Sport shouldn’t be subjective: The Olympics should just be for Sport.

Sport shouldn’t be subjective: The Olympics should just be for Sport.

Controversial one this; I know this because I’ve discussed it with people before and it’s divisive and causes quite an emotive response. I don’t believe that any activity where the winner is decided based SOLELY (that part is important) on judging should be classed as a sport – and therefore perhaps shouldn’t be in the Olympics. Gymnastics Rhythmic Gymnastics Trampolining Diving Synchronised Diving Synchronised Swimming Dressage I would even consider the status of Olympic Boxing (as Knockouts are relatively rare and therefore judging is the usual method of progression), so too for some other combat sports. Judging, whilst of course done against very specific guidelines, is subjective. For example, in some events, some judges have awarded the same competitor a 4 or a 5 and another has judged them as a 7 or an 8. Yes, there is the mechanism of ruling out the highest and lowest – but the fact remains that this is quite clearly subjective. Small differences matter, but considering the margins that people win (or lose) a medal with, this subjectivity pollutes the concept of sport. That a competitor may not win a medal because a couple of judges consider  that their toes weren’t pointed enough (Trampoline), that their arms and elbows weren’t straight enough (men’s gymnastics – high bar), or that the competitors weren’t synchronised enough (synchronised diving). I in no way mean to diminish the skill or athleticism of what these competitors do, they are PHENOMENAL human beings who do incredible things, all of which I couldn’t even begin to dream about being competitive at – however I don’t believe they are sports. They are entertaining for sure,...
Me & The Music Business – All Those Years Ago

Me & The Music Business – All Those Years Ago

So in another life, many moons past, I was a big music fan. I still am of course, but not like then; then I lived, eat, drunk & breathed music. I was kinda late to the party, I enjoyed listening to music as everyone does, then when I was about 16 I suddenly opened my ears to what was going on and fell in love with the whole thing. I’ve never been one for half measures, when I get into something I tend to go feet first and immerse myself, so shortly after this eureka moment, I found a way to work within the music industry and it’s thanks to this that I met my partner!! I had no skills with an instrument and a voice that could upset stone, but I discovered a way to go to more gigs, get more music and all for free. Street Teams. I was living near Brighton at this point (and in fact was homeless for part of it, I used the school computers or whatever local library was close to me at the time), the music scene there was superb – it seemed like every great band that toured the UK would play Brighton, just an hours drive south the coast and if you’re a big-hitting act, The Brighton Centre or maybe The Dome; if you’re a newish band just beginning to break, The Concorde 2, The Komedia or if you were even smaller, The Freebutt, The Ocean Rooms or a whole host of rooms-with-speakers. I began working with a Street Team for Warner Music Group, it was a simple enough...
An Open Letter To Refugees Coming To Northern Ireland…

An Open Letter To Refugees Coming To Northern Ireland…

I consider myself an average Northern Irish citizen, and as such I’d like to extend a warm welcome to any and all refugees coming to Northern Ireland to escape persecution, war and conflict. Hello and welcome to you all – Dia Daoibh agus Céad Míle Fáilte Romhaibh. The difference between where you’re from and Northern Ireland is probably quite massive, so I thought it might be handy to write a wee (little) guide for you to refer to.   1: You may think you know English… disregard all of that knowledge, it’s outdated… we may technically speak English but it’s mostly unrecognisable to the outside world. This blog from Sarah Arnold may help. 2: You should perhaps start taking anti-cholesterol medication as soon as possible, our standard diet will destroy you. 3: Vegetable roll is not for you. 4: Do not… repeat, DO NOT try to go to Primark on a Saturday. 5: Ask NO questions about Daniel O’Donnell, it’s best left alone. 6: Make sure, before you go into a shop, that it is in fact a shop… some of our shops aren’t real, they’re just there for decoration. 7: Larne isn’t as bad as people make out it is. 8: But still, don’t go to Larne. 9: You may have heard of the ‘Emerald Isle’, you should also become accustomed to the phrase ‘Gray Skies’. 10: Don’t be confused by the ‘Westlink’, despite the name, the road runs pretty much North-South. 11: If you will be driving, you should acquaint yourself with the following places and avoid them: Black’s Road, Grosvenor Road, Chichester Street, Ormeau Road, Sandyknowles, Short...
Tis The Season: What December Means To Me

Tis The Season: What December Means To Me

Christmas has always been an odd time for me… familial instability, constant upheaval and extremely anti-social work hours… this is the first year since I moved back to Northern Ireland that the festive season isn’t overshadowed by work and chaos. I moved to England when I was 11 or 12, I spent every christmas back in Belfast on school holidays with my grandfather or occasionally in Canada with my uncle, I’m not sure I’ve spent a christmas day with my mother since maybe age 10 or 11 – given the constant chaos (for want of a better word) of ‘home life for me in my teenage years, it was preferable. Eventually I moved out and off to Uni in London (that’s another story for another time…) where I spent one christmas day alone in a house (everyone else went home for the holidays) and the other christmas day of my time in London, I have no clue whatsoever what I did… I sometimes think my mind is a series of locked boxes with the keys lost – such little memory of growing up and even now I’m incredibly forgetful. So yeah, I have no clue what I was up to for Christmas 2007 – an entire holiday season remains a mystery. Eventually I wound up back in Belfast and working in the bar trade, and what a burden that is at times! Overall, hospitality is a great industry to work in but never underestimate the effect that unsocial working hours can have on your life. In February my partner and I will celebrate our 8th year together, yet this...
Blogging, Freebies, Ethics & Integrity

Blogging, Freebies, Ethics & Integrity

There’s been a bit of a kerfuffle this morning on social media, twitter user @Belfastfoodman who also operates under the accounts @belfasttravel & @drviks27, was called out by a twitter user for accepting free meals in exchange for reviews. This highlights an interesting question for bloggers in general, where does the line of integrity fall? For me, I find it a tough area to establish guidelines on. I’ve been offered free products before in exchange for promoting, I have refused on every occasion. I self govern with the following rules: 1: Would I promote product X if I didn’t get something for free? 2: Is my opinion skewed because of someone giving me a product for free? 3: Am I comfortable taking a freebie from the company in question? 4: Is the sole purpose of me being given something for free, to solicit me in promoting their product? The answer to these four questions dictates whether or not I’m comfortable getting something for free. There have been occasions I’ve been given product with the expectation of a favourable review, I was asked if I would accept a freebie and I said I would not, they sent the product anyway. It’s this kind of shady operating that calls into question the integrity of the blogger. Recently I was going to The Woodworkers on a friday evening to celebrate my girlfriend finishing her PhD thesis, I tweeted before hand something along the lines of “heading to The Woodworkers, save me a table!” they didn’t respond but when I arrived there was an almost completely full venue, with one table reserved with...