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Friday, 11 March 2016


I loved the John Pepper columns in the Belfast Telegraph and I still love them. I have several of his books including What A Thing To Say (1977) and See Me, See Her (1978), A Quare Geg (1979) and Catch Yerself On (1980). I also loved The Best of Billy Simpson (1979). The drawings by Rowel Friers are brilliant. Geniuses all.

The Pepper books are collections of the columns and his gathering of Ulster words and phrases as they are spoke. They make for hilarious reading.

For example, when people pop to a convenience store, they are going to a wee shap. When they are feeling unwell, they make an appointment at the dactars. If they need foot treatments, it's off to the charapadists. It something sounds absurd, it's diclas. A baby is a wee chile. People look out of their windies. If they hear bad news, the first word they say is "Ack". If something is considered excellent, it's stickin' out. Northern Ireland is a pravinz.  A treat on a sunny day is a lallypap. And on and on it goes. Hilarious.

I wrote* about John Pepper, Rowel Friers and Billy Simpson a while ago and I wondered then as I wonder now, who are the humorous column writers today.

I am writing a few Belfast-related things at the moment and as I browsed my books, I couldn't help but take time out yet again to laugh at these heroes of mine.

If you can get a hold of these books (published by Blackstaff Press, although they might be out of print), you are guaranteed laughs.

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