PURE HERE …… SO IT IS

Some new artwork to report in Belfast this week.

I saw reports on something developing on Social Media on Monday, so I headed out with my camera to investigate, and then again on Tuesday and Wednesday before getting photos of the finished piece on Thursday.

It’s at a pub called The Dirty Onion in Hill Street in the Cathedral Quarter. I went there once before heading to a work Christmas dinner. It was satisfactory. Think i’ll just stick to Football, Music and Street Art and give Pub Reviews a miss, though if any Bar Managers are reading, I will do reviews in exchange for free food.

As you’ve guessed from the pictures, it’s not the easiest mural to photograph due to it’s location. I don’t fancy climbing up to try and get some close-up shots.

The image is of Belfast celebrities and landmarks such as Colin Murray, Julian Simmons, Samson and Goliath, and The Big Fish.

It’s sponsored by a beer company and painted by Visual Waste, who probably thinks i’m stalking him, as i’m usually at the scene when he paints something.

As with anything done by Visual Waste, there is an accompanying video of how it was done. You can find it here.

Enjoy.

Photo Album

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THE MAGIC BOX

Well, that’s it. The end of an era, and the start of a new one.

I’m going to have to change my morning routine. Every morning when I wake up, I put on Ceefax – 101, 160, 501, 390, 302 – but not any more, as Northern Ireland’s analogue transmitters were switched off.

The last ever Pages From Ceefax (a curious watch when you had to be up early in the morning) ended with this self mocking message.

This was commemorated by a joint broadcast from BBCNI and UTV, the rather excellent ‘The Magic Box’ – a look back at television in Northern Ireland in the analogue era.

It was a star studded event (well, Frank Mitchell and Uncle Andy were there) but I got an e-mail a few weeks back offering me the opportunity to apply for tickets. I was tempted, but I thought this was a TV event best viewed, well, in front of a TV screen. I’m glad I did.

I was curious when reading the TV Guide on Saturday that the UTV show was scheduled to last for five minutes longer. That, was to become clear later on.

If you haven’t seen it, I seriously suggest you watch it. A link can be found here.

It began, being introduced with the classic BBC Globe Ident. Already, we’re off to a winner. I love it when the BBC does retro idents around themed events (Like when BBC 2 did 1970s Idents when introducing a season of programmes dedicated to the 1970s, fronted by Dominic Sandbrook)

From there, a comic turn, as continuity duties were handed to Julian Simmons, struggling to grasp that he was on the BBC (He has previously been on the BBC, playing himself in Give My Head Peace) and not being able to say “Simulcast” – a brilliant tribute to/gag at the expense of Ivan “Phenomenon” Little.

On a night dedicated to celebrating TV in Northern Ireland, it would have been criminal not to have Julian Simmons involved, although it was a man who has overtaken him as Northern Ireland’s most famous Continuity Announcer, Peter Dickson who introduced Eamonn Holmes in the studio.

Holmes was one of many stars we got to see in a younger day, as we were treated to a wide range of clips, in terms of subject matter, era and tone. Having looked back, and laughed at, some of life’s more light hearted moments, as well as looking back at news reports from the troubles, as well as Chris Moore talking about his expose of child abuse in the Catholic church

If you wish to see a young Eamonn Holmes, as a sports reporter for UTV (He looks like Dimitar Berbatov) – check out this excellent clip of ITV’s 1982 World Cup coverage where he interviews Sammy Mackie.

Another well known face who began his career as a sports reporter (for the BBC) was also in the audience.

The five minute time difference in the schedule was explained as BBC went off air just after 23:30, and that UTV would go off air just before 23:35.

The BBC ending was fantastic. Superbly scripted and filmed. Once the end credits finished, a quick announcement explaining the situation was read out, before cutting to the 70s Ident, before fading out to reveal a series of TVs showing past BBC Idents (and even the Ceefax home page)

Credit to Continuity Announcer Mark Simpson for an excellent read out.

That was it. Analogue BBC, and Ceefax, was no more.

UTV’s ending was rather disappointing in comparision to BBC, very matter of fact, moving on to the next programme.

It would have been brilliant if they could have used an ident or idents incorporating this logo in their final analogue moments

So, to end, here’s five (well, six really) classic Northern Ireland Youtube Clips that probably should have been mentioned on The Magic Box.

