2019 IN PICTURES – DECEMBER (SO FAR …..)

December’s photo adventures had to wait a full seven days, when I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield beat Cliftonville.

A few days later, I headed to Ulster Hall for my final concert of the year, to see Primal Scream.

The following Saturday, I headed to Warrenpoint to see Linfield get a 2-0 win.

That was followed by heading to Windsor Park to see Linfield draw 1-1 with Crusaders.

December so far hasn’t been that busy so far, but there’s still some photo adventures to come in the final week.

It’s unlikely that i’ll be at Seaview tomorrow for the Steel and Sons Cup Final, but i’ll be at The Oval on Boxing Day. As if i’d be anywhere else.

Boxing Day is the start of three busy days, as i’ll be heading to Ulster v Connacht the day after, and then Coleraine v Linfield the day after that.

I hope you’ve enjoyed by look back at my photo adventures in 2019. Of course, there’ll be more photo adventures in 2020.

In terms of concerts, Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott, Blossoms and Badly Drawn Boy are already on the horizon.

Travelwise, Manchester and Bray are confirmed. I’m planning to walk up Bray Head. While in Bray, i’ll sneak in a trip to Dublin. I’m hoping to see a Euro 2020 game while i’m there, but i’ll definitely catch some League Of Ireland action.

May is the new date for Hit The North, so i’ll be photographing that, and any other Street Art I spot during the year.

And i’ll be crossing my fingers for some snow to photograph at some point because i’m a big kid.

Linfield v Cliftonville

Primal Scream live at Ulster Hall

Primal Scream live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

Linfield v Crusaders

2019 IN PICTURES – NOVEMBER

November 2019 began with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield get a win over Carrick Rangers.

A few days later, I made my first trip of the season to Old Trafford, to see United beat Partizan Belgrade in the UEFA Cup.

While I was there, I got photos of Street Art in Manchester, and then visit to Rochdale in search of Street Art, after there was a festival held there in August.

The following weekend, I headed to The Brandywell to see Linfield take on Institute. While I was there, I was able to get some photos (from a fence outside) of Institute’s abandoned former stadium, Drumahoe.

Later that day, on my return from the North-West, I took in a second football match, Northern Ireland’s European Championship Qualifier against Holland.

Six days later, I was on the road again, to see Linfield lose 1-0 to Glenavon.

A few days later, I headed to Vilnius in Lithuania for a very short, very cheap and very cold break. Unsurprisingly, I was out snapping with my camera.

On the last day of the month, I got up early and walked up Cavehill, my first time doing so. Later that day, I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield face Larne.

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Partizan Belgrade

Manchester United v Partizan Belgrade Photo Album

Rochdale Uprising

Rochdale Uprising Photo Album

Drumahoe

Drumahoe Photo Album

Institute v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Holland

Northern Ireland v Holland Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Vilnius

Vilnius Photo Album

Vilnius Street Art

Vilnius Street Art Photo Album

Cavehill

Cavehill Photo Album

Linfield v Larne

2019 IN PICTURES – OCTOBER

October 2019 began with a trip to Seaview to see Linfield take on Crusaders.

A busy month of concerts began a few days later with a trip to Ulster Hall to see The Divine Comedy.

There was even some Street Art spotted during the month, heading to Stephen Street to see a mural of The Joker and Catwoman

The next day, I was on the road to Dungannon to see Linfield beat Dungannon Swifts 4-1.

From there, it was another concert, a first visit to The Telegraph Building, to see Two Door Cinema Club.

The flipping between football and concerts continued as I headed to Windsor Park to see Linfield take on Ballymena United. The following midweek saw a football/concert double header, seeing Linfield take on Warrenpoint Town, before seeing OMD at Ulster Hall.

October’s photo adventures ended with a trip to see Linfield take on Coleraine, the month beginning and ending for me with a 1-0 defeat.

