Ethnology – Limerick City

Its nine thirty on a Saturday night as I make my way up the steps in to Baker Place. As I enter there are a group of musicians lurking at the top of the bar, towards the town side. There is a large bay window where the drum kit etc is set up, which looks out onto Limerick City, and the newly developed Taits clock. I say hallo to the musicians and make my way past towards the bar. There are two other groups of people in the bar, both hiding in separate cubby holes, one situated half way down, the other out of view at the back. That’s something I have never really understood, why you would hide in a corner while you are out to watch a live band. For me it hampers the sound, and just as bad is being at the very front, where in my opinion the sound simply passes you by because you are too close to the monitors. So I make my way half way up the bar and call a pint. Beautiful.

By the time my pint comes the bar is after filling up dramatically. A birthday party has arrived, all in fancy dress, so suddenly I am sharing a night with Elvis, Miss Monroe, two milk cartoons and co….. It’s going to be a good night. Everything around me has changed dramatically in the time it has taken me to get a pint. I look around again and begin to study the people. There are three bands lined up to play, and as far as I am concerned, it looks like there are three different crowds, each dressed similar to the style and clothes that the band they are their to see are wearing. Strange I think. I ask a guy next to me, “Who are you looking forward to seeing man,” “Walter Mitty and the Realists” he replies without hesitation. “Good band, I like them myself …ever heard of Ilya K”………. “No interest”………….. Strange I thought, why would you come out to see a band and ignore the other two that are playing, it actually happens a lot. Someones friend is in a band, and no matter how good the other bands are, they don’t like them. Not only that but they don’t even listen to them, give them a chance. I sipped on my pint, pondered a bit, and began to look around again.

There were boys there, looking all cool in their leathers and trendy gear, and there girlfriends, pouting, looking fabulous, but having the personalities of a pack of dry roasted peanuts. If you don’t understand what I mean, try having a conversation with a dry roasted peanut!!! There were one or two hippies, trying to talk and look like hippies, but failing because of too much effort. You can’t try to be a hippie. At this stage I am beginning to get physically annoyed, everyone one and thing seems mock to me, so I decide to head downstairs to the smoking area, to relax in the aroma of Amsterdams finest, before heading back in to the gig.

As I make my way down the stairs a drunk is coming up, falling from side to side, hitting both the walls, yet spilling none of his drink. Another amazing feat that. “ Hows it” he mummurs, “ grand, you ok” He looks at me with one eye and stares intently with it…. “ Cosmic, why” … “sorry, I was only asking” “ ye are all up yer own arses in here”, and with that he struggled past me, up the steps into the distance “ fucking drunks” I laughed and made my way out to have a puff.

As I looked around the smoking area I realised that everything did seem fake, people seemed uncomfortable in their skin, so they put on someone elses. They talked about not what they felt passionate about themselves, but what would impress the people they were surrounded with. I laughed again, feeling odd that I never noticed it before. My mind tracked back to the drunk. I laughed again.

The drunk was there to get drunk. Maybe to escape, or maybe to exist, but his whole purpose of being there was to get drunk. He was not pretending to like anything he didn’t like, he wasn’t wearing anything to fit into a particular crowd, he wasn’t using certain language to impress or ridicule. Again his sole purpose was to get drunk. I scanned the smoking area again and laughed, again thinking of the drunk. At this point people had realised I was on my own, laughing out loud, and they began to look at me strange. This made me laugh uncontrollably. The drunk is the only true person here i thought, well not exactly, but it seems to be the truth. I realised that I want to be around people who are themselves, who like what they like, do what they like to do, dress in the clothes they feel comfortable in. I stood up and had another look around, still laughing, people still looking.

I hope when I go upstairs, everyone is pissed, their inhibitions dispersed, and the music beautiful. “ Ye are all full of shit”, i said… and with that I left to go and enjoy the music.


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