LINFIELD 0-0 GLENTORAN 31.8.2013

Not sure what to make of this. Linfield, sitting at the bottom of the league and looking for their first win of the season face Glentoran at Windsor Park.

It was my first visit to Windsor Park in the league this season, and first match since the opening day of the season, the optimism that followed that game now gone after defeats to Cliftonville and Crusaders.

Changes made as a result of those defeats saw a new central defensive partnership of Kyle McVey and Sean Ward. I must admit, I was sceptical of the signing of McVey, but it was an impressive performance from him today, admittedly, he didn’t have much to do.

The first major thing he had to do came after 12 minutes, when Glentoran attacked down the left, he crunched in for a tackle, conceding the throw, but killing the attack and letting Linfield regroup. If ever there was a way to endear yourself to your new fans.

He might not be the best footballer in the world, but he wasn’t signed to beat four players and score.

Sean Ward played well today, passing the ball around well.

The main talking point of the first-half came after 30 minutes when Aaron Burns was sent-off for an off the ball incident with Ryan O’Neill. I didn’t actually see the incident, but I did catch a tussle between the two in the corner of my eye not long before.

It doesn’t matter who started it, Burns was stupid for putting himself in that situation, and putting his team up against it. He was especially missed as players were having to go wide to cover for him, leaving them not able to get into other positions.

However, in the rest of the first-half, it was Linfield who had the better of the chances and possession, despite being down to ten men.

At half-time, there was a worry that Linfield’s best chance had gone, and that Glentoran would come out stronger in the second-half. That wasn’t the case as Linfield maintained their control of the game.

The biggest annoyance today was the poor use of subs by Linfield, with only one tactical switch, and the other sub being a defender being brought on for a defender, due to injury.

The second-half, especially the later stages, were calling out for Brian McCaul or James Knowles to be introduced.

Most of Linfield’s play came down their right. It got to the point that Jason Hill got sent-off for hauling down Jamie Mulgrew when trying to defend that position. Despite all the posession, no clear cut chances were created ……. until the 89th minute, when Niall Quinn was through on goal, but hit the side netting.

And that, was that. We’ll play worse and win. There’s no point being positive about the performance if results aren’t matching. The next month’s fixtures can be best described as generous, and must be taken advantage of, especially as we are already 7 points behind Cliftonville (And the “notorious slow starters” cliche is a myth and mustn’t be used as an excuse)

We let them get too far ahead last season and never even challenged. Any title chances this season are dependent on that lead being whittled down as soon as possible. Today was a chance for that to happen.

Last night’s result at Solitude was good, and not for the obvious reason. If Cliftonville had got into a 4/5/6/7 game winning start, it could have led to teams being beaten in the tunnel. Portadown proved that they can be beaten.

Anyway, two big games this week. With the league table resembling a traffic jam, 6 points will have a brighter outlook for Linfield.

I’m most looking to Ards away next Saturday, as i’ve never been to Dixon Park. Hopefully, the next entry will have Linfield climbing up the table, the day after Northern Ireland beat Portugal.

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SUEDE – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE (BELSONIC) 24.8.2013

I was at my one and only Belsonic gig this year last night, and what a gig, as Suede rolled into Belfast.

I’ve never seen Suede before. The closest I got was entering a competition for a free concert they did at Mandela Hall in 2002.

This wasn’t a band milking the nostalgia bandwagon, Suede are back with a fantastic new album, but of course, all their big hits were on the setlist.

I found it interesting to note that around me, there appeared to be a lot of people not from Northern Ireland, who had travelled over for Suede, determined to make the most of this reunion.

Brett Anderson strutted around the stage like a man determined to make up for lost time, energetically jumping on speakers, jumping around the stage, even trying to jump into the crowd, though not going to the Tim Booth level.

Due to a late start and the 11pm curfew, the encore was reduced to only one song, Trash. Suede, were anything but.

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JAMES – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE (BELSONIC) 24.8.2013

After a 22 year absence, James were back in Belfast, and it was well worth the wait.

When this gig was announced, I was already excited about seeing Suede, but adding James to the bill a few weeks later made me even more so.

