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And he used to be such a nice, quiet boy

Archive for April 2008

The Real Hotel Babylon

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From 1995-2004 I worked for a succession of top range hotels both in the UK and Ireland.  Some anecdotes I would like to share with you here..

I once had my own little late-night poolside bar, all to myself.  I used to dim the lights and play old soul classics, feeling like Humphrey Bogart.  The trouble was the customers I usually got at the end of the night were usually drunken obnoxious salesmen with nothing better to do and nobody else to annoy.

Anyway I pick up some very drunken advice from various odds and sods. Such as:

“Three things to stay away from, Nick, Hard drugs, Homosexuality and Bungee jumping.

..and never have sex with a girl with the same name as your sister.”

One time I served breakfast to the ’ladies’ under 21 rugby team.  I have never seen a more ferocious bunch of dykes in my life.  Thighs like my waist.  Tattoos like popeye and stubble like george michael.  Remember Mutha Bacon in Viz?  Exactly like her, all of them.

I met the Italian boys under 21 football team.  The waitresses were drooling, you have never seen such a bunch of pretty boys.  They actually brought their own chef, who was like Jabba the Hutt, and his food was amazing.

After Leeds played Galatasaray from Turkey in 1998 the turks came back to Leeds to play the second leg.  Now this was the time when two Leeds fans were stabbed in Istanbul during the riots.  So security was tight, I got searched several times by Turkish secret police who thought they owned the joint.

One time I was given bags to take up to a room.  When I went in there was nobody there but the room was filled with camera equipment and lights.  It was obvious they were filming a porn film in there.  If you ever see a porn film with dreadful canary yellow floral curtains, it was filmed at my place.

One time in Dublin two old ladies came down to the bar to see themselves on the news, and they wanted me to tune the TV into the correct station.  After lots of fumbling with dials I managed to find the hotels porn channel for them!  Oops.. I covered the screen with my body and made my excuses.  The old girl actually said “Was that me there?” I bloody hope not, love.

So if you want a hard, underpaid job that teaches you an incredible amount about people please go work for a hotel, you will love it, you sickos.

My sister is called Rebecca by the way.


Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 25, 2008 at 11:31 am

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Peach and Passion Cocktail

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Pride and Passion Cocktail

This is what I was making in the photo 😉
You need, one measure peach schnapps, one measure passion fruit syrup, half a measure of freshly squeezed lime, half a measure of cointreau and two measures of cranberry juice. For the garnish you need one slice of kiwi, one star shaped cookie cutter and one snip of cranberrys and a cocktail stick.
Add the peach schnapps, passion fruit syrup, cointreau, lime and cranberry juice to a shaker and shake well. Strain into a martini glass.
For the garnish cut one slice of kiwi with the cookie cutter. Cut a small incision into the kiwi deep enough to hold it onto the glass. Snap a 2cm length of cocktail stick and stick it into the high side of the kiwi.
Drink and enjoy!

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 25, 2008 at 11:04 am

Posted in Food and Drink

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Italian Sausage and Chips

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Italian Sausage & Chips

Italian Sausage & Chips

This recipe is so simple I didn’t even buy the book, I just memorized it!

You need four sausages, three large potatoes, one onion, olive oil, two garlic cloves, parsley, oregano, salt and black pepper.

Pre-heat oven at 200c Take a baking tray and drizzle olive oil over the base, just a very thin coating.

Prick sausages and chop potatoes into large chips with the skins on. Place them all in the baking tray. Dice the onion and coarsely chop the garlic, and sprinkle both over the sausages and chips.

Sprinkle a tablespoon of oregano, and one of parsley over the sausages and potatoes. Season with the salt and pepper. Drizzle again with olive oil.

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes or longer, occasionally checking the hardness of the chips with a small knife.


As soon as they are nice and soft in the middle, serve.

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 25, 2008 at 11:02 am

Posted in Food and Drink

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Mediterrainean Lamb

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Ingredients: Two Lamb fillets, Potatoes, Garlic, Rosemary twigs, Lemon and Olive Oil.
First off you dice your potatoes quite small and boil them in a pan of water until they are quite soft.

