Sunday, 25 September 2011

A Wee Bit Of Culture Is All It Takes.

 I defy anyone raised in Northern Ireland to say that 'the Troubles' did not effect their childhood in some way and for me, now in my forty's, it is clear that a child growing up in Northern Ireland missed out on so much but my goodness how we are making up for lost time.
I recall as a child, in the 70's, we would occasionally venture into Belfast, mum needed her M&S fix even back then, bombs or no bombs. My parents were understandably cautious and we always had an emergency meeting point in case of a bomb scare and on several occasions this plan came into action. I still remember walking up the large ramp, waiting to be checked by the security personnel. I can still hear the sound of shoes clattering on the metal and have an image of a lady with an ample bosom taking, what I found, to be an unhealthy interest in the contents of my toy handbag.
Thankfully, my children of 7 and 10 are lucky enough instead to experience a warm and vibrant relationship with Belfast. A trip to St.George's Market to buy a large Smarties cookie whilst listening to some jazz is a favourite.
So when a friend posted on Facebook about Belfast Culture Night we thought we would give it ago. 
Cobble streets, lined with strings of fairy lights, magicians, curry popcorn, stilt walkers, circus schools, recording studios, fire eaters. Streets and places I did not know existed, St.Anne's Square in the thriving Cathedral Quarter where my children enjoyed the open space and the opportunity to create a colourful mask. 
St.Anne's Cathedral is more than a place of worship, it is steeped in history, bombed in the blitz and then in recent years, modernised to include a fabulous spire which from inside appears to have been stabbed through the cathedral roof.
More culture on Saturday night when I was lucky enough to attend The Aspects Irish Literature Festival in Bangor, Co.Down.
Duke Special performed with the help of his quirky instrumental companion, Chip.
Duke Special, who was born and bred in Northern Ireland entertained the crowd, linking his songs to literature and stopping occasionally to explain the link or to readjust his long dreadlocks. His performance was both witty and intimate. 
After the show I was lucky enough to catch a few words and get my photograph taken with the man himself.
What a truly cultured weekend.
P.S. Have X Factor on Sky+, I'm just so cultured!

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Being Social.

I'm back! I've been lazy and selfish, consumed in free time, now that the kids are back to school and I have another excuse for my lack of blogging, Twitter.
This blog comes with a warning. DO NOT ENTER THE WORLD OF TWITTER. It causes messy kitchen floors, unbleached loos and worst of all contagious Tweeting sessions with complete strangers.
I used to be normal, Facebook and the odd packet of Doritos satisfied my cravings but instead, I now shamelessly follow celebs, arty farty dads and even worse, discontented mums.
It was my husband's idea.
Me, a moment without Twitter.
"Use Twitter to spread the word, improve your networking," he said and then something under his breath about the rising price of Doritos. 
So what have I gained from all this recent Tweeting? An offer to replace Sandi Toksvig as the columnist in Good Housekeeping, an article published in The Guardian maybe? No, instead rants from strangers about the world in general, the price of gas in N.Ireland and one very boring vlog (video blog) made by some wannabe fashion designer at London Fashion Week who arrived so late she had to film the whole thing from such a distance it should have been renamed Flee Fashion Week.
So have I put you off yet?
On the positive side though, you quickly realise that Alan Carr is funny all the time, even celebs lose luggage, other peoples kids throw up, Holly Bell from the Great British Bake Off bakes A LOT and hey, you can make cushions from yacht sails. I rest my case!