STROKE CITY STREET ART – JUNE 2019

With my football season over, I decided to make the most of my free Saturdays by heading Foyleside.

It wasn’t primarily a Street Art trip, but it would be rude not to take my camera with me and see what I can snap,

I hadn’t properly visited the city since 2007 though I have made working visits since.

Those visits were usually getting off the bus and heading to the office not seeing much. Apart from one, where I managed to cram a whole day into a lunch hour, and managed to get some photos.

For this visit, I decided I would be heading by train. For the sake of twenty minutes extra, I preferred the comfort and having a table seat to myself, setting off at 8.10am armed with my Bradshaw’s Guide*

*Not strictly true, just a couple of freesheets and the new copy of Q, because when they put a Gallagher on the cover, I give them my money and don’t ask any questions.

As I walked onto the platform at Great Victoria Street, you’ll never guess who I saw.

If you can’t work it out, you can phone a friend to see if they know.

Under any other circumstances, walking past Chris Tarrant would be quite cool, but it felt disappointing that it wasn’t Michael Portillo.

In case you are wondering what he was doing, he was filming for Extreme Railway Journeys on Channel Five.

I know Translink have a bit of a reputation, but describing them as “Extreme railway journeys” seems a bit much.

And there was me thinking I was making a scenic railway journey.

Whenever I make the journey by bus, one of the things that is hard to miss when you approach the City Centre is a giant mural on Glendermott Street. Being close to the Train Station, this was my first place to visit, getting some photos of that mural.

As well as I could try, as it was hard to get decent backlift for photos as you would be standing in the middle of the road, which is generally frowned upon.

From there, I walked along the Peace Bridge into the City Centre, having a nosey in the Guidhall.

As with any city I visit, I like to wander about and stumble into things. One piece of Street Art I stumbled upon was a mural of the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights.

From there, I stumbled upon some absolute hidden gems such as Smart Swag, which has a Derry Girls painting done in the style of a comic book, amongst the art and random stuff they supply.

I’ve got a house move coming up soon, so if you’re stuck for an idea for a gift, nudge nudge.

I also stumbled upon a fantastic vintage shop called Bedlam. The highlight was following the signage advertising a shop called The Yellow Yard which captured my curiosity. It was worth it.

Second hand football shirts, CDs, records, posters, pillows with artwork on them. You have to see for yourself how wonderful a shop it is.

Other highlights included a trip to the Craft Village just off Shipquay Street and a browse through a shop called The Warehouse.

But back to the Street Art. As I said earlier, I wasn’t going specifically for Street Art, but it would have been remiss of me not to get a photo of the Derry Girls mural.

Painted to promote the second series of the show, i’m not usually a fan of advertising mural, but it’s done in a way, like the John Lydon mural in Bangor, that it doesn’t say it’s an advert, and therefore won’t date.

Located in Orchard Street, it is very easy to find. It’s on a hill, so you can get to experiment with angles when taking photos of it.

Be warned though, there may be queues of people wanting to photograph it. As well as that, it is at the side of a pub, so you may have people sitting at a table featuring in your shot.

That mural was organised by UV Arts, an arts organisation based in the city.

I wondered why Gerry Quinn from Derry Girls didn’t have a mural, but I think it might be because he’s a useless shite.

Because I only had a day there, I would be confined to the City Centre, so I wouldn’t get to travel too far.

That meant I didn’t get to see a new piece called Stag With A Bag in the Rosemount area of the city.

That was done by Irony, who is a regular visitor to Belfast and has featured on this blog. He also did another piece in Derry with his leftover paint where Praxis is based, but I didn’t get a chance to see that either. Maybe next time.

If I did have more time on my hands, I might have also taken a trip to see Drumahoe, the abandoned football stadium which has become a morbid tourist attraction, albeit not quite on Chernobyl type levels due to it being abandoned since a flood in August 2017.

I didn’t get a chance when I waited at the Park and Ride beside the ground last November due to time constraints, so I plan to have a look around there when Linfield are away to Institute next season.

Abandonment was a theme of the weekend, with a talk by Abandoned NI (you should check out their rather excellent Facebook page) at Vault Studios as part of Belfast Photo Festival.

Unfortunately, I faffed about and it sold out before I could get a ticket. My bad.

Talking of Vault Studios, i’m planning to get some photos of the Street Art outside it, so watch this space.

Back to my visit Foyleside, it was an enjoyable day out, saw some Street Art, visited some decent independent shops and got sore feet from lots of walking about.

And I got a celeb spot.

It’s such an easy city to navigate around, you can pick up where is where very quickly. I’ll definitely plan on making a return visit. I might even make it a June thing with there being no football one.

There’s also a lot of spare wallspace. Hopefully, if I do come back, it will be filled up with more Street Art.

