so desperately crave the validation that victory provides, no matter what it is, that I’ve given up sweets for like a month as part of a bet. An earth-month. Holy shit. Nights are long and shivery. I’m hallucinating. Cold sweats. Wailing. Gnashing. I’m like a marooned sailor, only with candy, and instead of dying of thirst because a lot of these paradise-looking islands actually have no fresh water sources and coconut water just won’t do, I have to pay two euro into a kitty when I accidentally lift a ham-load of treats into my puckered, gaping, dribbly mouth.

But I will win. So far it has cost me zero, not because I have anything like willpower, but because of my pathetic desire to win at anything, at any cost. So far I am like St Anthony in the desert and no boobs can move me. The boobs are a metaphor. For sweets. Sweet mood-improvers. Delicious, non-argumentative replacers of romantic love who can’t dump me, even if it is only due to a lack of agency. Whatever. Take your technicality away from my face.

But I can do this.

Speaking of winning, most important this morning is our excited and breathy congratulations for two-time Chaos storyteller, Nick Kelly, because we learned this week that he’s been shortlisted for an Oscar for his IFB-funded short, shoe. And because everything is a competition, that means that last year’s Christmas Chaos: Family is a Form of Psychological Torture is in the lead, with not one, but two (with Kathleen O’Rourke) Oscar-shortlisted storytellers. What gives, other storytellers? Everything’s a competition!

And because everything is a competition, our winners on Tuesday will be the recipients of a wheel of free cheese from our very best friends at Sheridans Cheesemongers, even though I kind of think there should be an apostrophe somewhere in their name and I only forgive them because I kind of am insulting of their intelligence with the number of free samples I eat. Like I really need to taste that Gubbeen again. Like I’ve never had Camembert and need a second fistload of it because I didn’t really taste it the first time. As if you’re going to believe that someone who has definitely got Cashel Blue permanently under her fingernails has never even heard of Durrus and probably would like to try all of your kinds. No, cheese person, I don’t think you’re an idiot and I know you’re onto me, but just have some sympathy. And while you’re having your sympathy, I’m wrist-deep in chunks of Comte. No, there isn’t enough for everyone.

Enjoy this festive tune, the only guarantee we can offer you during this time of austerity.

Dublin Snow Chaos! Budget Day Chaos!

Everything Chaos! Even you!

It’s almost here!

Chaos poster, december 7th, 7:30pm, budget day special and a tribute to capitalism: No Presents for Christmas

Objections May Be Closer Than They Appear

Our lineup is nearly complete! It is nearly final! It is nearly Chaos. And in case you didn’t get our mailout, or in case you got our mailout and didn’t read it, there are a few things we should point out. I’m going to put them into a list for you.

1. we’re now selling by the table. Tables are generally for teams of four, but never forget how for sale we are and for just how cheap, and that Jane is actually off all sweets except for one treat per week until Christmas, but that both Chaosettes are friends with cheese.

2. Speaking of cheese, the People’s Republic of Chaos would like to thank Sheridan’s Cheese for helping to sponsor our night. They’ve made it possible for us to give away FREE CHEESE. Kind of like the EU cheese, but not some manky disgusting shit.

3. Speaking of disgusting shit, in the spirit of helping the rich to get richer, if your team comes dressed up like rich people (interpret this as freely as you wish), The People’s Republic of Chaos Thaoghaire will frontload five euro off the door price. That’s right, instead of paying 30 euro per team, you’ll only pay 25. Now isn’t that better than paying 6.7% interest on 85 billion euro? Isn’t it?

4. Speaking of “Isn’t it?”, we’re getting ready to announce a really killer lineup. No, seriously, these people could actually kill you. I don’t mean they will, I just mean that they could. In theory.

5. We’re thinking of adopting the Sheridan’s logo as our national flag. Do you think they’d mind?

Will we see you next Tuesday?

I love when I get to write that.

Chaos poster, december 7th, 7:30pm, budget day special and a tribute to capitalism: No Presents for Christmas

Objections May Be Closer Than They Appear

No Presents for Christmas: Irish Budget Special and a Tribute to Capitalism

Chaos Thaoghaire has made some necessary adjustments. Won’t you join us to celebrate the future of our great nation?

Do you get the smell of porter?

Date: Tuesday, December 7th, 2010
Time: 7:30pm
Place: The Grand Social, Liffey Street, Dublin 1 (Formerly Pravda)
Price: 30 euro per table of 4 (yes, that’s right, per table)
Theme: No Presents for Christmas: Irish Budget Special and a Very Special Tribute to Capitalism.

