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Wednesday, 4 September 2013


Class. Just class.

Yesterday afternoon one of the nicest things to happen to me in quite a while, well, happened.  I was contacted by Jake Burns from Stiff Little Fingers.  He had read my wee piece about a carryout in Banbridge in 1983, and enjoyed it.  What's more, he posted the link to my memory of a Friday night in small town mid-Ulster to the SLF facebook website.     

The comments both on the SLF page and by private message have been brilliant. As someone who likes to write, when people acknowledge they have read your stuff is food.  Sustenance. Fuel for future pieces.

I think the surprise for a few people when I talk about Northern Ireland is that yes, sectarianism and bigotry and guns and bombs did enter our lives; but we were teenagers doing what teenagers do everywhere - rebel, drink, look to the future with fear/ lack of confidence and dread that this control by outside parties never ends... but kicking and screaming at the chains and walls.  And thats what we did, and most of us got through it. Most of us.

I've been going through a bit of a lull in my writing.  This is because I've taken on too much, I feel. But hopefully things quieten down and I can get a bit of thinking time.

Yesterday evening cleared one thing up, but opened up a new question. 

I was almost convinced Joe Strummer had joined SLF on stage in the Ulster Hall back in the late eighties on one of the couple of times I had saw the band around that time. I was able to ask Jake and he replied,

"Afraid the old cider must have been playing tricks with you, Neil. Sadly, we were never joined on stage by Joe." 

So- that clears that up- but I am convinced I saw Strummer play with another band in Belfast or Dublin in the eighties or early 90's.

Anyone have any ideas?

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