A couple of weeks ago, when I was at the story-telling event Milk + Cookies, a girl called Sarah Maria Griffin, who is now 22, read out an entry from the diary she had kept when she was 16 years old. Now, the stereotype of the teenager has always been something I mildly disagreed with. It’s a tough time, you have to deal with parents, exams, school, teachers and on top of it all you’ve just discovered sex and, what’s more, the media is really not helping. But dear God, this diary entry was quite clearly one of the most cringe-inducingly pseudo-angst-ridden pieces of literature of modern times.
Seriously, Adrian Mole would probably have left to dig a hole somewhere which he could crawl into and die. It was hilarious.
But this self-humiliation of Sarah Griffin had a useful purpose. Not only was it an entertaining story (this was, after all, a story-telling event), but it also gave her an opportunity to talk about an event she runs called: “Scarleh fer yer Ma fer havin’ ye“. A quick crash-course in Hiberno-English, for those readers not from Dublin. This phrase, spelt non-phonetically reads as: ‘scarlet for your ma for having you’. The phrase is a common pejorative expression commonly used in Dublin. It means, essentially: ‘I am embarrassed on behalf of your mother for the fact that she gave birth to you’. And that name is incredibly apt.
The event is something which I have heard about before, and which has been growing swiftly in cities all across the Western World. They’re known as “cringe events”, and they mainly focus on teenage diaries. People congregate in a specific location of an evening, sit in a circle and take turns reading poetry, lyrics, diary entries etc which they wrote when they were much younger and which are therefore toe-curlingly embarrassing. Everybody laughs at the person, but doesn’t judge them because they themselves have all done similar things. It sounds like an absolute ball.
The next event of Scarleh (for short) is on Saturday the 24th of July at 8:30 at the Ormond Studios, Ormond Quay, Dublin. Sadly, I won’t be able to make it as I am abroad (it’s the title of the blog, after all). But anyone who can should GO!
As for the embarrassing diary entry: I managed to get hold of it. To be read in angsty teenage voice a la Emo Kid Song.
“So…. here I am then.