Saladin remains one of the most iconic figures of his age. As the man who united the Arabs and saved Islam from Christian crusaders in the 12th century, he is the Islamic world’s preeminent hero. Ruthless in defence of his faith, brilliant in leadership, he also possessed qualities that won admiration from his Christian foes. He knew the limits of violence, showing such tolerance and generosity that many Europeans, appalled at the brutality of their own people, saw him as the exemplar of their own knightly ideals.
My thoughts ?
A fascinating and engaging easy to follow account of the life and times of one of the greatest and most respected Muslim leaders ever to have lived in my humble opinion. At a time when religious wars dominated the political landscape and European Christians considered it a religious duty to wage holy war , Saladin’s story unfolds and what a story it is. With a cast of characters as diverse as Raynald of Châtillon , ( evil bastard ) , Richard the Lion Heart ( treacherous ) and the mysterious and much feared assassins this is a page turner and I read it within two days.
Well worth a read for those interested in this tumultuous period of history and the legacy of God’s ” Holy Warriors. “
But Saladin is far more than a historical hero. Builder, literary patron and theologian, he is a man for all times, and a symbol of hope for an Arab world once again divided. Centuries after his death, in cities from Damascus to Cairo and beyond, to the Arabian Peninsula and the Gulf, Saladin continues to be an immensely potent symbol of religious and military resistance to the West. He is central to Arab memories, sensibilities and the ideal of a unified Islamic state.
In this authoritative biography, historian John Man brings Saladin and his world to life in vivid detail. Charting his rise to power, his struggle to unify the warring factions of his faith, and his battles to retake Jerusalem and expel Christian influence from Arab lands, Saladin explores the life and the enduring legacy of this champion of Islam, and examines his significance for the world today.
Raynald of Châtillon, also known as Reynald or Reginald of Châtillon (French: Renaud de Châtillon; c. 1125 – 4 July 1187), was Prince of Antioch from 1153 to 1160 or 1161, and Lord of Oultrejordain from 1175 until his death. He was born as his father’s second son into a French noble family. After losing a part of his patrimony, he joined the Second Crusade in 1147. He settled in the Kingdom of Jerusalem and served in the royal army as a mercenary.
Raynald married Constance, the reigning Princess of Antioch, in 1153, in spite of her subjects’ opposition. He was always in need of funds. He captured and tortured Aimery of Limoges, Latin Patriarch of Antioch, because Aimery had refused to pay a subsidy to him. Raynald launched a plundering raid in Cyprus in 1155, causing great destruction. Four years later, the Byzantine Emperor, Manuel I Komnenos, came to Antioch at the head of a large army, forcing Raynald to beg for his mercy. Raynald made a raid in the valley of the river Euphrates at Marash to seize booty from the local peasants in 1160 or 1161, but he was captured by the governor of Aleppo.
Raynald was held in prison until 1176. After his release for a large ransom, he did not return to Antioch, because his wife had meanwhile died. He married Stephanie of Milly, the wealthy heiress of Oultrejordain. Since Baldwin IV of Jerusalem also granted Hebron to him, Raynald was one of the wealthiest barons of the realm. He controlled the caravan routes between Egypt and Syria. Baldwin, who suffered from leprosy, made him regent in 1177.
Raynald led the crusader army that defeated Saladin at the Battle of Montgisard. He was the only Christian leader to pursue an offensive policy against Saladin, making plundering raids against the caravans travelling near his domains. He built a fleet of five ships which plundered the coast of the Red Sea, threatening the route of the Muslim pilgrims towards Mecca in early 1183. Saladin pledged that he would never forgive Raynald.
Raynald was a firm supporter of Baldwin IV’s sister, Sybilla, and her husband, Guy of Lusignan, during conflicts regarding the succession of the king. Sibylla and Guy were able to seize the throne in 1186 due to Raynald’s co-operation with her uncle, Joscelin III of Courtenay. Raynald attacked a caravan travelling from Egypt to Syria in late 1186 or early 1187, claiming that the truce between Saladin and the Kingdom of Jerusalem did not bind him. After Raynald refused to pay a compensation, Saladin invaded the kingdom and annihilated the crusader army in the Battle of Hattin. Raynald was captured in the battlefield. Saladin personally beheaded him after he refused to convert to Islam. Most historians have regarded Raynald as an irresponsible adventurer whose lust for booty caused the fall of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. On the other hand, Bernard Hamilton says that he was the only crusader leader who tried to prevent Saladin from unifying the nearby Muslim states.
