Wednesday, 19 December 2007

... the carnival is over

... well not the carnival exactly, this was all that remained of the continental market this evening. Traders and punters alike have gone ... all that's left are a few flatpacks.
I have a feeling that the beer tents were the only ones who profited from the event (except for possibly Belfast City Council).

Pic of the Day

First Post

Enya - Oíche Chiúin

Another festive offering, this time the lovely Enya singing 'Silent Night' in Gaelic

Monday, 17 December 2007

Circle the wagons !!!!

Tonight crazed indians staged an all out attack on Belfast's biggest shopping mall, Castle Court, after performing a ritual war-dance they then proceeded to take wampum from the indigent palefaces in exchange for cd's and dream catchers.

Opera Monday - O Helga Natt av Jussi Bjorling

I know it's not quite opera but I thought I'd stretch a point for the festive season - most of you know that I'm not a religious person but that doesn't mean I can't recognise a great tune when I hear it so sit back and enjoy. Season's greetings.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Belfast street entertainer

I don't know what season of the year this street entertainer imagines it to be - I always associate bunnies with Easter (perhaps that has something to do with blatant commercialism and powerful advertising) - anyway it makes a change from a lot of idiots in red suits and whiskers.

...So Alice was considering, in her own mind (as well as she could, for the hot day made her feel very sleepy and stupid), whether the pleasure of making a daisy-chain would be worth the trouble of getting up and picking the daisies, when suddenly a white rabbit with pink eyes ran close by her.

There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but, when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of his waistcoat-pocket and looked at it and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it,

Friday, 14 December 2007


I have just had a problem with my blog page re-directing to WWW.ADBAAZ.COM and on googling have found that many other people are encountering the same problem. My problem seems to have been linked to the radioblog playlist that I had on the side of my blog. Removing it seems to have cured the problem. So, much as I have been enjoying the music from radioblog, I think I will be treading carefully there.

So, if you see that a link may re-direct you to that particular web-site above DO NOT VISIT IT - I am not 100% positive but paying a visit to said web-site may have been part of the symptoms here.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Vanilla Fudge - You Keep Me Hanging On,1967

... by far the best version of the Supremes song

Some seasonal offerings

Hildegard Von Bingen - Spiritui Sancto

Kyrie Eleison

The Ships of Yule

When I was just a little boy,
Before I went to school,
I had a fleet of forty sail
I called the Ships of Yule;

Of every rig, from rakish brig
And gallant barkentine,
To little Fundy fishing boats
With gunwales painted green.

They used to go on trading trips
Around the world for me,
For though I had to stay on shore
My heart was on the sea.

They stopped at every port to call
From Babylon to Rome,
To load with all the lovely things
We never had at home;

With elephants and ivory
Bought from the King of Tyre,
And shells and silks and sandal-wood
That sailor men admire;

With figs and dates from Samarcand,
And squatty ginger-jars,
And scented silver amulets
From Indian bazaars;

With sugar-cane from Port of Spain,
And monkeys from Ceylon,
And paper lanterns from Pekin
With painted dragons on;

With cocoanuts from Zanzibar,
And pines from Singapore;
And when they had unloaded these
They could go back for more.

And even after I was big
And had to go to school,
My mind was often far away
Aboard the Ships of Yule.

William Bliss Carman

Yule do for me )c:

The burning of the Yule log is an ancient Christmas ceremony, transmitted to us from our Scandinavian ancestors, who, at their feast of Juul, at the winter-solstice, used to kindle huge bonfires in honour of their god Thor. The custom, though sadly shorn of the 'pomp and circumstance' which formerly attended it, is still maintained in various parts of the country. The bringing in and placing of the ponderous block on the hearth of the wide chimney in the baronial hall was the most joyous of the ceremonies observed on Christmas Eve in feudal times. The venerable log, destined to crackle a welcome to all-comers, was drawn in triumph from its resting-place at the feet of its living brethren of the woods. Each wayfarer raised his hat as it passed, for he well knew that it was full of good promises, and that its flame would burn out old wrongs and hearthurnings, and cause the liquor to bubble in the wassail-bowl, that was quaffed to the drowning of ancient feuds and animosities. So the Yule-log was worthily honoured, and the ancient bards welcomed its entrance with their minstrelsy.
Chamber's Book of Days

Santa Clause Live

I think these can only be viewed between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm
so it probably won't connect to the link outside those hours.