Then you take a baking tray, add a splash of olive oil, roughly chop the garlic and take two sticks of Rosemary. Add all the above ingredients and shake gently till they mix well. You can add a slice of bacon or proscuto ham for flavour if you like. Add another splash of Olive Oil over the top. Set the oven to 180 degrees and cook the potatoes until golden brown

Going in..

Coming out

While they are cooking you can grate and juice two lemons. Drizzle the zest and the juice of the lemons over the Lamb, and add two twigs of Rosemary. Then leave it to marinade in the fridge for about twenty minutes.

Finally grill the lamb for no more than five minutes on a medium heat, until it is brown on the outside and just pink on the inside.

Finally take the potatoes out of the oven once they are brown and serve with a fresh stick of Rosemary.

The Potatoes I nicked from Jamie Oliver, the lamb is all my idea.  Yes Jamie, you can borrow it.

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 25, 2008 at 11:00 am

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The return of the sinister Emu

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I noticed something rather sinister when I was channel flicking this afternoon..

Emu is back!

I never liked this bird, it always had a nasty streak and an evil look in it’s eyes. It was perminantly planted under Rod Hulls ’arm’ and glared at his guests.

Then came the shock that Rod Hull had died in a freak accident.

Their act had started back in 1971 when Rod was working in for Australian television. He had to find an act for a new children’s variety programme and he found this old moth eaten Emu puppet in a back cupboard. They soon grew into a cult following and when Rod was offered a chance for the BBC he flew home, Emu in tow.

For the next twenty years their act grew and grew, making such dizzy heights as the Children’s Royal Variety Performance, where he was introduced to the Queen. He wasn’t always that well behaved though, later that year Emu went bezerk on the Michael Parkinson show, knocking the host off his chair and scattering papers and water everywhere. Co-guest, Billy Connelly, warned Rod Hull “If that thing comes near me I will break it’s neck and your arm.” There is nothing like a Glaswegian threat to pacify an Emu.

But by the mid nineties their fortunes had all but dried up, the BBC was looking for fresh ideas and they seemed rather old and tired. What was not so well known was that Rod Hull had a million pound life insurance policy. Emu hatched his evil plan…

He knew Rod liked the football so the day of the Manchester UTD – AC Milan match he pulled a wire out of the back of the telly. When Rod checked the telly Emu suggested it might be the dish outside that was faulty. There was no turning back now.

Rod got his ladder out of the shed and began climbing while Emu held it steady.. and when he saw that the coast was clear he gave the ladder an almighty shove.

Poor Rod didn’t stand a chance.

Over the next few days Emu wept crocodile tears and gave a touching speech at Rod’s funeral, and waited for the cheque.

Eventually it came and it funded Emu’s new lavish lifestyle and financed a new TV deal. It also paid for Emu’s botox and re-stitching.

This terrible animal must be stopped before he goes any further, between him and Barrymore you can get away with murder these days if you are on telly.

Anyway calm down lad, drink your tea…

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 25, 2008 at 10:45 am

Posted in Suspense and Horror

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The true story of Pat and Margaret

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“Dear Pope, I want to leave the holy order and marry a nun. Not a problem I hope.”It is not a widely known fact that I am not the first member of my family to bring down controversy on my poor belegured family. I am just the latest.. But the bad thing about being a Good Boy is that any indiscresion, no matter how small, just seems to get headlines, or at least a deluge of text messages. Anyway I used to have an uncle Patrick, a great big calm happy giant of a man, who loved me and my sister to bits. He was a male nurse, and also a monk, believe it or not. Monks, as you know are the male equivalent of nuns, a holy order who live chastely, not not always seperately from nuns. The monestry and the nunnery ofter were part of the same building, and shared laundry facilities. On one memorable occasion a nun mistook his laundry for clothes destined for a jumble sale, underpants and all. She offered to buy him a whole new set as apology and the story made the local papers. Really But Pat was getting tired of the order, I think he felt life was passing him by, and he was really close with a nun who worked at the hospital. Away from the order, at work in the hospital, their relationship was a lot easier, and naturally a lot closer. As nature intended, they fell in love.Now all they had to do was tell everybody…..To get a dispensation from the order you have to write a letter to the head man himself, at the time it was Pope John Paul II. How the hell do you start a letter like that?I can imagine him sitting down to breakfast, opening his mail when he comes across this little gem.”Your esteemed Holiness, Brace yourself.Right, I have been doing the holy order thing for over a decade now and it really isn’t my bag anymore, I want a life, family, kids, mortgage, the works. I want friday nights out with my mates, days in the park, christenings and confirmation parties to organise.So I know you are dying to know who the lucky lady is… wellIt is Sister Margaret.”At this point I can imagine the sistine chapel was pebble dashed with half eaten cornflakes. I don’t know what Latin is for Fucking Hell, but that would be the day to learn it.Nonetheless after informing the rather stunned relatives including one flabbergasted nephew (me), we all had a big wedding in Liverpool. Pat and Margaret lived very happily for nine years until uncle Pat died when I was nineteen. Naturally I was distraught, I loved the old rascal, and he loved me like his own son. He taught me how to fish, how to drive and gave me a great love of all things Irish.Never in my life will we see the likes of him again.

