SANDY ROW HALL OF FAME

Was out for a cycle today. Not in Liege, but in Holylands and Sandy Row.

Managed to get some pictures of new murals.

The first new mural is of Rory McIlroy, in the Holylands.

Meanwhile, en route from Holylands to Sandy Row, I encountered some more Knitted Art (blogged about last week) outside The Empire.

In Sandy row, I got some pictures of a new mural, on Stroud Street.

It’s a street long mural focusing on various aspects of life in Sandy Row through the years.

There is depictions of fruit sellers, and men who worked in the tram depot at Sandy Row, as well as local sporting successes such as various Boxing champions, Alex Higgins, and local footballers such as Grant and Ryan McCann, current Linfield players Daryl Fordyce and Albert Watson, as well as Linfield legends Tommy Dickson and Joe Bambrick.

The image of Higgins is of the iconic of him carrying his young child after winning the 1982 World Championship.

For some, it is not their first time being immortalised in mural form.

Alex Higgins is commemorated on a mural painted immediately after his death outside The Royal Bar, a street away. He frequented, and lived opposite the bar in his later years.

Further on down the Donegall Road, there is another mural of him. This photo was taken in 2007.

Grant McCann features on a mural opposite Days Hotel alongside Warren Feeney Jr (who, as far as I know, doesn’t come from Sandy Row)

Joe Bambrick and Tommy Dickson also feature on a mural of local footballing legends in The Village, while Bambrick’s former home at Roden Street gets a blue plaque, and Tommy Dickson has a mural in Taughmonagh.

Enjoy

Photo Album

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2012 : THE HALF-TERM HALF CENTURY

Amazing to believe, but we are now officially at the half-way point of 2012.

As is tradition, this halfway mark is commemorated by a half-century of the best songs of the year so far.

Enjoy

1. Bruce Springsteen – We Take Care Of Our Own
2. Coldplay ft Rihanna – Princess Of China
3. Emeli Sande – Next To Me
4. Gotye – Somebody That I Used To Know
5. Little Boots – Headphones
6. Ren Harvieu – Open Up Your Arms
7. Fun ft Janelle Monae – We Are Young
8. The Shins – Simple Song
9. Black Keys – Lonely Boy
10. Keane – Silenced By The Night
11. Mayer Hawthorne – The Walk
12. Ladyhawke – Sunday Drive
13. Can Bonomo – Love Me Back
14. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
15. Thea Gilmore – London
16. Lloyd – Dedication To Me Ex
17. Hot Chip – Day and Night
18. Paloma Faith – Picking up The Pieces
19. Amy MacDonald – Slow It Down
20. The Maccabees – Pelican
21. Cher Lloyd – Want U Back
22. Gotye – Eyes Wide Open
23. Michael Kiwanika – I’m Getting Ready
24. Ben Howard – Only Love
25. Ed Sheeran – Small Bump
26. Alex Clare – Too Close
27. Chiddy Bang – Ray Charles
28. The Big Pink – Stay Gold
29. Eugene McGuinness – Lion
30. Dappy ft Brian May – Rockstar
31. Rita Ora – RIP
32. Taylor Swift – Ours
33. Will Young – I Just Want A Lover
34. Nicola Roberts – Yo-Yo
35. Marina and the Diamonds – Primadonna
36. Lana Del Ray – Born To Die
37. Professor Green – Never Been A Good Time
38. Maroon 5 – Payphone
39. Jedward – Watermark
40. Marina and the Diamonds – Power and Control
41. DJ Fresh – Hot Right Now
42. Kelly Clarkson – Stronger
43. Foster The People – Don’t Stop
44. Alyssa Reid – Alone
45. Lawson – When She Was Mine
46. Sleigh Bells – Comeback Kid
47. Miles Kane – First Of A Kind
48. Horrible Histories – Flame
49. Gemma Ray – Rescue Me
50. B.O.B – So Good

Half-Term Half Century 2011

Half-Term Half Century 2010

Half-Term Half Century 2009

Half-Term Half Century 2008

Half-Term Half Century 2007

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 29.6.2012

1. Little Boots – Headphones
2. Coldplay ft Rihanna – Princess Of China
3. Paloma Faith – Picking Up the Pieces
4. Amy MacDonald – Slow It Down
5. White Stripes – Seven Nation Army

This Sunday is Canada Day. I love Canada (don’t know why) and would love top visit there someday. Until I do, i’ll have to do with Canada’s musical exports.

