THE VACCINES – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 21.4.2021

The last time I was at The Odyssey, it was to see U2 in 2018. If you told me it would be two and a half years before I came back, and it would be to see The Vaccines supported by Doctor and the Medics, i’d be asking a lot of questions about the charts in 2019 and 2020.

I’ve actually seen The Vaccines live, not too far away at Titanic Slipways, supporting Noel Gallagher in 2016.

You should know by now that when something is announced that I want to go to, i’m usually straight on the ball to get it organised.

I can’t say I particularly wanted a jab, but needs must.

Bill Gates needs to update his microchips, i’ve had voices in my head telling me to kill Steve Jobs.

I booked myself an early morning appointment, thinking i’d avoid crowds but it was still busy. Thankfully, I could just walk right into the venue instead of having to queue outside, as I had witnessed on my teatime cycles to Airport Road.

It was very simple and efficient, walk in, register, brief pre-chat with a Doctor and then in I go.

I had a Scottish guy doing mine. I love Scottish accents, but it’s not the most reassuring then you’re about to get an injection. “Which arm ye want it in pal?” just sounds so menacing, even though it is not meant to be.

I remarked that he looked like a pop star from the 1950s, to which he replied “I’m no teenage icon, i’m no Frankie Avalon”.

Okay, that didn’t happen, but it would have been rude not to do a Vaccines joke.

Just as I was getting ready for it, it was done, and all I had to do was sit in the Seating Area, everybody maxing the use out of the free wifi on offer.

Whenever I booked my jab, I got two for the price of one, getting my date for the second jab.

Even though there is nothing on, it is still inconvenient. I’ll explain why later on.

They did say as I was leaving “If you wanna come back, it’s alright, it’s alright”.

Sorry for doing another Vaccines joke.

Thank goodness we have a vaccine, and it is being rolled out, because this country has been absolutely useless from Day 1.

This time last year, we were all “Community spirit, we’re all in this together, let’s look out for one another”. That has now been replaced with “Old people and people with medical conditions can fuck off, I want to go to the pub” because people realised this wasn’t going to be a two week holiday where you can fix things around the house.

If you want to do a job right, you have to do it the whole way through, and our society couldn’t be bothered.

Right from the start, we had people giving it Billy Big Balls, acting is if they’re the most inconvenienced person in the world.

Listening to some people, you’d think they left the house at 8am and don’t come home until 2am, because they’re so busy doing lots of outdoor things because they have such busy and interesting lives that will impress people.

In most cases, they go to work, slouch in front of the TV, and once a month their wife allows them to go to The Pub, as long as they’re home by 9pm.

We’ve all been inconvenienced, it’s not a competition.

I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again, this country is absolutely paralysed by it’s obsession with Pubs and World War II.

Ever since Day 1, all we’ve ever heard is “When are the pubs going to reopen?” instead of “When are we getting the R Number down?”. Maybe i’m just seeing things from a different angle because I used to work in the industry? Spoiler Alert, it’s a horrible industry to work in.

“Why should I not be allowed to go to the pub because of old people?”. Well, if it’s intergenerational warfare people want, i’m taking the side of old people. I’ve never been to a concert and seen a bunch of old people that need a slap because they can’t behave themselves.

It’s not young people that are propping up this economy, it’s Ethel and Mabel buying Cliff Richard CDs, Princess Diana Dinner Plates and creating an audience for This Morning and Countdown to sell advertising revenue that is keeping this country going.

I really don’t want to be that guy, but there are too many Grifters “White Knighting” on behalf of pubs, usually with their own agendas and commercial interests. You’d think Pubs were the only industry having a tough time, but they believe they should be at the front of the queue just because.

“Reopening pubs is good for people’s health” usually means that reopening pubs will be good for my bank balance. Just come out with it, don’t hijack something else for your own agenda.

You know what is good for people’s mental health? People leaving room for others on the footpath. People not climbing each other in Supermarkets and people not ramming up each other’s arses in Supermarkets.

People already have enough to worry about without worrying if someone else’s reckless behaviour has given them Covid. Let’s maybe address that first.