HONOURABLE MENTION – JIM ‘CRAZY PRICES’ MEGAW

5 – JULIAN SIMMONS

Not an exact moment, but a Julian Simmons Best Of would have been brilliant.

4 – NORTHERN IRELAND DISCO DANCING CHAMPIONSHIP 1981

3 – BELFAST MUSIC SCENE 1986

Technically, an RTE clip, but let’s not let that get in the way of how brilliant this clip is. It’s amazing how some parts of South Belfast have barely changed over the past 26 years.

2. CATS IN THE CRADLE

This advert scared the life out of me when I was wee. Everytime I hear the song (even if it’s the Ugly Kid Joe or Jason Downs cover) I always think of this ad

1. GOAL OF THE SEASON 94/95

So, Lionel Messi has spent his whole career paying tribute to Joey Cunningham.

The season I first started going to Linfield matches.

A different era back then. Linfield began the season as reigning Champions and Cup holders, before ending up languishing in 8th.

Oh.

MTV EUROPE MUSIC AWARDS BELFAST STYLE

A galaxy of stars descended on Belfast last night as the biggest names in showbiz such as Hugo Duncan, Pamela Ballantine and Pete Snodden were all in attendance at the 2011 MTV EMAs, held at The Odyssey in Belfast.

Madonna was noticable by her absence, having spent the night in a police cell after assaulting a photographer early in the afternoon.

Madonna, one of many stars to take advantage of Belfast’s range of exclusive boutique stores, was arrested whilst on a visit to Connswater with her 20 year old “Personal Trainer”

“I saw Madonna and her male companion just about to enter Connswater, and I shouted, ‘Excuse me Mrs Robinson, can I get a photo?’, because when you see an old woman walking around East Belfast with a man young enough to be her son, you naturally assume it’s Iris Robinson with her latest toyboy” said the photographer.

Controversy was provided by Julian Simmons, working as a roving reporter at the event for UTV Live, during a live interview with Peter Andre and The Saturdays.

“Look at the state of ye, I haven’t seen as much fake tan and make-up since I was in the Beach Club last weekend ………………….. and you wee girls aren’t much better” he said during the live piece, causing Mollie to cry, before handing back to Paul Clarke, who made a tit out of himself by proclaiming to be a fan of “En Dash Dub Zed”

Simmons was later thrown out of the event by security for pestering Cheryl Cole by telling her “It’s about time you got rid of that toerag Ashley” before adding “Do you want a real man who will watch Coronation Street with you?”

Despite the mass coverage given to the event by UTV, BBC Northern Ireland ignored the event, on the basis that neither Graeme “G-Mac” McDowell or Rory McIlroy were on the guestlist, thus making it not worth covering.

Sinn Fein held a protest outside the event due to the fact that Take That, who have a singer called Jason Orange, were on the bill, and that this was “Just another example of British oppression of the people of Ireland”

Eventually, the Parades Commission ruled that Take That had to perform as a four piece without Jason Orange, not have a Lambeg Drum or Flute in their performance, and couldn’t sing “Relight My Fire”, as Sinn Fein considered this to be a song yearning for the 11th July Bonfires.

Naturally, the DUP complained, and organisers appeased them by allowing Dawn Penn to sing their favourite song, “No No No”

The crowd was treated to a surprise duet between Adams and Ritchie. Not the leaders of SDLP and Sinn Fein, but, even more gruesome than that, Bryan Adams and Lionel Ritchie.

UUP Leader Tom Elliott was also in attendance, and found himself sitting at the same table as X-Factor crooner Wagner.

“I can’t believe I was sat beside a joke figure that nobody would admit voting for” said the Brazilian singer.

After performing a duet with host Jackie Fullarton, Bono then waffled some shite about the peace process and how he single-handedly brought about the Good Friday Agreement, as a means of giving himself something to do between the Pop and Elevation tours.

“If you thought getting John Hume and David Trimble on a stage was impressive, i’ve gone one better and reunited Oasis”

Unfortunately, whilst waiting backstage for Bono to shut the fuck up about the Peace Process, Liam and Noel Gallagher got so bored they had a fight, and refused to go on stage.

The night was a complete success, until Megadeath singer Dave Mustaine dedicated his Limetime Achievement Award to “The cause”

The clean-up of the riot that followed means that all the economic profits made from this event will now be spent on the clean-up, as politicians rushed to the scene to do interviews for television saying how terrible it is.

The 2011 MTV EMAs in Belfast, really was a night to remember.