St Patrick's Day isn't so far away, and I see some pages are already featuring Irish colours, hats, leprechauns, verses and shamrocks. I have no plans to decorate my page this year, although I still have almost three weeks to change my mind. I have been reading old records and remembering some of the reasons I liked what we refer to as "Irish Nights". Without exception, they were fun times. Many New Zealanders have an ancestry that can be traced back to England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, and this particular celebration is very popular here, even for those who have no Irish heritage.
The most memorable of my Irish Nights was one that wasn't supposed to be our gig at all. We got a phone call from a very concerned RSA president apologising that the secretary had hired an Irish band instead of us, but would we attend anyway, and bring our instruments and play a few items.
The evening started off well, until the Irish band discovered that they were supposed to supply Irish music and they didn't know any Irish songs. Their band leader, being unable to attend, had told the other three where the venue was, but omitted to mention the Irish part. We could scarcely believe that they didn't know any Irish music at all, we thought everyone would at least know "when Irish eyes are smiling", but they denied all knowledge. So they played their own music, and they were a good band, but the audience kept asking for Irish songs.
Eventually, perceiving their inadequacy in that area, the Irish band moved off centre stage and handed the entertainment over to Lyn and me. We encouraged them to vamp along with us. The crowd sang along, and a couple of soloists did items, Irish jokes abounded, Lyn got a prize for wearing green socks, and I got one for having green hair, and other people got prizes for the most unlikely reasons. There is no end to the fun you can create on Irish Night.
Last year I didn't go anywhere at all, but I will this year.