WATERFORD WALLS – NOVEMBER 2018

I said I was going to do something, and I went and did it. Eventually.

Regular readers will know that i’ve frequently commented on Waterford Walls, and how I would to visit Waterford to see it. Well, I did it, a short visit, Wednesday to Friday, doing lots of walking around the city and getting lots of photos of Street Art.

I would be getting a bus to Dublin and then a train to Waterford. That plan hit a bump when my bus was late by 25 minutes causing me to miss my train by 1 minute.

To top this off, my bus journey was on a free ticket I got as compensation for having to repurchase my ticket because the barcode wouldn’t read when I was travelling home from my last visit to Dublin.

I think i’ll avoid Dublin Coach in the future and just put up with hanging around Dublin Airport on Bus Eireann/Translink or Aircoach.

As you will have seen in my previous blog, I used those three hours in Dublin to hunt for some new Street Art that had appeared since my last visit in July.

So, what is Waterford Walls?

It’s a project which aims to transform Waterford into an open air art gallery. They hold an event in August when the pieces are painted, and then you can spend the rest of the year viewing the results.

They hold tours on a Saturday. Obviously, I wouldn’t be there on a Saturday, so I would have to navigate my way around the city myself.

Because of my delayed arrival in Waterford (just after 3pm) meant I didn’t have a lot of daylight to work with on the Wednesday, which made the delay even more frustrating.

So, Wednesday would be spent walking around the city to view the pieces I would be photographing later. A reconnaissance mission for Thursday and Friday, if you will.

I explored Waterford and took a wrong turn to a shopping centre on the periphery of the City Centre and spotted some Street Art. I’m a man, and asking for directions is for wimps.

Eventually, I made it into the City Centre. It’s a lot bigger than I expected, but also very compact and easy to navigate.

To get me started, there was a mural right outside my hotel. By coincidence, it was also featured on their Facebook page during my stay.

So, Thursday morning came, out bright and early, walking around the city, and getting as many photos as possible, as soon as I spot something and sometimes going off course.

I had the usual problems of parked cars in some locations, meaning I had to shoot from some weird angles.

There was even a Doggy Daycare Centre with a mural of dogs.

Regular readers will notice how some of the pieces are similar to those that were/are in Belfast, as they were done by the same artists.

There is also a piece by Joe Caslin which overlooks the city. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a decent photo of it, but you can see a write-up here.

Friday morning was spent mopping up. The weather was very dull which didn’t make for good photos.

On the Thursday, I also spent time walking along the start of Waterford Greenway. If I visit again, i’ll put some time aside to hire a bike and cycle along it as much as I can.

Despite the delays in arriving, it was an enjoyable trip. It’s a decent City Centre and lots of Street Art, which is all I really asked for.

Photo Album

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DUBLIN STREET ART – NOVEMBER 2018

I recently had a short visit to Dublin. I didn’t intend to, we’ll cover that in the next blog.

So, with three hours to kill, I thought I might as well get the camera out and start photographing some Street Art.

With not a lot of time to work with, I had to be certain where I was going.

So, I headed to the two places I knew would bring results, Smithfield and Temple Bar, and I would not be disappointed.

Having been in Dublin as recently as July, I knew I would be finding some duplicates, so there was no point in photographing what I have already snapped.

Dublin Canvas have been at their work over those four months between my visits to Dublin, and I snapped their new pieces. Seriously, can we have something similar in Belfast?

Another hotspot I visit was the Car Park at Tivoli Theatre. Unfortunately, due to it being a Car Park, there were cars parked in front of the pieces I wanted to snap.

Despite that, it was still a productive use of my spare time in Dublin.

Photo Album

Dublin Street Art July 2018

Dublin Street Art July 2017

Dublin Street Art May 2016

Dublin Street Art June 2015

Dublin Street Art July 2014

Dublin Street Art August 2013

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : SMASH HITS – 27.1.1988

We go back to early 1988, when American teen star Tiffany is the cover star of Smash Hits, having just had a massive hit with I Think We’re Alone Now.

As you open the magazine, there is a poster of Eddie Kidd, famous as a Stuntman but is also launching a singing career.

