Friday, September 9, 2011
Trim: what are we facing now?!
I have learnt that most Irish Houses are designed on the same model: there's the kitchen where everything happens. Then, there's a sitting-room, or the “good room” or the “front room”, which the proud Mam always keeps tidy and nice. That is where visitors are brought to first. That's where the whole family gathers for very special occasions.
Well, for me, the Town Hall is the “Good Room” of the Town. Or at least, it should be. You wouldn't gather your loved ones, including your old auntie who's got arthritis and your little nephew who's four, into the garden shed for Christmas, now, would you?
And that is probably why so many people from Trim -including me- feel so angry or worried about the closure of their “Good Room”. The thing is, they have been angry or worried for a while. Sure, wouldn't you be if your front room was leaking, a bit smelly and -let's be honest- a bit dangerous? You'd do your best to patch things up. To make things look nice for when people come over. But you'd still be on to your landlord with some pleas: “what's going on? Can you do something about this?” You've always paid rent, so you think you are entitled to. You think it's not nice when, at night, after the washing-up is done and you'd love nothing better than to put your feet up in there, with your family, to enjoy some entertainment or just to be together, your landlord just walks in and says "Sorry mate, but you won't be able to go into this room anymore. Thanks for the paint an'all, but you'll have to use the garden from now-on".
Moving away from this analogy, but not too much, I remember that Trim Town Hall was the space that really welcomed me to Trim. I had been living here for a year, but I didn't know the community I had just moved in. It's through the Drama Group and the Musical Society that I got to know people in town. Not in the pub. Not in the shops. Not in the restaurants. That came later, because by then I had a “way in”. That community space was the way in.That is what INTEGRATION was about for me. I could have joined the GAA but I can't run to save my life. I could have join the choir, but I can't sing either. What happens in a Town Hall is unique, varied, entertaining and unifying.
I remember the small village where I lived in France and the Town Hall we had there. The design and size were exactly the same than Trim's one. It held dances, discos, plays, (we don't have pantos in France!) lectures, meet-and greet, mushroom exhibitions (!), we showed films, some practiced Karate, Yoga, weaving... I could go on. It was buzzing.
I even played bingo in Trim Town Hall. I painted sets, I acted, I directed and made really, really good friends. And I laughed a lot. I also cried a bit when I saw my babies on stage for the first time, with all their little friends, in bright costumes and proud as peacocks.
A town needs a few important things to survive:
- a butcher, a baker and a grocer to take care of people's Belly.
- a clothes/shoes shop to take care of people's Skin.
- a school and library to take care of people's Brain.
- a sports field to take care of people's Blood.
- a ruin to take care of people's Memory.
- a church (of whatever denomination) to take care of people's Soul.
- a pub to take care of people's Spirits. (Pun intended)
- a town hall to take care of people's Heart.
I am always proud to say -in Dublin, Navan, Paris or Brest- that Trim has it all and more... I am saddened and -frankly- a little bit horriffied to see that this may change.
My town, my new home, my new family, is now losing its “Good Room”, one that ceased to be Good a while ago, despite the efforts of the community. I know they won't give up quite yet. And now that I am -I believe- part of them, I won't either.