NORTH STREET (AND SURROUNDING AREAS) ART – SEPTEMBER 2015, PART 2

Mopping up from last week, I headed to North Street, Donegall Street and Joy’s Entry to get photos of some of the Street Art as part of Culture Night that was still being finished last week.

I also headed to City Quays Walk to have a look at some Street Art that was also painted as part of Culture Night.

There is plenty of room in City Quays Walk for more Street Art, so i’ll be keeping an eye on that over the coming months to see if there are any new additions.

Photo Album

City Quays Walk Street Art Photo Album

See Also

North Street (And Surrounding Areas) Art Part 1

North Street Art September 2015 Photo Album

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LINFIELD 4-3 GLENAVON 26.9.2015

There are very few certainties in football, but one of two things were certain to happen at Windsor Park.

One was that a Glenavon side struggling to recreate their form of the end of last season that saw them secure 3rd place, kicking off nine points behind Linfield would recreate it today and put a dent in Linfield’s title challenge.

The other, was that the game would be decided by someone playing against their former club.

The more pessimistic Linfield supporters feared it would be Johnny Tuffey or Kris Lindsay, while the more optimistic hoped it would be Guy Bates or Mark Haughey.

Glenavon had the recent form in meetings between the two sides, winning three of the four games last season, including both away games against Linfield.

Only one of those games was at Windsor Park, on a lovely sunny day in late September, just like today, with Glenavon hoping to repeat their 1-0 win 53 weeks previously.

Linfield made a good start to the game, but it was Glenavon who had the first shot on goal, when a Kevin Braniff shot was well saved by Ross Glendinning, before Rhys Marshall and Mark Haughey exchanged headers over the bar from set pieces, while Linfield’s first attacking moment of note came when Kirk Millar’s run and shot was well saved by Tuffey.

Also having a run and shot for Linfield was Guy Bates, who like Millar, saw it well saved by Tuffey.

It was Glenavon though, who scored first, when Kyle Neill scored directly from a corner.

It came at a period when Glenavon had a couple of set pieces which troubled Linfield, especially in the six yard box, which causes Ross Glendinning problems by being too crowded.

Despite going 1-0 down, there was no need for Linfield to panic. If they kept doing what they were doing in the final third, eventually, it would come right.

In the final stages of the first-half, the equaliser came, from a counter attack after Glendinning caught a corner, and rolled a pass to Kirk Millar, as if he was having a leisurely afternoon on the Bowling Green, whose short pass to Sean Ward allowed him to run at Glenavon’s defence to play in Andrew Waterworth to fire hom and make it 1-1.

When he was played in, there was no doubt that the ball was going to end up in the back of the net.

Soon after, Waterworth made a similar run and was played in, but his finish was disallowed for offside. He looked onside from where I was sat. David Kee was clearly offside, though not involved in play when the ball was played, which could have caused some confusion.

There would have been no cause to panic if Linfield had went in at half-time 1-0 down, but getting the equaliser meant they would be starting afresh in the second-half, and have a platform to build on.

And build on, Linfield did, with two quickfire goals from Millar and Waterworth.

Both goals came down the left. Niall Quinn broke down the left and played a pass across the six yard box. Kirk Millar couldn’t miss, and he didn’t.

Five minutes later, it was Matthew Clarke’s turn to set up a goal when Bates played him in and his cross was finished by Waterworth.

Just when it looked like Linfield were getting comfortable, Glenavon pulled one back when a Kevin Braniff shot was cleared off the line, but fell to Kris Lindsay, who couldn’t miss.

Lindsay was sent-off when Glenavon won at Windsor Park last season, and was hoping to have a more enjoyable afternoon this time around.

After that, Glenavon took control of the game. It was echoes of the 3-2 win against Ballymena at home in early October last season. 1-0 down, 3-1 up, then pegged back to 3-2 and nervously hanging on.

Despite the introduction of Ivan Sproule for an inured Niall Quinn, Linfield went defensive and were playing for a 3-2 win, further backed up by the introduction of Stephen Lowry for Guy Bates as Linfield went 4-5-1, when Lowry for Mulgrew seemed the most logical substitution.

This time last year, Clucas for Morrow was the default late substitution.

With ten minutes to go, Glenavon got a deserved equaliser when Eoin Bradley fired home in the penalty area.

Playing for a 3-2 win was always a dangerous tactic. All it needed was one bounce to fall to a Glenavon player, and so it proved when the ball fell to Bradley.

