keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
One of the few half-decent legacies of the outpouring of bollocks that accompanied the centenary of the Easter Rising is the Belfast finally has a statue of James Connolly to call its own. I've passed it plenty of times on the bus on my way to the match but, until today, I hadn't actually viewed it in the flesh. Still, here it is for all to enjoy.

Long overdue. Heck even Chicago has had one for years and the Americans are so right-wing that they label bloodthirsty capitalist monsters like the Clintons as leftists. Still everyone's a critic and I'm no exception. Inevitably it reflects the hobby horses of the modern "republican" movement so there's a whole bit about the Irish language tacked on to make sure it gels with Sinn Fein's only policy these days (seriously, since becoming leader has Michelle O'Neill done anything apart from witter on endlessly about Erse whilst standing around looking like a hot milly?). Given Connolly's at-best lukewarm reception to the Gaelic movement and his actual preference for Esperanto it seems rather irrelevant but I suppose the Sinners aren't going to include expositions of syndicalism while they were busy administering Tory rule. But I digress.

One other thing - is it just me or does the way the statue is modelled make him look like he was about four and a half feet tall? OK, photographic evidence suggests he was by no means tall (although Jim Larkin was a huge man for his time) but equally he looked about average otherwise and had a stocky build from his years of soldiering whereas the statue has him like a wee scrawny leprechaun. OK, it's in west Belfast and I know blokes are smaller up there (I'm about 6'3" or so but I feel like a seven footer on the Falls sometimes) but let's aim for accuracy. Mind you, I'm sure I could have done a lot better, I don't think.

Still either way, notwithstanding the tacked on Irishian stuff or his tiny, frail body it's good to at last have a statue of Irish republicanism's best ever adherent in my own town and I'll proudly salute my comrade when I pass. Well, something good had to come out of last year, didn't it?!
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Out of the blue yesterday I received a phone call informing me that my annual (give or take) appointment with the liver specialist was to happen today. Ordinarily such things involve a significant amount of fannying around but not this time, just a single day's notice. As I've previously said I'm not a fan of this annual load of silly shenanigans and I inevitably come away with the feeling that a day has been wasted.

A 2:15 appointment was chosen by them and so inevitably I was seen just after three. My previous consultant has transparently moved on to bigger and better things (good riddance, he's a little tosser anyway) and so as a result I was told that I have been shifted to my third consultant since being diagnosed with haemochromatosis. Equally inevitably when they finally deigned to see me I didn't even get the consultant, but rather one of his stooges. I'm notorious for looking rather older than my years but this boy could easily have passed for my son. Call me old fashioned but I find it hard to take medical types seriously when they look generations younger than me, never mind years. My rewards for a hike up the Falls Road and over an hour's wait? The information that iron and booze are bad for haemochromatosis and that I'm overweight. Great to know, son as I never could have figured out that a condition in which you overload iron and which can damage you liver might be aggravated by iron and alcohol whilst I've lived in a state of blindness for my whole life and therefore have no idea what body shape I have. Mr Consultant, whose name I've forgotten already, didn't even put in the standard token appearance this time and the end of meeting blood tests were scrapped, to be done on Friday when I have my regular venesection anyway. On top of that the kid had the notion that he was witty (which he wasn't; Paul Sinha has nothing to fear over his "funniest MD" crown) and had that irritating young person vocal tic of starting nearly every sentence with the word "so" despite it's total irrelevance to what was to follow.

At a time when the NHS in Northern Ireland is supposedly falling apart due to lack of funding I really don't know why they persist with these annual appointments for people like me who have haemochromatosis but are otherwise unaffected. After all the nurses measure my vital signs when they're blood letting me and could easily alert the big cheese if anything goes tits-up, rather than making me sit about like a spare one for ages just to be told the bleeding obvious. Yup, waste of a day as ever.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.

Nobody seems quite certain when (or even if) he said it but whenever the name of Bobby Sands is evoked you can be sure that this quote is the one that will be trotted out. As a justification for the policies of the current leadership it has become almost an unofficial catchphrase for Provisional Sinn Fein and is virtually ubiquitous in their stronghold of west Belfast these days.

