Refresher Training Blues… Live!


An underground bootleg video has emerged of my reading of Refresher Training Blues at the recent Sunflower Sessions evening in Dublin.

Check out the video below.

Many thanks to Eamon Mag Uidhir for surreptitiously recording the performance and sneaking it onto the collectors’ black market.

If the video makes your day, be sure to like it on YouTube, and maybe even leave a delightful comment too. Thanks!

(Oh by the way… Check out my cool haircut, auntie.)

You can read Refresher Training Blues here.

Coming soon: Details about the Talkin’ Squirrel Blues book launch!




Refresher Training Blues

Last night, I got another chance to flash my wares…

The Sunflower Sessions took place in Nealon’s on Capel St, Dublin. This time, I presented another flash fiction piece: Refresher Training Blues.

I have worked in the e-learning and education sectors for the last twenty(!) years. In that time, I have come to develop a great appreciation for the value and importance of training, continuous improvement and lifelong learning.

As will become apparent from this short snapshot.



Refresher Training Blues

Arthur hated training days!

Sure, there was always room for improvement. He got that. There were always pointless new procedures to master. And yes, it was a few hours off work.

But Arthur still always hated them.

The fact that Timothy the trainer was a complete tosser didn’t help. Timothy thought he was performing to a stadium of 80,000 fans, and not ten barely conscious colleagues in a shabby room. All that was missing was the twenty minute guitar solo.

The training had started at 8.30. Unfortunately, Arthur wasn’t a morning person. Or an afternoon person. He was more an evening person. He only really perked up when he wasn’t at work.

Anyway, Timothy was in the throes of another evangelical fit as he pondered his seventeen-step model for positive self-actualisation.

He declared, “You are your own masterpiece, friends! Every day is your blank canvas. Don’t settle for being a sketch on a napkin. Use bright colours! At high volume!”

How could a painting be at high volume? Arthur wondered. He also wondered if it would soon be lunchtime. He had, as usual, skipped breakfast.

“Why do we have targets?” Timothy asked, all frothy mouth and blazing eyes. “Because I know you can hit them.”

To Arthur, this was all nonsense. But it was better than getting bawled at for being a basket case. That was the regular routine in all his previous jobs. At least these guys were pleasant.

Timothy adopted his solemn monk voice.

“That’s why we feel sad when people miss their targets. There’s no magic bullet. Dig deep and optimise real-time solutions that synergise your human interface capabilities.”

Timothy had clearly started speaking in tongues.

Arthur zoned out, gazing around the room. Some of his colleagues were already comatose in their rumpled suits. In Reginald’s case, it looked more like rigor mortis. Malcolm was the only one who looked engaged. But of course Malcolm had no life – a presentation like this was probably the high point of his week.

Meanwhile on the podium, Timothy was building up a head of steam and frazzled hair.

“Hit the mark, people! Shoot from the hip. Always aim high. You have to dodge the raindrops if you want to build the rainbow. You are our crock of gold!”

Arthur would be the first to concede that his standards were slipping. He’d missed a few targets lately. Definitely losing his edge. In fact, they all were. Some argued they were just “keeping their powder dry”. Truth is they had no fire in their bellies anymore.

Timothy however was determined to inspire his weary team. So for six more hours, he cajoled, praised, pleaded, value-streamed, harnessed and empathised.

Then finally it was over. Time to get back to work.

A new list of targets. Fresh deadlines. Motivated action points.

Arthur barely had the motivation to get up from his chair.

As he slouched out of the room, he ensured his pistol was loaded.

Even assassin squads need refresher training…


(c) Pádraig Hanratty 2016


Don’t forget that copies of Flare are now on sale. Available from Books Upstairs or by contacting the Sunflower Sessions.


Who knows what blues November will bring?

See you again soon!


Freedom’s Just Another Word

It has been a while since I flashed in public…

But this week I was invited to read a piece of flash fiction at the Sunflower Sessions at Nealon’s pub in Capel St, Dublin.


Nealon’s provides a warm and welcoming atmosphere for poets and fiction writers to share their work with a supportive audience. Refreshments (and perhaps inspiration) are provided in the bar downstairs.

The Sunflower Sessions are a monthly open mic evening of poetry, prose and spoken word. They take place on the last Wednesday of each month from 7.30.

If you’d like to find out more, you can follow them on Facebook.

Last night was a special session as it marked the launch of the first issue of Flare, a broadsheet collection of poetry.

Eamon Mag Uidhir kindly invited me to present one of my flash fictions to the group. I chose “Freedom’s Just Another Word”, a bitter monologue inspired by the adage that love is a short word, whereas marriage is a long sentence. In summary, it’s about… 500 words long.


Photo by Paul Nash

Freedom’s Just Another Word

…And then, the icing on the poison cake, she says we have to give each other space. Seems I’ve been suffocating her lately. She wanted freedom… That’s the bombshell Andrea dropped on me last week. Made her case, packed her bags and off she went… Don’t know what sparked this all off. Well, sure, I had an internal freak attack when we bumped into Saoirse in the supermarket last Monday. That was awkward! And Saoirse was in flying form, all psycho polite to Andrea and throwing daggers at me with her volcano eyes. But, fair play to her, she didn’t even hint about… any of that stuff. I thought maybe that was why Andrea got on her high horse for the high road. But she knows nothing about… any of that stuff. And she’s never even met little Ronan. Maybe she just needs to unwind a bit. She’s certainly tightly wound these days! She’s been working late a lot on those bullshit projects. Honestly, how can she expect me to take an interest in her projects when they’re so boring? Of course, it cuts both ways. She doesn’t take any interest in my work either. Then again, even I don’t take much interest in my work. I always have pleasanter… distractions… to keep me engaged in life. It’s good to keep engaged… Oh yeah, that was another thing she was always going on about, the engagement. I think two years is perfectly reasonable. Down the aisle and down the hill! But that became the new obsession lately. When are we going to finally set the date? Not that she has much interest any more in other sides of marriage. The sunnier side of the street. She always has a headache whenever I bring up that particular subject. The priest must have dropped her when he was baptising her! No normal woman could have that many headaches… Saoirse never had any headaches, that’s for sure! Of course, little Ronan was a bit unexpected. But I don’t care what she says, I’ve done the maths and it doesn’t add up. And we took all the necessary precautions. That’s one problem that can’t be blamed on me… Andrea was always great at pointing out my problems. No matter how late she worked in the office with Tom, she could still find time to find fault. Too much drinking. So I cut down… a bit. Too much smoking. So I quit… more or less. And then I could taste just how awful her cooking was! Well, don’t have to worry about that for a while anyway… And I never gave out about anything. Her faults run into the hundreds, if you take the time to count them all. But I never complained. Not even about her working all those late hours in the office with Tom. Every night, some weeks… What the hell got into her? Why does she want freedom now all of sudden? I’m pretty sure Saoirse said nothing to her…

(c) Pádraig Hanratty 2016


Photo by Paul Nash

Looking forward to the next session already!