Life is tough, just sayin’

It’s the crisis of a generation. The Celtic Tiger cubs that grew up playing red-ass on the green, burning themselves to a crisp on Portmarnock Strand, clubbing on Camden Street and generally having the bants, with a bit of casual sex on the side, are completely disenfranchised. Their mates have all fucked off to Canada, Australia and those left behind are broke as a joke, unable afford the craic anymore…

That’s the picture painted in “Just Saying”, a short film by Dave Tynan, staring Emmet Kirwan as a 20 something year old young man, walking through central Dublin and dramatically reciting a poem about every single thing that’s gone wrong for his generation. There are ten good reasons why he should go and follow his mates, he says, and a thousand small ones not to.

The film’s arrangement is simple and straightforward. The score by Gareth Averil is minimalistic, creating a pensive atmosphere without interrupting the delivery. Emmet Kirwan’s performance of the “typical Dublin nineties kid” also goes off without a hitch. Yet this film’s biggest achievement has to be that it manages to portray the post-crash Dublin in a half-way decent state.

However that isn’t to say that everything is hunky dory. One of the biggest let-down’s of this film is that the unemployment situation, the real elephant in the room, is only hinted at. This leaves the viewer wondering why the narrator doesn’t simply seek a job to fund all his nights out on Camden Street, or elsewhere in the City of Dutch Gold. Equally the existential crisis the narrator experiences, on seeing his mates leaving home, might simply be attributed a more universal phenomenon – growing up. People grow up, they push their horizons, they move on to bigger and better things. Childhood friendships, red-ass on the green, wild drinking sessions in houses belonging to people you’ve never met before…. they don’t last forever.

Perhaps that’s the problem of the 90s generation. We find it harder than usual to adapt to change and adversity. And while it’s all well and good to be nostalgic, too much of it can consume us. The Dublin of Dave Tynan and many of his age is one of past memories, while the world outside represents opportunity. Perhaps if he could only open his eyes a little wider, and temporarily shut his past away into a small corner of his mind, he could see some fresh opportunities.

Because life is tough, just sayin’. We need to learn how to adapt.

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  1. The video hit me really hard, especially as I saw it when I was back in Dublin over the holidays. It really captures the mixed feelings you go through when you decide to move. I don’t know if I was imagining it, but the mood in Dublin seemed really bleak when I was back. Might just be me being melodramatic though!

    • You’re right, it’s quite bleak, and unnecessarily so. I suppose I feel that change is tough, and we have to experience it at some point.

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