NEWRY CITY 1-2 LINFIELD 31.8.2010

Took advantage of some built-up flexi time to get out of work early in order to head down to Newry for the Irish League clash between Newry City and Linfield.

Newry is one of my favourite away games, mainly due to the fact that it’s an enjoyable drive there.

It was my first time at Newry since they built there new stand, and Linfield supporters were housed there, so I checked it out.

It’s not a bad stand, and should be a good atmosphere when there is a full crowd. Sadly, the midweek scheduling of the fixture saw a significant drop in attendance than if it was a Saturday game.

Newry is a relatively friendly ground for amateur photographers, so I managed to get some shots and experiment.

I got to use the night mode on my new camera for the first time and was very impressed.

Managed to get into a good position for the celebrations of Curtis Allen’s winner, and was very impressed with the photo I got, as like Linfield, my photography managed to salvage something ta the end.

Myspace link

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1,000 NOT OUT

Four months after Noel Bailie made his 1,000th appearance for Linfield, today saw his former team-mate Glenn Ferguson make his 1,000th career appearance in the Irish League, when lining up for Distillery against Newry City.

I’ve got some photos of him in my collection, mostly from the day at Seaview in April 2008 when his two goals helped Linfield secure the Gibson Cup.

I still vividly remember in 1998 when he signed for a (still) Irish League record £55,000, and the excitement travelling to Seaview the following Saturday for his debut, where the headlines were stolen by a Lee Feeney wondergoal.

I only knew this milestone when browsing through this morning’s papers. It was frankly disappointing that neither of our two local TV news programmes could be bothered to cover it last night. Hopefully, it’ll be remedied on Monday night.

Meanwhile, enjoy some of my Fergie Fotos, and a compliation of some of his finest moments from youtube, including a feature of him on Season Ticket in 2006.

Celebrating winning the league at Seaview in April 2008

Surrounded by team-mates after scoring in his own testimonial, August 2009

Signing autographs for fans at Seaview, April 2009

Lee Feeney stealing the limelight on his debut in January 1998

Season Ticket profile, broadcast on BBCNI, January 2006

LINFIELD 1-0 COLERAINE 27.8.2010

Was at Windsor Park tonight with my new camera for the first time.

Being located in the South Stand to accomodate Coleraine fans in The Kop due to rebuilding in the North Stand, it was always going to be tough getting the pictures I wanted.

With some spectacular sunsets over the past three days, it would be Sod’s Law that tonight would be a crap sunset on the night I want to get a photo of it.

The overall picture quality was better, though I still lost a lot of quality when I zoomed in, the standard of night shots was far far better.

At half-time, I ventured to the Viewing Lounge to try and get some portrait shots of the stadium, similar to a previous one I took in 2008.

Managed to get a photo from a different angle and was very happy with it, but it would be nice if someone would actually clean the windows for the benefit of us amateur photographers.

For those that are interested, Linfield won 1-0 with a goal from Paul Munster.

Link

A HAPPY BOY WITH A NEW TOY

As was mentioned in the post about Stereophonics at Belsonic, I was having some camera trouble recently.

Whilst at the Linfield match on Saturday, things weren’t getting any better, as the zoom buttom was getting stuck at times and having a mind of it’s own, as well as the lens being dirty, giving the impression on some photos that it is actually foggy.

I decided to cut my losses and purchase a new camera. I was thinking of getting a new one for a while (The previous one i’d had for just over two years), but i’d hoped to get a new one on my terms.

After doing some test shots in the house (I’m still getting used to the new camera), I decided to take advantage of the pleasant evening weather to take my camera whilst out jogging and try and get some sunset shots.

I was very happy with the shots I got, even though sunset shots are generally more spectacular during the winter months.

I really can’t wait to get using it more, especially for football and concerts.

Enjoy

O LORD, WHERE ART THOU?

As well as the Railway Stand at Windsor Park, the Irish League is going to be losing another familiar sight at one of it’s grounds, as today’s Sunday Life reports that the (in)famous ‘Jesus’ sign at The Oval is to be removed.

I actually remember when it was erected back in 1995 and the jokes that were made about it, ironically in BB.

I don’t know why it was put up, thought i’m guessing it’s because East Belfast is a godless hellhole.

This photo, was taken in April 2007 before a meeting of Linfield and Glentoran, as Linfield fans wait in anticipation pre kick-off.

It was a handy meeting point too when at The Oval.

