keresaspa: (Obelix)
It's more or less convention that on this day every year I make a post on here bemoaning this day and disavowing my Irishness for 24 hours as I shake my head in gloomy anger at the chaos engulfing this tired town. But not this year.

No, I haven't been reborn as a "quare bai" and I won't be donning a GAA shirt and entering the melee. Rather it's hard to adopt the doleful countenance needed when, shocks of mighty, the hitherto maligned Flybe have caved in and accepted my demands for compensation for the recent delayed flight. Huzzah!

I complained when I returned home after the trip and went through a process that made about as much sense as the Voynich manuscript and ultimately was left with nothing to show for it, despite returning with idle threats of solicitors and reporting their antics to BBC Watchdog. Finally, in a fit of powerlessness, I took to rotten old Twitter and denounced them as a shower of mountebanks and, sure enough, the public calling-out moved several arses into gear and now the cash offer has arrived. Having invoked an EU directive that allows a passenger to claim compo for a flight delayed for more than three hours (so that's something else we can kiss goodbye to soon - thanks again, England) the little guy has for once triumphed. Heck I take any victory I can get these days and right now the win is gushing out of me like blood from the sacred neck of sweet Mundamala.

Oh and bloody patriotism, refuge of a scoundrel, Sinn Fein gits and all that. Still, yay.
keresaspa: (Nina looking a tad pertubed)
I rather fear I say this every year but it wants repeating - St Patrick's Day can take a flying leap as far as I'm concerned. Despite my Irish republican tendencies I'm no patriot and as such a day given over to displays of nationalistic fervour is never going to sit too well with me. Still, for the most part I can generally ignore it, pull up the covers and let the mayhem take place but today that certainly wasn't the case.

I have a severely disabled uncle who lives a couple of miles down the road from me. No longer able to walk, his place has fell into severe disrepair to the point where the Fold has ordered a big overhaul or else he's out on his arse. My auld doll is his next of kin so much of it has been dumped in her lap and, in turn, been passed on to me as his only other relative (ignoring all his other nieces, nephews and their offspring, none of whom can be arsed) so these last lot of weeks have involved a load of fannying about on my part, sorting, rearranging, humping heavy loads and various other bits of donkey work that invariably get dumped on you when you are huge like me.

Today however - a three hour wait for a delivery from Argos. Of a bin.

A fucking bin!

I might not care for donkey work but carrying a bin a few streets would have taken me about ten minutes instead of three hours of sitting with sod all to do, having had to battle my way through scenes of unmitigated carnage on the Ormeau Road where seemingly the entire under-25 population of rural Northern Ireland had descended to get royally pissed. Beyond repeating five or six phrases, more or less at random, my uncle (who has had several strokes, the first of which was in 1989) is more or less unable to communicate and I had already done all the sorting I could so there was literally nothing to do for those three hours other than wait for a doorbell to ring. Ordinarily it would have been the responsibility of the person in charge to let the delivery man in but she's wangled herself a few days off so yours truly was in the firing line once again.

It was well after five by the time I got out of there and the buses were running on a skeleton service so once again I was forced to walk up the Ormeau Road, where all the bais had a day's solid drinking behind them and were all the more obnoxious for it. Put it this way, when I first went down the road at just after 1 there were chaps whipping their knobs out on the main road for a pish so four hours later things were a lot worse. One house appeared to be on fire, which was a source of amusement to the assembled morons, some idiot was doing cartwheels before one of his number did us all a favour and belted him and the harassment of the female population had begun in earnest, again to the amusement of the assembled morons (the rabid misogyny of so many young - and not so young - men these days is really disturbing). Hell, that was just the tip of the iceberg as I didn't stick around but suffice to say days like this make the fact that haemochromatosis severely restricts my alcohol intake seem like a blessing rather than a "Celtic curse".

So St. Patrick's Day - you can keep it. Vulgar, drunken idiots supposedly celebrating an accident of birth by living down to every negative stereotype about their kind, the sort so blind with sectarian hatred that they wrap themselves in a made-up green, white and yellow tricolour flag because they're too bigoted to don the colour orange that makes up one third of Thomas Francis Meagher's banner. Future Sinn Fein leaders in other words. The only day of the year that kind of makes me wish I had been born a loyalist, this might have to join the Twelfth as an excuse to quit this backwards dump for a while in future.
keresaspa: (Starry Plough)
Patriotism is a peculiar beast. For a brief period in my late teens I got it but these days I struggle vainly to understand what it is that causes people to think that a country is super special just because they happened to be born there. Extreme personal arrogance or a need to feel a sense of both belonging to a fictive group and a them and us mentality in terms of the otherness of the rest of the fictive groups? Whilst I am on record as an Irish republicanism I am also on record as basing that notion on anti-imperialism rather any feeling of Ireland as being special and so I can say that I am a man without nationalism. A test of that position came yesterday with a brief nose around in Downpatrick, a town about 20 miles south of Belfast. Amongst the things on show (including a not too shabby museum and a Methodist doo-whacky and a cathedral) was the reputed grave of St. Patrick. Such a thing should, I suppose, stir the patriotic juices but I must say mine remained in their usual curdled state in front of what is essentially a big stone under which a chap who came to this island ages ago to preach against Pelagianism is supposedly buried despite lack of evidence. My bah-humbug attitudes to St Patrick's Day are as well documented as everything else in this waffly post but I don't reckon my visit to the stone will make any difference, even if Downpatrick is a nice enough place by Northern Ireland standards.