Recently on the front wall of the Royal Victoria Hospital, an unfortunately monarchist monicker for a building on the Falls Road, a group of anonymous devotees of Sinn Fein took it upon themselves to graffiti a collection of slogans clearly inspired by Sands' words. "The laughter of our children", "Oppression defeated" and "Mandate + ballotbox" were scrawled on the wall, and each checked off as if to say they had been fulfilled. Needless to say I nearly choked on my extra strong mints when I came across it for the first time the other week. That Sands gave his life for the much vaunted 32 County Socialist Republic goes without saying; one need only read his copious prison writings to see that he was prepared to settle for nothing less. And yet here we sit with Sinn Fein happily participating in an arm of the British government and overseeing all the cuts that their Tory masters tell them, suicide rates soaring across Belfast as working class youngsters face the bleak realisation that the only future they have is one of slavery (although we already know Sinn Fein don't give a toss about that) and the English state, the source of oppression according to any and all proper republican discourse, more in control than ever and they have the sheer brassneck to say that oppression is defeated and the children are laughing. The children of the increasingly gentrified representatives of Sinn Fein in Stormont may be laughing, due to all the government money their fathers and mothers are receiving, but the children of their constituents are weeping as yet another year of poverty, denial, inequality and, above all, oppression unfolds before them.

Still at least we can take some heart from the fact that not everybody is a total dupe for as I approached the hospital today to once again throw away my life blood on the altar of haemochromatosis I noticed that finally an angry local had took up his or her tin of paint to attack the fallacies.

Well done, sir or madam. If only you had been able to spell "suicide" correctly it would have been that little bit better but let's put that down to being too consumed with rage to worry about the niceties of spelling. Either that or the underfunded education system overseen by the Assembly is coming home to roost. Still, whatever the reason some small token of grassroots republican disillusionment with $inn £ein is very welcome and long overdue.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
It is fast becoming a tradition in Belfast that whenever some or other of our masters deign to put in an appearance the dissident republicans take to Black Mountain in order to set up a brief protest that will be visible to the whole of the city (presuming that the population of Belfast outside of the Falls is made up entirely of eagles and other birds of prey that is). Fair play to them as those setting up these statements will often run afoul of the loyalist inhabitants of Highfield and Lyndhurst and fisticuffs have often ensued although as yet I've heard nothing to suggest today's example ended with any claret being tapped. Either way however today's effort was certainly one of the more eye-catching examples:

Now it says more about the amount of time I've wasted watching cheesy wrestling programmes rather than reading the works of Pat Robertson and David Icke but I must confess my first thought on seeing the above was "I know Hogan and Nash were past masters at the backstage politics games but calling them war criminals is coming it a bit". But still, I suppose at least it makes something of a visible statement of defiance, even if it is one that the G8 leaders will struggle to see from some 90 miles away in Enniskillen. Perhaps something at the Lough Erne resort itself would have been more noticeable but I suppose that would be impossible, given that the dissident republicans are so riddled with informers that the security forces know when they took their last shites. Word of advice, chaps - if you're going to ape extreme right concepts like the New World Order have a wee duke at leaderless resistance while you're at it and maybe you will finally see an end to the constant round of arrests after every pointless graveyard rally.

But never mind eh? At least Saint Barack still loves us so we can all rest easily in our beds now.
keresaspa: (Meg)
Believe you me I have no desire to conjure up the spectre of Maggie Thatcher once more as I think we have all heard enough about that particular stiff to last us a lifetime. But indulge me.

The sarding nuisance that is haemochromatosis demanded blood to slake its fetid maw today and as long term readers (bit ambitious there, old bean) will recall that involves yours truly having to hike up the Falls Road to let them shove a needle in me and steal my lifeblood for depositing in the bin. In order to access the Falls from the city centre one traverses Divis Street, a rather grim place that is nonetheless a tourist trail hotspot due to its proliferation of murals, formerly home-grown but now professionally painted and regularly replaced in order to get repeat business (yup, even spontaneous expression of political dissidence has become cynical in Belfast). Inevitably a swathe of graffiti greeted the passing of the woman who oversaw the deaths of The Ten, some more compelling than others ("Rot in Hell Maggie Thatcher" is le mot juste but to me "Iron Lady? Rust in Peace" is bordering on affectionate tribute) but this appeared twice and rather took me aback:

Now I claim no expertise in Hollywood musical extravaganzas, with or without Bert Lahr, but I'm almost certain the lyric is "dead" rather than "gone". I've seen The Wizard of Oz several times in my life and each time I have I'm sure those garishly dressed small people sang "dead". Using graffiti to express malcontent views is perfectly legitimate but a bit of accuracy is essential to my mind. A drunkard's cloak for the dotard that made that slip-up. Falls Road - try harder.
keresaspa: (Percy Sugden)

Guess who scored himself a ticket for the hottest show in town next Saturday? If you're a Taig, a Mick or a Fenian bastard, you better slip on your black Oxford shoes and matching leather jacket and get your arse in gear because you won't want to miss this. Well how many times do you get to watch a bunch of north Belfast no-marks getting a football lesson from the reserve team of the champions of Scotland for the next four years? When you have to get your ticket for a football match from a shopping centre in the Upper Falls you know you are entering Fenianland.

Still, it should be a good larf and I had actually thought that I missed the boat on this one but thankfully a bunch of tickets went on sale at the Kennedy Centre (the shopping centre close to Andytown, rather than the performing arts place in Washington DC or the rocket place in Florida) today and I managed to nab myself one. Rather amazingly it has been fourteen years since I attended a match at Solitude, my last trip being a friendly against a Barry Fry-led Peterborough United in the summer of '98, so it will be good, and a little strange, to get back to the old place and also to finally see Celtic in the flesh after being a half-arsed semi-supporter for pretty much all of my life. Proper job.
keresaspa: (James Connolly)
Look before you leap )
keresaspa: (Scrubber Daley)
Acting on the advice of a recent poster campaign I decided to pay a visit to the Belfast's "4th Annual Anarchist Book Fair" today. Pretty disappointing all things considered, as I really don't count two half-empty tables, one containing only leaflets and pamphlets, as a book fair. For me that's simply a room with a couple of books in it. Not only that but the prices were far too rich for my blood, leaning decidedly towards the capitalist rather than the anarchist end of things. Nothing took my fancy in the end and I resisted the temptation to join some "workshop" in which a bunch of scruffs sat around trying to convince each other that because everything is now run on co-operative models (news to me) we are mere weeks away from true anarchy. OK. I'm no anarchist as you all know but I have no beef with them as they are nice, hope-filled dreamers but they really do need to get a little bit of irony about what they do because for the brief spell I spent at their book fair I felt like I was in a bad 20th Century Coyote sketch.

So I left empty-handed but luckily it was still early and this being the last day of the Irish League season I decided to pay another visit to Donegal Celtic, reasoning that I had yet to see their opponents Carrick Rangers in action and with their relegation imminent I might not get another chance to see them any time soon (and obviously only a fool or a madman omits seeing Carrick Gers in the flesh from his bucket list). My initial intention had been to walk the full distance but time beat me and by the time I reached the Kennedy Centre on the Upper Falls I was forced to surrender and hail one of those black taxis that link the western inner city with the sink estates that form the meat in the sandwich between Belfast and Lisburn. A Twinbrook taxi meant being left near the fortress that is Woodbourne RUC barracks PSNI lovely place and a run up the Suffolk Road itself but I made it in plenty of time to see the soi disant Amber Army make their entrance. I did a quick headcount from the home stand from which I estimate forty hardy souls made the trip from John de Courcy's old stamping ground (not to mention their Lisburn supporters club, which appeared to have one member) to the wilds of Glengoland so it was more like the Amber Platoon rather than an army. Mind you the home support was hardly overwhelming and all things considered I reckon if the gate broke three figures it wasn't by much. It's all glamour at the Irish League.

