Saturday 16 December 2017

We are not alone. But if you want to be, that's fine too...

What's the story with yer man?" "Look at him, he's not even singing along!" "What in the name of jaysus are you doing here?" These are the things that people say to me. At concerts, I mean (I don't get that kind of reception everywhere I go, thanks). It's part of the job.

Arts critics go to events by themselves. Sure, a lot of the time, I could happily avail of a "plus one". And that's nice, too. But why bother bringing a friend to work three or four times a week? You see, I'm okay with the stares. And, even if it's not in a work 
capacity, there's nothing wrong with going to go to a concert, or even the cinema, alone… right?

On Tuesday's Tubridy (with Louise McSharry holding down the fort in Ryan's absence), we had Nadine O'Regan, arts 
editor with the Sunday Business Post, 
filling us in on a recent (solo) trip to see 
teen tearjerker The Fault in Our Stars.

Nadine is used to going it alone (for work), but this cinematic excursion was purely for pleasure. And she was the only one in the theatre that day. No biggie. In fact, she enjoyed it.


"I think it's something that people are very reluctant, often, to do," said Nadine. "We will sit at home and we'll watch a marathon session of Game of Thrones on our laptops, but when it comes to actually saying, 'I'm going to put on my jacket and walk down to the local cinema', people sometimes feel that there's a bit of a stigma attached to that." Good point.

But what if your mates don't want to see a specific film/band/play, and you do? What if they're away on holiday, tied up in work or simply cannot afford a ticket? Do you just leave it? Of course not.

Our primary concern, as the discussion highlighted, is that people will stare. But most of them couldn't care less. A listener called up to say he went on holiday by himself, and he had a blast. Louise explained how she's been going to the cinema alone for years, and she loves it.

What she doesn't enjoy, however, is strange men getting up halfway through a film to sit in an empty seat right beside her (as someone did when she followed Nadine's advice and headed out to see The Fault in our Stars after work). The following morning, Louise shared her uncomfortable experience with listeners. Well, I never said there weren't any weirdoes out there, Louise.

Speaking of doing things on your own, why would you need an escort? Whoops, I better rephrase that. Why do the 32 
participants in the annual Rose of Tralee need someone to carry their handbags?

Tuesday afternoon's Mooney might have avoided that particular question, but at least Derek took the opportunity to ask ROT (dreadful acronym, I know) Escort Co-Ordinator Colm Croffy why, in this day and age, a woman can't be an escort at the festival.

"I think that the festival has to reflect the society in which the participants come from, and that will evolve as surely as society does." Roundabout answer, Colm.

They put it to him another way - if you had a lesbian Rose whose girlfriend 
wanted to be their escort, how would that be greeted? Colm said it would cause a bit of "head scratching" and that they wouldn't know to how to "facilitate it". Facilitate what, exactly?

Later, Mr Croffy talked about how they currently have a structure in place to accommodate 32 men and 32 women...I don't understand. But then, I never have done when it comes to the annual Lovely Girls Competition. Saying that, the mock interview, during which Derek underwent the ROT escort application process, was a hoot.


Finally, Wednesday, would you believe (and I do), was World UFO Day. So, Sean Moncrieff sent Newstalk's "blind panic correspondent" Henry McKean out on to the streets to quiz strangers about "diamond-shaped" objects in the sky, and alien probing.

Are there little green men among us? "I wouldn't say a green man, or a bleedin' Martian, none of that craic," answered one bloke. David Moore, Chairman of Astronomy Ireland, also chipped in.

Apparently, it's only a matter of time before we pick up a newspaper and read the headline, "Advanced Civilisation Found". And there you have it. We are not alone. 
Unless, of course, we want to be. At the cinema, that is.

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