Last Thursday, I was at Lavery’s for the now annual Arthur’s Day marketing stunt celebration.

The event gets a lot of flack for being a marketing event for a beer, which it is, but nobody is forced to attend, and most people attending don’t really care for Arthur Guinness, they just want to see some bands they like.

I attended last year after winning tickets for a concert at Ulster Hall. This year, it was a different set up, with the gigs being free (tickets distributed via lottery) and people turn up not knowing who the headliner is.

Unfortunately, Social Media means that people know who the headliner is as word spreads around. The headliner for Lavery’s was Professor Green (I was hoping for Amy MacDonald, Ellie Goulding or Mika)

Didn’t bother staying for Prof Green (as all the young uns call him) but I enjoyed the two support acts, The Milk and Runaway Go.

Got a decent position and some ok shots. Enjoy

The Milk

Runaway Go

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 28.9.2012

1. Wonder Villains – TV
2. Paloma Faith – Never Tear Us Apart
3. Madness – My Girl II
4. Of Monsters And Men – Little Talks
5. Ellie Goulding – Anything Could Happen

On Tuesday, is the 17th anniversary of the release of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? by Oasis. Having commemorated Oasis 1st and 3rd albums, it’s only fair to do a Top Five of this.


1. Cast No Shadow
2. Hey You
3. Champagne Supernova
4. Don’t Look Back In Anger
5. Some Might Say

This Tuesday is also Phil Oakey’s birthday (He’ll be 57, since you ask)

The only reason I remember this is because it is mentioned in the mini biography of Human League at the start of their entry in the 1999 edition of the Guinness Book Of British Hit Singles, a book I have read many times over.

For some reason, that little statistic has just lodged in my brain ever since.

So, in celebration of this, here’s a Phil Oakey Top Five


1. Giorgio Moroder ft Phil Oakey – Together In Electric Dreams
2. Human League – Don’t You Want Me
3. Human League – Tell Me When
4. Human League – Mirror Man
5. Human League – Human


Having blogged about Belfast Culture Night, I commented that during the evening, various Street Art was being painted as part of the evening’s festivities in the Garfield Street area of the city.

So, as promised, here’s some photographs of the final results (I took them yesterday rather than Friday so I could have daylight to work with)

Garfield Street has, for a while, hosted Street Art which gets refreshed every few months and has been reported on this blog before.

Further down before you reach Garfield Street are shutters and abandoned shops which have had a lick of paint on them.

Great to see, some fantastic image.


Photo Album



Linfield’s battle against relegation received a boost today with a last gasp win against Glenavon at Mourneview Park today.

The cliche “A game of two halves” gets said quite a lot. This match was the personification of this cliche.

Two minutes in, it was a case of same old story as Glenavon managed to split Linfield’s defence with one pass. It wasn’t even a great pass either.

To concede a goal at any time in a game was bad enough, but two minutes in is just unforgivable.

The rest of the first-half was Linfield having possession and crosses but doing nothing with it. Having forced an excellent save out of Alan Blayney, Gary Hamilton put Glenavon 2-0 up.

It was a first-half straight from the winter of 2009, the drive back to Belfast seemed so tempting at 3.45pm as it looked like Linfield’s annual dodgy result against Glenavon was coming today.

There wasn’t really much at the start of the second-half to suggest that a comeback was on. Albert Watson made it 2-1 just after the hour, but there wasn’t much of a kick on.

Even after Daryl Fordyce made it 2-2, there wasn’t much of a kick-on until the last five minutes when more and more pressure, but with no reward until Fordyce scored to win it in stoppage time.

Mourneview Park is one of the more friendly grounds in the Irish League for amateur photography, and managed to get some nice shots, but none of the goal celebrations as the players didn’t run to where I was based (behind the goal Linfield attacked in the second-half)

Got to love the justice of a team who constantly timewaste conceding a winner in injury time. Not the first time in the Irish League to kill a game against Linfield due to timewasting this season. Sadly, they all seem to get away with it due to weak refereeing.

A 4th successive game conceding 2 goals should ring alarm bells. It should? Right?

Photo Album


Last night was one of the highlights of the year for me, and judging by the crowds, a lot of others, as Culture Night 2012 hit the city.

It was my third such event, having attended in 2010 at the Stormont Teacup event (a sort of comedy Q and A of MLAs hosted by Marie Louise Muir)

Basically, it’s something for everyone with all sorts of events and street performances in the city centre, mostly around (but not exclusively in) the Cathedral Quarter.

I headed down at about 7pm and headed for Cathedral Quarter, taking in a bit of Oh Yeah Centre.

Two of the most brilliantly random acts were based in Rosemary Street, ‘Street Countdown’, based on a scene from The IT Crowd, which, as the name suggests, is a street form of the TV show Countdown.

Just yards away, was a series of wrestling bouts organised by PWU (Pro Wrestling Ulster)

While I was there, a drunk guy invaded the ring. The audience thought this was part of the show. They knew it wasn’t when three wrestlers jumped in to evict him.

