keresaspa: (Seagull)
It's ate bread now given that I've been home since Sunday and, as I suspected, the Dreamwidth exodus seems to have killed this journal stone dead but the tenth annual London extravaganza probably needs to be recorded anygate.

Ergo )


Mar. 6th, 2017 10:25 pm
keresaspa: (Default)
*Insert weak joke about visiting Edinburgh lots before waffling for ages about most recent visit*

Therefore )
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Hell, even I think I've been away too often recently. The joys of growing up in a warzone, I suppose. And let it be known too that the following load of old rambling nonsense should have been published yesterday but my internet provider decided to give me a day of no service just to remind me who the boss is. Thanks as ever Virgin Media, I would denounce you as vermin but recent events have drawn me closer to that class of creature. Intrigued? Didn't think so but read on anyway, it's good for chilblains.

Read more... )


Oct. 8th, 2016 12:33 pm
keresaspa: (Gus Goose)
Such is the regularity with which I go to Edinburgh these days that it hardly seems worth mentioning.

But let's anyway )
keresaspa: (Cartman)
Every time I post to this now I seem to begin with a note to excuse my absence due to the paucity of updates. What can I say, less than auspicious days recently. In the meanwhile however a standing engagement in Edinburgh took me across the sea once more and, as ever, I shall betell the events.

Lay on, MacDuff )


Oct. 10th, 2015 10:14 pm
keresaspa: (Obelix)
Such is the regularity with which I visit dear Edinburgh these days that it hardly seems worth kicking this thing into life just to describe the latest visit. Still, it's a pattern I've established these last twelve years or so and as such it must continue. If there is a moral to this story let it be thus - don't walk backwards, it gets on everybody's tits.

Mulch )
keresaspa: (Homer rage)
Despite the fact that it was released on Allende Day I sit here still bereft of the new Leaves Eyes album. Thirteen whole days and yet here I sit without my much-needed fix of the beautiful tonsils of Liv Kristine. And yet they constantly complain that their trade is dropping off a cliff because everybody is going over to downloads and/or ordering online. Well pardon me but if you're not even going to stock the new release by a band with a worldwide following like that then what option are you leaving us? In general I don't like ordering new albums off Amazon because of their tax dodging ways and (probably more importantly if I'm being honest) the fact that they're often more expensive regardless of all that extra money but I am rather running out of alternatives.

I'll give it to early October as I'll be in Edinburgh again and the HMV there is a mighty beast of a shop but if they don't have it then the high street will, by their own choice, have to lose my coin on this one. Lord knows I'll never shite a tech-head's turd and to an extent I do revel in my own Luddism but when it's the only game in town what option do I have? Be better at shops, the high street!


Aug. 29th, 2015 11:07 pm
keresaspa: (Seagull)
Hello you *waves*. Yeah, just back from Paris and that, which, of course, means I have to go on at length about the last week. Apologies in advance if this gets a bit incoherent but you should all be used to that by now.

Lundi )

Mardi )

Mercredi )

Jeudi )

Vendredi )


Jul. 17th, 2015 09:43 pm
keresaspa: (Reiko Ike)
Is this thing still on? Only one way to find out I suppose:

London )
keresaspa: (Tinker's rucksack)
I'm nothing if not a man of my word so I can't get into the reasons behind this but I just have to say that Track Records in Ballymena is undoubtedly the finest independent music shop I've ever encountered and it is ran by two of the finest blokes on earth. If you ever find yourself down Ballymena way get in there post haste and support that wonderful place. Had to get the off my chest, folks.

Tomorrow meanwhile will be spent, as is often my wont, at the Suffolk Road home of Donegal Celtic. This time however it will come with the extra piquancy of the club facing down the spectre of relegation to the bottom division. Not so long ago DC had been comfortably ensconced in mid-table obscurity, with some even whispering about the possibility of moving onto the fringes of the promotion battle. But no more. In the ten league matches played in 2015 the lads have managed one win and, despite performances generally being good (a 6-2 home mauling off Harland & Wolff Welders excepted), they slipped into the relegation zone mid-week after PSNI won one of their games in hand.