He was originally sent to Fatimid Egypt in 1164 alongside his uncle Shirkuh, a general of the Zengid army, on the orders of their lord Nur ad-Din to help restore Shawar as vizier of the teenage Fatimid caliph al-Adid. A power struggle ensued between Shirkuh and Shawar after the latter was reinstated. Saladin, meanwhile, climbed the ranks of the Fatimid government by virtue of his military successes against Crusader assaults against its territory and his personal closeness to al-Adid.
After Shawar was assassinated and Shirkuh died in 1169, al-Adid appointed Saladin vizier, a rare nomination of a Sunni Muslim to such an important position in the Isma’ili Shia caliphate. During his tenure as vizier, Saladin began to undermine the Fatimid establishment and, following al-Adid’s death in 1171, he abolished the Fatimid Caliphate and realigned the country’s allegiance with the Sunni, Baghdad-based Abbasid Caliphate.
In the following years, he led forays against the Crusaders in Palestine, commissioned the successful conquest of Yemen, and staved off pro-Fatimid rebellions in Upper Egypt. Not long after Nur ad-Din’s death in 1174, Saladin launched his conquest of Syria, peacefully entering Damascus at the request of its governor. By mid-1175, Saladin had conquered Hama and Homs, inviting the animosity of other Zengid lords, the official rulers of Syria’s various regions.
Soon after, he defeated the Zengid army at the Battle of the Horns of Hama and was thereafter proclaimed the “Sultan of Egypt and Syria” by the Abbasid caliph al-Mustadi. Saladin made further conquests in northern Syria and Jazira, escaping two attempts on his life by the “Assassins“, before returning to Egypt in 1177 to address issues there. By 1182, Saladin had completed the conquest of Muslim Syria after capturing Aleppo, but ultimately failed to take over the Zengid stronghold of Mosul.
Under Saladin’s command, the Ayyubid army defeated the Crusaders at the decisive Battle of Hattin in 1187, and thereafter wrested control of Palestine—including the city of Jerusalem—from the Crusaders, who had conquered the area 88 years earlier. Although the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem continued to exist until the late 13th century, its defeat at Hattin marked a turning point in its conflict with the Muslim powers of the region. Saladin died in Damascus in 1193, having given away much of his personal wealth to his subjects. He is buried in a mausoleum adjacent to the Umayyad Mosque. Saladin has become a prominent figure in Muslim, Arab, Turkish and Kurdish culture, and he has often been described as being the most famous Kurd in history.
The deliberate killing or attempted killing by a soldier of a fellow soldier………
Fragging is the deliberate killing or attempted killing by a soldier of a fellow soldier, usually a superior officer or non-commissioned officer (NCO). The word was coined by U.S. military personnel during the Vietnam War, when such killings were most often attempted with a fragmentation grenade, sometimes making it appear as though the killing was accidental or during combat with the enemy. The term fragging is now often used to encompass any means used to deliberately and directly cause the death of military colleagues.
What was ‘Fragging’? (The Vietnam War)
The high number of fragging incidents in the latter years of the Vietnam War was symptomatic of the unpopularity of the war with the American public and the breakdown of discipline in the U.S. Armed Forces. Documented and suspected fragging incidents totaled nearly nine hundred from 1969 to 1972
Soldiers have killed colleagues, especially superior officers, since the beginning of armed conflict, with many documented instances throughout history (one such attempt was on unpopular Civil War general Braxton Bragg). However, the practice of fragging seems to have been relatively uncommon in American armies until the Vietnam War. The prevalence of fragging was partially based on the ready availability of fragmentation hand grenades. Grenades were untraceable to an owner and did not leave any ballistic evidence. M18 Claymore mines and other explosives were also occasionally used in fragging, as were firearms, although the term, as defined by the military during the Vietnam War, applied only to the use of explosives to kill fellow soldiers.
Most fragging incidents were in the Army and Marine Corps. Fragging was rare among Navy and Air Force personnel who had less access to grenades and weapons than did soldiers and Marines.
The first known incidents of fragging in South Vietnam took place in 1966, but events in 1968 appear to have catalyzed an increase in fragging. After the Tet Offensive in January and February 1968, the Vietnam War became increasingly unpopular in the United States and among American soldiers in Vietnam, many of them conscripts. Secondly, racial tensions between white and African-American soldiers and Marines increased after the assassination of Martin Luther King in April 1968.
With soldiers reluctant to risk their lives in what was perceived as a lost war, fragging was seen by some enlisted men:
“as the most effective way to discourage their superiors from showing enthusiasm for combat.
