THE FRIDAY FIVE – 18.8.2017

1. Liam Gallagher – For What It’s Worth
2. The Killers – Run For Cover
3. Amy MacDonald – Dream On
4. Stereophonics – All In One Night
5. Blossoms – Charlemagne

Ryan Adams Update – Still looking for a ticket. Ulster Hall, Standing, Face Value, get in touch.

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MELODY MAKER – 26.4.2000

Vic and Bob are joined on the cover stars of Melody Maker as she sings the theme tune to their new TV series, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)

Belle and Sebastian give Melody Maker a run through of their new album, while Oasis are set to miss out on a Number 1 with their new single, while American fans have been e-mailing Melody Maker with their views on the band’s US tour.

Also on tour in America is Primal Scream.

Cover stars Bob, Nina and Vic get four pages, with Bob commenting that they know how to handle Swedish women before, having worked previously with Ulrika Jonsson.

In live reviews, Melody Maker ventured out to see Elastica and JJ72 in concert.

Meanwhile, Paul Draper of Mansun is the subject of a Q and A, where he reveals he once bought a copy of FHM.

ARDS 0-2 LINFIELD 15.8.2017

With three games in seven days, there isn’t much time to relax at the start of the Irish League season, as Linfield made it two wins out of two in the North Down sunshine, beating Ards 2-0, the three points being secured before the sun went down.

The only worry for some away fans was getting into the ground, as roadworks at Ballyrobert made it a one hour journey for me.

As I arrived, there was a massive queue of people in front of me, and soon afterwards behind me. Would it really have been too much effort to delay the kick-off by five or ten minutes for those who were held up?

I ended up getting my first experience of the NIFL’s new £11 admission fee, due to the increase in handing back change in coins instead of the nice round £10 fee.

I only missed about a minute of action, and thankfully, Linfield weren’t quick off the blocks.

They weren’t slow either, building up pressure and being camped in Ards half. It was a matter of time until Linfield scored. That came when Mark Haughey was able to flick a loose ball over a defender in the box, and smash the ball home from close ranger after 18 minutes.

On 28 minutes, a Paul Smyth cross found Kirk Millar to head home and make it 2-0.

The pressure continued but Ards held out to keep the score to 2-0 at half-time.

A commanding position but not a definitive lead.

You know all those cliches about 2-0 being a dangerous lead? Linfield almost found out in the early minutes of the second-half when Scott Davidson was played through and hit the post.

You know that pundit speak of “He hit it too well”? It applies here. If he scuffed it, he would have scored, he struck it perfectly and hit the post, and straight to a Linfield defender to clear.

That was Ards big moment, as Linfield went in search of that third goal to put the match beyond all doubt.

Paul Smyth and Aaron Burns came closest for Linfield.

The third goal didn’t come for Linfield, but it wasn’t needed.

Burns, alongside Stephen Lowry were substitutes in the only change to the squad from Saturday after a one game suspension.

With Cliftonville, Glentoran and Crusaders waiting in September as well as the League Cup, County Antrim Shield and Scottish Challenge Cup between now and then, strength in reserve will be key to Linfield, even if it wasn’t needed here.

Results elsewhere meant that Linfield were one of five teams with six points out of six.

It is peak modern day Glentoran that they have actually had their best start to the season in eight years …… and find themselves 5th in the table.

Linfield are tucked away in 4th.

With two of the teams above them, Coleraine and Crusaders, playing each other, Linfield travel to Dungannon on Saturday knowing that a win will propel them into the top three at least.

The reason why Linfield are 4th is due to goal difference. It could have been so much better across these two games.

Goal difference was the thing that put life in Linfield’s title challenge last season when all looked lost. Linfield knew they didn’t need to overtake Crusaders, they just had to pull level with them and let the goal difference do the work.

There’s still 36 games to make up four goals.

Whilst the goals for column could be better, there’s no complaints about goals against, two clean sheets. Defensive records usually win you titles.

Linfield only needed two goals to be sure of beating Ards, Cliftonville needed to score six just to be sure. I know what position i’d rather be in.

Thursday sees the draw for the Scottish Challenge Cup, where Linfield will face an away tie. Stranraer away please.

I was amused to see that the scorer of Elgin City’s winner was Steve Bronsky. I’ve no idea where in Scotland he’s from so I don’t know if he’s a Smalltown Boy.

That’s enough 80s pop jokes.

Unless Kris Lowe of Dungannon is thinking “What Have I Done To Deserve This?” as Linfield score another goal on Saturday.