Crusaders v Linfield

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall

The Divine Comedy live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Joker and Catwoman Mural

Joker and Catwoman Mural Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Two Door Cinema Club live at The Telegraph Building

Two Door Cinema Club live at The Telegraph Building Photo Album

Linfield v Ballymena United

Linfield v Warrenpoint Town

OMD live at Ulster Hall

OMD live at Ulster Hall Photo Album

Coleraine v Linfield

MAGAZINE ARCHIVE : MELODY MAKER – 22.12.1999

It’s a special Christmas edition of Melody Maker this week. Not only a new year coming up, but a new decade and a new century. It can only be 1999.

In news, Travis are doing homecoming gigs in Glasgow, and hoping to avoid playing large arenas, despite the success of their album The Man Who.

Justine Frischmann is subject of a Q and A, being asked to give her opinions on Blur and Suede’s new albums.

Meanwhile, The Charlatans have denied that their new single My Beautiful Friend is about Rob Collins, the band’s former Keyboardist who died in 1996.

There is an unscientific test of the bets Hangover TV, with SM:TV Live, Live and Kicking, T4 and Soccer AM all in contention.

There is a guide to the best Christmas TV, with Kevin The Teenager doing a guide to being a teenager being advised as “Don’t miss”

Naturally, 1999 gets reviewed, with a month by month look, as well as some of the best quotes.

There’s even a world exclusive interview with Santa Claus, conducted by Rick Witter from Shed Seven.

Metallica are interviewed about their perfect Christmas, declaring there is nothing more Christmassy than hardcore porn.

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a few drinks, and Melody Maker goes out to get drunk with the band A.

Meanwhile, Longpigs give a guide to the best Christmas food.

Cover stars Stereophonics are interviewed, declaring 1999 to be a brilliant year.

Roddy Woomble from Idlewild talks about his favourite films of 1999, including Fight Club and South Park, while Dermot O’Leary talks about TV in 1999 including Friends, Eastenders and Louis Theroux.

In a magazine full of lists, Head Music by Suede wins Best Album, while I Try by Macy Gray wins Best Single, ironically not becoming a massive hit until 2000.

In concert reviews, Melody Maker took a trip to Belfast to see Travis at the Waterfront Hall.

The magazine ends with a Q and A with Macy Gray where she reveals she laughs when people sing Happy Birthday to her, while Noddy Holder discusses the lyrics to Merry Xmas Everybody.

2019 IN PICTURES – SEPTEMBER

My first photo adventure of September 2019 was a trip to Solitude to see Linfield get a 1-0 win on their return to domestic competition after their European adventures the previous month.

That was then followed by a Windsor Park double header, taking in Northern Ireland v Germany and Linfield v Glentoran.

The day after that match saw me have an adventure, taking in some Street Art in Belfast, and Edwyn Collins doing an instore gig at Strange Victory.

My next adventure came the following Friday with Culture Night.

It was then two football matches, seeing Linfield get wins over Carrick Rangers and Glenavon.

The month ended with a trip to Yorkgate to check out a new mural.

Cliftonville v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Germany

Northern Ireland v Germany Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Belfast Peace Wall Art

Belfast Peace Wall Art Photo Album

Ulster Sports Club Street Art

Ulster Sports Club Street Art Photo Album

Edwyn Collins live at Strange Victory

Edwyn Collins live at Strange Victory Photo Album

Culture Night

Culture Night Photo Album

Carrick Rangers v Linfield

Linfield v Glenavon

Yorkgate Street Art

Yorkgate Street Art Photo Album

PRIMAL SCREAM – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 10.12.2019

Unless something dramatic happens, this was my final concert of 2019, and it ended how it started, by seeing a Scottish act at Ulster Hall.

Primal Scream rolled into Belfast, as they seem to do every three years, to promote a Greatest Hits album called Maximum Rock n Roll. I didn’t realise there were limits on Rock n Roll.