It was my third time seeing James, and they’d been fantastic both times. My only concern about this gig was that it might not have been as good due to the fact they weren’t headlining, playing to “Their crowd” and doing their usual 2 hour show. How wrong I was.

One thing about James concerts is, you don’t usually know what is happening.

They didn’t even make that grand of an entrance. Seconds after road crew finished their soundcheck, they just strolled on stage, playing a bluesy acoustic guitar riff. It took a while for the crowd to realise it was them, and not the road crew continuing their soundcheck, as they burst into Johnny Yen.

Tim Booth, was in his trademark baggy trousers and hat, and also a Green and Navy tartan shirt. Within a couple of songs his hat and coat were off.

It wouldn’t be a James concert without Tim Booth’s “Dad dancing” and it was there for all to see.

Hits such as Sit Down and Laid were played, but it was disappointing not to hear Destiny Calling or She’s A Star.

Highlight of the night was when Tim Booth jumped into the crowd, and continued to sing, as fans ran to get a touch of their hero.

Security were bemused and worried by this. Obviously, they had never seen a James gig before, as he tends to do that sort of thing.

During the set, Booth acknowledged the 22 year gap between Belfast gigs. Hopefully, it won’t be so long before James return.

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James Live In Glasgow 2013

James Live In Glasgow 2013 Photo Album

James Live In Sheffield 2010

James Live In Sheffield 2010 Photo Album

RUNAWAY GO – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE (BELSONIC) 24.8.2013

Was at Custom House Square this weekend for Belsonic. One of the bands appearing on the Saturday bill was local act Runaway Go.

It was my third time seeing them, having previously seen them supporting Silhouette in June, and performing at Arthur’s Day last September.

They’re rather good.

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Runaway Go Live At Stiff Kitten Photo album

Runaway Go Live At Lavery’s Photo Album

EDINBLOG 2013

As per usual in August, I headed to Edinburgh for the festival. It was quite later in the month than my recent visits. From my experience, it’s usually best to visit during the middle of the month, but in truth, there’s never a bad time to visit.

It was a double milestone for me, 10 years since my first visit (albeit, I was working) and my 5th proper visit overall.

It was an early start for me due to the early morning flight, but the advantages of it were that I got to the ticket office early.

It might sound sad, but it’s best to get a copy of the programme before you go and plan what you want to see day by day, and make it so much easier when you go to get tickets.

You can book online in advance, but I prefer to purchase when I arrive. For some of the bigger acts, it’s harder to get a ticket at such short notice, but you mostly get at least 90% of what you want.

Tickets purchased, I checked in, and headed out in the city. Comedy, however, was parked for the moment, as I headed to Easter Road to see Hibs take on Dundee United. It wasn’t the best of games, which is unsurprising considering it was a meeting of two struggling sides, though it did liven up after a double red card.

After that, I had a bit of spare time, before heading to the Book Festival and was pleasantly surprised to pick up a last minute ticket for John Taylor (Yes, John Taylor of Duran Duran) reading excerps of his autobiography, In The Pleasure Groove.

Taylor didn’t really need to do much to win the crowd over, they were hanging on his every word, speaking about his teenage obsession with his favourite bands, most notably Roxy Music, then becoming obsessed with Sex Pistols, speaking of his pain about having to put up with Nick Rhodes reminding him at least once a month that he saw Sex Pistols live in concert, while Taylor didn’t.

When it came to the Q and A section, there were people who could barely speak, such was their excitement of getting to speak to their idol. He didn’t quite confirm it, but he didn’t deny it when pressed on rumours of a Duran Duran tour in the summer of 2014.

My first full day, Sunday, saw me head towards Guilded Balloon to see Grainne Maguire do a show about a TV guilty pleasure …….. Election Night.

After 2010 UK General Election, 2011 Stormont Elections and 2012 US Elections, I was a wee bit electioned out, but to be honest, I wouldn’t mind another election soon.

Her stage was set up on a political theme, complete with a swingometer, and pictures of political broadcasters such as David Dimbleby and Jeremy Paxman, with a beard topically drawn in with permanent marker.

After comparing it to “Eurovision for Politics Nerds”, she observed that life situations are just one big election, bemoaning that she is yet to win the seat she wants …….. Favourite Maguire Child.

