Over the years I have collected generic anecdotes which come in handy when I meet people that aren’t from Monkstown. ‘When I ask where are you from?’ Im not trying to be racist.Im not looking to see if you are coming over here and taking our jobs or giving Northern Irelands gene pool a much needed stir. I genuinely just want to chat. I’m just trying to find common ground. Something to start the chat. Once that ground has been established then off we go!!! I often find that the next thing I bring up is whatever little known fact I have stored in my brain about that place. I realise that could be offensive but as the old saying goes ‘If you offend everyone in the world, you offend no one in the world’. So here is a list of what I will say to you if you mention the city or country or continent where you are from. Starting with Northern Ireland then branching out, It is clear that my knowledge gets vaguer the further away I get.
So Where are you from then?
Derry: Oh, I used to live up there. Did you ever go to Metro? Full of cougars isn’t it?
Magherafelt: Until 10 years ago I thought that was just a cross roads. Little did I know, people actually lived there.
Ballymena: It’s just one big farmers market isn’t it? Do you ever see Liam Neeson? Can you do his scary threatening voice? I can.*
Bangor: Do you ever go on the swans? Great place for a kebab.
Armagh: Um, there is a Cathedral there or something? You guys are big into your GAA.
Enniskillen: Why are there so many English people there? What’s up with that guy standing on the tower?
Limavady: That’s the Lisburn of the North coast isn’t it?
Lisburn: You’ve got an Omniplex cinema. How is your middle class Northern Irish dream working out for you with your idyllic four bedroom house in the suburbs just 5 minutes from Sprucefield shopping centre where you go every Saturday and 15 minutes from Belfast where you work in middle management for a start up Public Relations company?
Carrickfergus: You’ve got a Castle. My favourite part of Carrick is Whitehead.
Whitehead: The Lighthouse is good and the tea room.
Larne: I’m so sorry. (Actually, people should stop slagging Larne. It has some positives. It has a nice Harbour. A wee bit of investment and Larne will no longer be the place you go to to fail your driving test.)
Newry: So glad I don’t have to drive through there anymore.
Dungiven: What is Eoghan Quigg up to these days?
Dublin: Parking is so expensive. I once had to pay 80 quid to get my car released from a car park there. I think all the homeless people in Dublin are just people who can’t afford to pay for their car to be released.
Cork: Have you ever met Roy Keane?
Drogheda: That’s where Oliver Plunkett’s head is.
Galway: Have you ever been to Father Ted’s House?
Donegal: Are you a big Daniel O’Donnell Fan?
Rest of Ireland: I’m a Protestant, Im not quite sure where that is.
Wales: Really? Ive only met about 10 Welsh people my whole life. You must all like staying in Wales.
Glasgow: Kevin Bridges and Limmy are Funny.
Edinburgh: I’ve been there. Nice Castle.
Aberdeen: You’ve got a white city centre and lots of oil.
Loch Ness (Lough Ness???): Try to go as long as possible with out mentioning the Monster. But I will, and then I will talk about that Ted Danson movie where all my information about Loch Ness comes from.
Newcastle: Have you been to the Metro Center? Me neither.
Nottingham: Robin Hood
Rest of England: Generally what football team is nearest and have a yarn about that.
France: My dad’s from there. I had snails once, so I did.
Germany: I love Currywurst.
Iceland: Have you heard of Sigur Ros?
Sweden: Have you heard of Imfrombarcelona? They are class.
Spain: Are you a Real Madrid or Barcelona fan?
Italy: What do you think of Pizza Hut? We used to have one in Carryduff but they shut it down a few years ago and it ripped the heart out of the community.
Holland: So once I’ve seen all the Tullips and Visited the Anne Frank Museum in my Clogs what else is there to do for fun in Holland?
Greece: Is it really cheap to go there on holiday now?
Slovenia: Have you heard of Lake Bled?
Belgium: Oh Right, I want to go to Belgium about as much as I want to see a Scouting For Girls comeback tour.
Leichenstein: Ive been to the Kings house there and used the loo.
Austria: Where is Arnold Schwarzenegger’s house?
Hong Kong: Ive been there once. Really Nice. It’s like an introduction to Asian culture for UK people. Good frog soup.
New Zealand: I love Flight if the Conchords. I went to this place in Aukland where I fell down a hill and offended all these Maori people.
Australia: We gave you Jimeoin and Susan Kennedy. You’re Welcome.
Uganda: Ive been there. It was really good. Best flag in the world.
Kenya: Have you met any Obamas?
Sudan: I heard South Sudan were the goodies and North Sudan were the baddies. Is that true?
Nigeria: Jay Jay Okocha, Taribo West, Shola Ameobi etc…
South Africa: Oscar Pistorius is some lad eh?
Any Other African Country: Oh well, Ive been to Uganda. Is it like that? I’ve been there…. I’m so cultured..I’ve been there.
India: One Billion people. No Gold Medals. Whats going on?
Hawaii: So what year was Barack Obama born here?
Bolivia: Thats really high up. I’ve been to the salt flats. Everyone in that country has great hair.
Argentina: Maradona eh?
Brazil: Pele eh?
California: Where’s Arnold Schwarzenegger’s house?
Seattle: I love Fraiser. My ambition in life is to have every episode on DVD.
Portland: Voodoo Donuts is good. Have you seen Portlandia? Hang on a sec while I go on youtube and show you some class videos.
Vancouver: I love Tim Hortons Coffee.
Toronto: Your Mayor was interesting. Go Maple Leafs.
Texas: I take it you are glad Donald Trump is President.
Kentucky: Nope, Nothing obvious is coming to mind.
Wisconsin: Go Packers: I love That 70s Show.
New York: I was in the audience for David Letterman show once. That experience put me off the whole city.
Boston: Im treated like royalty in Boston cos of my accent. It’s like having a 6 pack.
Cuba: They thought I had drugs in Cuba. But I didn’t.
Jamaica: Usain Bolt should make a new bobsleigh team with Yohan Blake and John Barnes. I want to see Cool Runnings 2.
So there it is. All the Icebreakers I have for chat with you. If you are from one of these places we are gonna be friends. If not I guess this is gonna get pretty awkward. Feel free to move on.
*This is the last time I talk about Liam Neeson. I feel like I mention him a lot on this site. No more chat about him in 2017.