Thursday 20 September 2018

Eugene O'Brien: Coming of age amid murders, a miracle and 'Ballroom of Romance'

A radio reference to the devastating winter of 1982 brought back vivid memories for Eugene O'Brien - some good, some bad... The recent storms and snow brought back distant but vivid memories - good and bad - for Eugene O'Brien

John Kavanagh and Brenda Fricker in ‘The Ballroom of Romance.
John Kavanagh and Brenda Fricker in ‘The Ballroom of Romance.

Eugene O'Brien

I begin writing this as the great blizzard of 2018 is about to happen. It bloody well better arrive now after the 'fall of Saigon' scenes I experienced in Tesco earlier. I should be working on a film treatment but somehow I have engineered it in my head that I can't really work today because of the weather.

Then my fellow faithful county native suggested I write a piece for him for this newspaper - maybe about Paddy's Day - and I couldn't think of anything really, except being brought to Dublin on cold wet days to watch the parades in the 1970s. Dour affairs with endless marching bands and majorettes and the odd float. In later life Paddy's Day meant getting drunk, playing England in the Six Nations and laughing at s**t Oirish films like Flight of the Doves and Far and Away.

So I'm gazing out at the snow swirling in the sky, waiting for the storm to really hit and avoiding both the Paddy's Day article and the film treatment, with the wireless issuing red warnings and travel chaos, when a voice comes on recalling the last time it was this meteorologically mental… 1982… and suddenly I'm tumbling down the rabbit hole… back in time… because 1982 is a year I remember vividly. A coming of age year.

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