THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY

As we are now officially at the half-way point of the year, time for the now traditional Top 50 songs of the year so far chart.

Hope you discover some new songs you enjoy, and keep an eye out for the Top 100 of the year in November/December.

01. The Pierces – Glorious
02. Noah and the Whale – L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N
03. Beady Eye – The Roller
04. Sunday Girl – Stop Hey
05. Clare Maguire – The Last Dance
06. Adele – Rollin In The Deep
07. Nero – You And Me
08. Silhouette – Can’t Keep Up
09. Beady Eye – The Beat Goes On
10. Two Door Cinema Club – What You Want
11. My Chemical Romance – Planetary
12. The Vaccines – If You Wanna
13. Clare Maguire – The Sword and the Shield
14. The Naked And The Famous – Young Blood
15. A Friend In London – New Tomorrow
16. Far East Movement – Rocketeer
17. Jedward – Lipstick
18. Lady Gaga – Born This Way
19. Bruno Mars – Grenade
20. Martin Solveg – Hello
21. Katy Perry – Extraterrestrial
22. Beady Eye – For Anyone
23. Take That – Kidz
24. Tone Damli – Butterflies
25. Two Door Cinema Club – Come Back Home
26. The View – Grace
27. Jessie J ft B.O.B – Pricetag
28. Sara Bareilles – Uncharted
29. Noah and the Whale – Tonight’s The Kind Of Night
30. Duke Special – I’ll Come When You Call
31. Birdy – Skinny Love
32. Pearl and the Puppets – I Do Like You
33. The Pierces – You’ll Be Mine
34. Aloe Blacc – I Need A Dollar
35. Nicola Roberts – Beat Of My Drum
36. Hard-Fi – Good For Nothing
37. Take That – Love Love
38. Elbow – Open Arms
39. Yasmin – Finish Line
40. Lemmy – Ace Of Spades (Acoustic)
41. White Lies – Better Than Us
42. Beady Eye – Four Letter Word
43. Nicole Sherzinger – Don’t Hold Your Breath
44. Hurts – Better Than Love
45. Hoosiers – Bumpy Ride
46. Getta Jaani – Rockefeller Street
47. Dev – Bass Down Low
48. Beady Eye – Millionairre
49. Colenso Parade – The Truth That Run Us Down
50. Bruno Mars – Lazy Song

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JUNE 2011 SUNSETS

June 2011 hasn’t been the most productive of months for photography, due to two main factors (i) Lots of rainy nights and nights with cloudy skies and (ii) Any night with a half-decent sunset, I was usually engaged elsewhere.

Was out on Tuesday night along the Lagan Towpath getting some photos, of which the following three are going to be used as my entry for Lagan Valley Regional Park’s photography competition.

On Wednesday, I was out at Ormeau Park and along the Annadale Embankment getting sunset photos and was very pleased with the results.

Enjoy

Photo Album

PEEL

Amidst all the negative news from Belfast this past week, a new mural in tibute to former Radio 1 DJ John Peel has gone un-noticed.

The mural shows John Peel at the beginning of his career, alongside an image of him in his younger years with the text “John Peel 1939-2004″

Alongside the images of Peel is a 45” copy of ‘Teenage Kicks‘ by Derry band The Undertones, a song famously described as Peel’s all-time favourite.

The artist is Mark Ervine, a noted mural painter, who is the son of former PUP leader David Ervine. The image has been done to promote Bigg Life Arts Initiative, a charity which is being set up in the Cathedral Quarter.

There is of course, another tribute to John Peel in Belfast, Graffiti under a bridge near Short Strand which reads “Teenage Dreams, So Hard to Beat”, lyrics from previously mentioned single ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones.

Meanwhile, I also spotted some new graffiti by ANCO, a prolific graffiti artist in Belfast.

On Friday night, I was at Custom House Square to see Laura Marling perform at the Open House Festival.

It was an enjoyable concert and the support acts were all excellent as well, especially, Louise and The Pins.

Managed to get some photos, not the best though. They can be found here.

Unfortunately, I left early as I was drenched, properly drenched. I had a free ticket, so I didn’t lose out by my early exit.

The reason I had a free ticket was that I won a newspaper competition. It was the first competition i’d won in just under a year.

I’d previously done quite well out of competitions. Nothing major, usually DVDs and CDs, or tickets to local concerts.