So, i’ve put on my tin hat (Justin Bieber doesn’t feature) and come up with this

FIVE SONGS BY CANADIAN ACTS

1. Arcade Fire – Wake Up
2. Men Without Hats – Safety Dance
3. Tegan and Sara – The Con
4. Nelly Furtado – All Good Things
5. Barenaked Ladies – One Week

Not to be outdone, it’s Independence Day on Wednesday, so, if the Canadians are getting a chart, it would be rude not to give the Americans a chart. I’ll even give them too (Still like Canada better though, it’s just that I don’t know many songs about Canada)

FIVE SONGS BY AMERICAN ACTS

1. Starship – We Built This City
2. Christina Aguilera – Keeps Getting Better
3. Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start The Fire
4. New Kids On The Block – Tonight
5. The Cars – My Best Friend’s Girl

FIVE SONGS THAT MENTION AMERICA

1. Kim Wilde – Kids In America
2. Idlewild – American English
3. Razorlight – America
4. The Stranglers – Big In America
5. Estelle ft Kanye West – American Boy

KNITTED ART

A rather curious phenomenon which I previously blogged about in October 2010, but there appears to be people adding knitting to statues and lamposts in Belfast.

The first one, is on the statue outside Great Victoria Street train station, while the lampost is in the Holylands.

Meanwhile, also in the Holylands, there is currently a work in progress mural of Rory McIlroy.

When it gets done, i’ll be out with my camera to snap it for you.

It’s strange what you see in Belfast if you look hard enough.

GRAFFITI ROUND-UP

Was out last weekend in Belfast City Centre and got some new graffiti pics, at the wall in Garfield Street.

Ventured on up to Seaview to take a look at the mural outside the ground which has been tidied up. The mural, as it was in 2007 can be found here

Enjoy

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 22.6.2012

1. Little Boots – Headphones
2. Hot Chip – Night And Day
3. Horrible Histories – Flame
4. Miles Kane – First Of A Kind
5. White Stripes – Seven Nation Army

This week sees Ash do a series of concerts to celebrate their 20th anniversary. So, I shall commemorate this with a Top Five.

I’ve seen Ash play twice, and never paid for the honour. The first time, was my first ever concert at City Hall on New Year’s Eve 1998, and then at a HMV instore in 2004.

FIVE ASH SONGS

1. Envy
2. A Life Less Ordinary
3. Oh Yeah
4. Goldfinger
5. True Love (1980)

EUROBOLLOCKS – WEEK 2

The second week of Euro 2012 began in Donetsk, then stopped for an hour, then started again, with the farcical Ukraine v France game.

With live coverage of the Ukraine v France game getting in the way of their preview of England v Sweden, it was almost as if ITV prayed for an abandonment, and God replied “You want to talk about England for three hours? FINE! You bloody well talk about England for three hours”

I’d like to think if ITV did do a deal with God, it would involve them begging for forgiveness for Andy Townsend’s Tactics Truck, and just Andy Townsend in general.

With airtime now needing to be filled, ITV had the right man in their presenting chair, as all ten of Daybreak’s viewers can testify, Adrian Chiles is an expert at inane chatter and utter bollocks.

You can’t help but imagine what it would have been like if this game was being used as the punchline in a French version of The Likely Lads where they try to avoid the score in a football match that they have recorded.

