Sunday 22 September 2019

Bill Linnane: 'I took my daughter to Dublin for a Post Malone concert and we both survived'

Bill Linnane on taking four teenagers to a concert in the big smoke

Post Malone (Matt Crossick/PA)
Post Malone (Matt Crossick/PA)

Sometimes I think it might be nice if dads had a badge system, like scouts.

It would be great if, when we complete a basic function of parenting, like changing a nappy, or coating an entire family in lice ointment, you got a little badge you could stitch onto your weekend cargo pants, so that other parents knew that you were at least at an unofficial Fetac Level One or Two and could sorta be trusted with their child.

 

This came into my head when a series of unfortunate events - specifically the four pregnancies that destroyed my wife's back - meant that I, and not she, would be bringing my daughter and three friends to a concert in Dublin. This would be the hardest merit badge I could ever earn - trying not to lose your own child in the big smoke is hard enough, but not losing three of her friends meant that I took to this with the earnestness of Liam Neeson in Taken.

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So my wife was crippled with pain and I was about to be burdened with a trip to Dublin and four excited teens, who very clearly had alcohol stashed somewhere in the car, but I couldn't quite figure out where, no matter how I shook the suitcases as I put them in the boot. But we just went through the grand charade that they weren't going to drink, and that I was going to care whether they did or not.

Given that they were going to see Post Malone, a few cans would be the least of my worries. Malone, in case you don't know, has some of the worst face tattoos and most amazing voice in modern music. Sadly, he uses that voice to warble his way through many, many swear words.

So we got to the hotel, and I did the decent thing and went into town for a pint so the kids would have their space to get ready and chug cans. Once I had my pint I walked back to where I believed the hotel to be, only to find that it wasn't there and that despite living in Dublin for four years, I was now lost in the mean streets of Dublin 4.

I also realised that I was surrounded by Post Malone fans, and that teenagers really need to wear more clothes. Thank God my little girl is more demure, I thought to myself, in what was clearly a set-up for a looming plot twist.

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In the end I managed to find the only person who was more of a bogger than me - a garda - and asked him for directions, and so I traipsed back to the hotel, now emptied of its many, many Post Malone fans, all gone off to various random street corners to drink cans and talk loudly in weird American accents. After the show I once again took to the streets, as several thousand overexcited younglings spilled out of the RDS; everywhere I looked, there were teens shouting into their phone that they didn't know where in Dublin they were, but could mum and dad get them.

After several equally irritating phone calls to my own child, in which she also had no idea where she was, I gave up and walked back to the hotel. They eventually moseyed back, and she checked in with me to tell me they were safe. Imagine my horror when I opened the door to my first-born child, her hair in corn rows with day-glo extensions, and an outfit that would have made Vogue-era Madonna blush.

Much like a solar eclipse, I couldn't actually look directly at it for fear I might go blind, so I just expressed some mild outrage, and the view that if this was the front, I shudder to think what the back of her attempt at clothing looked like. She agreed that there were some things better left unknown, and moonwalked down the hall to her room, to spare my eyes.

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We checked out the next day, and I made it back to the sticks with all four teens. It felt like an accomplishment, one that I probably won't get to repeat with her. In another couple of years, she won't need or want me to be there for her after gigs, to drive her anywhere. Already I'm hearing talk of that most dreaded events - the parent-free sun holiday - so the clock is ticking for us, and especially for me to get all the merit badges I can, so that I can look back and say - yeah, I did my best, and maybe I'm not quite an eagle scout at parenting, but I at least taught them the survival skills they need.

Irish Independent

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