It’s an annual tradition in Belfast, but it’s hard to believe that Culture Night has only been around since 2009, meaning that this year’s event was the milestone tenth Culture Night. I’ve been to eight of them, not a bad ratio.
Another tradition, that it linked to Culture Night, is the booking of a half day from work for me. This is due to the fact I want to arrive in the City Centre between 4pm and 5pm, but I don’t want to go straight from work as it makes what is already a long day even longer.
I made the most of my half day by heading to North Street and that general area to have a look at some Street Art which is in progress as part of Hit The North, which runs alongside Culture Night.
That Street Art, a few hours further on, was my first port of call when I arrived in the City Centre for Culture Night.
That was, when I eventually arrived in the City Centre, as I had to jump off the bus at Havelock House and walk the rest due to the volume of traffic trying to get into the City Centre. It defeats the purpose of Translink marketing their services as a way to get to and from Culture Night when they can’t even get you into the City Centre.
Shortly after getting off the bus, the rain started to fall. This was not a great start. Thankfully, it was the only bit of rain all evening, keeping up another tradition of it being dry on Culture Night.
Being an eight time veteran of Culture Night, I know where to go in terms of what to see, which was handy, with a section of Royal Avenue still closed off due to the fire at Primark last month.
In truth, these diversions didn’t really affect me as I wouldn’t usually be around Royal Avenue on Culture Night.
My time was spent mostly in the Cathedral Quarter, checking out Street Art and venturing into University of Ulster, before a trip to the Oh Yeah Centre, then back to St Anne’s Square for some wrestling. Yes, you read that right.
Pro Wrestling Ulster set up a wrestling ring in the middle of St Anne’s Square and hosted matches. I went to see the first one. I don’t really know the names, so here goes ….
There was a guy wearing a lion mask and a guy whose character was that of a baddie. He punched a child’s balloon for crying out loud.
There was a third wrestler in this three way bout, and he was the eventual winner.
I was very happy with the photos of the wrestling I got, certainly ore interesting than the football ones I usually take.
Although, you don’t usually see clotheslines, chokeslams or flying kicks hen you watch football, apart from when you watch Crusaders play.
After that, it was more wandering about, making sure to take in Culture Night traditions such as Street Coundown and a bit of Cabaret, performed by Britney Spears.
Disclaimer, it might not have actually been Britney Spears.
The streets were busy, but not packed, which made it a lot easier getting around.
If you care, according to my Activity Tracker, I covered 34.37km on Friday.
There is one aspect of Culture Night which cannot be left uncommented on.
Usual drill, as with any outdoor event , the City Centre absolutely stank of fags and vapes. It was rancid, you literally could not move for it.
Absolute scummy tramps. I’ll repeat that. Anybody who smokes in public is a scummy tramp.
Imagine waking up one day and deciding to take up smoking because it will make you look cool, make you look sexy, and that nobody will ever laugh at you behind your back.
I’ve got a bit of bad news for you folks, I don’t know how to break it to you.
At least I can hold my nose, cover my mouth and swerve to avoid people. A child in a pram doesn’t have that luxury. There were people bringing their children to this event, and they still haven’t got the most basic decency or courtesy to others.
And yet, Belfast City Council will wheel out a few celebs for promo video with a trendy hashtag such as #yourbelfast
Too fucking right it’s my city, i’d love to get an opportunity to enjoy it, instead of having to hold my nose and cover my mouth as a form of self protection every time I leave the house.
Going to an outdoor concert. Going to a football match. Eating outside on a nice day. Going to a beer garden. Walking through the city centre. Queuing for a bus.
Just some of the things you can’t do in Belfast without having cigarette smoke blown into your face.
This has to stop. A total ban is the only answer. Fuck em. We are dealing with people who have proven time and time again that they can’t be trusted to show consideration for others. Treat them with the same contempt they treat others.
Dogs aren’t allowed in beer gardens but smokers are. That’s the sign of a failed society. I know who i’d rather be in the company of.
If smokers faced the same level of vitriol as cyclists face, Belfast would be a far better city.
And yet, the fire at Primark is a handy excuse. Have you ever been to Belfast City Centre? It’s a truly grim experience.
Sandwich boards clogging up the footpaths, cigarette smoke and broken glass everywhere, getting pestered for bus tours and broadband.
No amount of selfies in a trendy Cathedral Quarter bar with somebody from Game Of Thrones will disguise the fact that Belfast City Centre is a rancid shithole.
If Culture Night is a showcase, what did the rancid smell on Friday say about the city?
Time to decide what type of Belfast you want to live in. Apathy will give you a shithole.
Let’s get that sorted for Culture Night 2019.