Monday, November 8, 2010

Things I've Learnt about The Craic

Whenever I catch up with the Angel of the North there’s always a lot of talk about The Craic and what it means.
As well as an excessive, mind-blowing amount of Craic.
The Craic, in case you didn’t know, is pronounced Crack and is the Irish way of saying something quite specific that has no actual equivalent in English.  I suppose you could say Fun.
But you can be Fun, and not The Craic. 
It’s very complex.  And very important.  Probably the most important thing to the Irish community.  Being, or not Being The Craic can make or break you.
I have been told that I am The Craic, and that is the greatest compliment an Irish person can give you.  Though the fact that I just stated that I have been said to be The Craic, is not The Craic.  Last night at Closing Night Drinks I said that I was The Craic and The Angel said that it was usually a very Non-Craic thing to say – in fact to say it branded you Non-Craic - but the way that I said it, in fact was The Craic and had her laughing hard.
See how complex it is to explain?
To attempt to explain the phenomenon of Craic, I’ll try to pinpoint some clear examples.

.. .

See I was going to make a Chart to illustrate:
The Craic/Not The Craic - Levels of Craic
But I couldn’t.  It’s too complex.
Ok I’ll try and explain in another way. 
The Angel told us of this guy she’d met recently in Dublin – someone she found quite hot.  He was fascinating, charming... an athlete.  
Upon telling a group of her friends about him, they patiently sat through the story of what he was like and how attractive he was, finally asking the question they’d been waiting to ask:
“But is he The Craic?”
The Angel thought about this.
“No,” she finally answered.  

So there was nothing more to say.  Her friends moved on to the next topic as if to say 'Oh well, better luck next time'.  Because the Angel is The Craic.  

"Can a Craic person have a relationship with a Non-Craic person?" I asked her.  She considered this.  "Perhaps," she said.  "But generally you're in denial." 
That’s not to say that if you’re not The Craic it’s a bad thing.  It’s not.  It's just an important thing to identify. 
The Craic is either someone, or somewhere, where something hilarious or fascinating is going down.  That’s probably the best way of explaining it.  Someone who makes you laugh, one of those nights out when you just had fascinating conversations and it was a complete blast. 
Oooh here come some examples of The Craic.
Doing Soft Landing in Berlin was The Craic.
Yesterday, sitting at the Frida Kahlo eating brunch until 4pm with The Love and The Angel was The Craic.
The director of Soft Landing and all the dancers and crew are The Complete Craic.
Now I went off there a bit, I don’t think you can add an adjective to The Craic – just being The plain Craic is everything.
If you think of famous people, you can try to imagine if they’re The Craic.  Just because they’re comedians or smart, doesn’t mean they’re The Craic.  And just because they're in politics doesn't mean they're not.
For example, I reckon Obama would probably be The Craic.  You know?  Julia Gillard might be – she’s pretty loose – but John Howard – definitely Not The Craic.
John Stewart couldn’t possibly be Not The Craic.  

Don Draper is Not The Craic.  Betty neither.  But Roger Stirling – The Utter Crack (whoops, Adjectives.)  Monica Bellucci – Not The Craic.  Vincent Cassel: Not The Craic.  Nicolas Sarkozy could be The Craic, even though he may be a cocksucker – see? – and Carla Bruni could well be The Craic.  Just because someone’s a morally reprehensible arsehole, doesn’t mean he’s not The Craic.  It’s quite brutal like that.  Who else?...  Willy Wonka.  The Craic.  Charlie Bucket.  Not The Craic.  Mike Teevee: Tough because he’s funny, but he’d get annoying so Not The Craic.  Characters from Lord of the Rings: None The Craic.  Except maybe Golum because he’s fascinating.  Definitely not Legolas, especially played by Orlando Bloom.  Orlando Bloom: Not The Craic.  Clark W Griswold: The Craic.  Cousin Eddie: The Craic.  Rusty: Not The Craic.  Tom Waits: The Craic.  David Lynch: Not The Craic.  Walt White from Breaking Bad: fascinating, but not The Craic.  Omar/Bunk/McNulty from The Wire: The Craic.  Stringer Bell/Cutty/Daniels: Not The Craic.  Carambars: The Craic.  Holes in your Teeth: Not The Craic.  Gael Garcia Bernal: The Craic.  Kathe Kollwitz: Not The Craic.  I could go on forever.  I’ve suddenly got fluent.  
Dad: The Craic
Berlin: The Craic
The Wu-Dojo: The Craic
Scummy bathtubs: Not The Craic
The Frida Kahlo is a good one.  It’s great, the food is great, the service is great, they smile… but it’s not The Craic.  I don’t know why.  Something in the air. 
I wondered if you can get The Craic if you aren’t born with it and The Angel said she thought you can.  But I’m not so sure.  I have a suspicion that The Craic can’t be learnt.  You know how sometimes people want so badly to be The Craic that they try to tell stories that are just not that interesting?  Or they try to be funny, but they just, at the centre of it, aren’t?
There’s no shame at all in not being The Craic. 
The Angel gave a good example of one of her friends I know.  This person is the sweetest, loveliest, most fascinating, wonderful person. 
“The Craic?” quizzed The Angel. 
“Definitely,” I said. 
The Angel shook her head.  “Not The Craic.” 
I put my finger between my teeth and looked at the ceiling.  “I disagree,” I said finally.  “She is totally The Craic.”
“Not The Craic,” she insisted.  “Audience Craic.”
And I realised she was right.  The friend was heaps of fun because she was a great Craic listener.  She didn’t dish out The Craic, she was part of it, and utterly in her truth.  She never tried to be the story or joke-teller Craic, her role was different. 
However, whenever she was around, we always totally had The Craic.
“But,” I said with a deeply furrowed brow, “Isn’t that The Craic?  The very fact that she knows she’s not herself The Craic and in her listening, helps create the atmosphere for Great Craic?  That her grace and acceptance of not being The Craic, is, in fact, The Craic.”
The Angel thought for a moment.
“No,” she said.  “But you’re really gettin’ The Craic.”


