I’m not a fan of Paddy’s Day as I happen to live in Liverpool, a place that tends to be made up two kinds of people: people who are, or are descended from the Irish; and people who pretend to be Irish.
I’ve no quarrel with the former, but there’s a kind of lunatic herd mentality about the latter when it comes to St Patrick’s Day in Liverpool. It’s a time when everyone wears a stupid hat, protests that they have a Great Uncle McMurphy and grimace through the once-a-year pints of Guinness.
This pretending-to-be-Irish nonsense has reached its apotheosis this year in the shape of Shane Richie’s Make Me Irish. This is how it’s described in TV listings:
In a special documentary for St Patrick’s Day, Shane Richie bids “top o’ the morning” as he heads to the Emerald Isle to try his hand at a variety of traditional Irish activities.
The world’s greatest nation at Pretending To Be Irish, the Americans, are also at it – making some water green, although there are still much more despicable elements of American Pretending-To-Be-Irish delusion-ism.
I don’t know how Irish people feel about this sort of drivel, but if there was a Hartlepool or Geordie (how I am usually identified in the North-West) national holiday I’d be pretty insulted if the country’s population used it as an excuse to drink, vomit, fight and shag their way around the streets for a day shouting ‘Fishie on a dishie’ at each other, drinking Strongarm and waving asphyxiated monkeys in the air.
The Pretending-To-Be-Irish capital of the UK is Liverpool, where once a year the streets turn into a scene from 28 Days Later. At lunchtime today I went to the bank. It was absolute chaos.
There were fat girls vomiting into gutters, ambulances trying to negotiate their way through the thronged masses, pissed-up blokes clearly intent on a fight and hundreds of exposed tits.
Liverpool’s bars and pubs have to take their share of the blame for the utter mayhem that takes place on this day every year, the day when it’s OK to binge drink until you need to have your stomach pumped, smash a glass over some bloke’s head cos he looked at you funny and knock up a girl whose name you can’t remember.
It would all be Bacchanalian if it wasn’t so tawdry. My old Uncle Paddy McDoyle would turn in his grave.
• We did a feature in Black+White about binge-drinking in Liverpool a few years ago on what the NHS, police and health charities make of the problem. Worth a read.