STANDING ON THE SHOULDER OF GIANTS

Today, marks the 10th anniversary of the release of the Oasis album, ‘Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants’. It’s never an album that gets included in ‘Greatest Ever …….’ lists, but it’s an easily forgotten classic which remains special to me.

I remember the day it was released. I know that Monday’s get a bit of a bad name in the media, but they always have one redeeming feature, namely that the latest CDs and DVDs are always released on a Monday.

It was always something to look forward to on a Monday, to get to Woolies/Our Price/HMV/Virgin (3 of which now sadly gone) as soon as possible to purchase the latest releases.

Oasis, however, are far more special to me than any other band, and when they release something, I just have to buy it as soon as I wake up.

Even to this day, it’s just something I uphold. When ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ was released in 2008, I spent half a morning in work wanting to have it, and then after purchasing it in Tesco during my lunchbreak, I then spent half a day waiting to go home in order to listen to it.

The emergence of the internet has meant that albums can be listened to well in advance of it’s release date. For Oasis albums, I just can’t do it. It just feels like opening you Christmas presents well in advance of December 25th.

That day, I skived off class to purchase it. To my surprise, I saw two other people in my class outside Woolworths in Bangor Town Centre in ready anticipation of the 9am opening time.

At break-time, we held an inpromptu listening session of our new purchase.

If you could sum up the music scene in 2000 in one word, that word, would be …………. shite.

At that time, I was working in a soul-destroying part-time job at The Bot lifting glasses for a pittance, and being forced to listen to the same playlist every night, at the same time.

As if listening to a Backstreet Boys medly was bad, it was just compunded by the fact that you knew a Lou Bega medley would follow, then a Vengaboys medley.

For some reason, all the bands that I loved in 1997 that were massive such as Embrace and Ocean Colour Scene found themselves being ignored and derided by the music press, and Oasis were no different as it suddenly became cool to bash them.

There once was a prehistoric age in the music industry before when advertising was done through Myspace/Twitter/Etc when record companies put up posters in cities and sent out promotional postcards to people.

In order to receive them, you used to fill out wee cards that came with a CD you bought, and sent it off, postage provided free of charge. For most of them, the address was always 3 Alveston Place.

I don’t know why, but it always seemed like some magical workshop, even though it is probably some warehouse in an industrial estate in the middle of nowhere.

It was great coming home from school and seeing some postcard (usually of the CD cover art) waiting for me, and through time, I built up a collection.

I have a confession to make, I actually half-inched some cards from CDs that I never bought. It’s a guilt I live with, but one day, i’ll learn to live with it.

Such was my love of CD art, I would sometimes (every two to three months) pop into the Grammaphone Shop and try to haggle a shop attendant into letting me have any surplus and out of date promotional posters they may have.

On a Friday, I had to go to class at Ards Tec, and going through Dundonald on the bus journey, I couldn’t help but notice that during January/February 2000, Dundonald was plastered with promotional posters flyposted onto any available wallspace for the lead single ‘Go Let It Out’ and the album of ‘Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants’

It got me thinking that perhaps Oasis viewed Dundonald as a key market that needed to be taught the gospel of Noel.

Is it me, or has flyposters for albums totally disappeared in Belfast?

After all, any flyposters you see are for clubnights or concerts, but never actual CDs.

I remember when I worked in The Globe, I would often walk in before starting my shift, or returning from my break and see guys flyposting on what was a building site where Esperanto now is, and just thinking about how they are unsung heroes of the music industry.

Ever since I got into Oasis, it was always my ambition to see them live. It’s an ambition i’ve realised on five occasions, in three different countries.

The first time I saw Oasis was in July 2000 at Lansdowne Road in Dublin. Even though I had tickets for the stand, it didn’t bother me, I was getting to see Oasis, and that was the important thing.

Best of all, the concert was on a Saturday night, which meant I got the break the usual Lou Bega-Backstreet Boys-Vengaboys-Ann Lee-Etc (Although, credit where credit’s due, the DJ did always play ‘Electric Dreams’ by Phil Oakey, which would become the one ray of light to look forward to in a tunnel of shitness) cycle.