In news, Pet Shop Boys have recorded a song with Patsy Kensit, and Roger Taylor has launched a career as a singer with a band called The Cross, and is interviewed.

Cher gets a full page dedicated to her, looking at her fashion over the previous twenty years.

A-Ha announced they were going on a UK tour, beginning at Shepton Mallet Showering Pavillion and George Michael is doing a tour which includes two nights in Belfast.

Hugh Cornwell from The Stranglers is interviewed, while Smash Hits reports than a Soap actress called Kylie Minogue has recorded a song called I Should Be So Lucky which was described as “Quite good”, to their surprise.

The Housemartins also announced their split this week.

Bros get interviewed, with Craig revealing his first concert was AC/DC.

Michael Hutchence gets a double page profile, billed as “The most fanciable creation in the history of the universe?”

Also being interviewed is Dollar, with David and Thereza being asked questions about each other.

Tiffany gets a three page interview where she reveals he prefers Sindy over Barbie, and that boys at school called her “Whiffany”

In singles reviews, The Bangles cover of Hazy Shade Of Winter was the best single of the fortnight.

As the magazine ends, there is a double page interview with Bananarama where they, like Dollar, were asked questions about each other.

LINFIELD 1-1 WARRENPOINT TOWN 3.11.2018

This was always going to be a game that Linfield had to win regardless of the result between Ballymena United and Glenavon on Friday night. However, Ballymena’s late win in front of the TV cameras meant that Linfield fans entered Windsor Park before the match with a spring in their step. They left in a different mood, one of relief.

The last time the two sides met was in early September which resulted in a 5-0 win for Linfield. That was Warrenpoint’s sixth successive defeat at the start of the season. That result kickstarted a six match unbeaten run for Warrenpoint which saw them move off the bottom of the table, but arrived at Windsor Park on the back of two successive defeats.

This was Linfield’s first match in November. Considering how awful they’ve been in October in recent years, the fact we finished October 2018 with five wins out of six is a miracle.

Even though it is a new month, Linfield weren’t over the worst of it, as November has been a difficult month in recent years.

2013 saw costly defeats away to Dungannon Swifts and Cliftonville.

I’ll give you 2014, four wins and a draw was a decent return, even though the drawn game was two dropped points.

2015. Let us never speak about November 2015 ever again.

2016 saw a costly home defeat to Cliftonville which allowed Crusaders to go seven points clear, a deficit Linfield faced until Spring.

Even though November 2017 saw successive wins over the then top two, Coleraine and Glenavon, it also saw a costly defeat at Ballymena United and a League Cup exit at Crusaders.

An injury to Daniel Kearns saw a change in line-up and formation for Linfield, with Michael O’Connor coming in as part of a front two. He wouldn’t be lining up against his brother Ciaran, who missed today’s game through suspension.

An injury to a Warrenpoint player in the opening minutes saw a lengthy stoppage as the game struggled to get any sort of rhythm.

Linfield’s first chance of the game came by accident, when a wayward shot from a cut back free-kick was diverted goalwards by Andrew Waterworth, which was saved by Aaron McCarey.

Soon after, a counter-attack saw Warrenpoint saw them win a penalty for a foul by Matthew Clarke. He did get a touch of the ball, but not enough. We’d have been screaming for a penalty if it was the other way around.

What was annoying that even though the Warrenpoint player was setting up for a shot, he was in a wide position having been pushed out there by Clarke.

Sometimes when a penalty is getting ready to be taken, you know what the outcome is going to be. You just knew that Simon Kelly was never going to miss, as he slotted home to give Warrenpoint the lead.

It was the third successive game that Linfield had fallen 1-0 down in the first-half. It’s a bad habit to get into. We can’t keep giving teams something to defend.

Things didn’t get better for Linfield as Andrew Mitchell was forced off injured, making him the third injured right-back that Linfield currently have injured. We’ll be getting Alan Dornan out of retirement at this rate.

Josh Robinson came on for him, but instead of going to right-back, Linfield changed to 3-4-3.

McCarey then denied a low Joel Cooper shot before almost emulating Jim Montgomery (One for ESPN Classic viewers) from Andrew Waterworth’s rebound.

