THE FRIDAY FIVE – 31.8.2018

1. Kyle Falconer – Poor Me
2. KT Tunstall – The River
3. Lacuna Bloome – I Am
4. Blossoms – La Isla Bonita
5. The Kooks – She Moves In Her Own Way

Advertisements

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SMASH HITS – 17.7.1996

Just gone solo from Take That, Robbie Williams is the cover star of this week’d edition of Smash Hits, declaring that he is going to be the biggest star in the world.

Smash Hits takes it to the British public to see who is their favourite between Robbie Williams and Gary Barlow, with Gary edging 6-4.

But you had the chance to make your voice heard, with a phone poll to vote for your favourite.

By now, there is an Oasis column, giving you all the news from Planet Gallagher.

Smash Hits was granted an audience with Glenn from Glenn and Chris, who had a hit with Diamond Lights. By 1996, he was the manager of the England football team, and gives Smash Hits his opinions on the best young English players there is.

One of the players mentioned was Jamie Redknapp, and his future wife Louise had a party to celebrate the release of her debut album, attended by David Baddiel and Ant from Ant and Dec.

In rivalries news, Crush (featuring Donna Air) have gone to war with Shampoo.

This is followed by a dodgy interview. Nothing wrong with the content, it was an interview with the band Dodgy.

Smash Hits treats us to a double page feature on ads we’d love to see, featuring tour favourite pop stars.

Toni Braxton is interviewed, revealing that she doesn’t drink because she got sick the last time she drank.

In part four of a five part series of interviews with Boyzone, this week, it is Stephen Gately.

In song lyrics posters, there was one for Born Slippy by Underworld. It wasn’t all shouting “Lager Lager Lager”

In bandwatch, Smash Hits keeps us up to date with your favourite bands such as Oasis, Pulp and Boyzone.

Oasis are currently resting ahead of Knebworth and Loch Lomond gigs

Boyzone’s website is reviewed, described as “Not the best to look at, and it could be faster”

There is a full page profile of Dogstar, Keanu Reeves band, described as looking like Let Loose.

In reviews, Shampoo are awarded Best Album.

Talking of Shampoo, they take questions from a biscuit tin, revealing that Crush’s new single is the worst song they heard on the radio that week.

Linford Christie is interviewed ahead of the Olympics, revealing that he isn’t related to Agatha Christie.

CLIFTONVILLE 1-1 LINFIELD 25.8.2018

With Matchday 4 being split across three games on Friday and three games on Saturday, Linfield fans expected to arrive at Solitude on Saturday afternoon with their side knocked off the top of the table on Friday night.

What may have surprised them was that it was Glenavon rather than Coleraine who led the table, with Coleraine missing the opportunity to do so with a 2-2 draw at home to Institute.

Linfield and Cliftonville had identical starts this season to what they had last season. Linfield with three wins and three clean sheets, while Cliftonville followed an opening day win with a defeat to Coleraine and a draw against a Bottom Six team.

Cliftonville’s start to 2018-2019 also mirrored 2017-2018 as Matchday 4 over the August Bank Holiday saw them welcome the dethroned champions, as Crusaders got a 2-1 win.

A similar result for Linfield would see them pull eight points clear of Cliftonville. Even at this early stage, it would be hard to see that being overturned.

Unsurprisingly, Linfield had an unchanged team from the previous Saturday in North Belfast. There was no need to change anything.

The game began in a relatively subdued manner and atmosphere. That soon disappeared when Ryan Catney made a reckless tackles on Daniel Kearns and got away with a yellow card.

Yellow cards were plentiful for Cliftonville in the first-half. Cynical fouls with no intention of winning the ball, such as Garry Breen taking out Jamie Mulgrew (another foul for the counter, there will be a presentation for the player who commits the 5,000th foul on him, expected to be at some point this season).

The sort of fouls that frustratingly were yellow cards, even though you wanted more for them.

A well worked free-kick saw Andrew Waterworth go just wide, while Daniel Kearns thought he had played in Waterworth only for his pass to be intercepted. He probably should have shot at goal himself.

