Lord help me I caught some of Scene Around Six or whatever it’s called these days. One of the main stories was about vandalism to an Orange Hall, or Orange Halls. A lone sprayman had written ‘RIRA’ in a line of black paint over the walls, in perhaps the most pathetic display of incendiary graffiti I have ever seen. The head of the Orange Order went to the scene, where he declared unto the nation that he was quite satisfied that this was not something that the nationalist community approved of at all. The news reporter said there was speculation that it might have been the work of a single teenager. Cut to another vandalised hall, with the same graffiti, and ladies sewing or something, the reporter saying ‘like GAA clubs, Orange Halls have other uses in the community too’, as though he were auditioning for an Education for Mutual Understanding DVD voiceover.
Did I ever mention I once had a job that involved polishing the floors of Orange Halls? Very drab places. Often the brightest thing about them is the badminton court markings. The most decadent thing about them is the kettle for making the tea. Also, when I was a kid, our house got covered in paramilitary graffiti, far worse than that on the Orange Hall today, in a case of mistaken identity. Didn’t make Scene Around Six though.