Photo Album

Stroke City Street Art October 2015

INSTITUTE 1-4 LINFIELD 17.11.2018

As a mid season slump continued last weekend with a 2-1 defeat at home to Coleraine, Linfield will have been glad to be facing a team they have beaten twice this season by an aggregate of 8-0, but maybe not so glad that they would be facing them at a ground they haven’t won at since the 1960s.

Damage to Drumahoe caused by flooding in the Summer of 2017 meant they will be playing this season at The Brandywell (Soon to be renamed Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium), which meant there would be a new ground for me to visit.

The Brandywell wasn’t a new ground for Linfield, with a flurry of visits between 2005 and 2012. They didn’t bring joy for Linfield, with three draws and two defeats from those five games, though they were awarded a 3-0 win when Derry were thrown out of the Setanta Cup in 2009-2010. If anyone asks, I scored a hat-trick.

Jamie Mulgrew and Robert Garrett started the last time Linfield played at The Brandywell, but only Mulgrew would be doing so in this match, with Garrett dropping down to the bench with Michael O’Connor, Josh Robinson and Stephen Fallon coming into the team.

Joel Cooper was one of those who dropped to the bench, having suffered a dip in form since being kicked out of the game at The Oval a few weeks back. Purely coincidental.

O’Connor missed last week’s game against Coleraine due to suspension, in farcical circumstances due to the club having to flag it up. We might have disadvantaged ourselves against Coleraine, but it would have bitten us in the arse later down the line, so honesty was the best policy.

Linfield were almost punished again for a poor refereeing performance thee months later.

Pre-match arrangements meant meeting at Drumahoe Park and Ride, just past Drumahoe as you drive into Derry City Centre.

A 1pm kick-off wasn’t surprising, but if it was a 3pm kick-off, I would have headed up early and spent some time in the City Centre.

Popping to a local shop to get some lunch meant that I didn’t get a chance to have a nosey around the ground, which stands abandoned. Maybe next time, if there is a next time.

Linfield struggled in their first visits to Drumahoe, losing their first two visits and drawing their third, which was almost costly in the title race in 2004. Since then, they’ve been unbeaten there.

I had visited Drumahoe three times, all of which were tricky games for Linfield, a 1-1 draw in 2014, a 1-0 win in 2015, and a 2-0 win in 2017 which sounds a lot more comfortable than it was.

Those with a sense of humour will have noticed that Linfield were lining up at The Brandywell wearing red and white, in a game that had a slow start, the first real attacking moment of note coming when Chris Casement found space down the right, but Andrew Waterworth couldn’t get on the end of his cross.

A few minutes later, a quick Institute counter attack saw Michael McCrudden fire home after a shot was saved by Roy Carroll.

The goal was timed at 13 minutes. It was the fifth successive Saturday that Linfield had gone 1-0 down. Four of those were in the first twenty minutes. I keep saying it, it’s a bad habit to get into, and we don’t appear to be getting out of it. We won’t come from behind every time we go 1-0 down, the last four weeks have shown this.

This week was different, the response from Linfield was more positive. They actually looked like scoring in response.

Jordan Stewart and Andrew Waterworth both had shots saved as Linfield searched for an equaliser.

It wasn’t all one way traffic, as Michael McCrudden curled an effort just wide. For a moment, it looked in from where I was.

It was already tough enough coming from 1-0 down, we really could have done without going 2-0 down.

Crosses were coming in quicker, not giving Institute a chance to defend it properly, and second balls were being picked up, usually by Jamie Mulgrew.

One of those saw a goalbound shot which was denied by a world class save, before a run was halted by a foul on the edge of the penalty area.

Chris Casement and Niall Quinn were around the ball, but it was set up perfectly for Quinn. It wasn’t a clean strike, but it was enough for the ball to go into the back of the net for 1-1.

Importantly, it meant that unlike the previous four Saturdays, Linfield had remedied the 0-1 deficit in the first-half.

They almost went in at half-time in front. They had enough chances, with a Kirk Millar header from the byline being unable to be finished, while Michael O’Connor headed just wide.

In the early minutes of the second-half, Andrew Waterworth finished from close range, only to be denied by an offside flag to little progress.

There was a roar from Linfield’s fans, to urge their team on, but that soon changed to a goal roar, as the Referee overruled the Linesman and awarded the goal. TV footage revealed this to be the correct decision as the ball hit an Institute defender last.

Andrew Waterworth had a shot deflected over while Kirk Millar had an overhead kick saved as Linfield searched for a third goal that would surely secure the points.

It was Millar who got that goal when he headed home from close range to make it 3-1.

Millar was then replaced by Joel Cooper, who went straight on a run which set up a shot for Jordan Stewart, as he looked to recover his form to get back into the starting eleven.

Jamie Mulgrew fires just wide as Linfield searched for a fourth goal.