This time there would be a change of venue from those concerts in 2013 and 2016, with Ulster Hall hosting them instead of The Limelight, a return to the venue after 25 years according to Gillespie, before adding that his memory was hazy. A quick search online suggests it was 1992 rather than 1994.

As with my last visit to Ulster Hall, there would be no cloakroom facilities. So, I had a choice between wearing a raincoat indoors like a dick, or carrying my raincoat like a dick. I went for the option of looking like a dick.

Bobby Gillespie strode on stage, wearing a pink suit, but looking more like The Joker than Mr Blobby, being tripped out and chilled out, as per his usual vibe.

On Tuesdays we wear pink. So fetch.

Elsewhere on stage, Andrew Innes and Simone Butler, bounced off each other, metaphorically not literally, as they plucked their strings.

Those three were the only ones on stage who were visible, with Keyboards and Drums being hidden by their large equipment.

Butlet is now a permanent member of the band, having replace Mani who left to work on Stone Roses third album, which i’m sure will be released soon. Just finishing it off i’m sure.

For the early stage of the concert, it was mostly hits from their B List and C List, a lot of guitar driven songs and not a lot of dancing.

As a result, this concert took a while to get going.

Then, Gillespie asks the crowd “Do you want to party?”, before an automated voiced asked that immortal question, “Just what is it that you want?”

The party had now started, with Innes revelling in getting the opportunity to do the guitar solos he had been waiting all night to do.

At the end of that song, Gillespie said the next song had a choir and asked the crowd if they would fill in. We all knew what it would be, Moving On Up, and we all sang along, giving the band a standing ovation, and when our hands were sore, started stomping our feet.

From there, we moved on to Jailbird, then Country Girl, before finishing on Rocks, before Gillespie wished the crowd Merry Christmas.

It took a while to get going, but when it did, Primal Scream were unstoppable, a very enjoyable concert.

From Rocks to Roxette, and it was sad to hear about the death of Marie Fredriksson earlier in the day. Can’t say I would have rushed to see them in concert (They played Dublin in 2015) but you have to acknowledge they had some absolutely banging tunes back in the day.

So that is me in terms of concerts for 2019, but I’ve already got concerts for 2020 booked – Badly Drawn Boy in January, Blossoms in March, and Paul Heaton/Jacqui Abbott in April.

There are a few i’m going to pin my hopes on for 2020.

Crowded House announced a concert for Dublin on July 1st, the night i’ll be leaving Dublin after a short break. This triggered a rediscovering of Crowded House for me, it’s easy to forget how good they were.

They announced a UK tour this week. No Belfast gig. Hopefully, a Belfast concert can be squeezed in around their Dublin and Cork concerts.

While i’m in Dublin in late June/early July, Haim will be playing Dublin. Tempted, but then I remember that I hate outdoor concerts.

As a result, i’ll be giving Liam Gallagher at Boucher Road a miss. Sat in a field in the middle of nowhere, miles away from the stage as the Golden Circle is kept for people who know people and plebs like me can fuck off. Add into that, the place will stink of fags and vapes, and it will be infested with spotty faced fuckwits from Ards putting on crap Manchester accents and doing the Gallagher Strut, boasting how they’ll “Beat up some Cockney bastards”. I think i’ll pass.

Next time Liam, just do The Odyssey. I’ll pin my hopes on Noel turning up there.

Duran Duran have announced an outdoor concert for Dublin in the Summer with a new album also on the way in 2020. Fingers crossed a tour later in the year that takes in Belfast.

Ash are playing Dublin concert for New Year’s Eve, so i’ll be expecting a Dublin concert in 2020 to be embargoed, with a Dublin/Belfast double header being announced.

I’m hoping to go away over the July Holidays, i’m still trying to get those plans in place. I’ll keep an eye out on the listings for Galway International Arts Festival and Live At The Marquee in Cork around those dates.

So, that’s my plans for 2020. We shall see if it comes to fruition.