As the half neared it’s end, Jimmy Callacher had a shot go just wide, as Linfield continued to be frustrated.

Even more frustratingly, there was a lot of great crosses going in but nobody there to finish them, or they were just agonisingly missing their target, such as when Joel Cooper narrowly missed being on the end of a cross during the second-half.

Linfield just needed to keep it simple, something they haven’t done for a few weeks. Too many crosses being flashed across the box when there were people who could have been picked out, or crosses not going in first time, giving Warrenpoint enough time to get men in the box.

Warrenpoint weren’t without their chances, as Francis McCaffrey fired wide from the edge of the beox after being given too much time to do so, in the opening minutes of the second-half.

Jordan Stewart came off the bench, surprisingly for Joel Cooper. It wasn’t Cooper’s bets game, but you’d rather have him on the pitch than sitting on the bench.

Michael O’Connor volleyed over from a corner as Linfield looked for the goal that still wouldn’t come.

It looked like being one of those days, but those on the pitch and in the stands still had to believe that it wasn’t.

Daniel Reynolds came on for Matthew Clarke, hoping for a repeat of the last time he played in a League match at Windsor Park, scoring the winner, albeit as a Cliftonville player last season.

Every time it looked like being Linfield’s moment, Warrenpoint always seemed to get a body in the way. Jordan Stewart looked like he was going to equalise, when the ball fell to him in the penalty area. Guess what, a Warrenpoint player got their body in the way.

It looked like time was up for Linfield, but they had one last attack. It was an attack that was pulled back due to Roy Carroll taking a goal kick while the ball was moving.

This was not what Linfield needed when time was not on their side. The resulting attack saw a Jamie Mulgrew shot saved, but the rebound came to him, he gave it to Kirk Millar, whose cross was headed home by Andrew Waterworth, to muted celebrations, as the crowd knew there would be no time for Linfield to go on and get a winner.

There was a delay in getting the game restarted, as Waterworth and a Warrenpoint player were both injured going for the ball and required treatement.

Warrenpoint can complain about the amount of injury time, but if their goalkeeper knew how to tie his shoelaces, that wouldn’t have been an issue.

As it was a header, it technically wasn’t the last kick of the game as it was a header, but it was the last meaningful touch as the full-time whistle blew.

One point gained or two dropped? We’ll have to wait until April to find out.

The only positive is that we have cut the gap on Glenavon at the top of the table, but we have allowed Ballymena United, Cliftonville and Coleraine to cut the gap and get ideas about rejoining the title race.

We can end those Coleraine dreams next week with a win. We simply have to get back on the winning wagon to avoid being sucked into a traffic jam in the table.

Teams around us play each other on November 17th, so we need to go into that weekend in a healthy position.

That day, Linfield are away to Institute at The Brandywell. I got my ticket today. It’ll be a new ground for me to visit, though the 1pm kick-off and the location of bus pick-up and time means I probably won’t get an opportunity to explore the City Centre.

Linfield faced Institute this week, and won 5-0, setting up a League Cup Quarter-Final away to Portadown. Talking of ground visits, it’s coming up to three years since I was last at Shamrock Park.

That game will be played on December 4th, the date set aside for the Semi-Finals.

I see a potential farce coming up if there is incliment weather in Portadown that week, and trying to fit in a date for that game, especially if Linfield advance in the County Antrim Shield.

One Cup Final that could be held at Windsor Park in the future is the 2021 European Super Cup Final with the IFA being announced as a bidder this week.

Hopefully, they’ve read the bid criteria and acted upon feedback of previous bids (hint, if smoke free stadia is a criteria, don’t be giving them signposted areas). If this one fails, we should park that bus for a while. Don’t want to be like Turkey and the Olympics.

I went in 2014 and it was a fantastic experience. It would be great to have this game in Belfast.

A stoppage for an injury after an injury time equaliser brought back memories of a frustrating evening against Portadown in February 2017.

Little did we know, Linfield would be going on a domestic run of sixteen (spread across two seasons) successive wins.

Not asking much, a repeat would be very welcome.