I had photos of the concert, but they just sat for almost 7 years. I don’t know why. I think it was simply because I didn’t think the photos were any good, and it wasn’t until I rediscovered my love of photography that I decided to get them developed.

The results can be seen here, as well as the photos from their concert at The Odyssey in 2008 and Slane in 2009.

So, as I head out for my Sunday stroll, guess what i’ll be listening to on my MP3 player?

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TIME TO STAND-UP TO THE SCHOOL BULLIES OF INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL

As the build-up to the first international date of 2010 nears, inevitably, there will be much interest into the names of those who get call-ups. It is a World Cup year after all.

Sadly for Northern Ireland, the focus is not on South Africa, but Poland and Ukraine, and the qualifiers for Euro 2012.

But sadder than that, is that the attention is not on who is in the squad for next week’s friendly against Albania, but rather, who isn’t in it.

Shane Duffy of Everton and Marc Wilson of Portsmouth would have been expected to in the squad, if it wasn’t for the fact that they have declared to play for the Republic of Ireland, despite representing Northern Ireland at various underage levels.

So, it appears this agreement in 2007 which the IFA said at the time was “A satisfactory agreement”

Satisfactory? Really?

Is it satisfactory that over two years later, the Northern Ireland national team is still getting shafted in terms of players?

This is a massive test for the IFA, and one that they dare not fail. Having already descended the Irish Cup into farce with their inability to promptly deal with the Newry v Larne violence in an appropriate timeframe, which could see a team paired against Coleraine or Loughgall or Newry or Larne in the Semi-Final draw.

If the IFA roll over on this issue, they will lose the respect and confidence of every football fan in Northern Ireland.

It’s sad that all the work the IFA has done at community level is being undone by the FAI, no doubt taking advantage of Northern Ireland’s troubled history.

Put simply, the FAI are acting like vultures over this issue. Call me cynical, but I seriously doubt the sales pitch they use to impressionable youngsters is that if they work hard and be dedicated, they could one day play on the same team as Sean St Ledger.

There is a massive difference between this and Jack Charlton’s Plastic Paddy’s in the 80s and 90s. The players he picked were all in the mid 20s, and deemed not good enough for the country they were born in. The likes of Wilson, Duffy and Darron Gibson were all wanted by Northern Ireland, yet the FAI just decided to take what they weren’t entitled to.

You would understand players defecting if the Republic of Ireland were serial qualifiers, they’re not. Slovenia, a country with only a couple of hundred thousand people more than Northern Ireland have qualified for three times as many tournaments since 1994 than the Republic of Ireland have.

It’s not as if it’s a case of ‘give and take’ with the player issue, it’s a total imbalance in favour of the Republic. Let’s be realistic here, no youngster from the Republic is going to ever declare for Northern Ireland.

The IFA must stand up to the FAI, nothing more than a bunch of school bullies, who think they can just steal what they like from a smaller kid.

And like any school bully, they are quite good at playing the victim and crying when they get a dose of their own medicine, like in Paris in November.

Feeling hard done after Thierry Henry’s handball in the build-up to William Gallas winning goal, FAI President John Delaney told anyone who would listen that the game should be replayed “For the sake of the integrity of football”

The French response was to shrug their shoulders and ignore the request. After trying to enlist the help of FIFA, they got told that there was nothing they could do.

After begging to get a wildcard entry, the FAI were then subject to worldwide ridicule when Sepp Blatter let the cat out of the bag. It wasn’t a nice feeling.

Well, thats how Northern Ireland fans feel everytime a player switched allegiance.

You would think being shat on from a great height by a bigger nation and finding that those who uphold the rules don’t want to know, the FAI would have some sort of empathy with their Northern counterparts.

Evidently not, they just carry on as they did before, with disregard for the IFA, brushing them aside arrogantly as if Northern Ireland is some sort of footballing non-entity who don’t deserve to have Premier League players play for them.

Put simply, if the IFA want to maintain the credibility of football in Northern Ireland, and their crediblity within football in Northern Ireland, they must stand up to the FAI and ensure this biased injustice and vulture culture is put to an immediate end.

MIAOWW!!!