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LINFIELD 2-0 CARRICK RANGERS 12.8.2017

After Crusaders win on Friday night, Linfield were already playing catch-up as they kicked-off their opening match of the season, just as they did for 37 out of 38 matches last season.

As Carrick Rangers arrived at Windsor Park, they would face a Linfield side with five changes from their last domestic game, last season’s Irish Cup Final due to injury (Waterworth, Callacher, Clarke) and suspension (Burns, Lowry)

A team who usually struggles on the opening day, with five players missing and facing a team with ten men behind the ball. This had the potential of being a difficult afternoon for Linfield.

While Carrick were winning a lot of headers in the air, Linfield found other routes to get at their goal with low crosses, short corners and balls on the ground. Carrick could handle it, and it looked like a goal was coming.

Niall Quinn had a shot saved while Jordan Stewart fired over, before a low Niall Quinn shot hit the back of the net to put Linfield 1-0 up.

With only 15 minutes on the clock, it was the early goal Linfield needed to avoid getting frustrated.

Andrew Mitchell fired over as Linfield looked for a second goal, while a Jamie Mulgrew cross agonisingly evaded both Paul Smyth and Jordan Stewart when just a touch would have delivered a goal.

As half-time approached, Linfield got a second goal when Kirk Millar headed home from a Niall Quinn cross. That was surely the three points secured.

The second-half was attack against defence again, as Linfield aimed for a 3rd goal that would kill off the game, even though Carrick’s lack of attacking threat so far suggested that 2-0 would be enough.

Robert Garrett and Mark Stafford both had unsuccessful attempts at goal. Stafford was later substituted for Josh Robinson, denying him the opportunity to score against Carrick for the forth successive home game against them.

Linfield looked like getting that 3rd goal when Jordan Stewart won a penalty.

With Lowry, Burns and Waterworth not playing, there was no obvious taker. Paul Smyth had missed the only one he had taken.

Jordan Stewart stepped up and missed it, Carrick’s keeper gathering the ball on the line when it looked like he might accidentally score an own goal.

It was Linfield’s seventh penalty in their last thirteen matches, four of which have been missed. That stat doesn’t include the ridiculous penalty shoot-out against Glentoran in late July.

It didn’t matter as Linfield cruised to a 2-0 win. Carrick had so few attacks, we didn’t get to hear Roy Carroll shout “GET OUT!! GET OUT!!!”

The only disappointment was that Linfield couldn’t get more goals, a four goal win would have put them top. However, Linfield fans will know from last season that being top at the end of matchday 38 is all that matters.

Up next, a trip to Ards.

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HIT THE EAST (AKA … EAST BELFAST STREET ART AUGUST 2017)

You may have seen Hit The North be covered on this blog, taking place on the same weekend as Belfast Culture Night and brightening up North Street and surrounding areas.

Well, East Belfast decided it wanted in on the act, with an event titled Hit The East taking place on Saturday 5th August as part of Eastside Arts Festival.

There were murals painted opposite Holywood Arches Library, and at an alleyway on Bloomnfield Road, across the road from the entrances to Connswater.

I was away that weekend, but headed out to get some photos as soon as I returned. Enjoy.

Now, when are Hit The South and Hit The West going to start?

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EDINBURGH CITY 1-3 MONTROSE 5.8.2017

As you know, when I visit Edinburgh, I like to take in some football while i’m there. I know what you’re thinking – Hibs or Hearts? The answer, was neither, as I headed to Ainslie Park to see Edinburgh City take on Montrose.

I fancied a change and this gave me a chance to visit a new ground for me.

A few years ago, Scotland’s lower leagues were restructured, offering the chance for two of Edinburgh’s smaller clubs Edinburgh City and Spartans a chance to gain promotion to League Two, which Edinburgh City did in 2016 after winning the Lowland League and then beating East Stirlingshire in a Play-Off.

There was one thing that put me off wanting to go and see Edinburgh City. That was the fact they played their home matches at Meadowbank Stadium, which was built for the 1970 Commonwealth Games.

As you will have guessed, this resulted in an athletics track around the pitch and a ground far too big for the team it hosts. A truly grim football experience.

However, it was announced that Meadowbank Stadium was to be redeveloped and, as a result, Edinburgh City would be playing their home games at Ainslie Park, home of Spartans.

The fixture list gave them a home game the weekend I was there. It was a choice of them or Hibs v Partick. I was hoping TV would move the Hibs match and allow me to go to both games, but the news that admission to Edinburgh City would be half price for anyone with a Fringe ticket sealed the deal.

