2012 IN PICTURES – JUNE

Not a lot happening this month, but still managed to get some good photos.

At the start of the month, I went to Amsterdam to see Northern Ireland play, and got some nice photos of the stadium (my seat was too far for match photos) and Street Art within Amsterdam.

Less said about the actual football, the better.

Fantastic city, can’t suggest you visit there enough.

Talking of Street Art, there was a Sandy Row Hall Of Fame mural launched in June, and I went out and got some snaps of the Linfield players featured, as well as Alex Higgins.

Amsterdam Street Art

Amsterdam Street Art Photo Album

Holland v Northern Ireland

Holland v Northern Ireland Photo Album

Graffiti Round-Up

Knitted Art

Sandy Row Hall Of Fame/Rory McIlroy Mural

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2012 IN PICTURES – FEBRUARY

Busy month this. February usually is, as I go away somewhere to forget the trauma that is my impending birthday.

Went to Amsterdam for a weekend, and also went to Rotterdam for a day. Both nice cities.

Went to football matches in both cities, both were enjoyable, but I enjoyed seeing Excelsior Rotterdam the most. Managed to get some brilliant photos of the ground and match when I was there.

Excelsior’s ground, Woudestein, has a stand named after Robin Van Persie. The club’s bar also has various pictures of him from throughout his career. In case you’re wondering, he began his career there.

Little did I know then, that six months later, he would be a Manchester United player.

It was snowing as well whenever I was there, which made for great photo opportunities.

That wasn’t the only travelling done that month, as I went to Old Trafford for the UEFA Cup tie between Manchester United and Ajax, and even managed to fit in trips to Portadown and North Belfast to watch Linfield.

This year, February had an extra day, and I made the most of it by going to see Northern Ireland v Norway.

It wasn’t all about football, as I went to see Noel Gallagher at The Odyssey.

A very photo-filled month. Enjoy

Amsterdam/Rotterdam Street Art

Amsterdam/Rotterdam Street Art Photos Album

Amsterdam Snow

Amsterdam Snow Photo Album

Rotterdam Snow

Rotterdam Snow Photo Album

The Tub

The Tub Photo Album

Excelsior Rotterdam v VVV Venlo

Excelsior Rotterdam v VVV Venlo Photo Album

Ajax Amsterdam v FC Utrecht

Ajax Amsterdam v FC Utrecht Photo Album

Great Victoria Street Graffiti

Noel Gallagher Live At The Odyssey

Noel Gallagher Photo Album

Portadown v Linfield

Holylands Graffiti

Manchester United v Ajax Amsterdam

Manchester United v Ajax Amsterdam Photo Album

Cliftonville v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Norway

Northern Ireland v Norway Photo Album

HOLLAND 6-0 NORTHERN IRELAND 2.6.2012

Must we really talk about the football?

In truth, Northern Ireland actually weren’t *that* bad. It was great to see young players not being afraid to have a go. The only problem was, the opposition were bloody brilliant.

If it wasn’t the fact that Northern Ireland were the opposition, i’d have enjoyed it a lot more. It was similar to their performance against Yugoslavia in Euro 2000 Quarter-Final. The Dutch could at least have had the decency to play the “4 goal rule” seeing as it was a friendly.

When the game was announced, I wasn’t originally planning to go, but I won free flights which needed to be used by June 30th. If it wasn’t a tournament year and La Liga ran on later, i’d have went to Malaga or Alicante for a game, or if Villa faced United at Villa Park, I probably would have headed to Birmingham to try and go to that.

An excellent trip, result aside. Spent some time in Oranje Park, a fanzone set up for Holland fans pre-match with some really bad techno outfit fronted by Jens Lehmann and Frank McAvennie lookalikes. They loved it.

Got some not bad photos, unfortunately my seat wasn’t handy for match action shots. Amsterdam Arena is a fantastic stadium worth visiting, I can’t suggest it enough.

The game marked my first match attended of the 2012-2013 season, only the 17 days since my last game of 2011-2012. So much for pre-season. By my maths, it was my 4th game been to in June ever.

