carry on up the lagan
This weekend revolves around my first real visit to Belfast, primarily for a party, but also just to see the place. My only previous visit was in 2003, when I spent exactly two hours at the bus station, changing coaches on the way back to Dublin from Glasgow, and that only because an Aer Lingus strike left me at sea level.
It was only two hours from Dublin by train today, but it’s a world away in certain other dimensions. A line of red-white-blue bunting, about 5m (15ft) from my hotel room window marks the boundary of the Loyalist “Sandy Row” area, with a huge mural a few houses down that road. I thought the “marching season” was over, but there’s a big one in West tomorrow. I plan to take my camera to the docks tomorrow, so I should be safe.
How can I put this politely..? I don’t think I can. Why the urge to mark your territory like a dog? Sectarian conflict hardly seems like sapient behaviour to me, more like a series of huge pissing contests. I can’t see much progress until those drawing the lines undergo a little human evolution. Do I have to start quoting Gandhi on the topic of Western Civilization?