  1. I'm glad to see you tackling the real issues here. I'll be brief - the craic cannot be learned - it is a way of being - you simply are the craic or you are not. The craic is comfortable in most situations and often thrives in the more awkward ones. The Craic is not high maintenance. The Craic draws an audience and shows them a good time even if The Craic isn't on top form. The Craic tears ligaments in their leg on the third day of holiday and spends the remaining four days confined to the couch and finding humour everywhere. Cross Craic marrying (ie a non-Craic marrying The Craic) is most likely doomed - The Craic is fuelled by being around it's like which allows it to either take a break or up it's game. There are many people in the world who are not The Craic and you just have to work around them. I'm sure they have lots of other attributes, but who would you rather spend time with?

  2. Lady's and Gentlemen - Georgina's Post - The Actual Craic.
    For definition of The Actual Craic see -The ill defined trump card.

  3. Georgina - we may have never met, but I can tell that you're pure 100% Craic. Now I say that, and immediately swallow, because as mentioned by Blah, an Irishman in a pub the other night said Craic was an Irish thing and impossible to be a feature of an International - something I took to heart. I thus feel slightly insecure now at even defining something or someone as the Craic. However, I have heard from numerous sources, and can tell by your comment, that you are It. And I am still pondering the Craic, as always, especially at the departure of The Angel, who is, as you know, The Definition of The Actual Craic, truly. But I caught myself wondering in the train today... IS McNulty the Craic? And I found myself wondering about Bill Clinton - I know it's wrong but I really think he'd be the Craic - imagine him at a party - do you? And it made me wonder about an additional aspect of the Craic - does the person have to be a bit loose, ie, slightly mad to be the Craic? Just a tiny screw loose? In order to have that aspect of surprise?
    Blah I love your post so much it hurts - I'm going to read it again now.

  4. Ps Georgina/Blah, observations please.

    Conversation in Berlin-Paris train today

    Bunny (after ten minutes of deep thought): "Oh my goodness! I don't think Paris is the Craic!"
    The Love: "No. Paris is wonderful. But it's not The Craic."
    Bunny (panicking): "Then why do I love it so much?"
    The Love (very gently): "Oh Bunny. The Craic is not Everything."

    And the Bunny furrowed her brow again and looked out at the scenery whizzing by.

    Could this be true?

  5. Paris facilitates The Craic for you. Even when it has been mercilessly cruel you have found Craic in that. A location which fuels The Craic is EVERYTHING - just like The Craic itself.
    I'm going to assume you misheard The Love.

  6. I must concur with my esteemed colleague on this point. So long as a place can facilitate the craic or does not hinder the craic from occuring of itself then you are free to love it. In response to The Love - the craic is not everything - true - but it is most things.

  7. Mcnulty - furthest thing from the craic. Don't let the beer guzzling lady's man fool you - in fact these traits would remove him from the criac register if he'd been on it. Bill Clinton - I imagine so. Finally Bunny, I am delighted to say, I think you've got it!

  8. are you SERIOUS?? that is AMAZING NEWS! i really think i nailed it with mcnulty - and that's what seems to have got me over the line with you. thanks mcnulty! you're right - you'd think initially he'd be the Craic - he's out there, yarning along - he's irish, he's the planet they all turn around... but yes - not Craic! he's a bit of a basket case. AND... here it is... i love him, but he's not the Craic. proof that the Craic, while very important, isn't everything. but as georgina so aptly puts it - it's most things. and the wire is the Craic, so he's contributing to that. oh life, oh you - thank you!