Divine Comedy's Neil Hannon

Hannon sings about love and the power of the state

Purveyor of archly ironic chamber-pop, son-of-a-Londonderry-bishop Neil Hannon has been writing acerbically brilliant lyrics to addictively jaunty melodies and thoughtful, plaintive riffs, since The Divine Comedy formed 27 years ago.

Gilbert and George in Belfast

The MAC to host major exhibition from Gilbert and George

Gilbert and George are two of the most recognisable names in contemporary art and January 2018 will see the first significant exhibition of their work in Ireland in 20 years, at the MAC in Belfast where they will exhibit ‘SCAPEGOATING PICTURES’.

Journalist Jim McDowell

Why Jim’s fighting The Good Fight

Veteran journalist Jim McDowell started his career at the Belfast News Letter in 1969, the year the Troubles began in earnest. Raised in Donegall Pass, staunchly working class, he grew up playing in flute bands and dreaming of becoming a reporter, loving the romance of the cut and thrust of newspaper journalism. The bantering Belfast man would go on to become editor of the Sunday World for 25 years and a journalist for 45, gaining a name for himself as a fearless critic of the terrorists wreaking havoc on the streets. In particular McDowell and his colleagues at the Sunday World set about exposing the so-called ‘brigadiers of bling’ who made up the various paramilitary loyalist factions, men making money by peddling drugs, terrorising neighbourhoods with their gangland violence and engaging in the assault and murder of innocent people with apparent impunity. Over the years McDowell has received 21 death threats - enough to wallpaper a room, he jokes - for exposing such criminality; the premises of the Sunday World were fire-bombed; and in 2001 Sunday World journalist Martin O’Hagan was brutally murdered by the LVF because of his fearless attempts to hold murderers and bully boys to account in print, such exposure being wholly in the public interest. Combative truth-telling came at great personal cost: most recently McDowell was assaulted by loyalists at Belfast Christmas Market in 2009.

Cecilia Daly in her favourite room in her Belfast home.

My favourite room: ‘I like to follow my own quirky sense of style’ - Ceclila Daly

Weather expert Cecelia Daly is chilling out at home in her beautifully spacious, light and airy lounge-cum-dining room with two-year-old Labrador Pedro. The walls are a cool and calming sage green with dark wooden furniture, carefully thought through accessories and attention to detail, mementos, paintings and dark wooden flooring, a grey, green and cream rug and leather armchairs. The dining area of this superbly homely space has a dark wooden table and co-ordinating chairs.

Last year's Lantern Parade

Bollywood start to Shankill Festival

This weekend sees the start of the first Greater Shankill Winter Festival with a celebration of the Indian festival of Diwali. The inaugural three month festival will end with Burn’s night in January and take in the biggest ever celebration of Christmas on ‘the road’.

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