There's this bird called Mary, yeah? She's a virgin (wossat then?)She's not married or nuffink, but she's got this boyfriend, Joe, innit?He does joinery an' that. Mary lives with him in a crib dahn Nazaref.One day Mary meets this bloke Gabriel. She's like `Oo ya lookin at?'Gabriel just goes 'You got one up the duff, you have.' Mary's totally gobsmacked.She gives it to him large 'Stop dissin' me yeah? I ain't no Kappa-slapper.I never bin wiv no one!'So Mary goes and sees her cousin Liz, who's six months gone herself.Liz is largin' it. She's filled with spirits, Barcardi Breezers an' that.She's like 'Orright, Mary, I can feel me bay-bee in me tummy and I reckon I'm well blessed. Think of all the extra benefits an' that we are gonna get.'Mary goes 'Yeah, s'pose you're right'Mary an' Joe ain't got no money so they have to ponse a donkey, an' go dahn Bethlehem on that. They get to this pub an' Mary wants to stop, yeah?To have her bay-bee an' that.But there ain't no room at the inn, innit? So Mary an' Joe break an' enter into this garridge, only it's filled wiv animals. Cahs an' sheep an' that.Then these three geezers turn up, looking proper bling, wiv crowns on their heads. They're like `Respect, bay-bee Jesus', an' say they're wise men from the East End.Joe goes: 'If you're so wise, wotchoo doin' wiv this Frankenstein an' myrrh?Why dincha just bring gold, Adidas and Burberry?' It's all about to kick off when Gabriel turns up again an' sez he's got another message from this Lord geezer.He's like 'The police is comin an' they're killin all the bay-bees.You better nash off to Egypt.' Joe goes 'You must be monged if you thinkI'm goin' dahn Egypt on a minging donkey'Gabriel sez 'Suit yerself, pal. But it's your look out if you stay.'So they go dahn Egypt till they've stopped killin the first-born an' it's safe an' that.Then Joe and Mary and Jesus go back to Nazaref,an' Jesus turns water into Stella.HAPPY CHRISTMAS

Black People Love Us.

See what you make of this web-site: Black People Love Us

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Give a loo to the world

Dame Helen Mirren, Will Young and Helena Bonham Carter, along with comedian Rob Brydon join forces in this new Christmas ad for Oxfam to promote their more worthwhile and practical gift range.

'Give a loo to the world' ... funny line, serious issue.

Kangaroo farts save the world

According to scientists, kangaroo farts are fighting global warming.
Thanks to a special bacteria in their stomachs, kangaroos do not emit harmful methane gas when they let off a stinker and Australian scientists are now planning to transfer that bacteria into cows and sheep to make their flatulence eco-friendly.
It will take researchers about three years to isolate the bacteria before they can think of a way to transfer it to other animals

Monday, 10 December 2007

Christy Moore - Nancy Spain

Christy live @ Lyrath Estate Hotel Kilkenny March 2007

Motoring Muriel parks up after 75 years

When she started driving, petrol cost less than 2p a litre and windscreen wipers hadn't even been invented.
But, after 75 years behind the wheel, 94-year-old Muriel Gladwin is hanging up her driving gloves.
And, despite having clocked up hundreds of thousands of miles, she leaves behind an exemplary record.
The model driver has never had an accident, never been caught speeding and never claimed on her insurance.
Mrs Gladwin began driving in 1932 in a Model T Ford – the world's first mass-produced car. She even drove professionally during the 1930s, making deliveries for her father's bakery.
'The speed on the roads is the main thing that has changed over the years,' she said, recalling that the maximum limit on all roads was 30mph.
But, after three quarters of a century, three Minis and even a bit of motor-cycling, Mrs Gladwin has decided it's time to call it a day.
She will be relying on taxis and her son to get around from now on – and her Peugeot 206 is up for sale.
That's some going - I like the way they say 'never been caught speeding'.

Triangular Coin

A triangular coin, created to mark the new Tutankhamun exhibition in London, is to be legal tender in the Isle of Man.
The three-sided coin shows some of the artefacts found in the pharaoh's tomb in the Valley of the Kings by English archaeologist Howard Carter in 1922.

The bronze coins are being produced by Pobjoy Mint in Kingswood, Surreyand will have have a legal tender value of 25p on the Isle of Man.

They will be launched on the Isle of Man, where Mr Carter's great nephew is now a well-known resident.

Opera Monday - GOUNOD - FAUST - Le Veau d'Or

The opera is set in 16th century Germany, and is in five acts.

Act I takes place in Faust's 'cabinet'. Faust attempts to kill himself (twice) with poison but stops each time when he hears a choir. He curses science and faith and asks for infernal guidance. Méphistophélès appears (duet: Me voici) and, with a tempting image of Marguerite at her spinning wheel, persuades Faust to buy Méphistophélès's services on earth in exchange for Faust's in Hell.

