Posts Tagged ‘Rathmines’

h1

This Is A Low

05/11/2010

Blur – Parklife

circa 1994

In the Summer, Me, Ev and Richard decided to make the move from home and get ourselves a flat in the city. We plumped for Rathmines, an area 20 minutes walk south from Dublin City Centre. Rathmines is one of several inner city residential areas that form a belt along the Grand Canal. What was once a mainly middle-class borough had in large part been taken over by the many students that attended the various colleges and universities in the area. The rows and rows of red brick Georgian family homes had been hacked up by unscrupulous slumlords to create bedsits and tiny flats.

My Dad got me work for the summer with Jacobs the biscuit manufacturer out in Tallaght at the foot of the Dublin mountains. I worked in a large warehouse stacked floor to ceiling with boxes of biscuits. My job as “Order Picker” entailed driving a little electric cart around, collecting the orders and putting them on the delivery trucks.

Busy as I was with work, I left it to Ev and Richard to find our new abode. After much searching they found a two bedroom place on Ardee Road. The flat constituted the whole ground floor of what was once a two-story single family home. The landlord in his wisdom converted the two floors into self-contained flats with a common front door. The hall door opened into a tiny kitchen. The table was so small we had to take turns eating our dinner. The living room was to the left off the kitchen with both bedrooms to the back also off the kitchen. The only snag was that access to the bathroom, a former out-house now attached, was solely through the smaller of the two bedrooms. Ev and Richard took the larger of the two bedrooms I got the smaller to myself.

To celebrate our new found independence we invited all of our mates over for a house warming party. We started out in the Rathmines Inn, getting a few drinks down us before heading back to the house to get smashed. It’s probably appropriate that I don’t remember much of what went down at the party. I have hazy recollections of one of Matt, Alan, Paul or Ciaran crashing their motorbike while racing in the street outside. When we did come to in the morning we discovered that one of the windows in the lads bedroom was broken. I went to the hardware store and bought replacement glass and glaziers putty. While the lads cleared up the mess I installed the new pane.

"this is a low, but it won't hurt you"

One of the lads mates from UCD, Piaras, had brought over his copy of Blur’s Parklife album for me to tape. Although I liked their exuberant There’s No Other Way single from a couple of years back, both Ev and I had been pretty dismissive of their Girls & Boys single and mock-Cockney shenanigans. Piaras though was adamant that these guys were cool, so I thought I’d give them a whirl.

That morning, as we sat down in the living room with our cups of tea and pounding hangovers, I stuck it on. The lead-off track was Girls & Boys, its thumping beat was a bit much considering our delicate situation but that quickly segued into the much more palatable Tracy Jacks and that into the wonderful End Of A Century. Badhead, To The End, Clover Over Dover – each track was better than the preceding one. It’s fair to say it was love at first listen. Alan, who’d just dropped in, thought so too. By the time we got to the magnificent This Is A Low, a song about the weather forecast, I was well and truly hooked. The singer and chief songwriter, Damon Albarn, has that rare artistic gift – the ability to take a mundane, ordinary, everyday subject and turn it into something beautiful. Pure genius.

When the lads caught up with Piaras a few days later he somewhat sheepishly admitted that it was him that had broken the window – with his arse? After several weeks the putty still hadn’t set in the window and to the best of my knowledge never did.

P.

__________

Artist: Blur

Album: Parklife

Label: Food

Released: 1994

Recommended Tracks: See above.
__________