It’s almost Summer, yay! For me, that doesn’t mean better weather because we remain in a yearly/monthly/daily state of grey, but for most people you get to head to the beach or eat ice cream naked or whack on the AC and take another few years off the planet’s future. But sure, it’s all good fun. It’s the time to take a break, to finish off your exams and give the middle finger to another year of school, and plan for an ill-advised holiday romance or finally get around to painting that damn fence. In Northern Ireland, we’re almost into what is referred to as ‘The Marching Season’. That means that a bunch of idiots take it upon themselves to essentially shut down every city, town, and village so that they can don ridiculous outfits, get pissed, and march through the streets beating drums and playing music that nobody has ever wanted to hear at apocalyptic levels of volume. Why? Tradition. And if anyone dares take it away from us – families, kids, schools, politicians, cops, military, then by God we are gonna to fuck shit up for the next three months, set fire to every shop or car within five miles, before complaining about foreigners taking our jobs or something. Why? Tradition.
I say ‘we’, but naturally I don’t include myself in such activities. Today’s post isn’t a lesson about the dumb tribalism and bullshit patriotism which diseases this patch of earth we just happened to have been born on, no, but I did intend today’s post to be some sort of cultural brochure. If there’s one thing we’re good at here, aside from needless murder and carnage, it’s self-deprecating humour. And so, I found some things on the internet which range from ‘sort of funny to me’, to ‘meh’, but maybe they’ll be interesting to people unfamiliar with or interested in Northern Ireland. I’ve no idea who wrote the list originally as it has been shared thousands of times in the past ten years. Now, there was 60 of these things, so I’m only going to post the first 20 and add my thoughts in red below each, sort of as an explanation. Have a read, and if anything is weird or if you want to ask me anything, I’m always lurking in the comments. Enjoy!
You know your from Belfast when …….
1. You’re never cold but sometimes Baltic.
Yes, everyone uses this term – ‘it’s fuckin Baltic today’. Not me though.
2. The sight of 12-year-olds smoking is normal.
I smoked when I was 12 – isn’t this normal elsewhere?
3. Castle Court – the traditional and best – is well better than that Victoria Square place.
Castle Court is a tiny shopping mall in Belfast City Centre. It is filled with Chav scum, steeks, and millbags. Victoria Square is a more upmarket and newer tiny shopping mall in the City Centre. It used to have a place to buy DVDs, but doesn’t anymore, so there is no reason for me to use it, other than as a shortcut to get to somewhere else.
4. You have owned a pair of Nike Air Max at some stage.
Can’t say I have.
5. You will fight anyone who claims Callum Best’s Da wasn’t the best footballer EVER.
I will fight anyone who claims he wasn’t an abusive drunk and played for the scum.
6. You’re passionate about an English or Scottish football team.
English yes, couldn’t care less about Scottish football (people in Northern Ireland traditionally only support Rangers (Protestant) or Celtic (Catholic). Northern Irish football is atrocious and I have no idea what the South is like. Scottish is like 2nd Division English.
7. You know what real rain is like.
I assume ‘real rain’ is something Belfast people say, but I’ve never heard it.
8. You think if you can’t see the Harland and Wolff cranes from your bedroom window you’re a culchie.
A culchie is a farmer/someone who lives in the countryside/someone who doesn’t live in Belfast. Harland and Wolff cranes are two huge yellow cranes you can see from basically anywhere in Belfast. They were not used in the building of The Titanic.
9. You remember when it was OK to smoke (anything) in the KFC in Corn Market.
Or any of the KFCs.
10. So it is
Nobody says ‘top of the morning’ or ‘begorah’ or any muck like that. Everyone says ‘so it is’. Not me though, I had an education.
11. You know what the word Ball root means.
We have many wonderful and colourful insults. This is one.
12. You use the word ‘sweet’ and ‘powerful’ as a substitute for almost any adjective.
Yes, you hear these most days. Powerful not so much, that always seemed like an auld boy or culchie thing to me.
13. You are a half decent pool player and know your way around a snooker table.
This is true.
14. You know what the words ‘space-cadet’ and ‘rocket’ really mean.
More insults. Except ‘rocket’ is usually pronounced ‘racket’.
15. Your friends still call you by your childhood nickname.
Yes, depending on when I knew the friend, if I see them today they will use that specific nickname. And so will I.
16. You cringe when you hear someone from your city speak on national TV.
Definitely. Our accents can be horrific. I quite like mine though.
17. You been told wha’ at least once in your life.
Ha ha. Ha.
18. You know at least one person called Mackers.
Yes. Yes I do.
19. Ballycastle is your most frequented holiday destination.
See, I never got this. Why would you go to Ballycastle when Portrush is close by? Then again, I rarely went to either as we had Kilkeel. Which is worse than both. I live near Ballycastle now.
20. Your Granny had a framed picture of the Pope or the Queen in the living room but not both.
No, none of my grandparents had this. Must be a Belfast thing.
Now you know a little more about Belfast and its people. Feel free to comment!
*Note – I wrote this post in January, well in advance of publishing. I had to stick that pic on at the top in place of the usual general blogging pic. YNWA!