Back handed compliments

When the glittering showbiz bus rolls in to our wee town, it’s easy to get carried away with the attention and take it for granted that all publicity is good publicity.

But is it sometimes wiser to say no – or should you forget any qualms and just think of the kerching!?

When Gillies MacKinnon made his good, funny and gritty 1996 film about sectarianism, gangs and family in Glasgow, it was released under the title Small Faces – which was a good name. (Review here.) It was originally going to be called Easterhouse – after the intimidating scheme (or high rise complex) of the same name. But local representatives complained that it could blight the area – whether or not the portrayal was accurate – and successfully lobbied for the name change.

Small Faces: "You are now entering Tong Land."

So when Rihanna brought the global entertainment spotlight to bear on Northern Ireland, it was funny. I’m thinking of her topless run-in with a County Down (as in Down with this sort of thing) DUP councillor and farmer. But it was also unfortunate in another way.

Sure – what a compliment that she chose the New Lodge in north Belfast in which to film her We Found Love video. Fun. Excitement.

But what was that chorus again? We found love in a hopeless place…

Ah right. The hopeless place being Belfast.

Roll up folks from around the world. Any time you’re looking for somewhere to convey hopelessness, look no farther. We’re trying hard to corner the market in despair.


Good to have a new brand I suppose, now that internecine violence can’t be relied upon to win headlines.

Still… Not to worry. A little adjustment to Rhianna’s lyrics… replace the “h” of hopeless place with a “p”… Now that’s what I call local branding.

Then when I watch the footage of the woman herself out and about in the New Lodge, I wonder if I’m just a curmudgeon after all.



Filed under Music

10 responses to “Back handed compliments

  1. Hope the showbiz bus doesn’t show up in my neighborhood (not likely) … it’s always about the money.

    Blessings – Maxi

  2. The only excitement round here is about once a year when an ice cream van rolls in. With no crowds to boost sales, it disappears over the hills once more for another year.

  3. We have the 2012 Olympics to bring a tiny little bit of excitement…unfortunately our part of town has been rejected for the running through of the olympic torch… so deepest despair falls upon those who are at al concerned about it 🙂

    • blackwatertown

      You could try your own version – a traffic cone stuffed with newspaper with a sprinkling of petrol. If stopped by the police, just say you’re in training for the real thing.

  4. Our claim to fame came/went about 100 years ago. Crystal Lake (Illinois) was “famous” for the GINORMOUS blocks of ice that would be cut out of our lake and taken by train to the city (Chicago) to be placed in the “ice boxes” of rich folks.

    Now if you swim in our lake you get an itchy bum 🙂

  5. 29

    There’s one born every minute; well if people in Belfast buy 3 concerts worth of tickets for that star then it must have more than its share.

  6. Pozycjonowanie

    Inspiring insights. Thanks for sharing this.

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