As the situation stands we lie 13th out of 14 with two games to go. Mathematically everybody up to and including Knockbreda can still go down but realistically the Gestapo and Ballyclare Comrades are the only ones likely to be in touching distance. Tomorrow we face high-flying Carrick Rangers at home whilst the other two have each other. Carrick have gubbed us twice already this season and I expect them to make it three tomorrow and if that happens even a draw for Ballyclare will be enough to see them safe. The Filth meanwhile have another game midweek, although the only silver lining is they too must face the mighty Carrick Rangers, who are surely due a promotion back to their more natural surroundings of the Premiership.

There isn't a way that we can be formally relegated tomorrow although if results go against us it may end up being a mere formality. To have a realistic hope of survival DC need an unlikely result against the Rangers tomorrow, either a draw or preferably a win. Being one of life's pessimists I hold out little hope and I've already rationalised the positives of relegation (we'll get to visit new and different grounds, admission prices will be lower, we'll get a genuine local derby with Sport & Leisure, we won't be the only all amateur concern so we might actually have a chance, etc.) but if you could keep my little club in mind tomorrow between 3 and 5 BST that would be nice. Here's to the great escape!
keresaspa: (Tiger Jeet Singh)
Why is it so bloody hard to buy a tall bookcase that is no more than 25 inches wide unless (a) you're happy for the shelves to collapse under the weight of more than about three books or (b) you're happy to shell out the guts of a hundred quid for some old second hand piece of tripe from one of the increasingly gouging "charity" shops? Lousy minor setbacks. I blame the Tories.
keresaspa: (Percy Sugden)
It's convention that I recount in some detail the events surrounding any journeys I make for the entertainment of the reading none so I suppose I shouldn't break from that tradition following my recent excursion to the occupied territory of Scotland. So without further Apu:

Edinburgh and environs )
keresaspa: (Pam Ayres)
The unspeakable monotony of the seemingly interminable grinding bore that is the close season was alleviated to an extent today by the presence of a record fair in the hideously named Oh Yeah Centre. Such occurrences have become semi-regular this last year or so but invariably have happened on Saturdays when I was otherwise engaged standing in the pissing rain watching twenty two knuckle-draggers chasing a bit of leather so for me it was a debut of sorts.

The place itself was stupidly hot (I'm a sweaty cove at the best of times but it was streaming out of me in there) and I did rather baulk at shelling out a quid just to get in, not to mention some of the extortionate prices being asked by the vendors. But despite those drawbacks I always love a nice record fair and inevitably I made off with a decent haul of fun.

Pam bloody Ayres, no less, and only a knicker - gimme a "Hell yeah"! Nuff new tunes is more than worth a schlep down the town and an hour in the baking heat I reckon. Now if we can just have another five or so Saturday events like this to tide me over until the friendlies start then I might just about learn to enjoy the summer.

In my day

Apr. 19th, 2014 07:50 pm
keresaspa: (Corporal Jones)
Donegal Celtic's shock 5-3 win over Dundela on Thursday night ensured that, after a terrible recent run, the club were now effectively safe from relegation, barring a series of results so unlikely that the Grimms themselves would have rejected them as too far-fetched. As a result I was able to decline the opportunity of schlepping out to County Tyrone to watch them lose to Coagh United and stay more local. In the end I settled on Malachians v Kilmore Rec, a match that allowed me to tick off the Greencastle ground from my list of grounds in Greater Belfast to visit (only one to go now). A 3-0 win for Kilmore was the final result, something of a let-down as I always support the Belfast side in these instances but such is life.

Staying relatively local meant that I was able to have a brief look at the tail-end of what a couple of them were doing for Record Store Day. To be honest I'm not a huge fan of Record Store Day. For one, it uses the Americanism "store" rather than the correct "shop". For two, it encourages rarity for its own sake with its limited edition releases. And for three, I may be alone in this but I'm not a fan of music shops thronging with people as it does inhibit one's ability to examine the merchandise in whatever order one chooses.

