Half Canned Full of Beans

Bitter cold today, chill icy wind coming in off the sea.

I may light the stove and move from the office to the kitchen for the day. Read the papers yesterday and this morning, watching the manoevrings of various politicians over the weekend.

Aung San Suu Kyi released from house arrest; Gerry Adams announced he’s moving way down south to re-invent himself as a TD; Jim Allister rages against the dying of the light. In England lightweight Liberal Nick Clegg shows he was well duped by the Tories over tuition fees. Who didn’t see that coming?

Of these the events in Burma caught the eye of the media and imagination of the world. But in reality will the release of Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest make any real difference, will it lead to regime change in Burma? Probably not.

Still, for all our criticism of the politicians that we are blessed with,  it is better to have a load of half canned students sacking an office than being gunned down in the streets for having an opinion. Western democracy was such a good idea.

From my own days as a student, demonstrations and protests were part of the craic and we weren’t a radical bunch by any means. More like a load of bollixes with nothing better to do looking an excuse to go on the beer. Anti-student loans or save our grants. Whatever the cause, they could count on us.

Off we would march from Queen’s, down past pub after tempting pub, keeping a steady course for Belfast City Hall. After the demo was over we would take ourselves down Royal Avenue and into Kelly’s Cellars and begin the serious business of pub crawling back up to the Union or home.

In no time at all, half canned, full of beans. We could have changed the world but it was easier to worry about where the next pint of stout was coming from.

Sometimes we would not even make it as far as home, ending up again in what was the old Crescent Bar in Sandy Row. A refuge for drunks, desperadoes, the last stop on the Lost Highway. More times than not an entirely forgettable night out, one merging into the next, meeting the same people over and over again.

Still, it got you out of the house, which is more than Aung San Suu Kyi could say.

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