The Inadvertent Twin
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''This is a book that breathes insidiously in the reader's mind long after the back cover is folded over... It facilitates our self-realisation, all the while tightening the noose of inevitable mutual-obliteration about our ethnically-defined necks.'' - Carol Ballantine

Friday, January 23, 2004
Eoin, freshly showered, shaved and unshackled following his release from prison, is sitting in the potting shed with some crayons, a ream of computer paper (the old fashion sort with the green stripey lines and perforations) and a dictionary. With these tools, he tells me he is composing his statement, for immediate release to the press once he has finished colouring in, of his version of the events of last weekend. These, it goes without saying, shall be published here immediately the press embargo is lifted.

posted by Shazzle 8:44 p.m.
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Wednesday, January 21, 2004
Word didn’t reach Dublin for a number of hours, due to confusion about the international dialling code for Ireland and a mix up with our event and the one next door to us, which was a talk about how lizards are the secret rules of the earth. Having been passed the message “Eoin gone mad. Hillman in hospital. Hurry”, the anti-lizard men had taken it as a coded warning that the lizards were on to them, and tried to poison-gas the entire hotel complex. By the time we heard, it was Sunday afternoon.

We have organised bail – once more – and Eoin has been returned to my care. Capron will remain in hospital for another few days while they treat him for frostbite due to having part of an ice sculpture forcibly inserted into… well, full details are not necessary here. The poor man apparently intends to sue Eoin for all he is worth – which probably isn’t as much as he expects, what with all the legal fees – and so the release of the book is being held off until matters die down. Our publicist has also been admitted to hospital, this time with a complete nervous breakdown. Apparently not all publicity is good publicity.

posted by Shazzle 8:43 p.m.
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Tuesday, January 20, 2004
What happened next has been collected from witness statements graciously provided to me by a lovely young policeboy in exchange for an autographed copy of The Inadvertent Twin.

Most witness reports agree that Eoin began to climb up the lattice that was lining each wall at about 10.05pm, knocking off the fake ivy and lily flowers adorning each trellis. He began to mutter agitatedly, and as he was miked up in preparation for the reading of our prepared joint statement, this was picked up by the PA system and relayed around the room. “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil,” he said, pausing momentarily to regain his balance. “Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?” He turned around, and noticing that every eye in the room was trained on him, began to shout. “Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good,” he yelled, stabbing his finger towards indiscriminate people around the room.

At this moment, Brian Capron (who is the actor unlucky enough to play Richard Hillman) had a coughing fit, as a piece of toast had slipped down the wrong way. This had the unfortunate effect of drawing Eoin’s attention directly upon him. “But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid,” Eoin continued, now addressing poor Capron directly, “for he beareth not the sword in vain: for HE IS THE MINISTER OF GOD, A REVENGER TO EXECUTE WRATE UPON HIM THAT DOETH EVIL!” (Romans 13:3-4)

With that, he fell from the lattice and landed on Capron. There was a minor struggle, but Eoin seemed to come out on top, particularly after he began using one of the swan’s heads as his weapon of choice. A number of other cast members tried to break up the skirmish, and Steven Arnold (who plays widower Ashley Peacock) got a black eye for his trouble. In the end, it was Tracy Shaw, ironically Hillman’s on-screen victim, who managed to separate the two by declaring to Eoin that she had come back from the dead for revenge, and demanding that Eoin let her “take care of the mother lover”. Eoin, suitably impressed, allowed the police to drag him off in hand cuffs. The night, it goes without saying, was ruined.

posted by Shazzle 8:43 p.m.
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Monday, January 19, 2004
It all began so well. Having passed out under the weight of his various prescription drugs all dissolved into a glass of Sunny Delight, Eoin was shipped off to Dublin to wake up half an hour after the event had begun. With guests still arriving, I’m told he seemed delighted to stand at the door taking hats and coats and being mistaken for a butler, until our publicists noticed him straining under the weight of so much fur, and brought him for the rounds to speak to journalists, politicians, and some people from Open House. He was apparently singing the theme tune to the Littlest Hobo most of the time and answered every question by picking quotes at random from a bible. When asked by Ian Dempsey where he got his crazy ideas from, Eoin answered “And surely your blood of your lives will I require; at the hand of every beast will I require it, and at the hand of man; at the hand of every man's brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.” (Genesis 9:5-6) Dempsey seemed happy with this answer.

I myself fared better in London – now that everything had been straightened up, there seemed little to concern myself with. I amused myself by frequently drinking out of the glass of the person beside me, occasionally using a straw when unable to wrestle it from their hands. I was pleased to be told that some of the cast of Coronation Street had taken up our invitation. I wasn’t able to distinguish them from any of the other “celebrities” present on the night, being more accustomed to serious artistic endeavors like programmes with Melvyn Bragg and Simon Schama.

Having tricked Eoin into eating a burger lined with a fast acting anaesthetic, he was shipped off to Dublin airport and flew in our private jet to London. I was collected as he landed, and had a brief glimpse of him lying on the stretcher, his thumb in his mouth and clutching his Fame Academy CD.

It was only when he woke up, slightly confused and disorientated, that he must have began to think someone was trying to drug him. Having quietly searched what he thought was the same room for the people that he had been speaking to earlier in the night, and unable to find anyone but our twittering publicist (who herself was slightly confused at this point, what with the cocaine), he began to form a theory about what was happening – he decided that, having killed Maxine Peacock with the mere tap of a crow bar, Richard Hillman was obviously coming after him next.

posted by Shazzle 8:41 p.m.
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Saturday, January 17, 2004
Urgh. I spent last night metaphorically up to my elbows in dead Germans. Really, it's too much. I don't know why we chose this particular events management firm, they don't seem to know what the hell they're doing. I think the manager must be an old flame of Eoin's, he did seem awfully keen to get them on board once I had mentioned the launch. I'm not convinced they're even a real firm - no one has business cards, and surely no one in their right mind turns up to a meeting wearing torn jeans and stinking of incense.

