The Eleven Christmas Dinners of Christmas!

What’s the word for something for when you have a thing and do it to death?
Usual rules apply. Only posted these to Facebook. Should have done Twitter too, even though it’s a bit of a toilet these days, I could have got some good #numbers !!

#1 – 4th December – Garrick BarGarrick

Opening Gambit … In previous years my first one tended to be in Wetherspoons with an old work chum. My old work chum then got a transfer to Derry. He was going to come down too but then Wetherspoons scrapped Christmas Dinners, so nuts to that!

Not sure my old work chum would approve of my caption either…

2 – 6th December – Acton & Sons


Current Work’s Christmas dinner … on a Tuesday?!?!?

#3 – 7th December – uEat (University of Ulster, Jordanstown)


I had a programming test the day after my Xmas do (I got 88%) – I came into Jordanstown early to avail of a turkey dinner. No student discount though (it was about £8!!).

#4 9th December – RGB


Old work Christmas dinner

#5 10th December – Whose Art Café


No mash, and gravy was like the gravy you get in a Chinese Takeaway. Poor Show.

#6 – 14th December – work


Work Canteen – ate at my desk – Improvement on last years

#7 15th December – Sainsburys – Hollywood Exchange


Now in it’s 3rd year, my trip to Sainsburys with Marty. Quite average.

McKay, who has reviewed these in the past, came out of retirement with a controversial:

Nope. 0/10

#8 – 17th December – My House


One I made myself. Five years in my house, so it’s the fifth “Belfast Christmas Dinner” for me and Leona, this year we had guests too (two fussy 7 year olds). No dramas and everything went to plan (i.e. I got my timings right and the oven didn’t pack in this time).

#9 – 22nd December – Cast and Crew


Met some friends for lunch. Was okay, but not for £12.95! Regretted not getting a burger because they looked good!

It was this one where my sister asked if sandwiches count (Nope).

#10 – 24th December – Murphy Browns


Another staple in my Christmas dinner month! Something to do us before we hit the road 

It was here where McKay commented if I ever calculated how much my “December Hobby” costs. In short, next year I might keep a running total!

#11 – 25th December – My Ma and Da’s


Another good year! Only three types of potato though, but at least they were the best three (roasties, champ, garlic creamed – don’t @ me)!!


The (only) seven christmas dinners of christmas…

Still loves xmas dinner

Still loves xmas dinner

…well it could have been nine… but apparently dinners before December don’t count (see below).

I had the traditional one in Wetherspoons with an old work friend on 25th November:

(i) – Wetherspoons

I also had one before I went to Cuba on 30/11/14.

(ii) - Murphy Browns

(ii) – Murphy Browns

I wasn’t going to do “this” this year as I would be in Cuba for two weeks. But I got got a reqeust. However, apparently Christmas dinners in November don’t count – as the story goes:

With that in mind I decided to tighten up the “rules”. 1st December – 25th December only and no ‘repeats’ (i.e. leftovers don’t count).

#1 – 11/12/14 – Murphy Browns –  Belfast
I took action on my first day home with another Murphy Browns – because it was quite good the last time (and near my house)!



 #2 – 12/12/14 – RBG – Belfast
Back with my old work chums to the same place as last years work do. Sadly this year the Christmas Dinner didn’t have any roasties! Shock!



#3 – 17/12/14 – Work Canteen
The fact there were roasties gave it points over the last one.



#4 – 18/12/14 – Sainsburys – Holywood
No ham! And Yorkshire Pudding was still a bit frozen. But at least it had roasties – plus first mince pie of the year.



#5 – 19/12/14 – Northern Whig – Belfast
Again with no roasties! Up until this point Murphy Browns was front runner!



#6 – 21/12/14 – My House
The 3rd Annual Belfast House Xmas dinner – this year Leona made it and there were no oven breaking down drama like last year. I even tasted half a sprout (wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be – still not nice.). Was tasty.



#7 – 25/12/14 – Folks House
Christmas Day – Unlike last year we didn’t have three types of potato – we had four.. FOUR.. types of potato (Champ, Roast, Garlic Cream and new addition Baby Boil)… yum yum yum.



Only seven – but would have been eight if I counted the boxing day left overs (like I did last year) and ten if I counted the two in November… that would bring me level with last year… which isn’t bad seeing I was out of the country for two weeks.

Next year I should aim for twelve.. you know, so the pun works!

An Ode to Temps

I thought I would go for some this Throw Back Thursday carry on. I can’t seem to find anything online about this fine former Botanic eatery but when I found a low resolution picture on an old SD card I had to make Temps live forever via a poorly written blog post.


Temps just after it closed…

Temps was weird. It was a tad dirty. It was dear. It had some horrible ripped sofa’s and graffiti on the walls. The food was also quite average but I still went. All the time!

I started going in 2005 (after the demise of Liberties – my former favourite post drink haunt) on the recommendation of McKay and I wasn’t that fussed at first. It was £6ish for a chicken burger meal (bear in mind this was ten years ago.. and you didn’t get many chips!). However, we got into the routine of every week going to Lavery’s to play pool then going to Temps on the way home.

