PEEL

Amidst all the negative news from Belfast this past week, a new mural in tibute to former Radio 1 DJ John Peel has gone un-noticed.

The mural shows John Peel at the beginning of his career, alongside an image of him in his younger years with the text “John Peel 1939-2004″

Alongside the images of Peel is a 45” copy of ‘Teenage Kicks‘ by Derry band The Undertones, a song famously described as Peel’s all-time favourite.

The artist is Mark Ervine, a noted mural painter, who is the son of former PUP leader David Ervine. The image has been done to promote Bigg Life Arts Initiative, a charity which is being set up in the Cathedral Quarter.

There is of course, another tribute to John Peel in Belfast, Graffiti under a bridge near Short Strand which reads “Teenage Dreams, So Hard to Beat”, lyrics from previously mentioned single ‘Teenage Kicks’ by The Undertones.

Meanwhile, I also spotted some new graffiti by ANCO, a prolific graffiti artist in Belfast.

On Friday night, I was at Custom House Square to see Laura Marling perform at the Open House Festival.

It was an enjoyable concert and the support acts were all excellent as well, especially, Louise and The Pins.

Managed to get some photos, not the best though. They can be found here.

Unfortunately, I left early as I was drenched, properly drenched. I had a free ticket, so I didn’t lose out by my early exit.

The reason I had a free ticket was that I won a newspaper competition. It was the first competition i’d won in just under a year.

I’d previously done quite well out of competitions. Nothing major, usually DVDs and CDs, or tickets to local concerts.

The last competition I won was flights to Blackpool, but due to the inconvenience of dates, I didn’t use them.

It was almost as if I was being punished by the “Competition Gods”, if such a thing exists, until this week when I won Laura Marling tickets in two publications. The second publication, I e-mailed to say I wouldn’t need the tickets now and they replied to admire my honesty, so I think i’ve kept the “Competition Gods” onside for now.

Also this week, I was successful in getting tickets to see Manic Street Preachers at itunes Festival.

Unfortunately, the concert is next weekend, and when window shopping for flights, saw that it would cost well over £100 just to get to London. So, I decided not to take up the option of confirming my tickets.

I’d applied a long time ago in the hope that if I was successful, I would have enough notice to get a reasonably priced flight and hotel.

It’s a pity as I love the Manics, they’re one of the best live acts i’ve seen. If you’re going to this concert, you’re in for a treat.

Meanwhile, remember by recent blogs about how many teams that have reached a European Final that I have seen live?

Currently at 28 out of 100, I might be adding Aberdeen to this list, as they face Hearts at Tynecastle when I am in Edinburgh.

I’ve just booked a trip to Edinburgh in August for the third successive summer to take in the Edinburgh Fringe, which is going to be my STLFTEM for August.

I’d decided to wait until the Irish League fixtures were published before booking this trip, and it turned out to be a risk worth taking as the date i’d originally hoped to go sees Linfield face Glentoran at Windsor Park, a game I would have missed.

So far in the six months this year, i’ve had a STLFTEM for them, though I cheated for January, using the (re-arranged from December) game between Linfield and Glentoran.

So far, the STLFTEM’s for 2011 are :

January – Linfield v Glentoran

February – Barcelona trip, Northern Ireland v Scotland

March – Northern Irelannd v Slovenia

April – Crusaders v Linfield, three Linfield v Glentoran clashes, Beady Eye

May – UEFA Cup final, Man United v Blackpool

June – 3OH!3

August – Edinburgh Festival.

Now, I just need to have something to look forward to in July.

Advertisements

STLFTEM UPDATE

No doubt you all care, but it’s finally taken me until the 25th day of the month, but I have my STLFTEM for March sorted.

Originally, i’d planned that the Glentoran v Linfield match this weekend would be my STLFTEM, but it got postponed until April.

I then hoped that the re-arranged match between Crusaders and Linfield would be my STLFTEM, not that idea of William Murphy and Steven Douglas coming up against a semi-competent strikeforce is anything to look forward to, and then that got arranged for April.

So, I got myself a ticket for the Northern Ireland v Slovenia match on Tuesday, which will be my STLFTEM for this month.

April is already sorted with the Beady Eye concert, and the bonus of three Linfield-Glentoran matches, and May is also sorted with the UEFA Cup Final trip and going to Old Trafford for United v Blackpoool.

Just need to start working on June.

