THE TRAKEEN FESTIVAL OF BONGOS AND OTHER DRUMS
People come from miles around for the Trakeen Bongo Festival. They meet a lot of people going in the other direction. That would be the locals, getting out of town. You don’t want to be around when the bongos start. Or when the bongos stop and the people playing them start to talk. That’s no fun either.
There is an extra incentive to get out of town this year. The Committee has decided to break the world record for the number of people playing bongos in the one place at the one time. If there is one thing worse than a huge gang of people playing the bongos, it’s a huge gang of people who think it’s an achievement to get in the Guinness Book of Records. They’re not even doing it for charity.
Mind you, Bongo Barry won’t hear a word against the festival. He’ll be down in Trakeen all weekend, banging away on the drums with that special idiot face reserved for bongo players and people who mix up their medication. You can’t blame him. Without the bongos he’d be just another guy who has watched every single episode of Star Trek twice, by himself. With the bongos, he gets to score with gullible German young ones who think that a bongo player is a musician, rather than someone who couldn’t be bothered to learn the guitar.
So Bongo Barry will be there with his favourite bongo, three or four of those plastic bracelets to make it look like he’s interested in causes and his scoring beanie. The ladies will flock to Trakeen from Dusseldorf and Munich to make eyes at him. He is not to know that every last one of them is thinking “Bongo Barry is as close as I will ever get to das rumpy pumpy with Larry Mullen.” This is just as well.
THE CASTLEBEG ARTS FESTIVAL
American tourist Colleen sits in the B&B, updating her travel blog with impressions of the Castlebeg Arts Festival.
‘When Shannon and I saw the Facebook page for the Castlebeg Arts Festival, we said like oh my God this would be a totally awesome way to get away from the tourist traps and experience Ireland’s rich cultural heritage. We were like so wrong.
So like we arrived and went into this pub called How’s She Cuttin’. We asked the barman if he had any art on display and he pointed at two paintings on the wall. Both of them were of dogs playing cards. I said like cool, it’s clearly an allegory for bankers ruining the world. The barman insisted it was dogs playing cards. He seemed like angry.
Then this guy called Scooby or Scobie came over and said “are ye here for the auld art girls?” He could have done with a wash. Scooby offered to show us the highlights of the festival. He brought us to a space called ‘the hall’ which was showing a video on a loop of his brother Stinger doing donuts on the Limerick road. When I asked Scooby if it was supposed to represent ennui in rural Ireland he said no, it was Stinger doing donuts on the Limerick road. Then he said “Jaysus, you’re irresistible” and tried to kiss me. I let him for a little bit.
Shannon asked what else there was to see. Scooby said Daft Deirdre had probably finished reading palms outside the Spar, so the only other thing was a “weirdo sculpture in the GAA pitch by some Dutch bender”. I didn’t like the sound of that. Shannon said she’d go with him. She’s like such a slut. Actually she just arrived back there after a fight with the ScoobMeister. Like, get this. They were making out in his Celica when he suddenly looked her in the eyes and said ‘Jesus, you’d be the image of Katy Perry if you lost a few pounds’. Tomorrow we’re going to this thing called the Rose of Tralee. Hopefully we’ll like see some culture there.’
THE DRUMSILAGE FAIR
Forget about The Gathering. Emigrants have been returning for the Kilsilage Fair since it was invented in 2004 to celebrate everything that’s good about rural North Kerry with three days of borderline alcoholism. They got rid of the committee last year because when it comes to three days of non-stop drinking, it turns out that Irish people are self-organising.
Things are looking tricky this year. They got a new Superintendent in from Cork who is hell bent on wrecking Kilsilage 2012 – he is opposing ‘de extension.’ Lar “Spud” Moriarty (FG) is on his feet at an emergency meeting of the Urban District Council.
“I would like to say this to Superintendent McCarthy. The Kilsilage Fair is built on de extension. Sons of the parish will not come home from Australia if they think the pint will be grabbed out of their hands at half eleven by some greasy Cork man. Kilsilage men have been drinking their heads off until all hours since this festival began, and it never did anyone any harm, except for the time Billy Mike O’Shea drove to Shannon airport at 5am and demanded they sell him some duty free. Good man Billy Mike. What was the point in driving out the British occupiers if we can’t celebrate our unique rural communities by drinking until dawn? It’s a dark day for Kilsilage. I propose we march up to Superintendent McCarthy’s house like one of them mobs out of the Simpsons. All in favour? Right, that’s carried 2 to nil, no abstentions. Tell me Séamas, where are the other eight councillors.”
“They’re down in O’Reilly’s getting as much drink into them before the Fair in case we don’t get de extension.”
“They’re right too. I’ve always said the key to the Drumsilage Fair is preparation. And de extension.”
LOCHBEG MUSIC EXTRAVAGANZA
Eamon is having a shite day. If there’s one thing worse than hanging around town in the pissing rain with your three small children, it’s doing that when you’re looking at Crystal Swing on the back of a lorry.