I certainly got lucky going on the weekend I did, with Hearts moving their early home games due to a new main stand being built at Tynecastle. Incidentally, the old main stand at Tynecastle was the only stand in Tynecastle I haven’t been in.

The teams entered the pitch to sunshine and kicked-off in torrential rain. Classic Scottish Summer weather you could say.

Montrose started the game strongly, and then started to dominate. It was only a matter of time before they scored. They did, and then did again a few minutes later. They were hungry for more. Edinburgh City were glad to go in at half-time only 2-0 down.

Half-time was only a relief for Edinburgh City, as Montrose made it 3-0 from a free-kick in the opening minute.

The game was a mismatch, though Edinburgh City did get a consolation late on, a few minutes after having a player sent-off. The match finished 3-1 to Montrose.

I had toyed with staying in Edinburgh until Wednesday. If I did, instead of leaving on the Tuesday morning, I could have seen Hibs v Ayr in the League Cup.

Obviously, I plan on returning to Edinburgh in August 2018. By then, visits to Tynecastle (3 years) and Easter Road (5 years) will be overdue.

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EDINBURGH STREET ART AUGUST 2017

As you will have gathered from recent posts, I went to Edinburgh recently.

While there, I got some Street Art photos.

In truth, it was a bit disappointing in comparison with recent visits.

I did head to New Street as that’s where most of it usually is but there was just a couple of tags but no murals.

I did get some pieces elsewhere in the city. Enjoy.

Photo Album

Edinburgh Street Art August 2015

Edinburgh Street Art August 2014

Edinburgh Street Art August 2013

THE EDINBURGH CELEB SPOTTING BLOG 2017

You can’t go to Edinburgh in August and not someone you recognise, usually a Journalist of Comedian who has featured on Top 100 Donald Trump Tweets on Channel 5 (Not an actual TV show yet but it is surely a matter of time).

Sometimes, you actually see people who are famous.

So, here is a list of people who have been on the telly at some point I spotted while I was in Edinburgh recently.

Saturday 5th August

Angela Barnes – Walking though a bar at Pleasance.

Sunday 6th August

Clive Anderson* – Walking along George Street.

Greg Proops – Walking into The Assembly Rooms.

Monday 7th August

Jeremy Vine** – Eating his dinner in the same restaurant I was in.

*A second appearance on this blog for him. Like his last appearance, I ended up laughing to myself about that Brass Eye sketch.

**His brother has already beaten him to appearing on this blog by a few years.

You may have noticed the absence of Al Murray. I didn’t even walk past him once. I didn’t even think it was possible to go to Edinburgh in August and not see Al Murray.

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2015

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2014

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2013

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2012

Edinburgh Celeb Spotting 2011

EDINBLOG 2017

After a one year absence, I was back at the Edinburgh Festival.

I didn’t go last year as I went to the European Championship in France instead.

Not going to lie, August 2016 was unbearable, as I follow a lot of performers and venues on Social Media and all they did was post about Edinburgh. It was like hearing about a party you weren’t at.

I decided to go over for the opening weekend. There’s no bad time to go, it’s brilliant all month. From experience, the festival is at it’s best in the middle as you can find them just getting warmed up at the start and winding down at the end.

As I say, there is no bad time to go, and I began to count down from the moment I had the trip booked.

Part of the countdown is getting the programme and circling through it. Lots and lots of circling.

It’s not essential, but it does help if you plan what you want to see in advance. So, I created a database (stop laughing) and plotted my schedule of what I wanted to see.

However, I got lazy and forgot to book them in advance, so I would be gambling on purchasing them on my first day.

Thankfully, it wasn’t too bad. I got all I wanted, albeit having to rearrange the days I saw them to what was planned.

There was a mildly amusing (I’m downgrading it in order to manage expectations) moment when I asked the woman at the counter if Grainne Maguire’s free lunchtime show was ticketed and she replied “Grainne with a fada?”.

I thought her computer was case sensitive but it turned out she was asking if I was wanting to see Grainne Maguire’s other show she was doing.

I went to see What Has The News Ever Done For Me? hosted by Grainne Maguire, where a panel of comedians put forward a case as to why their light hearted news story of choice is the most important story in the world.

The show was ok, but I imagine it will get better throughout the month. What we did learn is that Maguire’s knowledge of Scottish politics is that Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale has a new girlfriend, with Maguire revealing that she once bought a dress because Dugdale wore it.

