Liam Shaw is a writer, photographer, stand up comedian and former Edmontonian living in Ireland. Here’s a couple of selections from his Postcard Press and a short story. If you want more of the Postcard Press stuff email him at: <email@example.com>
Hello. Welcome to Postcard Press International, currently based in Galway, Ireland.
I have worked for Graham Ogilvie and Conrad Black.
Inspired by many of my heroes who started Magnum or any other such agency I have started my own. This is is it.
My goal, aside from the complete and utter annihilation of Rupert Murdoch (or the opportunity to meet him face to face and ask him why he needs to ruin everything), is to see stuff and take pictures and play football. Also, I’d like to learn to play cricket. It seems important.
I get easily sidetracked. I am fluffy like a dandelion gone to seed or a heavy-weight after losing a lot of weight. I float like a bumblebee and sting like a moth.
If you like my stuff I’ll keep on posting. I am making a retreat from facebook and other such things. I am working on having a website of my very own to post to. In the meantime I will send out this old-fashioned style mass/spam email to any and all who happen to be in my address book. Anyone who wants out please feel free to email back with fuck off in the subject line. Or be polite. Either way is fine. I’ve been reading Roddy Doyle again and he has such an eloquent way with the word fuck. I love it.
Updates are likely to be sporadic and may be ill-thought out.
I hope you like it.
President and lifetime member,
Liam J. Shaw, n.q.
aka. Liam Leroux
1. Zatoichi the blind photographer (obviously it’s just me with my eyes shut.)
2. Some swans
3. A bird or two, of some kind
Last night I saw the late showing of the Road. A film adaptation of the book by Cormac McCarthy.
Opposite the ticket counter at the Eye cinema there is a bulletin board with reviews and interviews and other press about the films on current release.
An interview with Viggo Mortensen was titled, ‘One for the Road.’
I walked back to the counter and before I could stop myself I asked for….
I cannot repeat this. I am too ashamed.
The film itself is not as terrible as the headline. It is good. Not amazing. Not as good as the director’s previous effort, the Proposition, but good.
It is standard zombie apocalypse fare but intended to be realistic and serious.
The thing is, I simply cannot take the idea of mass cannibalism seriously. I mean, certainly people behave gruesomely towards one another in times of disaster as all previous and current events of mass destruction will attest to but mass cannibalism just doesn’t ring true.
Nevertheless, this is the scenario so the father and son are on a quest to find a safe place to live free of cannibals.
Along the way they encounter continuous danger and hardship and occasional moments of niceness and hope. Like a piano still in tune. Or a wonderfully unsubtle product placement for Coca-Cola brand cola.
And, of course, because this movie is so American it causes me physical discomfort, the relationship between the father and son includes the gun. The central theme of the movie, near as I can tell is, besides faith in each other, we must always have faith in the gun.
I think if you are on the road against a horde of psychotic cannibals you would want a gun. That’s probably true. But how, in America, do you end up with one handgun and only two bullets. Could they not have found at least a rifle somewhere? Handguns are hideously inaccurate at distance making one of the scenes very unlikely and….
oh nevermind, I don’t know anything about guns. I can’t maintain an extended rant about guns.
The Road is good. The music is great. The kid is annoying. American children usually are. Allowing prejudices to surface in a film review seems unprofessional. Molly Parker is hot even when she is worn out looking and covered in apocalypse dust.
There is no photo to accompany this. They made me leave my camera bag behind the ticket counter during the show.
Postcard Press International
crawling across the globe like a rash
The Day My Ex-Girlfriend Decided to Leave Me
by Liam J. Shaw, n.q.
The day my ex-girlfriend decided to leave me was a normal day. A regular, normal day like any other.
It would take her another two or three weeks to tell me. The reason she gave me at the time? I’ll come to that in due course but it was more than that from the start.
I know she didn’t like my drinking or smoking habits but she smoked tobacco and we met over pints of beer so I wasn’t too bothered by this. She also told me she was an alien from the planet Zoltar using a human body to infiltrate society and study human consciousness so…
Of course I believe in aliens, or extra-terrestrial life. I just don’t believe they would bother visiting us. We are primitive and boring and could not possibly have anything anywhere on the planet to interest a visitor from outer-space. Our weapon technology is absurd. Space lasers! Ha! Fucking Ha! The Americans named the airport in their capital city after the joker that came up with that plan. Holy shit! I love them but, well, you know…
Anyways, there were some previous heavy drinking moments that set the bar pretty high but the event on the day in question was my Coupe de Stanley as it were. I sang Karaoke Kylie Minogue at Rosario’s Bar and Grill. They take karaoke very seriously there. I really had no idea. I am 6’3″ (or 191 cm) and weighed just under 14 stone. (After she left me I dropped to 11. This frightened me considerably at the time but I am feeling much better now, thanks for asking.)