Then his gorgeous next-door neighbour Chloe taps him on the shoulder and says “I think the mother is giving you the eye.” “Chloe you’re hilarious” replied Eamon, over doing it a bit. You’d overdo it too if you ever saw Chloe sunbathing out the back in her black bikini. Especially if your wife snuck up behind you and said “you haven’t a hope in hell Eamon, don’t forget the bins.”
This festival is starting to pick up. Flirting with Chloe should help ease the pain of standing through 30 minutes of Mickey Joe Harte followed by ‘a surprise guest superstar’ who is probably just Bressie.
“So what brings you to the Lochbeg Music Extravaganza, Chloe?” said Eamon, when he really meant to say “why don’t we just dump our kids right here and shag off to Spain.”
“Bressie. I’m telling you Eamon, I’m married with two kids and I’d still like to take him to a room in that new hotel by the roundabout and cover him in maple syrup.”
“Is that all you’d like to do, Chloe?” said Eamon, without thinking.
“Hardly Eamon, hardly” she whispered and gently slapped him on the shoulder. Eamon hadn’t felt like this since the German channel on cable started showing porn back in the 1990’s.
Except then his eldest daughter turned around and said “Dad, stop trying to score with Chloe will ya, she’s so out of your league.”
Eamon turned to Chloe, mortified. Chloe turned to Eamon and said “she’s right Eamon, I so am.” Bitch.
CNOCKNOCK MOON FESTIVAL
Noreen is all go. She never thought that her small ad in Druid’s Monthly for the Cnocknock Moon Festival would attract over 1000 new-age types to her little Mayo village. As she grandly announced to her husband when they started to arrive at their campsite: “There’s one hell of smell off these hippies, Fergus Staunton and it’s the smell of money. Go out the garage there and open another box of those crystals we bought from that mad little Chinaman in Galway – the hippies can’t get enough of them.”
She lowered her voice. “And then go up to the back field and check if the cement has set on the two standing stones Johnny put up last night. The hippies are planning to go up there tonight and dance around like gobshites to get in touch with their inner child. Jesus Fergus, people would believe anything. Come back then and I’ll give you your dinner.”
“Is it lentils, Noreen?”
“My arse.” At this point an attractive young hippy approached the reception desk. She ran out and hugged him for longer than necessary because she is on her third reading of Fifty Shades of Grey and Fergus hasn’t been up to much since the operation.
“How can I help, you gorgeous hippy?”
“I was just up at the standing stones there Noreen. Very impressive. How long ago did the Celts perform their rituals there?”
“Oh, it was ages ago. A thousand years at least.”
“ Wow. It’s amazing that they were able to work with cement.”
“Oh, we had a very advanced strain of Celt here in Mayo. Could I interest you in a crystal?”
“I’ll give you a box for free to sell on to the other hippies as long as you don’t say a word about the bit of cement.”
“Fair play to you. And there was I thinking that every last hippy was a gormless eejit.”
“You’re good crack Noreen.”
TASTE OF DRUMLOCH
Pauline doesn’t fancy the stalls at the Taste of Drumloch. When she heard they were going to celebrate local eating habits, Pauline assumed there would be a chipper and a place where a pleasant lady puts a plate of bacon and cabbage in front of you and says ‘now so’.
She did not expect sushi, weird bread, cupcakes, crepes, macaroons and worst of all, organic vegetables. It is a well-known fact that Drumlochians like their veg with lashings of pesticide.
She strode over to the stall. “How much for the carrots?”
“They’re a euro each.”
“Christ on a bike. Why are they so expensive?”
“Because we don’t spray them with anything.”
“So you want me to pay more because you couldn’t be bothered your arse to make them safe. Feck that.”
It was then she spotted festival organiser and all round snotty gobshite Clive Smyth at the next stall.
“Well, would you look who it is. Clive Smyth selling that great Drumloch delicacy, sweet chilli sauce. Truly Clive, it is our culinary gift to a grateful world. Welcome to Drumloch, home of chilli sauce, macaroons and raw fish.”
“There’s no need to be like that Pauline. The purpose of the festival is to educate people like yourself and broaden your horizons. Did you not see our slogan on the way in – ‘It is far from this you were reared’.”
“Ok so Clive, tell me what’s so great about your sweet chilli sauce.”
“Most people buy it as a cure for constipation.”
“Give me three bottles. And don’t be going around town telling everyone I have trouble on that front. You snotty gobshite.”
THE RAVE IN KILSNAVE
17 year old Sophie didn’t ask to be born. And she certainly didn’t ask to be born to Ken and Rosie, who were ravers back in the day and have now dragged her to the Rave in Kilsnave. If there’s one thing worse than hearing your parents having sex, it’s watching them relive their youth.
Kilsnave is a boutique rave. That means expensive wellies, over-priced noodles and thirty somethings looking for the toilets with the kind of fervour they used to seek out Crackpot Charlie back in 1993. Crackpot Charlie, that guy could sort you for anything.
Ken’s shrink warned him not to take drugs at Kilsnave because he’ll only end up hating himself again. So he downed four double espressos, soared for an hour and now he’s muttering “this will end badly” at a group of nervous looking Swedes. Sophie reckoned she could not be more mortified until her mother stood up and started dancing.
