Hula-Hoops and Mickey Marley

Just a quickie... Awoke this morning to the joy-filled tones of Good Morning Ulster on Radio Ulster, to hear sad echoes of yesteryear with the news that an elderly couple had their home stoned in Workman Avenue, the street adjoining my previous church on the Springfield Road. Mind you, that was rarely news in my day, as it happened with alarming regularity, and I suspect that the only thing that made the media sit up and take notice today is the fact that the victims on this occasion happen to be Catholics living on the "Protestant" side of the wall, who were being targetted by Catholic/nationalist youths.

It was interesting that this news came through on the same programme that included Nuala McKeever's thought for the day (at 1:26:00 into the programme) which she introduced by saying she lived "inside a hula-hoop". I'm not always a fan of Ms. McKeever's oeuvre, but this was sharp, funny and pertinent. Give it a listen on BBC's iPlayer before it self-destructs. I won't spoil it for you, but it explores the nature of the "them and us" issue that plagues Northern Ireland and is a major issue in scripture. She's not exploring it from an explicitly faith-based perspective, but has something to say to us who are wrestling with it from that end of things.

Also on the programme was the news that someone is proposing to name a small plaza in central Belfast after the reggae singer Bob Marley. Now I am a great admirer of his oeuvre, but I'm not too sure about that as an idea. As actor Dan Gordon said on the show, perhaps those proposing it were standing a little too close to those sharing in Mr. Marley's recreational drug of choice.

Although I don't want to fall into the trap of a "them and us" judgement, I'm not too sure of the direct connection between him and Belfast... Far better that we celebrate not Bob Marley, but Mickey Marley and his roundabout... who brought joy to generations of kids from all backgrounds... Them and us...

Seriously though, in this rash of public art projects, how about some celebrating the "characters" of years gone by... Mickey Marley, Buck Alec and Orange Lily just to get us started...


whynotsmile said…
You used 'oeuvre' twice in one post. Nice.

I agree there should definitely be a Mickey Marley memorial something. I'm just about old enough to remember going to Belfast and having a go on Mickey Marley's roundabout - whether it was the original or some geezer cashing in on the big man I'm not sure. It was class.
I did actually mean to... Though to use the same term for both Bob Marley and Nuala McKeever is perhaps a bit much...

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