Onwards and upwards I guess, it’s all about Finland in August (and hopefully, three points in Moscow in September)

Photo Album

AMSTERDAM STREET ART – JUNE 2012

Was in Amsterdam over the weekend just past, my second visit this year.

When I was last there in February, I got some Street Art photos, and some extra from when I spent a day in Rotterdam.

Took some photos of ones I missed on my first visit, and ones that have appeared since.

Got some fantastic pieces, my favourite was the one of the Big Cat.

Also got some sunset photos on the Friday night. Not worth doing a whole blog on, but some nice shots.

Got some photos of my shadow, one of which is now my Facebook photo.

Enjoy

Street Art Photo Album

Amsterdam Sunset

STLFTEM UPDATE

As the third month of 2012 is almost over, it was a bit of a close run thing in terms of getting a STLFTEM.

I’d originally planned, to go to Linfield’s Irish Cup Semi-Final at The Oval on March 31st, but that has bitten the dust. Instead, I shall be East Belfast bound on Saturday, but for Titanic Lockdown.

Should be a good day, looking forward to it.

To recap, my January STLFTEM was to go and see Roy Walker at Black Box. Was a very enjoyable show, a sort of Greatest Hits set, and a slideshow, looking back at his life and career to date.

The only downside was when he spoke about Frank Carson, alluding to the fact that he may not have long left to live. Sadly, it came to be in late February.

My STLFTEM for February was a double whammy, with trips to Amsterdam and Manchester taking that honour.

April hasn’t been confirmed, but i’m hoping Linfield will be able to play their Irish Cup Semi-Final, so I could make it that.

I’v got an application for a ticket to the Titanic Commemoration concert at Waterfront Hall featuring Bryan Ferry (quite apt) and Joss Stone pending, so I hope to get lucky with that.

For May, I am getting tickets for the Man United v Irish League XI game (haven’t actually seen them, but I am assured they are getting bought for me)

June’s STLFTEM will see visit Amsterdam (Again!) for the international between Holland and Northern Ireland. It will be my first “proper” Northern Ireland away game.

I won flights with an airline two weeks ago, and chose Amsterdam. The flights had to be taken by June, and having looked at the destinations, I plumped for Amsterdam for this game.

As tempting as catching a flight for a game in Malaga or Alicante was, I was a bit stuck for dates through not wanting to miss any Linfield games in the run-in.

Birmingham was an option, and if United were playing at Villa Park anytime soon, I would have taken it up.

Meanwhile, I got tickets today to see Michael Winslow at the Grand Opera House in June (and worth missing Germany v Portugal for)

I saw him in Edinburgh last year, and he was fantastic.

Meanwhile, I got tickets for Madness and Two Door Cinema Club at Belsonic, so very much looking forward to that. On Friday, I shall be trying to get Noel Gallagher tickets as well.

It will be my first time seeing Madness, a band i’ve always wanted to see live. I bough Heavy Heavy Hits with my first ever pay packet in 1999.

Of course, August will also see me (not yet booked) make my annual trip to Edinburgh.

Noah and the Whale are supporting Two Door Cinema Club. An excellent band worth checking out.

So that is my STLFTEM for the next couple of months. It’s hard work keeping it all up, but very worth it.

Scotland v Northern Ireland 2008

Belsonic 2008 Review

Belsonic 2008 Pictures

Belsonic 2010 Review

Belsonic 2010 Pictures

Edinburgh 2009

Edinburgh 2010

Edinburgh 2011

Noah and the Whale Review

Noah and the Whale Pictures

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Review

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds Pictures

AJAX 0-2 FC UTRECHT 5.2.2012

Having been to a match in Rotterdam, I decided to go to a match in Amsterdam, with Ajax at home last weekend, I decided to take in their match against Utrecht.

Got to the stadium easy enough by tram, and got off at the relevent stop.

The area around the stadium is multi purpose with a concert arena, shopping centre, large stores and a cinema surrounding the stadium.

Got a ticket for behind the goal, and a free voucher worth €10 for food and drink.

