Sunday 17 July 2016

Don't feel guilty for not keeping up with Galway!

Hooh mumma. Galway’s revving up, the city’s rear tyres spinning on the axle as we head into the middle of this mad July.

This year we’re squeezing the Film Fleadh, the Arts Festival and Race Week into the one month, so there’s no time to lose: you have to decide now.

Are you going to abandon yourself to the craic or will you hide away until all the crazy people have gone?

Will you seek out, pontificate upon and absorb  - osmose, dwaaaarling - the wondrous and diverse cocktail of culture that arrives in our small city during these short weeks or prefer to pack a bag and head for the hills?

Maybe, like myself and other Galwegians, you'll try to find a balance, intend to visit several exhibitions, sample some street theatre, see a play at the Town Hall Theatre and catch a band at the Big Top. 

Then the festival’s over and you’re saying that you can’t believe you did it again; another year without seeing anything, what a slack git you are, next year it’ll be different but also I mean look at those prices, really, they seem to have shot up or is it just me?

Then you’ll say something about really wanting to get to the track this year, to make up for the lack of effort during the Arts Festival, and yeh, maybe Family Day, is that on the Sunday, or you know what, never mind Race Week. 

You know what I like, you say, I like the September and October meetings, when there’s less of the crowds and more of the craic. Great racing too, mind, and you talk yourself out of going to the Galway Races as part of your excuse speech for not partaking in the Arts Festival.

Life gets so busy this time of year a scribbler can lose track of his pronouns.

So it goes. It’s hard to keep up when you live in a city that has so many magnificent festivals, performers, players, musicians and writers. Oh and shout out a great big Galway Goodonya! to the administrators, to the folk who put the chairs out and do the dishes, without whom everything would be a proper cock-up altogether.

Galway’s got the lot. We can run your party. We’ll take on your Triathlon or your World Chef Convention. We will keep you laughing at our Comedy Festival through storm force Atlantic tempests and entertain the entire country for seven days at the end of this month.

You end up feeling inadequate because you haven’t been to see enough things, or in fact anything at all, so you’ve taken to talking knowledgeably in Tigh Neachtain about what you would really have liked to have seen and done and why, hiding the hard truth that you don’t have the money to go to a tenth of these events. 

You barely have cash in your pocket for the next round of drinks and yet still you’re warbling on and on about why you could and should have gone to everything you missed.

By the end of next week there’ll be ten thousand culture vultures trying to leave town before a hundred thousand drinkers arrive in Galway, demanding the right to the curious pleasure of standing on Quay Street, as crammed as a Galway calendar, supping pints while simultaneously rubbing shoulders with Roscommon farmers, English film directors and Hungarian politicians.

Meanwhile there’s the local stray dog below sight, down in the forest of feet on the ground, who’s cocked his leg against your jeans and you don’t and won’t know until tomorrow morning when you think about putting those trousers back on.

There is another way. With the greatest disrespect to Tony Blair (and before you all rush to burn him for his war crimes in Iraq, this Englishman gently reminds you that he ousted and then defeated the Tories in three General Elections in the UK, a trick we thought exclusive to the Conservatives), there is a Third Way, yet unlike Blair’s it is honest and it is pure.

All you have to do is admit that you can’t be arsed.

No, I’m neither suggesting you give up on a cultural existence nor discouraging Galwegians and those who read this Noble Rag around the world from coming to Galway to participate in our non-stop annual bacchanalia and art-crammed cornucopia.

I’m just reassuring those Galwegians out there who have to carry on living their lives, paying their bills, keeping the kids amused and the fridge stocked that they do just that. 

Please don’t feel bad about feeling left out. It’s not your fault all this fun, frivolity and culturally-significant shenanigans happen in your home town.

Yes, the traffic will be desperate and the parking non-existent. You’ll be late round to mam’s on Thursday because it’s Ladies Day, when women all over the county will be freaking out over lip gloss and muddied high heels broken on cobbled streets.

There’ll be no choir practice on Tuesdays, you can forget about the bingo on the Saturday and life is just plain all over the place, so go down to Dunnes or Lidl, wherever tickles your fancy, and load your trolley with good bad stuff. 

Sure you could even spoil yourself just a little bit and pop into Marks and Spencer for a tiny something special to nibble at while you sit on your sofa, the curtains closed to block out the sunlight, indulging in some guilt-free quiet time, while all around your local world rages.

Between now and then you’ll make a point of saving a few bobs to make sure you have enough to go and see some shows in next year’s festival. 

Yeh, you’ll join in next year. 
Course you will.

©Charlie Adley

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