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Euro Hoodie. Chapter 1

Last update - Thursday, January 10, 2008, 00:00 By Metro Éireann

 ‘Where there is music, madam, there can be no harm.’ – Sancho Panza 

So here we are, a small group of young Irish and nearly Irish men and women. And this, we are told, is the most important year of our lives. Because we’re doing the Leaving Cert. Depending on how well or how badly we do, we’ll either be made for life, or homeless. We have eight months of intense study ahead of us. The blinkers are on, and so is the pressure. So we enter the Eurovision Song Contest.

It’s true.
This really happened, kind of. It’s a bit like the words you see at the start of a lot of crap films. It’s –
– kind of.

I blame Ms Nigeria. Although she isn’t even European. But she is Irish, kind of. So that makes her European, I suppose. I’m not sure. I don’t really know what being European means. I mean, I’m European. And that band, Justice, are French, so that means they’re European. And that’s cool because that means I’m nearly a member of Justice. Your woman, Claudia Schiffer, is European and that’s nice for my da, because he gets a bit silly whenever he sees a picture of her. And he’s European, so he’s virtually married to Claudia. Or he would be if he wasn’t already married to the other super-model in his life, my ma. Most of the Arsenal players are European, even the English one. So being European can be alright. But then Hitler would be European too, if he was still alive. And Daniel O’Donnell, and Dracula. Do you see what I mean? I’m not sure how brilliant being European is, or if it’s really anything.

Anyway. It wasn’t Ms Nigeria’s idea, to enter the Eurovision Song Contest. But I still blame her.

Let me explain.
There are three of us. Myself, Ms Nigeria, and this other guy. Me and Ms Nigeria have been going with each other for over a year. I’ve been to her house and all. For the Sunday dinner, like. She actually has a brother called Sunday. Which is a bit weird, meeting Sunday on a Sunday. Her other brother is called Innocent, which is weird as well – because he’s a bollix.
Anyway. We’re nearly man and wife. At least, I thought we were. I’m wondering whether we’ll have turkey or beef for the wedding dinner, a couple of years down the road, after the Leaving and college, or whatever. When she’ll be a surgeon and I’ll be a journalist or something, and we’ll have our apartment down beside the Point.
But then she says she has to study.

Let me explain.
The other guy – that’s the fella who hangs around with myself and Ms Nigeria – he tells me he has a free house. His parents have gone to a funeral down the country and they’re staying an extra couple of days, to make a weekend of it – his ma says. So, they’re leaving him and his brother, who has a wheelchair – because he needs one; he can’t walk, like. Anyway, they’re leaving the two lads to mind the fort – his da says. So I tell Ms Nigeria. But she says she has to study. She’s not interested in the perfect Saturday night – a few cans and a meet. And that’s where the Lithuanian bird comes in.

Let me explain.
There’s this new girl in the school, in 5th Year. And, yes, she’s Lithuanian. Her name is Daina which, she tells me, means ‘song’. Well, she doesn’t tell me, exactly. I just happen to be passing, on my way to Irish, Ordinary Level. Like all young Irish people, I love Irish. Is maith liom Gaeilge go mór. And, like all young Irish people, I also love sarcasm. I actually hate Irish, everything about it. By the way, Ms Nigeria loves Irish and she’s doing Honours. Anyway, I’m not exactly breaking the land-speed record to get to the class. And there she is, leaning against the wall. Daina, or ‘song’. So, I stop and I tell her that my name’s Paddy which, I tell her, means ‘wanker’.
No, I don’t tell her that. It’s not my style and my name isn’t Paddy. I actually tell her nothing. I just keep walking. Really casual – you should see me.

But I see her again in the canteen, later. And she’s talking to the love of my life, Ms Nigeria. So I stroll up – you should see me – and I tell Daina – did I tell you it means ‘song’? – about the free gaff, because I know it’ll make Ms Nigeria jealous.

Yeah – maybe. She couldn’t give a shite.
But anyway, that’s how I end up in the Eurovision Daina – sorry – Song Contest.
Let me explain.
©  Roddy Doyle 2008

Roddy’s exclusive story appears at the beginning of each month

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