Thursday, October 13, 2005

I did the soccer game at Lansdowne Road last night and now we are out of the World Cup. Not that we were ever in it, but last night was the final nail in the coffin of hope, if there can be such a thing. The thing about doing the stewarding at the match is the experience of real life you get from it, plus the handy 45 euros. The work itself is just looking at tickets and trying to piulfer as much freebies as you can, not that that isd my primary goal. The average steward is between 40-60 with a ruddy face and oftentimes having a whiff of booze about their person. We have to assemble at the ground 3 hours before kick off and que up to get "jobbed" or "bibbed". Biibed comes from the fact that we wear orange bib like coats. In some respects it is a bit like the old dockers pen, not that there is much of a chance of not getting a start, it's just in the way that the old soaks jostle their way as a solid mass of ragged old pissheads and wasters (me included)when they are queing up for their names to be taken.

The average steward is old school Dublin and has an endearing mix of street cunning and humanity which seems to encapsulate the essence of the poetic spirit, which I class as being two dissimilar things in close proximity to one another. Two opposites side by side, or to translate it into an ABC, 2 word combos that are strinkling and original as a result of their unusualness, so

"Sausage HiFi - Cucumber Tyres" etc. These are straight off the bat without any real creative input, but you can see where I am going with it. So the Lansdowne Road stewards carry within their person an essence of poetry and like all people without much in life, they make up for their lack of material things by a surfeit of human kindness, and a willingness to half inch anything that isn't nailed down. Last night it was T shirts. The FAI had placed various T shirts on the seats, which had the logo "Irish Rock Swiss Roll", obviously the result of a week long high dough executive toing and froing. The "lads" took it upon themselves to half inch as many as was humanly possible and everyone got at least one or two. The ones taking the most were boastful of their gain, whilst us at the lower end of thievery adopted airs of moral superiority at the greed of the rest. As I sit here now in my green T shirt with the aforesaid logo, and with a spare white one at home, I feel a part of that unique camoradrie of the "lads" from Lansdowne, many broken, many wrecked, but all with a genuine spirit that can only come from a life on the breadline.

The strange thing about watching the game live is that it doesn't look half as eciting as it does on the TV. The players are seen as the human beings they are, cut out from the magic hypno box and stripped of the alluring electronic fantasy sheath we put on them when we see them surrounded by the wiles of our consumer age. Cut to the break and see such a one shaving with a space technology precision razor, or dressed up as a retro futurist gladiator kicking a ball at a computer enhanced 300MPH, and watch it rocket into the nets with a trail of jet smoke behind it. Without all these props they are very much like Swifts Convent Garden actress at the end of that poem whose title escapes me, but who ends up as an old bag when devoid of her props.

That's what it's like live, like watching a better class of Sunday football. I think that not having to pay and actually getting paid to be there probably has some deep pyschological effect, which it would be interesting to do a study on; or maybe not.