Use The Bus Pass Instead of the Vaccine Passport...


A lot of people have a bee in their bonnet at the moment about vaccine passports and the supposedly grave threat they pose to our rights, privacy and freedom to travel to different countries.

Chances are that most of us would happily hand over whatever data we're asked for to be able to jet off on a sun holiday: our PPS number, a recording of every phone call we've ever made, our entire internet history, a couple of DNA swabs, video footage of a recent colonoscopy and how often you’ve been to Dubai for a boob job. 

With the recent change in how people are selected for a vaccine to an age-based system and the overwhelming enthusiasm for getting jabbed among the Irish public (which must be soul destroying for the anti-vax crowd), surely there's merit in going back to the familiar system of just having the date of birth on your ID checked by a menacing-looking bouncer anytime you want to get into a potential super-spreader event for the great un-jabbed?

Páirc Life
Take sports events for example. When the Cork hurlers and footballers open their account in the 2021 Munster championship, most Cork hurling fans won't be vaccinated so there's no chance we'll see the Blackrock Terrace or the Town End of Semple Stadium bouncing to the rhythm of "Rebels! Rebels!" with frantic flag waving and the odd red firework when Hoggie hits the back of the net this year.

But with all over-65's jabbed by then, it would be shame to repeat the completely silent stadiums of last season when this cohort of GAA-mad Corkonians could add some much-needed atmosphere even if it means a lot of cranky auld fellas shaking their heads as Hoggie slots over point number 17 saying "yerra, he's no Christy Ring!".

Wouldn't it be great to let our Rebel Golden Oldies go and support Cork on behalf of the whole county? A quick flash of a bus pass or a Viagra prescription at the turnstiles should be enough to permit entry and a bring-your-own-blanket policy should ensure no complaints about the cold either.

It'll be a chance for the young-at-heart to show us how loud they can roar on the teams even if it means a constant barrage of false teeth piling up on the edge of the pitch. And if it comes down to a heart stopping finish again between Cork and Kerry, there are more defibrillators in stadiums these days than you can shake a walking stick at. 

Jazz ‘Legends’
If the vaccine rollout ends up becoming the inevitable HSE cluster-shambles that we all fear, and people under 60 are still waiting for their first shot in October because of "an unavoidable IT systems failure"  then what better way to ensure the jazz still goes ahead than making it a pensioners-only festival?

Indoor events are a big no-no for our NPHET overlords, as it's where the Boris Johnson variant of covid-19 thrives - bouncing desperately from host to host like a cornered Brexit negotiator trying to find an economic sector to destroy. But if everyone in the room is up to their eyes in Pfizer and Astra Zeneca's vaccine soup then let the oldies get down and boogie on their own while the rest of us sit at home doing yet another painfully boring zoom quiz.

With genres like indie, pop and hip-hop, performers are considered over the hill if they are old enough to grow a proper beard but jazz is the opposite.  

The greyer and longer the beard the more musical wisdom you are considered to have accumulated, so playing the same distressingly dissonant pattern of notes over and over again on a xylophone for four minutes like a skipping CD is not a sign of someone slowly losing their marbles, but a sign of their deep understanding of the true value of repetitious harmonic undertones.

Anyway, the point is, unlike other music festivals there should be no problem filling the jazz festival line-up with "legends" – a label used to describe musicians who haven’t had any musical success since 1975. Fully vaccinated "legends", of course.

Even aside from who's on the bill, surely there's a lot to be said for being able to go to a festival to enjoy some music and a pint of the black stuff without the constant threat of some young langball stumbling on to the stage balloobas drunk, and suddenly projectile-vomiting into an auld fella’s saxophone.

Now, that’s a festival Cork could be proud to blow its own horn about.