I felt sorry for my brother last week who missed out on his beloved mudfest at Oxygen. Despite working harder than ever, his disposable income isn't what it once was. I felt sorry for myself as well, as, ironically, the first year that I'm not working while the festival was on, I couldn't afford to go. It irked both of us then to see our younger brother, who I'm sure now knows the local dole officers by name, spend a weekend in his wellies having a grand old time.
How the hell does he afford it, the two of us mused? Only days before he had begged me for the use of my credit card to book a cheap flight to London to see his girlfriend. Sitting in for a week and being fed at home by our mother accounts for his shrewd amassing of coinage that allows him to continue his social life with no cutbacks. He headed for Oxygen with 24 cans of beer and €25 but, somehow, the cuteness in him means he never goes without and possibly because at 21 with his baby faced charm he still arouses sympathy from the family and is the one who gets handed €20 by a generous relative.
'Just move home' is his advice to me as I struggle with unemployment. He advised me that a social life is important for one's mental health and that I shouldn't be struggling with rent if it's making me miserable! But rather than succumb to such a disheartening alternative, instead I have been frugally calculating ways to stretch my euro further. I have brought clothes to the local swap shop, flogged unused vouchers to friends and reluctantly parted with my Electric Picnic ticket. It does annoy me slightly, however, that, afraid to even carry my credit card around right now, I'm using it to book my brother's flights! During a rant about how broke I am his eyes widened when I told him the limit left on my visa. “Sure you've loads of money,’’ he quipped, “and you have the column'.’’ Fair enough, I won't go homeless just yet but, unlike Carrie Bradshaw, my column does not allow me to skip around Dublin in Manolos.
Selling my Electric Picnic ticket is a pity, but putting food on the table is more important. Okay I’m lying; I sold the EP ticket to finance a pre-booked weekend away! Selling the ticket was a last desperate option as I was determined to find a way not to miss the weekend, no matter what. Maybe I'm more like my little brother than I realised …