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 25, 2008 at 10:41 am

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None of your business

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Here is a scary story to hold people spell bound. Please adjust facts, names and places as you wish for extra authenticity, abridge the parts you don’t need and make it your own.

A few years ago me and my mate Dave were driving back from Manchester to Wakefield one cold foggy Sunday night in January. We had been watching Leeds get beat as usual that day and we were on our way back in Dave’s big white transit van. It had been freezing and foggy all day and as we rose over the foothills of the Pennines the wraith-like mist swallowed the road ahead. Out of nowhere came an endless trail of red lights indicating what is known to the Great British motorist as a sodding great tail back. We joined the queue and inched our way along in the darkness, listening to the charts on the radio to keep our spirits up, and taking the mickey out of the latest X factor acts, as always.

After five minutes of that we came to a slip road which took us across the Pennines on an old road known as Snake path. We could sit in this tail back and go numb or we could take our chances on a bit of adventurous navigation that might just get us to our beds an hour earlier. Oh and Dave had his new sat nav that he wanted to try out. This bit of kit had cost him £300, and he reckoned it was worth every penny. I was too knackered to argue so off the road we went. Several cars ahead of us had taken the same option, so maybe it wasn’t a bad idea.

Snake path is a trecherous road on it’s best days so we took it really steady, minding the snake like twists and turns that gave the road it’s name. The fog got thicker and thicker, even with the lights on high beam we could see barely twenty years ahead. The cars ahead of us became strung out further and further until we were left alone on this cold dark path, trying to squint through the fog.

We were brought to a screeching halt by something three feet high standing in the road. For a second it was stock still in the distance, then it moved it’s head and went ‘baaa’. Bloody sheep. A parp of the horn and off it went, unaware of how close it came to making us a collision statistic, and itself into a tasty kebab.

As you pass over the Pennines your radio tends to jump from station to station and go mental, and this occasion was no different. Chris bloody Moyles… some girl laughing.. classic fm.. some little girl laughing again.. I changed the channel.. and there was this little laugh again. Not a nice one, a really mean haha showed you kind of laugh. I turned the radio off, it wasn’t improving my mood.

We passed a car parked up for the night. Why they parked it in the middle of the moors, I thought little of. I just wanted to get home. The fog lifted a little as we mounted a hump-backed bridge over a brook. Just as we did we came across a car in the middle of the road, parked diagnally. It’s hazzard warning lights were blinking away into darkness and the passenger door was ajar.

Dave was a trained paramedic so he instinctively grabbed the green bag he kept in the space between the seats and got out to investigate. I was straight after him, grabbing a dirty blanket out of the back and my mobile out of my pocket. He poked the door open with his foot, and peered inside. It was empty, and cold. Frost had gathered on the inside of the windshield. We looked around and shouted at the tops of our voices. A ground frost had turned the ground white, and should have illuminated any foot prints away from the car, but there were none.

