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« October 2006 | Main | December 2006 »

November 29, 2006

More Irish Blogs

Some new Irish Blogs discovered'
Irish Blogs are springing up all over the place.  Here's two I've just spotted:

The Midnight Court

No Clarity

Of course I'm gonna plug The Midnight Court cause they name-check our sister podcast Film Talk, and No Clarity has to be mentioned cause they gots a MANIFESTO!  That's right a MANIFESTO!  Manifestos went out of style for a while but we're so glad at LTA to see they're back.  If only I'd kept those old self-printed pamphlets I wrote back in the day, (trust me, there were a few).

Here's where to go to find more local blogs:

Irish Blogs

Northern Irish Blogs


New Series of Events at Interface

Play the video above for information on a new series of events orchestrated by those fine folks at Interface:

Interface Website

This talk in particular comes especially recommended, (text from the press release):

30 November, 6.00pm, Lecture Theatre, School of Art and Design

Krzysztof Wodiczko, an highly influential artist in the area of engaged and political art practice, will discuss his work as intersections of art, ideology and media, using public projections and installations.

Interface Previously on Letter to America:

Sample: Interface at PS2

Sample: Interface at PS2 - Part 2

Information on Interface provided by their website:

INTERFACE is an interdisciplinary and practice based research centre situated in the School of Art and Design, University of Ulster, Belfast campus. It is a key element in a substantial redevelopment of the Belfast campus and has been established since April 2004.

INTERFACE explores two key processes that underlie innovative research practice in art and design. One is the investigation and redefinition of inherited categories of value and the other is the impact of digital media and new technologies on the production, distribution and mediation of art and design. Both areas are examined in the context of the wider social/economic/political arena of Northern Ireland and in the world.

INTERFACE builds on the success of distinct areas of excellence in research activity within the School of Art and Design. These are – research in Fine Art into location and context, temporary, site-specific work and documentation issues and, in Textiles, research into textile art, design and new technologies. Research in textiles has been integral to significant technological, artistic and design innovations, while, in Fine Art, an emphasis on place and context has contributed to critical change in transnational debate and practice, which now stress engagement with the politics of location.

In INTERFACE, artists and designers, as Lecturers and Researchers, with Postgraduate and PhD students, engage in advanced explorations of these issues and related processes of change. INTERFACE as practice based initiative, unique in Ireland and internationally develops diverse and innovative research and outcomes with international reach.

INTERFACE involves new partnerships and forms of collaborations and the development of new ways of thinking and working at local, national and transnational levels and also with cross-border dimensions in the Irish context.

The Centre will articulate the University of Ulster’s emphasis on the vital role that art and cultural practice can play in the emergence of Northern Ireland society from thirty years of conflict and civil unrest. INTERFACE takes full account of its context in Belfast and Northern Ireland.


The Belfast Christmas Continental Market

Dozing man at the Belfast Continental Christmas Market

Yes, it's that time again Dear Listener.  The  Belfast Christmas Continental Market is back, as heard in this podcast:

Letter to America - Chapter 14

Has it really been a year since I got Wayne drunk?  How time flies.  Anyway, I can't recommend the Christmas Market enough if you're one of the lucky ones to be in Belfast this Christmas season.

There's a fantastic selection of food from around the world; I myself am partial to the macaroons, bratwurst, strudel and paella.

Here's some info on the venue and opening hours, (though I disagree with their opening statement that we don't need Prague, Vienna or Barcelona):

Go To Belfast

I took some photos of course, though for some reason not of any booths actually serving food.  I promise to go back and do better.

Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan as seen at the Belfast Christmas Continental Market'


November 27, 2006

Comments Down

To respond to a few emails, yes, am afraid comments are down for the moment.  Am working with those fine folks at Six Apart to rectify the situation. 

While you're waiting to comment I provide a wee distraction with this mash-up, (via Digg).

UPDATE: 10:32PM - Comments back up, so please recommence with pithy and urbane responses to my posts.


November 26, 2006

Film Talk 4 - Podcast Review of Casino Royale and the Prestige

Yes folks, Film Talk 4 is now live; and we've even got a blog now, bless.

Film Talk 4 - Podcast Review of Casino Royale and the Prestige


November 24, 2006

Michael Stone Storms Stormont

Who said Democracy was boring?  Belfast proves them wrong!

For those of you who don't know, folks are trying to kick-start representative democracy back into action here in Belfast.  Those pesky politicians met today at a place called Stormont.

All was going kinda well, well maybe not that well...well, we'll never quite know because a guy by the name of Michael Stone entered the building with a knife, a gun and 6 to 8 explosive devices.

Stormont Attack Devices Defused

Years ago Michael Stone killed some people:

1988: Three shot dead at Milltown Cemetery

Yet, several years later he was set free under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

I don't think they'll let him out again.

Am not trying to be flippant Dear Reader.  It's just that sometimes this place gets to you.

What I need tonight is a bit of levity - submitted for your enjoyment some clips of the incomparable Andy Kaufman.  He always brings a smile to my face.


November 22, 2006

The Future of Capitalism

Northern Bank Sign

Saw this sign in a bank window in Belfast last night.

I think we're at a dead end here.

In the future the sign will say 'Less Less Less Less.'


November 18, 2006

Film Talk - New Episode Up

Yes, folks - a new episode of Letter to America's sister podcast Film Talk is now online:

Film Talk 3

Things got a little tense while recording but it all turned out fine.  Listen in to Dr. Gareth Higgins and myself as we discuss Borat, Casino Royale and everyone's favourite romantic lead Jack Palance.


Belfast Christmas Lights Switch On

Christmas lights switch on in Belfast, 2006

Good Lord folks - it's time for the great Belfast Christmas Lights Switch On!  As seen previously on Letter to America:

Rachel Stevens Lights Up Belfast

According to the fine folks at Celebrate Belfast 2006 it should be a fine time.  Their email press release to me included the following pics of the celebrities attending.  I couldn't identify any of them.

Liz McClarnon

She looks happy enough but I'm worried about her defensive body language.

Liz McClarnon

This guy looks OK; satisfied - think he might have actually achieved something.  Judging by the way he's outfitted I'm thinking something sports related.

Liz McClarnon

This guy is not happy.  Some thing is wrong there.

Luckily Celebrate Belfast had this to say about the folks above:

Come along and see the celebrities!

Liz McClarnon (formerly Atomic Kitten),
David Healy (Northern Ireland’s record goal scorer)
Calum Best (son of the legendary Belfast born George Best)

You know there's a problem when they have to identify who the 'famous people' are.  And that line 'Come along and see the celebrities!'; Christ.  It's like saying come to the zoo.  Which I think explains the expression of Calum above.

Of course we've talked about his father George before:

George Best - Coming Home to Belfast

And we attended George's funeral on this podcast:

Letter to America - Chapter 11

As for last years' celebrity - we tried to capture some of the magic here:

Letter to America - Chapter 10

Ok, that's enough self-promotion -  come along this Tuesday Dear Listener; I'll be there taking snaps and hoping to grab some interviews.  What's the worst that could happen?

(Oh, and when did the council starting using that horrible woman with the hoop sculpture in their logo?  Look at the graphic at the top of this post and you'll see she's replaced the 'L' in Belfast, even though the shape of the sculpture does not form an 'L', unless you rotate it clockwise 180 degrees.  Guess that's why I find Belfast so appealing some times, it's full of WTF moments).


November 16, 2006

West Belfast

Cold and wet in West Belfast
Cold and wet in West Belfast tonight.



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