Two women in Dublin by Photographer Lorcan Finnegan from his street series Granny Fashions

Frilly Keane is back.

With some hand me down wisdom.

Frilly writes:

In case ye haven’t noticed, I’m not a bit afraid of where I’m from, and I don’t cringe when I hear Olé Olé Olé, in fact I join in. I’m a divil for the sing song, and a divil for the dance floor, and I never care who’s looking. And I’m proud to announce that only one generation separates me from The Marsh.

I don’t ever feel the need for Window Dressing since I’m not a bit impressed by addresses or schools, or trappings or who Daddy’s Daddy was. Or Watches …. However I’ve a bitta’ve thing when it comes to accents tho’, I love genuine rootie ones, and break out in a rash at the Mt Anville.

If you ever give yourself a chance, listen to John Evans talk about football, now there’s a lad who has substance, passion, integrity, depth and respect.

Plenty of ye here have accused me of having a terrible dose of the inferiority complexes, and would even insist they could drop a hopper of turf into my chipped shoulder; meh. I’m all Substance over Style. But I’ll do that one another week.

Since there’s been very little middle of the roadie-easy-listening stuff here lately, which is not a complaint since there are some very serious matters before us as a democracy; I’m still going to give ye a 3 minute doss this week.

Recently my teenager (only just mind) was off to Mary’s for a thing called Core – fúcking queuing for tickets weeks in advance n’all. “it’s a social Mother, they’re not called Discos.” Lemme tell ye, if there was a ditch anywhere close, even a daycent pothole,I’d have dived into it and dragged her wi’me.

I don’t blame my baby since most of that “it’s a social” comes from all that High School telly shit. I’d have called it Dancing meself, like “did ye go dancing?”

My Nana Lulu would have said the same, “did ye go to the Dance?” Or sum’ting like “was it that Disco Dancing ye were at up there in the club?” Or she could easily have said “dance hall”

Dance Hall; just saying it puts a smile across ya. So it got me tinking about stuff our Nanas never said, or did.

Chicken Pesto in a Panini please; I think this all started around the late nineties in an’round Mount Street, and that’s not that long ago, so keep yere keyboards steady. I doubt either of my Nanas went beyond Tomato Sangwiches or a Chester Slice in Roches Stores Coffee Bar, where, incidentally coffee was white or with cream, proper cream – out’ve a bowl and not a squirty tin.

As I write this the smell of Roches Stores Coffee Bar has wrapped around me like a steaming bubble bath. And the range of cakes …. that all came in proper bakers trays.

Tis the crowds coming back from Italia ’90 wanting Cappuccinos instead of milky coffee are a much to blame.

What’s the wiffy code? or pin number; our Nanas kept cash in their purses; big brown plasticiky yokes, where they knew exactly how much was in them. And they kept address books. I can recant my own phone number, but nobody else’s, not even the landline at home.

They kept hall tables with a seat that they sat down on when making or taking a call. It was an event, a time out with a cup of real tea. Now we do the ironing or the supermarket shop talking into a phone. We used to talk to people on the bus and train; now we talk into the phone. I prefer their way.

What d’ya mean I can’t smoke here?
Ok we’re the better for that one. Back in the day, I had a beauty of a mullet, permed n’all, but the smell off it in the mornings when I put my head under the shower hose; actually, does anyone do that anymore, kneel down beside the bath and wash their hair under a rubber hose?

Anyway, I don’t like to think about how Nana Lulu would react to not being able to have a fag on a plane. I’d say she’d have preferred to walk from Dagenham to Cork rather that put her arse onto the LHR to ORK if there wasn’t a smoking section.

My other Nana, who I never really knew, probably never even entered an airport. I remember distinctly when My mother had to have an emergency appendectomy and her Mam, my Nana, used to bring me into the Mercy to visit, and the first thing she did at the side of the bed was light up a fag. By the way that girl lived to 88.

Unleaded please; or daysel, to be fair, neither of my Nanas ever drove. Then again, neither did my Grandfathers, and one worked in Fords for enough years that got him a Gold watch. I never knew my paternal Grandfather, although I know he left my father and uncles well set up, which didn’t last long. Nothing new there. But if they did drive, they’d tell the lad how much to put in; none of that now, and I miss that, and not just the three pounds’ worth of petrol.

