26.7.13

Soggy bottom story

Something happened during last night's gig, and Doyles made every national RTE TV news bulletin today...and it wasn't my fault. Honestly. And as P.T. Barnum is reputed to have said "There's no such thing as bad publicity..."

First let me paint you a background. I suppose it would be over a year now since a promoter friend of mine asked could I cover a gig in Doyles Pub in Dublin city centre. Although I'd never claim to have been a regular at any point in my life, in fact I think I could count my visits over the course of my life on two Simpson hands, I still had a fair idea what the vibe of the place was, and generally had been for years. Slap bang next to the offices of The Irish Times until a short while ago, and within spitting distance of the main gates of Trinity College, it mixed crowds from both with cops from Pearse St. Station, nurses (because of the GardaĆ­*), and of course tourists, because it's a very fine example of what people might expect an Irish Bar to be like. There is a ground floor bar, a lounge on the first floor (which hosts the Ruby Sessions), and a smaller basement bar, all housed in two (or three) old buildings which, when knocked together and joined with higgledy staircases and even more piggledy corridors, serve to enhance the drunken experience by a factor of ten. I distinctly remember getting lost in there myself years ago, and I think ordering a pint when I gave up trying to find the way out. So it works. I like having meetings with The Captain there, as it has that whole smugglers tavern vibe to it, with it's little pokey snugs (though Bagot & Hutton is the proper conspiratorial venue if I ever seen one), and the WiFi. Plus I don't have far to walk to work.

I did the gig, it went fine and here we are, (with thanks of course to my kind friend for the introduction). It's a big student crowd for a sizable amount of the year, with a leaning to the left musically, and retro vibes go down well, so it's settled into a mix of alt/rock running with reggae/ska, old school hip-hop, soul, funk and electronic...a ghetto funky, genre clashing kinda thing. Always keepin' it fun... Right now during the Summer months the upstairs lounge is shut due to a lack of the aforementioned students, so the management have moved DJs into the ground floor bar, bringing in a crew from Phantom FM at the weekends to supplement the already fervently followed residents. That's where I was yesterday, runnin' tunes when the rains came. We've had a relatively long spell of dry weather here in Ireland (for Ireland). In fact we've been calling it a heatwave, which is kinda cute. So that ended last night for Dublin, with a bit of a bang. There was a thunderstorm and it pissed down like there was no tomorrow for about an hour. Which was grand, because everybody ran into the pub. Not a single person with even a jacket...except for one. There was a girl sitting there in a pair of wellington boots and a shiny red raincoat, with a matching shiny plastic umbrella, impeccably dry, while most were like sodden beer mats. I have to say I got caught up in the emotional upheaval of it having rained, and I jumped straight to the conclusion that she was a witch. When questioned on HOW she was able to predict this she apologetically said that she had "looked it up this morning on the computer...". Just as well I didn't just burn her.

So anyway, there's mass hysteria in the bar because of the rain and nobody knows whether to be happy or sad, and it's still warm and we're stuck here now we can't go out so fuck it let's keep drinking kind of vibe, and this lad asks me for some AC/DC so I drop the Thunderstruck into over a Blur remix and the bar lights up on cue with lightning and people were goin mental and making love in the toilets in case it was there last chance and...and...and you can see how easily we get wound up about minor weather events here. Except for one man. Bar Manager, "Stretch" as he's know, saunters over...
"How you gettin' on?"
"Grand", says I, "not turning out too bad for a rainy night, is it"
"Yeah Man, not too bad..." (a pause) "...I've about 3 feet a fuckin' water in the basement though..."
Sure enough, a look down the open stairwells from the bar to the basement clearly showed a large body of water climbing slowly upwards. When I looked down at the water I was at once reminded of two things...Wallace Hartley and his musicians on the Titanic, playing on as the water crept relentlessly upwards, and the floor leaning evermore side wards (as I stick another beer mat underneath the front wheels Dj Box), and on observing the customers, the strange behavior of Irish crowds in most threatening situations. We once ran a show where a breakdown in communication resulted in somebody firing up some poi, loaded with parafin and setting off all the fire alarms in the building, which resulted in the evacuation of a hotel full of irate guests. Beautiful experience. Myself and Shimmy were standing outside the main door when the alarm went off, and no word of a lie, people ran back into the venue to finish their drinks... Yep, the flooding bothered absolutely nobody, they used the toilets upstairs, nobody went downstairs, everyone had a great time and that was the end of that. Yet people were ringing and messaging me today telling me they saw the news, and that was terrible and hope I didn't die etc. The first caller had sent me to the RTE Player where they were running a few lines and some shots of Doyles being pumped out by the fire truck, and I think a shot of Peggy being chatted up by some firemen, along with other affected buildings and areas.

It's still charming in a way that small incidents like a bar cellar flooding, or a few Aran Jumpers getting wet in Clery's makes front line news, and it reminds me of simpler times I suppose. And it's big news if it happens to you. I passed the bar earlier this evening, took a look inside, and yet, as the government are systematically dismantling the country, people at least had the time to pop down and check if Doyles was ok...it was even busier than usual.

We Will Rebuild
I hope I've given this rather run of the mill thunderstorm the dramatic lift it needed, as I though "I did a gig in a bar last night, and it rained." wasn't standing up too well on it's own. ;)

Love &bless :-)

Irie

*Babylon







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