To the credit of the Platoon it must be said that they were in good voice from start to finish despite the fact that this was their last game in the top division before being dispatched to the even more glamorous environs of Coagh, Castlederg and Tobermore. Initially hate-filled, telling us that they hated "Portadown, Linfield ... Cliftonville too (they're shit) ... [and] Ballyclare Comrades [nothing like a bit of East Antrim provincialism]", they soon fell back on an interminable rendition of "when the Gers go marching in" before dusting off a rather inventive take on the "Blaydon Races", with lyrics rewritten to apply to Carrickfergus. As to the match itself, anybody who hadn't seen these two for the first time would be surprised to hear that Carrick were the team on their way down and DC were the comfortable in mid-table side thirteen points (at kick off) above them. Carrick were a bustling, busy side of battlers whose vocal fans will probably be asking themselves why their team didn't manage to play like this all season as, with the exception of a sweetly-struck free kick from Paul McVeigh for the home side, Carrick were on top throughout the first half and were unlucky not to go in at half-time with a bigger lead than 3-1. Somewhat surprisingly given Carrick's associations with loyalism and DC's republican identity the Amber Platoon were permitted into the home stand at half time to get their grub and even more surprisingly there was not even a hint of trouble. Indeed the whole thing was amazingly good natured, with the home support, a resolutely non-singing bunch who generally only puncture the silence with yelled expletives, rather taking to the sing-song East Antrim lot and rather enjoying their enthusiasm.

The second half was a rather more even affair, albeit with Carrick still on top, and it was frequently end-to-end stuff with the frankly ludicrous final score of DC 3 Carrick 5 establishing a new personal record for the highest-scoring match I have ever attended. What had started as a balmy enough spring afternoon had, by the second half given way to a sudden outbreak of bitter cold, not helped by the Suffolk Road's mountainous location and even a notorious cheapskate like me was forced to give up the ghost and splurge some of my coppers on a cup of tea, the first in at least a year for various reasons. By the time the madness ended it all became ridiculously polite as the DC supporters lined up to applaud the half-appreciative, half-embarrassed Carrick Rangers victors off the pitch in a rather touching gesture of sportsmanship and the Carrick supporters were brought back to the home stand to board their coach which had been parked behind it beside the social club. Everything was so nice that even as I waited at the Suffolk Road bus stop after the match and the Carrick supporters bus drove slowly past not only did nobody give me the finger or make a tosser gesture but a couple of them even gave a polite wave as if to say "hope to be back here the season after next". As football matches go this was practically a love-in at times.

So all in all jolly good fun in the end, despite the anarchist book fair being a bit of a washout. The standards of the Irish League are unquestionably woeful but it is rough and ready fun and it was a pleasant surprise to be able to watch Celtic and Rangers playing each other without all Hell breaking loose. Good luck to Carrick Rangers for next season as they are a good-humoured crew of roustabouts whilst for my part I will look forward to renewing my acquaintance with Suffolk Road in the autumn.
keresaspa: (Cassidy says...)
Hai guise. Long time no speak and all that. Little to report admittedly and little to get my vitriol rising these last days, hence the self-imposed period of silence. Still nothing to speak about really so in lieu of any actual content please enjoy this picture of a squirrel taken by my own fair hand this very day (well, technically yesterday I suppose). His name is Duncan and he lives in the Falls Park so if you ever find yourself there remember you are on his turf so give him the respect he deserves or he'll gnaw your face good.

keresaspa: (Mrs Mack)

In the interests of showing solidarity with my oppressed sisters the world over I have started today with an image from my collection in your honour. Yup, nothing says International Women's Day like a mural in honour of a bunch of big culchie sorts squeezed into fuzzy green uniforms tramping through the streets of some godforsaken County Laois village in their sensible walking brogues. But seriously for their strong work in support of the radical left I am happy to doff my non-existent hat to Winifred Carney and Nora Connolly, two fine females. I am normally critical of the arbitrary assignation of dates to a particular event seemingly based on nothing but International Women's Day was good enough for me la Lenin and so it is good enough for me. Mind you the "days" seem to be coming thick and fast in March - drunken tossers days on the 17th, Mother's Day on the 18th, Polish-Hungarian Friendship Day on 23rd (mustn't forget that one), clocks go in some different direction on the 25th, Reba McEntire Day on the 28th, the list goes on. Heck even yesterday was that most arbitrary and pointless of observances No Smoking Day, a day on which a former smoker like myself who nevertheless retains a pro-smoking agenda and who misses his fegs a lot more than he enjoys improved breathing (in fact my breathing is actually somewhat worse now than it was when I smoked) really has to marshal every fibre of his willpower not go and buy a deck of Dunhill International just to stick two fingers up to the health fascist mob. I didn't of course but No Smoking Day really grinds my gears as part of that insidious anti-smoking attitudes that is now trying destroy old films and even photographs with its twisted nannyism - mind your own bloody business and you'll have enough to mind, you whiny little bitches.