Act II occurs at the city gates. A chorus of students and soldiers and villagers sing a drinking song, Vin ou Bière. Valentin, leaving for war with his friend Wagner, entrusts the care of his sister Marguerite to his friend Siébel. Méphistophélès appears and sings about the Golden Calf (Le veau d'or). Méphistophélès maligns Marguerite, and Valentin tries to strike him with his sword, which shatters. Valentin and friends use the cross-shaped hilts of their swords to fend off what they now know is an infernal power (chorus: De l'enfer). Méphistophélès is joined by Faust and the villagers in a waltz Ainsi que la brise légère. Marguerite refuses Faust's arm out of modesty.

Act III takes place in Marguerite's garden. Siébel leaves a bouquet for Marguerite (Faites-lui mes aveux). Faust sends Méphistophélès in search of a gift for Marguerite and sings a cavatina Salut, demeure chaste et pure about nature. Méphistophélès brings a trunk of jewels. Marguerite enters, pondering her encounter with Faust at the city gates, and sings a ballad about the King of Thulé, Il était un roi de Thulé, Marthe, Marguerite's neighbour, says the jewels must be from an admirer. Marguerite tries on the jewellery and sings her famous aria, the Jewel Song (Ah! je ris de me voir si belle en ce miroir). Méphistophélès and Faust join the women in the garden and romance them. Marguerite allows Faust to kiss her (Laisse-moi, laisse-moi contempler ton visage), but then asks him to go away. She sings at her window for his quick return, and Faust, listening, returns to her.

In Act IV, in Marguerite's room. Impregnated and abandoned by Faust, Marguerite has given birth and is a social outcast. She sings an air at her spinning wheel (Il ne revient pas). Siébel stands by her. Marguerite goes to the church and tries to pray there but is stopped, first by Méphistophélès and then by a choir of devils. She finishes her prayer, but faints when she is cursed again by Méphistophélès. Méphistophélès sings a lover's serenade under Marguerite's window (Vous qui faites l'endormie). Valentin returns and asks who debauched his sister. Faust and Valentin duel and Valentin is killed. With his dying breath he condemns Marguerite to Hell.

Act V is set in the Harz mountains on Walpurgisnacht. Méphistophélès and Faust are surrounded by witches (Un, deux et trois). Faust is transported to a cave of queens and courtesans, and a feast is held. (If included, the ballet takes place at this point.) Faust sees a vision of Marguerite and asks for her. Méphistophélès helps Faust enter the prison where Marguerite is being held for killing her child. They sing a love duet Oui, c'est toi que j'aime. Mephistopheles returns to urge Faust to hurry, and Marguerite recognizes him as the devil. She calls for divine protection as Faust urges her to hurry away with him and Mephistopheles tells them both that time is running out. Marguerite listens to neither of them, and sings an invocation to angels ("Anges purs, anges radieux"). At the end she hallucinates that Faust's hands are covered in blood, repulses him, and faints; while Mephistopheles cries out that Faust has been judged. Faust prays, while Marguerite's soul rises to heaven (Christ est ressuscité).

Sator Square

From Wikipedia
The Sator Square contains a Latin palindrome featuring the words SATOR AREPO TENET OPERA ROTAS written in a square so that they may be read top-to-bottom, bottom-to-top, left-to-right, and right-to-left. It's an example of a word square.

The usual translation is as follows:

Sator : 'Sower', 'planter'
Arepo : Likely an invented proper name; its similarity with arrepo, from ad repo, 'I creep towards', is coincidental
Tenet : 'he holds'
Operā : '(with) work', '(with care)', '(with) effort'
Rotas : 'wheels'

Two possible translations of the phrase are 'The sower Arepo holds the wheels with effort' and 'The sower Arepo leads with his hand (work) the plough (wheels).' C. W. Ceram read the square boustrophedon (in alternating directions), with tenet repeated. This produces Sator opera tenet; tenet opera sator, translated: 'The Great Sower holds in his hand all works; all works the Great Sower holds in his hand.' (Ceram 1958, p. 30)

The word arepo is enigmatic, appearing nowhere else in Latin literature. Most of those who have studied the Sator Square agree that it is a proper name, either an adaptation of a non-Latin word or a name invented specifically for this sentence. Jerome Carcopino thought that it came from a Celtic, specifically Gaulish, word for plough. David Daube argued that it represented a Hebrew or Aramaic rendition of the Greek Αλφα ω, or "Alpha-Omega" (cf. Revelation 1:8) by early Christians. J. Gwyn Griffiths contended that it came, via Alexandria, from the attested Egyptian name Ḥr-Ḥp, which he took to mean "the face of Apis". (For more on these arguments see Griffiths, 1971 passim.)

The oldest known representation of the Sator Square was found in the ruins of Herculaneum. Others were found in excavations at Corinium (modern Cirencester) and Dura-Europos (in modern Syria).