I’d arranged to meet a friend there once. He phoned me to ask where, I replied under the ‘S’. He then phoned me to ask under which ‘S’ in ‘JESUS’ I should meet him under.

Bizarrely, this isn’t the only religious themed advertising at an Irish League ground, as Glenavon had one last year stating that “Life without Jesus makes no sense”, possibly in the same way that a life supporting Glenavon makes no sense.

This photo was taken in the aftermath of the 2009 League Cup Final between Portadown and Newry City.

Current redevelopment work at Mourneview Park means the billboard is no longer there.

Talking of Portadown, they too have religious advertising at their ground.

Say what you like, it’s certainly a whole world away from the generic, multinationals that reside pitchside at English Premier League grounds.

LINFIELD 1-0 LISBURN DISTILLERY 21.8.2010

It says a lot for a football match that the only photographs worth taking at it are of a building site.

The Railway Stand (To the right of the TV screen if you are watching a match from Windsor Park on TV) is currently getting demolished to be rebuilt for a new stand for hosting Northern Ireland, as part of the redevelopment of Windsor Park.

To be honest, i’d hardly ever been in the stand, so i’m not feeling any sort of loss, but it will be strange not seeing it behind the goal when Linfield are attacking that end.

I’ll try and post up progress photos (if possible) over the coming weeks as the new stand gets built.

The match itself was torturous at times, as Linfield failed to take advantage of an early goal and ended up hanging on against a team that should have been easily defeated if the momentum of the first goal was acted upon.

Still, first win of the season. Onwards and upwards.

Myspace Link

STEREOPHONICS – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE, BELFAST (BELSONIC) 20.8.2010

On Friday night, I ventured to Custom House Square to see Stereophonics in concert, the only concert i’m attending of the Belsonic event, taking place on eight nights over a two-week period, attracting acts such as Kasabian, Paul Weller and Biffy Clyro to Belfast.

When the original run of dates was announced, i’d blogged about my previous experience of Belsonic in 2008, commenting on how they needed big marquee names for the event, to compliment the critically acclaimed acts, something which it’s predecessor, Tennent’s Vital, always managed to do.

Credit to the organisers, they certainly did that.

Ironically, if anything, I thought they were too ambitious, that they would have been better off compressing the acts booked into three or four nights, as opposed to the eight night run.

The reason I felt was that eight nights was too much, and that Northern Ireland might not be big enough to support eight concerts on this scale, as even the most ardent of live music fan would be reluctant to shell out on three/four/five out of the eight concerts in such a short space of time.

The number of concerts that have been sold out has proved me wrong and is a credit to those involved.

Something that was mentioned on the BBC Newsline coverage of the opening night that caught my attention was of talk of ‘Concert Torusim’, and how Belsonic was being highlighted as a selling point for Belfast for tourists to actually come to the city.

Interestingly enough, the official Belsonic website has a listings guide of hotels and restaurants when attending the event, adding to this aspect.

It’s a bit different to someone seeing a concert of an act they like in a listings guide and building a trip around it (Like I have done twice this year) and actually going somewhere and working the concerts around the trip as opposed to working the concerts around the trip.

For what it’s worth, if I was coming over as a tourist, the two nights that would appeal to me would be Kasabian (Tuesday) and Stereophonics (Friday) and use Tuesday and Wednesday to explore Belfast or go on a day trip somewhere and then head home on the Saturday.

Hopefully, from small beginnings, Belsonic can really explode and become a major summer event (albiet, on a smaller scale) that gets mainstream media coverage on the UK mainland like Glasto, T, Oxegen, V, etc.

Of the nights that appealed to me, Stereophonics was the one I wanted to go to.

Ever since I saw them performing ‘A Thousand Trees‘ and ‘Traffic‘ on Top Of The Pops in 1997, they’ve been one of my favourite bands.

I remember when my older brother purchased a copy of ‘Word Gets Around‘, impatiently waiting for him to head out, so I could sneak into his room to listen to his copy of it.

Even though i’ve only been buying their singles rather than their albums since 2001, they’ve still remained one of my favourite bands.

I’d seen them live twice before. The first time was in 2005 at The Odyssey, and the second time was last year when they were guests on ‘The Friday Show‘, and they were performing a few songs in the studio.

It probably shows how much I love Stereophonics that I was prepared to sit through the recording of such an awful show to see them. During a break after Rachel Tucker fluffed her lines, I managed to feign that I needed to go to the toilet, and then made my escape.