As I think I mentioned recently Belfast has three independent music shops now. I was aware Dragon Records was hosting an acoustic session with some very boring singer-songwriter and, knowing how cramped it is in there at the best of times, I went there yesterday to pick up a copy of the recent Link-Absolutist split and gave it a miss today. I also stayed away from the recently opened Sick Records as I was also in there yesterday and their selection is far too hip for an old man like me. I did briefly pay a visit to Head but I didn't stick around. The prices of the limited edition stuff were making my eyes water (ten quid for a single?!) and none of it appealed to me much anyway. Meanwhile a disc jockey was blaring out loud techno and even as a youth that old rhubarb didn't appeal to me so I beat a hasty retreat, content to wait for a few days until it has quietened down a bit.

Surprisingly though HMV, who don't really qualify given their chain status, had the only promotion worth bothering about. No limited editions at stupid prices, rather they simply had 40% off all their vinyl for one day only. As I said before I'm not really a purchaser of new vinyl given the expense but I am at heart a skinflint so when a significant chunk is knocked off I am prepared to stump up. Carcass and GBH albums at a one-off knock-down price were enough to tempt me to part with some green. Quite why more music shops don't run similar one-off deals instead of getting caught up in the whole "it's an album you already own but it's on green vinyl so you have to buy it and never listen to it" crap is beyond me (and alas I didn't make it to the one day half-price sale at Track Records in Ballymena). A day that celebrates exclusivity and pointless gouging is not for me but give me a deal and I'm happy to get involved. Otherwise I'll be glad when they all get back to normal and you can have a bit of time to look in relative calm without gangs of hipsters standing on your toes and caterwauling indie no-marks bellowing in your earhole.


Mar. 8th, 2014 08:33 pm
keresaspa: (Diggory)
Butter my arse, but what an absolute pisser of a day that turned out to be. Gnash and stamp.

As yesterday was yet another in my catalogue of blood-lettings (getting mighty sick of that shite) I consoled myself with the thought that at least today I could return to the Suffolk Road and watch my first Donegal Celtic home game for the first time since last year. So off I set, nice and early by my own standards, full of the joys of spring on what proved a fine sunny day. I should have known something was going awry when I reached the town and saw yet another rumpus involving those fucking Nazi flag protest dickheads outside the City Hall who appeared to be in a tussle with a group looking to do something for International Women's Day (Socialist Party, hang your collective heads in shame for running like shite from a group of loyalists grannies and press-ganged children). Still it was all good and I headed off to the west, decamping at the bottom of the Suffolk Road as I fancied a bit of stroll. As I passed Falcarragh Drive (about five minutes from the ground) I thought "must have a look at the phone", as I generally ignore the blasted thing on a Saturday. What do I find therein - a collection of messages informing me about early morning shenanigans, culminating in a "match off" text. So there I stood in the middle of nowhere, twenty minutes off three o'clock, only to discover I had got my run for nothing. Bollocks! My own fault in a way obviously as I should have checked the phone before leaving but I'm still mystified as to how a pitch can be waterlogged when we've had hardly any rain. Honest to God, they couldn't organise a piss-up in a brewery up there! It's getting to the point where I don't expect to see any more home matches this season because if the pitch is unplayable on a day like that then it'll never be usable again. Why are my anxieties about DC going out of business resurfacing, I wonder?

Reliant as I am on public transport it took me the guts of an hour to get across town to Seaview, more on the off-chance that there might be something going on there rather than with any foreknowledge. Still, Seaview being Seaview, of course there was a match on and, whilst I missed the first half hour due to the Metro bus service being a steaming pile of dogshite, I still was on time to see both goals as Crusaders reserves beat their Coleraine counterparts 2-0. It's strange to think that when [ profile] burkesworks accompanied me there in the summer it was my first visit to Seaview as I am now getting sick looking at the place, given that it is one of the few venues in the city capable of resisting a bit of drizzle. Actually scrub that as I'm not getting sick looking at it at all and am very thankful that it is always there and always has a match available when, as happens so often, one's own team lets one down.

