More than anything else the 1980’s offered the last glimpse of the exotic. Before the internet and mobile phones ruined the imagination of people who got their information from books, newspapers and actually finding out about other cultures. The 1980’s was the last decade in human history that can honestly be termed an era of adventure. James Bond was able to battle baddies, spy novels and movies could be believed, while sitting behind the wheel of a Lada or Yugo truly was an adventure for those of us on the other side of the Iron Curtain.
Sports during this decade were as corrupt, drug fuelled, exciting and involving than now. Superstars were made because the era of 24-hour rolling news and sports access hadn’t yet diluted the talent pool and enjoyment of pure pursuits. Collecting stickers to fill up albums, standing at football matches, listening to radio reports and sitting down on a Saturday afternoon to watch a match that probably held as much interest for you than watching two flies walk up a wall. But that was it, the exotic. The hero worship. That era has gone and will never return.
This story is based on a number of trips, some exploits and some real events brought to life by a teacher from a North City Dublin school with more to gain from going than any of the players. Reading the dialogue needs to have an idea of the Northside Dublin accent being available in your head. The area and time the boys come from is now being relived in modern Ireland. High unemployment, drug addiction, family problems and crime, all contributed to what later became a golden generation for Irish Sports, Culture and economy. While the recent focus was on the bankers and high flyers, the bulk of the economy came from those who were at the bottom of the pyramid in the 1980’s and who left or battled their way to the middle class, or higher, as the millennium dawned. It is from this same social grouping that the next Irish boom will come. A group that has always shown the genius to survive, thrive and make Ireland work again. The life blood of Ireland is its people. The salvation of Ireland will come from this blood.
The adult leads in the story come from different backgrounds but are brought together by the boys they look after. The male lead, Paul, is a composite character of the Irish male – idiosyncratic, odd, gentle, funny, mischievous, loyal and most of all the same mental age as the boys he’s looking after. Clara, the lone woman, is the archetypal female lead, in control, able to command and importantly the dominant force in the story. She could be from any country and proves the point that women lead by kicking their men into shape. Without Clara there is no trip, no Paul and no story. Helmut and Denis are men of a generation, a little jaded, more capable of seeing life as not so serious, and have the perspective of experience that age can give to make disaster seem like a gentle Summer breeze. I hope that they combine with the boys to make your reading more entertaining.