Before we start, it looks like a cat, so as far as i’m concrened, it’s a cat.

Spotted that in East Belfast and managed to get a picture.

Not far from that, is the word ‘Dick’ written on a bus shelter and an arrow to one of the seats, obviously to imply that the person sitting there is a dick. Gotta love immature graffiti. Straight to the point and guarantees a cheap laugh.

I’d love to have got a photo, but unfortunately, I would have had to stand in the middle of the road to get a photo, and there was too much traffic to even attempt it.

Waking up this morning and seeing the snow (which was a surprise to me, as i’d heard nobody talk about snow beforehand) got me into a false sense of excitement regarding photo opportunities as all I saw when I got out of the front garden was slush, slush and more slush.

Meanwhile, walking home, it appears Wee Jimmy has been going on the rampage with a spraycan in the Annadale area. Fandabidozie.

WINTER BASE

As you may have guessed by my previous posts, I do love graffiti.

Not surprisingly, i’m making planse to attend the Winter Base Festival at Ulster Hall over the weekend.

As it’s an event being promoted by Belfast City Council, it might be worth nabbing a flyer of it to show that Belfast City Council endorse street art should you ever get scooped defacing council property.

My love affair with graffiti and photography is a strange one. I was into photography when I was younger, but didn’t really have that good a camera and eventually lost interest for a few years before rediscovering my interest in the most random of fashions.

A few years ago, I got a text message from a friend about a party that night. This was the first I knew about it. The party was organised via Bebo, and as I didn’t have an account, it made me a social leper.

So, eventually, I signed up, but that wasn’t enough for some people, as apparantly I was displaying a shocking lack of nettiquette for the heinous crime of not having a profile photo.

As I absolutely hate getting my photo taken, this was going to be tricky, so I decided to upload some photos of murals of footballers from my phone. It wasn’t the best of photos due to the limited qualities of a 2004 model cameraphone.

As a result, I eventually got around to buying a digital camera to capture the landmarks that were on my phone. From there, it spawned a monster, as I rediscovered the photography bug and began to look at Belfast in a Belfast light, most notably if what I see in front of me is photographable.

My Flickr accounts contain graffiti (as well as murals) from Belfast and Beyond.

Flickr 1

Flickr 2

Flickr 3

Flickr 4

Looking forward to this event, i’ll leave you with a showcase of some of my favourite photos of graffiti in Belfast

BLOG UPDATE

This week, we begins as usual with tunes, before moving on to :

Criticise the IFA of their handling of the Newry/Larne affair
Criticising Irish League referees
Criticising UTV’s Irish League coverage
Being very happy about United’s win in the San Siro
Noticing that some people never change
Criticising Linfield
Pointing out Arsene Wenger’s selective eyesight.

ANOTHER FALSE DAWN – WHERE NOW FROM HERE?

Just when you think things are going well, THUMP!!!!, there’s always something to bring you back down to earth. Alongside “Hopefully this result can kickstart our season” has been one of the two cliches of Linfield’s season.

Tonight’s defeat against Coleraine was a strange one. It’s not as if the team was outclassed, it was just one of those games where Coleraine took more of their chances and got a better bounce of the ball than Linfield.

The only two highpoints were the immediate responses to Coleraine’s second-half goals, scoring immediately on each occasion. However, both tonight’s positives were also the negatives.

Why should a team start playing at 0-3 and 1-4? Why not at 0-0?

You may think by reading previous blogs that I get a perverse thrill out of criticising Jeffrey. I don’t. I’m only saying what I see. When he gets things right, i’ll praise him, when he gets things wrong, i’ll criticise him.

Tonight, he got things wrong from the start, with his decision to have Chris Casement, rather than Damien Curran to replace the injured JP Gallagher.

There’s a significant difference between a player who can adapt to a new position, and a player who can’t.

With Damien Curran having previously served at left-back, he was the obvious choice, rather than a central defender, who doesn’t even use his left foot on a regular basis.

Serious concern must be noted as to the management of Mark McAllister. A player with ability, but sadly, no confidence.

His problem is a strange one, he thinks too much. When he gets the ball, he thinks about where to hit it and who to hit it to. By the time he makes his mind up, he’s made the wrong decision.

