|Niall Quinn. Irish Football Great.
Sunday. Niall said ring today to arrange something. Ring Niall. No answer. Wait a few hours. Ring again. Same result. Send text. No answer by bed-time. Lie awake and fret.
Monday morning. Ring Niall again. This time he answers after three rings. He apologises, wasn’t near his phone all yesterday. Phew. Arrange to meet up Tuesday at 2pm in the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. Thank Niall, hang up. Make mental note to find out where the Shelbourne is. Meet classmates. Tell them the good news. Told the Shelbourne is a fancy 5-star hotel.
|Could get used to this.
Go shopping for a fancy 5-star shirt. In Penneys. Success.
Tuesday morning. Get bus to Dublin. Not just any bus. Double decker. Sit up top, as you do. Arrive in Dublin at midday. Time to kill. Head up to the Shelbourne to book a room for the interview. Walk in. Doorman posh. Receptionist posh. Act posh. Funny looks. Book room. Leave hotel minus one arm and one leg. An hour and a half to the interview.
In bathroom in Stephen’s Green shopping centre, realise the reason for the funny looks. Forgot to take piercings. Eyebrow bar not in the unwritten Shelbourne dress code.
Sit in Stephen’s Green watching ducks, eating a banana. Realise those people who call journalism glamorous are liars.
Twenty to two. Back to hotel. Staff very nice. Shown up to the room by the banquet manager. Room is huge. Table and two chairs like an island in the middle of a carpet ocean. Set up recording equipment. Niall rings. He’s stuck in traffic, he’ll be there as soon as he can. Hope he is, room only booked for an hour.
Back down to the lobby to wait for the big man. Sit on comfortable, expensive looking couch. Weigh up whether or not it’s bad manners to greet Niall while chewing gum. Decide it isn’t the best first impression. Look around. No bin in sight. Consider sticking wad to underside of expensive couch. Consider this risky. Surrender to inevitable and stick it in pocket.
Talk to doorman. Nice man. Not as posh as first impressions would suggest. Likes his job. Goes to do it again. Left alone. Quarter past two. Begin feeling faint from hunger. Remember banana is the only food consumed all day. Conclude that passing out while interviewing Niall Quinn may be detrimental to career in sportswriting.
Remember big bowl of cookies on reception counter. Make up an excuse to approach reception. Ask baffled receptionist banal question about paying for the room. Given same answer as earlier. Unimportant. Cookies are in arm’s reach. Important. Take only one. Better to be discreet. Scuttle back to expensive couch, prize in hand
Take a bite. Raisin cookies. Never as disappointed. Refuse to eat rest, out of respect for chocolate chip. Left with same problem as with chewing gum. No bin. Quinn’s arrival imminent. Chewing gum one thing, shaking hands with a legend of Irish football and getting melted cookie all over his suit sleeve another entirely. Sigh deeply, stick cookie in pocket to keep chewing gum company. Make mental note to burn trousers.
Here’s Niall. Too busy worrying about rapidly dissolving cookie to be starstruck. Friendly man, declines chance to get food. Offers to head straight up to the room to do the interview. Discuss Tipperary hurling on the way. Knows his stuff.
Get to the room. Pour two glasses of water. Apologise in advance for asking about Saipan. Put on headphones and press record. The next 45 minutes fly.
Interview will be posted up soon.