Monthly Archives: September 2018

Film: Black 47 a robust take on Irish Famine in the form of a good, bloody yarn

“IT’S not always cowardice that makes men run,” says disgraced police inspector Hannah (Hugo Weaving) of his former British army comrade, the now renegade Martin Feeney (James Frecheville), in Black 47. “Sometimes they just get tired. And angry.”

It could be a line from Richard Crenna’s Colonel Trautman in First Blood, explaining to a rookie why “the best soldier I ever knew” – in that case one John Rambo – went rogue. Read more »


UVF gun-running plaque criticised over wording

A row has broken out over the wording of a plaque to commemorate a gun-running operation by the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF).

Councillors agreed to install the plaque at Donaghadee Harbour, where rifles were landed in April 1914.

It was part of a unionist campaign against the expected introduction of Home Rule in Ireland. Read more »


A mother’s impossible choice

The trailer for A Mother Takes Her Son To Be Shot, a new documentary set in Londonderry, opens with a mundane domestic image – a mother dropping chips into a deep-fat fryer.

A mother cooking for her family, a typical image of comfort and protection.

But in post-conflict Northern Ireland, a mother’s role can be skewed. Read more »


From Tartan to Terror in the 1970’s

This event seeks to examine the origins and rise of the Tartan gangs in Belfast and their transformation into loyalist Paramilitaries in the violent maelstrom of the early 1970s. Gareth Mulvenna will talk about the research he carried out for his acclaimed book ‘Tartan Gangs and Paramilitaries – The Loyalist Backlash’ while playwright Robert Beano Niblock will read new poems he has written from the perspective of a young man who went from being a member of the Woodstock Tartan to a member of the Red Hand Commando in July 1972. The event will also feature guest speakers and there will be a discussion afterwards.

No tickets are required and entry is free.

Tea and coffee will be provided.

All welcome.


Prison Arts


I attended a Prison Arts Foundation presentation in the Crumlin Road Prison quite some time ago and I have to say that the quality of work on show was exceptional. The main picture is of me standing beside a painting that was done by Michael Stone. I recognised it from quite a distance – his distinctive style is on show with the painstaking application of layers he has been using on a lot of his recent work.

A recently set-up group consisting of ex-combatants and ex-prisoners are collating a collection of art memorabilia images with the possibility of composing a calendar for 2019.

If you have any images of paintings, handicrafts etc that you would be interested in displaying in the calendar please contact me at the usual channels or through this site.



Efforts are mounting to drive a wedge between Theresa May and the DUP over the backstop

The Guardian has been the only media I can find claiming a British ploy to get round the backstop in these terms. 

Senior diplomats involved in the negotiations have reacted furiously to the details of a fresh UK proposal for avoiding a hard border on the island of Ireland, briefed to the Irish PM, Leo Varadkar, at last week’s Salzburg summit. Read more »


The Kages



The Birds of Long Cage.

     Long Kesh; barbed wire, high walls, army look out posts, helicopters, a young prison population, all convicted in a non-jury Diplock court. This was special category status. A unique prison situation in the entire history of British prisons.  As time went on, and despite all the protests and conflict, a normality, or attempts at normality, began to emerge. One feature of cage life was that some men began to get birds to look after as pets. Read more »


Did Downing Street collude with Loyalists?


At 10:30 a.m. on October 6th, 1971 the most senior members of the British cabinet, headed by prime minister, Ted Heath met at Downing Street with only one item on the agenda: the deteriorating security and political situation in Northern Ireland.

To underline the gravity of the situation facing the British, only those with a stake in the crisis or its possible consequences were invited. Prime Minister Heath presided of course; the ministers present were the real makers and shakers in the British government: the Home Secretary Reginald Maudling; Foreign Secretary Sir Alec Douglas Home; the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Anthony Barber; Lord President of the Council, William Whitelaw and the Defence Secretary, Lord Carrington.

British prime minister Ted Heath outside 10 Downing Street Read more »


Lewis Crocker: Protestant boxer’s payout over discrimination claim

A Protestant boxer has received thousands of pounds in settlement of a case brought under fair employment law.

Lewis Crocker believed he was not picked for the NI Commonwealth Youth Games squad because of his perceived religious belief or political opinion. Read more »


Bestie Plays the Blues

A Change of Venue for the Event


This night has been changed to Harland and Wolff staff club….all money raised on the night will be used to fund a memorial tribute statue of George Best, all musicians involved are giving their services free for this very special cause, please share this post so that we can make this a great night. I am pleased to say that I will be playing a few acoustic tunes on the night….For tickets phone Robert..07979307214 or call at Harland and Wolff staff club Hollywood rd…..or you can pay at the door on the night