Lineup to be announced soon, but it will be a bigger, badder sort of event, the kind that a simpler person might call an ‘extravaganza’, but which, given the day that will be in it, will be the second-biggest clusterfuck in town.


After all the expert analyses and diarrhea data dumps and competitive opinion journalism and fist-banging panel discussions and outraged tweetstreams and bellowing marches and late-night conversations over Lidl Riesling and yellowpack cookies and stolen snaps of government ministers knocking back pints in Toners, that’s not even the tip of the gombeen iceberg.

Do you get the sweaty smell of stale scalp? Because it’s Jackie Healy Raes all the way down.

Someday we will tell this to our state-owned grandchildren.

Who was in charge?
Some men whose fathers owned country pubs.
Could they not have worked in the pubs, too?
They lacked the good sense to run them. Couldn’t keep their soft hands out of the till. Didn’t know from a day’s work.
Could they not pull a decent pint of porter?
Heavens, no.

Here’s what we think. If the D-student sons and daughters of barmen and banker-stroking pig farmers can do simple mathematics, so can we! Even though we can’t! That’s why we have liberal arts degrees and don’t have a house between us!

So won’t you join us for our Chaos Thaoghaire Budget Special? If you can flirt your way through the rows of terrified Gardai, with their crunchy outer riot gear and soft midlands centres, and make your way to the Grand Social, you’ll find the Chaos Thaoghaire budget announcement far more palatable than what will come as no surprise at all in Ireland. After all, Chaos Thaoghaire is a People’s Republic.

Electric Picnic Chaos: Waiting for What

Bit by bit we’re still recovering from the Electric Picnic. It’s nearly two months now, and we can say that we’re about 50% there. The muck is finally off my (split-in-two) wellies, the neurological effects of Uncle Monty’s Bus have faded to the occasional twitch, and I’ve nearly got a full night of sleep. Almost most of the twigs are out of my hair, although I still haven’t unpacked all the bags, some of which are sitting in the corner of the room, probably with rotting fruit in the bottom of them, and baby wipes blackened with indeterminable stains.

This morning I also need more coffee because I’m still also recovering from my trip to the Canaries (for work! It was for work!) and spent most of it eating candy and things made from cheese, and I’m still on a sugar come-down, and my face is burning up on re-entry so I’m having to reduce the dosage slowly.

Anyway, Sorca McGrath. I’ve known Sorca for a bunch of years, and I’m gonna get a little corny, but if you tell anyone, I’m going to suckerpunch you in your guts. She’s a genius. She’s a stunningly beautiful, hilarious, incredible brain box, and she’s also one of the kindest, most fun, most benevolent people I know. And she not only did her story in song for Electric Picnic, she spent ages fiddling with it afterwards so that it’s just right. So that I can post it here and you can wake up to it and play it awkwardly over coffee, even if you woke up with someone with whom you are so little acquainted that you don’t know how to make his or her eggs, and if so then congratulations: you’ve still got it.

Sorca’s story, Waiting for What is brilliant, and it’s a kickass tune, too. Be her fan. but if you want to be her biggest fan, you’ll have to bare-knuckle box me for the title, and I’ll warn you: I think Queensberry rules are for suckers, and I bite.

Waiting for what by sorcalou

Leaning into the ludicrous (and Chaos in the news again!)

First, many thanks to Eoin Butler for including us in his piece in Saturday’s Irish Times Magazine, along with Leviathan, Offset, and other great events. We do like being invited to the party.

And despite the continuing confusion over what Chaos Thaoghaire is actually about, it’s clear that we’re way more zeitgeisty than we’d even thought ourselves. Apparently even proper professional people who finished their PhDs recognise that being ridiculous is an important aspect of your working life: playful, rebellious moments make you better at whatever it is you do. Curiosity is important. Creativity is vital.

You might still not be clear on what it is we do, but our point is to crack you open and shake you out. The dictatorial atmosphere keeps you focused on the moment, the storytelling gets you in the gut, and the games get your brain working and pull you out of that comfortable little space where everything is as it should be. Great ideas were never born in a womb. No, the only thing that comes out of a womb is a kicking, constantly shitting-and-screaming machine that eventually wants you to buy it a car and send it on a holiday and to college.

Don’t do that.

Be creative. Do something stupid. Reckless. Ridiculous. Hilarious. Even if it doesn’t spark the big idea that saves you from the next round of involuntary redundancies, at least it will make your day better, and that’s something.

Of course, we could have told you that.

Don’t be lame.

Lean into the ludicrous.

Make Chaos part of your life.