Music before Pride

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My friend asked me if I was interested in seeing the band ‘Fleet Foxes’ in concert.

‘Absolutely’ I replied.

I had no idea who this band was, had never knowingly heard one of their tunes, and had no idea what they looked like. But I’m a fan of live music. I also trust that my friend would only invite me to a gig where the likelihood was that I would enjoy it. I’m an easy touch that way. Live music is always a safe bet. Regardless of the genre, I tend to get caught up in the atmosphere, and come away raving about bands I had heretofore never heard of.

Fleet Foxes were playing an outdoor show in the Iveagh Gardens close to St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin. This is a very pretty park that I would describe in more detail, were it not for the fact that I have only been there once previously. Last year, on the exact same Thursday I visited to see Pixies in concert in the Gardens. That concert was a teenage dream fulfilled, Pixies are a dream band, who I have adored since adolescence. They did not disappoint.

I did my research on Fleet Foxes – a Youtube investigation revealed them to be a youngish band, on their third album. They play a kind of indie folk style. Very melodious and melancholy. With a hint of harmonica.

I loved the show. The ambience in the Gardens was relaxed. The beers flowed. The music played. And I got carried away by the summer vibe hearing music in the park.

It was a wonderful prelude to the weekend. The weekend where for the first time in my life I would be attending the Gay Pride Festival in my hometown of Limerick.

I have been to Pride in Dublin.

I have been to Pride in Amsterdam.

I have been to Pride in Budapest.

I have been to Pride in Manchester.

But never in my hometown.

I packed my insulin and my rainbow garland. I boarded the Big Green Bus to Limerick. I made plans to meet my friend.

I was ready to march down the streets of Limerick.

I am more nervous about this Pride that all the others I have ever been to. What if someone I know sees me? What if the town is hostile (unlikely but I’m being paranoid)?What if my Debenhams t-shirt clashes with someone else’s? The potential problems are boundless.

Then I had a word with myself.

I canvassed on the street of Limerick for marriage equality (albeit only for one day, as I came home to vote, two days early). My Leaving Cert geography teacher doesn’t remember me – and even if she does, what of it? I wrote two pieces that were published in a book about gay Limerick. I wrote and performed in a play in the 2017 International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival. I am hardly a closet case.

Oh, but the nerves.

Whistles at the ready.

I’m on the march this Saturday.

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