St Pat’s day...again

It’s not really St Patrick’s Day-- as the day agreed upon by international Celtic consensus is next Friday-- but here in Brisbane there’s a march from one end of town to the other usually some Saturday either side of the canonized date --ending at a pretend Irish pub. That the march is owned by the aforesaid pub -- Dooley's -- gives you a indication of its substance. As Gerry Adams asked an audience of which I was a member once, “How many here are Irish?”. And up go a few hands. “And tell me,” asked Adams,” how many here would like to be?” And up go the rest.

That Dooley's looks like a Spanish mission and used to be called The Hacienda and be the main gay nightspot in town, indicates how improvisational a publican can be.

And today not a pink triangle could be seen -- it was a sea of green. Green is a nice color on trees and spinach and such, where it belongs, but when the populous in large numbers is so decorated it is hard to find your way among them -- especially in a large and noisy bar with a bit of craic well under way.

After all the marching, piping and such it’s a glass of the slops you have really come for. By the time I’d ordered my Guinness the tank had run dry and I had to wait until some hard working navvy in the cellar tapped a new keg. Oh the irony! St Pat’s day and none of the black stuff to be had! I had to wait through all three choruses of A Nation Once Again and a full on fiddle medley before I got to the serious sipping.
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Riley Twinkletoes: second from right
I’m with the Queensland Irish Association and that’s where we hang out as that’s where our loyalties lie. We Riley’s exploit our Irishness (whatever that is) as an excuse for a bit of lifestylism. With one of the sprogs an all jumping & stepping Irish dancer(see photo above) -- you spend plenty of time in a scene where Irishness is taken to heart. The Gaelic footballers have their separate watering hole, but the stalwarts who sign on for a bit of kultur tend to gravitate to the QIA.

So St Pat’s Day is a big week -- a very big week -- if you’re step dancing. My daughter is gigged out by the end of it. What with the parade display, dancing for the retired nuns, pub bookings, mall dancing,special dinners and jigging up and down on the special (horse) race day ... the tootsies get a real work out.

(If only the boy -- the male human offspring -- were as committed to the dance...!)

So its an all dancing and all piping sort of day except with the franchise held by a publican you have to put up with a local television station muscling in on the festivities to brand it as one of their community care events. In the parade there were the bands and some floats on the theme but also a starlet from Home and Away. St Patrick would I’m sure, turn in his grave at such mish mash.

To add insult to injury out come the pollies: the Brisbane Lord Mayor and Queensland’s top media tart, Peter Beattie -- the state’s cheesy grin premier.

You have to watch yourself when Beattie is around in crowds as he isn’t the tallest of figures and before you know it he’s at your elbow trying to glad hand you. I keep well clear of the man as my right hand has been kidnapped before without my permission. With media in tow this demagogue can really work a crowd.

So we all gather...each for their own reasons:opportunism, alcohol, sentimentality, culture...or because we have to put in a show.

And I’ll be doing it all again next Friday.