From from one G, it was to three G’s for The Ginge The Geordie The Geek at Just The Tonic. I’d seen them advertised on my past visits and heard good reviews but had only now decided to take a chance on them. It was well worth it.

It was a simple formula, quick sketches with a range of humour from the surreal to the sick, such as a police horse facing a disciplinary panel. Best sketch was when they audition as dancers, and when told to finish and go home, interpret them as dance instructions and do hand gestures based on it.

For my Sunday evening show, i’d originally planned to see Andrew Maxwell, but decided to see David O’Doherty as his Saturday show was sold out.

I’d previously seen Maxwell in May, though it was a very Northern Ireland specific show, I knew if I did go to see him in Edinburgh, it would have been a different show.

It’s the law that you have to see David O’Doherty when in Edinburgh and he didn’t disappoint, commenting on all that is wrong with the world, having seen the two things he believes in, church and state, let him down, consoling himself with the fact he still had Professional Cycling.

From there, I went to see Marcus Brigstocke at Assembley, where I spotted Clive Anderson queueing up to see him. I was trying to stifle the laughter, as all I could think of was the Brass Eye sketch of him and Noel Edmonds.

Brigstocke was a largely autobiographical show, the highlight of which was where he tried and failed to try out new material when in the doctor’s, even though the doctor declared he was a fan.

Monday morning began with MacAulay and Co, BBC Scotland’s mid morning show. It was filled with guests from the festival, giving a showcase to acts you might not have heard of.

The downside of buying tickets when you arrive, is that you don’t have much room for manoeuvre if you change your mind and want to see something different.

From there, I dashed to Assembley Rooms to see David Schneider discuss if the internet is making people more stupider. It was essential just a Best Of Lamebook show, but it was still enjoyable, as Schneider observed that Twitter is essentially cute pictures of animals, and pictures of things/people that look like Hitler.

After a bit of lunch, it was Pleasance for the rest of the day, seeing Gyles Brandreth discuss the persuit of happiness, and noting his unhappiness at seeing a personalised copy of a book he wrote appearing in a second hand shop days after giving it as a gift.

From there, it was Newsrevue, a musical satire about the news, sometimes straying into dodgy ground, but still being funny.

Later in the evening, I saw Tom Rosenthal, star of Friday Night Dinner and son of ITV’s Jim, with a tale of trying to blend into Bulgarian culture when spending time in the country filming. He managed to slip in puns and punchlines subconsciously without lingering on them too much.

It was enjoyable enough, without being laugh a minute.

Next, was The Boy With Tape On His Face. Brilliantly funny last year, and the same this year, though if I was to see it for a third time, might be too much.

Tuesday morning was spent at a Podcast hosted by Shaun Keaveney. He does better bouncing off people than performing solo, his guest that day was John Lloyd, creator of QI and Blackadder.

From there, I went to see Football Manager Ruined My Life, an amusing enough tale of becoming addicted to the video game, with the jokes making sense if you’ve ever played the game

Next, was a play, A Complete History Of The BBC, being set in a shed where a BBC enthusiast called Terence, who is currently trying to create a BBC museum, one of the articles is the tub of Lard which replaced Roy Hattersley on Have I Got News For You.

The highlight of it is the exchanges between Terence and his wife Ingrid, who doesn’t quite share his passion for the BBC, and makes the mistake of suggesting that Doctor Who is a kids show.

Tuesday night, was Jason Byrne, with an autobiographical show (seemingly a theme this year) the highlight of which was the awkwardness when his dad accidentally slept on a packet of Rolos, causing much panic from his mum.

Wednesday morning was spent at MacAulay and Co before going to see When I Grow Up by Juliette Burton, a tale of trying to live out childhood fantasies of the jobs she wanted when she was younger, and finding they weren’t quite as she hoped. Though, there was a happy(ish) ending.

There was a bit of a gap before my next show (I went to see Alpha Papa in the cinema in the afternoon) that night of Kunt and the Gang, which as the name suggests, isn’t exactly family entertainment.

Never mind sailing close to the wind, he sailed into the wind. Not for the easily offended, which, thankfully, I am not.

