city life

Belfast has changed a lot since I first moved here. (Despite my air of sophistication, I only have to open my mouth for locals to know I’m “from the country”.)

http://www.forces80.com/forces_80_reference.htm
taken in 1983

It’s still grey and miserable. There are too few sunny days, and too much conflict.

Now we have fancy hotels, many and various concert venues and decent eatin’ houses. People can wander in the city centre past 5pm. We have shared public spaces and we’re using them. Cruise ships stop here. There are proper tourist attractions. We don’t even pass any remarks on seeing groups of tourists about the place; that novelty has worn off. Belfast has made it to the guidebooks. Apparently it’s a “happening” place.

There are arts festivals, many music events, a book festival. I simply can’t keep up. If I had energy/ inclination/ money I could be at an interesting event most nights. This is remarkable. Belfast is growing into a proper city.

Just last week I could have been all mopey about missing out, but instead I’m still somewhat stunned that I even had the opportunity to miss Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams and Colum McCann in the one week.

I would have loved to have been in any of those audiences, pretending that singing or writing was something I could do too. Being transported by the sounds, the words, Emmylou’s harmonies.

Belfast is turning into the sort of place where those top notch artists perform, and nobody blinks at the incongruity of it all. For a small, miserable, grumpy spot, we’re not doing too badly.

army pic from here

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11 thoughts on “city life”

  1. This gets to me so profoundly I can’t think how to reply. Its like technology – I think I am techy and not afraid of it – but there are vast numbers of things I don’t know how to do. Ditto culture and trends – most of the time I am not just out of it but ignorant – and yet I love to hear how things are changing… and I do deeply love Belfast – where I also came up from the country once long ago before the army came. Thanks.

  2. As you know, I am very out of touch these last few months, This morning was a learning curve as several roads had lane changes that were new to me. I need to visit Belfast more often.

  3. What I love about Belfast, is the view. Standing in the middle of the city and lloking at the surrounding hills is magical. But the new paucity of bookshops worries me.

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