UEFA’s rules state that any abandoned or postponed match must be replayed the following day. This would have been problematic for England if their match was abandoned or postponed with them due to fly to Krakow after the game, meaning they would all need to find a hotel for the night at short notice.

I’m kind of imagining it being like The Jolly Boy’s Outing episode of Only Fools and Horses where they all split up into different groups to try and find a hotel bed for the night. You could possibly write a sitcom about it. I’m already imagining John Terry in the Trigger role, standing alone, wearing a sombrero and carrying a toy donkey, saying “Alright Dave” everytime he sees James Milner.

England began with a 1-1 draw against France, despite one of their most high profile performers being unfairly banned by UEFA. Not Wayne Rooney, but the England Supporters Band. They were back with avengance against Sweden, managing to do an even worse version of Seven Nation Army than Marcus Collins.

With an hour gone in the Friday night game, Sweden led England 2-1, with the most unlikeliest of names on the scoresheet. Andy Carroll.

With England in trouble and facing elimination, Theo Walcott is brought on off the bench, but Mark Lawrenson was even more unenthused than usual with the change.

“Walcott’s been living off one good performance four years ago” said Mark Lawrenson, living off winning a few trophies with Liverpool in the 1980s

One goal and one assist later, we clearly see why Roy Hodgson is an international manager and Mark Lawrenson isn’t.

The following night, Greece shock Russia 1-0 to go through to the Quarter-Finals. As the Greek players celebrated at the full-time whistle, Mark Bright remarks “That it’s a case of Deja Vu from Euro 2004”

Hmm, Greece beat Portugal, drew with Spain, then lost to Russia in 2004 to reach the Quarter-Finals. In 2012, they drew with Poland, lost to Czech Republic then beat Russia to reach the Quarter-Finals.

It’s not really a case of Deja Vu is it?

The only real Deja Vu with Euro 2004 and Euro 2012 was that Mark Bright as probably talking bollocks in Portugal as well.

In the other game that night, Poland were eliminated with a 1-0 defeat to Czech Republic. In the post-match analysis, the BBC did a live OB with Damien Johnson, at a rather glum fanpark in Gdansk.

When handing over, Gary Lineker remarks “It was …… murder on Gdansk floor”, a joke that was trending on Twitter in reference to Republic of Ireland getting passacred by Spain. It wasn’t funny then, and it wasn’t funny when out of context two days later.

In Lineker’s defence, it is the second best Sophie Ellis-Bextor related football gag after the one about her being found dead at the home of a French footballer. Police said it was ………. Murder On Zidane’s Floor.

That’s the level of shit PUN-ditry you should be aiming for Gary.

Meanwhile, the fate of Group C went right down into injury time, or should that be injurytime.com?

Yes, Mark Bright managed to stoop to a new low towards the end of the Spain-Croatia game by saying “The game is going into the lastminute.com” and a nation collectively screamed FUCKOFF.COM!!! at their TV screeens.

I’m not a fan of product placement, so I won’t be using this blog to plug employment agencies that Mark Bright can use for work seeing as he won’t be commentating on football matches any more.

That match was on BBC 1, with Republic of Ireland v Italy moved to BBC 3 in another sickening act of British opression over Ireland, which somehow passed as a story in the Belfast Telegraph.

This is the last European Championship with 16 teams, as the competition expands to 24 teams from 2016 onwards.

Pundits and journalists have been quick to complain about this, that the quality of the competition will decline, if teams who finish 3rd in their qualifying group reach the finals. They’ve got a point. Just imagine how rubbish Euro 2008 would have been if England were in it.

The most bizarre incident of the tournament came when Niklas Bendnter was banned and fined for exposing his underpants with the brand name of a bookmaker after scoring a goal.

I watched the incident and was shocked at what I saw ……. Niklas Bendtner scored a goal.

On Tuesday, England faced a vital game with Ukraine where they needed to avoid defeat to ensure reaching the Quarter-Finals.

