BANKMORE SQUARE STREET ART

I usually walk this way a couple of times a week, but somehow I managed to miss this until I stumbled upon it by fluke.

As I headed home from work on Friday, I was halfway up the Dublin Road before I realised I had forgotten to head into The Limelight to get a ticket for Cast.

So, I did an about turn, and took a short cut along Bankmore Square, and spotted some Street Art on some boarding at a building site, running along Bankmore Square, opposite The Marcus Ward.

I made a note of it in my head, planning to return on Sunday morning to get some snaps.

It was a weekend for accidental discoveries.

On Saturday, I went to see David Hepworth at Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival on Saturday teatime. As a side note, Hepworth has blogged about his visit to belfast. You can find it here.

On my way home, I walked through the tunnel at Exchange Place and noticed something was missing, the mural of John Peel. It has now been painted over, though somebody has painted “John Peel Was Here”.

I don’t usually venture to that part of Belfast City Centre, so I can’t give any info as to why it was removed or when it was removed.

The original mural, picture taken in 2011, can be found here.

An image of what the wall looks like now can be found here.

If you’re enjoying this Bank Holiday Weekend, you’ll be glad that another one is only three weeks away. On the Monday of that weekend (28th May) has been confirmed as the date of Wardrobe Jam, a Street Art event at CS Lewis Square.

That was originally scheduled for early March but had to be postponed due to snow. Hopefully, we will avoid that fate in late May, but you never know.

Not a Street Art even, but an event that features Street Art, the date of Culture Night 2018 has been confirmed for Friday 21st September.

A half day of Annual Leave has already been booked.

Friz has been busy at work in Bank Square (not to be confused with Bankmore Square) so i’ll be heading out to check that out over the next few days.

Photo Album

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EAST BELFAST WALL OF FAME – UPDATE

You may remember in March last year, a piece about a mural in progress in East Belfast, where the Eastside Visitor Centre is.

It is a collage of famous people and landmarks associated with East Belfast. A full list of those featuring on the wall can be found here.

Back then, it was a building site. When I wrote the original blog, I promised I would update you when the building work was completed. So, just over a year later, it is now a garden that people can enjoy, relax, and most importantly, get closer to the mural if you want to get a photo of it.

You can also get a bite to eat while doing so, at Pot Kettle Black, which opened a few weeks ago.

The group East Belfast Partnership has been behind this. They posted a then and now of the area on their Twitter page.

If you’re into Street Art in East Belfast, keep an eye out on Pansy Street for the mural of CS Lewis to be repainted. There is no confirmed date for that yet.

That was covered in a previous blog, looking at some new pieces that appeared in East Belfast in March 2018.

And fingers crossed that Hit The East will return in August after debuting in 2017.

Photographed from late 2017 until April 2018, here’s a look at how a mural that was obstructed to the public became the focal point of a garden that locals and visitors to East Belfast can visit as part of the Connswater Greenway.

Photo Album

SMITHFIELD

A new mural to add to Belfast’s wallspace. It’s actually been up for a few weeks, but i’ve only got a chance to phorograph it now.

It is in Smithfield, near to Smithfield Market, but still a bit of a walk away from it. It depicts old life in Smithfield Market.

It is a collaboration between Kev Largey and Jonny McKerr, whose work has previously featured on this blog.

The reason why i only got round to photographing it now was because there were cars always parked in front of it when I went to get photos. A pain in the arse for anyone who likes to photograph Street Art.

There’s not a lot of people around on Sunday mornings, so I made the most of it.

If you’re looking for an exact address, it is on Gresham Street, beside a pub that was known as The Hudson but is now known as Peaky Blinders. Apparantly, it’s a popular TV show.

I’ll let you in on a secret, pubs in Belfast or popular TV shows aren’t a specialist subject of mine.

If that address sounds familiar, that’s because it was previously home to a mural of David Bowie, which was painted a few weeks after he died in January 2016.

That mural of Bowie is now gone.

Photo Album

EAST BELFAST STREET ART – MARCH 2018

If you’ve been in East Belfast recently, and been very observant, you will have noticed some new Street Art appearing.

At the start of March, there was an event planned called Wardrobe Jam, where some new Street Art would be painted. This was scheduled to be part of a bigger event called Belfast Arts Weekender. Unfortunately, due to the extreme weather, it had to be cancelled.

Running alongside this, was the first of three new murals to be painted in East Belfast. The first one was titled Linenopolis and appeared on Tower Street.

It was by a Manchester based duo called Nomad Clan.

If that name sounds familiar, that’s because they did a piece at The Dirty Onion for Hit The North.