I need to get the man in to look at the dishwasher. Not only was it an uber-luxury item bordering on the ridiculous, like having a private jet in today’s money, Kitchens were smaller and the freezer was a little shelf with a flap in the fridge, and it only held an ice cube tray and a half a block of Neapolitan, and maybe a few fish-fingers.

That’s another thing, Neapolitan ice cream was the fancy stuff; with Jelly and Ice Cream on a Sunday. Maybe I have evolved a bit, since I hate both Jelly and Ice Cream. And Ice Cubes, I hate them too, but why our Nanas needed them I’ll never know as nobody drank at home unless it was a funeral.

I need to floss. They all took their teeth out at night. Did you ever notice old photos taken in larger towns and cities? All the smiles are the same. That’s ‘cause they all had the same factory teeth.

Years ago, when Big Tracey was minding her own Nanny, she brought a lad back from the Felons one night, and when he was in the loo afterwards, he thought the cup at the sink was liquid soap. It’s still funny to think of yer man plucking through his walk of shame in the dark. Although the dentures that nearly bit yer’man weren’t Nana’s there were “mau’Graunnies pur wee teeth.”

I need to get waxed before the holidays. Ha! Imagine that. My Nana Lulu wouldn’t even take off her tights to go paddling in Youghal. No flip-flops, bikinis or tramp stamps. Going to the Sea-side was a day out in the Sunday best. If it wasn’t for Section 23 holiday apartment blocks and Spars, our sea-side towns would be a thing of the past too; how many long for the days when Crowds arrived with flasks and bottles of tay, and knitted togs, and bought sticks of rock home for the neighbour’s kids. Imagine your Nana bringing your Mammy to school in a Pyjama Pants; Christ she’d a’bin taken off her.

A 12” with Pepperoni and Sweet-Corn; delivered please; take-away was the chipper on the way home from Bingo. D’ya know, I’m no one to talk about take-outs, home deliveries and drive-thrus; but wouldn’t we all be better off with if it was just the Chicken Supper on-the-way-home from a night out?

I can already hear yere cribbing about the writing and the maudling reminiscing; but it really is incredible to think how our trappings in life change so fast, from the Hall Phone to Tap n’Pay, from the Dance Hall Slow Set and Ladies Choice to Tindr, and our Integrated Dishwashers that just get replaced rather than repaired, to how we eat and exercise; just ‘cause Discos, Mulletts, Flasks of Tay, Girdles, and The Parish Dance slash Bingo Hall are all things Millennials snort at – just like we did at pals in hand-me-downs, doesn’t mean we should be ashamed of them and pretend we’re any better off.

Hon Cork, and see ye on the 24th

Frilly keane’s column usually appears here on the first Friday of every month. Follow Frilly on Twitter: @frillykeane

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58 thoughts on “The Nana Files

  1. scottser

    it was the compact disc that ruined us all frilly. it gave us ideas above our station when there was nothing wrong with vinyl and tapes. and don’t get me started on mp3, it just upsets me.

  2. Lord Snowflakee

    This is unreadable.

    I appreciate the efforts made and the good intention behind it but for chrissakes are you just taking the urine with this mumbling rural oul wan affectation?

      1. Yeah, Ok

        I visit Broadsheet significantly less since you started giving this poo a platform.

        1. Bodger

          ‘Yeah, Ok’, I’m sorry about that. Are there writers you enjoy on the ‘sheet?

          1. Harry Molloy

            Don’t apologise, if they don’t like it they don’t have to read it.

            Bad form to be discouraging commenters from going to such effort as Frilly has!

          2. Yeah, Ok

            Yes actually, I enjoy the commentary pieces on current news stories; whether or not I agree with them all, at least they stimulate the brain and invite discussion. Dan Boyle prompts debate even though I usually don’t really agree with him. Sibling of Daedalus has very interesting input on historical stuff. I love the interviews with Legal Coffee Drinker. There are others I could praise. Obviously the main reason I’m here is that you provide a slightly different perspective on the news, and wasn’t that the original aim?