Even managed to spot UTV’s Colm McAlinden observing the wrestling. Hopefully, he didn’t end up like the last UTV reporter to meet a wrestler

Also managed to spot Terri Hooley chatting to someone on Royal Avenue. In 2010, he wasn’t on the bill, but managed to draw a crowd in Hill Street by talking about his life and career.

Managed to enjoy some of the live bands perform at various places, inside and out. They even managed to attract a superstar in the shape of Willie Drennan.

There was also some fantastic street art created especially for this event which i’m hoping to get pictures of when I get a chance to get some daytime shots. Keep an eye out for that.

Photo Album


Regular and long-term readers will know that I have a lifestyle ethos of sorts. It’s called ‘Something To Look Forward To Every Month’ ….. or STLFTEM for short.

It’s quite self explanatory really. Each month, I need at least one thing to look forward to. It can be anything, but I have to do or see something in person. Events watched on TV don’t count.

The rules of this are at my discretion. There can be more than one STLFTEM per month. Some months are a real struggle, but i’ve (just about) managed to have an unbroken run since July 2009.

The first one this year, was unsurprisingly, in January. I went to see Roy Walker live as part of the Out To Lunch Festival (the winter version of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival)

It was a mostly retrospective show, looking back at his career in showbusiness and doing a ‘Greatest Hits’, telling stories of some of the performers he’s worked with, recalling one story of going to dinner with Charlie Williams

He was told by a waiter “Sorry, we don’t serve black men” to which he replied “It’s ok, I don’t eat black men”

The event ended on a sad note when he commented on the health of Frank Carson, that “He didn’t have long left”, and so it sadly proved the following month.

February was a very exciting month, lots of travelling though.

As my birthday falls in February, the last three years I have travelled away for the first weekend for a short break.

This year, I went to Amsterdam for a weekend. It was enjoyable. It would have been more enjoyable if it wasn’t freezing.

The weekend I was there it was snowing, so I took the opportunity to get photos, seeing as there was no snow in Belfast the past winter.

On the Saturday, I went to Rotterdam for a day. It’s a nice enough city. While there, I took in a game. It wasn’t Feyenoord (though I did visit their stadium with some spare time I had) but little known Excelsior Rotterdam, struggling at the bottom of the Eredivise.

I contacted the club and they sorted me out with a ticket no problem (I saw people paying in, so I probably could have got one on the day) and I watched the start of the game against VVV Venlo in the Robin Van Persie stand, named after a player from the local area who began his career with their youth teams, before moving to Feyenoord, then Arsenal.

The clubs bar (I went in their pre-match and half-time for heat rather than refreshment) had pictures of him on the wall. Little did I know then, that just over six months later, Robin Van Persie would be playing for Manchester United.

Incidentally, the day I visited Woudestein, he scored a hat-trick (for Arsenal against Blackburn)

If you’re reading this Robin, and believe in omens, feel free for me to pay to travel to Rotterdam every weekend.

Absolutely loved the game, Excelsior won 3-1, but unfortunately were unable to avoid relegation. The following day, I visited Amsterdam Arena to see Ajax lose 2-0 to FC Utrecht.

I saw Ajax again later in the month as they visited Old Trafford for a UEFA Cup tie against Manchester United.

I’d planned to travel over for United’s post christmas game. I’d hoped it would be in the European Cup, but a UEFA Cup tie made it handier for booking leave (Work from Monday to Wednesday, then off for a four day weekend)

United lost 2-1, the first time I witnessed a United defeat at Old Trafford in person (40+ visits) but went through 3-2 on aggregate.

On my flight there and back, Tommy Breslin, Oran Kearney and Scott Young were fellow passengers.

The previous Thursday, I was at The Odyssey for Noel Gallagher in concert. Absoultely fantastic.

March was a quiet month with not a lot happening. It was a struggle to get a STLFTEM, but I decided to attend the opening of T13, in the Titanic Quarter.

My original STLFTEM for March was Linfield’s Irish Cup Semi-Final, but it was postponed, and became my STLFTEM for April.

A lovely sunny day, Linfield winning 7-0, and I managed to get some nice shots of the game and stadium. Win all round.

May’s STLFTEM was two football matches, both at Windsor Park, which both ended 4-1.

The first was the Irish Cup Final. Linfield supporters not much younger than me are spoilt and think this is an annual event. The day I turned 18, Linfield had only won the Irish Cup twice in my lifetime, so I make the most of Cup Final Day.

The next game was the Harry Gregg Testimonial between Manchester United and an Irish League XI. It was a full United team (barring injured players) and it wasn’t an embarrassing result for the Irish League XI, so it was a good result all round.

In March, I won a competition to win free flights, so I put that to good use for June’s STLFTEM. From the choice I had, it was mostly ‘Sunshine breaks’ (I prefer city breaks rather than lazing on the beach) and UK cities. There was nothing on in London that interested me (the prize had to be taken by the end of June) or Birmingham, so I went for the lazy option and chose Amsterdam, where Northern Ireland played Holland.

