Author: Brian Doyle

  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Warm fuzzy flipside to a fidgety control freak

    • Brian Doyle
    • 08 October 2013
    5 Comments

    We did not see eye to eye, yet no one cared more about the work we did. He was subject to fits of temper, and you never met a gentler man. He held grudges, and was the soul of mercy. He was the worst manager I ever saw and the best employee. He had been a quiet drunk and when he realised he'd damage his new children he stopped and never took another sip. Lots of people knew him and no one knew him well.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The bullet that stopped an illicit Irish Mass

    • Brian Doyle
    • 04 September 2013
    15 Comments

    The man loses his temper, and tells his son something he has never told a soul: that one day in Donegal, during the time when the penal laws forbade Catholics to assemble for Mass, he had shot and killed a priest just as he elevated the host. The son, himself a priest, covers his face, as his father shouts that he never regretted that shot, that the priest and his fellow conspirators had got what they deserved.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    We're all boat people after all

    • Brian Doyle
    • 31 July 2013
    7 Comments

    Boat people, job thieves, welfare cheats — I've heard the insults, and the greed, fear and incipient blood behind those words. Rather than snarl at the crude selfishness behind our national fear of immigrants, I stare at my family annals, and read about the lanky children who came here from Ireland, utterly poor, desperately hungry, and ferociously eager.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Moved and confused by church in a tent

    • Brian Doyle
    • 09 July 2013
    6 Comments

    Religions are mesmerised and ruined by power but always pregnant with the possibility of humility. They are so easy to ignore. You'd be wise to sneer, with every reason imaginable for the curl of your knowing lip. Yet here I am, on Sunday morning, in the wedding reception tent, agog; not so much at the earnest idiot of a minister, but at everyone, sweetly, else.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    My brother's hat mourns his death

    • Brian Doyle
    • 19 June 2013
    6 Comments

    If you were a familiar Irish cap, and had waited all night every night for 30 years for the blessing of the morning when he'd reach for you, knead you and fold you gently over his ungovernable hair, wouldn't you wonder where he was the first few days after he vanished, and feel something like a silent sadness?

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Giving stick to incipient police violence

    • Brian Doyle
    • 01 May 2013
    5 Comments

    A nightstick doesn't sound fearsome, but when you see one up close you respect the inherent violence of the thing. I stared at it for a while, contemplating how a burly policeman with his feet set could deliver a cracking blow to a head or a shoulder or an arm flung across your face to protect your eyes and brains.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A wild new pope

    • Barry Gittins, Brian Doyle and B. A. Breen
    • 12 March 2013
    8 Comments

    Man, yeah, I would be pope, if the phone rang, late at night, collect from the Vatican. Yes, I would, if I could do it right. I'd call a meeting of the Curia and say boys, we are letting women run everything for the next five years. Each of you gets a new boss in high heels.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    The extraordinary sandwiches of Sister Cook

    • Brian Doyle
    • 27 February 2013
    12 Comments

    Many a man has written elegiacally or bitterly of his education under the firm hands of the Sisters, but not so many have sung the quiet corners where perhaps we were better educated than we were in our classrooms. I learned more about communion at the epic timbered table in Sister Cook's golden kitchen than I did in religion class. 

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    A fine teacher's urination solution

    • Brian Doyle
    • 30 January 2013
    11 Comments

    Sister Marie realised that Linda had been robbed of her lunch, and had not eaten at all, and had been humiliated by the theft, and was more humiliated now by public revelation. She straightened up and stared at the older kids, but just as she began to speak, Linda sobbed even harder, and a rill of urine trickled from the back of her seat.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    An infinite number of Tasmanias

    • Brian Doyle
    • 15 January 2013
    9 Comments

    If you are like me, you have on your wall a map, or perhaps several, of places you know you will never be; not in this life, anyway. It's just not going to happen. For me: Tasmania. It's as far away as you can get from where I exist.

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  • ARTS AND CULTURE

    Best of 2012: The many sins of Brian Doyle

    • Brian Doyle
    • 07 January 2013
    1 Comment

    I missed my cousin's funeral because I had weekend plans with a girlfriend that I was not man enough to break; and this beloved cousin was a nun. Wednesday 16 May 

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  • RELIGION

    Blindsided by a saint at the Catholic Worker

    • Brian Doyle
    • 07 November 2012
    8 Comments

    I showed up on First Street one day, when I was about twenty, thinking that I would perhaps magnanimously volunteer for the day, or get into a long cool intense conversation with Dorothy Day, or be instantly hired as genius-writer-in-residence, or something like that.

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