I was out in such good time that I was able to pay a visit to the recently opened Sick Records on my way back. Nice little shop, if a bit hipster for my taste and I generally don't buy much in the way of new vinyl, given how stupidly overpriced it invariably is. Nevertheless their second-hand section, though small, was not without its charms and I was able to touch for a Conflict album and a compilation of Japanese psychobilly. Indeed they had a decent selection of psychobilly at competitive prices which I may well revisit. Classy too that they let you keep the plastic sleeves for your purchases although, given the price of those bloody things, I don't expect that to last too long. Either way, nice addition to the local scene. For breadth of choice I prefer Head (although their recent move seems to have brought about a thinning out of range and a general rise in prices), for good punk stuff and a chance to moan about illnesses I prefer Dragon and for a good old rummage through all sorts of mess and a bit of banter I prefer Track Records in Ballymena but I imagine I'll drop in from time to time and the more choice there is amongst independent music shops the better I suppose.

So not a total loss altogether but nevertheless I am frightfully cross with DC right now. Bloody gits!


Sep. 27th, 2013 09:52 pm
keresaspa: (Wil Cwac Cwac)
Given how rarely I update this now I suspect my occasional extended absences draw little attention but this one can be explained away by an impromptu post-birthday break to possibly my favourite city - Edinburgh.

I'll leave off details about the flights. Suffice to say both reasonable as flights go, but I still hate flying. My base for the trip was Motel One on the corner of Market Street and Cockburn Street. A very central location thankfully although it was a peculiar place to say the least, with rooms having no wardrobes, only two badly positioned electrical sockets and a television that only worked properly when it felt like it. Seemingly it was part of a German chain as all signs and handouts were primarily in German but the rooms were certainly well designed, if a touch minimalist for my taste. The inevitable problem of keeping milk cool also struck (as it does it nearly every hotel) and my twin solutions - filling the bin with cold water or thrusting the milk bottle into the toilet - both proved unsuccessful with the remains of one Poundland effort even ending up curdled. Still, I didn't come here to talk about milk, did I?

So after arriving at the hotel on Monday I set off on my travels, with the Gorgie area of the city my destination. I had no previous dealings with that side of town but had designed a route from Google Maps and was surprised to find that, for once, my plans proved fool-proof. I arrived at Tynecastle in good time and got my ticket for the forthcoming League Cup match between Heart of Midlothian and Queen of the South. The Hibernian-Stranraer game was also an option but I figured I had previously been to Easter Road and that match was on Tuesday, for which I had other plans. The rest of the day was spent arseing about the familiar old streets, battling with an unseasonable heatwave and struggling in vain to find any supermarkets. Is there a law in Scotland banning supermarkets within three miles of the city centre or something? A nice haddock supper made for a fine repast that evening although it left the room ponging somewhat. Such is life.

Tuesday, as stated, was already earmarked for a specific purpose and that was a day's excursion to Glasgow. I am by no means a strong road traveller but the relatively short coach journey between the two cities played severe havoc with my stomach and a boak was avoided by the skin of my teeth. Glasgow is a city I have criticised on here before and I stand by those criticisms - it is horrendously ugly, having obviously been smacked about by town planners in a similar fashion to Belfast (if you must put new buildings beside old, at least try to match the architecture styles a bit) and the frankly ridiculous levels of drunks and junkies wandering about, regardless of the time of day, is very tedious and makes the whole place seem rather unsafe. However I still enjoyed my time there as it has greatly improved as a shopping venue and I could happily have killed a couple more hours there, even if the habit of checkout people saying "first, please" instead of "next, please" struck me as rather odd. One big gripe though - my God, have the accents ever been diluted! I'm a big fan of the Scottish accent in general, it being one of only two British isles accents I like, but a lot of the Glasgow kids sound like they're from the East End of London these days. Such a shame; you have a lot to answer for Eastenders!

