In a Word . . . Bazaar

 

“How bizarre,” the song said. “Jump into the Chevy, headed for big lights/Wanna know the rest? Hey, buy the rights/How bizarre/How bizarre/How bizarre.”

Claimed as one of the greatest New Zealand songs of all time, it was released 21 years ago this month by the now-defunct Kiwi group OMC (Otara Millionaires Club). They might have been describing that All Blacks performance against Ireland in Dublin last month. So bizarre. Of which no more said. (I used to like Kiwis.) But bizarre leads me to “bazaar” – if you follow my riff.

I have no luck at raffles, the lotto, bookies, horses, betting on flies going up a wall. I will never write about my haunted struggle with gambling addiction and the thrilling adventures I endured to pay for it all. Yes, I’m another would-be writer with a brilliant career destroyed at infancy by contentment.

I blame my mother. Should I sue?

Which brings me to bazaar. Eventually.

In distant, latter decades of the last millennium, the De La Salle Brothers in my home town used have the “Bazaar” at this time every year to raise funds for the primary school which all we Ballaghaderreen boys attended. It also helped fund our award-winning fife and drum band.

Needles to anchors

It took place in the local St Mary’s parochial hall – now, like the Brothers, gone too. The stage would be crammed with items – from needles to anchors – donated by people and shops in town. These were raffled off throughout what was usually a very entertaining evening, with us boys selling the tickets which we just loved to do because it was so grown-up.

Sometimes we’d buy tickets ourselves, as I did that night I won.

I remember it so well. I shall never forget. It’s been such a rare occurrence. My prize was two delph ducks which have survived the years since, and reside proudly on a mantelpiece over the fireplace in my late brother Pearse’s kitchen. There, in the house where we all grew up.

St Mary’s burned down. The Brothers dwindled away. The house was renovated from top to bottom.There have been wars and rumours of wars. But my two ducks still stand. Bizarre?

Bazaar, from the Persian bázár, meaning marketplace; also a sale in aid of charity. Bizarre, meaning “odd, fantastic”, from the Italian bizarro, meaning “irascible”.

inaword@irishtimes.com

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.