Other Sator Squares are on the wall of the Duomo of Siena, on the pavement outside the church of the Knights in Valetta, Malta and on the tombstone of composer Anton von Webern, who experimented with the Sator Square in a musical way.

An example of the Sator Square found in Manchester is considered by some authorities to be the earliest evidence of Christianity in Britain.

Other authorities believe the Sator Square was Mithraic in origin.

The Sator Square is a four-times palindrome, and some have attributed magical properties to it, considering it one of the broadest magical formulas in the occident; for example, the 19th-century Pennsylvania Dutch used it to protect cattle from witchcraft.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

36 Quai des Orfèvres

... and on the topic of things French - I watched 36 Quai des Orfèvres last night.

The film takes place in Paris, where two cops (Auteuil and Depardieu) are
competing for the vacant seat of Chief of Police while in the middle of a search
for a gang of violent thieves. The movie is directed by a former police officer
who spent twelve years in the French police before creating this story, which in
part is taken from real facts that happened during the eighties in France.
36 Quai des Orfèvres is the address of the French equivalent of Scotland Yard.

It is another great film (well what do you expect with Auteuil and Depardieu both starring in it?) but I see that once again the americans have decided to do a remake with George Clooney, so I would recommend that you watch the original before they bring out the much inferior version.

What is it with the americans that they have to copy all the best French (or foreign) films - why can't they think of something original themselves?

examples: Nikita, Taxi, La Cage aux Folles, La Jetée, The Disappearance, The Seven Samurai, The Grudge , Ringu - I'm sure you can probably name a few more.

Paris wheel

look at what I've found - Paris also has a big rickety wheel (click this link for large pic on un jour à Paris)

BUT ... Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe is taking legal action to get the city's largest Ferris wheel removed from its prime location on the Place de la Concorde.
The owner of the wheel, Marcel Campion, and Mr Delanoe are locked in battle over the future site of the big wheel, originally erected for the city's millennium celebrations in 1999.

A dispute over the future of Paris' millennium wheel appears to be deadlocked after a park refused to become the final venue for the attraction.
The owner of La Grande Roue has defied a court ruling ordering him to move the 60-metre (195-foot) high structure and is seeking to keep it where it is.

I don't remember seeing it when I was there in October last year and March this year (I think I would have noticed) - so presumably they have come to some sort of agreement to erect it over the christmas period.

Saturday, 8 December 2007


I have just arrived home after having a meal in Scalini's restaurant (Botanic Avenue, Belfast) and just decided to share a pic to show you the interior. As you can see it is decorated in the style of an Italian villa and you can almost imagine yourself sitting on the terrace of the villa in Tuscany enjoying good food, good wine and pleasant company. If only they wouldn't do the same as all other commercial businesses and play their christmas cd constantly in the weeks prior to christmas - I would like to see somebody use a bit of imagination and come up with something just a wee bit different.

Just the other day my wife was commenting on an advertising poster for a popular cider and saying how much she liked it - it shows an apple tree covered with lights (they use real fairy lights on the billboards) - and I had to say that although I liked it, when it first came out, I thought it was now getting a bit boring. Again, I have nothing against the poster, I just think that after a couple of years they could use a bit more imagination. If they don't want to get away from the image of the tree and fairy lights I think they could at least photograph a different tree, perhaps in a different location. Here's a thought - why not use a photograph of a different orchard each year (I'm sure they have many) with the workers gathered at the base of the tree enjoying a glass of said cider, or is that maybe just a little bit too kitsch?

Oh, and if they use that idea - I want a commission, thank you very much.

Christmas entertainment

My first video uploaded to YouTube - you were right MLL, it is easier to upload to YouTube than Blogger - thanks for suggesting that.

A duo singing blues and jazz in Ten Square Bar in the run-up to christmas 2007

Jesse Rae - Over the sea

Friday, 7 December 2007

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band

I heard this on the car radio on the way back from the airport this morning and just had to share it - me mate 'tricky Dicky' enjoyed Copperhead Road, let's see what he makes of this.

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Across the Universe

Rufus Wainwright

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup,
They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe.
Pools of sorrow, waves of joy are drifting through my open mind,
Possessing and caressing me.
Jai guru deva om.

Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world.

Images of broken light which dance before me like a million eyes,
Thay call me on and on across the universe.
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box,
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe.
Jai guru deva om.

Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world.

Sounds of laughter shades of love are ringing through my open ears,
Inciting and inviting me.
Limitless undying love which shines around me like a million suns,
It calls me on and on across the universe.
Jai guru deva om.

Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world,
Nothing's gonna change my world.

Jai guru deva om,
Jai guru deva om,
Jai guru deva om...