The last competition I won was flights to Blackpool, but due to the inconvenience of dates, I didn’t use them.

It was almost as if I was being punished by the “Competition Gods”, if such a thing exists, until this week when I won Laura Marling tickets in two publications. The second publication, I e-mailed to say I wouldn’t need the tickets now and they replied to admire my honesty, so I think i’ve kept the “Competition Gods” onside for now.

Also this week, I was successful in getting tickets to see Manic Street Preachers at itunes Festival.

Unfortunately, the concert is next weekend, and when window shopping for flights, saw that it would cost well over £100 just to get to London. So, I decided not to take up the option of confirming my tickets.

I’d applied a long time ago in the hope that if I was successful, I would have enough notice to get a reasonably priced flight and hotel.

It’s a pity as I love the Manics, they’re one of the best live acts i’ve seen. If you’re going to this concert, you’re in for a treat.

Meanwhile, remember by recent blogs about how many teams that have reached a European Final that I have seen live?

Currently at 28 out of 100, I might be adding Aberdeen to this list, as they face Hearts at Tynecastle when I am in Edinburgh.

I’ve just booked a trip to Edinburgh in August for the third successive summer to take in the Edinburgh Fringe, which is going to be my STLFTEM for August.

I’d decided to wait until the Irish League fixtures were published before booking this trip, and it turned out to be a risk worth taking as the date i’d originally hoped to go sees Linfield face Glentoran at Windsor Park, a game I would have missed.

So far in the six months this year, i’ve had a STLFTEM for them, though I cheated for January, using the (re-arranged from December) game between Linfield and Glentoran.

So far, the STLFTEM’s for 2011 are :

January – Linfield v Glentoran

February – Barcelona trip, Northern Ireland v Scotland

March – Northern Irelannd v Slovenia

April – Crusaders v Linfield, three Linfield v Glentoran clashes, Beady Eye

May – UEFA Cup final, Man United v Blackpool

June – 3OH!3

August – Edinburgh Festival.

Now, I just need to have something to look forward to in July.

SOUND OF THE LAST FEW WEEKS

No doubt you’ve all been wondering what i’ve been listening to over the last few weeks, well, here goes.

There were a couple of enjoyable songs at Eurovision (Yes, i’m a recent convert), the best of which was ‘New Tomorrow’ by A Friend In London and ‘Rockefeller Sreet’ by Getter Jaani. Absolutely love these two songs.

Hurts were a band I could never really get into, but I loved ‘Stay’ last Christmas, and love ‘Better Than Love’

Maybe I am getting into them?

‘I Need A Dollar’ by Aloe Blacc, love this song, just love it.

On first hearing, I absolutely hated ‘Beat Of My Drum’ by Nicola Roberts, then I loved it, then hated it, then loved it.

At the time of writing, i’m loving it, so enjoy.

It may have been recorded for an advert, but the acoustic version of ‘Ace Of Spades’ by Lemmy is fantastic.

A band i’ve got into recently are The Pierces, whose two singles ‘You’ll Be Mine’ and ‘Glorious’ are on constant play on my stereo.

Meanwhile, as we are two weeks until we reach the half-way point of the year, so i’ll be posting up my now traditional Half-Term Half Century, listing the Top 50 songs of the year so far.

Stay tuned to see if any on this list appear.

3OH!3 LIVE AT MANDELA HALL 3.6.2011

Was at Mandela Hall to see 3OH!3 at Mandela Hall last night.

For those who don’t know, they had a massive hit last year, ‘Starstrukk’ with Katy Perry, as well as other hits ‘My First Kiss’ and ‘Don`t Trust Me’

The band were excellent last night with the band happy to interact with the crowd, who in turn threw random objects onto the stage such as deodorant and bras. It was one of those nights.

The band even managed to include some covers by R Kelly and Aerosmith.

It was the first concert I attended with my new camera, and I was very happy with the results, though I am interested to see what the results would be like if I was closer to the stage.

Enjoy.

Photo Album

PHOTO OF THE SEASON : 2010-2011

Apologies for the crap headline, but it was fated against me.

I’d hoped for “Newry to Nou Camp” but didn’t have any pictures from Newry on the list. For the same reason, “Ballymena to Barcelona” was canned.

Hope you enjoyed my month by month round-up of the football season just past, so I just thought i’d create a shortlist of my favourites, and allow people to vote in them.