Photo Album

U2 – LIVE AT THE ODYSSEY 28.10.2018

We had the innocence, now for the experience, as U2 returned to Belfast three years after their last visit, an improvement on the eighteen year wait fans had between Botanic Gardens in 1997 and The Odyssey in 2015.

At that Odyssey concert in 2015, Bono entered the stage through the main floor. I got into a good position close to the stage and where he would walk past me, but he didn’t, fooling a lot of us by entering via the inside of the LED screen.

As the background music played, my ears became curious as People Have The Power by Patti Smith started blasting out, as this was the song Bono walked out to in 2015.

It was the next song that introduced the band as the lights dimmed, It’s A Beautiful World by Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds.

Was this a clue as to what lay ahead?

Noel Gallagher guested with U2 on stage in 2015, while he supported the band on their Joshua Tree 30th Anniversary Tour in 2017. He is also a regular visitor to Belfast due to his work with David Holmes.

Nope. I got my hopes up prematurely. His Odyssey concert in May would be his only Belfast appearance this year. I would have to make do with Paul, Dave, Adam and Larry.

Opening with new songs The Blackout and Lights Of Home, Bono then tells the crowd “We’re a band from the North side of Dublin called The U2, and this is our new single I Will Follow”.

Well, that would have been the case if it was 1980, the setlist spanning all parts of the band’s 42 year career, with Bono saying he had spent the morning of this concert watching a TV programme by BBC Northern Ireland called Rock Goes To College filmed at McMordie Hall, the first TV concert footage of the band, even though Bono says none of the band went to college, and then commenting on the difference in fashion of the band between 1980 and 2018.

With North Dublin side Bohemian launching a new kit with Bob Marley on it, U2 must be feeling left out. Shelbourne haven’t brought out their new kit for next season, so watch this space perhaps.

Or maybe on the new St Patrick’s Athletic kit? Not a North Dublin team, but U2 once did a cover of The Saints Are Coming.

More recent classics such as All Because Of You and Beautiful Day then appeared, with the latter bringing back memories of Des Lynam introducing Premier League highlights on ITV.

Bono then moved to the inside of the big screen for The Fly, standing back to back with The Edge as they performed a duet for the chorus.

Of the five big hits from Achtung Baby, Mysterious Ways was the only one not played.

Nothing from The Joshua Tree was played due to the band touring that album in 2017. I love I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For and Where The Streets Have No Name.

Curiously, I don’t really like With Or Without You, but it sounds a lot better live.

The four big Achtung Baby hits – The Fly, One, Even Better Than The Real Thing, Who’s Gonna Ride Your Wild Horses? were spaced out this time around rather than bunched together as they were in 2015.

The Fly is one of my favourite U2 songs, and did us all a favour by knocking Bryan Adams off Number 1 in 1991.

Just imagine being in the Record Company Officer when Bono says “Here’s our first new song in four years” and then presses play.

Other 90s classics featured such as Stay (Faraway So Close) and Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me – The latter sounding very dark and Depeche Modey, accompanied by comic book animation on the LED screen similar to the video for the song.

If you get annoyed at Spanish being spoken incorrectly, you would have been advised to leave the room for cinco minutes, as the band played Vertigo, with Bono allowing the crowd to sing “Uno, Dos, Tres, Catorce”, which anyone with a basic grasp of Spanish will tell you is “One, Two, Three, Fourteen”.

I was the lone voice shouting “Uno, Dos, Tres, Cuatro”.

The band made up for the poor Spanish by treating us to snippets of It’s Only Rock n Roll and Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones.

They then performed Pride, one of their best songs. On the recording, everybody was on top form, and they were still on top form when performing it on stage 34 years later, though Bono changed the lyrics of “Early morning, April four” to “Fifty years ago, April 4” as it has been pointed out that Martin Luther King was shot a lot later in the day.

We can’t have factual inaccuracies in U2 songs.

Maybe Bono doesn’t want to go where the streets have no name? He would get lost very easily. Maybe he actually has found what he’s looking for?

Now in the present day, we were treated to the two stand-out tracks from Songs Of Experience – Get Out Of Your Own Way and You’re The Best Thing About Me, before performing New Year’s Day.