The Beatles

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Luke Kelly - Raglan Road - 1979

The late great Luke Kelly.

... and something a bit more upbeat ... The Dubliners - McAlpine's Fusiliers

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Marie Laforet - "Viens Viens" - 1973

Another great chanteuse - and what must be one of the most sensuous songs ever recorded.

Jeane Manson - Avant de nous dire adieu

I just love this song - she may not always choose the right songs but she has a great voice.

Steve Earle - two of the best

Guitar Town

Copperhead Road

Play them LOUD!

Security Alert

click for larger
I have just received another of those e-mails advising me to update my NatWest bank account details. Apart from the obvious spelling errors and the fact that I do not hold a NatWest account the whole thing is extremely amateur - the e-mail should have been sent in html format but instead they sent the source code, so that it looked like the image above instead of looking like this ................

Logo: NatWest

Dear Nawest Customer:

It has come to

our attention that your account billing updates are out of order. If you could

please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and update your billing

records you will not run into any future problems with the online service.

However, failure to update your records will result in account termination.

Please update your records now.

If you are the

rightful holder of the account you must click the link below and then

complete all steps from the following page as we try to verify your


If you

choose to ignore our request, you leave us no choise but to temporaly suspend

your account.


Updating Department

I mean to say, come on, if you want to defraud me out of my millions you really will have to do better than that. Howsabout investing in a spell checker for a kick-off and what about a bit of quality control? - nobody but nobody is going to buy shoddy goods like this, we would only ask for our money back (c:=

You will probably have noticed that the fake link above is for the following url:

Ha Ha Ha ha Ha. I'm laughing all the way to the bank - not NatWest, I hasten to add. Oh, and please, please, please terminate my account and forward all money to me post haste, thank you.

Half Truths

OH! - how cruel can one man be?

The Arcadia, Portrush

I was surprised to find this photo on the BBC web site of the Arcadia in Portrush on a clear evening photographed by John Richmond because I had thought it had been demolished long ago.

Further research shows that in 2001 Contractors moved onto the two acre site of the Arcadia in Portrush to undertake a £650,000 scheme including a play area and the renovation of one of the resort's most famous buildings.
Once famous as a dancing hotspot, which hosted some of the country's most celebrated showbands, The Arcadia fell into decline. The imaginative scheme has given it a new lease of life, creating a role for the building and the surrounding area. Coleraine Borough Council

The Silencers - Wild Mountain Thyme

This is a joy to watch and a joy to listen to.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Dusk on the Lagan

Opera Monday - O mio babbino caro

Just for a little change I thought I would post different versions of the same aria - 'O mio babbino caro' sung by four of the greatest opera singers. Probably most people will recognize it as having been included in the soundtrack of the film 'A Room with a View' and what a piece of music to select - beautiful.

Hayley Westenra

Sumi Jo

Renee Fleming

Angela Gheorghiu

I had included Maria Callas but decided to remove her version because, much as I appreciate her wonderful singing, I did not think her version was as good as the others. I know there are people who will disagree and disagree strongly with me here but I'm afraid it is a matter of personal preference - I am not saying it was a poor performance by Maria Callas.

O mio babbino caro ("Oh my dear daddy") is an aria from Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini. It is sung by Lauretta after tensions between Schicchi and his prospective in-laws have reached a breaking point. It describes Lauretta's deep love of her boyfriend Rinuccio (referred to, but not named, in the second and subsequent lines of the aria).

Why not listen to all four and let me know which is your favourite.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

... a young child's excitement

This weekend we have our young grandson staying and so we didn't waste the opportunity to take him to see the polar bear. Actually he saw the neighbouring window first, which houses a large snowman, and his little face was an absolute picture - he was just enchanted by the polar bear, the snowman and father christmas. Next on the agenda was (shock, horror!) - the big rickety wheel and you should have seen how excited he was. His little head was turned at right angles to his body as he stared up at the big wheel but most surprising of all was just how patient he was waiting in the queue to board the wheel. His excitement didn't diminish one bit once we boarded the pod and rose above the city hall and looked down Belfast Lough and over the surrounding hills.

I have to admit to butterflies in the stomache (just a little bit) when our pod reached the top of the wheel - I'm not scared of heights but perhaps the fact that I was looking out of a large window with no visible means of support 100 odd feet above the ground may have just affected my judgement slightly. Well anyway I calmed my fears very quickly but when we next rose to the top the sudden rainstorm and accompanying strong winds did nothing to allay them whatsoever. Extreme sport it isn't but it did get the adrenalin pumping just a little.

I must say that the admission fee may be a little high but it was well worth paying just to see the excitement on our grandson's face.

