‘I may know nothing about politics, but I’d be all over this Lucinda like a seagull on a dropped 99’
‘P ip-pip and tally-ho!” the old man goes, because saying “hello” would be too simple, of course. “That all went off without a hitch, didn’t it?”
He’s talking about our Vinnie Murray Cup semi-final against CUS last Saturday morning. They made us work hord for 40 minutes, in fairness to the fockers, before we destroyed them in the second half with what would have to be described as some seriously impressive champagne rugby.
“And so Gonzaga await their fate!” he goes – this is at the top of his voice, bear in mind. “Agnosco veteris vestigia flammae. And I know I’m saying that to a fellow student of Virgil!”
He’s wearing his lucky Cole Haan camel-hair coat and hat, and I have this sudden flashback to when I was the star of the Castlerock College team and he used to praise me from the sidelines in high-decibel Latin. I have this sudden attack of nostalgia, which reveals itself in an overwhelming urge to ask him for €500 to go on the piss. But I stop myself. I’m not 18 anymore. I am, I suppose, an adult now?
He’s there, “I wondered did you fancy accompanying your old dad to the RDS?”
I’m like, “What’s on at the RDS?”
“Lucinda – your friend and mine – is having her monster what’s-this-it’s called. A new dawn for Irish politics. Quote-unbloody-quote. I thought I might go along to see what all the fuss is about.”
“Are you going to be heckling people?”
“I may contribute to the debate, Ross, yes.”
“I love seeing you making a tit of yourself. Where are we porked?”
And off we go.
The RDS ends up being rammers. I don’t know very much about current affairs – I’m not the fastest crayon in the box – but what there does seem to be is a lot of incredibly well-dressed people talking about how “something like this is not only needed – it’s necessary!” and how “the porking situation in Ballsbridge is as bad now as it was at the height of the Celtic Tiger!”
I’m there, “So what actually is happening today?”
This is as we’re, like, queuing up to get into the main hall.
“Talk, talk and more bloody well talk,” the old man goes. “It’s the inaugural meeting of the Reform Alliance. Or the Irish Reform Alliance as I like to call them – drives Peter Mathews mad – because of the rather unfortunate acronym, don’t you know!”
I’ve no idea what an acronym is and I’ve no desire to know.
“And what are they?” I go. “Are they, like, a political porty?”
He’s there, “Of sorts, yes. They’re really an interim political organisation that may transition into something of importance. I suppose you could call them the Provisional IRA!”
That goes over my head like schoolwork. He laughs, though – so loudly that it echoes around the entrance hall. “Oh, dear, oh, dear,” he goes, “when you and I get onto the subject of politics, Ross, it’s generally the case that hilarity soon ensues!”