For my own part International Women's Day included a visit to Clonard Martyrs Memorial Garden, a visually very impressive Garden of Remembrance situated on Bombay Street in the Clonard area of west Belfast, ran by this mob. Given that the burning of houses by mobs from the neighbouring Shankill Road in 1969 helped to galvanise local support for the IRA and essentially begin the Troubles in Belfast as well as the large number of people from the area to die in said Troubles and the fact that it is right beside the peaceline it is a well-chosen place to house what must be the finest of these sort of gardens in Belfast. Its slightly unusual location (because of the peacelines Clonard leads nowhere and it is actually a little far from the main Falls Road) means that it is not as often viewed as some of the other similar attractions in west Belfast but I must say it impressed me and the availability of a (highly partisan) booklet produced by the ex-prisoners association was a very nice touch. And apropos of nothing here's me standing therein:

See I told you I had huge feet! So in conclusion Clonard Martyrs Memorial Garden is worth a visit and I salute my sisters in the struggle on this day.
keresaspa: (I got the last dodo!)
Jolly old fun had today showing my man [ profile] burkesworks round the seedy underbelly of this dirty old town I call home. Well, what visit to Belfast would be complete with seeing the brutal beauty of the Falls and Shankill as well as the rather more resplendent, if sadly derelict, majesty of Crumlin Road courthouse? Let the tourist board say what they want, the real Belfast is in the estates not these ghastly Titanic vanity projects that they are throwing millions at. Plus there's nothing I like better than having a captive audience to dump all my pointless knowledge. Glad to see you, mucker and haste ye back. Oh and a heads up for the pair of you - Frank Carson's cortege is liable to a royal pain round Clifton Street tomorrow morning. Even in death he's a wheeler and Wilson.

And finally a strange coincidence came to light yesterday, perhaps another that might be placed into the recently discussed file known as Twilight Zone. Consider the evidence:

*29th February - David Jones dies.
*1st March - David Jones becomes manager of Sheffield Wednesday.

Who says that Leap Day isn't a magical, mystical time? If Ena Sharples turns up at Hillsborough and calls the burly Scouse play-off blower her grandson then we'll know this really is the world's final year after all.
keresaspa: (Tiger Jeet Singh)
The shops are apparently having it rough (poor dears) as the impoverished hordes being crucified by the ConDem junta suddenly find that it is harder to celebrate the birth of the Messiah by spending fistfuls of rhino on the over-priced and unnecessary tat with which they are packed. However it hasn't stopped the town reaching its usual agog state these last few days. If Dante's fourth circle of Hell is to be defined as Avarice then I think the closest he might come to finding it would be Castle Court in the fortnight before Christmas. People from the sticks who don't get out very often and don't quite know how to walk as a result, groups of morons standing in the middle of the street talking, ensuring that nobody else can get past them, not to mention the dreaded prams. I appreciate that the world is overcrowded and so we need everybody to have a lot more children to make up for the surfeit of people but at times like this when they know everywhere is going to be totally mental could they not put babies in those baby carrier things to save a bit of space? They can't ALL have bad backs surely and trying to get out of the way when three separate pieces of wheeled steel are converging on you is an experience that I would really like to see put to bed. That and the fact that so many people who push prams seem to have had lobotomies and so stand dead still in the middle of shop aisles, thus preventing everyone from getting past them. Is it asking too much to expect people to get a licence to pilot these things? New stream of revenue right there Dave, although I suppose it would mean attacking the breeders and we all know politicians find us childless freaks a much easier target for a kicking. Ideally I would avoid the town altogether but things need to be got and inevitably I will have to endure it tomorrow again when haemochromatosis demands its blood sacrifice and I find no way to access the Falls Road without passing through the city centre. Blood loss + prams = joy of joys.

