Monday 14 October 2019

Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle introduces his latest character, Charlie Savage: featuring the misadventures and mishaps of a conflicted man in an ever-changing world.

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Illustration by Ben Hickey

Roddy Doyle's Charlie Savage: One (limping) foot in the grave… 

There's probably nothing as boring as men's health. Unless you're the man. And I am. So. I'm worried. I've low blood pressure. I discovered this a while back and it came as a bit of a shock. But the bigger shock is, it's the only thing wrong with me. I'll be honest: I'm a bit disappointed. Other men my age seem to have a list of their ailments in their back pockets. They don't tend to talk about them but they have them at the ready, just in case. I could make a list of my own, I suppose, but it would look a bit threadbare: thinning hair, thinning eyesight, sagging self-respect.

Illustration: Ben Hickey

Roddy Doyle's Charlie Savage: Going potty over phone's 'leak locator' 

We don't really do the phones, me and the Secret Woman. We both have one, and it wouldn't be that uncommon for us to answer a text while we're chatting in the local. What I mean is, we don't take them out every time we're talking about the football and forget a player's name. Or, if either of us has been to a Holy Communion, we might mention it. ("Jesus, man, I need a pint after all that religion.") But we won't take out the phones and start scrolling through the photos. The only photograph in my phone is of the inside of a broken cistern. A plumber asked me to send it to...

Ilustration by Ben Hickey

Roddy Doyle's Charlie Savage: Not strictly ballroom 

Myself and the wife are just back from the hospital. We were there with identical injuries. We even shared the same ambulance, and saved the State a few bob. It must the sign of a successful marriage - is it? - when yourself and your beloved can sit side by side in A+E, sharing the groans and bandages. And after all that, a night and most of a day in sunny Beaumont, we're still talking to each other. Although in my case that's not easy, because I bit off the tip of my tongue. And the wife still isn't certain who I am.

Illustration: Ben Hickey

Roddy Doyle's Charlie Savage: Who wants to live forever? 

'That hair isn't grey, says the wife. - It's silver, look. They both have matching hair. She's right. She often is. We've been watching all these ads that are aimed at older people. People like ourselves, except we don't have matching silver hair. We don't usually pay attention to the ads. We record what we want to watch and charge through the ads. But we're watching some crime thing and I have the remote pointed at the telly, flying through the ads, when the wife shouts - Stop! I do.

Charlie Savage

Roddy Doyle's Charlie Savage: A garden full of memories… 

I'm standing out in the back garden with the wife. Now, in actual fact, we don't have a back garden. We have a hole where there used to be one. We used to have grass. No surprise there, I suppose; it's kind of your basic ingredient, isn't it? But we had a lilac bush that was spectacular for a few weeks in the year, and an apple tree that had real apples hanging off it in the autumn. We had all sorts of flowers. The garden - in its way - was lovely.