            There’s lots to like about the site, which is why I’ve been coming here for 6 years. You do great work in so many ways. This stuff, on the other hand… well. Allowing low quality writing and poor topics like this cheapens the whole thing, if I’m honest.

            I realise that I’m consistently critical of Frilly’s columns but it’s only because they’re of such low standard – both in spelling/grammar and in content – that it’s dragging the rest of you down too.

          3. Lord Snowflakee

            Agree with Yeak, ok

            Would apply the same perspective to a few other regular providers of content as well .e.g LJG, Tony Groves, Anne Marie McNally, Gary Gannon, Rory Hearne, though in fairness none of them are as awful and amateurish as Frilly.

            Taft is very good though, and even that Derek lad has his moments.

          4. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

            …lots to like about the site, which is why I’ve been coming here for 6 years.

            Listen to this one… First time commenting… Stalwart supporter for 6 years…Judge and jury for what’s permissible… 6 years… Not anne or Anne or anny body else who has a grudge against Frilly… 6 years… first time commenting, because who doesn’t wait 6 years to get upset enough to finally post a comment?
            – It’s not Anne. It couldn’t be.

          5. Yeah, Ok

            Badatmemes I’ve been posting here a damn sight longer than you. And all the while using this name. Just because I don’t need to spew nonsense ramblings on every post doesn’t mean my opinion is less worthy than yours. Check yourself, fool.

      2. bisted

        …Bodger, I think you may be mixing this up with Finnegans Wake…easy mistake…

        1. Bodger

          Bisted, Frill is using the vernacular voice in the same way Joyce did or Irvine Welsh does.

          1. bisted

            …love accents…haven’t read much Irvine Welsh but Joyce would have been lost without them…but Frilly as a modern day Marcus Lyons…

    1. Janet, I ate my avatar

      so don’t read it
      no one has a gun to your noggin
      why so harsh
      did your mammy never tell you if you ever nothing nice to say, say nothing ?

  3. RT

    Usual Little Irelander maudlin claptrap. Though at least she is now aware of the criticism of most here when writing in this vein. No mention of the other darker aspects of Irish life circa mid 20th century – laundries, poverty, sectarianism, homophobia, the Troubles, etc. etc. that her Nannas would have tolerated and even enabled. I for one am happy Ireland has changed so much in my lifetime since this apparent defining moment of Italia 90 (I was 5 at the time, so have only hazy memories of the grown ups going mental at the telly).

    Frilly seems to have a particular chip on her shoulder should you be a millennial, middle class, from Dublin (particularly the Southside), are into “foreign” sports, or in any way have aspirations for a more continental/modern/call it what you will lifestyle (aka “notions” in the Irish begrudgery parlance). Being any/all of these does not make you any less Irish. We Irish are a less homogenous bunch than Frilly would like us to be. Tea from a flask and homemade ham sandwiches at the side of a GAA pitch in some dreary rural backwater in the rain is not the only marker of Irish authenticity

    1. Frillyfeels

      It’s hang sangwidges . Also a marker of being Irish is shouting about being Irish , Dublin, Southside and middleclass.

      1. RT

        Who is shouting? I didn’t use caps! Just pointing out the groups that are typically on the receiving end of your disdain in every second article.

    2. Lord Snowflakee

      I’d say the only person who has a chip on their shoulder here is yourself. True, Frilly just drones on incessantly about the topics you mention but she’s hardly an anthropological scholar, she’s just some flutey wan reminiscing about times past. Also, I don’t hold Frilly personally responsible for the actions of a corrupt few holding the reins of power in the past, nor her Nana either. We don’t evolve much here but we’re a remote island with a monotheistic culture (until relatively recent), it will take almost half as long to undo all the centuries of bad habits and poor colonial and post colonial governance.

    3. Sheik Yahbouti

      I must agree RT in respect of these definitions of “irishness” and ‘what we ALL love”, that makes us Irish. I’m as Irish has anyone here, but have no love for Gaaaaah and all the baggage that goes with it.

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        BTW my remark above was not a criticism of Frilly, as such, who is entitled to share reminiscences with us, which many will enjoy and share. What annoys me are the narrow definitions of Irishness.

        1. RT

          Agreed, some will really enjoy such articles. But it is the narrowness of Irishness and Irish experiences presented in many of Frilly’s pieces which bugs me the most.

