Monthly Archives: April 2012

It should have been the Jungle Book. (My X-certificate first cinema visit.)

This is the nearest I could get to an image combining both Clint Eastwood and a Jungle local.

At GrannyMar‘s prompting, I submitted this story to See You At The Pictures, a documentary about film-going in Ireland. Er… Sorry Dad.

The first film I saw in a cinema should have been the Jungle Book. My Dad took me to the cinema in Ballycastle, Co. Antrim, one bright summer afternoon.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. But it wasn’t car chases, gunfire and a naked lady Continue reading

26 Comments

Filed under family history, Film

The missing slaves of Belfast

Olaudah Equiano - one of Belfast's more famous visitors.

Question: What have Liverpool, Bristol and all sorts of other places got that Belfast hasn’t?

Answer: A corporate history of slave trading.

Hurrah! One shameful pursuit into which we did not dive. Continue reading

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Filed under D - Loose Bloggers Consortium, friends, history, life, Music

Do people really speak like that?

Belfast landscape heads by David "Creative" McClelland.

Dialogue springs forth fully formed from the mouths of the regulars in my favourite pub. It’s very odd. This isn’t how people really speak surely?

Normal speech is hesitation, prevarication, vagueries, misunderstanding, repetition, replete with em-ing and er-ing. Isn’t it?

But what I heard while perched at the bar sounded honed by Elmore Leonard. It can have/seem to have an aggressive edge to it. (See here for a foreigner’s view.)

This snatch of speech begins as the fella on my left hand explains that he drinks in the pub most weekdays, at which point fella on my right hand jumps in…

LEFT: I drink here most lunchtimes.

RIGHT: Why?

LEFT: Because I can.

Pause.

LEFT: I’m drinking for one now…

RIGHT (interrupting forcefully): No! Never explain. You were a hero there. The hero in films never explains himself. It’s just bang, here it is, this is it. For 45 seconds there, you were a hero. But you blew it. Continue reading

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Filed under language, life

Irish mysteries

Actor Brian Kennedy who plays The Lover, Bassanio in the Fringe Benefits Theatre production of The Merchant of Venice. That'sBelfast City Hall he's posing in. This version of the play is set in 1912

I’m just back from an intriguing week in Ireland. (Where I met some people you may know – more on that below – with a pic.) But the whole place was unexpectedly mysterious.

I’m not talking about leprechauns or the absence of snakes. These are modern mysteries.

1. Fat people. Where are they all hiding? Continue reading

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Filed under life, theatre

The day I went to Hell and back. Literally.

Me escaping from Hell/Hel - disguised as Frank Sinatra in Von Ryan's Express.

No really. This really is about the day I really went to Hell and back. Literally. (And I use that term advisedly.)*

I’ve mentioned Hell before, but I’m only telling you about this at the request of the Loose Bloggers Consortium (you can find their links if you scroll down the right hand side column), who are focussing on travel troubles.

And I think getting kicked out of Hell qualifies. In fact, Hell couldn’t hold me.* *

Going there in the first place seemed like such a good idea at the time. Unique destination. Bit quirky. Warm, though not quite as warm as we’ve all been led to believe Continue reading

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Filed under D - Loose Bloggers Consortium

Trust

The internet is a terrible place… scary… red in tooth and claw and packed to the gills with trolls, scammers, spammers, backbiters, fakers and bigots of many persuasions.

Or so I was warned.

And no doubt they’re out there.  But so far I’ve been lucky in those I’ve encountered – the other members of the Loose Bloggers Consortium being a case in point. (The rest of them are also writing about trust today – links to their blogs are further down the right hand column.)

So, in the light of the naiviety, gullibility, trust that has grown up between me and other people who exist on the internet, I’ve gradually revealed and had revealed to me (ahem, no, not like that – we’re not talking webcams here) details about our personal lives.

And taking a step further, I’ve trusted and some of them have trusted, to actually meet offline in meatspace, (like Padmini for instance).

Which is what I want to do again, this month, in Belfast.

If any of you – and yes I am thinking of you in particular GM – fancies meeting on the evening of Sunday 15th April at Arthur Magee’s Walk Round Belfast For People Too Lazy To Walk, then he and I will see you upstairs in the Garrick bar (haunt of Thackery & thespians since 1870) on Chichester Street  near the front of the City Hall. There’ll be Continue reading

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Filed under D - Loose Bloggers Consortium

Guns

Texas tan line

No point to this. Just made me laugh.

In the news this week a southern California man was put under 72-hour psychiatric observation when it was found he owned 100 guns and had (by rough estimate) 1-million rounds of ammunition stored in his home. The house also has a secret escape tunnel. The television reporter said: “Wow! He has about a million machine gun bullets” and the headline referred to it as a “massive weapons cache”.

By California standards, someone owning even 100,000 rounds would be called “mentally unstable.”

If he lived elsewhere, such as Arizona he’d be called “an avid gun collector”.

In Arkansas Continue reading

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Filed under life

A diatribe on dire and dreadful English

The Vernons Girls and the Beatles. Poor old Ringo, nobody wanted to sit on his knee.

No! This is NOT a rant from an Irish man against the English. Nor indeed against anyone bearing that surname. It’s not even by me.

It’s a guest post from eminent Blackwatertown reader Nigel Morgan, who’s English himself.

It’s his heartfelt cry to the heavens about the corruption of the English language. But is he right?

A DIATRIBE ON THE DIRE AND DREADFUL!

“How are you?” I innocently asked Continue reading

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Filed under Guest Posts, language, Music