Not a lot was happening in the early minutes of the game, neither side having any real attempts at goal, but Linfield having more of the ball in the opposition half.

The game was to change just before the half hour when Jamie Mulgrew was sent-off after challenging for the ball with Jay Donnelly. A yellow card at worst, if there was to be a card. There is absolutely no doubt that the referee was influenced by Cliftonville players running to the scene of the foul, and it happening not far from the main stand where Cliftonville fans were housed.

He bottled it and allowed himself to be intimidated. One thing that Linfield could exploit was that so many Cliftonville players were on yellow cards, and could be targeted for second yellow. The only question was would the referee have the guts to issue that card.

The last time Linfield played Cliftonville, they had a first-half red card and went to pieces in the immediate aftermath, which ultimately cost them any chance of getting something from the game. Thankfully, that didn’t happen today. The knew they had to summon the spirit of Mourneview Park 2016.

Mulgrew became the fourth player to be sent-off at Solitude since 2013, joining Michael Gault, Robert Garrett and Sean Ward.

It could have been tempting to introduce Robert Garrett from the bench, but there was no need as Niall Quinn had started the season in centre midfield, so was able to slot in there.

Josh Robinson had a couple of headed chances as Linfield sought to make the most of any set pieces they had. The vast majority of set pieces were poor, often failing to beat the first man, or Linfield losing out on the second ball.

The half ended with Joe Gormley getting a yellow card for shoulder barging Roy Carroll as he held onto the ball. Carroll was targeted throughout at set pieces by Cliftonville players.

Linfield would have been glad to get in at half-time to take a breather. Despite only having ten men, at no point did they look like they were playing with ten men. They never looked like being troubled, but never really troubled Cliftonville.

They had promising situations, but just needed to get that pass right, or make that run on time.

This game was there for the winning.

Joel Cooper, already on a yellow card by this point, was lucky not to get a second yellow for a foul on Levi Ives in the Cliftonville penalty area. If he wasn’t already booked, he probably would have been booked there.

Michael O’Connor then came on for Andrew Waterworth, as Linfield searched for a winner.

On 73 minutes, Cliftonville took the lead when a throw-in bounced over Jimmy Callacher, and Linfield couldn’t get the ball off Jay Donnelly, who crossed for Joe Gormley to head home from close range. It was Cliftonville’s first chance of note in the game.

Callacher wasn’t the only Linfield player having problems on a very bouncy pitch. Every time a backpass went to Roy Carroll, you had your heart in the mouth as you didn’t know where the ball was going to go.

Linfield responded with an attacking substitution, Kirk Millar coming on for Matthew Clarke.

Despite only having ten men, it was Linfield who were outnumbering Levi Ives, with Millar, Kearns, Casement and Mitchell working opportunities down the right.

Kearns and Millar created space for Andrew Mitchell to cross right into the six yard box for Michael O’Connor to get a touch to divert the ball past Richard Brush.

It wasn’t a clean touch, but it was enough to go past the keeper, which is all that matters.

From where I was standing, I thought it was going just wide.

There was still time for either side to win the game.

Thankfully, Linfield had that extra bit of energy to see out Cliftonville’s attacks. They almost won it when Joel Cooper got in behind Cliftonville’s defence, shooting across Richard Brush, who saved it. If he parried it, Michael O’Connor would have had an open net to win the game for Linfield.

It finished 1-1, Linfield’s first dropped points, but it was Cliftonville who were left feeling that they dropped points, from two positions of strength, with a goal and a man advantage.

The draw sent Linfield back to the top of the League, one point clear of Glenavon. With three difficult away games against Top Six teams, you’ll take that, especially as they only managed two points from three games in 2009 and two points from four games in 2013 with similar starts.

Up next, is a League Cup tie at home to Moyola Park. I’ll be giving that a miss. If it was away though, i’d be all over that.

Next Saturday is the start of a new month, and my first visit to Windsor Park of the season for the match against Ards, with the mood more upbeat that the last time I headed to Windsor Park in April.

Ards is a must win game. Obviously, but especially when you look at upcoming fixture lists.