Friday, 30 November 2007

Folies Bergere stage first revue

Once a hall for operettas, pantomime, political meetings, and vaudeville, the Folies Bergère in Paris introduces an elaborate revue featuring women in sensational costumes. The highly popular "Place aux Jeunes" established the Folies as the premier nightspot in Paris. In the 1890s, the Folies followed the Parisian taste for striptease and quickly gained a reputation for its spectacular nude shows. The theater spared no expense, staging revues that featured as many as 40 sets, 1,000 costumes, and an off-stage crew of some 200 people.
The Folies Bergère dates back to 1869, when it opened as one of the first major music halls in Paris. It produced light opera and pantomimes with unknown singers and proved a resounding failure. Greater success came in the 1870s, when the Folies Bergère staged vaudeville. Among other performers, the early vaudeville shows featured acrobats, a snake charmer, a boxing kangaroo, trained elephants, the world's tallest man, and a Greek prince who was covered in tattoos allegedly as punishment for trying to seduce the Shah of Persia's daughter. The public was allowed to drink and socialize in the theater's indoor garden and promenade area, and the Folies Bergère became synonymous with the carnal temptations of the French capital. Famous paintings by Édouard Manet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec were set in the Folies.
In 1886, the Folies Bergère went under new management, which, on November 30, staged the first revue-style music hall show. The "Place aux Jeunes," featuring scantily clad chorus girls, was a tremendous success. The Folies women gradually wore less and less as the 20th century approached, and the show's costumes and sets became more and more outrageous. Among the performers who got their start at the Folies Bergère were Yvette Guilbert, Maurice Chevalier, and Mistinguett. The African American dancer and singer Josephine Baker made her Folies debut in 1926, lowered from the ceiling in a flower-covered sphere that opened onstage to reveal her wearing a G-string ornamented with bananas.
Josephine Baker on cover of 1936 Folies Bergere Program

The Folies Bergère remained a success throughout the 20th century and still can be seen in Paris today, although the theater now features many mainstream concerts and performances. Among other traditions that date back more than a century, the show's title always contains 13 letters and includes the word "Folie."

Ulster woman fleeced on eBay

A Despondent Ulster woman told last night how she lost a diamond engagement ring worth £2,000 - after being caught out by an elaborate scam on the internet.

Lisa Woodside, from north Belfast, placed the ring on eBay hoping to raise money for Christmas.
She received an email from a buyer she believed to be from Dallas, USA, offering £1,200.

But after Ms Woodside was asked to send the ring to the buyer's sister in Nigeria the money never appeared in her account.

It soon emerged the so-called buyer was using a fraudulent internet payment account and sending " spoof emails". ... more:

While I have every sympathy for her predicament, all I can say is - where has she been hiding these past few years, does she not read the newspapers? Did she not smell a rat when asked to send the ring to Nigeria, of all places! It is a terrible way to learn not to be so trusting.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Christmas and a window dresser's imagination

Tonight I was passing a large city centre store on the bus and noticed this window arrangement. I was so taken by it that I got off the bus and walked back to take these photos. To me it is a very simple arrangement evoking the feeling of christmas without being overly commercial. Congratulations to the person whose creative talent thought this up.

... and the centre-piece, that would bring a smile to many a woman's face ....

Christmas and a young child's imagination.

As window displays go it's actually not bad but when I think back to when I was a child and awed by the magic of christmas I can remember a time when the stores were in competition with each other to produce the best christmas display in the city centre. Sadly not many take the time or effort any longer to produce something to capture a young child's imagination. I regret that, when I had the chance recently, I didn't take my grandson round to see the polar bear but it was a cold wet saturday and we opted instead for the warmth of a local cafe - still, there will be another couple of occasions when I can put that to rights.

I am reminded also of the times when my father took my sister and myself to the Ulster museum and our first stop was the stuffed polar bear that stood near the exit, it was much more exciting than the real life bear at the zoo - because you could walk right up to this one and look him straight in the eyes.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

pssst .....

.... don't say a word to Francis but Diane might be pregnant !!!

Happy birthday ...

Today is our grand daughter's 16th birthday -

so, to her, we send our very best wishes for a very Happy Birthday

Sharing her birthday with - Jimi Hendrix, 1942, Bruce Lee, 1940

p.s. the photo is not of her.

Monday, 26 November 2007

Festival de la Bande Dessinée

Sorry I missed this.

Opera Monday - Catalani - La Wally.

Fernandez sings the aria "Ebben? Ne andrò lontana", from Catalani's opera "La Wally." This performance plays a prominent role in the 1991 French romantic thriller, "Diva." Another must-see film.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter

by Brian Ownbey

The fog bullies the coast again
and I remember nights you walked home
with a loaf of bread, a fifth of bay rum
and just enough pills to keep you
from cutting the stitches along your wrist.
You told me there was a comfort you felt
when the fog cloaked your body
and held you hidden within the ghost light...
hidden from the locals who thought of you
only as the girl who tried to drown herself
just off the cape the day after police
found your father dead from an aneurism
and frozen to the lighthouse floor.