Morale plummeted among soldiers and marines. By 1971, a U.S. Army colonel declared in the Armed Forces Journal that:
“The morale, discipline, and battleworthiness of the U.S. Armed Forces are, with a few salient exceptions, lower and worse than at any time in this century and possibly in the history of the United States.”
The U.S. military reflected social problems and issues in the U.S. such as racism, drug use, and resentment toward authoritarian leaders. As the U.S. began to withdraw its military forces from Vietnam, some American enlisted men and young officers lost their sense of purpose for being in Vietnam, and the relationship between enlisted men and their officers deteriorated.
The resentment directed from enlisted men toward older officers was exacerbated by generational gaps, as well as different perceptions of how the military should conduct itself. Enforcement of military regulations, especially if done overzealously, led to troops’ complaining and sometimes threats of physical violence directed toward officers.
A number of factors may have influenced the incidence of fragging. The demand for manpower for the war in Vietnam caused the armed forces to lower their standards for inducting both officers and enlisted men. The rapid rotation of personnel, especially of officers who served (on average) less than six months in command roles, decreased the stability and cohesion of military units.
Most important of all, perhaps, was the loss of purpose in fighting the war, as it became apparent to all that the United States was withdrawing from the war without having achieved any sort of victory. Morale and discipline deteriorated.
Most fragging was perpetrated by enlisted men against leaders. Enlisted men, in the words of one company commander, “feared they would get stuck with a lieutenant or platoon sergeant who would want to carry out all kinds of crazy John Wayne tactics, who would use their lives in an effort to win the war single-handedly, win the big medal, and get his picture in the hometown paper.”
Harassment of subordinates by a superior was another frequent motive. The stereotypical fragging incident was of “an aggressive career officer being assaulted by disillusioned subordinates.” Several fragging incidents resulted from alleged racism between African-American and white soldiers. Attempts by officers to control drug use caused others. Most known fragging incidents were carried out by soldiers in support units rather than soldiers in combat units.
Soldiers sometimes used non-lethal smoke and tear-gas grenades to warn superiors that they were in danger of being fragged if they did not change their behavior. A few instances occurred—and many more were rumored—in which enlisted men collected “bounties” on particular officers or non-commissioned officers to reward soldiers for fragging them.
Fragging: Why U. S. Soldiers Assaulted Their Officers In Vietnam
Note: Statistics were not kept before 1969.
According to author George Lepre, the total number of known and suspected fragging cases by explosives in Vietnam from 1969 to 1972 totaled nearly 900 with 99 deaths and many injuries. This total is incomplete as some cases were not reported, nor were statistics kept before 1969 although several incidents from 1966 to 1968 are known. Most of the victims or intended victims were officers or non-commissioned officers. The number of fraggings increased in 1970 and 1971 even though the U.S. military was withdrawing and the number of U.S. military personnel in Vietnam was declining.
An earlier calculation by authors Richard A. Gabriel and Paul L. Savage, estimated that up to 1,017 fragging incidents may have taken place in Vietnam causing 86 deaths and 714 injuries of U.S. military personnel, the majority officers and NCOs.
Fragging statistics include only incidents involving explosives, most commonly grenades. Several hundred murders of U.S. soldiers by firearms occurred in Vietnam but most were of enlisted men killing enlisted men of nearly equal rank. Fewer than 10 officers are known to have been murdered by firearms. However, rumors and claims abound of deliberate killing of officers and non-commissioned officers by enlisted men under battlefield conditions. The frequency and number of these fraggings, indistinguishable from combat deaths, cannot be quantified.
The U.S. military’s responses to fragging incidents included greater restrictions on access to weapons, especially grenades, for soldiers in non-combat units and “lockdowns” after a fragging incident in which a whole unit was isolated until an investigation was concluded. For example, in May 1971, the U.S. Army in Vietnam temporarily halted the issuance of grenades to nearly all its units and soldiers in Vietnam, inventoried stocks of weapons, and searched soldier’s quarters, confiscating weapons, ammunition, grenades, and knives.
This action, however, failed to reduce fragging incidents as soldiers could easily obtain weapons in a flourishing black market among nearby Vietnamese communities. The U.S. military also attempted to diminish adverse publicity concerning fragging and the security measures it was taking to reduce it.
Only a few fraggers were identified and prosecuted. It was often difficult to distinguish between fragging and enemy action. A grenade thrown into a foxhole or tent could be a fragging, or the action of an enemy infiltrator or saboteur. Enlisted men were often close-mouthed in fragging investigations, refusing to inform on their colleagues out of fear or solidarity.