In the first-half, England were struggling and lucky to be drawing 0-0, with Wayne Rooney looking lethargic and off the pace after his suspension.

Early in the second-half, England get the vital goal through Wayne Rooney, looking refreshed and rejuvinated after his enforced break.

This set up a Quarter-Final with Italy. Italy shouldn’t even bother turning up if the pundits are to be believed, as they appear to have taken on the Germany role of being “In decline” with “Their worst ever team”

Quite what Emiliano from Milano, ITV’s star of Week 1 would make of that, is anyone’s guess.

Next week’s Eurobollocks will be fun, focusing on the fallout of Italy’s dramatic 1-0 win with a 93rd minute handball goal from Mario Balotelli, stood in an offside position.

Wonder will ITV’s panel be quick to describe it as “A bit of luck they deserve” and that “These things even themselves out” as they were when briefly discussing Ukraine’s wrongly disallowed goal on Tuesday night?

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 15.6.2012

1. Little Boots – Headphones
2. Ladyhawke – Sunday Drive
3. Coldplay ft Rihanna – Princess Of China
4. Carly Rae Jepsen – Call Me Maybe
5. White Stripes – Seven Nation Army

This Tuesday, it’s Paul McCartney’s 70th birthday. Fab. Groovy. Rad. Know what I mean Maaaaan.

Anyway, the 3rd best Beatles Simpsons guest star and 2nd greatest living Beatle (Thomas The Tank Engine and his Simpsons cameo swing it in Ringo’s favour) deserves a Top five.

Look out next week for an Ash Top Five as they celebrate their 20th anniversary next week. But, until then, here’s a Paul McCartney Top Five

FIVE PAUL McCARTNEY SONGS

1. Song We Were Singing
2. Live And Let Die
3. Maybe I’m Amazed
4. Beautiful Tonight
5. Frog Chorus

EUROBOLLOCKS – WEEK 1

We are now one week into this “Festival of football” which is harder to win than the World Cup, and always guarantees heavyweight clashes in the group stages.

Not only that, it guarantees bullshit punditry. I haven’t watched every game of the competition, but what I have watched hasn’t failed to see me bang my head against the wall at some of the punditry.

In the opening game between Greece and Poland, Mark Bright commented that neither side should provide too much concern to the players of Russia and Czech Republic “Sat in their hotel rooms with their feet up watching this” – Despite the fact that there was less than an hour before kick-off in that game.

As the game meandered to a draw, both commentators spoke about how “The opening games in tournaments are always draws” without any statistical analysis to back it up, suggesting that they were just spouting off cliches as the game entered the stage “When it is all about who wants to win it” and “Both teams will settle for a draw”

During the Poland-Greece game “Sir Chesney” trended on Twitter, in reference to Mark Bright’s pronounciation of Poland’s goalkeeper rather than Chesney Hawkes getting an overdue knighthood. At the end of the game Gary Lineker joked about it. It’s enough to make you want all analysis to be a blank screen with a compilation of tweets appearing on the screen.

The following day was Group B, taking on the role of “The Group Of Death”, though not literally.

BBC’s intro to coverage of Holland v Denmark began with a montage of previous “Groups of Death” which was hopelessly flawed. The montage included England’s Euro 88 group, though possibly because they were shite and lost all three games, and ignored the fact that the other Euro 88 group (Spain, Italy, West Germany, Denmark) was actually tougher.

Other “Groups of Death” ignored were the Euro 92 group with both Euro 88 finalists and the 1990 World Cup winners, and the Euro 2000 group with the Euro 96 finalists competing against the winners of 84, 88 and 92.

If you’re going to do a montage, at least do it right.

The Holland v Denmark game took place in Kharkiv at a stadium, which according to Jonathan Pearce, “Cost 50m Pound Euro to build” – I literally have no fucking idea what that means. Is it some sort of supercurrency he has created?

Denmark ended up getting a surprise 1-0 win, which some commentators seemed to equate with a non-league side winning at Old Trafford in the FA Cup 3rd Round.