I suppose I should also say something about Saint Barack (peace be upon him) delivering peace, demawkcracy and prosperity to Eye-raq but a) you all know my thoughts about all that by now and b) The Morning Star has already stated pretty much everything I think about so just read that and insert bits of oblique Belfast slang here and there and you'll have my take on it. Interesting too just how much Obama attacked the invasion when he was looking election but how much he is revelling in triumph now, some years later. Nobel Peace Prize well earned there Hussein.
keresaspa: (Seagull)
Were Belfast a normal city the neighbouring Falls and Shankill roads would link directly at a minimum of eight locations i.e. Clonard Street/Lawnbrook Avenue, Waterville Street/Canmore Street, Conway Street, North Howard Street, Northumberland Street, Percy Street, Boundary Street and Townsend Street. However a history of rioting, burning houses and killing each other means that of these links only one remains and that is Northumberland Street. Even then both the road and each side of the pavement has two sets of gates that can be locked from either side with an eerie stretch of no man's land in between. There are other links between the Shankill and its republican neighbours, namely Lanark Way, the West Circular Road and Springmartin Road, all of which lead to the Springfield Road, and the junction of Ballygomartin Road and Whiterock Road (although this is in the mountains and only one nutjob lives there), but for those seeking a direct route from Shankill to Falls Northumberland Street is the only game in town.

There exists within the Catholic Church in Ireland (and perhaps further afield for all I know) a tradition for November dead lists where during the month of November people can submit lists of dead people they know to be prayed for at a specific church. As a favour to my auld doll I volunteered to deposit copies of said lists at any such church I passed in Belfast and to date I had managed five viz. the Good Shepherd round the corner, St. Mary's and St Patrick's in the town, St. Paul's on the Falls and the Holy Cross on the Crumlin Road. Today I endeavoured to add St. Peter's Cathedral on the lower Falls and the Holy Family on the Limestone Road to that list. St. Peter's was easy enough but the issue then came of how to get to the Holy Family, which is in north Belfast. The wishy-washy route would involve going back down the Falls, crossing past the front of Carrick Hill, going up Clifton Street to Carlisle Circus then the Antrim Road up as far as the Water Works and so onto the Limestone. Such a route however is over two miles and is designed with the motorist rather than the pedestrian in mind and with rain clouds a-gathering I knew I could save time with a straight run down Northumberland Street, Agnes Street and Clifton Park Avenue (a continuous route despite the name changes) before cutting down Brucevale Park onto the Antrim Road. As such for the first time in my life I made the journey from one end of Northumberland Street to the other, completing a rite of passage in Belfast life taken by only few. This being Belfast murals loom large and the end/beginning of each side is marked by wall painting, each of which provided an interesting insight into the ideologies driving republicanism and loyalism respectively. The final republican mural on Northumberland Street shows Frederick Douglass surrounded by other images relating to civil rights, the struggle against apartheid and even feminism. The first loyalist mural I encountered bade me welcome to the Shankill Road but showed me images of the Orange Order, poppies, King Billy, Linfield and fists just in case I took the welcome too literally. So on the one side it is equal human rights on the other it is militant Protestantism and a dig in the bake. I believe I have demonstrated that, despite my partial commitment to republicanism, I have no problem with the Shankill Road but this time the Falls well and truly has them licked and it is another sad reflection on the faults of loyalism that it responds to genuinely admirable people with the same old tired unionist clichés. If you look to the examples of Douglass and Rosa Parks barriers will come down if you look to the Orange Order and tired old symbolism then the gates will be there forever.

And having just consulted the ever reliable (aye right) Google Maps I have now learnt that my "short cut" is actually about the same distance as the wishy-washy route and, inevitably, the rain clouds caught up to me as I made my way down Duncairn Gardens and I got the inevitable soaking I deserve. Still going down Northumberland Street makes one dead hard so there.
keresaspa: (Meg)
It having been three months since my last blood-letting today saw the malevolent beast that is haemochromatosis demand the spilling of gore once again. A new system was in place today for me to get used to whereby the burden of treating us iron-loaders had been shifted from the junior doctors onto a dedicated nurse in another part of the hospital. For once though it is a change for the better as the dedicated nurse was as nice as ninepence and was a complete pro who slid the big needle in and out of my arm with the minimum of fuss. A marked contrast to the junior doctors, a mixed bunch at best who might be good but equally might be shaky messy dolts who stab the needle deep into you and then watch in dismay as it falls out again, a crimson tide gushing down my arm as they scratch their heads in confusion. More than once have I had to stroll home from the Falls Road desperately trying to conceal the bloodstains on my shirt as a consequence of a dose of incompetence from some kiddywig. The spectre of disappointment has also been banished as it is now an appointments system instead of the previous way which required you to turn up when you felt like and hope somebody would take you. Waiting for an hour was not unheard of and I was even turned away once as nobody could be arsed doing it. So all in all as pleasant as it is possible for the medicinal draining of blood to be and I can now get away without another one until the 16th of December (assuming my ferrotin levels haven't mysteriously shot up). As is inevitable after these I'm feeling a bit ropey now but the new system definitely gets my seal of approval.

