Friday, 14 April 2017

A Game of Two Halves: The IFTA's and Croker

Mr Private has the privilege of spending Friday evening with me wrapped in a towel, smothered in fake tan and walking around like John Wayne until the lotion dried - A sight that my new squeeze could probably have done without seeing, now, or ever.  I break it to him on Thursday, that not alone am I working on Saturday morning, I will be abandoning him that evening, as I, quite frankly, got a better offer -  a much coveted, last minute, ticket for the Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTA’s).  He won’t be home alone though, as a carload of Kerry men are due to arrive, in advance of the Dublin V Kerry Football League Final the following day. 

Saturday morning, I have booked a hair and eyebrow appointment before I go to work.  I arrive at my meeting with a group of teenagers with ringlets a la Shirley Temple and eyebrows on fire.  I feel as self-conscious as the 15-year-olds look.  We discuss that we have to discuss and I vamoose, my curls starting to flop already. 

Mr Private encourages me to place a bet on the main race in The Grand National.  I go for the horse trained by Lucinda Russell, my nemesis of sorts, as my forename acquires that sneaky ‘D’ as least 3 times a week. I'm disappointed that I won't get to watch the race with Mr P, but my posh do awaits.

I get dressed for the IFTA’s in Mr Private’s house.  He’s standing at the bottom of his stairs when I saunter down in my guna nua, feeling like I’m off to my Debs, Pretty in Pink, with blushing cheeks to match as he takes my photograph and tells me that he is proud of me.  

I am accompanied to the IFTA’s by some of my best film buddies, two giants of men, in tuxedos.  They'd pass as my bodyguards, if I was a some one.  We walk up the red carpeted steps of the Mansion House in the glorious sunshine, as crowds of people and an army of photographers gather, to catch a glimpse of the Beautiful People.  The IFTA’s are MC’ed by Deirdre O’Kane and the show is super.   The Kildare interest in the IFTA’s are ‘Gridlock’, nominated for Best Short Film and Caoilfhionn Dunne, nominated for Best Actress in ‘In View’.  Neither win in their category, but the nominations are a huge boost for film promotion in the county and something that gives me great personal satisfaction.   Mr Private texts me and tells me that I have won e75 on the Grand National.  My scientific approach to gambling has paid off, go Lucinda.  Cinderella eventually leaves the ball and returns to a house full of mountain men, burning the midnight oil.

There are negotiations on the best route to Croke Park.  I direct Mr Private via my familiar haunts when I lived in Dublin.  Kilmainham, along the walls of the Phoenix Park, turning left up Infirmary Road, right onto the North Circular Road, past my old flat and O’Devaney Gardens where I worked.   No 63 NCR, my half way house for strays from Meath, en route to the airport, a concert, the Mater Hospital or looking for a flat.  The boys from O’Devaney that I tried to teach art to, but failed, mostly because their greater need was for a hot meal and a warm bed.  I think of A.C. one of my past pupils there, then a violent 16 year old.   A tall, handsome lad, who had bowel problems because no one ever bothered to toilet train him.  He couldn’t read or write either, but carved his initials everywhere.  Curious as to what had become of A.C. since those days, I Googled his name recently and found that he was doing a long stretch in Mountjoy Prison for Grievous Bodily Harm, that latent anger manifesting itself.

The Kerry men follow us up the NCR towards Phibsborough.  They phone Mr Private on the way, annoyed that there are no parking spaces available.  I regret suggesting the route and wishes that they had made their own way there.  Mr Private has lost the cool.  F’ing and blinding about Dublin and Ireland, comparing here to other European cities.  I feel like suggesting that Mr Private buys himself a one-way ticket out of ‘this shit hole’.  I retort saying, ‘The only thing wrong with the parking spaces that I suggested is that cars were already in them’.  The two-car entourage meander across the North Side and into a multi storey car park off Abbey Street.  Mr Private very nearly hits his very nice car off the very large, very yellow pillar.  He’s cursing again.  ‘It’s a pity the pillar wasn’t a bit bigger’, I quip and burst out laughing.  He's laughing now too. 

Kerry Man 1, Mr Private Junior is mumbling about a ‘better route’.  Kerry Man 2, the diplomat, says that he could see why I suggested that way.  Kerry Man 3 is smiling, keeping his head down and his hands in his pockets.   I’m relieved that we are not all sitting together in Croker.

Although we are freezing cold at the match, Mr Private has thawed out on me.  He’s tells me that he’s happy I’m there.  I’m glad that he is there too – our seats are so high in the Cusack Stand that I’m feeling dizzy and I need someone to cling onto.  Anto on my other side doesn’t look like he would take kindly to a non-Dub clutching his beefcake arm, although he is ‘bleedin’ poxy freezin’ too, wearing bleedin’ poxy shorts.  I wish he would stop roaring in my ear.  You would swear that ‘DeeeeannnnoooOOOO' was the only player on the pitch.
We are surrounded by a sea of uber-confident Dubs and the Kerry team needs all of the support they can muster, even from me.  The match is nail-biting til the end and Kerry get a well deserved win, by one point, 1-16 to 0-20.  I’m under pressure to get home, so we don’t get to say goodbye to the Kerry men.  Hopefully they will remember me for the Domestic Goddess breakfast I prepared for them and not our tour of Dublin City.

I text Mr Private and tell him that I am writing about cranky Kerry men and car parks.  He texts back saying ‘Will you mention how things have changed since Meath were last in a final?’  

Hit me where it hurts Mr Private, hit me where it hurts.