Andrea Hayes – Pain Free Life Book Launch, Lillie’s Bordello

It’s not often you get invited to book launches in nightclubs. I’d been to Lillie’s Bordello once before, for my birthday, a few yonkers ago when I had bag free eyes and time to get my hair done. I wasn’t quite sure what was ahead based on my previous experience. (Hazy). I expected a few cocktails with alcohol in them, cocktail sticks with sausages on them and a nice quiet, networky event. I didn’t expect to be drowning in vodka and swerving to STREET LIFE.

The club was packed. To the rafters. Bodies and TV3 celebrities everywhere. I cursed that I had left the car back at work and would need to drive later on. Especially after another tray of raspberry crushed ice tumblers passed under my nose.

Andrea Hayes book launch

Once we’d bought our book, edged our way to one end of the bar and back and flung my coat over the most hidey chair, we wrangled our way back up in front of the stage, just in time to hear Andrea speak. We were right up at the front and I felt a bit strange as I’d never met Andrea before and the room was filled with family and friends. There was such a party atmosphere I felt like a bit of gate crasher. I decided I would pretend I was a cousin. From Birmingham. That would do, right?

Andrea Hayes book launch speaking

Andrea is lovely, very warm and chatty, down to earth, obviously having come through a lot and come out the other side a positive and still smiling person. She was quite inspiring and I’m looking forward to reading the book, especially as I suffer bouts of pain myself with a gammy neck and back. (I have shares in Solpadeine. Although that could also be a codeine addiction).  Before the launch I joked to my partner in crime @supasambo that I hoped we wouldn’t be surrounded by people spouting about angels. I’m not a big believer in that stuff. But there wasn’t a mention of winged creatures at all. Or even, God.

Andrea Hayes book launch family

Once the speeches were over Patricia Roe and her band City Chic started playing and sure my night was made. As Le Chic and Diana Ross were belted out, I began to feel calmer, my inner 70s Goddess being channeled all the way from stage to hips. I danced in my standing position, you know, trying to look cool, sober, it was early. (Had it been four hours later I’d have been screaming  I LOVE THIS SONG and abandoning handbags and drinks on the nearest floorboard so I could have free hands to reach for the disco ball.)

With drinks down the hatch it was time to go and meet the lady herself. There was a bit of a queue, but we didn’t mind, Andrea had time for everyone, even asking her friends to wait for a minute, while she spoke to me and signed my book. I asked her to make it out to ‘Long lost cousin from Birmingham’. (Naturally)

Andrea Hayes book launch signing

We stayed to finish our drinks and absorb the Lillie’s atmosphere, enjoying the crowds and yap of a Dublin Thursday night. I didn’t really want to leave, but it was a school night and we had to travel back to the Drogland to deliver himself’s vehicle which he needed for the morning.

Andrea Hayes book launch red carpet

We made time to stop into Crackbird on the way home and sat beside a smooching couple who were touching faces in between hoovering up chicken bites. It was my first time there and I loved the hipster atmosphere with DJ playing in the corner and the food being served in pails of milk cans. We ordered the soda lime mocktail, which tasted pretty near the real Mojito thing.

Crackbird Mocktail

Fed, watered, new books in hand, we walked through Templebar and stopped for a few minutes into one of the heaving live music pubs to listen to all the foreign accents and wonder if we were in Barcelona for a minute. When we got to my workplace, 30 minutes down the M1, I made the shocking discovery that I had left the keys to my car in the office which was locked up and now  inaccessible to me.

SupaSambo had to drive me home and I had to break the news to himself that his worst fears had come true; I hadn’t managed to get his vehicle home to him for the morning. While he ranted and raved about how inconvenient it would now be for him to get up an hour earlier to go and collect the vehicle I had promised I would return safely, I could only think of one thing. I bloody stayed sober all night and I didn’t even have to . Free cocktails. Free! The pain of it. And then I wondered. Was this the Angels way of getting me back? For sniggering? For not believing? Probably. I will never doubt again. Lesson learned. Believe people, believe.

Pain Free Life, My Journey to Wellness, is an account of broadcaster and producer Andrea Haye’s battle to overcome and learn to live with long term pain, published by Mercier Press. Available to download on Amazon.

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