Day 3: Belfast

I had allowed Crispian to talk me into this passage to Belfast, as he was certain we would be able to get a ship to America from there. Unfortunately it turned that this information had been gleaned from watching Far And Away starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, and since the potato famine was over some time ago there was not so much of an exodus. I gave him another reason to hate films, and set off to settle my stomach in the town.

The town seemed short of Tanquaray, but I can put up with Gordon’s if I do not have to drink in double figures. And Crispian found me to say that he had found two places on a container ship bound for New York. Apparently it would lack some of the home comforts I am used to, but on the bright side one of the containers was full of lime which makes a nice twist.

Belfast was far to nice a city to have inspired so many lousy songs. And the people were ever so friendly. This was just a couple of days before Christmas and people were happily buying us drinks in the local pubs. The bonhomie completely won me over, as on the way back to the docks that evening we stopped to help a few locals unload some pallets off a truck round the back of a bank. The chaps were so grateful they gave us a lift.

And so to our home for the next nine days, The Jonah. I must admit the name almost put be off, and then I remembered that Jona Lewie did not have the H in his name, so felt a lot better.

Katie Melua: Belfast

Songs about Belfast are always about sectarianism. Always, always always about The Troubles. What about MY troubles, the constant musical annoyance? Anyway, Young Fogey Melua has written a song called Belfast, and guess what. She says it is not about the Troubles.

At first sight it appears not to be about anything at all. I suppose Katie feels that she can call a song Belfast just because she has lived there, and not make a Bonoesque statement. Unfortunately my in depth lyrical analysis will soon identify the hidden meaning behind the banal words:

Evidence 1:
Getting off the plane the cold air rushes like bullets through my brain
Bullets!!! You cannot write a song about Belfast without mentioning guns and bullets. As seen in terrorism (and Zombie by The Cranberries – which is another form of terrorism.)

Evidence 2:
And I’m divided between Penguins and Cats
Cats being of course Catholics, and Penguins begins with the letter P like Protestants. I am not saying Melua is subtle or clever or anything.

Evidence 3:
The paintings on the walls of release, Are colourful but they are no Matisse
Obviously sectarian murals, at least the ones on the Falls Road which were not painted by Matisse (though there are probably a couple by Gaugin, who was a Republican).

Actually if Belfast was played at high volume to everyone involved in this conflict, it may be the final solution. Everyone listening would fall asleep at its trying hard to be winsome balladry, allowing the UN with specially designed ear protectors to finally disarm everyone.