The less said about the football, the better, but the city was again fantastic, I went to see the parts of the city I didn’t see on my first trip, and I had better weather than when I visited in February.

Not a fan of taking part in rioting, July’s STLFTEM was another July tradition, Linfield in Europe.

August’s STLFTEM was my annual trip to the Edinburgh Fringe. I had second thoughts with this being my 4th succesive year visiting. I couldn’t have been more wrong, I loved it and saw new acts I hadn’t seen and acts I hadn’t seen in a while.

Upon my return, three Belsonic concerts, including seeing Madness for the first time. I can’t believe I waited so long to see Madness live.

September started with a visit to The Oval. We drew, and scored a goal. Already, an improvement on last season’s results.

The following week, I saw The View play live, a virtual free gig as I bought the ticket using a Ticketmaster voucher I got for my birthday.

The following midweek, I went to see Northern Ireland play Luxembourg. The less said about this, the better.

Tomorrow, of course, is Belfast Culture Night, which i’ve attended the last two years and enjoyed.

Four STLFTEMs this month. Nice going.

For October, I shall be going to see Norman Whiteside do a talk as part of Belfast Festival. I’ve only got a copy of the programme today, so haven’t looked through it fully. From browsing online, i’d suggest David O’Doherty and Sarfraz Manzoor (saw them both in Edinburgh)

Very tempted to get a second helping of David O’Doherty. I urge you to go and see him live, especially if you love surreal comedy.

In November, i’ll be making my first trip of the season to Old Trafford for the game against QPR. While in Manchester, i’ll be looking forward to visiting the newly reopened National Football Museum. I was at the old one at Preston in 2006, and loved it, wish I had more time to spend at it.

For December, i’ll be taking in my annual one Ulster European game a season against Northampton. The match kicks off at 6pm on a Saturday of a Linfield home game. I see a double header developing.

I’m already looking to 2013. I haven’t booked anything, but i’m looking at a weekend in London in February (Never been ‘properly’ to London, just a trip to Wembley and flew there en route to Brighton. Want to see the city properly) and going to United v Reading over St Patrick’s weekend (will be off work on the Monday)

I shall be looking to visit Scotland twice in 2013. In August, it shall be Edinburgh again, but Rangers have promised Linfield a friendly at Ibrox in 2013.

I’ve never been to Ibrox, and haven’t been to Glasgow since 2008, so i’ll be looking forward to this when it gets confirmed.

Somehow, i’ve managed to get a full set of STLFTEM for 2012.

So, anybody got anything exciting I could do or see in January 2013?


We’re not Brazil, we’re Northern Ireland ….. but that’s where we want to be. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that will be happening.

After opening day defeat in Russia, a win was essential, it didn’t come, it should have come. A lesson learnt. The lesson being, learn how to finish, and learn how to finish teams off when you are in control.

Realistically, Portugal and Russia are fighting for qualification. The fact that they are both five points clear after two games shows how superior they are in relation to the rest of the group.

These are the sort of games we need to be winning if we are to get a good seeding for the newly expanded Euro 2016.

Was pleased for Dean Shiels to score his first international goal. When I was 11 (and he was 9) we were both in a holiday club at a resort in Majorca (the sort that parents send their kids to in order to get rid of them during the day so they can sunbathe) so i’ve always had an interest in his career.

Anyway, time to put it behind us and worry about Portugal. They might have Ronaldo, but we have Kyle Lafferty.

Got a seat in The Kop which was OK for phototaking. Standard Windsor Park phototaking arrangments. Was sat beside some QPR fans with London accents (as opposed to local based QPR fans) so I assume they were over for the Alan McDonald Tribute game the previous night and decided to take in another game while they were here.

Photo Album







Was at Shamrock Park today to see Linfield’s battle against relegation get a boost with three points against Portadown following defeat at home to Crusaders on Tuesday night.

With the score at 1-1 after 80 minutes, 4-2 wasn’t a scoreline I saw coming.

A Belfast Telegraph article in the build-up to Tuesday’s game suggested that “Linfield were relying on some unlikely scorers this season” purely on the basis of Billy Joe Burns scoring at The Oval last Saturday (a defender, yes, but that day playing in an advanced midfield role) which could easily be disputed, but today, that was not the case.

It’s not that Winky Murphy is an unlikely scorer, it’s just, you know …….. a hat-trick?

Well, sort of. He was credited with the first goal but admitted on Radio Ulster it didn’t touch him.

Unaware of this, I stood watching Linfield set up a corner thinking that a third Murphy goal was inevitable. It was one of those days.

As well as Linfield scoring three times from set pieces (even getting three corners past the first man is usually a cause for celebration) there was more strange goings on as the referee got an assist for Linfield’s third goal.

Usual phototaking at Portadown, good position for when Linfield attack the Armagh Road Stand. Unfortunately, Winky Murphy ran to the other end of the stand from where I was when celebrating his second-half goals.

Despite that, I got some good shots.


Photo Album