From that point, there was only going to be one winner, and unfortunately, that was Glenavon.

Soon after, Bradley had the chance to complete Glenavon’s comeback when a bad backpass played him through, but he scooped the ball over. He should have scored. He didn’t even need to shoot, he could have played in Gary Hamilton to fired into an open net.

The let-off seemed to give Linfield the push to have one last charge at Glenavon’s goal.

Ivan Sproule was able to break into the box, and his cross was put out for a corner. From the resulting corner, Mark Haughey headed home to make it 4-3.

It was Haughey’s 6th goal for Linfield, 4 have come against Warrenpoint and 2 have come against Glenavon.

Stephen Lowry thought he was going to make it 5-3, but his shot was well saved by Tuffey’s legs.

Linfield weren’t able to put the game to bed though. Jimmy Callacher came on for Kirk Millar for his first appearance of the season.

If Linfield had held on when 3-1 up, he could have been brought on much earlier in more relaxing circumstances.

What formation Linfield were playing was anyone’s guess. It was all about keeping the ball away from their goal. They weren’t helping themselves by giving the ball away cheaply. It is possible to defend a lead without putting loads of defenders on the pitch. A worrying tactic that could come back to haunt us in another game.

There was still one final chance for Glenavon when James Singleton burst through and saw his shot saved, and then he fired the rebound over.

Ivan Sproule tried to take the ball to safety, but was superbly dispossessed by a Rhys Marshall tackle, whose resulting run was thwarted by a Linfield player getting his body in the way.

Glenavon appealed for a penalty, it was never going to be given.

The final whistle blew from the resulting goal kick, as Linfield got the win, especially vital as Crusaders and Cliftonville both got wins in games they were expected to win.

Despite the win, Warren Feeney looked unhappy as he walked towards the dressing room.

It is Cliftonville who provide the opposition next week. Too many times in recent years, Linfield have faced Cliftonville with a chance to extend their lead at the top of the table, and only managed to let Cliftonville reduced the lead or overtake them.

The next two games against Cliftonville and Glentoran will see them reach the point where everybody will have played each other once.

If Linfield can come out of those games unscathed, it will be a great platform to build on, especially as the next three games (Warrenpoint, Carrick, Dungannon) are quite generous leading into the home game against Crusaders in early November.

In two weeks time, hopefully we’ll be able to say that Warren Feeney’s Linfield have made as much progress as the redevelopment work on the South Stand, which has had over 1,000 extra tickets for the Northern Ireland v Greece game made available.

Until then, a trip to Solitude, and what feels like an endless wait for a bus.

Hopefully, for once, it will be worth it.

Photo Album

NORTH STREET (AND SURROUNDING AREA) ART – SEPTEMBER 2015

As much a tradition as Culture Night, is the aftermath of it, most notably, checking out the final result of the Street Art that gets painted on the night.

I headed over to Garfield Street to have a look, as well as North Street, and the upper end of North Street, as well as Donegall Street where Irish News is based, and then round to where Sunflower Bar is.

There were still some final touches being made to some pieces around Donegall Street, and there were bottle bins blocking any good photos of the piece at the back of Black Box, so i’ll have to make a second visit to get the photos I wanted.

Until then, enjoy.

Photo Album

See Also

North Street Art 2014

North Street Art 2014 Photo album

North Street Art 2013

North Street Art 2013 Photo Album

North Street Art 2012

LINFIELD 5-1 WARRENPOINT TOWN 19.9.2015

Linfield bounced back from their first defeat of the season, at Seaview last week, by getting back to winning ways today, and extended their lead at the top from two points to four points.

A week is as long a time in football as it is in politics.

Facing opposition they’d beaten in all seven meetings between the two sides, it wasn’t that much of a shock, though not many would have seen a 5-1 final score during the first-half.

Linfield began brightly, straight on the attack and not letting Warrenpoint any time to rest. A clearance went to Warren Feeney in his Technical Area which he caught and immediately threw to Matthew Clarke to take a quick throw and keep the attacks alive. This was in the first five minutes of the game.

Everytime Warrenpoint misplaced a pass, there was normally a Linfield player immediately in possession.

If Linfield had got a goal during this flurry, it would have been a long afternoon for Warrenpoint.