Eastside Partnership documented this on their Social Media channels. This is how it looked on 28th February.

This was followed by Friz, regularly featured on this blog, getting to work on a mural on Townsley Street, beside CS Lewis Square. It is of Jadis from The Chronicles Of Narnia, appropriately enough.

Once again, Eastside Partnership documented the progress of this. This is documented on their Social Media feeds. This is how it looked on 7th March, 8th March and 9th March.

Unfortunately, I was in work, and with the evenings not getting lighter yet, I didn’t get a chance to get some photos until the weekend of 10th March, and then again the following weekend.

Eventually, I got photos of Friz’s finished mural on the weekend of 24th March..

Keep an eye out for the mural of CS Lewis on Pansy Street being restored. I got some photos of how it is currently, while out getting.

I got some photos of the mural way back in 2008. You can find a photo of it here.

The clocks have gone forward and Summer is getting closer, which means it’s not too long until Hit The East. There’ll barely be an empty wall in East Belfast at this rate.

Photo Album

BELFAST SNOW – MARCH 2018

Whenever I did my snow blog last December, I didn’t expect to be doing a follow-up so soon afterwards. Certainly not at the start of March.

When it comes to snow, I am such a big kid, and can’t get enough pictures of it.

Unfortunately, I was in work on Thursday, so I had to make the most of what opportunities I had.

So, I got up early on Thursday morning to get some photos of Belfast City Centre before work.

One advantage of it snowing in March, is that the mornings are a lot brighter than in December/January, which you can use to your advantage when taking photos.

I managed to get photos of Belfast City Hall and Victoria Square. Belfast City Hall is one of my “big three” when the snow comes down for getting photos, the others being Ormeau Park and Windsor Park. I would get photos of Ormeau Park on the Saturday. Unfortunately that was at the expense of Windsor Park. The snow had gone by Sunday morning, meaning I couldn’t get the photos I wanted.

Thursday lunchtime was spent at the upstairs part of the Fountain Centre, some of which was closed off, unfortunately, these were the areas I wanted to visit, and try and get some aerial photos.

I was out of work early on Thursday afternoon, but not substantially early to take advantage of it, though I did get some photos of Botanic Gardens on my way home.

By Friday morning, there wasn’t anything additional, and that looked like being that in terms of my snow adventures.

Or so I thought, as I woke up on Saturday morning and Belfast was covered in snow, and it was still coming down.

I headed out to get some photos, starting with Ormeau Park.

When it snowed in December, Ormeau Park offered some fantastic photo opportunities, so I headed out to make the most of it.

As a bonus, Ormeau Park was full of 13/10 doggies, though it is like that all year round.

By this point, Linfield’s match, scheduled for Saturday afternoon, was now postponed, so my snow adventures weren’t timebound any more.

I headed into the City Centre, which was mostly slush, before heading home through Stranmillis/University, which was a lot more photographable.

By Sunday morning, the thaw had arrived, and the opportunity for snow photos had gone.

Apologies for the lateness of this blog, I had some laptop issues to deal with.

I don’t anticipate having to write another snow blog anytime soon, but you never know.

Photo Album – Thursday 1st March 2018

Photo Album – Saturday 3rd March 2018

BELFAST SNOW DECEMBER 2017

When it comes to snow, i’m a big kid. I love going out and photographing it.

When it arrived on Thursday night/Friday morning, I got as many snaps as I could during my walk to work, of Botanic Gardens and Botanic. Unfortunately, being in work on Friday denied me any more photos.

The snow was still there on Saturday morning, so I headed out to get some photos.

My number 1 target was Windsor Park. I wanted to get photos of the ground having got photos of it covered in snow in 2010, but unfortunately, the snow was cleared by the time I got there, denying me snow photos of the redeveloped ground.

As I headed back over the bridge, a steam train went past, so I tried to get some quick photos of that.

On the Saturday, I headed to Ormeau Park to get some arty photos of the snow.

On the Sunday, I headed to Botanic Gardens, getting photos now that I had daylight and time on my side.

Until the next snow day, enjoy

Friday Snow

Saturday Snow

Sunday Snow

2017 IN PICTURES – JANUARY

2017 began for me with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield lose 1-0 to Coleraine. Not the best start to the year.

Things got a bit better the following Saturday when I headed to The Oval to see Linfield beat Glentoran in the Irish Cup after extra-time.

It wasn’t all football in January, as I headed out to get photos of a George Michael mural which appeared in Botanic.

Back to football, and I was on the road to Lurgan to see Linfield beat Glenavon 2-1. The following Saturday, it was back to Windsor Park to see Linfield beat Ballymena United 2-0.