We also had people loitering outside, unsure if they wanted to see the show. They disappeared before the end of the show.

Despite a year away, I still hadn’t lost the knack of politely declining flyers and apologetically replying “I’m fine thanks”, a phrase I would say quite a lot over the weekend.

On my first day there, the weather didn’t disappoint. When I say it didn’t disappoint, I mean, I expected rain and got lots of it.

I went for a walk to Potterow where building work meant that the BBC’s location had been moved to nearby George Heriot’s School.

I only applied for one show, Steve Wright In The Afternoon on my first day there, and was unsuccessful.

While heading back from Potterow, The Scotsman were selling copies where you get a free goody bag. This include free sun cream …… as the rain continued to fall. Even the Newspaper Sellers in Edinburgh think they’re comedians.

As I headed into Edinburgh from the Airport, I browsed through the listings in Metro and saw an event which caught my eye called Fringe By The Sea, a counter event in North Berwick, a 30 minute train journey away.

KT Tunstall was playing on the Monday while I was there, but it was sold out.

Another concert I was unaware of until I arrived was Madness performing at Falkirk Stadium on the first day I arrived. Falkirk is only 30 minutes from Edinburgh by train.

No point crying over what I missed out on.

On the Friday teatime I went to see What Bowie Did Next looking at what David Bowie did when he entered heaven.

It wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t something i’d preach about to others. There were some fluffed lines, but they weren’t disastrous due to some quick thinking and audience interaction, and we did get to see Jimi Hendrix as portrayed by Jim Broadbent.

Friday accidentally became a themed day of dead people as my next show starred Margaret Thatcher. Well, probably someone in costume as her.

Thatcher Queen Of Game Shows is the follow-up to Thatcher Queen Of Sho, where Maggie now hosts a Game Show where plebs battle it out for benefits.

As I queued outside, Thatcher came out to inform the crowd that the show was delayed due to technical issues, blaming them on Theresa May.

She even apologised for the delay. That was very uncharacteristic for her. She didn’t apologise for the rain though.

The show pitted Skivers against Strivers. I was sat in the Skivers section, as we were treated to Angela Merkel rapping and Nicola Sturgeon in puppet form. Seriously, go see it.

Saturday morning was spent visiting Grassmarket and walking around the general Princes Street area, before catching some football as Edinburgh City took on Montrose,

By Saturday teatime, Edinburgh was now bathed in sunshine and that free sun cream was coming in handy, as I headed to Pleasance to see Matt Forde with a show titled that it was hastily rewritten.

He covers Politics and, i’m not sure if you’ve noticed recently, but Politics is fucked up these days.

You don’t have to be into Politics to enjoy the show, as he talks about loving the way Paul Nuttall says “Fisheries” and not much else about him.

Sunday morning was spent looking for bargains in the charity shops near Potterow and visiting Royal Mile Market as Edinburgh got treated to more rain.

By this point, The Scotsman were now giving out ponchos to anyone who bought it.

I’d left a gap on Monday for KT Tunstall, but i’d resigned myself to not going, so I set about getting tickets for Monday.

I purchased one for The Damned United. I’d hoped to see James Acaster but he was sold out, so Monday night was still free.

On Sunday teatime I went to see a show called Ringo starring Alexander Fox, about his obsession with Ringo Starr.

His accent when impersonating Starr sounded a bit Yorkshire, but a quick audio montage during the show revealed that Ringo’s accent goes all over the place.

Fox stated that he couldn’t afford an agent of flyers as he spent all his budget on a drum kit to perform on stage during the show.

However, I saw Flyerers for his show on the Monday, so he must have had a good weekend.

On the Sunday evening, I went to see Whose Line Is It Anyway? which was worth it to see Phill Jupitus do Bollywood.

I toyed with the idea of getting up early on Monday to walk Arthur’s Seat, but slept in. Try again in 2018.

I walked around Edinburgh on Monday morning, really realising how much I miss going to MacAulay and Co on weekday mornings, with the show having been cancelled by BBC Scotland in 2015.

So, what to do on Monday night?

Monday lunchtime was a free show called Circled In the Radio Times by John Osborne about inheriting his Grandad’s old editions of Radio Times and being able to pinpoint the exact moment he stopped watching Eastenders. It involved a Mitchell family feud.

Monday teatime was spent watching a stage version of The Damned United.

We even got a programme. Well, a sheet listing the cast, but i’m counting it as a programme.

It was very sweary, with some of Brian Clough’s mannerisms being spot on.