August will hopefully see me going to the Edinburgh Festival, with hopefully a wee stop off in Brighton included.

Unlike the trip to Oslo I planned in my head a few months back, this is definately, definately going to happen.

Also, keep an eye out in late May for a series on this blog titled “Photo Diary Of A Football Season”, which will be as the name suggests, a look back at the 2010-2011 football season through some of the photos I have taken.

STLFTEM UPDATE

Just in case you were wondering, got a wee update regarding STLFTEM.

January’s has been and gone, but it was a bit of a cheat, as it was the Linfield v Glentoran game postponed from December.

But, it’s my lifestyle ethos, my rules, and after looking for it, I very much enjoyed the 2-1 win.

February’s STLFTEM will be my upcoming trip to Barcelona, hopefully being able to take in Barcelona’s match against Athletico Madrid.

The same weekend last year, I headed over to Manchester for a short break, so i’m considering making an early February break an annual tradition.

April’s STLFTEM was sorted today when I got tickets to see Beady Eye at Ulster Hall.

For those who don’t know, Beady Eye are Oasis, but without Noel Gallagher.

Having been sceptical, the clips i’ve heard are rather good and I can’t wait for both the album release and concert.

May has a double whammy of STLFTEM, by going to Dublin for the UEFA Cup Final (Haven’t got tickets but will be in the city that day) and going to United’s last home match of the season, against Blackpool.

Now, all I need to do is find something to look forward to during March.

THE NEW YEAR BLOG

Welcome to my first new blog of 2011, having just completed my first year of proper blogging in 2010.

WordPress were kind enough to send me (unsolicited) blog statistics for 2010, and it revealed that “Alex Higgins” was the search term which drove most people to my blog, and that an article ripping the piss out of Jerome Quinn was the most viewed article. How very Northern Ireland.

I’ve really enjoyed the past year’s blogging, and hope to continue throughout 2011.

That said, i’d really enjoyed blogging on Bebo before that, but the ability to post links, pictures and videos is really what i’m looking for, which is why I use WordPress now.

I’m not one for New Year Resolutions, but if I was for 2011, it would simply be : Travel more, and take more photos.

I’ve already got a few trips lined up in 2011. I’m going to Barcelona for a weekend at the start of February, because I just feel like it.

I did the same last year over the same weekend, when I went to Manchester, because it was demoralising getting to October with the nights getting darker, and I just wanted something to look forward to during the winter months.

I might just make a trip somewhere over the first weekend in February an annual tradition, you never know.

I also just fancied going somewhere in mainland Europe, as most of my travelling has been to mainland UK and Republic of Ireland, barring trips to Majorca when I was wee.

I’ve also booked two nights in Dublin in May for the UEFA Cup final. I haven’t got tickets yet, but i’m hoping to get some.

The weekend after, i’m hoping to go to Old Trafford to see United take on Blackpool, so fingers crossed for that.

I’m hoping that Blackpool don’t become a team I always end up missing.

In July, I won a competition being run in the Irish News to win return flights to Blackpool. The deadline for booking expires tomorrow, and unfortunately, it looks like I won’t be booking anything.

The flights only run from April to October, and have to be booked by May. I’ve had a look, and there’s no concerts that excite me, and I don’t want to go simply for the sake of it.

When I won the flights, my original plan was to fly over on the weekend United visit, and take my chance on getting a ticket. Unfortunately,the date United visited, there were no flights in operation during that period.

As it turned out, all flights leaving Belfast International Airport were cancelled, and the match was postponed, so it was probably a blessing that I was unable to make a booking for this weekend.

Like in August the last two years, i’m hoping to take in a few days in Edinburgh for the Festival.

In terms of places I wouldn’t mind going to, i’ve got an eye on Brighton, Bristol/Cardiff (double header) and Cork. Don’t know why, just fancy it.

As i’ve been using Bebo and/or Myspace for getting photo properties, i’ve been largely neglecting Flickr over the past year.

If I have any resolution, it’s to keep on top of Flickr and not let photos I want to upload build-up, and hopefully to take better quality photos.