On Monday 3rd September, Matchday 5 will conclude with Crusaders watching Coleraine on Sky Sports. I may watch it if there isn’t a railway documentary on Channel 5.

One or both of them will drop points, Linfield have to win to take advantage of that.

On Matchday 5, Linfield travel to Warrenpoint while Crusaders and Coleraine are in Scottish Challenge Cup.

If Linfield can win those two games, they will pull away from at least one of their rivals.

And then in upcoming weeks after that, Glenavon will have to face Crusaders, Coleraine and Cliftonville. More guaranteed points droppage for Linfield to take advantage.

Three points seperate 1st to 7th, there’s a traffic jam at the top of the League, led by Linfield. Long may that continue.

Thursday will see the draw for the Group Stages of the European Cup, and i’ll hope to take in one of United’s group games at home.

Hopefully, it will be a competition Linfield will be playing in during 2019-2020.

Photo Album

TRAVIS – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 22.8.2018

Waking up on Wednesday morning to the sound of rain, it looked ominous. Of course, with Travis coming to town, it was always going to piss down, possibly because Francis Healy lied when he was 17.

Thankfully, by the time the band took to the stage at Custom House Square, it was now dry, and stayed that way.

This concert was part of a tour where Travis play their 1999 album The Man Who in full. I’m not sure why. 19 years isn’t a milestone anniversary that is usually commemorated.

I’m not a fan of these playing albums in full tours. The only album that should be played in full on a tour is a Greatest Hits album.

I’d been to one of these types of concerts, when Ocean Colour Scene toured Moseley Shoals, so I knew what the deal was. They perform the album, and then do the hits.

Though, most of Travis big hits appear on The Man Who – Writing To Reach You, Driftwood, Turn and Why Does It Always Rain On Me?

Surprisingly, when they played Why Does It Always Rain On Me?, it didn’t rain, a song described by Fran Healy as about going on holiday to escape the rain in Scotland, only to find more rain in his new location.

Thankfully, it wasn’t windy either, due to Healy wearing a kilt, meaning that Angus Young isn’t the only Scottish musician who can confidently expose bare legs on stage, as Francis Healy is now morphing into Francis Rossi by having a manbun these days.

His partner in crime, Dougie Payne, brother of Max, was dressed in shirt and tie.

This was my first time seeing Travis, though it should have been my second. I won a ticket for T In The Park in 2002. Travis were due to perform, but had to pull out due to Neil Primrose suffering injury on holiday. While waiting for a band to appear on a stage, BBC Scotland arranged for the audience to record a get well soon message.

The Man Who was a soundtrack to my late teens, though really, for me, it was a stop-gap until the forth Oasis album. Travis were everywhere back then.

They continued to bring out brilliant tunes, but by 2003, people stopped buying their records.

Healy told the crowd about a concert in Belfast while touring The Man Who first time around, saying it took place in “A classical building”.

Half the crowd shouted “Ulster Hall” while the other half shouted “Waterfront Hall”. Research on the internet suggests they played Waterfront Hall on Sunday 12th December 1999.

At that gig, somebody threw a pair of knickers at him, which he threw to the side of the stage, hitting and distracting their sound mixer.

Of those songs that people (idiots) no longer buy, was My Eyes, released in 2007 but written in 2006 on the day he found out he was going to be a dad, adding that his son is now addicted to Fortnite, whatever that means.

Apparantly, it’s a video game. The last video game I played was on the Sega Mega Drive.

Fans were treated to hits such as Love Will Come Though, Side (their best song, should have been the lead single from The Invisible Band), Closer, Flowers In The Window and Sing.

Fittingly, for the encore of a concert celebrating an album released in 1999, they signed off with the biggest song of 1999. It wasn’t one of theirs, it was a cover of Baby One More Time by Britney Spears, as Healy declared “See you soon”, teasing at a quick return to Belfast.

Photo Album

TURIN BRAKES – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 22.8.2018 (CHSQ)

Can’t believe i’ve got cheap travel to go and see Cristiano Ronaldo play for Juventus. Oh, wait, i’ve already done that Turin Brakes joke when I saw them in January.

