Wednesday, March 26, 2014

When stars collide

Introduced the young fella to Thin Lizzy a couple of days ago. He already knew ‘Whiskey in the Jar’ and had been singing it a lot lately so I thought I’d play the lads’ version of it, probably the best version.
Jaysus, he loved it! His eyes lit up, his face lit up, his whole world lit up.
“Again!” he shouted when it was over. So Phil Lynott and co. performed again. And again he shouted “again!”

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Six years a Berliner

Yesterday, St. Patrick’s Day, marked six years of me being a Berliner. Six years! The young fella is already three, so it means I’ve now spent more time here as a dad than not. Mad shit. I suppose it won’t be long before he catches up with me…
We went down to Alexanderplatz for the day that was in it. The gobshites held the parade the day before so the only way of celebrating Paddy’s Day was by going to one of the pubs and getting pissed. But the young fella wasn’t into that so we had burritos instead. Traditional Irish fare. When we came out it was starting to get dark and there it was, resplendent in green – the Fernsehturn!
“That’s green for me and you!” I told him as his eyes lit up and a great big smile came across his face. “It’s green for Ireland. It’s a present from Berlin!”
He was delighted. He seems to be as much into the Fernsehturm as I am. He laughed, happy as a pig in shit. “Let’s go!”
So we went over, walked all around it. Then Tony rang for a chat, only dropped his bombshell as he was hanging up. Another one on the way! We’ll be seeing them soon enough…
We climbed up the steps, climbed down the steps, gazed in wonder through the windows at the nutjobs exercising in the gym, listened to some to marijuana-toting pissheads’ shite German hip hop, he ran around and I took a few photos.
He wanted to go up to the top of the Fernsehturm but it was cloudy and dark so there wasn’t much point. I told him we’d come back another day.
Maybe next year I’ll have a proper party. After the previous six years I was too exhausted to hold one this year. I’m not complaining. Things are going well and they could always be a helluva lot worse.
Maybe I won’t wait a year to have that party. I’ve been taking about it for the last six…

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Milking the parade

There will be no St. Patrick’s Day parade in Berlin this year. Instead, there’s a Day-Before-St. Patrick’s Day parade taking place the day before, presumably for commercial reasons.
It didn’t take long for the rot to set in. Berlin’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade was a great success in 2011. A rag-tag bunch of green-clad revelers set off on a jaunt through Görlitzer Park. It was everything the parade should be – fun, free, a celebration of being Irish.
It was already a much bigger affair one year later, but still a success, I reckon, despite a much shorter parade route. The yearly walk must have been too strenuous for some.
But the money-makers were paying attention. Last year’s was already a corporate affair, with revelers being corralled into a beer garden so they could spend their cash there rather than giving it to local Spätis, and where Germans were blasted with Irishness and tourism advertisements in the hope they’d give even more.
“The Gathering” as it was aptly called by some genius in government gathered €170 million in tourism revenue altogether. No doubt some could be attributed to that beer garden in Kreuzberg.
Now they’ve turned St. Patrick’s Day into “festival” and the parade is on the Sunday, so more customers can be milked. The route goes alongside Treptower Park before ending at “the Arena complex indoor/outdoor venue, where the festivities kick off in earnest with live Irish music, Irish dancing, party tunes and Irish food and drinks.”
Bad enough they’re celebrating on the wrong day, but now they’re charging admission! Céad mile fáilte, give me your €2. I’m sure the drinks and food won’t be free, either.
In a way, it’s typically Irish. See a way of making money and then exploit its full potential. Who said the Celtic Tiger was dead and gone?
They fucked it up. Poor Paddy would be turning in his grave.