I imagine I am one of the few people on this planet that can say they had two cars stolen in one day and they really didn’t mind that much. One was a rental car nicked outside my Dublin hotel while I was on my honeymoon. Simultaneously my Morris 1100 (Americans think VW Bug but English-er) was stolen outside my flat in London. The thing is, I was going to sell the Morris as soon as I got back – so the thief saved me the trouble and almost as soon as I reported the rental car stolen it was found abandoned in a part of North Dublin called Finglas.

I’m remembering this because, as I write I am waiting to go on stage for a gig that I know is going to be crap. I won’t say where it is but I’ve driven for well over an hour to get to a little venue for not much money. Why did I agree to do the gig you ask? That’s the weird thing – I don’t remember. I just turned the page on my datebook and there it was. It’s in my handwriting so I must have agreed to it but for the life of me I can’t remember why.

So as I wait to fulfill my pointless contractual obligations, my mind wanders through the memories of all of the other shit gigs I have done and the brains cells happened upon Finglas.

Two years after my honeymoon I went back to Ireland as one of the comedians on the Harp Lager Comedy Tour. It was a ramshackle affair that was organized in each region by the local Guinness rep. The salesmen had various degrees of enthusiasm but the one thing they all had in common was that none of them had any idea how to set up a comedy gig. There were a couple of performances on that tour that forever will hold a fond place in my professional memory but most of them were nightmares. Imagine going down to your local pub for a quiet pint to find a bunch of English guys and an American shouting into a microphone, telling you to shut up. There was a couple times I thought I was going to be thumped. (There was one strange man who was convinced Harp Lager gave him hemorrhoids and seemed to hold me responsible). One of the last gigs on the tour was in Finglas.

Finglas is one of the roughest neighbourhoods in Ireland (maybe Europe. ) It’s where the band in the film The Commitments came from. The Irish comedians that were with us almost refused to go there. I’m pretty sure that the pub in Finglas was the largest pub I have ever been in. There must have been 600 people in a room that wouldn’t have looked out of place as an underground car park. The show was pretty well organized with a proper stage, a backdrop and an OK sound system. So all I had to worry about was the crowd.

As the MC, I arrived on stage to a hail of “FUCK OFF”s. This was a accidental audience of hard men (mostly) who had crap lives and they didn’t want any pity from us. One man insisted on standing every time he shouted “FUCK OFF” and he became the cheerleader for the group. I felt like Dr. Frankenstein in front of a mob of torch wielding villagers.

“Good evening everybody,” I screamed into the microphone. “It’s great to be back in Finglas.”

The audience erupted at this. The Cheerleader stood up and shouted, “Fuck off you’ve never been to Finglas!”

“I have been here before,” I protested. “I came here on my honeymoon.”

I thought the roof was going to blow off. The crowd howled at this obvious lie. The cheerleader was on his feet screaming with a bright red face but the din was so loud I couldn’t even hear him.

”No It’s true,” I said, “the police brought me here to pick up my stolen car.”

The audience went silent for a second and then erupted into laughter. The cheerleader gave me a nod and a smile that said, “Fair enough you have been here before,“ and with an open hand gesture that said, “go ahead,” he sat down.

After that we all had a pretty good night.


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3 Responses to “Finglas”

  1. Juliet Says:

    Brilliant story!! – made me laugh at the end of a crap day of my own. Hope the gig went better than expected in the end.

  2. johnlenahan Says:

    No Juliet, the gig was crap.

  3. mick Says:

    wats up im from finglas have taken a few rental cars in my time sorry if i robbed urs ha

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