The best of places; the worst of places.
At the Red Cow Luas stop, a teenager in tracksuit and runners stood and held the doors open while his companion leapt from the tram to buy a minimum price ticket; two inspectors had appeared. The driver sat and watched while the boy blocked the doors – not a word was said by he or the inspectors. The companion, a pimply youth of no more than fourteen had the initials of a Dublin soccer club tattooed down his neck in dark green. Isn’t there a minimum age for such things?
The entire carriage was treated to the pimply one explaining to his friend that they would not be at Heuston until 7.15 because the Luas was running late – the conversation seemed chiefly to consist of expletives beginning in ‘f’ and ‘c’ – could they not have taught him to swear in Irish to have injected some variety into his vocabulary?
Getting off the tram at Busaras, tea consisted of a tuna sandwich and a tiny bottle of orange. Handing the shop assistant a €5 note he said, “Six Euro and five cent”.
“Six euro and Five Cent – 4.25 for the sandwich and 1.80 for the juice”.
I handed him another €5 note.
“Have you the five cent?”
“No, I haven’t the five cent!”
Forgetting my mobile, I went to a payphone, which wouldn’t work. I then discovered my twenty cent offering was far too small – the minimum charge for the fifteen second call was a Euro.
The North Wall was busy with crowds heading to the Point – bizarrely now named the O2 – how can a landmark building take the name of a telephone company?
“Event parking €15”, declared an NCPS sign. The lads weren’t doing much business. QuickPark further down were doing better; they were €10.
Entrance to the Point meant walking around the entire building to be ushered between barriers where surly security staff glared at everyone. “Ladies, have your handbags open, please”.
Why? What were they going to smuggle in with their handbags?
Finding friends and our seats – which were as far away from the stage as Co Roscommon – I asked a vendor for a bottle of beer. He handed me the bottle and I handed him a fiver.
“The beer is €6.50”.
330 ml of warm Carlsberg in a plastic bottle is €6.50. Maybe the ladies smuggle beer bottles in their handbags.
The band started playing at 9.30. The last of the drinkers came in from the bar at 9.40. The first of the departures for the toilet came around 9.50. By 10.00 the drinkers needed refreshment and had to go out again. The toiletgoers then started returning followed by the drinkers. Then they started getting muddled up; some of the women seemed to have very weak bladders and had to head out again by 10.20, but their numbers were swollen by those who could not survive half an hour without a drink. The band only played until 10.50, by which time the musical chairs in the rows in front had become very excited as some of those who had hardly watched anything all night anyway decided this was the point at which to leave. By the time the band reappeared for the encore, there was a steady stream out of the doors.
I’m told that Christy Moore will not allow the bars to be open while he is playing, I can understand why.
When they were not going to the bar or the toilet; many of the people talked among themselves. Why would you pay €55 for a ticket that gave you the chance to buy and recycle grossly overpriced drink while talking to your friends about what happened in the office that afternoon?
I shall not be returning to the O2 – at least not without my handbag full of bottles and a ticket that allowed me to stand.
(And the taxi home cost us €10 each)