We recommended Temps to everyone. Most people weren’t fussed or if they knew it already would tell us that it was actually rotten! I think we had one convert though.

It was rotten though, one night one of us had some blue mould on our burger bun. They pulled it off and continued eating. Though, unlike Esperantos, it never made me sick… or maybe it did. Though that may have been my excuse after drinking too much.

Most nights out ended with stopping at Temps on the way home. Temps after a night out was a sight to behold. Anarchy in chippy form. The place would be packed and noisy. Sometimes there’d be music. You’d make your order, you’d get a number and a few minutes later a wannabe DJ would shout your number over a microphone.

My favourite Temps story was when McKay went and the Polish clerk/cook/bouncer started to tell him about some skeet causing trouble and the bouncer kicked his head in – but then turned on the TV with the CCTV footage of the incident playing.

Sadly in 2008 the dream ended. I noticed the For Sale sign and took a photo (on a shitty old Samsung phone) for posterity. Boojum opened on that site soon after that. Mexican food? Fuck that! I didn’t go to Boojum because of what I thought was loyalty to Temps (How stupid). I had my first Boojum a few years after that. Fuck sake! Why didn’t I go sooner?! It’s far nicer than Temps!


Nearly there..


It’s been five years since Michael Jackson died. Therefore, it’s also five years since I ended up in the Belfast Telegraph commenting on Michael Jackson’s death!


His death was announced overnight and I found out the next morning on Twitter – remember this is when Twitter wasn’t that big a deal. That morning at work some colleagues snuck out for a cheeky smoke before core time started and they phoned up. Apparently there was a reporter hanging about outside work looking comments.

I jumped out of my seat and went down, with a work chum, for a laugh. I walked about nonchalantly then the journalist asked if I wanted to make a comment. I tried to look surprised and began talking shite.


The abridged version was:

Conor Fearon (24) from Newry said his music will live on more than the scandals that surrounded him.

“I was very shocked when I heard that he’d died this morning. I listened to a lot of his stuff when I was a kid. I had ‘Bad’ on tape but it only worked on one side.

“I think he’ll be remembered for his singing and hopefully not for the tabloid portrayal of him. He was an innovator.”

The innovator line was edited slightly. I was rambling about (not the innovation of music videos) but how he had heavy guitar riffs and Eddie Van Halen play on his songs. I was talking (mostly nonsense) for about 5-10 minutes. They then took my photo as I was on my way. Note: they decided to put “Innovator” beside my name in the photo. Were they implying I was the innovator?


The Bad on tape thing was true. We had it in the car though no one in the family seems to remember it. I’m pretty sure it was Side B as they are the songs I remember and when we got to the end of the tape we had to rewind to the start.

When the paper came out on Friday evening my work chum messaged me to tell me I was in it. I was coming out of the cinema (Possibly seeing Year One) so afterwards drove to Fiveways to get a copy! Sadly there doesn’t seem to be an online copy of it.

The next day my ma woke me up to give off to me. My auntie phoned her to wind her up and spun it as if I said we had to make do with a broken tape deck and she wouldn’t get us a CD. She believed it too and thought I told the world we live grew up in cassette squalor.


RIP Ghostbusters Mural

A few weeks ago I arrive at the car park as normal. Something’s not right. The wall looks different, then I realised the Ghostbusters mural (the very one in the banner above!) was gone. This made me glum


A week later – the new mural started to take shape. With the inclusion of wolves,  tags (I think that’s what they are called) and a parchment made me thankful as I feared it would be painted over by a gaudy UVF mural.20140618-181232-65552877.jpg So now it seems to be completed and it’s a Game of Thrones mural. I’ve never watched it (due to it being on Sky, it’s probably never going to be on Netflix and doing stuff the not legal way is a massive pain in the arse) so I’m quite indifferent.


Though having the mural makes sense seeing GOT is filmed in Belfast and surrounding area plus I think I’m the only bearded person in Belfast who isn’t actually in it. The mural also has that chair that everyone sits on in their Facebook profiles.

All in all – fair enough – but I’ll still miss the Ghostbusters. Also, it’s appeared to have eaten into the Angry Birds mural.. waaaah! But these things happen, need to evolve etc and thankfully it’s not another tawdry paramilitary one.


Tee Shirt Famous


I was downstairs in Voodoo in the middle of January and noticed the staff wearing a tee shirt with a list of bands, on the back, that have played upstairs. We have played Voodoo and I wondered if we were on the list. The tee was displayed behind the bar, as you can buy them for £10, but my eyesight is too bad to read from that distance. The other option was to ask the barmaid if she could turn around so I could read the back of her tee shirt – but, even though I was hammered, I was smart enough to know that sounded dodgy. Anyway, I left it and forgot all about it.

I was in Voodoo again last night, with Leona, for some birthday drinks. I saw the tee shirt again and wondered out loud if we were on it. I went to the bog and when I came back Leona produced a fresh tee shirt for me (a birthday present, if you will). Fortunately we were on the tee.

Tee Shirt Famous

So yeah, that’s the closest My Sunday Hat would get to a tee shirt – but at least we are in good company – there are some cracking bands on it.