Black Santa of Belfast
You’re asking: What is THE DARK SECRET? Where does Santa Claus live? Is world peace possible? And who won that tricky competition?
Read on and be enlightened…
1. Where does Santa Claus live? It’s not the North Pole. It’s not Greenland. Or Lapland. Or anywhere Scandinavian. Father Christmas – Santa – lives in Ireland. In Belfast Continue reading
Faces are here to be looked at. Even better – to be smiled at.
That might seem like stating the obvious, but so often people avoid face to face contact.
On public transport or in crowds people avert their eyes or look down. Anything but make eye contact.
(Oi cheeky! They’re not just trying to avoid making eye contact with me either. It’s everyone.)
When I was a boy in Belfast, catching the eye of a stranger was tantamount to challenging them to a fight. Ever been asked the question: “What are you lookin’ at?” It’s not a good start to a conversation Continue reading
How often do you encounter – or read – something completely fresh?
Rarely, I’d say.
This is fresh. Or to be more accurate – it’s sulphurously original. Continue reading
See – I told you it was a tank. This British Centurion tank was out during Operation Motorman. So perhaps it was a tank I saw. The photo is by Eamon Melaugh – click on the pic for more of his work.
Memory is tricky. Childhood memories even trickier.
Which memories are real. Which are from stories or photographs?
Top Boy shares his first memory with me. He was running up and down the street in from of our house. Past houses, back past houses, back past houses again, then past a house with a low white wall and a blue triangular prismatic top… (the shape details are quite extensive and go on for some time, so I’ve skipped them – funnily enough he’s now a big science fan) …then he fell over and hurt his knee. What happened next? Doesn’t remember.
Mine is one of these. I don’t know which.
1. When I was five (or thereabouts) we moved house from a more troubled to a less troubled area of Belfast. I don’t remember anything before or during the journey until we turned onto the new street. It was more shaded, quieter, greener, with trees and hedges. I remember that. Nothing before. Except maybe for…
2. Seeing my first tank. Very exciting. Big. High. Wide. Dark, maybe green but definitely spattered with white paint. On the road outside the Busy Bee shopping centre in Belfast Continue reading
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
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.
LEFT: Because I can.
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
Filed under language, life
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
Filed under life, theatre
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
It must be catching, this Titanic fever. There’s no escaping it on telly or in the news. Here’s my contribution…
In other words – enough already. We built it. It crashed. It sank. Continue reading
Filed under history, life
I used to be an expert at getting lost, making myself scarce, zipping off, disappearing, escaping their clutches and going on the lam.
My advantages were size and speed.
They were bigger and longer limbed.
But I could fit under the hedge. In fact I could speed off through the hole in the hedge without slowing.
By the time my pursuers had left the back garden and gone round to next door, I was out of that garden, under the next hedge, and the next one, the next one, the next one, all the way to the end of the row.
In my pyjamas of course Continue reading