My old stamping ground from 2011, Leith, was my first port of call on Wednesday and I meandered down that seedy old road nostalgically, notwithstanding the incessant pishing rain. Keeping on the two years ago riff, I spent the afternoon knocking about what I believe is called Newington (an altogether more refined area than the run-down republican interface area of the same name in Belfast) before heading back to the hotel. My plans to get a self-made salad for lunch were again thwarted as, just like two years ago, self-service salad bars are still absent from supermarkets despite being as common in Ireland as drunk people. Still, to each his own I suppose. That evening was the match and thankfully the rain had finally done one as I didn't fancy taking the relatively long trot out to Tynecastle in the middle of a downpour. As I took my seat in the Main Stand near the halfway line (always the best spot) I drank in the scene. Tynecastle is more dilapidated than Easter Road, although to be fair Hearts are in dire straits financially so it's only to be expected. Still it's a grand old ground nevertheless and credit to the Queen of the South supporters, who made an ungodly row throughout despite being only a small section of the 8,000 strong crowd. As to the match itself it was, quite frankly, bloody brilliant. Hearts played below their capabilities and the Doonhamers inevitably raised their game making it a blood and guts affair in which Hearts lost the lead three times before going through on a penalty shootout. They both went above and beyond in the entertainment stakes and I left the stadium exhilarated, having watched what was probably the best match as a spectacle that I had ever attended. It was well after eleven before I got back to Princes Street but, as always seems to happen at Edinburgh matches, an unofficial walking bus of supporters ensured total safety in numbers.

Thursday brought a welcome return to fine weather and I decided to get a bus day ticket and explore a few places I didn't know. My first port of call was Corstorphine, a suburb near the airport, and a pretty place the former village was. I killed a while there before returning to the main drag and boarding a bus for Musselburgh. I fancied a spell by the seaside and it seemed as good a place as any, although after nearly three quarters of an hour on the bus and still nowhere near the place I gave up and decamped at an out of town retail park by the name of Fort Kinnaird. As a monument to capitalist consumption it was slightly unnerving and its complete lack of facilities played havoc with my suddenly weak bladder but still, it was somewhere different and I had been mixing Musselburgh up with Helensburgh anyway. My third port of call was Ocean Terminal, which I felt compelled to investigate as it seemingly had a bus running to it every thirty seconds. When I got there it was yet another shopping centre, although this time a vast one nestled in a gentrified area reminiscent of the horrific Titanic Quarter in Belfast. My only thought was that a lot of fine historic dockland must have died to make way for such a monstrosity. To finish the day I partook of the local delicacies by devouring a haggis supper, which I was amazed to find consisted of a long sausage shaped slab of haggis bunged in batter and deep fried. Like haggis isn't fatty enough on its own! Probably not a good idea to eat offal with my blood problems but what the hell, I'm getting needle-stabbed next Friday so they can worry about it then (expect ferritin levels in the mid hundreds).

Home today, albeit with a little time for wandering around in Greyfriars and the surrounding area. All in all though it was a wonderful little break. I don't visit Edinburgh that often but whenever I do I'm always reminded why I'm so fond of the place. A wonderful city and the perfect place to dawdle a few days away.

Cor blimey

Jul. 17th, 2013 10:13 pm
keresaspa: (Albert Gladstone Trotter)
Hello you. Yes it was London time again recently but I got back too late last night to record my exploits. Never fear, I'm here now to "entertain" the reading some with every minor detail. "Enjoy".

Hit it )

Snow - no!

Mar. 23rd, 2013 09:01 pm
keresaspa: (Snowman)
Bloody snow! If in the past I expressed any affection for it (unlikely, but you never know) I take it all back as I hate the bloody stuff with a passion. I was caught smack bang in the middle of it yesterday as it rained down for about seven hours solid, with little nail-like crystals whipped on by the wind cutting the face of me. I can just about tolerate the soft stuff but this was that hard nutty shite, not a million miles away from being hail but still snow. And I tell you what, it hurts a hell of a lot more than it used to now that I'm bald.