The next day, it was back to murals, as I headed out to get photos of a mural of Princess Leia that appeared in East Belfast, and then across Belfast to get pictures of a mural of Jon Snow. The guy from Game Of Thrones, not Channel 4 News.

The following weekend, it was back to football and back on the road, as I headed to Stangmore Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts

I then headed to Manchester for a few days, to see United take on Hull City. While there, I got some Street Art photos of Salford Quays.

I headed over on 31st Janaury. You’ll have to wait for February’s round-up for the match and Street Art in Manchester.

Linfield v Coleraine

Glentoran v Linfield

George Michael Mural

George Michael Mural Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Princess Leia Mural

Princess Leia Mural Photo Album

Winter Is Coming

Winter Is Coming Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Salford Quays Street Art

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

OMD – LIVE AT MANDELA HALL 24.10.2017

“It’s great to be back, it’s been a long time” said OMD singer Andy McCluskey to the crowd at Mandela Hall. He wasn’t wrong. It had been 8 years since they were last in Belfast, supporting Simple Minds at The Odyssey. You have to go back to 1991 (Ulster Hall) for their last headline concert in Belfast, referenced by McCluskey during the set. Paul Humphries didn’t remember that gig, possibly because he had left the band by that stage.

I love Simple Minds and OMD. To be honest, I have no clue why I didn’t go to that Odyssey gig. I genuinely can’t think why. What a wasted opportunity.

It is the pester power of Northern Ireland fans that brought them back to Belfast, as McCluskey recently stated in an interview with Sunday Life.

For me, it began with a sick day off school in 1996.

I flicked through the channels and spotted something on the music channels (There were only two back then, it was VH1)

It was a cheery, happy, Britpop song called Walking On The Milky Way by a band called OMD. I loved it. Little did I know it was different, very different from the rest of their back catalogue.

I did know, not to confused them with OMC, who were in the charts around the same time. How bizarre.

A while later, I heard Enola Gay on a radio station. I knew I liked two OMD songs. I only knew two OMD songs.

By 2002, I had recently joined the Music Library at Belfast Central Library. I decided to be curious and borrow The OMD Singles, a 1998 Greatest Hits compilation.

I was not to be disappointed. Not once was the skip button pressed. It became one of my favourite albums.

At this point, Andy McCluskey was enjoying chart success, including the number 1s that eluded OMD in his new role as Songwriter for Atomic Kitten.

OMD would later reform and tour, but there was to be no Belfast gig, until now.

When I arrived at the venue, I wasn’t really in the mood for it. I was tired, had a sore head, and was drenched due to walking from Belfast City Hospital. The reason why I was parked there because people in Elmwood Avenue found parking one car in one parking bay to be too much fucking effort.

Forget about The Punishment Of Luxury, this was The Punishment Of Idiot Drivers.

The band appeared on stage, with Andy doing his trademark Dad Dancing. At 58, he is of peak Dad Dancing age. His best Dad Dancing years are still ahead of him. In truth, he has been dad dancing since his early 20s.

I googled his name for this article just to make sure if was McCluskey rather than McCloskey. The first suggestion was “Andy McCluskey Dancing”

Two songs in, he grabbed his Bass, proceeding to play it like Brian May rather than John Deacon.

To keep up with the Queen theme, we even had the fans doing a Radio Ga Ga style clapping in unison during Locomotion.

McCluskey then asked the crowd if they had their dancing shoes on. He certainly had. The answer was a resounding yes.

He was putting his life in his hands dancing on stage, saying that the stage was sticky due to years of cheap university beer. Ahhh, the (in)famous Mandela Hall sticky floor. I’d forgotten about it until he mentioned it. It wasn’t too bad where I was. You don’t think they’ve got round to finally cleaning it?

I wasn’t sure if I was an a Pop Concert or an Aerobics Class. Either way, it was brilliant.

Nevermind Aerobics Oz Style, this was Arobics OMD Style. I might pitch that to Sky Sports as a TV show idea.

If Joan Of Arc had a heart, it probably would have been racing from all the dancing.

Paul and Andy then had an onstage argument, sort of. It was staged as Paul, dripping of sweat, complained about standing under the lights, and that Andy’s job was a “Piece of cake”, so Andy invited him out to sing, which he did, performing Forever Live And Die.

While doing so, he was hit by a bra thrown from the crowd, but carried on like a pro, adding that the bra wasn’t his size.

Fans arriving were given a chance to vote for a song to appear on the setlist on a poll via the website, with a magic password for this at the venue.

The choices were The New Stone Age and Generic Engineering.

Genetic Engineering won with 75% of the vote.

Andy introduced this by saying that people had voted wisely, unlike a couple of Junes ago when they voted for Trump.

