Belfast Telegraph

Friday 29 August 2014

Lindy McDowell: Why they’ve got all shirty over Gaga’s flag-flying

Lady Gaga performing on stage at the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Lady Gaga performs at the Odyssey in Belfast
Lady Gaga performs at the Odyssey in Belfast

A few years back, during a family holiday in Sicily, we bought our younger son a Palermo football shirt (pink since you ask.)

As wee boys do, he had it on him from the minute it was bought. He was wearing it a few days later when we arrived in a town on the other side of Sicily.

Now, who would have imagined on one small island there would be two opposing teams inspiring such fanatical tribal allegiance?

As our boy played innocently in a park in his garish pink nylon shirt he was suddenly surrounded by a group of grown men hurling abuse and very clearly threatening violence. Someone had the bright idea of attempting explanation. “Touristos!” he shouted. Did this help? Did it hell! It was like a red rag (or pink shirt) to a bull.

We retreated.

I was thinking of this when I read about Lady Gaga sparking some audience unease at the Odyssey this week by waving a tricolour onstage. Obviously she too wasn’t up to speed on local sensitivities. A good rule in life is that it’s always best to try to appear neutral.

When in Rome, as they say ... (and no offence intended there, of course, to anyone who takes offence at reference to Rome.)

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