Rare occasions when being in a wheelchair works to your advantage!

No, you did not misread the headline. Whatever about being advantageous from a parking point of view or skipping queues or such like, over the most weekend there was an advantage that had to be seen to be believed!

Well, that would’ve been the case were it not an instance of being forewarned and forearmed. Before getting into the bag and baggage of the tale, though, it’s necessary to first go back.

To Covid-19. Aye that scourge of a thing. For the silly season of 2020, herself and myself bought tickets to Pat and Faye Shortt’s current show at the TLT in Drogheda. Only for the event to be put on ‘Snooze’ from February of ’21 until Saturday night just gone.

The view from the Disabled Viewing area in the TLT in Drogheda

But c’mere till I tell ye, ’twas well and truly worth the wait. You just read that in Pat’s accent, didn’t you? Good, because I typed it that way too! Now, while it was my first time at the venue, he whose name it honours is very familiar to me. Albeit in name only.

You see, if you’ve to LMFM Radio at any time since the station’s inception in 1989, you’ll have heard the advert for Tommy Leddy in the Sound Shop in Drogheda at the end of which the man himself always cheerfully chirps “Bye bye now”!

Or as the locals in that part of the world say “Tommy Leddy to ya now”! Anyway, when going to any public venue – especially one which hasn’t been previously frequented – a keen eye and anxious mind always set about scanning my surroundings straight away.

On that score, the scenario couldn’t have been better. Between the disabled parking bay being only a stone’s throw from the main door to be ushered to our spot and, most importantly, the spot being far enough back from the stage.

You’re probably a bit puzzled by the last part of that, but stay with me here. Mention has been made several times over the years of how loud and/or sudden noises can drive the spasms which are univited guests of life with Cerebral Palsy completely bonkers.

They, in turn, are upsetting and embarrassing enough in their own right but taken in conjuction with a vile brute of a pressure sore on the sole of my left foot and it may as well by pouring petrol into an old Stanley Range.

But then, on top of all that, there’s the hidden threat within any Pat Shortt gig which, seemingly, only being in a wheelchair can save a soul from. Just about! That being the sight of himself or Faye – or the great Jon Kenny back in the day – stepping down into the audience and advancing in your direction!

For that can only mean the slow release administration of a dose of mortification from the discomfort of your own seat or being hauled up to the gallows – i. e. on stage – to be given even more of a public roasting!

Having seen Pat on a four seperate occasions now, you’d think I’d relax and know that while you’ll still see the hi-vis jacket(s) coming at you, causing your brow to require a mop and bucket and your heart needing a guvnor put on it like an auld Ford Cortina when the young lad in the house starts driving, that you’d be safe enough!

As the old Northern Ireland tourism advert used to say, you’ll never know unless you go. But the odd perks of being on wheels did the trick, let the spasms ease down and let me have a laugh at some other poor unfortunate’s expense!

Brilliant double act: Pat and Faye Shortt

No matter how many times you see Pat in action, his comic act is forever relatable to everyday life. Every one of us knows nearly each and every character whom both himself and Faye introduce us too along the way.

Like the farmer who parades their new tractor through the village or those who glam themselves up going to Lidl or Aldi or the mammies driving the Range Rover on the school run!

All in all, a wonderful night at a splendid and special venue, no matter how many times I see this brilliant entertainer and his entourage, he never disappoints. Always giving the spirits in this seat an incalculable and desperately needed lift. Until next time Pat!

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