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Thursday, 26 May 2016


I'm off to Belfast tomorrow evening, my home town, the place that shaped me for better or worse. I was born there, I grew up there and I had my first employment there. I have family there. I have memories of there. It's a city with a troubled history, rumblings ever present but it is also a city of positive vibrancy when it comes to the creative arts. There is energy here and not just the dubious energy of politics and continuing extremism, which after all this time is both dangerous and tedious. There is a wondrous environment of music, writing in all its forms, theatre and everything else you could mention. Just listen to The Arts Show on BBC Radio Ulster on weeknights, presented by Marie-Louise Muir and Michael Bradley and watch The Arts Show on BBC Northern Ireland TV every month, presented by Marie-Louise Muir.  Listen to Ralph McLean's Local Voices Show (also BBC Radio Ulster) on Wednesday nights. How can your jaw not drop at the talent?

I have had the pleasure on this blog in recent times to read/listen and review books/music and I am blown away by the quality of the brilliant output of writers and performers. I have loved The Good Son by Paul McVeigh, Full Throttle by Liam Beckett, Unfinished Peace by Brian Rowan, Spirit of '58 by Evan Marshall, The Dangerous Harpist by Ursula Burns, Don't Make Me Go To Town by Brigid O'Neill, They Killed The Ice Cream Man by George Larmour and so much more.

I will be on The John Toal Show on Radio Ulster on Saturday morning talking about my father's missing 22 years. He left his Belfast home, his wife and seven children and vanished. Next we heard of him was in 1982 when we were told he had died in Clapham, London. The Da that never was........

Belfast means a lot to me.

So it does!

Much more to say but I'll leave it there for now. Must sort my socks and undies.........

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