          1. Lord Snowflakee

            Well yea, can’t disagree there.

            But it does sort of reflect who a lot of us still are.

            Even the ‘liberal’ ones are insular and inward-looking.

  4. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

    Roches Stores coffee shop. Happy days.
    What were those slices called with the chocolate top and a pink button on them, Frillz? They were kind of a shortbread cake with a chocolate filling.
    Though Donkey’s Gudge is where it’s at, obv. I love, love, LOVE it.

      1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

        Heh. That wasn’t much of a leap from how I described it. I dunno why I didn’t just say “What was the name of those chocolate slices?”. You can get Donkey Gudge in Tesco, but I’ve never seen a chocolate slice outside of Cork.

        1. Frilly Keane

          Dunnes stock Staffords
          but they’re not the same

          Ya have to go home really to get a day’cent Chester
          the same with Tipsey Cake
          The Staffords one is poo

    1. Frilly Keane

      Just dropping in lads.
      Yeah the Chocolate Slice
      Only I was allergic to the jammy stuff they used between the shortbread and the chocolate filling. It must have had honey in it

      I was an Apple square or a Snowball
      And biscuit cakes

      BTW its Donkeys Gudge without icing
      Chester with Icing

      SuperValu Grange do Chesters and Biscuit Cakes
      And I stock up from there

      1. Andyourpointiswhatexactly?

        I never knew that about the icing. Feck it: it’s Chester cake I love then. I like to add sherry to the middle bit to make it more trifley.

        I forgot about the jam in the chocolate slice.

  5. kellma

    That was a nice trip down memory lane. Haters gonna hate. Don’t read it if you don’t like it. Some people just love being angry and outraged. It’s a misguided attempt to address their low self-esteem issues…

    1. Lord Snowflakee

      Neither angry nor outraged – sorry. It ‘s just badly written forgettable crap. No biggie.

  6. Liam Deliverance

    Good stuff Frilly, I enjoyed that, and if I didn’t I would have stopped reading and moved on to the next thing.

    1. Lord Snowflakee

      That’s the thing. I couldn’t get past the first 2 or 3 paragraphs. I wanted to read on but couldn’t find the sheer physical or psychological strength with the riding tide of nausea I felt engulfing the very fabric of my being.

        1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

          Job done well.

          What kind of a ponce calls themselves a ‘Lord’?
          An idiot perhaps?

          Could be…
          Usually is…
          Nobody important
          That’s for sure.

  7. Kenny U-Vox Plank

    Except these old coffin dodgers get everything for free and call the shots electorally at the expense of the rest of us. There should be an extra tax on everyone over 65 for having screwed up the country. Only in the dump would these old smell-of-pee chancers be allowed regard a trip to hospital as a social event.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Grand stuff, Kenny – except for the tiny detail that all of your posts indicate a level of conservatism and stupidity that the older generation would have to go into overdrive to match. I was going to say ‘decent attempt ‘, but on consideration it’s just the usual below par effort.

  8. scottser

    no mention of the holy swears frilly? to quote my nana:
    ‘for the love of the sweet and holy blessed virgin tonight all the angels and saints preserve us where the sufferin feck did i leave me glasses?’

  9. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    Hey Frilly…
    You know I love you. I always have and I always will.
    You don’t have to be from Cork to be able to tolerate people from Cork.

    I love you, but I’m so asocial that if I professed my love properly…
    …my love…

    Only winding her up lads…let’s all get drunk or something. Footbal, the popular roundy type, none of that egg-shaped 5hite, yeah?

    (Only winding them up Frilly.)

    Happy weekend, one and all, even if you are a stupid bollix, and if you are, Happy Christmas, it’s Easter tomorrow so put some pancakes on the bonfire.

    I love you Frilly.
    This is my first ever love letters
    I hope that the lovely guys in ‘admin’ don’t delete it and ruin my chances of ever finding my one true love, who fits me like a glove, that comes from above, on the wings of a duck… hang on….

  10. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    I am not romantic.
    I play with myself, and so do you, you liar.

    It’s only dirty if you don’t wash your hands. That’s a quote from my Uncle Roger who is in prison.
    Ah well…

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