Robert Garrett then came on for Stephen Fallon who was superb, usually making himself available for a pass, or making things happen when he got the ball.

One final sub for the closing minutes, as Matthew Clarke came on for Jordan Stewart to see out the game.

As the final minutes approached, Andrew Waterworth was played in by Michael O’Connor to make it 4-1. It’s a pity the goal didn’t come before the third sub, as a 4-1 scoreline could have given Daniel Reynolds or Brandon Doyle some gametime.

One advantage of the 1pm kick-off was that as Linfield fans were leaving The Brandywell, other games were just about to kick-off.

The fixture list was kind to Linfield in terms of other games, as there were two games between clubs in the Top Six. Linfield had the points in the bag, and would be able to sit with their feet up.

As it turned out, Crusaders beat Glenavon while Ballymena United beat Cliftonville.

That means Linfield leapfrog Glenavon at the top, though Glenavon have a game in hand. Ballymena United play twice before Linfield play again, and two wins will send them top.

Those games are against Glentoran and Newry City. I’d be surprised if they weren’t.

Linfield are now eight points clear of Cliftonville. A win next Saturday against them, will make that eleven, and we’d be almost out of sight in relation to them.

One result that didn’t happen today was Bohemian v East Fife in the Scottish Challenge Cup, which has been postponed indefinitely due to scheduling conflicts. What an absolute farce.

Surely the Scottish FA could have had something in place for scheduling a Quarter-Final involving an Irish team. It also craps over East Fife fans who will have to plan travel arrangements to Dublin. At some point in time.

Talking of farces, we move onto the NIFL Cup.

You may remember last season when I spent two months talking about how the Semi-Final postponements dragging on was affecting Linfield.

Due to Portadown’s Quarter-Final (against Linfield) being postponed, the Semi-Finals have been put back a week to December 11th.

Portadown or Linfield have been drawn away to Cliftonville or Dungannon Swifts.

That could mean Linfield fans having to get tickets and buses to Solitude arranged at seven days notice. That will be fun.

One positive if that situation did arise would be that Linfield have a home game sandwiched inbetween.

One thing that is guaranteed will be that Linfield will play Cliftonville next Saturday.

We’ll have to be up for this, and be smart. They’ll try to bully us, and we’ll have to stand up for ourselves and not react. A strong ref would be a good start. A repeat of the performance at Seaview in August would be even better.

Photo Album

2015 IN PICTURES – OCTOBER

October began for me with a trip to Solitude, to see Linfield and Cliftonville play out an entertaining 3-3 draw, as uncertainty reigned about the future of Linfield manager Warren Feeney.

The following week was very busy, beginning with Weird Al Yankovic at The Limelight.

The next night, it was Windsor Park to see Northern Ireland take on Greece knowing that a win would take them to Euro 2016. They got that win, and a party soon followed.

Back to The Limelight 24 hours later, for Cast.

And from music, back to football, to see Linfield take on Glentoran, with Warren Feeney gone and Andy Todd in temporary charge.

Later in the month, work took me to Stroke City. On my lunch, I spotted some Street Art, so I naturally headed out to get some snaps.

Back to football, it it was to Warrenpoint, as Linfield had their 3rd manager of the month, with David Healy now in permanent charge having his first game in charge.

I went back on the trail of Street Art, this time in Belfast. mopping up some pieces I missed on Culture Night the previous night.

The month ended with two football matches, to see Linfield taking on Carrick and Dungannon.

Cliftonville v Linfield

Weird Al Yankovic Live At The Limelight

Weird Al Yankovic Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Northern Ireland v Greece

Northern Ireland v Greece Photo Album

Cast Live At The Limelight

Cast Live At The Limelight Photo Album

Linfield v Glentoran

Stroke City Street Art

Stroke City Street Art Photo Album

Warrenpoint Town v Linfield

North Street Art October 2015

Linfield v Carrick Rangers

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

STROKE CITY STREET ART

Was up in Stroke City recently for work, but it wasn’t all work. Mind you, there wasn’t much play.

Was out on my lunch on one of those days, and spotted some Street Art, so investigated further, and saw some more.

I don’t know exactly where it was, but the one of the bird was at the entrance to Victoria Market. If you’re more familiar with the city than me, you’ll know what i’m talking about. I also spotted a colourful piece at the opposite end of the Peace Bridge from Foyle Street.

Going into the city, I saw a great peace on Glendermott Street. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a photo due to it being too far away to walk to on my lunch.

If you are up there and have some spare time on your hands, it is well worth checking out.

I didn’t go out on my lunch in search of Street Art, but I stumbled upon it, and it would have been rude not to get some photos.

Maybe some day i’ll take the plunge and head up for a day on my own time to go in search for Street Art/Londonstreet Art in Stroke City.

Photo Album