I was originally planning to go and see them at Cardiff City Stadium in June, but other trips took priority and it fell through, so I was doubly glad that they were appearing at Belsonic.

Joe Echo was the first support act, although I was late arriving and missed him. I’d previously seen him supporting Echo and the Bunnymen though.

The next support act was Kids In Glass Houses, best known for the song ‘Undercover Lover‘, featuring Frankie from S Club 8.

They were enjoyable. I wouldn’t turn off the radio if they came on, but I wouldn’t be rushing to turn the volume up.

Stereophonics came on and were excellent, playing a mixture of their best known hits and new songs.

The best thing was, once one song ended, a new one started.

There was no arse-licking patronising about how glad they were to be in Belfast and how Belfast is the best fans ever.

The drums was just a constant ongoing vibe of a band totally on form. They had the crowd in their hand and weren’t prepared to let go.

For their encore, they left the best for last, playing ‘Dakota‘, their only Number One single.

It’s ironic for a band whose best output came from 1997-2001, that their two best songs, ‘Dakota’ and ‘Superman‘ came after this period.

The only downside was the fact that my camera got bolloxed when a drunk spide managed to cover it in spilt beer.

Bizarrely, my last camera got broken at Belsonic.

Managed to get some OK, not spectacular photos regardless. Enjoy.

Photo Album

 

DUNGANNON SWIFTS 2-1 LINFIELD 14.8.2010

Was at Stangmore Park yesterday for an absolute stinker of a game, but managed to get some photographs, as it is one of the more friendly Irish League grounds for amateur photographers.

For what it’s worth, my favourite photo of the afternoon is one of Steven Douglas, waiting to take a throw-in whilst there is a stoppage for an injured player.

Unfortunately, the only moment worth photographing (Paul Munster’s goal) was ruined when a linesman blocked my vision and any chance of getting a photograph.

Aren’t Irish League officials just useless?

Link to photos.

EDINBLOG 2010

Having visited last year, I decided to return to the Edinburgh Festival for the 2010 event.

Last year, I went over the Bank Holiday Weekend at the end of the festival. As much as I enjoyed it, there was a distinct “Last day of school” feel when I was there, so I decided I would go over much earlier in the event in 2010.

It is actually a series of different festivals running simultaneously throughout August, with the most high profile one, being the Fringe Festival.

When arriving in Edinburgh, it’s always good to do some pre-planning before your arrival. Like last year, I got a copy of the programme well in advance and listed the shows that appealed to me and their start times, so you can plan your days.

Like last year, the first thing I did when I set my bags in my room was to head to the ticket office to get tickets for shows.

After queuing up, I got most of the stuff I wanted. For some, the worst case scenario was to get a second choice option. I’d hoped to see Jason Manford at EICC, but unfortunately, that was sold out long before I arrived in the city.

The Sunday was a rather relaxed day, watching the Charity Shield before going to see Doves in concert.

A review can be found here. If you’re too lazy to click, in short, they were brilliant.

On the Monday, I decided to check out a free lunchtime show by Andrew Collins.

If the name sounds familiar, it’s possibly due to the fact that he frequently appears on list shows, credited as ‘Writer/Broadcaster’

Don’t let that put you off, as he is generally knowledgable when speaking on these shows.

The show was focusing on the journeys people make through life, pointing out that we are always travelling from A to B, and when we arrive at B, it automatically becomes A.

It has the potential for a good show, but Collins was nervous throughout, often affecting the delivery of the punchlines, such as the time he considered his mortality, and the fear of dying in a train crash, and then thinking, as a minor celebrity, his death would get quite a lot of column inches in the celebrity due to the nature of the British media, only for his heart to sink when he noticed James Bolam sitting across the carriage.

The afternoon was spent seeing Gyles Brandreth at Pleasance Courtyard, one of my favourite Fringe venues.

Best known as a roving reporter on The One Show and guesting on Countdown (As excellently parodied by Mitchell and Webb), and for a spell as an MP for Chester from 1992 to 1997, he uses his career as a backdrop for a series of witty stories.

Never afraid to make fun of himself, the show begins with an announcement that the audience should leave their mobile phones on, in case of boredom, and that photography is encouraged “Due to Mr Brandreth being a shameless attention seeker”

He uses his time in parliament for some of his stories, describing himself as “A dedicated Conservative”, mainly due to his hair turning white when John Major became leader, and then going bald when William Hague replaced him.