So, I just thought i’d post a wee guide to some of my favourite accounts and photos

My Accounts

Account 1

Account 2

Account 3

Account 4

My Favourite Photos

Buskers

Northern Ireland Fans

Windsor Park

Stewie

Shadow

Other Favourite Accounts

Aberdeen Fans

Across The Line

Alternative Ulster

Blogdroed (Welsh Football)

Beth Retro

Kev Largey (Belfast Street Artist)

Republic of Ireland Football

Fiorentina Photos

Other Favourite Photos

Batman On Fire

Green and Gold Protest

Elliott Morris In Disbelief

Portadown Fans

Layer Road

Brolly

Milhouse

Sampdoria Fans

Linfield Fans In Zagreb

Wet Windsor

United Fans

Forza Bangor

Sigh

Paul McAreavey

Dave Gahan

Maradona

Jamie Mulgrew

FC United Fans

STLFTEM UPDATE – NOVEMBER

Got a showbiz exclusive for you folks (Except of course, if you follow me on Twitter, in which case, you may have already read it this afternoon) that Ellie Goulding’s concert at the Ulster Hall has sold out ………. because I purchased the last ticket today.

This is going to be my STLFTEM for November, which will be a whole lot more exciting than the Northern Ireland v Morocco game, which I am going to, and prior to today, was my STLFTEM for November.

Having entered the Four Four Two photo awards, I wanted to keep the weekend of the concert free in case I had to go to London in my misguided confidence/arrogance.

Thus, having heard nothing, I can assume I can make alternative plans, so I purchased a ticket for Ellie.

Though she might have “Broke through” in 2010, it was her debut single in late 2009, ‘Under The Sheets’ which grabbed my attention and is well worth checking out if you haven’t already heard it.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm in comparison with Ellie Goulding, I am looking forward to the Northern Ireland match on Wednesday night, though a much bigger match awaits the IFA on Thursday, as they make their pleas concerning proposed bills in Stormont, the most notable concerning drinking at grounds and various other criminal bills which single out and stigmatise football, as was covered in this week’s Sunday Life.

Though the alcohol ban doesn’t affect me as a non-drinker, it would be foolish not to be concerned by it, due to the loss of revenue streams for clubs.

Hopefully, the IFA can lobby successfully and ensure that football and it’s member clubs get a fair deal.

Football has already suffered this season due to new Health and Safety legislation restricting attendances, with Linfield fans being the most affected regarding away games.

The big test, will be the first ‘Big Two’ game since this was passed, which isn’t far off.

After Saturday, Linfield only have one home game before Boxing Day, and that is the week before.

In short, those in charge need to get a move on with the match arrangements in order to ensure that people are able to get a ticket for what is likely to be the biggest attended match of the season.

(Not only that, sod the first viewing of the ‘Holidays Are Coming’ Coca-Cola ad, the Christmas countdown only really starts when Linfield v Glentoran, Boxing Day tickets go on sale)

Having previously applauded Linfield for ensuring early release of tickets for trips to Portadown and Crusaders, the club need to continue this, especially with ticketed matches away to Cliftonville and Donegal Celtic on the horizon as well, to ensure that supporters aren’t inconvenienced when wanting to watch their team.

The situation is best explained in this blog on Linfield supporters site, South Stand Says.

After reading that, why not enjoy ‘Under The Sheets’, courtesy of Ellie Goulding.

12 days and counting.

Ellie Goulding : Live In Liverpool (Reviewed by a mate)

STLFTEM UPDATE

As regular readers of this blog will know, 2010 has been the year when I have implimented a new life ethos, STLFTEM, or “Something To Look Forward To Every Month”

It’s very self-explanatory, as I always aim to make sure that I have had something to go, do or see every month to look forward to.

There are only two rules :

1. There can be more than one STLFTEM in a month.

2. It has to be seen or taken part in. For example, the World Cup, in June and July doesn’t count, as it was a TV event, rather than something I actually went to.

So far, every full month this year has been catered for. September, October and December have also been sorted. That leaves November to be sorted, but thankfully, there is still plenty of time to rectify that.

I’m already looking to get the first half of 2011, with a hotel booked for Dublin on the date of the UEFA Cup Final.

I’m also looking at going on a short break in February.

I did the same this February when I went to Manchester, and it was great to have it on the horizon, during the freakishly cold winter.

My criteria, is somewhere cheap to get to, with a half-decent football team to go and see, and ideally, not in the UK or Republic of Ireland.

So far, i’ve got my heart set on Munich, and hope to get this sorted within a week.