Warrenpoint managed to hold out, and even had some of the game. Enough to get Linfield worried rather than nervous. They were getting into Linfield’s final third but never looked like doing anything with it. There was never a moment when you felt Linfield were going to concede, but their defence still had to be on their game.

In that defence, was Mark Stafford, making his first start in the league. He did well, even though most of what he had to do was mopping up.

More Linfield attacks came, mostly through Kirk Millar, playing out left after swapping positions with Aaron Burns. Often Millar would be in space crying out for the ball to be played to him, and would find himself frustrated at not getting the ball.

When he did get the ball, he was often Linfield’s biggest attacking threat. His afternoon ended prematurely in the first-half when he was substituted after suffering an injury.

Depite most of their attacks coming down their left in the first-half, Linfield’s best moment in the early stages came when a cross from the right came to Aaron Burns, and his instinctive shot was well save.

Linfield took the lead from their first real moment of quality when Bates and Clarke combined down the left for Bates to cross for Andrew Waterworth to head home from close range.

A couple of Warrenpoint players slumped to the ground with their hands on their heads. This wasn’t in their gameplan.

Despite that blow, Warrenpoint finished the half strongly and were still very much in the game, as the half finished with only one goal separating the sides.

Linfield needed a second goal just to kill the game off and be sure of the three points. Before you could say “Linfield need a second goal”, Linfield got a second goal, when Andrew Waterworth fired under the keeper from the edge of the box.

The goal came about when Aaron Burns won the ball out right and played a simple pass to set up Waterworth.

In the first-half, Burns struggled out right but was a lot better in the second-half, mainly due to him being more involved in the game.

It seems a bit of a stupid thing to say, but Linfield’s wide play was focused on the North Stand, attaking down the left in the first-half, and on the right in the second-half.

Soon after the goal, he was setting up an opportunity for Guy Bates, whose header was tipped over, as well as making late runs from right that almost got rewarded with a goal.

Despite that, i’d be a lot happier if he was back out the left next Saturday.

Burns was lucky to finish the game, having been booked for a high challenged There was no intention to hurt the Warrenpoint player, Burns clearly went for the ball, but if it was the other way around, we’d be screaming for blood.

What is worrying is that the yellow cards are starting to stack up and he can’t be far off a suspension.

Mark Haughey got his customary goal against Warrenpoint, his fourth in five appearances against them, to definitely make sure of the game, giving Linfield a 3-0 lead.

Warrenpoint got a goal back from a long range shot from Mark Hughes, after he managed to get some space outside the box and wasn’t closed down to stop the shot.

Warrenpoint then sensed they might be able to get a second goal and make the final stages nervous for Linfield. Despite their possession in Linfield’s final third, that was never really going to happen.

It definitely wasn’t going to happen once Waterworth fired home from close range to get his hat-trick, his second of the season, and his second of 2015 against Warrenpoint.

Soon after, it was 5-1, when some neat passing, especially the final ball from David Kee which set up Waterworth to simply touch the ball past the keeper, and then roll it into the empty net for his fourth goal of the game.

According to the commentator on Radio Ulster, it was eleven in six appearances against Warrenpoint for him, and yet, it is Mark Haughey’s goalscoring record against Warrenpoint that gets all the media attention.

Trying to raid my memory, but I think that’s the first time I have witnessed a Linfield player score four in the flesh, having not been there when Peter Thompson (v Dungannon 2005) and Philip Lowry (v Institute and Donegal Celtic, 2011) did it.

Redevelopment of Windsor Park also made some significant progress this week, with the South Stand now almost full of seats, though the amount of scaffolding there suggests it’s not quite ready for public use yet.

One game that supporters could be watching from the South Stand could be in a proposed third European competition.

If I was being cynical, I would suggest making it for domestic cup winners only and call it the European Cup Winners Cup.

In all seriousness, this competition, for clubs who exit European Competition in July and August, actually sounds like a good idea, as it would be a benefit to Irish League clubs, and maintain European games into August/September and possibly beyond.

It wouldn’t kick in until the 2018-2019, and there are a lot of logistical details that need to be decided in terms of dates, sponsorship and TV rights, but i’m hoping this idea becomes a reality.

Forget about 2018-2019, it’s the 2016-2017 season I want Linfield to be playing in European, most specifically, the European Cup.

Next up in the league, Glenavon.

