When They Come Knocking On Your Door.
photo credit: Kriz Dux
Its Saturday night and after a long week in the worker pod you want to break free, get wasted, generally act the bollix and dance like a pillock. But where can one enjoy oneself in such a manner? The local bar or nightclub? Don’t think so.
Going there certainly isn’t about breaking free – they are controlled by the same bloodsuckers that operate the work pods except that the process works in reverse – they merely recoup the petty amount of slave tokens you’ve been given for your weeks toil.
Get Wasted? Not if you wanna spend the night wobbling around the city streets waiting to be mugged cos the security didn’t like the fact that you were catching a power nap on their bosses’ plether upholstery.
Act the bollox? Also totally unacceptable. When you pay the €10 cover charge and the €5 for your pint of watered down piss , nowhere in the contract does it state that you are then permitted to express yourself in any wild or weird way. What has actually happened is that you have agreed to abide by the proprietors parameters on enjoying oneself. Staying within these may be boring, but at least it means you can spend the rest of the night safely tucked up in the plether paradise, swigging on your overpriced poison, listening to Now That’s What I Call Shite 32.
Dancing like the pillock is, of course, permitted. So what’s the alternative? The venerable house party of course. But hosting an event such as this can be a risky venture. After all, if everyone just had house parties, the altruistic bar and club owners might be hoisted out of business, and this simply wouldn’t do. The combined forces of the business world, the State and “law and arder” simply won’t let this happen.
So the message is BEWARE! Throwing a good house party has a lot of key ingredients ,one of the most important of which is that it lasts until the last punter falls out the door at 4 (am or pm, depending on the variety). Don’t let Ned the Nasty Neighbour and Mr Plod spoil the fun!
A little legal history lesson. The war against house parties in Ireland started quite some time ago with that nasty concoction of the State and clergy getting together to spoil the fun with the Public Dance Hall Act 1935.
People in country parishes used to get together for a hooly when the work was done but the arseholes in the Catholic hierarchy took exception to this and started leaning on the Government to ban such “house dances”.
Writing in Dal gCais in 1977, famed fiddle player Junior Crehan said – “
“For a long time the Church had been against the country house-dances. They claimed that the house dances were places of misconduct, that there were no proper sanitary conditions and they seemed to be fearing greatly for our morals. “
“In 1934 the Public Dance Hall Act was passed. This required all public dance places to be licensed. The Act banned the house dances and anybody holding such a dance after this was brought to court and fined. The clergy started to build the parochial halls to which all were expected to go and the Government collected 25% of the ticket-tax.”
Thus began the voyage towards what we have today – a culture trapped within the walls and rules of licensed premises.
The 1935 Act was amended in the late 1990s in the Licensing (Combating Drug Abuse) Act, 1997 (as a typically belated homage to the English Criminal Justice Act which clamped down on raves and free parties) and the penalties for throwing a party open to the public, without a dancing licence (!) became even stiffer-
Don’t worry, this won’t affect your standard gaff-party but if you take on putting on a bigger alternative, beware, here’s what the law and arder says:
“No place, whether licensed or not licensed for the sale of intoxicating liquor, shall be used for public dancing unless a public dancing licence is in force in respect of the place.
“If any place is used for public dancing in contravention of this section, the person who organised the public dance and the owner of such place shall be guilty of an offence.
Maximum Penalty – conviction and up to 3 years and/or €10,000 fine!
But that’s of more concern for the free party organizers, watch this space for a legal guide on that one.
House Parties – Some Basics Everyone Hopefully Already Knows
The first person you’re likely to piss off with your 5am breakcore adventures is Ned the Nasty Neighbour.
Although Ned doesn’t have any right to come into your house (with an axe or otherwise) he can call the plod and get them to try and do so instead (which they can’t generally do either, see below)
Best way of not annoying Ned to the point of 999 is to direct all speakers away from any adjoining wall.
Should you have Neds on both sides of your gaff, point the speakers away from both if possible.
If you have some serious kit on hand (anything over 100W a speaker) it might be an idea to hang some rugs on the wall, even a duvet or some blankets if you don’t have rugs – the sound wave absorption is quite impressive and it’ll also make your gaff look really cool when people start spray-painting anarchy symbols on them at 7am.
The next basic is keeping punters inside and keeping the doors and windows shut as much as possible. This one has fucked the author on more than ten occasions.
Seems like a simple enough task but try explaining it to a guy with a bladder full of Buckfast and a head full of acid when the queue for the jacks is greater than one.
Problem is not that he relieves himself in your back garden but that he suddenly realises that the air in the back garden is so crisp and fresh and that the area provides a great venue for him and his mates to get their heads together, talk shite loudly to one another and generally mellow out (or go climbing on Ned’s roof)
Keep the party inside!
So what if Ned calls your landlord informing them that you are putting your €1500 a month shoebox to good use?
Fuck them! They can’t come in and if they do they are trespassing – they need to provide you with reasonable notice of any entrance even if they’ve inserted some bullshit to the contrary in the lease.
So what if things are going so well that the police turn up for a snoop?
First rule –DON’T PANIC! Stay cool and composed, there’s really fuck all they can do.
Make sure if they’re knocking at your door that someone not wearing a green tutu with a dislocated jaw and vanishing eyes answers the door. Its better that a resident does it if needs be as they will be less likely to run off and leave the door wide open, which isn’t a legally sound invitation to the bastards to come in for a look around but you may have to argue this point in court so best to avoid it.
So when you open the door and they start asking you all sorts of questions, don’t panic about all the craziness taking place behind you and the afro of shaving foam on your head – they can’t come in! (with exceptions of course). Best advice is to step outside the door, closing it behind you, leaving you free to deal with their curiosity calmly as the chaos unfolds inside.
The glorious Irish Constitution (Art 40.5) declares that the dwelling of a citizen in Ireland is inviolable and shall not be entered forcibly except in accordance with the law. This means that no one, including the filth may enter your gaff without a warrant or other legal authority to enter.
Generally, search warrants are issued by District Court Judges (unlikely to be available at 7am on a Sunday morning) or Peace Commissioners (local unpaid community busybodies) when a Garda makes a statement on oath that he/she knows or has “reasonable cause for believing” (hahahaha) or suspecting that a crime has been or is being committed (this could be something as benign as a spliff being smoked or a serious as Shitmat’s latest release at high volume)
There are limited situations where the Gardai can enter the gaff without a search warrant, the main one relevant to house parties being where they perceive a “crime” in progress and reasonably believe that evidence of such a crime would be destroyed should they delay and go off to get a valid warrant.
So if Donny Dealer is walking around in your hallway with a jar full of pills and a bum-bag full of change around his waist ,they may cross the rubicon into your sanctuary and make an arrest.
This is an even bigger reason why you should close the door behind you and (with a sidekick) talk shop with them outside.
Not much to worry about here really unless you have a raging house party every week and neighbours who are arsed going to the cops and following up on it each and every time.
Ex-King of the P.D Stasi Michael McDowell in a last gasp attempt at leaving his infamous hoofprint on Irish society had these introduced from 1st January 2007.
Basically the plod can issue you with a “behaviour warning” and if you don’t behave yourself in accordance with the warning you may have a “behaviour order” issued against you (which you can appeal).
Failure to comply with these can end up with you getting fined up to €3000 or even 3 months “off on the rig”
Your esteemed author hasn’t heard of any house party throwers being landed with one of these, so don’t stress – if it was happening it would have happened to me by now!
So that’s a brief lowdown on dealing with house-party haters –
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