Looking at you especially Joggers. There’s a group who are the absolute definition of entitlement. See people coming a mile off and still don’t leave room for people on the footpath.

All that room left for them, and they still run up against people puffing and panting, and then start screaming and shouting when challenged, or pre-emptively asked to move.

War, Famine and Racism going on, but just you get worked up and angry about being asked to show a bit of consideration towards others. Grow up Nigel.

It’s the same profile every time, usually some middle-aged gammon male with a distinct stench of “Pity about Piers Morgan, tells it as it is. Legend”.

Quite where they get the front to behave like they do, I have no idea.

You’re not in training for the Olympics, just grow up Trevor. Even if you are in training for the Olympics, just grow up Trevor.

I should point out in the interest of balance that Women Joggers are every bit as useless. They just run up beside you and carry on as if nothing happened, instead of mouthing off.

Sometimes, you have to endure the same behaviour from people out walking. See you a mile off, spread across the entire footpath and still won’t move aside for a few seconds.

Even better, why not just stand in the middle of the footpath staring at your phone? Feel free to block people from getting where they want to go.

A society where it is safer to walk on the road than on the footpath is a society that has failed.

This walk on the road, literally or metaphorically – you decide, feels like a lonely one. Am I the only person making an effort here?

Talking of Supermarkets, they have been especially useless, getting rid of one way systems because people were too stupid to understand how they work.

And as a nice bonus, Tesco have now decided to make their self service tills card only.

Has the person who made that decision ever been to Tesco?

The vast majority of people use cash, why is there not self service tills for cash?

As a result, people are having to queue for longer when they could be in and out straight away if a self service cash till was available.

Although it seems to be that some people don’t want to be in and out quickly, treating Tesco like a family day out.

Surely if you’re walking into a shop, you should know what you need to buy?

For crying out loud, don’t stand in the middle of the aisle staring at a shelf, stopping people from getting past.

I’ve even seen people standing in the middle of the aisle blocking people because they’re reading a magazine.

I saw a great post on Twitter about Anti-Maskers. It simply said “Do they think people enjoy being in Lockdown?”

That’s exactly it. I don’t enjoy Lockdown, I don’t enjoy having to keep my distance from people, but if that’s what it takes to help drive the R Number down to get “Back to normal”, that’s what i’ll do.

The main issue has been the mixed messages from Government. You can meet if this, but only if, if there are. These muddled rules are going to make people just make up their own rules, ie – just do what you want. We should either be in Lockdown or not in Lockdown. None of this phased or tiers nonsense that was only going to bring about a free for all that would take us back to Square One.

Possibly the worst example of poor message was telling people to stay at home. That was never going to work.

What should have been done was to remind people of their responsibilities when outside. Get your groceries, visit Nature Parks and Beauty Spots, but use your brain when doing so.

Not once have I ever seen a Politician use a Covid Briefing to remind people to walk on the left. It’s literally that simple and effective. That message is the one that should have been rammed home from the start. That, and maybe making an effort for once to tackle smoking, which is at epidemic levels in Belfast.

The most at risk group of getting and spreading Covid and what do we do? Scratch our collective arses and do nothing while they congregate around each other infecting themselves and others.

If Cyclists got the accommodation Smokers get, and Smokers get the vitriol Cyclists get, Belfast might be a liveable city.

Politicians like to talk about “Inclusivity” and making Belfast more “Inclusive”. A polite reminder that inclusivity is about more than flags and murals, it’s about having a city that people can fully enjoy without having to take preventative measures to enjoy outdoor living.

When Society 2.0 gets up and running, this should be high on the list of issues that need addressed.

Of course, when you see bad examples at the highest level regarding behaviour, it’s only natural that standards will slip elsewhere.

You know what i’m referring to.

The thing is, Bobby Storey’s Funeral didn’t descend Northern Ireland’s Lockdown into anarchy. By this point, we’d already verbally agreed to just to do whatever we want and not care about others. This just formally signed the paperwork.

What it meant was, that if you ever challenged anyone over their behaviour, they could instantly quote that, and you can’t say anything in response.

This country has given up on Law and Order and replaced with the rules of the Atherstone Ball Game.

