2017 IN PICTURES – JANUARY

2017 began for me with a trip to Windsor Park to see Linfield lose 1-0 to Coleraine. Not the best start to the year.

Things got a bit better the following Saturday when I headed to The Oval to see Linfield beat Glentoran in the Irish Cup after extra-time.

It wasn’t all football in January, as I headed out to get photos of a George Michael mural which appeared in Botanic.

Back to football, and I was on the road to Lurgan to see Linfield beat Glenavon 2-1. The following Saturday, it was back to Windsor Park to see Linfield beat Ballymena United 2-0.

The next day, it was back to murals, as I headed out to get photos of a mural of Princess Leia that appeared in East Belfast, and then across Belfast to get pictures of a mural of Jon Snow. The guy from Game Of Thrones, not Channel 4 News.

The following weekend, it was back to football and back on the road, as I headed to Stangmore Park to see Linfield take on Dungannon Swifts

I then headed to Manchester for a few days, to see United take on Hull City. While there, I got some Street Art photos of Salford Quays.

I headed over on 31st Janaury. You’ll have to wait for February’s round-up for the match and Street Art in Manchester.

Linfield v Coleraine

Glentoran v Linfield

George Michael Mural

George Michael Mural Photo Album

Glenavon v Linfield

Linfield v Ballymena United

Princess Leia Mural

Princess Leia Mural Photo Album

Winter Is Coming

Winter Is Coming Photo Album

Dungannon Swifts v Linfield

Salford Quays Street Art

Salford Quays Street Art Photo Album

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LEIA

Another week, another mural in Belfast paying tribute to a recently deceased celebrity. This time it is Carrie Fisher, who died in the final days of 2016.

This is in the East of the city in Loopland Park, just off the Cregagh Road. If you’re unfamiliar with the Cregagh Road and/or East Belfast, just head to Wyse Byse, cross the road and you can’t miss it.

Unsurprisingly, the mural is of her in the role that made her famous, of Princess Leia in Star Wars.

If she was painted holding a gun, the artist might have been able to get funding from a government department by claiming it was a community project.

I became aware of this mural when somebody RT’ed this post onto my timeline on Twitter.

The next night, I headed over to investigate and take a look. The problem with this time of year is that there is no natural light in the evenings, making it hard to get decent photos. Having a day job means I can’t get out during the day to have a look.

I returned the following Sunday to have a look but it was still a work in progress. The artist left a note to say so.

I kept coming back over the next few nights to check on the progress. By the Wednesday night, the note saying “Work in progress” had now changed to “Almost there”

And who was the artist? Glen Molloy.

Does that name sound familiar? Yes, he’s been featured regularly on this blog over the past few months, doing the “Wall Of Legends” near the Royal Mail, a mural on Great Victoria Street highlighting the plight of homeless people, and a tribute in Botanic to Prince and George Michael.

Where will he strike next?

Photo Album

ASH – LIVE AT THE EMPIRE 20.12.2015

For my last gig of 2015, it was back to the first band I ever saw in concert, Ash, back in 1998, and also in 1999. It was a New Year’s Eve gig you see.

I’ve also seen them do instore gigs at HMV since, but this my first time seeing them live properly since that night for the Ash Christmas Party, or as singer Time Wheeler put it, The Ash Christmas Bash

Ash returned this year with Kablammo!, their first album since 2007 – the highlights of which are the singles Cocoon and Machinery, which were both played.

Naturally, as it was a Christmas Party, the set was heavy on hits, all the big ones were performed – A Life Less Ordinary, Goldfinger, Oh Yeah, Shining Light, Burn Baby Burn and Girl From Mars.

Fans were also treated to a cover of Teenage Kicks, as well as some Christmas songs.

Just another gig you may think, but there were still a lot of moments that you had to be there for.

One such moment was treating the crowd to their version of Cantina Theme from Star Wars, with Tim Wheeler, almost apologetically, telling the crowd that if they didn’t know what the song was, it meant that they weren’t a nerd, before revealing that Mark Hamilton had already watched the new movie three times.

To clarify, I had to look up on Google what the song was. Genuinely.

Both Tim and Mark also had spells in the crowd. Tim jumped in and crowdsurfed so far, it looked like he was going to finish the song in the lobby of Crescent Townhouse Hotel across the road.

Mark’s spell in the crowd came later, though he didn’t venture as far and didn’t crowdsurf, just played his bass.

It wasn’t the first time he went walkabout, briefly disappearing at the start of the encore, with Tim Wheeler commenting that they were going to be like The White Stripes.

There was a great irony of people in the front being blinded by the spotlights just as Shining Light was about to start.

It had been a hectic year for Ash in terms of touring (supporting Foo Fighters at Slane being a notable highlight), with Tim Wheeler commenting that they had been travelling all over the world since their last Belfast gig, at The Limelight in May. It was actually June. I suppose if you’re touring that much, it’s easy to lose track of dates.

There was a guest appearance during the encore, Nathan Connolly of Snow Patrol joined them, with Tim Wheeler quizzing him about possible new Snow Patrol material in 2016 before sheepishly grinning. Though it is an open secret that there will be new Snow Patrol material next year.

As for Ash, Wheeler revealed that their plans for 2016 hope to include a Belfast gig.

Photo Album