The night we met at the Barbary Coast Lounge
you coaxed me to the lighthouse
and we pried off the lock with a crowbar.
In the control room where your father
died in the middle of a thought
we finished a bottle of red wine
and watched a dreadnought of fog
swallow the town lights one by one.
You told me as a child you often slept
on a cot beside your father and dreamed
the Angel of Death came in the shape of an opal fog
and carried you beyond reach of the lighthouse,
and then you undressed me as if there was something
in the taste of my skin that could save you
from another night of wanting to die.

That summer we'd wade out naked past the breakers
and whatever there was of a moon laced your breasts
in antique strands of silver ivy. The black water
pitched up against your back as you straddled me
for the last time, biting hard into my lip
as if you wanted to leave a mark on me.
Swimming back to our clothes I lost sight of you
in the shorebreak that rose out of nowhere
like the blurred sight of a fist we see
just moments before the deathblow,
and I am still halfway convinced that something
that died years ago in the riptide came back
and pulled you down into its arms.

Tonight the air is embalmed with the silence of fog
that hangs over the town like a death threat.
I breathe the salt of a Nor' easter
and remember the persistent chill of your fingers
as you placed them around the handles of my body.
I unfold the Barlow knife you gave me
and recall how you said the scars on your arm
were simply a means for keeping time.
When the harsh light of this room straps against my face
and the fog strangles my thoughts until there is no logic
beyond the blade of this knife I will come to understand
the sudden rush of headlights skimming up the road
as if two angels were coming to bring me the news
of how they delivered you themselves
with their own blinding opal wings.

Merry Belfast from Christmas

....... an early morning shot before the crowds gather and get in the way of a decent photo. It's the same when you go on holiday, bloody tourists always getting in the way of a nice kodak moment (c:~

J Braddell & sons

This is to complement a recent pic on Belfast Daily Photo.

.. and to repeat something I said .. Joseph Braddell & Son Ltd. was founded in 1811 when Joseph Braddell and his son came to Belfast from County Donegal. They established a business for the manufacture and retail of general sports and fieldsports equipment, including guns, fishing tackle and golf clubs. The fieldsports section separated from the general sports in 1913 and has become an established part of Irish sporting circles.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Chickweed Lane - the honeymoon (update)

Simone White: The Beep Beep Song

... a song that has been used in a television advert

... and another.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Belfast's Lord Mayor - Jim Rodgers catches a Salmon

Fabrizio Belluschi took this picture of Lord Mayor Jim Rodgers grappling with – oh sorry - welcoming television presenter Zoe Salmon back to Belfast at the Christmas lights switch-on. BBC:

The Thursday Comic Strip - The Perishers

This week we pay hommage to a British comic strip: The Perishers

artists: Maurice Dodd, Dennis Collins, Bill Melvin

America may well have had the apple-pie delights of "Peanuts", but here in
the UK we've had the h'effervescent pleasures of a daily strip cartoon starring
"The Perishers". Wellington, Maisie, Marlon, Wellington's scruffy sheepdog
Boot, B.H. the bloodhound, Fiscal and Baby Grumplin have pondered,
pontificated, plundered, preached, and pratfalled for forty years in the
pages of the "Daily Mirror".

"The Perishers" are particularly well-known for the way they talk. Their speech
bubbles read like Liza Doolittle in "Pygmalion", a combination of posh and
cock-a-ney and creator Maurice Dodd has always delighted in exploiting
sophisticated vernacular and wordage between the strip stars, dropping
their 'H's and pronouncing words phonetically to clever effect.

Dodd was an ex-apprentice car salesman, baker's roundsman, universal
grinder operator, spray painter, shop assistant, postman, locomotive foreman,
caretaker, aircraftsman and paratrooper who had juggled his commitment to the
strip with employment at ad agency Young & Rubicam. Indeed, he was actually
the mastermind behind those famous Clunk-Clink seatbelt advertisements. His
advertising experiences frequently found their way into the strip too. In the
sixties, in particular, the kids made regular reference to Guinness ads,
Government Milk ads, Washing Powder commercials, and suchlike. Dodd's one
abiding political Bugbear also continued to surface: His dislike of taxation! Toonhound:

The Perishers was a British comic strip about a group of urban children and a dog. It began in the Daily Mirror in 1958 and was written for most of its life by Maurice Dodd (October 25, 1922 - December 31, 2005). It was drawn by Dennis Collins until his retirement in 1983, after which it was drawn by Dodd and later by Bill Mevin. After Dodd's death the strip continued with several weeks' backlog of strips and some reprints until June 10, 2006.