Although the sentences prescribed for fragging were severe, the few men convicted often served fairly brief prison sentences. Ten fraggers were convicted of murder and served sentences ranging from ten months to thirty years with a mean prison time of about nine years.
In the Vietnam War, the threat of fragging caused many officers and NCOs to go armed in rear areas and to change their sleeping arrangements as fragging often consisted of throwing a grenade into a tent where the target was sleeping. For fear of being fragged, some leaders turned a blind eye to drug use and other indiscipline among the men in their charge. Fragging, the threat of fragging, and investigations of fragging sometimes disrupted or delayed tactical combat operations. Officers were sometimes forced to negotiate with their enlisted men to obtain their consent before undertaking dangerous patrols.
The breakdown of discipline, including fragging, was an important factor leading to the creation of an all-volunteer military force by the United States and the termination of conscription. The last conscript was inducted into the army in 1973. The volunteer military moderated some of the coercive methods of discipline previously used to maintain order in military ranks.
On 21 April 1969, a grenade was thrown into the company office of K Company, 9th Marines, at Quảng Trị Combat Base, RVN; First Lieutenant Robert T. Rohweller died of wounds he received in the explosion. Private Reginald F. Smith pleaded guilty to the premeditated murder of Rohweller and was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment; he died in custody on 25 June 1982.
On 15 March 1971, a grenade tossed into an officer billet at Bien Hoa Army Airfield killed Lieutenants Thomas A. Dellwo and Richard E. Harlan of the 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile); Private E-2 Billy Dean Smith was charged with killing the officers but was acquitted in November 1972.
Vietnam War (Australian forces)
On 23 November 1969, Lieutenant Robert Thomas Convery of the 9th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment was killed when a grenade exploded while he was sleeping in his tent at Nui Dat, South Vietnam. Private Peter Denzil Allen was convicted of Convery’s murder and served ten years and eight months of a life sentence in Risdon Prison.
On Christmas Day 1970, Sergeants Allan Brian Moss and John Wallace Galvin were shot dead and Sergeant Frederick Edwin Bowtell injured when Private Paul Ramon Ferriday opened fire with his rifle into the Sergeant’s Mess of the Royal Australian Army Service Corps at Nui Dat, South Vietnam after an all-day drinking session. Ferriday was convicted on two counts of manslaughter and one of assault with a weapon, and served eight years of a ten-year sentence.
17 August 2002, British Army Sergeant Robert Busuttil of the Royal Logistic Corps was shot dead by subordinate Corporal John Gregory during a barbecue at Kabul International Airport. It was later revealed that Corporal Gregory had been drinking and the two men had earlier been involved in an altercation. It was in the immediate aftermath of this that Corporal Gregory returned with his weapon loaded, and fired up to ten rounds killing Sergeant Busuttil as he lay in a hammock before turning the weapon on himself.
Iraq War (U.S. forces)
On 23 March 2003, in Kuwait, Sergeant Hasan Karim Akbar cut power to his base, threw four hand grenades into three tents where fellow members of the 101st Airborne Division were sleeping, and opened fire with his rifle when the personnel ran to take cover. Army Captain Christopher S. Seifert and Air Force Major Gregory L. Stone were killed, and fourteen other soldiers were wounded by shrapnel. Akbar was tried by court martial at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, in 2005. On 21 April 2005, Akbar was found guilty of two counts of premeditated murder and three counts of attempted premeditated murder and was sentenced to death on 28 April.
On 11 May 2009, Sergeant John Russell opened fire on Camp Liberty with an M16A2 rifle and shot dead five U.S. military personnel (U.S. Army Specialist Jacob D. Barton, Sergeant Christian E. Bueno-Galdos, Major Matthew P. Houseal, Private First Class Michael E. Yates, and U.S. Navy Commander Charles K. Springle). Russell pleaded guilty to five counts of premeditated murder and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
On 8 April 2011, during a port visit to Southampton, Able Seaman Ryan Donovan abandoned his sentry post at the boarding ramp of submarine HMS Astute, and opened fire on CPOs David McCoy and Chris Brown after they confronted him at the submarine’s weapons locker; he then forced his way into the control room and opened fire, killing Lt Cdr Ian Molyneux and wounding Lt Cdr Christopher Hodge before being tackled to the ground by a visiting dignitary as he reloaded. Donovan pleaded guilty to Molyneux’s murder and the attempted murders of Hodge, Brown, and McCoy and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 25 years.