So, STLFTEM for 2010 looks like this so far :

January

Neil Delamere at Island Arts Centre

February

Manchester trip (United v Portsmouth, Kelly Clarkson concert)

March

Glentoran v Linfield Irish Cup tie
Ocean Colour Scene at Mandela Hall

April

North of England trip (James in concert, Blackburn v United, Sean Lock live)

May

Irish Cup Final
Echo and the Bunnymen at Custom House Square
Marina and the Diamonds at Mandela Hall

June

Tegan and Sara at Mandela Hall

July

Adam Hills at Mandela Hall

August

Edinburgh Festival
Stereophonics at Belsonic

September

United v Liverpool

October

United v Spurs

December

Boxing Day (If you don’t know, Linfield v Glentoran, which is actually on December 27th)

So, can anyone suggest something for me to go and/or see in November?

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO EVERY MONTH – MAY (UPDATE)

Just a wee update with regards to this, and a happy one at that.

Having taken a gamble on Linfield reaching the Irish Cup Final, Saturday May 8th is going to be my day to look forward to with the Irish Cup Final, followed by Echo and the Bunnymen later that day, appearing at the CQAF.

I remember when they made their comeback in 1997, with ‘Nothing Lasts Forever‘ and, having never heard of them before, thought they were a new band.

I went and sourced out their back catalogue, and haven’t been able to get enough of them since.

Can’t wait to see them live.

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO EVERY MONTH – APRIL (UPDATE)

It’s now just under three weeks until I go and see James in Sheffield and have a wee break in Manchester.

Unfortunately, the business surrounding the Newry and Larne fiasco means it’s unlikely i’ll be missing a Linfield match.

Of the football matches taking place close to Manchester on 10th April, only two really stood-out. I had hoped to try and go to Aston Villa v Everton, but Villa’s progress to the FA Cup Semi-Final means that match is now postponed.

Sheffield United v Coventry is the other game that caught my eye, with both teams pushing for the Play-Offs. I am a bit reluctant to visit Sheffield twice, having already made plans to stay there on the Thursday.

I’d hoped to see FC United to see them at first-hand, but unfortunately, they are playing away from home that day. I actually have a voucher for free tickets to see them (given away with the DVD release of ‘Looking For Eric’) which I hope to redeem at some point, though most likely next season.

Meanwhile, i’d been offered the chance to travel to the Man United-Bayern Munich game on the Wednesday, which would mean having to write-off my flight to Liverpool. Very Very tempted.

Anyway, currently in the final process of organising a trip to Dublin for the Bohemians v Linfield game. Can’t really be arsed getting up at 6am to get a bus at 8am, to go there and straight back.

Planning to head over on the Friday, stay overnight, then head home immediately after the game.

So, easter is currently looking like this

Good Friday – Dublin
Saturday – Bohemians v Linfield
Tuesday – Linfield v Glentoran
Thursday – James
Sunday – Sean Lock

Already counting down the days.

Meanwhile, got some photos today. Not the best quality, but ho hum.

Got a widescreen of Windsor Park, a sunset photo of the stadium (in the hope of improving on last week’s effort) and a few general sunset efforts leaving the ground.

Spotted some graffiti in the Cairnshill i’m hoping to get a snap of tomorrow.

Anyway, enjoy these :

SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO EVERY MONTH/PHOTOS UPDATE

Well, the STLFTEM for March was organised a long time ago with the Ocean Colour Scene concert, but the Irish Cup Quarter-Final draw has ensured that it will be a weekend to remember.

Meanwhile, leaving Windsor Park today, there was a rather spectacular sunset. Much to my annoyance, i’d left my camera at home. Next week, I promise i’ll try and get some photos.

Meanwhile, the itinerary for the photo travels tomorrow includes some of the new graffiti outside The Menagerie, the new finished Northern Ireland football mural in Sandy Row, and anything else I see that amuses me.

DECISIONS, DECISIONS

Nerina Pallot has announced dates for Belfast and Dublin in May. Should I go to this and have it as my STLFTEM for May?

If so, which one should I go to?

Or, should I hold tight in case better concerts are announced for May and go to them instead?

Or shall I put my eggs on the basket of Linfield getting to the Irish Cup final?

Or, shall I hope that I win the competition on ITV which would see me get a trip to the UEFA, European and FA Cup Finals?

When I dreamt up this STLFTEM lark, I thought it was going to make things better, not cause a lot of stress trying to organise it. Thank goodness i’ve got February, March and April sorted.