Photo Album

Primal Scream live at The Limelight 2016

Primal Scream live at The Limelight 2013

2019 IN PICTURES – MAY

May 2019 began with a busy Bank Holiday Weekend, starting off by going to see Echo and the Bunnymen at Custom House Square, Ulster v Connacht at Ravenhill, and then checking out Street Art as part of Hit The North.

The following weekend, I headed to Manchester to see United take on Cardiff City. The less said about that match the better.

On the plus side, I did manage to get some Street Art photos from the city.

That was it. The first two weekends of the month were busy, the second two not so much.

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square

Echo and the Bunnymen live at Custom House Square Photo Album

Ulster v Connacht

Ulster v Connacht Photo Album

Hit The North

Hit The North Photo Album – Sunday 5th May 2019

Hit The North Photo Album – Monday 7th May 2019

Hit The North Photo Album – Aftermath

Manchester Street Art

Manchester Street Art Photo Album

Manchester United v Cardiff City

Manchester United v Cardiff City Photo Album

Salford Quays Street Art

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

2019 IN PICTURES – MARCH

March began with a first concert at Elmwood Hall for me, to see KT Tunstall.

A few days later was my first football match of the month, as I travelled to Mourneview Park to see Linfield lose to Glenavon.

The football didn’t get much better, as I headed to Seaview to see Linfield lose the County Antrim Shield Final to Crusaders.

Thankfully, things got a bit better as Linfield beat Institute 2-0.

There was a flurry of football as the month ended, with three games in four days, with Linfield’s trip to Dungannon Swifts being sandwiched inbetween Northern Ireland’s opening Euro 2020 Qualifiers, at home to Estonia and Belarus.

KT Tunstall live at Elmwood Hall

KT Tunstall live at Elmwood Hall Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Crusaders v Linfield

Linfield v Institute

Northern Ireland v Estonia

Northern Ireland v Estonia Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Northern Ireland v Belarus

Northern Ireland v Belarus Photo Album

CAVEHILL

It’s a bit embarrassing for someone from Belfast to admit, but i’d never been to Cavehill before. I’d been to the area before, but not the actual County Park.

I had been thinking about it in the last few years, but never got around to it. A few years back, I drove up one sunny Easter Monday, but seeing cars having to park (very badly) in the streets nearby, not a space to be had, put me off.

The problems is, if i’m off work and the weather is nice, i’m straight out on my bike. I don’t usually do walking when i’m in Belfast on my spare time.

I could cycle there, but by the time I get there, i’d be too knackered to get home, I would have to drive there.

And drive there I did, entering by Innisfayle Street.

I was meant to go there last weekend, as I was using up Annual Leave last Friday. However, it was dark and wet outside. Nothing that would be tempting me to go outside.

The next day, no football, time on my hands. Again, dark and miserable.

So, I decided to wait until the next Saturday morning. And so it arrived, and the weather was a complete contrast, it was dry, and I had a lot of daylight.

I got up, dressed and washed. Just like my recent visit to Lithuania, it was all about layers, as it was a bit chilly.

I left the house at around 9.30am and arrived there just before 10.00am.

As I would be going to the Linfield match that afternoon, my visit would be timebound. I planned on returning back at 11.00am, no matter where I was.

At around 10.45am, I was near the top, so I decided to push on.

Unsurprisingly, throughout my visit, I managed to get some decent photos. The higher up I got, my photos had to be from longer range than I wanted to be, as I didn’t want to lose my footing and fall to my demise.

If anybody from BBCNI is reading, I might pitch a TV show where a member of Slade walks it, called Dave Hill does Cavehill.

Even though I got quite high, as far as McArts Fort. I definitely plan on going again, and exploring more of it when I have more time on my hands.

When I do go again, I might go really early, as the sun is rising.

I had three things I wanted to do, walk up Arthur’s Seat, Cavehill and Bray Head. I’ve done two out of three, and plan on finishing off Bray Head in 2020.