Thursday morning was spent at Shaun Keavaney’s Pleasance Podcast, which was marred having Nick Helm as a guest, as most of the exchanges were excruciatingly awful. Thankfully, the next guest, Johnnie Walker, was a lot more entertaining.

Then, it was time for Amnesty’s Secret Podcast. Not awful, but not brilliant.

Thursday night, was spent in the EICC watching Jason Manford’s show, First World Problems discussing, well, the little things that annoy us.

The highlight of which, was Manford chasing after a man who headed to the toilet during the last joke, dragging him to his seat and insisting he stays there for the joke.

Next up, was Ed Byrne, with (another) autobiographical show looking at life now that he has just turned 40. It was an enjoyable night and an enjoyable end to an enjoyable week in a city that always raises a laugh.

Edinblog 2012

Edinblog 2011

Edinblog 2010

Edinblog 2009

THE EDINBURGH CELEB SPOTTING BLOG 2013

When in Edinburgh in August, you can usually be guaranteed to see some recognisable faces from the world of panel shows and list shows.

So here, is a list of those I saw. Some of whom have appeared in the past.

Saturday 17th August

Andrew Maxwell walking along Albion Road, wearing a Hibs top with “MAXWELL 6” on the back.

Sunday 18th August

Clive Anderson at Assembley queueing up for Marcus Brigstocke

Monday 19th August

Tim Vine signing autographs for fans at Pleasance Courtyard.

Ian Darke at Pleasance Courtyard queueing up for Tom Rosenthal.

Tuesday 20th August

Al Murray walking outside Underbelly

Thursday 22nd August

Dara O’Briain checking his mobile phone, walking along Marshall Square

2011 Celeb Spotting Blog

2012 Celeb Spotting Blog

EDINBURGH STREET ART

While in Edinburgh, I spotted some Street Art.

Apologies that I don’t know the name of the street, but it’s as you walk from Royal Mile to Holyrood, it’s a street that turns left to lead you onto Waverley Station.

It appears to be a council promoted scheme to cover up boardings, especially as there were people openly spray painting just after 5pm on a Saturday.

Apologies for the poor quality of photos.

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HIBERNIAN 1-1 DUNDEE UNITED 17.8.2013

Was in Edinburgh last weekend, mostly for the festival, but while i’m there, I like to take in a match of whatever team is at home that weekend.

In 2011, I got two games at Tynecastle. Last year, I got two games at Easter Road. Logically, I was expecting a game at Tynecastle, but the SPL fixture computer sent me to Easter Road. However, it did give me a gift in the form of Dundee United.

You may remember me blogging a month ago about the UEFA 100 Club, well, Dundee United are a part of that and are now on my list at number 30. Ironically, I counted back, and it appears Celtic at Easter Road in 2009 was number 20.

There are more than two teams in Edinburgh though, and I was hoping this game would be a Sunday, so I could go and watch The Spartans on the Saturday. Maybe next year.

By now, I know the route to the stadium and arrive just after 2pm and got a ticket no problem, had a wee look in the programme shop on Albion Road, then headed into the ground.

Both teams went into the game without a win or a goal between them (Dundee United did, though, have a point) and it was clear to see why, as both teams laboured without looking like scoring.

Dundee United then got on top, but were still wasteful. Eventually they scored, a very simple goal. Long ball over the top, one touch control and slotted past the Hibs keeper.

Despite United’s wastefulness in attacking positions, there was still an inevitability about the goal. United stayed on top for the rest of the first-half but didn’t get a second goal, which would come back to haunt them.

Hibs fans were restless and not liking what they saw, booing at half-time. They even groaned at the choice of sponsor’s man of the match.

Hibs came out for the second-half and started brightly, but still didn’t look like scoring.

The incident that changed the game came from a double red card as Kevin Thompson of Hibs clashed with Dundee United’s Gavin Gunning.

It was at the end where I was sat, but I was following the ball, but I did see them square up to each other. The referee obviously saw more than me, and what he saw was deemed worthy of a double red card.

Suddenly, all the Hibs support became unified in what they saw as an injustice for their played. Hibs piled on the pressure and got the reward when Scott Robertson fired in a long range shot.

Hibs then believed they were going to win, but had to settle for a draw, and will hope that Robertson’s goal can give them momentum for the rest of the season.

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