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Dublin in the late 80’s, the Celtic tiger not yet a cub and I, in my teens, sat in the back row of the Ambassador, a large gracious cinema; a proud building worthy of its position at the top of O’Connell St.
We’d had a few drinks over the river in Bartley Donnes, a pub known for serving the youth and the only place I had a hope in hell of having one. There was a small crowd of us, a merry a lot, chuffing away on John Player Blue or Silk Cut or whatever at a late night showing of Stop Making Sense.
This was back in the days when smoking was legal. One could smoke anywhere, everywhere, on the top of buses, in aeroplanes, pubs, restaurants and cinemas. Smoking was cool and smoking dope even cooler. Hash was bought in ‘spots’, a ten spot was the usual measurement.
Not yet a smoker, beside me a joint was being rolled in the darkness of the cinema. This was the opium of my youth. To be offered a drag was the epitome of teenage sophistication. Truth was, fresh air would have had the same effect on me as any inhalation from the doobie on offer. It was all in the anticipation. Oh how I anticipated… It was almost burnt to the roach before it came full circle back to my lips. I felt so grown up.
A general hush descended, a rush of blood to my thumping heart and David Byrne apeared alone on the screen with a guitar. Slowly, one by one the other band members arrived till finally the screen was full of musicians, instruments and song. The song played was called Heaven.
To my left my neighbour was kissing her boyfriend, to my right were another couple in a heady embrace of passionate snogging. Love was in attendance all about me.
I sat in the immense darkness of the crowded cinema painfully self-conscious of my lone state and dry lips.
Heaven… heaven is a place a place where nothing, nothing ever happens.
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