In desperate times, the lawless will survive, I suppose.
When I was in my teens, Bray had a fierce reputation. Hard lads from Tallaght were afraid to come out here. Or maybe that was Shankill. Or Ballybrack. Whatever. Bray was dodgy, there were spates of stabbings and beatings, and crime, and heroin addicts off their heads
coming to rob the off licence Axel worked in every Methadone clinic day, or dole day, and the Gardai would be polite on the phone but never ever show. He grew up coming home from school being stopped every day as he walked through Wolfe Tone Square, for a 'fair search', where he'd be pushed against a wall and have his pockets emptied of cigarettes.
A lot of that culture is gone now, grown up, some are dead, from lifestyle or suicide; some sold up when the houses were worth €350,00 and moved on, and newer, non-council house families moved in and changed the demographic. And the new kids on the corner are more used to their benefit going farther, big screen tvs and new cars and enough food on the table and cheerfully doing a bit of dealing, allowing them to buy luxuries.
All this sounds unpleasant of me maybe, but it's people my husband knew by name, shared classrooms with, really. No scales on his eyes. It's a long time since I heard a story of a Saturday night with blood in it.
Apparently robberies are on the rise again. Last week, my friends were in the Porterhouse in Bray, smoking outside, and someone suddenly punched one of them in the jaw, lifting him up in the air and flat on his back. Then they walked away laughing, a bit of fun. And the bouncers knew them, so they laughed it off. When my friends called the guards, the bounders fobbed them off, sent them the wrong way. At Axel's gig on Saturday night in the Noggin Inn, which had a serious reputation when I first heard of it, for the first time in my knowledge, a fight broke out on the dance floor, someone pushed someone else, and a dog fight erupted all over the pub, someone bit someone's ear half off, ambulances called. My brother had a party that an extra 150 strangers turned up to. He's been on the dole for a while since losing his job, but he's been doing great, taking up exercises and yoga and meditation and getting healthy, had given up smoking blow, but went on a bender at this party that he said took a week to recover from. And some scumbag crashed the party and made off with his laptop, presumably while he was out of it.
It's all mounting, I feel. Hard times are back. Unemployment and violence I'd forgotten about. Resurfacing, bubbling up between the cracks of the Celtic Tiger veneer. Woooo, ooo, remember the eighties?
Be safe, everyone!