20 August 2007

All the way to Dublin, whack follol de rah!

I'm struggling a bit to find songs about Dublin, particularly now that I know 'Dirty Old Town' isn't about Dublin at all...it's about a town in London. But The Dubliners do a pretty rollicky brand of fiddle-dee-di-de-dee and how rad is that "whack follol de rah" on the end? Bloody rad, that's how rad.

This installment is all about art and history. I spent my first weekend in Dublin touring the museums and learning quite a lot about the Irish and realised they're far more closely related to Australians than I thought. Of course the vast majority of the first fleet were Irish, so most of us are descended from the dregs of Irish society which, frankly, is the best part. They fought hard to win their independance from the English and paid a heavy price. But they're fiercly proud of it and even though they suffered greatly for a time it's really a testament to their unbelievable optimism and good humour and ability to have a laugh even when things are at their worst. Did you know there were Irish soldiers fighting (and dying) with the ANZACs at Galipolli? So both countries have pretty much been screwed over by the English for centuries. Oh and they had a replica Viking long boat called the Sea Stallion which was built in Dublin in the 14th century, scuppered in Denmark, then salvaged and restored in the 90's and sailed back to Dublin. Vikings are metal!

I got along to the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which was ok, but not mind-blowing. The problem with modern art museums is you never know what's art and what's just furniture or rubbish. For example, the most amazing piece of modern art was completely unintentional: the museum is an old manor house and all the galleries are rooms. Someone had placed a fire extinguisher in one of the unused fireplaces, which looked awesome! It totally subverted the form and turned the ouvre on it's head. But it was really just for safety. I then spent 15 minutes staring at an empty chair wondering at its significance when the security guard came back from the pissoir and sat in it. I decided to leave. I found the Guinness storehouse too (huzzah!) but the line for the tour was really long so I'm going back in a couple of weeks.

I got to eat my lunch in the grounds of Dublin Castle the other day. How cool is that? How many of you can say they eat their lunch in a castle? Oh, wait a minute...one...me. And Prince Charles, of course. I bumped into him the other day outside Buckingham Palace and I was all like, "Dude! Lunch in a castle!" and he was all like, "I know! Fuken A!" Then we slapped five in a princely fashion which isn't up high, like you would think, but down low 'cos we're earthy and in touch. Church!

On another day I ate my lunch in St Steven's Green which is a lovely park with lots of grass and French people, which is annoying, and seagulls, which you would think would be annoying but isn't. Irish seagulls are different...they're humble and affable and know heaps of jokes. But there's way too many French people over here. There were some ugly French people sitting on the park bench near me staring and talking out of the corner of their Frenchy mouths going, "Oh hoh hoh!" and smokeing long cigarettes and singing attrocious Maurice Chevalier songs. I didn't know how to say "What the fuck are you staring at, Frenchy?" in French so I just said it in English. I think they got the message. Then I mimed it and they TOTALLY got the message. They're so smug...even the ugly ones. Presumably because they know that even the ugliest French person gets more sex than the hottest English person.

I'm over my love affair with the Irish accent. I was trying to find my hotel the other night and was a bit lost so I asked this woman, "Excuse me, how far is Cardiff Lane?" And she said, "Fookin' wha?" I said, "Cardiff...Lane" and she said, "Yer lookin' fur Loime street?" I said, "No...Cardiff Lane...L-A-N-E...LANE" and she said, "Yah want a loine?" She then tried to sell me some coke so I took a different tack. "Where's the Quality Hotel?" "Oh sure," she said, "it's roight aroond tha cowrner, an all". So she sold me the blow and we had a party in my hotel room for 15 minutes.

But thankfully I've figured out how to make people understand me. It's a simple matter of modifying my language to incorporate three simple Irish phrases: surean, fookin', and loike. So if you approach someone in the street and say "Excuse me, where is the nearest public toilet?" they'll just look at you blankly and probably punch you in the face. But if you say, "Surean, where's the fookin' toilet, loike?" they'll be only to happy to point out the possie of the nearest public pissoir.

Oh my god! There's a Forbidden Planet here in Dublin! I'm totally going but there's also a couple of really cool dingy little comic shops in the alleys on Crow Street behind my building run by nerds of the highest calibre. I've decided the interior of my building, Castle House, looks like the film set from some crap 70's hospital show which I call "Paging Doctor Love". I was going to call it "50cc's of Love, STAT!" but that's more of a soft-p0rn0, I think. They're apparently moving us out at the end of the month but I reckon I'll be gone before I get to reap the benefits. Story of my feckin' loife...

It rains a lot here and there are canals all over the place. All of which sounds quaint but it smells really bad. The water is really horrible and polluted and hobos wash their doonas in it. I did see a canal boat (a 'barge' as we call it in the biz) which you can hire out for parties and what not, but it's right in between two main roads so not what you would call picturesque. Plus, harking from Dutchland, I bet they make you clog dance and eat herrings...no thanks.

It's funny how you notice the contrasts here. On first glance everything looks quaint and oldey timey and cool - the cobbled streets, the canals, the stone bridges - but the closer you look the more you see how modern life has sullied everything: streets are littered with bottle tops and cans and glass, canals are full of rubbish and oily water, tunnels under the bridges are dark and slimey and is that a bag of rubbish or a body? One day I even found a bullet. It was out the front of a record store owned by U2 so I went in and Larry Mullens Jr was behind the counter and I was all like, "Dude! IS thisbullet the blue sky?" He thought it was hilarious and wanted to rock out with me but I was all like "Feck off, grandpa. Go find some other chump to sell out with." Awesome.

Everyday when I come in to work there's about 5 emails with berevement notices and directions to the wake. Public service people are just dropping like flies over here! But in typical Irish style, death is simply another excuse to get pissed. I reckon so many people are dying due to the number of wakes they have to go to...it's like some vast alcohol-fuelled perpetual motion machine.

Right, that's it for now. I've put another batch of photos up so check 'em out, y'all at http://picasaweb.google.com/blind.phineas/. Back to London this weekend to move my stuff across the hall - the dude's coming back and I'm renting a room from one of the girls in the flat who's going away for 5 weeks - then back to Dublin for more of the craic and the black.

Love and Guinness.

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