After 0.02 decades of plans for photography, Chris ‘Robotnik‘ Morrin and I finally joined time for some malarkey. We didn’t have much in the way of direction; off-beat fun was enough. Dr Quirky’s Amusement Arcade on O’Connell Street would be the venue. However, there was more to come.
“Let’s make it weird. What’s the last thing you’d ever expect to see in an amusement arcade, Nay?”
So we went to Dunnes on Talbot Street to hunt down cream horns or a TeaTime Express. Waiting in the queue, however, a superior candidate caught our eye. Hello Thomas the Tank Engine, you big, bad blue bastard you.
Cutting neatly through the armour plating of icing wasn’t going to be easy. I proposed a 30cm ruler from the stationary department. Instead we nipped into the Earl cafe next door, strode past the wilting cabbage dinners to the cutlery stand and got busy carving a perfect portion and headed back out again. We still needed a receptacle to eat from however and Chris disappeared as I read the dozens of e-numbers printed on the packaging’s side under the watchful eye of Mr Joyce. Suddenly Chrisbot reappeared, his eyes wide and haunted in the bustling metropolis.
“Yo, let’s walk, walk, walk!” He surged into the crowd, his beige mac flappping in the wind, revealing the gleam of stolen crockery.
Amusement arcades with their bright, blinking lights are a Mecca for photographers. Free rein to run around snapping up the colourful displays would be marvellous, complementing the sunny tones of Pleasant Square, the recently-released debut Robotnik album.
We didn’t ask though. Chris was barely on the chair two minutes before a pair of burly men appeared, looking very put out.
Despite the glaring EP sticker (THIS BELONGS TO LIONEL RICHIE) there was a lot of talk about my camera and its beastly professional appearance which secretly pleased me. Except they didn’t give a shit if I worked for Mr Richie or anyone: only financial amusement allowed. Bottom line, no photography, except Chris asked to see the manager.
Now, I’m not a bad person. I buy homeless people tea and King, coach my children in equality and rescue snails from the pavement. I understand that people on the jackpot machines before noon have a problem and tried to cater for that by choosing the least popular row of one-armed bandits. If a lone gambler chooses to play beside us, eyeing my camera all the while, well, I won’t be held accountable for the off-chance his debtors are Irish indie fans.
And when the manager appeared and wanted to know what we were doing the striking resemblance to the Fat Controller hit me and I answered that our little brother was a massive Thomas fan and we were taking the cake to all his favourite places for photos of each slice in a different location so he could celebrate his birthday from his bed in Our Lady’s where he was treated for hydrocephalus. I meant well.
The manager almost simpered before composing himself, “Out now and I don’t want to see these photos in any paper or the fuckin’ telly!”
Well, what a pisser. With a Belgian gig to get to and forty minutes of an hour’s shoot gone, there was nothing left for us to do but dump our gear by The Spire and make some buttercream inroads. People gawked, mitching schoolgirls tittered, one guy roared into his phone so vehemently I half-expected it to start ringing in his hand. Chris chomped cake. He looked so lost, a little boy throwing a birthday party in the middle of madness. Which is something of a metaphor for a solo musician, eh?
**In the interests of professionalism, all pilfered items were returned and thanked for very nicely indeed.**