Friday, February 18, 2005

Nearly Back in Action

Well, I've been laid up all week, with a stomach infection rendering my whole life into one long scene from The Exorcist, but I'm getting back into the swing of things today, much to my relief. One thing I didn't see this week, as reported on Wednesday by Paul over on N.Irish Magyar, was Belfast City Council's decision not to fund the St. Patrick's day Parade.

I have to say that, though the proclamations of elected representatives on the subject might not be utterly connected to the facts of any matter here, prone as they are to what I posted about at the start of this week, I did find my one St. Patrick's Day festival here a little strange. OK, there is something vaguely satisfying about the weirdness of standing in front of the Victorian monolith that is City Hall, with the Union Jack fluttering above it, watching Shane McGowen stumbling around the stage mumbling and three hundred teenagers in flourescent green afro wigs jumping up and down in front. Most people have to pay good money for that sort of vision but in Belfast you can get it for free!

But what I also found was something that I remarked on in my first post to this blog, way back in November. That is, that the celebration just came across as aggressive. At least part of the intention of the event was to mark some absolute ownership on the city centre for the day, in the same way that, like it or not, the 12th is partly about marking absolute ownership of various spaces for a few days in July. It always saddens me that Belfast, unlike all other cities I've been in, has no public event or space that everyone can attach themselves to.

On a much lighter note, although I am a member of the small minority whose boss is also a fantastic mentor, colleague and friend (one of the many joys of academic life), Young Irelander links to one of the best games I've seen in quite a while: yes folks, it's time to Whack Your Boss...

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