Photo Album

CULTURE NIGHT BELFAST 2015

The one ray of sunshine in the post summer comedown arrived in Belfast, as Culture Night 2015 took over the city. It’s hard to imagine a time before Culture Night, but it was only as recently as 2008, the event now becoming a circled red date in Belfast’s diary.

I decided to break my habit of previous years by taking a half day so I could be there between 4pm and 5pm. It turned out to be a good move as I managed to see the Street Art being painted from the very beginning, not that I actually missed out on much by arriving at 7pm as I had done in previous year, it felt like a more wholesome experience arriving there earlier.

My evening was spent mostly in North Street, Gordon Street, Cathedral Quarter and Smithfield, just walking around. Culture Night, like life sometimes, is a lot better when you just go with your instinct.

Of course, it wouldn’t Culture Night without taking in some Street Countdown.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad night. The only downside of it being over is that it’s the last big event of the Summer months. Still, you’re never more than 365 days away from the next one.

Photo Album

See Also

Culture Night 2014

Culture Night 2014 Photo Album

Culture Night 2013

Culture Night 2013 Photo Album

Culture Night 2012

Culture Night 2012 Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 18.9.2015

1. The View – Under The Rug
2. Muse – Lies
3. Foals – Mountain At My Gates
4. The Libertines – Gunga Din
5. New Order – Plastic

After much confusion, Muse announced a gig at The Odyssey for April 6th. Thankfully, a bigger venue and much more notice than their Ulster Hall gig earlier this year.

Just to get you in the mood for this, here’s a Muse Top Five

FIVE SONGS BY MUSE

1. Panic Stations
2. Neurton Star Collision
3. Knights Of Cydonia
4. Starlight
5. Muscle Museum

As a bonus, Ash announced a Christmas gig at The Empire. If that is more your thing, here’s an Ash Top Five

FIVE SONGS BY ASH

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

CRUSADERS 3-0 LINFIELD 12.9.2015

It was back to earth with a bump for Linfield as their winning start to the season came to an end at Seaview with their first defeat of the season.

There were positives for Linfield. Well, there are if you scrape the barrel for long enough. Linfield are still top of the league, and results elsewhere meant that Crusaders were the only team to close the gap on Linfield.

There were echoes of last season in both result and performance, but also in scenario. On New Year’s Day, Linfield went to Seaview top of the league and lost, and then were overtaken in the next game. That swing gave Crusaders the momentum to go on and win the league.

That game in question, a draw against Coleraine, came two days after New Year’s Day. This time around, Linfield will have a full week to get this out of their system, with Warrenpoint Town arriving at Windsor Park.

(No point complaining about a packed Christmas schedule by the way, it was the same for everybody)

Without sounding arrogant, but it’s a game Linfield should win, which will hopefully see them getting back on the wagon ahead of a triple header against Glenavon, Cliftonville and Glentoran.

Linfield actually began the game not too bad, passing it around a lot, albeit, not getting anywhere. A lot of attacks were let down by the final ball, mostly due to players not being on the same wavelength as their team-mate rather than a poor pass.

The first real moment of quality saw Reece Glendinning have a chance to score when he headed over from close range after a cross.

Glendinning was involved at the other end when he diverted a Billy Joe Burns shot out for a corner.

Crusaders attacking play in the early stages was coming from crosses and set pieces. Linfield were coping with them easily.

Midway through the first-half, that changed. Suddenly, Linfield were struggling with Crusaders crosses and set pieces.

Everytime the ball went into the box, Linfield started to get nervous. Colin Coates headed over from close range after a corner was flicked across the box.

Kirk Millar had Linfield’s only other moment of note in the first-half, when he fired over a snapshot in the penalty area.

As the half neared it’s end, Crusaders went in front when Jordan Owens headed home from a cross.

After that, the bad habits returned. Hoofing it straight to Coates and second to every ball.

The second-half didn’t get much better, and Crusaders went 2-0 up in the early stages, when Paul Heatley was the first to react when a long free-kick was flicked on.

It looked like being a repeat of the two defeats last season, with Linfield waiting until they were 2-0 down to start playing.

We didn’t even get that.

The bad habits continued – hoofing it to Coates, not getting the second ball, not even putting in tackles. Crusaders players were being given too much time on the ball.

To round it all off, Crusaders made it 3-0 with another Jordan Owens header from a cross into the box.

As bad as Linfield were, they were undone by three hoofs into the box. Especially disappointing, considering how well Linfield had defended so far this season.