Whilst The Perishers have been dismissed by some Americans as nothing more than a clone of Peanuts, its elements of eccentric British sense of humour, combined with its detailed art style (in its heyday, Collins produced some of the most finely-detailed artwork ever seen in a daily strip), sets it apart.

Many Perishers strips are polyptychs - a single continuous background image is divided into three or four panels and the characters move across it from panel to panel. The story is set in the fairly drab fictional town of Croynge (sometimes spelled Crunge), which is apparently a south London borough - the name is derived from Croydon and Penge. However, visually the location often resembles an industrial Northern town.

Thematically, the strip draws upon nostalgic childhood experiences, and often has a static, almost limbo-like atmosphere, in a similar manner to its companion strip, Andy Capp. The main characters largely exist independently of 'the real world', and adults are rarely seen; for example, every year the Perishers go on holiday but always get thrown off the train home, forcing them to walk and arrive home several weeks late (a pun on how a short scene in comic book time can take several weeks when told in daily installments), yet with seemingly no repercussions.

No comic is complete without catchphrases. This is a partial list of the phrases coined or made popular by the Perishers.
"Go-faster stripes" — Wellington's big selling-point on the buggies he tries to get Marlon to buy. It became a way of describing any useless or frivolous addition to a product.
"GRONFF!!" — The sound of Boot gobbling up something tasty, often something meant for another character, once the contents of a bird table. Also used sometimes when other characters eat.
" Parasite ! Trotskyite ! Marmite !" — Insults hurled at each other by the Beetle and the Caterpillar whenever they brawl, which is frequently. Marmite is, of course, not exactly a valid insult.
"Vilson Kepple und Betty!" — Kilroy the Tortoise's favourite exclamation. It derives from the stage act Wilson, Kepple and Betty.
"Need any help with that paper bag ?" — Maisie can detect the opening of a bag of crisps from far away, appearing almost instantly to help with the consumption, uttering this phrase as soon as she arrives.
"Yeuk!!" — Marlon's reaction to Maisie's perennial romantic advances. He responds to her in this way so often that Maisie has actually asked Marlon, "Is 'yeuk' the only word you know?"
"Ratbag" — The kids' favorite insult. Absent from the very early days of the strip, it quickly became a staple. Maisie is particularly fond of the word, and constantly uses it to refer to Marlon.


Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Prague - the whole kit and kaboodle

Castle Court

The pick 'n mix sweet stand in Belfast's main shopping mall, Castle Court. I wonder what the total is of all those E-numbers?

Christmas in Belfast

... and now the lights have been switched on and the market stalls are in full swing.

To the right we can see the stall being run by the nuns from Belarus, filled with those great wooden Russian dolls and decorated eggs as well as religious icons.
Saw a lot of digital cameras - so expect to see a lot more photos of the market in local blogs.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Ernesto Cardenal - Prayer for Marilyn Monroe

Scottish Provident Institute

Here is another fine old Belfast building - the Scottish Provident Institute, decorated with sphinxes and dolphins ....

Between 1892 and 1902, in other words, during the last decade of Victoria's reign, the Belfast architects Young and Mackenzie designed two enormous officeblocks immediately to the west of Donnegal Place and the new City Hall. The most notable building in the area, the Scottish Provident Institution, a towering Corinthian-inspired block of Giffnoch sandstone, was built in sections from 1899 to 1902:

[It] is faintly reminiscent of the work of Cuthbert Brodrick in
Leeds. The central bay is bowed; there are six floors and an an attic storey;
heavy engaged Corinthian columns run through the third, fourth and fifth floors.
The octagonal domes at the corners, with heavy knops, are not very successful. .
. . there are two large sphinxes, four dolphins, sixteen lion's heads, and
seventeen queens; four panels showing printing, ropemaking, shipbuilding, and
spinning [Belfast's principal industries at the time], all being carried on by
amoretti; and at the corner of Wellington Place, a rather nauseating marble
group in a pompous aedicule compromising a semi-nude lady doing her hair; a
small boy imitating her; and another lady looking on in surprise: apparently
modelled on 'the beautiful seal' of the Scottish Provident Institution. All the
carvings are by Purdy and Millard. (C. E. B. Brett, pp. 58-59)
The Victorian Web:

Somebody is obviously not impressed but I like it - I think it is much better than those monstrosities they are erecting down by the docks.

Thin Lizzy - running back

There is an ad running on tv here for Brennan's bread - well here's the song from the ad performed by the great Thin Lizzy

Chickweed Lane