Monday, 17 March 2008

Green Pints All ‘Round

Happy St Patrick’s Day!!

Hope you have fun if you are planning to celebrate.

Despite my Irish heritage I am not one for commemorating this particular holiday, in fact it’s fair to say I avoid it like the plague. This is not so easy if, like me, you live on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The area is chocka with Irish themed bars and having to run errands on the Saturday closest to St Patrick's can mean having to play a game of 'dodge the vomit', not to mention the wandering hands of drunkards who have tumbled out on the street after their fill of green pints. Oh fun!! Everyone and their dog seem to claim Irish heritage on St Patrick's in New York. My Irish friend, Ash, tells me the Irish ex-pats refer to them as the Plastic Paddies.

Bizarrely the best St Patrick's Day I ever had was when I was on holiday in Buenos Aires with 3 friends about 4 or 5years ago. I loved Buenos Aires. If you ever get a chance to visit you should jump at it, it really is the Paris of South America. There's an area of BA where there are 2 or 3 Irish bars on the same street and on St Patrick’s they block off the area to traffic and everyone gathers there to celebrate. The bars served beer through the windows facing onto the street and the Argentineans embraced the festivities with gusto. They were lovely, they would form an orderly line to talk to us and ask us what St Patrick’s Day was all about. They said "we're celebrating, but we don't know why." I was charmed ;-)

This year I didn’t really venture out on Saturday except for a hairdressing appointment a block east of my apartment, far away from the bars. I was feeling pretty tired after my jaunt to the Barnes Foundation with Melissa on Friday. We had a long day; it took us about 6 hours to get there and back. It was worth it, the art collection is amazing, but it’s huge and with nowhere to take a break – the place is just begging for a small café - we both suffered from a bout of sensory overload after 3hours. There are over 800 paintings, 180 of them are by Renoir; there are 69 Cézanne paintings and 60 by Matisse. The collection is worth over $2billion.

One hundred and eighty Renoirs!!! 180!! I was Renoir’d to death let me tell you. Right now I don’t care if I never see another Renoir ever again.

Anyway I am sure some celebrants will cross my path this evening, I'm steering clear of Irish bars though, instead I’m off to see Welsh chanteuse, Duffy, at the Hiro Ballroom.

I have to say one of the coolest things about being a British music lover living in New York is the number of rising British bands I get to see for peanuts – we’re talking at most $25, that’s a mere £13 Brits - because they’re under the radar in the US and come over and play small venues.

The Scissor Sisters for example, a New York band no less, who sell out stadiums in the UK, who I initially saw for the price of admission to Warm Up, a fabulous weekly Saturday afternoon party held at PS1 during the summer months. They’d had two or three singles out in the UK by that point and were well on the way to having the year’s best selling album and here they were playing an afternoon party. It took the Scissor Sisters a while to catch on in the US.

Or Keane, a band I saw for $10 at the Knitting Factory, which holds about 200people when they already had the #1 album in the UK. I also saw Franz Ferdinand play their second US gig at North Six in Williamsburg – a venue I loved to pieces but haven’t visited since it was closed and then transformed into the much larger Music Hall of Williamsburg. After the North Six gig Franz Ferdinand invited everyone to buy them a drink at their after party at the Lower East Side bar, Happy Ending. I didn’t go, it was a Monday night, there was snow on the ground and I am far too sensible. It could have been a great story though.

Anyway I’ll love you and leave you to shimmy along to a little Duffy. Enjoy!!


13 comments:

The_Mrs said...

Dodge the vomit? lol I can only imagine!

Like you, I don't really celebrate St. Patrick's Day. I would like to be able to 'get into it' and all, but I just can't. It's like celebrating New Years Eve (at least for me) - I consider it amateur night out.

So.. I have a cold beer here at home and the best part - there is no line for the restroom.

Also, I can't imagine that many Renoir's in one place! No wonder you could care less if you see any of his work again. Yikes!

Blur Ting said...

Ah Happy St Patrick's Day. My son was out raising funds for his school (St Patricks School) at the celebrations by the riverside because. He was selling rubber turtles. He came home with the leprechaun hats and stuff. It was fun!

I really must make a trip to BA since you keep raving about it. Hopefully some day, soon...

sid said...

Wait ... you hate it when drunken, strange men try to grab your ass? You really are an odd one (-;

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Mrs, I think staying at home is a wise course of action if where you live is anything like my neighbourhood :-)

Hi Blur Ting, St Patrick's Day souvenirs turn up everywhere :-) Glad you had fun celebrating. I definitely recommend Argentina as a whole if you ever get a chance to travel. Chile's nothing to sneeze at either ;-)

Hi Sid, I know, there must be something wrong with me eh. One year I even went as far as to threaten to beat one groper with my yoga mat whilst on the way to the gym. Maybe I should seek therapy.

Amel's Realm said...

I've never heard much about St. Patrick's celebration. So it's about drinking and drinking? Interesting!!!

And LOVE the video clip. As usual I'd NEVER heard the song or seen the singer before he he he...;-D

Makes me wanna shake me booty he he he he...

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Amel, yup, St Patrick's Day celebrations are all about drinking heavily. Quite what that has to do with the snakes being driven out of Ireland I don't know, but to each their own :-)

Glad you like Duffy. She's a big hit in the UK right now, but largely unknown elsewhere.

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Mike S said...

Damn, I love Renoir!! Sounds as if St Paddy's day is a mite messy in your neighborhood. No vomit dodging for me thanks:)

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hey Mike, you should head to the Barnes Foundation outside Philly if you are a Renoir lover. It's astounding how many there are.

Enjoy your St Patrick's :-)

Kitty said...

How cool about the Renoirs, Fish? I had no idea he painted so many. Geez.

How on earth do you keep so hip on these music groups, I'd love to know? This the cavewoman asking. I'm in utter envy of your hip-ness!

Happy St P, dear!

BritGal' Sarah said...

I couldn't agree more about St Patricks Day over here, it's way to OTT!

I agree on the music thing, I got to see Coldplay easily in OKC under similar circumstances - a great bonus, love Keane too.

fishwithoutbicycle said...

Hi Kitty, yes Melissa and I had no clue Renoir was so prolific.

My hip-ness?? You flatter me :-) I just listen to British radio, that's it. That's my secret, I'm not hip at all :-)

Hi Sarah, Coldplay would have been great. I missed their smaller gigs, but did see them at Radio City before they were selling out stadiums :-)