“Jesus Mum, stop doing whatever that is and sit down! I couldn’t be more embarrassed.”
It turns out she could. Rosie produced a whistle and luminous wand and started shouting ‘summer of love’ at the sky. Sophie turned to her father, more in hope than confidence. He had his arm around some shady guy in a beanie shouting “If it isn’t Crackpot Charlie, the cause of and the solution to all my problems.”
Sophie tweeted “It’s the Summer of Mortification.” And headed back to her yurt.
BALLYHICKEN FESTIVAL OF HORSES AND LADIES
Niamh surveys the field in the bar at the race course. “I’m telling you Regina, if I don’t land a fella at Ballyhicken this year, then I’ll marry Donal.”
“You mean Gay Donal from college.”
“The very man. His father told him the other day it’s grand he’s gay but he won’t get a square inch of the farm if he doesn’t get married in front of the entire parish. I said I’d do it for forty grand and two semen samples. He said fair play.”
“But won’t you miss the sex?”
“What sex? I can’t remember the last time I had sex.”
“Didn’t you have a quickie with Cocky Con at the Galway Races.”
“I did, but I can’t remember it. Feckin’ mojitos. In fact I can’t really remember the last few times I did the dirty deed, just that they were all at race festivals and I was standing up.”
“Like a horse.”
“Oh Regina, you’re gas.”
“You know Niamh, if it’s a husband you’re looking for, you’d be much better off playing hard to get.”
“I try my best.”
“So what happens then?”
“Mojitos. I better cut them out before I get a name for myself.“
At this point Cocky Con walks over and says “well, if it isn’t Nympho Niamh.”
“Well, Regina, it looks like I got a name for myself. I might as well text Gay Donal and tell him we’re game ball. In the meantime Cocky Con, go up to the bar and get me the mother and father of all Mojitos. I might as well go out with a bang, says you.”
THE SLIEVEHALLY SHOW
The theme of this year’s Slievehally show is tolerance, diversity and show jumping. For the past seventy years it has been just about show jumping, but these days Slievehally is a designated eco-village. Which means it is home to 70 families who read an Irish Times feature called “Slievehally: It’s like Ranelagh with fields.” The upshot is that for the first time in its history, the Slievehally Show features a Pride Parade.
The guests of honour are Chad and Langley, two gay members of the New York Fire Department in full uniform. Let’s just say they are getting a lot of attention from the culchies.
“Get ‘em off, ye gorgeous Yankee firemen” shout the two Moriarty sisters, half-mad from a new alcopop called Off Your Tits (please remember to drink responsibly.)
“Sorry to disappoint you ladies, but we’re gay.”
“Go away out of that. If ye were gay one of ye would definitely be dressed up as a red Indian, like in the Village People.”
“I think you meant to say Native American.”
“I did not. It’s definitely the Village People. You’d think a gay person would know that.” Chad and Langley hurry along, agreeing they will never leave Manhattan again, unless it is to go the trendy parts of Brooklyn.
Marching behind them by himself is a small nervous man dressed as a parish priest. In fact it is the parish priest, Fr. O’ Mahoney. The organisers of the parade never told him it was for gay pride. That will teach him to give a sermon attacking the blow-ins from Dublin as “pinko queens who think the Irish Times is some kind of bible.”
Behind him on four inch heels is a furious Packie Delaney. Packie spent three hours getting ready so that he would look just his hero like Cheryl Cole. Finally he was about to fulfil his dreams and become the talk of Slievehally. Until Fr. O’ Mahoney decided this would make the perfect time to come mincing out of the closet in his little black number. Well feck it anyway.
Trev sits aboard his 25 footer, idling on the breeze just at the entrance to Dunmara harbour in West Cork. Another fabulous day’s sailing with people who are no strangers to red jackets and Range Rovers. Now comes the downside of Dunmara Regatta – going ashore to mingle with muck savages and people who live in semi-detached houses.
At least he isn’t the Commodore of Dunmara Yacht Club, who has to stand up on the back of a lorry and address the slack-jawed crowd, with their mortgages, second-hand people carriers and looky-likey docksider shoes they bought in Lidl. Still, Trev will probably have to stand around with Clive and Basil and applaud the daft townies for having a three-legged race. Those freckled yokels probably think noblesse oblige is a racehorse.
Seriously, what’s the point in bringing together a collection of refined people with sailing tans if they have to mingle with a gang of PAYE workers in sports-gear? The whole point of sailing is to get as far out to sea as possible and away from the type of Ordinary Joe who thinks he’s arrived because he joined the golf club. Trev feels really sorry for people in the golf club. So near and yet so far.
Still, Trev has one thing to look forward to. The riff-raff will eventually wipe the ice cream off their red-faced urchins and head back to their estates to watch Britain’s Got Talent on Sky Plus. And he can finally go home and straight in to the arms of the Italian au pair. Life would be unbearable without Francesca. Especially since Trev is 5 years of age and his mother is forever off to Marbella with her friends.
As they say in Dunmara sailing circles, it’s never too early to be a complete and utter snob.