Nicholas Quirke was entertaining friends in Brighton on 14th June 1981 and enjoying showing off some the delights of his seaside town to the visitors, prompting memories of his youth and a moment of self disgust, though the cost of putting things right made any repair prohibitive.
Nicholas Quirke was in full spendthrift mode when taking a break from College with Kim; enjoying a day of food, film and dance in the West End. The day encouraged him to reminisce over appearing in a movie with Dustin Hoffman and to lose himself in watching his idol Nureyev.
Nicholas Quirke was surviving on very little sleep and felt himself to be reacting to the whims, moods and desires of his friends and largely ignoring his own. Somehow this selflessness didn’t hold him up when it came to his TV viewing.
Nicholas Quirke was not enjoying being an artists model as his life became completely embroiled with his brothers; from creativity to socialising. His seeming altruism betrayed a selfish and egocentric streak which had him bemoaning his wasted days.
Nicholas Quirke was enjoying a moment in the sun when an acting exercise played out well for him. His inspiration led to the breaking of a cardinal rule, some crockery and maybe bones. But even the blow to his pride he received from a renowned actor could not dim the flame of self satisfaction he felt.
Nicholas Quirke was flying home on 11th May 2019 and the late night, delayed flight gave him time to ruminate on his stay in Israel; where his thoughts strayed and concentrated on some the negative aspects of the visit, prompted by an incident that morning. He had woken early and busied himself with posting the latest podcast cast episode, 11th May 1981. Their day was going to involve a lot of walking around Jerusalem seeing the City of David, the Wailing Wall, the Garden of Gethsemene and walking the ramparts. Most importantly he needed to get a stamp to post a Postcard to his friend Anna who was in need of some cheer from abroad. Of course, he hadn’t counted on Shabbat and the closure of the post office on a Saturday. As he and Cole stood outside the closed establishment at Jaffa Gate, lost in reverie on opening times, an insidious voice broke their concentration. “Come to my shop”. They had immediately bristled at the demand, one that they had heard over and over in the streets of the Souk which had been their home for the previous 3 days. “No thanks. Can we buy a stamp anywhere else?” “I can sell you a stamp. Follow me to my shop.” This they were lured into an inevitable wild goose chase. Sure enough, once they were in the the apparently residential side streets and staring into a small room filled with cheap jewelry where they were introduced to the ‘vendors’ teenage son, who would go and get a stamp, they were invited to purchase goods. Nicholas was adamant that he only wanted a stamp, that they would not wait in the shop for the boy to go and get them a stamp, just tell them where. The boy insisted on taking them to an establishment and then demanded money from them for the privilege. It was another moment that soured Nicholas’s experience of the market place. Of course nowhere sold stamps, only the post office. He was aware that this feeling of being cheated and conned; a sentiment that had started with their altercation with the restaurant owner, that everyone was trying to rob them, had made him reluctant to buy anything in the shops. The cries of “come look at what I have to sell”, on one occasion “Everything is a dollar, my father died and I have to sell everything” and once lured inside the stall “ I will give you a good price”! “Oh, I thought your stock, which is shit, everything was a dollar”. No one was going to get a gift from this trip as he had lost the desire to haggle, bargain, fight for the best deal. These were the emotions he was wrestling with as the made their way to the ancient and holy site of the western wall, and as it was Shabbat The wailing was in full force as they arrived. The Hasidic and orthodox traditions were being given complete and passionate voice, a moving and profound spectacle. On their way to the Garden of Gethsemane, a site of Christian significance deep in valley of the Mount of Olives, Nicholas was able to indulge his fondness for a Necropolis, mausoleums and crypts. The ruins of David’s city were closed but clearly visible from the road as they made their way back up the steep steps and inclines of the Old City. Their experience of Jerusalem had been of fairly cold city but on their last day the temperature had soared and by late afternoon after another walk in the sudden heat, around the ramparts and despite a rest and sustenance at the comfortable Vegan Imbala restaurant they were exhausted and not looking forward to the complexities of getting to the airport on a day of no public transport. At Damascus gate problem was solved and they shared a shuttle bus with some other travelers. Naturally the flight was delayed and they did not get in the air till gone 11pm. It was going to be a long night. The action packed trip was coming to an end. The fun and photography was over and their appetite for Israel and Palestine had been well and truly whetted. After 24 hours from having woken at 6 am in Jerusalem at 5 am he walked through the door of his home in Brighton and into bed.
Nicholas Quirke was hoping for better things and a way out of signing on but an unfortunate moment triggered some bitter memories. His day didn’t end in disappointment as he made it the theatre.