Denmark, currently 9th in the FIFA Rankings, have reached the European Championships 7 out of the last 8 times, won it in 1992 and reached the Quarter-Finals as recently as 2004 ……. and yet BBC’s pundits and commentators viewed their win over Holland as a massive shock.

ITV have taken the step of hosting their coverage in the middle of Warsaw, doing their pre-match analysis of Spain v Italy in a cafe. You were kinda hoping the guy in the table behind them would be looking at porn on his laptop. Instead, we got Emiliano from Milano to give his opinions.

When talking about Italy, we are informed that “This is not a great Italian side” and “Italian football in decline” as Italy now appear to take on the Germany role of the footballing giant that pundits lazily declare as in decline with their worst ever team.

Meanwhile, Gordon Strachan’s analysis of Croatia v Republic of Ireland suggested that Republic’s players would be more hungry for this game, having not been in a tournament for ten years, and that Croatia players might be blase at always reaching tournemants. Croatia failed to qualify for the most recent international tournament.

Meanwhile, on Monday night, co-hosts Ukraine beat Sweden 2-1 in a game which, according to Lee Dixon “Had everything – two World Class players on the scoresheet”

Yes, the game that “Had everything” had two players scoring. That was it.

The “Had everything” is of course, a classic Shearerism, and not to be outdone, our hero reeled it out after a timefilling montage of Holland v Germany matches.

According to Shearer, Marco Van Basten “Had everything – pace and power”

Yes, according to Shearer, the player who ‘had everything’ only had two skills, basically running very fast and charging past people.

ITV, based in the centre of Warsaw, quite literally in the thick of the action as Polish and Russian hooligans beat seven bells out of each other nearby meant everytime Gordon Strachan opened his mouth, he was immediately drowned out by police sirens.

Last time there was that number of police sirens blasting out on ITV in the evening was in the glory days of The Bill.

Talking of grudge matches, the BBC weren’t slow in hyping up Holland v Germany. Somehow, nobody told Mark Lawrenson who sounded underwhelmed throughout.

Arjen Robben’s reaction to being subbed brought Lawrenson to life as he managed to fit in a bad pun that doesn’t really work that “There’s no Arjen team” – Geddit?

Amazingly, it got worse, as he morphed into full David Brent mode, proclaiming that TEAM means “Together Everyone Achieves More”

If the match lasted ten minutes longer, he would have started dancing to Disco Inferno and started singing ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’ by Harold Melvin

Mark Lawrenson : Friend first, Entertainer second, probably a Football Commentator third

Talking of bad puns, Tuesday’s Daily Mirror (There was a copy lying about in the cafe I was having my lunch) backpage headline led with “KINGS OF JOLOEN” in reference to England’s draw with France.

I’m just as confused as you are

Talking of bollocks in the written press, today’s Belfast Telegraph led with a story about shameless bandwagon jumper Gary Lightbody being “attacked online” for cheering on the Republic of Ireland in Euro 2012.

The report had no examples of this ‘Abuse’ nor did they quote any of this ‘Abuse’

Typing ‘Gary Lightbody’ and ‘@garysnowpatrol’ into Twitter doesn’t bring up any abuse. Strange that.

It’s almost as if they pre-empted a story which didn’t happen. Pretty fucking pathetic if you ask me.

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 8.6.2012 (AND IT’S A SHAMELESS EURO 2012 SPECIAL)

1. Rawbau – Tejkitize
2. General Fiasco – Rebel Get By
3. Alex Clare – Too Close
4. Ren Harvieu – Open Up Your Arms
5. Coldplay ft Rihanna – Princess Of China

Euro 2012 starts today, and thus, I shall be shamelessly cashing in on this by doing football related charts. We start, with five football related songs

FIVE FOOTBALL RELATED SONGS

1. Dana – Yer Man
2. Manchester United 1994 FA Cup Final Squad – Come On You Reds
3. Glenn and Chris – Diamond Lights
4. Andy Cameron – Ally’s Army
5. Lightning Seeds ft Frank Skinner and David Baddiel – Three Lions

History is full of great football songs, I might as well have, as they say in football, have a subs bench. These musical subs are so good, there isn’t even room for The Anfield Rap. Now that is strength in depth.