I did something similar last season, and the winner was a picture of Windsor Park in the snow, while a picture of Michael Owen celebrating a goal came in second.

There a no pictures of snow or Michael Owen in this compilation, so enjoy, and feel free to vote.

For what it’s worth, my two main favourites are the pictures of Steven Douglas and Jim Ervin. It’s not that I have a throw-in fetish, but the composition just works.

Douglas at Dungannon

This came on the second Saturday of the Irish League season. Dungannon is a ground which is friendly to amateur photographers, so I was hopeful of getting a good shot.

Linfield got a throw where I was based, and play was stopped as a Dungannon player required treatment for an injury.

As Douglas waited, I siezed the opportunity to make the most of the framing, and this was the result.

Berbatov

Technically speaking, it’s not the greatest photo ever taken, but it’s just the emotion of it and people’s reaction which makes my love it.

This is what it feels when United score against Liverpool

Seaview Corner Flag

Got a similar photo at Richmond Park last season, so took the opportunity during a break in play at a game at Seaview to try likewise.

Again, I love the composition.

Corner Kick

Linfield, 2-1 down and chasing an equaliser, have a corner kick late on. I was quite close to the pitch and the composition just worked.

It was actually a productive phototaking day for me, pity about the result.

Burger Queue

January saw me visit Solitude for the first time. At half-time, I went around these new surroundings to get photos, and saw this queue, which was composed beautifully with the fog in the background, and it just worked.

Nou Camp

Like Solitude, I visited the Nou Camp for the first time this season, and went snap happy.

This was my favourite of all the portrait shots I took.

Charlie Adam

A few days after Barcelona, I was in Dublin for the Northern Ireland match against Scotland.

Aviva Stadium is kind to amateur photography, even if some of the views are dreadful.

The only attacking action I saw in front of me was when Scotland were on the attack in the first-half, where I took the opportunity to snap Charlie Adam as he took a corner.

Free-Kick

Tension builds as Northern Ireland have a free-kick against Slovenia in a Euro 2012 Qualifier.

For me, the composition just works.

Jim Ervin Throw

A frustrating evening of phototaking but the right result, the opposite of my previous visit.

I just love this photo of Jim Ervin.

Supervisor

Using people as props, I managed to snap Linfield fans watching their team’s match against Glentoran at The Oval.

Depressingly, it also shows the low attendance by this fixture’s standards that day.

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : MAY

May, the month when trophies are handed out, and I got to see three, having seen the Gibson Cup presented on the last day of April.

The following Saturday, I was at the Irish Cup Final, and ignored the rain as Linfield came from a goal down to beat Crusaders.

The following week, I was in Dublin for my first European Final to see Porto take on Braga in the UEFA Cup Final, which I enjoyed being in the city of a European final and the atmosphere of the match, even if the actual game was very poor.

My final trophy presentation of the month came when I went to Old Trafford to see United’s last match of the season, against Blackpool, and made the most of my low seats to get photos as United were presented with a record breaking 19th title.

Whilst in Manchester and Dublin, I stumbled upon some ultras stickers, most notably from Schalke.

If you’ve enjoyed this season’s round-up, feel free to browse the photo round-up of the 2009-2010 season.

Here’s to more photos in 2011-2012.

Linfield v Crusaders

FC Porto v SC Braga

Manchester United v Blackpool

PHOTO DIARY OF A FOOTBALL SEASON : APRIL

April, the month when things get decided.

The month started in explosive fashion with a top of the table clash between Linfield and Crusaders at Seaview, with both teams starting the game level on points.

For the first time at Seaview, both fans were segregated, and Linfield fans couldn’t make use of the terraces behind the goal at the Shore Road due to groundworks.

One Seaview tradition remains, in that Linfield goalscorers never run to where I am stood.

In compensation for missing out on a photo of Robert Garrett celebrating his winner, I managed to get a good one of Jim Ervin taking a throw.

Linfield’s visit to The Oval two weeks later was also subject to restrictions due to work taking place on the ground, but I managed to work around this and get some good photos.

Later in the month, I managed to get shots of stickers left at Ballyskeagh by Shamrock Rovers fans.

As sod’s law would dictate, after a season of taking photos, my camera’s battery died during the presentation of the Gibson Cup to Linfield.

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Glentoran (Irish Cup)

Glentoran v Linfield

Linfield v Glentoran

Linfield v Cliftonville

Lisburn Distillery v Linfield

Linfield v Portadown