Cans on the Footbridge: A Love Story

It was the best of times: students gather to pay their respects

It was hyped up as the event of the semester, heck the year. Over 1,200 people were said to attend. The sheer thought of such a gathering had both campus security and insurance companies in terror. Yet the event that was to grace the cold, slightly snowy night of  9 March, while it failed to meet the historic numbers Facebook tends to promise (but not quite keep), was a fitting tribute to one of the universities most loved and loathed structures.

Yes everyone I’m talking about ‘Cans on the Footbridge’. While the madness of the MSU Elections was coming into its final act and Dave sat ghost like in  the S.U bar from recording over fifteen hours of election coverage, I ventured out like a spring lamb, funny hat on head and quirky sign tucked underarm dutifully carrying an assortment of cans (in brown paper bag of course) for what I hoped would be the greatest night of my life.

With me was Wayne Moore, the Observer’s cartoonist, who had worn his best Trilby hat and had spent the best part of the afternoon making signs for the occasion incase any of the hundreds to succumb on ‘St. Pats Erection’ had forgotten one. The excitement in his eyes can only be compared to that of a four-year old on Christmas when not only does he get two Action Men, but the multipurpose all terrain armoured Humvee to accompany them.

For Wayne, and myself, what we saw as we approached the bridge at 7 pm was not the festival atmosphere we had been promised by Facebook. We and we alone stood at the foot of the bridge with only the occasional jogger for company. Out of protest, we cracked a can. “If no one else was going to honour this bridge we would” Wayne said aloud. Then something wonderful happened. Out of no where, Observer Journo of the Year Donal Fallon and Observer Photographer of the Year Neil Frazer crested the hill and two became four.

A guard of honour forms for baffled pedestrians

Moments later the ranks swelled again and within fifteen minutes (and a few phone calls involving “ya people are here…stall”), what was two lonely soldiers became a sturdy crowd of thirty. Amongst the crowd was creator of the event Eoin Corcoran who hours before the event had to officially cancel it due to security reasons. “we decided to go all stealth due to unwanted heat from campus security” he said.

A sampling of the signs on show

Of the signs there on the night some of the more interesting ones included: “We’re from the internet”, “Bombing for Peace is like F@€?king for Virginty”, “Athiesm: All of the Mardi Gras, None of the Lent”.  One sign and eager drinker had one claiming the loss of his virginity at the fateful spot. The crowning sign of the night was a play on the Soviet hammer and sickle with a martini glass in place of the hammer and the line “Lets Get Social”. While not the mammoth party expected, it was a fitting tribute to a much-loved bridge that this Observer was proud to be apart of.

Padraig McCarrick


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