Not a Travel Agent that specialises in a city in Italy, Turin Brakes are a band, and a band I loved in my late teens, so when it was announced that they would be supporting Travis on tour this Summer, it was great that Belfast would be also included when it was announced they would be joining Travis at Custom House Square.

They were a perfect warm-up for Travis, nice wee chilled out tunes that you can tap your toes to, the band playing, in their words, under the influence of some Guinness in a pub opposite The Black Box, a venue they fondly remembered, playing hits such as Painkiller and Underdog.

Photo Album

Turin Brakes live at Fopp Covent Garden January 2018

KASABIAN – LIVE AT CUSTOM HOUSE SQUARE 20.8.2018 (CHSQ)

There is always some sort of wait for a concert. For Kasabian fans in Belfast, they had to wait a little bit longer for this one, taking place 363 days later than it should have, having been cancelled due to illness with fans in the venue in August last year.

Nearly a year on, fans returned to Custom House Square, except for the three that died waiting.

Waking up on Monday morning to rain, the weather picked up where it left off from that night in August 2017. Thankfully, it got better, drying up during the day, though there was drizzle at the start of Kasabian’s set before getting worse by 10pm, necessitating the need for me to use the poncho in my pocket, which some kind concert neighbours helped me put on. See, not all Belfast people are arseholes.

Yep, another outdoor Belfast concert infested with scummy tramps. You know what i’m referring to.

Last August, Blossoms were the support act. With a new album and doing the festival circuit this Summer, it wasn’t unreasonable to hope they would make a return to Belfast, but it wasn’t to be.

Blossoms have a tour announced for later this year but no Belfast gig, so fingers crossed that means they’ll be doing a festival here in Summer 2019.

The support act for this concert was a band called DMAs, who were decent even though they looked like the world’s shittest football hooligan firm.

Kasabian entered the stage and went straight into blasting out their hits, leaving very little time for interaction with the crowd – Club Foot, Ill Ray, Underdog, Shoot The Runner, Days Are Forgotten, Eez-Eh and You’re In Love With A Psycho all delighting the crowd.

One man in front of me was enjoying himself so much, he was jumping up an down as if Madness were playing a ninety minute version of One Step Beyond.

Eventually, the band made reference to the cancelled concert last year, with Tom saying “Sorry, I was ill” and the band dedicated LSF to the fans who came back the second time.

Serge then turned his attention to residents in nearby apartments, asking one person to get him a packet of crisps, which he did, a packet of Space Raiders, since you ask. Tom then asked if he could move in with him.

By the time we got to the encore, the band ended with Fire. They were on fire. It was worth the wait.

Photo Album

Kasabian live at The Odyssey December 2014

CRUSADERS 0-2 LINFIELD 18.8.2018

Do not be afraid of Crusaders. Do not be afraid of Crusaders. Do not be afraid of Crusaders.

There are too many teams in this League who are afraid of Crusaders. Shamefully, last season, Linfield were one of them.

The opening two games of 2018-2019 suggested that Crusaders were there for the taking. In the opening game, they blew a 2-0 lead against Ards and needed a late goal to secure a 4-2 win. That was followed by a 2-2 draw at home to Ballymena United. A team full of players approaching or in their 30s who are leaking goals. There was nothing for Linfield to fear.

Especially so, as they had won their opening two games without conceding a goal.

Despite that, this was not going to be an unchanged Linfield team, now that Jamie Mulgrew was back from suspension.

There’s a case to be made for resting Jamie Mulgrew against last season’s bottom five (Dungannon, Ards, Warrenpoint, Institute and Newry City) considering his age and the fact he is returning from injury, picking and choosing his matches.

Even if he is picking and choosing his matches, this is a match where he would play if it.

It was expected that Niall Quinn or Andrew Mitchell would miss out, but it was Kirk Millar who did, with Quinn moving out left.

Just like at Lurgan two weeks previously, there was a sizeable away support there to cheer their team on.

It was Crusaders who had the first chance of the game when Ross Clarke drifted past four players before shooting straight at Roy Carroll. He really should have scored, considering he had a clear strike at goal and a choice of sides to go to.

