Finding fun in monsters

by Staff Reporter

THIS week, The Gazette caught up with the hilarious Belfast playwright Jimmy McAleavey, who is in town for his new play, Monsters, Dinosaurs, Ghosts at the Peacock Theatre to talk about a day in his not so average life.
He said: “The alarm goes off at 7am – I wake up about 8.30am. I manage to sleep through an hour and a half of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4 every day.
“About 7.30am, the dog comes in and she requires having her ears stroked for a moment or two.
“Then I lift the duvet and she gets in under it, and in thanks she licks my knees for a couple of minutes, which is a real high point of the day.
“My wife then brings me two cups of coffee in bed and I smoke three cigarettes. I have the loveliest bed; it’s a four-poster, but it has wings at the side and shelves; it has everything you need: an ashtray, a radio and what have you.
“I have to say, it’s hard to get out of. Then I get up and stagger about all day. If I’m working, I’ll drive 30 miles to Belfast. We live in the country, in paradise.”
McAleavey lectures in the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University.
“Lunch is a problem area. I haven’t had breakfast now at this stage, I don’t eat breakfast. But I’m quite fat and it’s not fair – I don’t eat anything! I can’t eat a sandwich because it makes me too sleepy during the afternoon. So, what do you do?
“I have another couple of cups of coffee and another few fags; then back to work. I wouldn’t leave there till around 7pm or 8pm at night.”
Unfortunately, McAleavey has put on two pounds lately, despite being on a sandwich-for-dinner diet. “ But I’ve tried it the other way too, eating like a dinosaur, and that doesn’t work either.
“In the evening, because I am such an intellectual, I am reading the Book of Job, which is from a book called The Bible, which used to be very popular down here, but you can hardly get it now.
“So, I read that while also kind of watching on Pick TV a thing called Terror Tuesdays, which is true-life stories followed by another programme called Monsters-something-something In America.
“I just realised that’s where I got the title for my play from!
“It has things like ‘The Goblin of Suburbia’, and interviews with American people whose stories always start off with: ‘Well, we were drinking a few beers and went off in the pick-up truck into the forest, and then this giant flying Sasquatch attacked the car, so that’s how the car was damaged, officer’.
“That’s a brilliant show, but it does my wife’s head in. We’ve started going to bed quite early, around 10.30pm. I would be asleep in seconds. I really am such a catch, aren’t I?”
Monsters, Dinosaurs, Ghosts continues at the Peacock until June 27. Tickets, from €13 to €20, are available at www.abbeytheatre.ie.

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