As hard as it is to hear, never let your standards drop because others can get away with dropping theirs. Be better.

Trust me, it’s infuriating, but be better.

I’ll park around the corner to go to a shop because there’s no parking space available. By the time I walk there, there’ll be someone parked on a double yellow line right outside it, blocking traffic, and not getting a ticket for it, with me wondering why I bothered.

For the avoidance of doubt, if you gather in a large group and breach Social Distancing because of a Political Protest, you’re an idiot, not matter how valid your cause.

If you gather in a large group and breach Social Distancing in reaction to a football result, you’re an idiot.

The list is not exhaustive. If you gather in a large group and breach Social Distancing, you’re an idiot.

If Belfast City Council or the Northern Ireland Assembly decide to award some sort of “Symbolic honour” to the “People of Belfast”, it will be politely rejected by me as I refuse to share an award with people who didn’t make an effort.

It should be a condition if this much rumoured voucher scheme in Northern Ireland becomes a reality, that anybody convicted of a Covid Breach should not be eligible. If you’re going to have a Reward Culture, actually reward those that did things properly.

If it results in somebody having to have an awkward conversation about why their household is not getting a voucher, that is not my problem.

Talking of empty gestures, it’s already started with the National Day Of Reflection. National Day Of Deflection more like.

Standing for a minute silence before engaging in the behaviour that spreads Covid and then kills people is an empty gesture. If it was a proper National Day Of Reflection, people would be looking in the mirror and asking themselves if they have done enough to protect themselves and others.

This Friday, pubs in Northern Ireland will reopen. Choosing a Friday going into a Bank Holiday Weekend is the dumbest thing i’ve heard.

Over the past few months, Journalists and News Outlets have been pushing a narrative that “We’re all going to go mad and let ourselves go when pubs reopen”. That attitude needs knocked on the head immedaitely.

That is going to be a green light for the biggest scumbags in our society to believe that they can behave however they want. Just watch over the next few years how many court cases will include a line from the Defence QC “My Client was feeling frustrated due to the effects of Lockdown”. Don’t be that guy.

Instead of “Going mad” and “Letting yourself go”, just pick up where you left off and enjoy yourself without being a dick.

That leads me neatly into concerts. I really hope that the next concert I go to isn’t in the first batch of the return of concerts for the above mentioned reasons.

Next on my schedule is Beabadoobee (September), followed by Paul Weller (November), Ash (December), Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott (January) and Doves (February) with Lightning Seeds still to be rearranged.

I’m hoping to add The Charlatans in November to that list. Have to be on the ball when they go on sale on Friday.

OMD might also be on the list. I have flights to Gatwick booked for July. I’m leaving it to June to make a decision on them, but it’s a very high chance i’ll move them to November and exchange a weekend in London for a few days in Brighton, sneaking in an OMD concert while i’m there.

I also have a few days in Bray booked for late June. It was supposed to be my base to try and turn up at Lansdowne Road and blag a ticket for the Euro 2021 Last 16 game there.

As you now know, Dublin has lost it’s Hosting Rights for Euro 2021, but i’ll leave it to mid June before cancelling my hotel. If there’s a possibility of a trip, especially one where no flights are needed, I might as well hold on to it as long as possible.

To add to the confusion, my second jab has been scheduled for when I should be there. I’ll be getting that date changed.

There’s another reason to get the R Number down, Man United might be playing at Windsor Park in August.

They’re going to win the UEFA Cup, but Northern Ireland will go into another Lockdown and we’ll lose the Hosting Rights. I’m already bracing myself for the disappointment. That’s what happens when you get used to this useless country letting you down time and time again.

Jonathan Van-Tam, whose stylisation of his surname I autocorrect in my head as Jonathan TV-AM, loves his football analogies to explain the situation.

When he does, I can usually give an example of a team not winning from the position he has just mentioned.

How would you describe Northern Ireland with it’s high rate of vaccine rollout? Four goals up with twenty-minutes to go?

Surely there isn’t an example of a team not winning from that position?

Turns out there is, Hibs drawing 6-6 with Motherwell in 2010. Oh for crying out loud.

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