Having survived that, Linfield came more into the game, spending a lot of time in Crusaders half and winning a succession of corners.

Nothing came of them but Crusaders weren’t fully dealing with them. Not once did Sean O’Neill catch one, his punches not fully clearing the danger, giving Linfield a second ball to fight for and keep the attack alive.

It was a first-half littered with Crusaders yellow cards. Oh the joy of seeing a ref prepared to not tolerate their tactical fouling, and a Linfield team prepared to stand up to them. Crusaders didn’t know how to respond. They lost their discipline, and handing the game to Linfield. Linfield players knew this, which is why they were so keen at times to stop Josh Robinson getting involved. They had Crusaders right where they wanted them, and they weren’t going to give up this advantage easily.

Chris Morgan on Radio Ulster seemed to be offended by Linfield players surrounding the referee. He may have a point that it’s not nice to see, but teams freely do it against Linfield. Too many times last season, Linfield were outsmarted by stupid teams. Crusaders players were being told in no uncertain terms that they wouldn’t be kicking anybody off the field today.

Joel Cooper was Linfield’s main attacking threat in the first-half, having Linfield’s two main shots at goal.

The only moment of worry that Linfield had was when Jimmy Callacher had to head out a cross in the six yard box out for a corner.

On 35 minutes, it was Linfield who get the breakthrough when some neat passing out the right, where Linfield were getting a lot of joy through the half, saw Chris Casement cross low for Joel Cooper to finish from close range, a reversal of the previous week against Institute when Cooper crossed low for Casement to score.

Cooper was everywhere when Linfield attacked, and Crusaders didn’t know how to handle him. They didn’t know which way he was going to go. Thankfully, Linfield’s players did, and wether he went left or right, there was always someone available for a pass.

Linfield began the second-half, now attacking their own fans, on the attack, with Chris Casement having a free-kick saved. Again, it was another punch by Sean O’Neill.

The second goal wasn’t long in coming when Joel Cooper got possession on the right wing, cut inside before playing a defence splitting pass.

I was on the opposite side and thought initially that it was Niall Quinn, but it was actually Jamie Mulgrew, who made no mistake to make it 2-0.

It wasn’t quite the three points in the bag, but it was hard to see Crusaders coming back from this.

Crusaders response was a Jordan Owens shot which went over and into the stand. A Crusaders supporter threw the ball away from Roy Caroll who was waiting to take a goal kick. The supporter celebrated as Carroll was able to take his time, and kill any hopes Crusaders had of getting some momentum and getting back into the game. They really aren’t the brightest.

In fact, the closest that Crusaders came was from a sliced clearance by Matthew Clarke hitting the bar. At no point did Linfield look troubled.

If any team looked likely to get the next goal, it was Linfield, with Michael O’Connor, on as a substitute for Andrew Waterworth, getting in behind Crusaders defence only to see his low shot saved, while a deflected cross from Daniel Kearns almost snuck in.

Joel Cooper was replaced by Kirk Millar, a bit surprising, as Andrew Mitchell was getting bandaged up for the umpteenth time. A few minutes later, Mitchell couldn’t carry on any longer, being replaced by Robert Garrett, who was able to help Linfield see the game out with no fuss.

This result sent Linfield five points clear of Crusaders. Nothing to get too excited about, they were five points clear of Crusaders at this stage in 2015.

The game after this would be a trip to Cliftonville. A win would give Linfield an eight point lead over them. The matchday after that sees Crusaders face Coleraine. With one of them dropping points, the game against Ards is a must-win. That is followed by a game against Warrenpoint while Crusaders and Coleraine are playing in the Scottish Challenge Cup. There is a great opportunity to get some momentum and pull clear of rivals.

Linfield players celebrated this win in dignified fashion, there was no throwing of food in Nandos.

Later that night, David Healy made a guest appearance in the Panto taking place at Windsor Park that night, content that his side landed a massive punch, but not quite a knock-out blow.