I think he’s got Brexit and Trump a bit confused there.

There were a lot of hits played – Messages, Locomotion, Souvenir, Tesla Girls, Joan Of Arc, Maid Of Orleans, So In Love, Forever Live And Die, Enola Gay and Sailing On The Seven Seas.

Not bad.

We also got to hear new song The Punishment Of Luxury, the excellent title track to their new album.

I would have loved it if they played If You Leave, If You Want It or Dreaming, but that is being greedy.

During the encore, they played the song that started it all for me, Walking On The Milky Way, with a slight change in arrangement.

They could just about fit four people on stage, they were hardly going to fit an orchestra as well.

As they left the stage, they said they won’t leave it so long before returning to Belfast. If they don’t return before 2043, we’ll be demanding answers.

In 2043, Andy McCluskey will be 84 years old. He’ll probably still be energetically dancing around on stage.

In the words of If You Leave, promise me, just one more night.

Photo Album

CULTURE NIGHT BELFAST 2017

Winter is coming.

I know you’re going to expect this post to go in a Game Of Thrones direction but i’m going to disappoint you. I know this is a Game Of Thrones quote, but I don’t know any more than that. No, this is a statement of fact. Winter, is coming.

How do I know that? The appearance of Belfast Culture Night on the calendar, the last event of the summer, one last chance to enjoy oursleves, and Belfast got to work to ensure they did just that.

As it tradition, more a happy accident but we’ll take it, the weather behaved itself and gave us dry skies. Off to a good start.

Culture Night is one of the highlights of the year but it wasn’t in my schedule in 2016 as I missed it due to being in England that weekend.

Ironically, this year’s event was held a week later than in 2016. If they’d held it on this weekend in 2016, I would have been able to make it.

As it turned out, I was hoping it was held in the same weekend as last year due to Linfield’s match being moved forward to the Friday.

I didn’t want to miss Culture Night two years in a row and Linfield go to Warrenpoint again in January, so I thought to myself that I could give this one a miss. My lucky scarf was in my right hand coat pocket as is now superstition. If I can’t bring them good luck in person, I may as well do it in spirit.

In the first years I started going to this, I arrived in Belfast City Centre just after 7pm. As each year passed, it became clear that I was already missing out on a lot by doing this, so I booked a half day, just as a did in 2015, arriving in the City Centre just after 5pm. However, the earlier arrival does make me lose track of time, wondering why it’s still daylight so late in September, not realising what time it really is.

My first port of call was the Cathedral Quarter, to take in the atmosphere, and to check out some of the Street Art photos I was monitoring over the previous days.

I headed to City Quays which was hosted events but there was nothing which interested me, so it was back to the City Centre and Cathedral Quarter.

I stopped off to St Anne’s Square to take in a wrestling match, there were matches all night. The match I saw (I didn’t picked up what their names were) the guy in the orange leotard beat the guy in the black trunks via a submission despite the guy in the black trunks giving him a hiding throughout.

There was more walking, venturing to University Of Ulster and Buoys Park, and then to the Gay Village in Donegall Street which was hosting live cabaret.

Inbetween that, I managed to check out some fencing and fire displays.

It was then back to Buoys Park to take in some Street Countdown, and that was me or the night, I was knackered and my feet were sore.

I’d like to think I will have recovered by the time Culture Night 2018 comes around

Photo Album

Culture Night 2015

Culture Night 2014

Culture Night 2013

Culture Night 2012

THE THREE JIMMYS AND CARL COX

Some more artwork from Glen Molloy which recently appeared in Belfast to bring you.

The first is from an alleyway along the side of Duke Of York, just at the corner before you turn left to go to Premier Inn, walking from Hill Street, where you can see his recent Hill Street Wall Of Fame mural.

It is of Jimmy Cricket. Wait, there’s more (Sorry. Not sorry). There are murals of Jimmy Nesbitt (who had a couple of repaints) and Jimmy Young beside it, complimented with an image of a flower beside it.

If it is a theme of famous Jimmys, Jimmy Callacher is an obvious omission.

There was a delay in getting the piece finished as Molloy was busy working on other projects in Dublin and Magherafelt while working on this as well.

Meanwhile, beside Thompson’s, Molloy has replaced his own mural of Ice Cube with one of Carl Cox.

The delay in getting the pictures of The Three Jimmys meant this blog would be posted after Carl Cox did a gig at Custom House Square, allowing me to get my hopes up that the man himself would post a picture on his social media feed of him at the mural.

Sadly, I was to be disappointed in that regard.

Carl Cox Mural Photo Album

The Three Jimmys Mural Photo Album