Subscriber OnlyRoss O'Carroll-Kelly

‘There’s a video of me doing the rounds on this famous Tick Tocks dot com’

The old man has been secretly filmed doing something frankly sickening

Listen | 06:23

How quickly the years go by. That’s what I’m thinking as I’m taking the right turn at Donnybrook Bus Depot. It feels like no time ago that I was bringing Honor to Deansgrange Library, where she spent many happy hours as a child tearing the last page out of all the mystery novels. And now, what, twelve years later, I’m dropping her to Herbert Pork to knock another four hours off her Community Service by picking up litter for the morning.

Sorcha – who’s with us in the cor – asks her when the election is happening.

Honor goes, “What election?” annoyed at being interrupted from, I don’t know, whatever vital business is going on in her phone.

Sorcha’s there, “The election for Head Girl,” because – yeah, no – hord as it is to believe, Honor’s going to be in, like, Sixth Year in September?


She goes, “Er, why would I give a fock?” and – while not wishing to take sides – the girl does have a point. “It doesn’t affect me one way or the other.”

Of course, Sorcha is just looking for an excuse to talk about her own days as Mount Anville’s leading lady.

“Oh my God,” she goes, “you just mentioning it there is bringing all the memories flooding back to me.”

Honor’s like, “Yeah, I didn’t mention it? You were the one who brought it up?”

Sorcha goes, “After the first ballot, there were two candidates remaining. It was between me and Alison Portnoy. She was, like, the favourite and I was, like – oh my God – the total, total underdog? Then I made my famous One School, One Planet, One Vision speech at assembly and it changed everything.”

That’s when Honor looks up from her phone and goes, “Maybe I’ll run.”

And Sorcha – unwisely, in my view – laughs.

Honor’s like, “What? You don’t think I’d have a chance?”

Sorcha goes, “Like, I’m not saying this to be a bitch, Honor, but you haven’t exactly gone out of your way to court popularity during your school career.”

“Are you saying that people hate me?”

“No, I’m making the point that it isn’t just a case of throwing your hat into the ring. You have to persuade your peers that you’re the right person to represent them during what will be one of the most important and formative years in their life’s journey. For instance, what would your policy priorities be? What do you even believe in?”

I’m looking at Honor in the rear-view mirror and I can nearly hear the wheels of her mind turning. She’s staring at the back of her old dear’s head and she’s thinking that if she could become Mount Anville Head Girl, it would completely devalue Sorcha’s achievement and – I’m not saying it’s necessarily a bad thing – shut her up for life.

One School, One Planet, One Vision,” Sorcha goes, a faraway look in her eyes. “I ask you, girls, are we brave enough to want to change the world?

A few minutes later, I’m porking the cor on Herbert Road when who should happen by only the old man. He’s standing on the other side of the road going, “Kicker! Kicker! KICKER!”

I’m like, “Honor, get out of the cor. I’m going to pretend that I didn’t see the dickhead.”

But it’s too late. He’s suddenly standing at my window and I end up having to open the thing, getting a faceful of Montecristo smoke for my troubles.

He goes, “Didn’t you hear me calling you, Kicker?”

I’m like, “The people holidaying in Roundstone heard you? What’s the story?”

“Oh, just out for my Saturday morning constitutional! Morning, Sorcha! Morning, Honor! I expect you’ve all seen it, have you?”

Sorcha’s there, “Seen what, Chorles?” because she’s a sucker for his act.

He goes, “There’s a video of me doing the rounds on this famous Tick Tocks dot com.”

I’m like, “Yeah, no, you can just say TikTok. So what happens in this supposed video?”

Except Honor has already looked it up and found it on her phone.

“Oh my God!” she goes. “Oh! My God?” and then she hands me her phone.

To cut a long story short, it’s a video of the old man – yeah, no – with his finger up his nose?

I’m like, “Jesus, that’s quite the excavation you’re doing there, Dude.”

He goes, “Someone surreptitiously filmed me while I was sitting in Buswells. Are they allowed to do that, Honor?”

I’m there, “Whether they’re allowed to do it or not, they’ve done it. My God, I’d say you dropped a waist size or two when you pulled out whatever’s up there. Wait a minute – what are you about to do with that thing?”

My stomach does a quick somersault and I end up having to look away.

I’m like, “That’s disgusting! Jesus, what kind of an animal–”

He goes, “As you can imagine, it’s rather embarrassing for me – politically, I mean. I’d ask Hennessy to send these Tick Tock dot com people one of his famous letters except the chap is in Martinique with one of his lady friends with instructions not to disturb.”

Honor goes, “I can get it taken down for you.”

I’m there, “Leave it up there, Honor. That’ll learn him not to pick his nose and eat it in public.”

The old man’s like, “What? Could you really have it removed, Honor?”

Honor’s there, “Easy.”

He’s like, “Oh, that’s absolutely wonderful news! Thank you, Dorling!”

“On one condition,” she goes.

The old man smiles at her. They’re alike in a lot of ways.

He’s there, “How much?”

“No,” she goes, “it’s not money. I want you to be my campaign manager.”

He’s like, “Campaign manager? What in the name of Hades are you–”

“She’s talking about running for Head Girl of Mount Anville,” Sorcha goes. “Ignore her, Chorles. She’s just saying it to get me riled up.”

But I can see in the old man’s eyes that he’s interested.

“You’d be a rank outsider,” he goes. “You haven’t exactly courted popularity in the course of your school career, have you, Honor?”

Honor’s there, “No, I haven’t.”

He goes, “It’d be like the great man himself coming back from that unfortunate Orms Trial nonsense to become Taoiseach!”

Honor’s like, “Yeah, I’ve no idea what the fock that even means? But will you do it, Granddad? Will you show me how to win?”

Sorcha’s there, “Chorles, she’s just doing it for attention.”

But he goes, “You’re damn right I will, Honor! To the hustings!”

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Ross O'Carroll-Kelly

Ross O’Carroll-Kelly was captain of the Castlerock College team that won the Leinster Schools Senior Cup in 1999. It’s rare that a day goes by when he doesn’t mention it