Meanwhile I've jumped on the meme bandwagon after being donated a y from [ profile] bombardiette. You know the score, ten things you like beginning with that letter so if you want a letter ask away.

*Yoko Ono - isn't she the craziest? Better than John Lennon in the opinion of me and nobody else.
*You are the Ref - annoyingly addictive comic strip/puzzle from the golden age of football magazines, thankfully now resurrected as a weekly feature over here.
*Y Tebot Piws - The Purple Teapot to you, sir. Wacky psychedelic funsters singing in Welsh whose opus "Y Gore A'r Gwaetha O'r" I now possess thanks to [ profile] queenmartina's birthday present haul. Their best song? Why "Mae Rhywyn Wedi Dwyn'fy Nhrwyn" of course.
*You didn't wanna - Harry Enfield's finest ever creation from the good old days when he was actually funny. Come to think of it I don't know what this character is actually called but he has always been "you didn't wanna" in my house!
*Yogi Bear - classic Yogi from his original couple of series set in Jellystone Park only mind you. Once they started sending him into space and equaly ludicrous plot devices interest waned.
*York Street - seedy place on the outskirts of Belfast city centre that leads onto the Shore Road which in turn leads to Newtownabbey. Nice and grim and has a decent low-end shopping centre.
*Yamara - silly humour strip that used to appear in Dragon magazine back in the day. I haven't role played since forever but this would remind me of my later childhood so much.
*Youjeen - adorable Korean singer to whom you should all listen. Power ballad-tastic.
*Yellow-Legged Gull - gulls are my favourite birds of course and this is as fine a specimen as any.
*You Bet! - compellingly awful charity/game/variety show from the early 1990s featuring "celebrities" you have never heard of, daft challenges involving model planes or synchronised dog displays and Matthew Kelly in a sumo mawashi. It couldn't be much more Alan Partridge if it tried which makes the reruns unmissable in a car crash sort of way.
keresaspa: (Obelix)
A couple of years ago Birmingham City Council took the decision to ban apostrophes in street signs because people are a bit too thick to use them these days. I witnessed a little something today that made me wonder whether the Brummies might have been on to something there.

St. James's Road is a street that runs off the Falls Road near the City Cemetery and lends its name to the St. James's District that surrounds it. So were one to open a small shop on this road it would seem fairly logical to give it a name like St. James's Stores. Precisely what the proprietor of said shop did but with one rather glaring error.

Shocking isn't it, forgetting the full stop after "St" like that? But seriously I know apostrophe goofs in signs are as common as muck but just how much of a dunderhead do you have to be to put an apostrophe in the middle of James?! Did they assume that there was a St Jame who just happened to own a shop in St. James's? And what prompted somebody with that poor a grasp of the English language to decide to enter the sing writing business? Personally I'm surprised the poor sod who forked out good money for this abomination didn't end up being sponsored by the "Andersonstown New's" just to add insult to injury.

Until next time pal's and gal's.