Or to put it another way, look at my pretty pictures of a small town, aren't I good?
keresaspa: (Chalky Whiteley)
I took a walk along the Lagan towpath today, a place my uncle Billy, who gave me my love of walking and whose fourth anniversary was yesterday, used to take me when I was a kid. I hate to sound a Philistine but isn’t nature boring? In my ongoing efforts to ditch some timber I have been covering plenty of miles but I have to say that my first forage into the (comparative) wilderness left me pining for the delights of the Shankill and the Newtownards Road. Trees and a river are nice to begin with but after miles of the buggers it all becomes a bit samey. Add to that the constant joggers coming up behind you with their phlegm, the inconsiderate dog owners who think leash laws apply to everybody except them, paths suddenly turning into bogs without warning, the total lack of signs meaning that if you don’t know the area like the back of your hand then getting lost is inevitable and worst of all the bloody cyclists and the appeal of it all seems a bit lost on me. I can see why cycling is being encouraged in order to lessen pollution but why is it that whenever facilities are laid on for cyclists it is always at the expense of pedestrians rather than the blasted cars that are causing the problems. Or could it be that the government assumes only poor people walk and that their votes don’t matter? Still, one thing I know for sure is that you’ll never make a country boy out of me – give me crumbling buildings, dodgy estates and smog over all this clean air and plant life any day of the week!

Elsewhere, whilst he was the butt of more than a few jokes, as well as the source of plenty of ire, round these parts my thoughts are still with good old Bryan Robson at this time. I spent a lot of time attacking him during his spell in charge but the Great Escape will live long in the memory and will always be to his credit, no matter how much he missed the opportunity to build on it the following season. As a player he also made a fantastic impact at the Hawthorns and, despite his slightly acrimonious departure, was probably the best player to be developed at the club since Tony the Bomber and is one that has certainly not been matched by any youth product since. He was a tough boy in his day and so there has to be plenty of hope that that toughness will see him through his biggest challenge yet. Good luck, Bry.

And lest I forget my annual tradition - St Patrick's Day is bad, all countries are inherently equal, there's good and bad in all, where you are born is not a reason for pride, blah blah blah. Well it wouldn't be this time of year without me going on some nationalism is sin against the Holy Spirit tangent, would it?

And, just like yesterday, because it is after midnight
Day 17 )
keresaspa: (Captain Mainwaring)
Well, the annual St. Patrick's Day extravaganza at the waste of money and water that is Custom House Square is due tomorrow again. At the big, cross-community (Markets and Falls) event the highlight will be the vast talents of Eoghan Quigg. Yes, that weird wee hobbit boy that cried a lot on X Factor before being sent packing by a voting public who finally realised that there is only so long you can excuse a total lack of talent just because somebody is from the same region as you. They really do pull out all the stops in Belfast. Mind you I suspect the council here is in possession of about two stops to pull out as that is the sole explanation I can muster for the just plain dreadful quality of this now annual waste of rates. Personally I’ll be observing my own annual St. Patrick's Day tradition - shutting the door and staying put in the house so as to avoid the crowds of nail polish sniffing spides and fair-weather drinkers that blight this pointless day.
keresaspa: (Communism)
So that's another St. Patrick's Day over. Good for that. Despite my stated support for an Irish republican position I have never been a fan of this particular holiday as all the flag waving has never set well with me. I don't consider myself a strong patriot and am attracted to Irish republicanism only because I am an anti-imperialist and not because I believe Ireland to be anything special. The cultural identity aspects of republicanism have never attracted me greatly as I couldn't care less whether or not I am ethnically Celtic Irish or not and I can't speak, nor do I have any wish to learn to speak, the language. As such, a day devoted to making a song and dance about how great Ireland is has never appealed to me*. Add to that is the fact that it brings out the absolute dregs of society in much the same way as the Twelfth does. As pretty a little thing as star of yesterday's free concert Mutya Buena is (and she is, despite what the naysayers might argue) I would rather have boiled my own sublingual glands than venture out into the hordes of Celtic top wearing idiots who infest the town on March 17th. Add to that the fact that everywhere is packed with yahoos getting food poisoning from drinking vodka coloured with green food dye that has been lying in a cellar for eight years and I personally am very glad to see the back of the whole thing. Yes, I know - killjoy.

Well, that's enough misery for one day as for this week the summer opening hours have been brought in, a fact that has caught me slightly unawares. So I must finish up as they'll be kicking me out of here soon. Do take care of yourselves until next time.

* And yes, I am aware of the irony of the current music selection off the back of this. What can I tell you, I like folk music, including, but not limited to, Irish.