Inevitably a dirty hole like Windsor Park couldn't take that so Friday's proposed match between Northern Ireland and Russia was postponed until today, as a result of which the Irish League programme as a whole was postponed. Cliftonville's plastic pitch would have inevitably been playable and something could have been arranged for Crusaders, but no Craig Cathcart and Daniel Lafferty being destroyed by Roman Shirokov and Aleksandr Kerzhakov had to be the only game in town. I checked the Northern Amateur League site, reasoning that some of the clubs there have plastic pitches too (not least Immaculata, whom I visited earlier this year) but even they had cancelled everything because of Michael O'Neill's green and blue sack of cack. DC reserves offered possible solace but as reserve fixtures are always the reverse of first team games those too were postponed. I was unable to fully determine whether or not the Ballymena and Provincial League (yes, I was that desperate) was on or off and so the prospect of Brantwood against Magherafelt Sky Blues tantalised me but in the end I decided not to bother, reasoning that Skeggy would either be under a foot of snow or a sodden mess and I would have endured a run out to the Shore Road in the snow for nothing. Still not sure if it went ahead or not to be honest - why is the internet so crap in Northern Ireland.

So instead I was forced to endure a Saturday's shopping in the freezing cold, surrounding by the sort of brain-dead morons you only get on a Saturday, all the while fighting the almost irresistible urge to fall thanks to the mess the snow has made of the pavements. And as if that wasn't enough the electricity went off last night and I am fully expecting it to go the same way tonight. What is it about snow that makes the generation of electrical energy so difficult? Who would have though those two things were natural enemies.

So yeah, snow and that. As far as I'm concerned you can keep it. It's nearly April for God's sake!
keresaspa: (Nigella)
I know we live in a wonderful, minimalist, post-modern world and they have a crappy selection but I must say that the imminent demise of HMV is still striking me as bad news. Only yesterday it was announced that nine branches in my vicinity are to bite the dust and it is news I greet with some disappointment, particularly given that some of those named have been occasional haunts of mine. I'm unlikely to bid a final farewell to the Ballymena branch, but today and yesterday I was able to make pilgrimages to Newtownabbey, Forestside and the Boucher Road to say a fond farewell to the old places.

The internet has, of course, made places like this defunct but my custom with His Master's has never slackened. Call me old-fashioned if you will but when I'm browsing music not looking for anything in particular I like to rummage through racks of physical albums, selecting on a whim what I see fit. Searching through the catalogue on Amazon just doesn't have the same evocative quality even if it is allegedly cheaper (not always the case in my experience). As for downloads, meh. The dodgy ones are fine but increasing security and increasingly litigious record labels has virtually killed that off (well, unless I'm doing something wrong it has) and I just don't believe in paying for downloads. No doubt there will come a time when I have to get used to that but as long as CDs continue to exist I am only willing to pay for something that I can physically hold rather than a series of bits of binary code that is only one computer virus away from disappearing into the ether.

Since they cut their prices a few weeks ago for the big sell-off I have had a veritable field day, snaffling up albums by Curved Air, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Waits, Beth Jeans Houghton, Nicki Minaj, Queen Adreena, Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang, 10,000 Maniacs, Jonathan Richman, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Howlin' Wolf, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Lowell Fulson, Finntroll, Grand Magus, All About Eve, PJ Harvey, Rah Digga and Love as well as country, blues, psych folk and French music compilations. With the possible exceptions of the Marianne Faithfull album and the folk compilation - which I've been after for ages and paid only £1.40 for - I would probably have never bought any of these online and indeed would probably have never even heard of a few of them if I hadn't taken a punt on them in store (which would have been an especial shame where Beth Jeans Houghton is concerned as she is delightful and you should all go and listen to her). As a consequence my musical roundedness would have been that bit less circular and I would have been aesthetically poorer as a result.

Maybe I'm just an old high street dinosaur who is genuinely out of step with the times (wouldn't be the first time) but HMV has been the source of the major part of my collection of 1673 physical albums and, whilst they do focus unduly on the mainstream, I have found plenty of great stuff there down the years. Belfast does have two reasonable independent shops which will still be there if HMV disappears entirely but for how long? If the big one goes what price the little guy? I have seen a vision of the future and I don't like it.


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