For two or three weeks there is silence between us. Not perpetual actual silence of course but only no conversations. Stuff like, “Do we have any milk?” or “Are you watching this?” I assumed it was nothing more serious than the karaoke incident. Because sometimes a man has to be a man, take the first step and apologise even if he doesn’t know what is wrong but can deduce what is wrong through careful and deliberate examination of the previous weeks and make a best educated guess and thus solve the problem. Sometimes. But not this time. I will never apologise for this night, to anyone, ever. I was in fine form. I don’t drink like that anymore but every old pro hangs up their gloves eventually.
The night of the conversation I cooked her spaghetti bolognese. I like to cook and so I often do. It wasn’t an especially special thing but I did light candles and chop fresh parsley and coriander for garnish.
“We need to talk…” she said as I sat down at the table, with plates on place-mats and cutlery organised correctly and candles gently flickering.
This is the worst combination of words in the English language.
When she said “we” she meant “I” as in her. No discussion. No alternatives. She was a fascist, like Thatcher. “THE LADY IS NOT FOR TURNING!” etc. Maybe that’s why I loved her so, I really don’t know.
“Six weeks ago at the Corb Lund show you looked me right in the eye and told me you have no soul. We can’t be together anymore.”
I remember that night. I was trying to watch the band and she was babbling about one of her out of body experiences. Never date a mystic fascist. They are more confused than most. It wasn’t the time or place for discussions on infinite space. And my soul, if I have one, is intrinsically bound together with my organic nature and does not escape the confines of my mind. In my imagination the furthest reaches of the universe are only a periscope view away but in real life I am here on this earth just like her. I love to distinguish between the real and the imaginary. I’m good at it.
I think the night I gave her the proof she wanted, was looking for ever since we started, was the cold November night at Rosario’s Bar and Grill. She loved her karaoke. I’m not a big fan myself but every once in a while I will get up and do a death metal growl version of a popular chart hit just to ruin the night for everyone else and drag them down to my level.
Her favourite was the Janis Joplin version of the Kris Kristofferson classic, Me and Bobby McGee. I hate that song.
So I signed my name on the sheet and wrote down the numerical code for Kylie Minogue’s Can’t Get You Out of My Head and even planned to play it with a straight bat. I wanted to have one of those beautiful cinematic moments where, as you sing for the whole room you can’t tear your eyes away from the woman you love and everyone can see you are meant for each other like a famous storybook or a painting, to hang for all time in the collective museum of our minds.
So there I stood, in front of the room, not too drunk to stand up but way too drunk to know better. I wore a cheap, ill-fitting suit jacket from a charity shop to cover my slouched and stooping posture and began to sing with only a couple members of the audience paying attention, my girlfriend not being one of them.
A good karaoke singer needs a rudimentary knowledge of the song. You do read the words on the screen but to really sing well you must know the rhythm and the timing of the thing. Rosario’s does competitive Karaoke. They could compete in Tokyo. They ran Saturday night like a live version of the X-Factor where everyone gets to be Simon Cowell and Will Gates.
The problem is, I really only know the chorus and the la la la la bit. I didn’t realise there is more to the song than that. Whole verses of lyrics for Kylie to sing and dance to and when they appeared on the screen I panicked. I didn’t know what to do so I did what I do best, I tore it apart.
“Who the fuck wrote this shit! Where did all these extra words come from? What are all you people staring at me for!? I didn’t write any of this crap. Jesus Christ! This is terrible!!! oh, here’s the good bit again….la la la! la la la la la! la la la! la la la la la! I just can’t get you out of my head…” etc. all the way to the end.
I sat down at the table in triumph. She wouldn’t speak to me and no one else could bear to look at my majesty. So I grabbed my coat and stumbled out the door to do the drunken shuffle home. To attache a physical pain to the mental trauma which was soon to come I slipped and fell on the ice in the middle of the road. Falls like this can KILL old people. Instead it only barely crippled me. I crawled into the snow bank at the side of the road and lay there, quivering, until I could stand again. It was before hypothermia set in. I got home, took a shower and crawled into bed shivering and spinning in time. Only time, not space. I was certain of this as I grabbed the sides of the bed until my knuckles were white and desperately clung on until morning.
We did not have sex that night. In fact we would never have sex again though I had no inclination as to the severity of the situation at the time. I woke up with a normal hangover and she had already gone to work. It is never the best time to have the discussion slash argument while the hangover gnomes are still on the clock. They get more and more industrious as you get older. Mining the backs of your eyeballs for longer, searching deeper and deeper for whatever it is they need to keep driving the pickaxes and hammers. When they pack up tools and go home, that’s when you want to talk about it.
But she didn’t and I wasn’t backing down on this one. I hadn’t come home covered in my own sick or lost my keys and after exhausting a book of matches as an alternative set tried to break into her truck for a place to sleep. I hadn’t even drunkenly hit on her sister as her family looked on in horrified fascination at an out of town wedding.
All I did was an awesome version of a catchy pop hit and do it better than she could ever have managed.
So in the end I learned absolutely nothing. I am a total fucking douchebag when I am drunk. And the earth is always spinning, whether I care to stand up or not.