Bad jokes, fighting cats, and odd uses for prams: snapshots of Irish daily life
In our frenetic, fragmented city, where the majority of participants rated their knowledge of their local area as poor, we rarely have the time or the excuse to simply watch and listen.
For a month, at least, all those involved became proud contributors to what the original Mass-Observation team aptly dubbed the “Science of Ourselves”; challenging the prescribed order that decrees what is remembered and what is forgotten, the stories we collect and those we lose.
As economic and social collapse threaten to subsume us, it is somehow comforting to know that on the 16A bus, dead dogs and cake recipes are still the topics of the day.
Overheard in Dublin
“Halloween costumes; a cold; eating organic; the Occupy movement; Michael D’s poetry; films and TV programmes; creative-writing classes; dreams; Belgian beers; being hung-over; having your drink spiked; long-haired kids; mobile phones; a nasty break-up; Steve Jobs”
Topics of conversation in a Stoneybatter pub , 2011
A woman approaches a fruit vendor and asks for a banana. She is offered five for (whatever) but replies she only wants one – another multiple offer is made but she sticks to her guns and says: “Only one please.”
The vendor turns to her colleague on the next stall: “She’s havin’ a party.”
Conversation overheard on Moore Street, November 22nd, 2011
Late one night, two train attendants sit at a four seater. It is the last train of the day travelling from Cork to Dublin. The mood is sleepy and relaxed.
The female train attendant is in a chatty mood. She asks her male colleague if he would like a slice of cheese.
He says no but she asks again a few minutes later, if he’s sure he wouldn’t like a slice of cheese. She then goes on to explain why the label says “cheesy” and that this in fact denotes that it is not “cheese”.
The male co-worker agrees and comments that she is “on to something there”.
Conversation overheard, Cork to Dublin train, November 10th, 2011
Everyone is talking about heating and home insulation. A man in his 70s who had worked on the buses for 50 years says to another: “What’s wrong with you that you don’t insulate your home?”
“Money, that’s what.”
“People expect to sit in their homes now without moving a muscle to stay warm and are prepared to take any kind of pill rather than do some DIY.”
Conversation overheard at a retirement party, November 5th, 2011