With a start I realised that I recognised the car, it had been two in front of us in the tail back. Dave thought I was mistaken but I recognised the stickers on the rear window. Neither of us could get phone reception on our mobile, which was no surprise. We decided to phone the police from the next phone box we came to. In the meantime we just wanted to get down off the moors. We followed the path, metre by metre, eyes on stalks. The sat nav indicated we were only twelve miles from the motorway, and a cup of granada services tea suddenly sounded very inviting. Then the bloody thing started to die, much to my annoyance. Dave was so angry that he tore it from it’s cradle and threw it out the window. I cracked up laughing and it broke the tense atmosphere. We spent the next half hour howling and doing Brian Glover imitations. ‘Beware’t moon, lads!” I was still laughing when THUMP

My side, high up on the metal side panel THUMPTHUMPTHUMP, further back each time, as though we were driving past the source. Dave slammed on the brakes, and I looked back through the door mirror. Some figure was standing there, and this time it was way too tall to be a sheep. It was man sized.

Somebody was definately standing just off the road, about ten yards back from where we were now stopped. We didn’t discuss anything, we just got out. I took the tire handle and slid it up my sleeve. I was taking no chances.

This guy had to be about forty but looked older, most of him was hidden under a donkey jacket, like the miners used to have. A huge hood hid most of his face, the lower half was illuminated by the red brake lights, which gave his unshaven visage a demonic appearance. He had dirty jeans and dirty boots, he had obviously been hiking across the fields. But that wasn’t the strangest thing about him. At his feet was a long black bag, about five feet long in total with six handles on the edges. “Alright mate, where’s tha going?” said Dave. The guy shook his head, and I wondered if he was deaf. “You need a lift?”

I shot a look at Dave to say ‘are you mad?’, he just looked back to say ‘it’s ok’. I was far from convinced. “Just gizza lift to’t next town.” The man had spoke. Mancunian accent, gravelly and deep. “Right, gerrin”. Dave was already opening the rear doors to his van. Inside it was full of wood he was collecting for some stupid building project. It would have been a bonfire if I had any say in it. I got the other end of this guy’s bag and lifted it. Christ, it was bloody heavy. “You moving house then?” I tried to make light of the situation. “What you got in here, the mother-in-law?”

He turned to face me square on in the red brake light. “None of your business.” He hissed..
Christ, alright. I dumped my end of the bag in with him pushed up the far end of the van, never taking my eyes off him. I really had a bad feeling about this, and I gripped the tyre handle. I got back into the passenger side and off we went into the night.

I resumed my job of peering into the thick mist, trying to call out the turns, which came thick and fast. I checked back in the rear view mirror once and the guy was still there, though all I could see was his shadow.

I don’t know what made me do it but I felt the hairs on the back of my neck flutter, and I started to turn my head. As I did so I heard the splintering of wood, loud and close then the rear doors flew open, filling the cabin with freezing air. Dave turned his head as he slammed on the brakes, and brought the van to it’s third emergency stop in an hour. I reached up and switched on the internal light. The rear doors were definately open, and some of the wood was scattered about the back, and splintered. The guy was gone, he had bolted. We jumped out of the cabin and walked down each side, losing sight of each other for a second. I went round the back, my tire handle now gripped in my white knuckles. Dave appeared out of the gloom a long second later. He picked up a piece of wood as a weapon and stood back to back with me, peering into the darkness. We could see sod all, absolutely nothing. Nor could we hear anything, except each other’s quickening breath. I have never been so terrified in my life.

“Should have bloody listened to you, cocker” said Dave with a nervous laugh, then he froze on the spot. I followed his gaze. In the back of the van, barely visable in the dark, and part buried under splintered wood was the man’s bag.

Adrenaline pumped through me as I advanced towards it, my tire handle held high. Was the bag moving or was it my tired eyes in the dark? “Nick..” Dave sounded nervious, which was unheard of. He had seen it all in his day as a paramedic, all the horrors a saturday night in Leeds can throw at you. And yet now, I knew he was scared.

I put my hand on the zip and felt it loose in my hand. I opened it scarely an inch. My heart was beating in my chest fit to burst. I opened it further and further and reached in.

“What’s in it?” Dave’s voice was trembling.

I rounded on him, my face rough,my body stinking and my eyes glowing red, full of undue fury, the tyre handle held high as I advanced and in this gravelly mancunian accent I growled “NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS”

Anyway sleep well.

Written by Nick Gilmartin

April 24, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Posted in Suspense and Horror

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