As a frequent visitor to Manchester, I might get myself into gear and properly visit the Peak District during spare time I have there. The problem is, I usually visit Manchester during Winter, so it’ll be a bit chilly. It’s a bit chilly at ground level though.

Feel free to hit me up with suggestions for places to walk. Nothing too strenuous.

Photo Album

OMD – LIVE AT ULSTER HALL 23.10.2019

“This first song was from 1980, and this last song was from 2017” said Andy McCluskey two songs in, before adding “And the rest will be from inbetween”, stating the obvious, considering that it was a 40th Anniversary Greatest Hits Tour.

1991, then 2009 (supporting Simple Minds), then 2017, and now 2019. Thankfully, the gap between their appearances in Belfast seem to be getting shorter. In fact it was one day short of two years since they were last in Belfast, at Mandela Hall.

It was back in 1996, when channel hopping and coming across the video for Walking On The Milky Way on VH1 (Because all the cool kids watch VH1), I always remembered how such a great song it was.

Then I knew Enola Gay. I liked two songs.

Then a few years later, I couldn’t sleep, and was watching some 80s videos on one of the music channels, and they played Souvenir.

So that was three songs I now knew and liked.

Later, when I joined the Music Library at Belfast Central Library, one of the first albums I took out was the 1998 compilation album The OMD Singles, and found I quite liked them.

It was a long wait for them to come to Belfast, though thankfully not long for them to return.

Pishing down with rain when I walked to the venue, I soon discovered there were no Cloakroom facilities at the venue, so I faced a choice.

The raincoat I was wearing came from Decathlon, and is more for sailing, Sailing On The Seven Seas, you could say. It is absolutely roasting and the venue was roasting. Do I continue to wear it and be roasted squared?

Or do I tie it around my waist and look like a dick?

If you care, I went for the looking like a dick option.

The heat was referenced by McCluskey during the set, asking who had been at Mandela Hall in 2017, and commenting that it was just as hot.

Pointless fact about Andy McCluskey. His real name is George but he prefers to be called Andrew. That must have been really awkward if he was ever hanging out with Wham.

I’m not really a fan of Ulster Hall, but I saw Chvrches there earlier this year and it was fantastic, so it might not be dreadful for this genre of music.

As in 2017, McCluskey was taking Dad Dancing to a new level, and I’ve seen Tim Booth and James Dean Bradfield dance. The key, he said, was to dance like nobody is watching.

I wouldn’t be surprised if he holds Dancercise classes at Birkenhead Community Centre on a Tueaday night. He was working up such a sweat, that his black shirt was an even darker shade of black.

He even managed to display a sense of humour, telling people not to nip off to the toilet during a new song as it was actually quite good. When introducing a song he described it as a new song, before adding “From 1991”.

Just as people were expecting Sailing On The Seven Seas, opening up a Pandora’s Box by playing, um, Pandora’s Box.

Most of the big hits played usually resulted in hand clapping and fist pumping from the audience.

Hits such as Tesla Girls, getting a Yes Yes Yes from the audience as soon as the synthesised “No No No” intro was heard.

Other hits included Enola Gay, Sailing On The Seven Seas, Electricity, Messages, Joan Of Arc, Maid Of Orleans, Locomotion and So In Love.

Paul Humphries was even allowed out to sing Forever Live And Die, thankfully not being hit in the face by a bra thrown from the crowd as he was in 2017. Andy said he was jealous of the applause he got from the crowd, allowing him to sing another song, Souvenir.

The only downside was that my three favourite OMD songs, Walking On The Milky Way and If You Leave weren’t played, but I can live with that, considering how many of their big hits.

As they left the stage, Paul Humphries said “See you soon”.

You could read that as a quick return to Belfast to meet up with A-Ha next week, who they toured with in 2018.

Or maybe not, though that would be nice. Whenever it is, i’m sure it will be worth the wait.

Photo Album

OMD live at Mandela Hall 2017