He recalls a heart to heart with then Prime Minister John Major, then concerned with Northern Ireland and Kosovo, to explain that he was worried about the cost of having to buy a raffle ticket at every public event he attended.

Then, to his utter amazement, John Major took out raffle tickets he bought in 1982, and had been reusing, to show at public events. Even then, the Tories were making saving cuts.

Brandreth’s acerbic wit and banter with the audience was a joy to watch and is an absolute must-see of the festival.

He finished with a swipe at his current employers, mourning the departure of Christine Bleakley from The One Show, describing her as “A unique personality”, before shrugging off her departure by reassuring fans of the show “It’s OK, we’ve got someone who looks just like her to replace her”

From there, it was across the city to see Duke Special at The Famous Spiegel Garden.

The show is reviewed here, but if you’re too lazy to click the link, he was excellent.

My third show of the day was at Pleasance to see Justin Moorhouse, in a show titled ‘Boiled Egg On The Beach’

Moorhouse, best known as the thick as shit Kenny Junior in Phoenix Nights, revels in 80s nostalgia, focusing on the subject of ambition and aspiration with jokes in the middle. Well worth going to see.

On the Tuesday, I visited the Guilded Balloon to see Kate Fox News which was largely disappointing, as it was a different show to what had been advertised.

It wasn’t laugh a minute, but there was laughs there, you just had to wait a long time to get them.

That afternoon, I saw Tynecastle, and then headed to the Udderbelly for the first time to see ‘Now I Know My BBC‘ by Toby Hadoke, a lovable reminisce about BBC programming of the 1980s, filled with witty observations, such as Newsround being a news programme dumbed down and aimed at children, though it shouldn’t be confused with Fox News.

The evening show was a live show by Alun Cochrane, a deadpan Yorkshireman familiar to viewers on panel shows.

In his show, ‘Live, Jokes, And Jokes About Life’, he explores what jokes people find funny, having an X-Factor style vote for jokes to be used in future shows, observing that the jokes which were approved were lewd, which must be a commentary on the audience.

Wednesday had some spare time, so I went to Cameo, an old fashioned cinema in the city, to see ‘Gainsbourg’, a biopic of French singer Serge Gainsbourg, focusing on his life, though not the infamous ‘Whitney Houston incident

That evening, I went to see Reginald D Hunter, a regular on the UK’s panel shows, for a stand-up show, where he investigates what makes people offended, in his unaplogetic American style.

Laugh a minute stuff, and well worth checking out.

I’d saved my best two acts for last, as I went straight to see David O’Doherty, a madcap surreal comic, who begins by doing a love-song duet with Shakira, only Shakira is unable to make it, and he takes on the role of the Columbian singer.

He then explores life, and changes gear constantly, reeling off (totally made-up) facts about animals, and singing with his trusty keyboard, including a song about advice to a member of the audience who was having trouble with their bike.

Thursday morning was spent watching Macauley and Co at the EICC, a radio show on Radio Scotland. Frustratingly, I only found out about this on my last day.

Throughout the festival, the show brings listeners a look at the best acts performing at the event. Not bad for free and a good way to start your festival day. If only, i’d known earlier.

Edinburgh is a lovely place to visit, and I got to see more of it in comparison with last year.

It’s a credit to those involved how tidy the city is considering the amount of flyers that are handed out in the streets.

It almost feels like four cities in one, as there are plenty of places to visit should you want to get away from the Fringe for a bit, and you’re never too far away if you want to jump right back in.

Have to say, i’m already counting down to visiting in 2011.

Edinblog 2009

SUNSHINE ON GORGIE

Whilst I was in Edinburgh for the festival last week, I did have spare time inbetween shows to see a bit of the city.

I had managed to get a bit lost in the city centre, and before I knew it, I was quite near Tynecastle, as I remembered the scenary from when I visited the stadium last year.

I was over for the festival last year, and Hearts were playing Dinamo Zagreb in a UEFA Cup tie, so I popped along.

It was an entertaining game, though the 4-0 defeat made it Hearts to turn it around, there was genuine belief that it could be done when they went 2-0 up early in the second-half.

Unfortunately, their inability to get a third goal soon after killed the tie.

It was an enjoyable atmosphere in a good old-fashioned stadium, which is a joy to watch football in with a full crowd and the floodlights glaring.

I popped along on a Tuesday afternoon, as was amazed to see that I could just walk on in, so I did, and got some photographs.

Link to photos