Top Gere

Mar. 14th, 2008 04:20 pm
keresaspa: (Enoch was wrong)
I notice that the case against Richard Gere for kissing Shilpa Shetty in public has been dropped. OK, fair enough it would be silly to prosecute him for that but the only thing that struck me about the whole incident was what a horrible old sex pest Gere looked like. Whether it is true or not, we all know the rumour about Gere and the fact that he looks a bit like UTV's former dwarven creep Keith Burnside doesn't help either. You dirty old man!

Well, just a quickie today (as Richard Gere would probably say) as I feel like heading home a bit early. I will not be around on Monday as the daft battalion will be tearing this city apart in remembrance of some British guy who preached against Pelagianism in parts of Ireland. Good luck to them, but I will have no part of it. So until Tuesday, bye-ee.

Fairuz

Mar. 16th, 2006 03:08 pm
keresaspa: (Shakuni (Gufi Paintal))
Those who lack an appreciation for the music of Araby will think my auld head's cut (to use the vernacular) but I really do enjoy the music of Fairuz. The finest thing to come out of Lebanon since Organisation de l'Action Communiste du Liban really deserves as big an audience in the West as in the Middle East. I find myself listening to more world music as of late. Must be a sign of something. God only knows what, mind you.

Caught some of that West Ham-Bolton match last night. Not a bad game although the outcome was unsatisfactory. I never had any feeling about Alan Pardew but his constant bleating about the soul of English football and related crap has turned me right off him. So Arsenal fielded a team with no English players. So shite! Liverpool did the same in the 80s and nobody cared. OK, so they were mostly British but that still didn't help the England team in any way and the English league doesn't exist for the Scotland, Wales and Irish teams. As Wenger quite rightly said it's not Arsenal's job to represent England, that's down to the England team. Any clubs job is to be as successful as possible and if they do that by signing non-English players then so be it. If you ask me (and nobody did, but everybody else has had a go at this) Pardew is just sour-graping it because he never won any England caps and his name has not been mentioned to succeed naughty Sven.

Speaking of blind nationalism, it's St Patrick's Day tomorrow. Big fizz! It's a day when all the biggest tosser fenians go out, get lashed and cause trouble. If the PC, lets copy South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission even though Northern Ireland is nowhere near being settled, get their way then soon you can add the biggest tosser Protestants to that list. I'll be doing my usual and staying well away from the lot of it. Parades of pillocks in the town or titheads in green-white and orange hats going to free gigs by the Bodyrockers (I ask you, the f*cking Bodyrockers??!!!!) then wrecking every pub in Belfast are not for me, thank you.

Well, that's today's dose of fun and frolics. I may do a bit of work later, although there's every chance that I won't.
keresaspa: (Percy)
As is the usual I took a walk down Rugby Avenue (a long street that links the Ormeau Road to the Uni) on my way here. Bloody hell, the place was like a bombsite (which I say from experience, compadres). Everywhere I walked there were shards of broken glass from where bottles of booze had been tossed by culchie morons. Odd thing is that when I was a kid I used to live in that street. We eventually cleared out as it was becoming too mad with students moving in but compared to now it was a bloody picnic. For those who wonder why I never bother with St Patricks Day this is the reason. Idiotic hicks who can't get drunk like civilized human beings and who know that this place will do sod all to them no matter what they do as it will mean another fee-payer out. That fee-paying legislation just keeps on giving.

In the end I had my usual quiet St Patricks Day. To me it was just another bank holiday (and we all know how much I love them!) and was wasted watching rubbish telly. I'll save my proper wastage for this evening where a skinful of pints await, with a bottle of Buckfast heating up nicely for afters. Mmmm, good stuff. At least something will take my mind of Charles Clarke and how he's just the spit out of Blunkett's mouth. Bloody lice! Well, off I go to pick up me fegs. Toodles.
keresaspa: (Default)
Had a boozy one over the weekend, being full Thursday and Friday. Paid for it now mind you as my left knee is giving me some serious jip. Not half the man I used to be. This week looks to be a fairly hectic one as the honcho needs to see me (yet again) and the unwanted intrusion of Saint Patricks Day will cost me a valuable day. I've never been one for that day. All the faux patriotism sits uneasily with me, the constant political rows by bored has-been politicians about marches and money for them are a pain and the fact that every bar is full to busting with morons from Dungannon and Tempo for whom a crap in a public toilet is a culture shock makes going out a pointless exercise. Even the annual riot in University Street, which used to have a spontaneous feeling to it, is now as scripted as a wrestling match and is about as much a blow against the system as a Conservative Party conference. Reckon I'll just lock the door and do sod all as it really isn't worth the effort. Plus we all know how intolerant I am of bank holidays. Upshot of which is that tattoo number four will most likely have to wait another week at least. I can see no likely window of opportunity for it so old lefty is going to have to remain bare a while longer. C'est la geurre.

Finally FA Cup semi-final draw for those who have missed it and care:
Arsenal v Blackburn Rovers
Newcastle v Manchester United
Tip for the final? Pretty obvious really, with the Red Satans doing it 3-1 as the Arse just cant beat them anymore.

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