Everything in the stadium is done via smartcard, the only money that passes is the money used to top-up cards.

I had decided to wait until the end of the game to get something, and all the kiosks were closed, Silly me.

If anyone is going to the Holland v Northern Ireland friendly in June and wants to chance using my voucher, just get in touch.

The match itself wasn’t great as a below-par Ajax fell to a shock 2-0 defeat.

Every misplace pass was met with jeers, and the stadium emptied when Utrecht went 2-0 up. If there was a protest in the carpark afterwards, it would have been just like being at The Oval.

I can also tick Ajax off in my UEFA 100 list. They are number 29. I’m going to see them again later in the month for their UEFA Cup clash at Old Trafford. Hopefully, i’ll scud them again.

My view was fantastic, but not the most photo friendly.

Photo Album

 

AMSTERDAM SNOW

Was in Amsterdam over the past week for a short break, my STLFTEM for February.

I arrived, during the middle of a snowstorm. Amazingly, the whole country carried on as usual. No public transport delays or cancellations whatsoever.

Unsurprisingly, given my love for snow photography, I went and got some pictures. Enjoy.

Photo Album

 

 

STLFTEM ROUND-UP 2011

Seeing as it’s the end of the year, almost, I thought I’d keep you all up to date with my STLFTEM for 2011.

For those who don’t know, STLFTEM is basically Something To Look Forward To Every Month.

I started it in 2009, and it basically is to have something to go, see or do every month, and look forward to it.

The only rules are that it has to be something seen in person. Therefore, watching Euro 2012 on TV won’t count for June next year.

Also, I can have more than one STLFTEM each month. In fact, I can have as many as I wish.

January was a bit of a cheat, as I went to the Linfield v Glentoran match postponed from 26th December 2010. But, my lifestyle ethos, my rules.

February was a bumper month as I went to Barcelona for a weekend, and then the following Wednesday, I went to see Northern Ireland take on Scotland.

March was also a Northern Ireland match. A 0-0 draw v Slovenia. Yep, that was well worth the wait.

April was a bumper month with a title showdown for Linfield against Crusaders and three matches against Glentoran, one of which was an Irish Cup Semi-Final. Not only that, but there was also the matter of Beady Eye’s first concert in Belfast.

Four wins, and an excellent concert made it a worthwhile month.

May was all about travelling as I went to the UEFA Cup Final, and Manchester United’s last match of the season, against Blackpool.

June was quiet, but I did go and see 3OH!3

July was also quiet, but Linfield playing in Europe and a pre-season friendly against Derriaghy were enjoyable. As I stated earlier, some months are a struggle.

August was busy with the start of the new Irish League season and trips to Edinburgh and Brighton.

September was the Arthur’s Day concert at Ulster Hall (Any my ticket was free)

October was another concert at Ulster Hall, Noah and the Whale. There were fantastic.

I’d hoped that November would be going to the MTV EMAs. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a ticket, so I had to make do with a trip to Old Trafford to see United take on Sunderland.

December will be the Boxing Day match at The Oval. If that bites the dust because of the weather, I’ll make it the Ulster v Aironi match two weeks ago (Again, a free ticket)

Well, that is how i’ve managed to have STLFTEM throughout the year, but I’ve already got some lined up for 2012.

In January, I’m going to see Roy “Catchphrase” Walker as part of the Out To Lunch Festival.

February will be a busy month as I’ll be taking a break to Amsterdam from 3rd-6th, then going to see Noel Gallagher at The Odyssey on 16th, before flying to Manchester on 23rd.

I’m hoping to see United v Ajax. I’ve no ticket sorted as yet, but I’m confident I’ll get one.

Pretty tempted to go and see The Beat at The Limelight in March. Undecided as yet.

August of course, will see me head to Edinburgh for the Festival. If I could afford to, I’d spend the whole month there.

So that, is how I’ve managed to enjoy myself at least once a month this year and how I plan to do so next year.

If you have any suggestions for any of the months, feel free to get in touch and suggest.