FIVE MORE FOOTBALL SONGS

1. Giorgio Chinaghlia – I’m Football Crazy
2. Andy Cole – Outstanding
3. Christina Strumer – Fieber
4. Chas and Dave – Ossie’s Dream
5. James – Goal Goal Goal

A further twist, I thought i’d do a group by group chart from acts from the competing countries. I’m gutted that Moldova didn’t qualify, as I can’t put in Dragostea Din Tei by O-Zone.

Imagine if I did this for Euro 2008, purely with Austria qualifying, I could have had Falco.

With Switzerland also qualifying, I could have used it as a platform to profess my undying love for Celine Dion. She may have been born in Canada, but through representing Switzerland in Eurovision 1988, that would qualify her under FIFA rules.

Group A was a struggle due to the lack of Polish postars I know of, and Greece producing dross like Demis Roussos and Nana Mouskouri, but I got a chart together.

FIVE SONGS FROM EURO 2012 GROUP A COUNTRIES

1. Tatu – All The Things She Said
2. Karel Fialka – Hey Matthew
3. Jan Hammer – Miami Vice Theme
4. Tatu – All About Us
5. Jan Hammer – Crockett’s Theme

If Group A was a struggle for the wrong reasons, Group B was a struggle for all the right reasons. I didn’t even need to use Nelly Furtado as a ringer for Portugal, there was so much musical talent from Denmark, Germany and Holland, or even having to include Van Halen, courtesy of the Dutch born guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM COUNTRIES IN EURO 2012 GROUP B

1. Alphabeat – Boyfriend
2. Shocking Blue – Venus
3. Harold Faltermeyer – Axel F
4. Focus – Slyvia
5. Goombay Dance Band – Seven Tears

Group C was difficult to choose with the musical powerhouse of Republic of Ireland, responsible for the likes of Jedward, Boyzone, Westlife and B*Witched in it, alongside Spain and Italy. Croatia really lets the group down.

Controversy may surround the inclusuion of Electric Dreams, with Sheffield not being in Italy, but Giorgio Moroder is the main name on the song, and Phil Oakey only a credited guest vocalist. Plus, remember the fundamental rule of The Friday Five …….. My chart, my rules.

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM EURO 2012 GROUP C

1. Spagna – Call Me
2. Giorio Moroder ft Phil Oakey – Together In Electric Dreams
3. Samantha Mumba – Always Come Back To Your Love
4. Gala – Freed From Desire
5. Baccara – Yes Sir, I Can Boogie

Group D sees me “Positively discriminate” against England. Nothing against England, but it feels wrong to include the likes of Oasis, Blur, Pulp, James and Ocean Colour Scene on a Europop chart

Ukraine sees me draw a blank, but I did like that woman who won Eurovision for them a few years back by ripping off Wildboys by Duran Duran.

Thankfully, the group is salvaged by pop heavyweights France and Sweden

FIVE SONGS BY ACTS FROM COUNTRIES IN EURO 2012 GROUP D

1. Ace Of Base – The Sign
2. Andreas Johnson – Glorious
3. Daft Punk – Da Funk
4. Emilia – Big Big World
5. Air – Kelly Watch The Stars

And finally, the Olympic Flame came to Northern Ireland this week. So, I thought i’d use this to embrace the pyromaniac within, and do a chart of fire related songs.

FIVE FIRE RELATED SONGS

1. Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start The Fire
2. Midnight Oil – Beds Are Burning’
3. U2 – The Unforgettable Fire
4. Bruce Springsteen – I’m On Fire
5. The Prodigy – Firestarter