Look at every goal he’s scored. All insitinctive goals. Goals where you just have to stuck your body onto the ball, or just put your foot through it.

Sometimes, you just have to smack the ball, and worry about where it ends up on a later date.

Somebody should be channeling this in training. Take the ability, take the positional sense, and teach him to be an utter bastard. Like Paul Munster.

After just over a year at the club, why hasn’t this been rectified?

One problem that still hasn’t been rectified is the mope culture that has emerged this season when falling a goal behind. To allow Coleraine to score two goals in quick succession was simply criminal. It was late Groundhog Day (or night) of the Ballymena game. Go 1-0 down, mope, before you know it, 2-0 down, game over.

If the score was 0-1 at half-time, I have no doubt that if would have been turned around. 0-2, was always too much to ask.

But less of the negatives, there are still positives to be gained. Only 2 points off the top of the league with a game in hand, the best striker in the league on our books and into the last eight of the Irish Cup.

The only positive in any defeat, is that there is always another game to put it right. Football, as David Mitchell once famously quoted, will literally go on forever.

So forget about tonight, and get ready for Dungannon Swifts on Saturday.

There are two ways to react to tonight’s result. We can react like we did to the Cliftonville defeat in September and go on an unbeaten run, including convincing victories over our main rivals.

Or we can react like we did after defeat to Portadown in November, by feeling sorry for ourselves. If history was to repeat itself in this way, it will be too late to rectify the situation.

Over to you Jeffrey.

AND SO, I TRIED, TO WATCH YOU FROM AFAR

I’ve said it again and again, but if HMV Donegall Arcade wants to host instore concerts, it really needs to get their store make-up sorted so that people can actually enjoy the experience without having their view obscruted by the shelves and a lack of space.

Popped in to see And So I Watch You From Afar promote their new EP, and they were excellent, well worth checking out.

PHOTOS UPDATE

Got some photos today of the final work of the Northern Ireland football mural in Sandy Row

The latest addition to Belfast’s football mural line-up, after the Legends mural outside Windsor Park, George Best tributes in Woodstock Road and Sandy Row, Seven Trophies commemoration on the Shankill, Welcome To Seaview, Football Heroes from The Village, David Healy in East Belfast and of course, The Duke, in Finaghy

In true football fashion, you should have a minutes silence or applause and wear black armbands for some of our lost football murals and graffiti, such as the David Healy one which was painted over to make room for one of David Ervine, this one in Belvoir commemorating Linfield’s 2006 title win, and my own personal favourite, laying down the law in East Belfast.

For those with an interest in Northern Ireland’s football heritage, there is also a blue plaque to commemorate the life of Joe Bambrick, at his former house just off the Donegall Road, and not from there, a plaque in Park Centre, to indicate that it is the site of the former home ground of Belfast Celtic. Grosvenor Road Leisure Centre has a plaque inside to indicate that is built on the site of Grosvenor Park, fromer home of Distillery.

Meanwhile, away from football, the forecourt of The Menagerie Bar has some excellent wall art that is worth checking out.

Links to photos

Tomorrow (Monday 15th), i’ll be heading to HMV Donegall Arcade for an instore appearance by And So I Watch You From Afar.

Don’t get your hopes up of photos though. The venue isn’t the best for live instores as there is very little space for performers and no venue customisation for fans, with very little standing room that isn’t obstructed by a shelf.

No other photo adventures planned for the meantime, but don’t worry, if there is one, it’ll be posted here.

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO EVERY MONTH/PHOTOS UPDATE

Well, the STLFTEM for March was organised a long time ago with the Ocean Colour Scene concert, but the Irish Cup Quarter-Final draw has ensured that it will be a weekend to remember.

Meanwhile, leaving Windsor Park today, there was a rather spectacular sunset. Much to my annoyance, i’d left my camera at home. Next week, I promise i’ll try and get some photos.

Meanwhile, the itinerary for the photo travels tomorrow includes some of the new graffiti outside The Menagerie, the new finished Northern Ireland football mural in Sandy Row, and anything else I see that amuses me.