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Archive for the ‘Norn Iron’ Category

I’ve been following with interest (well, okay, let’s not go crazy) the success of Northern Irish singer Eoghan Quigg on The X-Factor. First of all, the show is quite entertaining – usually at the beginning of the audition process when it’s like the monsters from The Hills Have Eyes turn out to put on their best show – but people take it far too seriously. Of course it is upsetting to be rejected, but it’s so strange that people rely so heavily on talent shows that they think their entire career and future rest upon whether they are sent through to the next round or not. Anyway – Eoghan has already courted controversy for his decision to sing on the Hero single, dedicated to British soldiers. Eoghan has not claimed to hold any political views, but plays for a hurling team named for the hunger striker Kevin Lynch, and his family have stated that they are republicans. Apparently, a series of sinister threats have been made from hardline republican groups, and there has been much clamour from those stating that Eoghan should not contribute any support to the British army. This is a difficult issue; Eoghan’s parents claim that he has no political leanings, but he would surely know the significance of Lynch’s name, and is not so young that he can be entirely ignorant of the Troubles. It is indicative of the rifts still present in Northern Irish society that it is almost impossible for anyone to emerge from it without being expected to have political leanings or assocations. Whilst it is an excellent development that a Northern Irish star might emerge with no such stated leanings, it seems that it’s not going to be Quigg.

HollyjervisMeanwhile, Holly Jervis, the terrifying, abysmal holiday camp singer with the giant mouth which Simon said was like ‘looking into a cave’, refuses to answer producers’ calls. And Emma Chawner, who became a ‘star’ after her atrocious performance of ‘My Heart Will Go On’, is living in a car after her entire family has been evicted due to her appalling singing. Only in Britain can someone be ‘famous’ for being rubbish at something. (See, for instance, Maureen from Driving School, Jade Goody, etc…)

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Well hello! Inspired by my best buddy narrioch, I thought I’d set up a blog to detail my adventures as I settle into my new home in Schoeneberg, Berlin. But what better way to start off my new blog than a post about my homeland of Northern Ireland? Yesterday’s story of a ‘lion’ (aka… ‘stray dog’) on the loose in the hills surrounding Belfast reminded me of the similar reports which were broadcast regular intervals during my childhood. NI adopts most of the regulations passed by Westminster, but some governors determined in their wisdom that Norn Ironers would be better off without an act restricting the possession of dangerous wildlife. I believe that it was only earlier this year that regulations were put in place to forbid the keeping of certain animals as pets. As a result, there would be a report almost every summer of a beast loose on the moors, a marauding giraffe terrifying toddlers, or a mongoose stealing ice creams. I remember seeing the couple who operated a tattoo shop just down the road from my grandmother’s house, out in the local park walking their pet wolf. This custom is only one oddity of my homeland, but I must admit to feeling something of a pang of nostalgia – now that I am an émigré – on imagining the panicked phone calls to the local police station after yesterday’s ‘sighting’. I would have returned to NI just for the day to overhear the conversations. Here, did you see that fuckin LYAN doin a shite in the hills? I SQUEALED for the peelers, oh mammy. Nah it was a fuckin LABRADOR. Absolutely… scundered.

I have to admit, confusing a dog with a wild cat is something I can easily understand – my four-legged friend does a pretty good impression of a black panther when she’s tracking down a tasty piece of rabbit crap. So thanks, NI, for giving me a little reminder of home.

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