Today was the previous six games flipped around, shaky in defence and never looking like scoring.

Defences and clean sheets win titles, so does bouncing back from bad results. Warrenpoint Town next week offers a great apportunity to do that.

Curiously, it was Linfield’s fourth away game of the season, and Andrew Waterworth and Guy Bates are yet to score in any of them.

It is great that Linfield have had other players who have stepped up in those games, but it does suggest that Linfield maybe don’t have the attacking ideas to get goals for their strikers when playing away from home.

Both of them will be glad that the next two league games will be at Windsor Park.

Photo Album

FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 9.9.2015

It was a night of new beginnings in Belfast, for both artist and venue, as Florence and the Machine kicked off her How Big How Blue How Beautiful Tour by becoming the first music act to perform at the newly revamped Odyssey Arena, or SSE Arena, as it’s now known.

There are now digital TV screens at the entrance and a VIP bar in the concourse. I was standing, so I didn’t get a chance to see what the new seats were like.

One major negative was having to queue for five minutes in order to get a wristband to walk the long way round to go to the toilet. Instead of having security hand out wristbands (not sure why they are needed in the first place), could they not just give them to people to put on themselves?

This gig was Florence’s first of the tour, though she has been performing at festivals throughout the summer, most notably, headlining Glastonbury as a late replacement for Foo Fighters, when Dave Grohl was incapacitated by a broken leg after jumping into the crowd.

It is an occupational hazard that Florence is well aware of, having been in plaster for the early part of this year after a similar mishap.

This gig was mishap free, well, until she accidentally knocked a speaker over a security guard during Dog Days. Thankfully, the security guard didn’t appear to be hurt.

Her band, one by one, walked on stage, but no Florence, she waited and built the tension. Big and dramatic is what she does. Throughout the night, you could the thunderous rhythm of the drums in each song, sounding more intense live than they do on record.

She later told the crowd that she had planned on having a choir on stage with her, but the stage wasn’t big enough.

She began by performing What The Water Gave Me and Ship To Wreck. Quite apt theme given The Odyssey’s close proximity to Belfast’s shipyards.

Florence is no stranger to Belfast, but was last here performing at Tennent’s Vital in 2012, as well as previous appearances at Belsonic in 2010 and an Ulster Hall gig in 2009.

She arrived in Belfast straight from Electric Picnic in Loais and had spent a few days in the city, and had spent the night before in a “Traditional Music Pub”, which turned out to be Kelly’s Cellars.

Florence is either everywhere or nowhere, she disappears for a while, and then just comes back. At the moment, she is everywhere.

As her current rate of albums is one every three years. She might not be in Belfast again until 2018. Florence, and the crowd, were determined to make the most of each other’s company.

She was everywhere on the stage, running about from side to side of the stage, and dancing. I say dancing, it was mainly jumping up and down and pirouetting.

Inbetween songs, Florence stated that she was on her own musical Odyssey, nicely linking to her adding that she is now playing The Odyssey.

It’s seven years since her first hit Kiss With A Fist (which wasn’t played), and she is now at the stage where she has had “a lot of hits”

All the biggies were there – Ship To Wreck, Shake It Up (my own personal favourite), Rabbit Heart, You Got The Love, Spectrum, Dog Days, Drumming Song, What Kind Of Man.

It was a night when everybody in The Odyssey was at some point singing, dancing or clapping along. At some point, doing all three.

There were a few objects thrown from the crowd. Nothing unsavoury, just a bra. Someone also made a flag for Florence, which she accepted and waved on stage. Must be a first for Belfast to see a flag universally cheered.

It’s fair to say, that Florence and her machine, were fully functional. Belfast looks forward to seeing her again in 2018. Or earlier, if she fancies.

Photo Album

THE FRIDAY FIVE – 11.9.2015

1. Florence and the Machine – Ship to Wreck
2. Duran Duran – Pressure Off
3. Erasure – Sometimes 2015
4. The Staves – Teeth White
5. Hot Chip – Dancing In The Dark

As if you didn’t know, U2 are doing two concerts at The Odyssey in November, their first in Belfast in 18 years. Yours truly will be spending Monday morning trying to get a ticket. Wish me luck.

To get you in the mood, here’s a U2 Top Five.

FIVE SONGS BY U2

1. The Fly
2. Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me
3. Hallelujah Here She Comes
4. Wild Honey
5. Discotheque