Paddy in Poland |1| Duckblood Soup and the Polish Cyperpunk Girl

“Who are ya, who are ya, who are ya…..” So roar the Millwall supporters who sing in my head from time to time. Why are they singing this? Well, that’s easy, to write an introductory piece about myself you stand on the precipice of an existential crisis. Who the fuck am I anyway? Can I trick educated readers into thinking I’m interesting? Surely to Jaysus there’s more to me than the 1000 words I’ve written here. I’ll be frank with yous, I’ve been an emotional mess after trying to come up with this…

Name then. My name is Paddy Murphy, but most people call me Spud. Well, most of my friends in Ireland call me Spud, but since moving to Poland it’s only the, ‘native-speakers’ (I hate that term) that call me that, everyone else calls me Patryk. It sounds nicer than Pah-trick in an Irish accent and when Poles do say Spud it sounds like Spod, and Paddy sounds like Patti. But yea, call me Spud, it’s what I prefer to be honest.

Many moons ago I took a jaunt to Edinburgh. I’d love to say that it was for The Edinburgh Fringe Festival to research comedians (more on that later) or to see a particular show, but I’d be fibbing. I had friends living there from New Zealand and Australia and their visas were running out so we had to get a couple of drinking sessions in before her Queeniness kicked the boys out of Scotland. There was beer, there was whiskey, and whisky, there was rum, there was a rugby match at 5.30am in an Aussie bar, there was an Orange March that we were asked politely to leave, there was weed, but most importantly there was a girl.

Oh the romanticness of it all. Girl comes to party, she likes the Irish lad, the Irish lad thinks she’s deadly but sure why bother talking to her I’ve drink to be drinking and sure anyway she came with a lad so she’d hardly cheat on him while he’s here. Hours later, idiot here tells yer man that his missus is feckin’ deadly. She’s not my girlfri……, he hadn’t finished his sentence and I was trying to kiss her. She ran away. In fairness she reconsidered and three minutes later she was halfway down my tonsils.

I left Scotland the next day and returned a few weeks later, then she moved to Ireland, then she moved back to Poland to finish her thesis…wait for it….in cyberpunk, what a geek eh? Then she moved to Ireland and then the recession hit hard and even though she had a decent gig with a pharmaceutical company I couldn’t get a paid writing gig for love nor money nor handjobs. Nothing. Loads of jobs in journalism if you’re willing to work for nothing. Well, hash and beer don’t pay for themselves lads, so that’s no good to me.

“To Poland, my dear.” I said one day. Seven years later and I’m still here. It’s a mad shop I won’t bullshit you. The country and scenery are gorgeous. I see boar and deer so often in the forest beside my flat now I’m naming them. Eagles and hawks line the motor way, they don’t need to hunt anymore, skinheads in old German Audi A4s provide all the roadkill any bird of prey could ask for. The beer is wonderful and the food is Poland’s greatest secret. There are such delights as Duckblood Soup, Pickled Herring in Sour Cream and Galaretka, which is aspic, meat in jelly; dogfood basically. Naw, I’m messing those things are rank though, well, herring is OK, but seriously Polish cuisine is a bit of a best-kept-secret. The food’s amazing, and sure how couldn’t it be? Poland’s smack bang in the centre of Europe so its kitchen has been influenced by all of the different ethnic groups that have been through here; the Celts, the Slavs, the Vikings, the Mongols, The Teutonics, the Jews, and so on and so forth.

The beer you’ll know about, Polish beer is on special in Lidl right now, probably. It’s deadly, go get some, it comes in almost-pint bottles and it’s stronger than the Dutch or American shite Irish people insist on drinking.

But it’s not all roses here, the current government is ruled by the PiS party and they are exactly that; pis(s). Nasty fuckers. In an Irish context, they’re like Fine Gael in their Blueshirt days. They’re fascists, but they’re Catholic fascists; racists but with God on their side. Indeed, there’s a rumour around Poland that party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski is the love child of Eoin O’Duffy. His auld one met him while she was sunning herself in Playa de Finglas one summer. I didn’t start this rumour.

Also, the language. I don’t want to insult anyone Polish reading this, but lads your lingo is seriously messed up. I swear to God, it’s like God/Zeus/Odin/Dagda/Robbie Fowler made everything perfect in this country, gave you some shitty neighbours who loved invading yous (we know all about that, albeit we’d only one bad neighbour, you had 5) and to balance out the goodness he closed his eyes and mashed the keyboard into oblivion when putting together your language. Get this, right, for every noun it has 6 different versions of how to say it. Every adjective has 4. It goes something like this:

I have an orange, you have a biggeriu orangeiu, he has the biggestii orangeii etc.

7 years I’m here and while I’m better than I think I am with the language I’ve come to realise we’ll never be more than acquaintances. She doesn’t love me and I can’t love her.

I’ve an 18-month old son as well. He’s got a kickass Polish name. The deal with the wife is I get to name the pets, she gets the kids. She thinks she won that argument but come on, I clearly did, pets don’t live very long so I get to name more stuff. And sure he’s wild craic, he’s a funny wee lad. He quickly realized that his auld pair are big comedy fans so he spends his time trying to make us laugh.

I also run a twice-weekly podcast called The Comedy Cast where I interview stand-up comedians, comedy authors and people working behind-the-scenes in the comedy industry. This week I speak to American stand-up comedian Kristen Key on Monday 10th and Scottish/Thai stand-up Wis Jantarasorn on Thursday 13th. On my YouTube channel, I’ll also be starting a new videos I’m calling ‘The Weekly Viral’ and ‘Trailer Trash’ every Wednesday and Friday.

Woah, that wasn’t so bad, bit strange seeing my total existence put into a Word document, anyway next week I’m going to tell you about the worst thing about parenting; other parents. G’luck.

Main Image via Polish Classic Cooking