Homeless Pod – Belfast Council have made the Homeless, Homeless

Homeless Pod – Belfast Council have made the Homeless, Homeless

Never blog when angry, wise advice…I’ve sat on this all day and I’m now ready to share. I wrote yesterday about the “Hipod” or Homeless pod that had been placed by a socially minded individual at “Jubilee Gardens” Belfast (Most loose use of the word garden I’ve ever seen). Paid for and built entirely by themselves…It is a park bench that doubles as providing shelter for rough-sleepers, with added features of a padded floor, solar panel charging for an fm radio, phone charger & a heating element…built by somebody who knows what they are doing. Over 20,000 shares from the Daily Mail story covering the pod, and requests from interested parties from across the globe who want to potentially build their own for their community…the council have removed this when in fact, Invest NI should be getting in touch and asking “how can we help?” Today, this issue did what many others have failed to do, united the parties…PUP (Julie-Ann Corr Johnston) Sinn Fein (Niall Ó’Donnghaile) and Alliance (Emmet McDonough-Brown). All agreed that the homeless pod deserved further discussion, contributed to the wider debate and had the potential to actually help people in need. All seemed to agree that a working group may be useful on the subject. How sad it is that when a flag is removed from a building, there is a civil uprising, when a shelter for the less fortunate in society is removed…a couple of disgruntled tweets and an angry blog. For those unaware, here is what the homeless pod looks like. It was in place over the christmas holiday period and was removed for...
I Finally Used A Food Bank

I Finally Used A Food Bank

Some of you may remember that I wrote in support of food banks in December, related to my homeless teenage years. I never used a food bank back then because I didn’t know about them, I wish I did…life might have been easier to cope with. The public response to my account was far beyond my expectation, people really care about this issue. There is a pattern with charities and homelessness around Christmas time… People feel privileged in their warm houses surrounded by meticulously wrapped Christmas gifts, with a packed freezer, so it becomes more apparent how stark the difference is between the haves and have nots, people give. It’s great, it’s important that people do give, and conveniently, the products food banks mostly ask for are very-long-life, so it’s not even a case of “A dog is for life, not just for christmas”, many of the items donated this christmas, should demand drop (which is the ideal of course) would still be suitable long until 2015 and in some circumstances, even further. More so at the end of 2014 than any other year I can recall, the issue of extreme-poverty and homelessness seemed to get extensive press coverage, both good and bad, on the one hand you have people such as myself speaking on behalf of those in dire circumstances and of course you have the critical corner, those who decide that poverty isn’t real, that it belongs only in VT’s of Lenny Henry visiting foreign lands. I spoke out for those in need and didn’t want it to end there, I wanted to see what it was like now,...
32 Reasons To Leave Belfast For Ibiza…or anywhere

32 Reasons To Leave Belfast For Ibiza…or anywhere

In honour of Made In Belfast’s Emma Bricknell who recently announced that she was leaving Northern Ireland for the sunnier Mediterranean island of Ibiza…I began to wonder what could motivate such a clearly outrageous plan…I mean, what possible reason could someone want out of our wee province? It was a struggle, but I came up with these… You know you should leave because; 1. Because you treat bomb scares like there’s just an annoying bluebottle in the room 2. Because you’ve heard so many acronyms for terrorist groups that you wonder what Taliban stands for 3. Because you think chips are now an acceptable breakfast food 4. Because “Supper” now just means with chips…the last supper was just Jesus and his friends having their last “with chips” 5. Because some local politicians think that velociraptors are only a couple of thousand years old…and the giants causeway was just caused by Noah doing a handbrake turn on his ark 6. Because you treat taxi companies like off licences 7. Because no driving exam could ever prepare you for the roadworks here 8. Because Belfast has 7 quarters….and 5 seasons  9. Because this is what passes as street art…   10. [REASON REMOVED DUE TO PETITION OF CONCERN FROM THE DUP] 11. Because you can no longer tell if someone is drunk or just speaking Ulster Scots 12. Because you’re not sure what a Pasty is supposed to be… 13. Because when you order scallops there’s no knowing what you’ll get  14. Because you don’t want to share an island with Larne anymore 15. Because even yer ma says yer ma...
Simply Crispy – A Café Evolved

Simply Crispy – A Café Evolved

A cursory google right now tells me that Simply Crispy, the brainchild of The Ulster Fry satire website and Andrew McMenamin (Owner of That Wee Café on Bedford Street, Belfast) has in every definition, gone viral. The Mirror, The Independent, The Telegraph (And the Belfast telegraph of course), Metro, Buzzfeed…to name just a few. How can such a niche business result in the kind of PR that multiple-premises retailers only dream of (or pay for…). The concept is simple enough, we all remember putting crisps in a sandwich, whether by design or because we didn’t have long enough to eat our packed lunch so we’d throw it all in between 2 slices of bread…I used to add a flapjack but I suspect that won’t catch on quite as easily… There is the element of nostalgia of course, but it seems more than that…nostalgia is great but it will only get you so far, clever branding, savvy consumers & a good product are needed for success to follow. The link has been drawn a thousand times over between Simply Crispy and Cereal Killer in London…I’m sorry but to me this is just tangential, the creators of Simply Crispy have gone on record stating the influence but that’s all it is, an influence. In the same way that every time somebody mentions a modern boy band, the Beatles aren’t necessarily thrown into the conversation… Cereal Killer showed the world that you can be a one trick pony and make it work, that’s where the comparison ends for me… Everybody eats cereal, it’s nothing new, you’ll find it in every hotel breakfast bar...

Larne Museum & Arts Centre – Who’s a “Dick”?

Whoever is in charge of Web management at Larne Museum & Arts Centre needs a talking to…they unfortunately didn’t know that when you put an image online there is a setting whereby you can name the caption…This bearded fella is apparently a dick. It is available for all to see in the gallery section of the website…simply click on the thumbnail image of the poor guy to see what Larne Museum & Arts Centre think of him… of course, he could just be called Richard. Do you know him? Do you work for Larne Museum & Arts Centre or Larne Borough Council? Let me...