2014 IN PICTURES – JANUARY

As the year is coming to an end, it’s time to have a look back. I took a lot of photos, and here are some of my favourite photos.

The year was supposed to start for me watching Linfield take on Glenavon. Unfortunately, that match was postponed, so I had to wait a further three days for my first football match of the year.

That came, at Warrenpoint, a first visit there, to see Linfield come from 2-0 down to win 3-2.

The following weekend, it was all about the oval ball as I headed to Ravenhill to see Ulster take on Montpellier.

Anyway, back to football, and the month’s fixtures sent me to Ballymena, to see Linfield come from behind to win.

January wasn’t all about Football and Rugby, there was even a concert, Hugh Cornwell at the Black Box.

Warrenpoint v Linfield

Ulster v Montpellier

Ulster v Montpellier Photo Album

Linfield v Crusaders/Ballymena United v Linfield

Hugh Cornwell Live At The Black Box

Hugh Cornwell Live At The Black Box Photo Album

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HUGH CORNWELL – LIVE AT THE BLACK BOX 26.1.2014

It was a case of first and last for me on Sunday night. My first gig of 2014, which came on the last night of the Out To Lunch Festival, the winter version of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

It came, courtesy of Hugh Cornwell, former frontman of The Stranglers.

In my youth, i’d heard of The Stranglers, mainly ‘Golden Brown’

It was the use of ‘Peaches‘ in a sportswear commercial in 2002 that got me curious. I borrowed their Greatest Hits from Belfast Central Library, and became hooked.

There was a concept to this show. Hugh Cornwell, alone, with only an acoustic guitar, playing one song from every album he has released in his career, as a member of The Stranglers, and as a solo artist.

He entered the stage to loud applause, jokingly asking “Where’s my guitarist?”

One of the early songs played was “No More Heroes”

When you think of the big Stranglers hits, they don’t sound like they would translate acoustically, but Cornwell made them work.

It was a point he acknowledged when introducing ‘Golden Brown’, a song he had never previously considered playing acoustically, until a few years ago, when paired with Eddi Reader to duet at a charity concert, who basically told him they would be performing it acoustically …….. so, he went and learnt it.

Before each song, it was introduced with a story behind the song, and anecdotes from that period in time, such as getting a free trip to Japan to approve album art work, and when ask to record a follow-up hit to ‘Golden Brown’, they re-recorded a song their record company had rejected six years earlier …… ‘Strange Little Girl’

The most surreal anecdote came when he had inspiration in the middle of the night to do a Mariachi version of ‘Golden Brown’, a few years ago.

Having recorded the song, he recorded a video for it. At the shoot, the band he was filming with had to leave early to audition …… for a commercial.

Yes, the Doritos Band.

The Punk Spirit, was still there, singling out two members of the audience for talking during one of his songs, issuing them with an ultimatum to “Shut up or fuck off”

The show, in chronological order, moved on to his solo albums, which he observed, were released every four years.

After playing from his last album, it looked like that was it, but there was still time for an encore, featuring hits such as ‘Strange Little Girl’ and ‘Duchess’, which brought the biggest singalong of the night.

After leaving the stage to a standing ovation, he then headed to the side of the stage to pose for photos and sign autographs for fans.

It is unclear if the two fans he told to “Shut up or fuck off” joined him.

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.