Photo Album

EDINBURGH STREET ART – AUGUST 2018

Even though it is renowned as an arty city, Edinburgh isn’t really a hotbed for Street Art.

On my recent visits, I have headed to New Street, where there is permanently building work, meaning there are canvasses for Street Artists to work with, but there was nothing whenever I visited.

I covered quite a lot of the city but didn’t see a lot in terms of Street Art.

I spotted some pieces at The Meadows, but the first real spot of note came in the University Area, with some new pieces as part of a Community Project called Southside Murals, done by Kate George.

Not getting into any debate about boundaries, but I also spotted some pieces when I visited Leith.

Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art 2017

Edinburgh Street Art 2015

Edinburgh Street Art 2014

Edinburgh Street Art 2013

EDINBURGH CITY 3-1 ALBION ROVERS 14.8.2018

Linfield might not be in the Irn Bru Cup this season, but that didn’t stop me taking in a game in this season’s competition.

As you will know, I like to visit Edinburgh every August. It’s not a football trip, but it would be rude not to take in a match while i’m there.

I was visiting Monday to Friday, but there were midweek matches on offer for me, as this was the week of the 1st Round of the Irn Bru Cup.

There was also European football the week I was there. Unfortunately, Hibs were away to Molde on Thursday.

Glasgow is only an hour away from Edinburgh, so if Rangers were at home, that would be handy if I wanted to go to it. They were away on the Thursday night.

If, for some reason, I wanted to watch Celtic, guess what? They were away too.

So, all I had was the Irn Bru Cup. There are a lot of towns with football teams commutable to Edinburgh, so my options wouldn’t be limited to the capital.

My options were Cowdenbeath v East Fife and Edinburgh City v Albion Rovers, while Hearts Under 20s were also at home, but that was never going to be considered.

I went with this game as it was a ground I have been to, having been there twice in the space of four weeks last Summer, taking in Edinburgh City’s game against Montrose while at the Edinburgh Fringe, and then returning in early September for Linfield’s Irn Bru Cup game against Spartans.

If you don’t already know, Edinburgh City groundshare with Spartans.

There was also the bonus that this game was half price admission if you had a Fringe ticket.

And, the bar was open pre-match, so I had a nosey around. There was a canvass print on the wall of Rod Stewart when he visited the ground, while somebody else killed time by watching AEK Athens v Celtic on their phone.

This ground was familiar to Albion Rovers, having lost 4-0 there in a League Two match just ten days earlier.

This could, and possibly should, have been me seeing Albion Rovers for the second successive season, as Albion eliminated Spartans from last season’s competition but fielded an unregistered player, meaning it was Spartans who hosted Linfield instead.

There were a lot of fiesty tackles going in during the early minutes, but it was Edinburgh City who came closest to scoring when a speculative effort hit the top of the bar.

However, it was Rovers who took the lead on 15 minutes when John Cunningham got clear and fired home, to give them a 1-0 lead they held until half-time.

As the second-half started, a Rovers fans urged his team on, yelling “COME ON ROVERS!! I’M MISSING RIVER CITY FOR THIS!!”

It didn’t have the desired effect, as City went 2-1 up with a quick double from Scott Shepherd and Blair Henderson, before Henderson clinched the game late on with a penalty.

With the game being decided on the night, I wasn’t too unhappy with the game being decided within 90 minutes.

The draw for the next round gave City and away tie against East Kilbride, who eliminated Spartans on penalties. It could easily have been an away game at their ground.

Photo Album

THE EDINBURGH CELEB SPOTTING BLOG 2018

As you will have gathered by my previous post, I was recently in Edinburgh.

Edinburgh in August is usually filled with people from the telly ranging from A List all the way down to Z List.

Here is a list of people I recently spotted on my visit to Edinburgh.

Tuesday 14th August

Nish Kumar – Doing some filming on George Street

Wednesday 15th August

Robert Bathurst – Waiting at traffic lights on Nicholson Square.

Joel Dommett – Loitering in Pleasance and looking at his phone.

Thursday 16th August

Hal Cruttenden – Walking through Pleasance and talking on his phone.

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2017

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2015

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2014

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2013

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2012

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2011