to a band playing


Senior Member
Hi there,
I found the above-mentioned expression in an Irish novel and I'm struggling to understand it.

I don’t even like espressos. That sharp, bitter taste and the way I have to squash my finger into the handle of the cup. If I had my mother’s fingers, I could drink espressos to a band playing.

I assume the woman speaking here doesn't feel as elegant as her mother (who probably has long and spindly fingers that would fit elegantly into the handle of an espresso cup). But what does the last sentence mean? Is it an Irish common saying?

Thanks in advance for any help you are able to provide

  • Biffo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Although I hadn't heard it before reading this thread, it is pretty clear that 'to a band playing' means 'to my heart's content' or 'at will' or simply 'easily'.

    Here is another example (from an Irish website):
    "Oh I know that wee boy. He was up with his trailer one night loading up with clematis and he says to me, 'Can you sell them oul clematis?' and I says to him that I could sell them to a band playing ...'"

    The following words appear in the full passage:
    wee = small (in stature in this context)
    boy = fellow
    oul = old (not literally old but a diminutive)
    cannae = cannot
    atall = at all
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