Thursday 8 December 2016

Yankadi has released my inner eejit

Pat Fitzpatrick

Published 23/11/2015 | 02:30

Pat Fitzpatrick: everyone should act the eejit.
Pat Fitzpatrick: everyone should act the eejit.

I'll tell you what African drumming has done for me. It has put me back in touch with my inner eejit. And that's a good thing.

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At this week's African drumming class, we did a Yankadi dance. It's a kind of seduction dance, where you stand around in a circle and try to act sexy.

That wasn't so easy given that the group of us were trying to dance, sing and clap our hands at the same time. It was virtually impossible given they were trying to follow my lead.

I kept standing on the toes of the German woman to my left. That's not sexy in any culture. (There isn't a even a fetish website on the internet. It's that unsexy.)

This should be the stuff of nightmares for me. Like so many other Irish people, I am terrified of making a fool of myself in public. (It's why we never seem totally comfortable in a restaurant.) This terror is essentially a fear of our inner eejit.

Declan Lynch has written brilliantly on the Irish inner eejit in this paper. He reckons that it is at the root of many of our political and economic woes. He might be right. There is an argument to be made that Celtic Tiger excess, the property boom and every second thing Enda Kenny does is an explicit sign of our inner eejit at work. But you don't want to suppress your nature too much. I'd recommend you release your inner eejit, once a week, in a safe environment. That usually involves a pub and the phrase 'you might as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb.' I'm too old for that carry on.

This is where the drumming comes in. It isn't just my shoes I leave at the door when I step into the classroom and join the circle. I also leave my inhibitions behind. I notice that I've started to close my eyes while drumming and move my head around, a bit like an eejit.

Three weeks ago, I would have hated that image of myself in public. Now I'm more than pleased to be back in touch with my inner eejit. As long as I don't decide to get back into property and borrow for a BMW.

TIP: If everybody is acting the eejit, nobody looks like an eejit. Try and find some outlet in your life where you can let yourself go. A bit. Without booze, maybe.

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