Taoiseach Enda Kenny shows off his air guitar skills

Since the weekend Springsteen concerts, there’s been a lot of criticism of the attendance of a somewhat divisive figure, turning up like an embarrassing uncle and sucking all the good out of the event for everyone else.

If he likes it, how can I like it, many fans thought.

But enough about Bono. Bruce invited him on stage, and that’s good enough for me.

There was also some comment about the Taoiseach, whose enthusiastic dancing and air guitar skills were uploaded to YouTube.

Embarrassing, seemed to be the general view. Also cringe-inducing, mortifying, humiliating, a shame on the nation, etc etc.

A couple of things occur to me.

First of all, the Taoiseach wasn’t doing anything that countless other middle aged men were up to (guilty, M’lud, apart from the air guitar). If Dad dancing was banned, lots of us would be in trouble.

Secondly, that is the authentic Enda Kenny, much as his spin doctors might try to convince you otherwise. As anyone unlucky enough to have received a puck on the shoulder from the great man will attest, playing air guitar is entirely in character. Just like Gerry Adams being weird on Twitter or Michéal Martin making people eat fruit, that’s the way he is.

Thirdly, everyone is entitled to a night off. Even the Taoiseach. Po-faced newspaper columnists and the perpetually outraged Twitteratti should climb off their high horses and acknowledge that we all need to let our hair down sometimes.

Fourthly, who would you rather be beside at a concert – someone throwing themselves into the spirit of the night, or one of the people ignoring the performer and chatting the whole way through the show?

It might be a bit cringey to have an old bloke going over the top, but at least it doesn’t suck the joy out of the occasion. I’ve a friend running a one-man campaign against chatter at gigs in Dublin – now that the Government is formed and the Dáil is working, it might be a useful cause for someone to take up.


David McCullagh