Bono wasn’t slow in giving opinions on world events, decrying Brexit, which let’s face it is a dumber idea than having a giant lemon on stage, singing Ode To Joy and having a megaphone with the European flag on stage, .

Talking of U2’s 90s excesses, Mr MacPhisto made a comeback, sort of, Bono’s alter ego, or Paul Hewson’s alter ego’s alter ego, stating that he (MacPhisto) is having his work done for him in America, Brazil and Phillipines.

Before the encore, Bono gave a shout out to Soak, the band performing One.

This concert was part of a busy social period for me.

On the Thursday before, I had hoped to see Nerina Pallot at Black box, but I wasn’t quick enough, which was a pity. I did see her in 2010 though, so I haven’t missed out on her.

I had hoped to see Simon Day on the Friday before, but that got cancelled with no reason, so I went to the Rugger instead.

The day after this concert, I headed to the Waterfront Hall for An Evening With Eric Cantona, which was a bit disappointing.

It was great to see him in the flesh again, and I had a decent view, but there were so many complaints.

He was on stage for less than an hour. Not good enough for the price of the tickets. Especially when signage in the venue had the show starting at 8pm, only for that segment to be a comedian (funny in bits, emphasis on bits, I won’t be checking him out for future shows) and an auction.

The host of the show was the owner of the promotion company. It showed. It would have been so much better if it had a professional broadcaster hosting it and asking questions, and most importantly, taking charge of proceedings.

Far too many times, you could barely hear Eric Cantona due to the number of Banter Bores in the crowd, answering questions on his behalf, chipping in and hoping that Eric will laugh at something they say, so that they can dine out on it.

Eric Cantona did not laugh at one thing they said.

You know the sort, the type of person who tells a joke three times, getting louder each time so that everybody in the pub gets to hear how funny they are.

Jeans and sheux and pints of Harp, the absolute worst of “Ladz ladz bantz bantz”.

Like I say, it was great seeing Eric Cantona, but it could have been so much better if it had basic organisation. I’ve been to similar events with Suggs and Ron Atkinson (not together) and a decent interviewer who tolerates no shit from the crowd make these things work.

Once it wasn’t nipped in the bud early on, there was no way back.

I’ve paid money to listen to Eric Cantona, not Sammy from Lisburn. Is it any fucking wonder Sammy, that she has turned the weans against you.

If the second half of the double header was disappointing, the first half of it, U2, certainly wasn’t.

Photo Album

U2 Live at The Odyssey 2015

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MATCH – 16.4.1983

Jimmy Case of Brighton is the cover star of this edition of Match, previewing the FA Cup Semi-Finals, where Brighton face Sheffield Wednesday while Arsenal look to avenge their League Cup Semi-Final defeat to Manchester United by beating them in the FA Cup.

Scottish Cup Semi-Finals are also previewed, with Match dubbing them “The big Tartan Ties”.

As you open the magazine, there are two double page previews of the two FA Cup Semi-Finals.

In adverts, Steve Coppell is used to promote books on careers advice for people whose goal is a good job.

Alex McLeish is the subject of this week’s profile, revealing that his favourite singer is Phil Collins and his footballing ambition is to win a European trophy with Aberdeen.

The two Semi-Finals in Scotland are profiled, with Hibs star Alan Rough predicting that Celtic will beat Aberdeen and that Rangers will beat St Mirren.

Graeme Souness begins his column by apologising to Brighton fans, as he believes that they will lose their FA Cup Semi-Final to Sheffield Wednesday.

Gary Shaw of Aston Villa is doing predictions, up against a Villa fan from Essex. Shaw hopes that Wednesday beat Brighton in the FA Cup Semi-Final as Wednesday have a couple of ex Villa players.

Meanwhile, Frans Thijssen is leaving Ipswich Town to join Vancouver Whitecaps, and he looks back at his time in England.

Match visits the home of Sheffield Wednesday star Andy McCullough, photographing him as he rides a neighbour’s horse through rural Derbyshire.

The magazine ends with a profile of new Scotland cap Richard Gough, who revealed that he almost quit football after being homesick for South Africa, where he grew up.