The Season Ticket
Revisiting the Conor McGregor Beats Ad
Well, The Ireland Beats Commercial by Conor McGregor, to give it its correct, You Tube title, all things being equal.
Ugly, Ginger, Liam. Roguish on the surface. But ultimately warm characters, conjoined in their hope for one friends success in boxing, and in life.
McGregor comes in at the tail-end, his performance focused but muted. This is one showcase where he doesn't overshadow. In fact, this is McGregor at his most appeasing.
The pomp, the chest-beating, the self indulgence aren't what's on offer here. Above The Noise is the tag-line. But he makes no noise. The focus, in his cameo if you'd like to call it that, is understated, determined and energy driven.
The ring walks of the two chief protagonists echo each other. Liam, and Conor. The link right in front of your face, being that Liam, could in fact reach similar heights. But all this is the aftermath.
The joy here, is the anticipation. As soon as Ginger walks in front of a row of multi-painted terraced houses and greets his placid friend Ugly with talk of a clean out, we are hooked by the narrative.
Filmed in St. Teresa's Gardens, it is about a ten minute drive from where McGregor grew up in Crumlin. But on first watching, we don't know this, nor does it ultimately really matter.
Liam and his pals await. He's chatting one second, and the next he's sparring from side to side underneath a communal clothes line, t-shirts and tea-towels, fluttering, playing their part.
There's dialogue underneath the building crescendo of choir-music which will ultimately blend into a landmark, mid-90's hip-hop piece of mastery from Biggie. At one point, about twenty seconds in, if you listen with your eyes closed, it sounds like one of the lads is saying "I swear I seen her in The Snapper."
A clever, cultural nod to the movie based on the second book of Roddy Doyle's coming of age Barrytown Trilogy? Why would that be in there? Maybe for no reason. Either way, the layers are built from the start.
The walk to the ring to Liam's fight, goes from daylight into a summery, dusky evening. The body language with passing Gardaí, a slice of life.
Ginger, impatient, slaps the door to access the boxing club. And then the intertwining of the stories begins.
The bravado and the banter, melts into pre-fight nerves and adrenaline. And then, another level appears. "Juicy" plays and the camera becomes a collage of everyday Ireland. School photos, snooker halls, fluttering, miniature Ireland flags.
It could have been all so schmaltzy, but without apparent effort, it escapes all that, and it engages.
And then it's back to the strutting in the ring; Liam and Conor. Liam bangs his gloves. But does he win? That's not how this story ends.
"Will you still hang around with us bro when you make it big?"
"Obviously bro, I love ya. You're gonna be my promoter, because you have a big mouth."
That's how it ends. I love ya.