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.
Fleet Foxes were playing an outdoor show in the Iveagh Gardens close to St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin. This is a very picture-esque 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 band, that I have adored since adolescence. They did not disappoint.
My research on Fleet Foxes 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.