Saturday, 31 January 2009

UP THE DUBS!!!!

Well, it's been over a year since I last blogged. And, me oh my how time flies. For a start I'm now no longer a Belfast-boy living in Liverpool studying journalism. That's because as of 17/08/08 (my birthday) I'm a Belfast-man now residing in... wait for it... DUBLIN! Ha. Yes, the big-smoke has yet another 'Nordie' to put up with these days - times, they are a-changin' folks. So far I have found the locals to be very warm and hospitable, but I have to admit the language barrier has been a real pain in the ass sometimes! Who would have known 'dowidzenia' means 'hello' in Irish? Not me, that's for sure.

On a serious note, I found getting set up with a job extremely difficult. I mean where do I start? I chose not to aim high from the start, and instead opted for the like's of Spar, HMV etc. just to get started. Even had an interview with Centra on Camden Street (I worked in their Holywood store a week previous)... a job I didn't get in the end! 'Maybe it's cuz I wasn't Polish?' But bear no grudges and all of that malarky. So, after a month or so running around the city centre I land this job with The Academy - Dublin's hottest new music venue/nightclub (allegedly...). Never pulled a pint before in my life before, so I was thinking this could be fun! It was, and still is. Got to see Sterophonics, some Abba lookalikes, Tom Baxter (who?), Johnny Vegas (he drinks heineken), Bono (he drinks budweiser... bottles mind), Glasvegas, Staind, and yer man that does Galway Girl (I'm sure that wasn't all he's famous for). But the calibre of talent they've attracted of late has been brilliant. I mean, a 20 minute set from the world renowned Eoghan Quigg, where else would you get it?

At the minute life is good. It's alot different from last year in Liverpool. For a start, the majority of Dub's don't think/talk/sleep football 24/7 like the Scousers - unless they're politely discussing last night's United v Liverpool game on Sky TV of course. That's where the problem lies. Local football is dying on it's feet, no matter how much the FAI try to cover it up. Yes, St Patrick's Athletic did fantastic last season in the UEFA Cup but trying to tempt the fans out of their houses to actually watch them was like trying to get the Orange Order down O'Connell Street - it just wasn't happening.

I was fortunate enough to be North of the border where All-Ireland fever struck East Belfast (never thought I'd be saying that!). That night St Pat's took on a resurgent Glentoran team, where the winner would qualify for the Sentata Cup semi-final (and incidently knock out Linfield in the process!). However, I counted 26 travelling fans in total. It was later confirmed to be by someone at the club that in actual fact 27 tickets were sold. I can just picture that one poor Dub wandering around Sydenham by himself asking the local hoods "alllll-roight bud howz it gooooin', story wit cha lads... now tell me dis an tell me no-more.. where's dis oval kip???"

But as I said before, we Irish don't take any pride from supporting our local game in the same way Liverpudlians do. I remember 'Red or Blue?' was the message coming out of the European capital of culture in 2008, displayed on giant billboards etc. The city was buzzing on match-day. The clubs took turns for example, it tended to be Everton at home one week, then Liverpool the next. No matter who it was, a vibrant atmosphere was guaranteed. And don't get me started on the Merseyside derby. It's puts Glens/Linfield, Bohs/Rovers to absolute shame.

Speaking of shame, what was Boxing Day all about? Yes, thats right the annual clash between Belfast's 'Big Two' was marred by violence - surprise, surprise! This time though 99% of the blame lied on so-called Glentoran fans. I say so-called because this fixture seems to be the ONLY Irish League game these young chaps attend each season. No time whatsoever so these people. It was 3-0 to the Blues at the time, why humiliate ourselves any more?? Answer: because they are not actual fans. However, along with the condemnation, came the fantasists on the Nolan Show on Radio Ulster spewing their usual 'anti-anything Northern Irish' crap. Nolan himself had to laugh. The abuse started off with the usual - "Eamon from Poleglass says the fighting between Linfield and Glentoran fans should mean we just disband the league and join with the League of Ireland, and while we're at it have an all-Ireland team" - boring, heard it all before, it's ok we know where you're from and what you're about - it's to be expected. But then, as I was starting to nod off, on comes Geraldine from the Falls to tell the country "Glentoran and Linfield fans are just as sectarian as each other, that's why there were fighting each other, they're just sectarian" - a bold statement from someone who clearly knows nothing about Irish League football (wonder if shes a DC fan?!). I'd say even Cliftonville and their prodominately catholic fanbase must have been scratching their heads at the thought of Linfield fans having a change of faith and shouting 'ya orange bastards' to the Glentoran fans! Geraldine from the Falls, we salute you.

Right, so that's the football covered and Christmas covered. At the minute it is Saturday afternoon. I'm not long out of bed (still carrying a bit of that student-itous). Getting ready to watch the Champions of the World take on the pride of Merseyside - Everton (a big thanks to Timmy Cahill for further wrecking the Red-shite's season!).

Back to work at 10pm tonight where my tips are fucking fantastic. Another big thank you all the pilled-out Dubs/Eastern Europe blow-ins. However a big thanks for nothing to all you cheapscate northerners asking me 'hay much is yer cheapest drink hi' and I say '5 euro' and you're face drops like a lead balloon. Not only am I not getting a tip off you, you're not getting drunk tonight, shit one all round.

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