Charley Brady: A Biography of Sorts.
Charley Brady is reputed to have made planet-fall at the Scottish coastal village of Ayr, sometime in the third month of 1959. The delight of his parents, however, turned to feelings of some trepidation when he muttered his first known words: “Cthulhu Fhtagn!”
The Old Gods are still treated with caution in Scotland.
His was a happy childhood, with parents who were fond of showing their children the beauties of the beaches and countryside with which they were surrounded. Although a growing distaste for politics and politicians was being felt throughout the land even this failed to dampen his teen spirit.
He would be gone by the time that the feudalist Ogre Thatcher had consolidated her forces against the cowering people. It was at this point that the hobbits, led by Gandalf, began their epic…apologies; I wandered into the wrong story there. Where was I? It was at this point that Brady developed his lifelong interests in, amongst many others, the film directors Sam Peckinpah and Ken Russell; and two of the premier pulp writers of the 1930s, Robert E. Howard and H. P. Lovecraft. Here also were sown the seeds of his resentment towards organised religions and of political chicanery of all kinds. He had also developed an urge to travel.
Leaving school in the summer of 1977 he put into action his plan to follow in the footsteps of the characters created by James Michener in his sixties novel of hippy happiness and ideals. It was this decision that had his father muttering to his wife: “That lad was never very right in the head. I told you we should have had him at a psychiatrist years ago!”
Brady, however, wasn’t much interested in what was left of the hippy ideals (or indeed of any ideals. He wouldn’t have marched to save a whale in his life, that’s for sure) but he did like the idea of getting in on what was left of this ‘free love’ concept, which he definitely approved of. And so, loosely following Michener’s layabouts he hitched and wandered over much of Europe and North Africa, doing the usual things that idiot travellers of a certain age do, such as ‘running with the bulls’ at the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona, a singularly brainless thing to do even by his standards. To the disgust of many, he emerged unscathed.
Finally reaching the town of Torremolinos, which may have been some kind of hippy heaven in the sixties but was a complete tourist dive by the seventies, he took one look around and headed farther up the coast. Here he found work, crewing on yachts and having a fine old time sailing up and down the Mediterranean, living out his boyhood fantasies.
Having picked up the travel bug he only returned home briefly before setting out to travel around Ireland, having heard his father talk of the country his whole life. This time he did it right, working for several months in Scotland first, in order that he had enough money with him to avoid sleeping rough. After a three-day rock festival at Reading he had sworn never to sleep on the ground again. No, not even for the great Rory Gallagher.
Unfortunately, due to his frankly hedonistic lifestyle, which included women, good food and alcohol in abundance, he was soon broke again; and thus dawned a happy three-year period, working in various bars around Limerick.
In the eighties he moved to Dublin where he worked in The Shelbourne Hotel for the next twenty years, a period that deserves a full length book in itself. There may have been at that time some slipperiness involved in calling this hotel ‘the most distinguished address in Ireland’, but it certainly was the most unique.
Reaching his fortieth year, he decided that since it was now obvious that he was never going to fulfil his potential as the genius that he undoubtedly was, he moved to the West Coast of Ireland where he had a vague idea that he would live out his remaining years in skulking around shore lines, collecting shells and driftwood and eking out a basic living whilst contemplating the meaning of existence. Or lack of.
However, Fate had other plans for him and he soon found himself contributing to diverse publications that included “The Sunday Independent”, “Househunters in the Sun”, “Magill”, “Irish American News”, “Irish Examiner USA” and various film magazines, as well as the notorious “How to Become a Porn Star in Two Easy Lessons.” [He may have invented this last one.]
He began to travel again and it was at this point that he fell in love with Mexico. He travelled in Panama, Venezuela and the Caribbean but was always drawn back to Mexico, the place in which he felt most at home.
Running out of money whilst in that blessed land, he briefly toyed for all of two seconds with the idea of becoming a drug dealer there. However, having discovered that he rather enjoyed the freedom that having his head in conjunction with his shoulders gave him, he retired to the village of Oranmore in County Galway.
He now lives in dusty, Lovecraftian reclusion there whilst still contributing his ‘Swimming Upstream’ column to Chicago’s “Irish American News”.
When asked about this strange state of affairs the publisher/editor of that worthy paper, Cliff Carlson, replied: “I’ve no idea how it happened. He just sends in the articles and we publish them. It seems a lot easier than arguing with him. Oh, and he’s not all that mentally stable either.”
Although on occasion he has been known to wear a rather fetching tin foil hat Brady would like to state categorically that he does NOT believe that the world is run by giant lizards disguised as George Bush, the Royal Family and Kris Kristofferson. He is concerned however about reports by way of the Mayan calendar that the world will end on December 22nd 2012.
Until then he hopes that you will join him on this blog. He can’t promise that you’ll always agree with him and indeed rather hopes that you don’t. And that you tell him so.
And may your God also go with you.