Why not

Jul. 29th, 2011 07:13 pm
keresaspa: (Captain Mainwaring)
Pointing those who are interested, if any, in the direction of this petition for the release of Brendan Lillis. I'm not personally a fan of petitions but I am a fan of humane treatment of prisoners so why not. I happened to be up the Falls at the start of this week and passed the supporters of Lillis staging a hunger strike for his release and my immediate thought was "wouldn't it be great if there was a republican in a position of influence who could bring the apply pressure to secure Lillis' freedom without all this? Somebody like a Deputy First Minister, perhaps". So far Fra McCann seems to have been the only Sinn Feiner to take an interest. Martin's too worried about his salary to involve himself in the little stuff I suppose.
keresaspa: (Scrubber Daley)
Message to the wonderful Mr. Cameron - if you think that the peacelines should come down then I say why don't you come over and do it and whilst you're at it get yourself a little house at the reopened Northumberland Street. I'm sure the hoods from the Shankill and Falls would be happy to set their differences aside in order to unite to knock your pan in. Heck, even the Continuity IRA and the Red Hand Defenders might be friends for that day. There's no doubt about it, the peacelines are a bloody nuisance. Sometimes when I'm on the Falls I would love to take a stroll up Conway Street and stop in for half a shandy at the Berlin Arms and it would be wonderful to be able to saunter from Upper to Lower Ardoyne without having to endure the dubious delights of lower Ballysillan but the fact remains that interfaces like these are much too dangerous for the residents to be left open and it's not Dave's arse, nor those of Robin$on and McGuinne$$, that are on the line here. Having taken Lanark Way from the Woodvale to the Springfield and braved the dubious pleasures of leaving the Highfield estate to get to New Barnsley via Springmartin Road I can assure the Tory blow-in that these interfaces are about as hairy as they come and even they have gates for when things get too dodgy. Opening the small streets that are kept apart by the walls on the other hand would just be inviting nightly riots as the hoods would only need to leave their front door to find their targets. Still if he wants to go and present his arguments at some delightful interface hostelry like the Highfield Rangers Club or Caulfield's then I'm sure he would find the welcome warm. Or if not the welcome certainly the petrol bombs being hurled after him. Besides if they opened Cluan Place where would the Thornlie Boys be able to pose like a couple of bald simpletons? Pretend as the elite might that the Troubles are over and everybody is friends now the same problems are as ripe on the ground as they ever were so alas for now the walls are a necessary evil and Cameron coming over laying down the law does not help. And am I the only one wondering how the former Quartermaster of the Provisional IRA could stand beside a cuts-hungry bastard like Cameron and grin like a ninny when he should have been wasting the biatch? Oh that's right, the money, I forgot. The principles of republicanism are one thing but they don't pay the bills like all that lovely British wonga, do they Mart?
keresaspa: (James Connolly)
As part of a recent determination to loose some of my bulk (22 lbs so far, but I'm not getting into that as weight loss discussions really bore me and so I'm not inflicting them on anybody) I am attempting to walk a lot more and so today I took a run out to Park Centre, an out of town shopping centre on the largely loyalist Donegal Road but near the republican Falls Road. Unexciting place really but for once I was in the area for a reason other than blood sacrifice so it gave me a chance to explore a little bit. And as you know by now that means photos for you all to "enjoy".

More pictures of murals and that so cut )
keresaspa: (Cookie Kwan)
So the big snow finally went and a sudden unexpected heat wave of sorts has replaced it. For my part it is something of a good thing as at least my heat is (sort of) working again although having to sleep in the living room (with precious little actual sleep being had due to an aversion I have to being too near the floor) and the disruption it engendered did rather make the whole Christmastide a bit more of a chore than I would have liked. Still the snow was, in retrospect, picturesque and, as is the case with every fall of snow we have now, must be recorded for posterity thus:

Snow )

But the snow is now a memory and yesterday a venesection was due with the promise that I might soon be given a respite by being switched onto once every three months rather than once every fortnight. No sooner had I set out to catch the bus than I noticed something unusual about the two big houses facing my stop.

The story continues )

So that's the end of that chapter. Another attempt will be made tomorrow when I will no doubt be told that there are no doctors in the entire hospital and that I should come back every day for the next six months on the off chance that one deigns to grace us with his presence. Either that or I'll touch for another sprog who has never done the blasted procedure before, doesn't know how to clamp a simple tube and doesn't know what ferritin means as happened last time. Fun all the way.

Oh and I suppose, just in case anybody is reading this, other than the usual hordes who descend on this journal wanting only pictures of Lorraine Kelly and Juliette Binoche (always give em what they want), I should say a happy new year to all. Which I just did.


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