I wouldn’t say it’s the best play about Brian Cough at this year’s Fringe, but it’s in the top one.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t run for 44 days.

Warning, it’s very sweary.

Monday night was spent seeing Fred MacAulay at The Stand.

I’ve been a fan for a while but never got round to seeing as I usually went to his BBC show for free so didn’t feel the need to.

He observed his level of fame as being people know his name but don’t know his name and shared his fear that he might be related to Donald Trump.

So, that was it, my Edinburgh was over for another year and I flew back to Belfast on Tuesday morning.

One downside is that when you go, there will be some acts you miss. Here are some i’d suggest if you are heading over that I would have loved to have seen but they weren’t on when I was there :

Fred MacAulay In Conversation

Iain Connell

Limmy

Live At The Pleasance

Mark Watson

In Conversation With Amy MacDonald

Mr Laurel and Mr Hardy

So that is me, until August 2018 when it will be uphill walks, apologising to flyerers, rain, and most importantly, a good time.

Edinblog 2015

Edinblog 2014

Edinblog 2013

Edinblog 2012

Edinblog 2011

Edinblog 2010

MANCHESTER UNITED 2-1 SAMPDORIA 2.8.2017

A few weeks back, I headed to my first United match of the season, a nice novelty of not having too far to do so, a (relatively) short bus journey to Dublin.

This was my third visit to Lansdowne Road since it was redeveloped. My last one was the 2011 UEFA Cup Final, and my trip had two tenuous United links. I walked past Mike Phelan (in his official club suit) outside the ground, and the winning goal was scored by Radamel Falcao. Whatever happened to him?

It also meant that I would be getting to see some football in Dublin in 2017, five days later than I hoped. Oh, have I got a story for you.

The weekend before, I headed to Dublin for an overnight stay on the Friday, see some Street Art, walkabout and see some football.

The football match I planned to take in was UCD v Cabinteely. I went on UCD’s website and knew to get on the number 11 bus, which was 5 minutes away for about 20 minutes.

So, I got on the number 11 bus, and the Driver confirmed this was going to UCD.

However, when I got off, I discovered I was at DCU, a university, not a football ground. It turns out I had got on the bus in the wrong direction.

It was 7.15pm and I had no hope of reaching the 7.45pm, but there was still some footballing hope as Shamrock Rovers v Bohs kicked-off at 8pm.

I got a bus back to the City Centre and hopped on the Luas.

At 8.15pm and 4 or 5 stops away from Tallaght, I decided to admit defeat and head back to Dublin City Centre.

For future reference, i’ll just get a taxi or ask the Bus Driver five times to make sure he is absolutely sure the bus is going in the right direction.

This match represented an opportunity for me to tick Sampdoria off my 102 Club List.

For me, Sampdoria will always be Vialli, Lombardo, Vierchowod, Pagliuca, Gullit, and the iconic red, white and black stripes across that blue shirt. The current team aren’t quite in the same vintage.

The first save of the game came from David De Gea on his own goal line. From a misplaced Daley Blind backpass. It was very Phil Jones.

Sampdoria were awarded an indirect free-kick for the save, which was blocked, United went on the counter attack and Henrykh Mkhitaryan headed home from a Matteo Darmian cross.

It was one of many instances where Darmian found space out on the left hand side.

Mkhitaryan almost got a second headed goal but he was denied by Sampdoria’s keeper.

Romelu Lukaku fired just wide as he endured a frustrating evening. Thankfully, the goals have started to come in time for competitive games against Real Madrid and West Ham.

The second-half was dominated by substitutions as Antonio Valencia was the only United player to complete 90 minutes.

Ander Herrera had a goal disallowed before Sampdoria equalised when a poor clearance fell to Dennis Praet on the edge of the box.

One of those substitutes introduced, Anthony Martial, was the United player making things happen, and it was no surprise that he was involved in United’s winner, setting up Juan Mata to fire home.

Ander Herrera then tried to emulate Paul Scholes goal against Bradford as United searched for a 3rd goal that would secure the win. They didn’t need it as they were comfortable and in control at 2-1.

The match saw Nemanja Matic make his United debut in a ground he will be playing in for Serbia next month in an eventful week where he signed for United and then celebrated his birthday.

He was everywhere. When Sampdoria passed the ball forward, he was usually intercepting it.

I’ve got two trips to Old Trafford planned in 2017-2018, Bournemouth in December and Watford in May.

Hopefully, when I go to see them, United will be in a position where they have built on an encouraging pre-season, especially when I see them face Watford in May 2018.

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