On the plus side, the guest list is looking quite good. Apparently we have confirmation of some reality television celebrities coming along - I'm not entirely sure what one of them is, but Eoin seems quite keen. He suggested that some of them might even be kind enough to sing at one of the events, but I'm not sure that's a good idea. The only one of these shows that I've seen had gardeners in it, and I didn't think they had particularly good voices. There was lovely brass music in the background, but I was distracted by the realisation that one of them wasn't even wearing her full quotient of underwear... sorry, I'm digressing.

Now that the dead Germans have been sent to their rightful destinations I can once again start relaxing. I booked myself and Eoin in for manicures and pedicures this afternoon, and then when he went to lie down for his early evening nap, I had an anaesthetist come over to knock him out and take him to London for the first half of the night. He's more than familiar with the feeling of waking up and not knowing where he is, so I'm sure he will start to enjoy himself, particularly once he sees the swans.

posted by Shazzle 8:41 p.m.
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Friday, January 16, 2004
Following on from the Swan Debacle (as it’s now known), I didn’t think that anything else could go wrong. But obviously fate does not like to be mocked. In our book, The Inadvertent Twin, myself and Eoin chose to illustrate fate as a mischievous cat, leading the innocent down the rocky road to darkness and despair, all the while giving the illusion of choice while in reality directing the poor innocuous ones to doom. And then fate itself, in the final chapter of the book, was of course destroyed by a huge… but I’m telling you too much. The Inadvertent Twin will be available in all good book shops from Monday.

Anyway. Fate is leading us all on a merry dance today. First there was the swans. Then, my maid Petula forgot to record Classic Coronation Street for Eoin from UK Gold and all was hellish - there were tears, tantrums, actual fist fights, and Eoin got to see none of them. We dissolved some Valium into his lunchtime whisky chaser, and he seems much happier now, watching the Changing Rooms marathon on one of those god-forsaken channels. Actually, I think he’s drooling slightly. I must get Petula to clean that up.

Anyway, again. After we got the swans cancelled (the main course will now be beansprouts and mashed potatoes served with glasses of milk), the decorators called. Apparently there was a mix up with the delivery of the decorations for our event and the decorations for some event being held by the Passive Necrophilia Society. All of the decorations delivered to London turn out to be cadavers.

I will have to spend the remains (no pun intended) of the day sorting this out. Eoin, bless him, is blissfully unaware. I just hope nothing more goes wrong. My nerves are already shot.

posted by Shazzle 3:39 p.m.
. . .
Everything has begun to collapse.

I’ve just had the caterers on the phone. Something’s gone terribly wrong.

What we’ve decided to do, having two launch parties happening at the same time, is have two completely identical events in both London and Dublin – well, it saves on confusion, and also shouldn’t disorientate Eoin too much as he’s moved from one to the other (we have decided that it would probably be best if he’s sedated during the journeys, as he tends to get over excited, and that way he may not even realise he’s in another place. Also, it’s a condition of his bail).

What was chose in the end were the themes of innocence – this being a children’s book after all – and fairy tale. For some reason, everything is going to be white – the decorations, the flowers, the sculptures and the food. Eoin, as he likes things that fly, declared that he wanted swans at the party, and although we briefly explored the idea of having a lake with the birds swimming around in the middle of the room, we were advised that having live animals would cost too much in insurance, and also that swans are dangerous. So instead we talked him down to swan ice sculptures, which are not nearly so much trouble, and can be easily replaced if he has one of his temper tantrums and attacks their heads.

Somehow, someone went wrong while filling in the catering order, and rather than writing “swan” in the box marked “Shape of ice sculpture” they wrote it in the box marked “Main course”.

posted by Shazzle 10:37 a.m.
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Thursday, January 15, 2004
The problems surrounding last week's book launch started with Eoin’s brief incarceration at Her Majesty’s Pleasure… actually, who takes pleasure when you’re locked up in Belgium for trying to smuggle a suspicious package across the border? The package, you’ll all know from the Irish Times coverage, contained nothing more than some bars of hand-made soap, a packet of cheap cigarillos and three blind (and dead) mice. While waiting in custody to hear the final test results on the mice, Eoin made the unfortunate mistake of threatening one of the Belgian police with vague notions of higher powers, to which the district attorney (or whatever the equivalent is there) took great exception. Thankfully, that whole episode behind us, Eoin returned to living in my garden shed, emerging only occasionally to rap on my sitting room window and ask what’s happening in Coronation Street.

The book launch has been rescheduled to happen this weekend, with events taking place in both Dublin and London – the plan is that myself and Eoin will attend both parties, swapping in between the events like tag-team wrestlers and woo-ing the book reviewing public with our wit, talent, and free narcotics. Our publisher assures us – or rather assured me, since Eoin is no longer interested in meeting people that don’t live outside the fictional ITV village of Weatherfield – that this is a great idea, launching the book on both sides of the radioactive sea at the same time, and hopefully catching the eye of the American market.

I am personally quite worried at the prospect of unleashing the world on Eoin, let along unleashing Eoin on the world, but I’m not in PR, and therefore can’t quite think along the same lines as them. And for that, I thank the good Lord every day.

posted by Shazzle 5:01 p.m.
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