Going Underground – The Jam: Iconic Songs & the story behind them
“Going Underground” is the first British #1 chart single by The Jam, released in March 1980. It went straight in at #1 in the UK Singles Chart, spending three weeks at the top.
It was the first of three instant chart-toppers for the group
“Going Underground” was not released on any of the band’s six studio albums, although it has appeared on many compilations and re-releases since then. The song was released as a double A-side with “Dreams of Children”, which originally had been intended to be the sole A-side; following a mix-up at the pressing plant, the single became a double A-side, and DJs tended to choose the more melodic “Going Underground” to play on the radio.
The song was ranked at #2 among the “Tracks of the Year” for 1980 by NME. In March 2005, Q magazine placed “Going Underground” at #73 in its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Tracks, and in October 2006, placed it at #98 in its list of the 100 Greatest Songs Ever.
The band released 18 consecutive Top 40 singles in the United Kingdom, from their debut in 1977 to their break-up in December 1982, including four number one hits
Being an old Mod and a Jam super-fan this was one of the first Jam records I bought and from the first moment I heard it I loved it and became obsessed with the Jam and this set me on the road to becoming a Mod and the best years of my teenage/young adult life in Belfast, what I can remember anyways. The Jam became the sound track to my crazy teenage odyssey and I came to love everything about them and the Mod way of life and even to this day I still love all the Jams stuff and listen to it whenever the feelings take me , which is a few times a week at least.
My fav Jam album ?
Its a hard one but its between Setting Sons & Sound Affects , although I love In the City and This is a Modern World also . Grrrr…. Its like trying to choose which of your kids or pets you love best , an impossible task and Im the same with Jam albums I feel i’d be betraying those I left out. Going Underground is a personal fav of mine for the path it set me on but I have to say Thick as Thieves and That’s Entertainment are two of my fav Jam tunes off all time.
Some people might say my life is in a rut But I’m quite happy with what I’ve got People might say that I should strive for more But I’m so happy I can’t see the point
Something’s happening here today A show of strength with your boy’s brigade And I’m so happy and you’re so kind You want more money – of course I don’t mind To buy nuclear textbooks for atomic crimes And the public gets what the public wants
But I want nothing this society’s got I’m going underground (going underground) Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound Going underground (going underground) Well, let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow
Some people might get some pleasure out of hate Me, I’ve enough already on my plate People might need some tension to relax Me, I’m too busy dodging between the flak
What you see is what you get You’ve made your bed, you’d better lie in it You choose your leaders and place your trust As their lies wash you down and their promises rust You’ll see kidney machines replaced by rockets and guns And the public wants what the public gets
But I don’t get what this society wants I’m going underground (going underground) Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound Going underground (going underground) So let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow
La la la la…
We talk and we talk until my head explodes I turn on the news and my body froze These braying sheep on my TV screen Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!
Going underground, I’m going underground!
La la la la…
These braying sheep on my TV screen Make this boy shout, make this boy scream!
I’m going underground (going underground) Well, let the brass bands play and feet start to pound Going underground (going underground) Well, let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout, Going underground (going underground) Well, let the brass bands play and feet go pow, pow, pow Going underground (going underground) So let the boys all sing and let the boys all shout for tomorrow
Daryl Denham released a version of the song titled “Go England” in 2002 after Weller gave permission for it to be adapted as a football song.
Paul Weller on becoming a Mod
“I saw that through becoming a Mod it would give me a base and an angle to write from, and this we eventually did. We went out and bought suits and started playing Motown, Stax and Atlantic covers. I bought a Rickenbacker guitar, a Lambretta GP 150 and tried to style my hair like Steve Marriott‘s circa ’66.
Dreams of Children
“Going Underground” was coupled with “Dreams of Children” as a double A-side. It opens and is intermittently accentuated with a backmasked sample of the band’s 1979 song “Thick as Thieves“. In the US the backwards intro was edited out making the single 10 seconds shorter than the UK Version. This US edit is available on the best-of compilation Snap!.
Golden Brown – The Stranglers: Iconic Songs & the story behind them
Golden Brown – The Stranglers
“Golden Brown” is a song by the English rock band the Stranglers. It was released as a 7″ single in December 1981 in the United States and in January 1982 in the United Kingdom, on Liberty. It was the second single released from the band’s sixth album La folie.
“Always the Sun (Sunny Side Up Mix)” (1991)”Golden Brown“ (1991)”Heaven or Hell” (1992)
My Thought ?
This is one of my favorite tunes of all time and I never tire of listening to it, especially after a skinfull of beer and/or a few wee Gin and Tonics , to get me in the mood so to speak. The hunting theme of the song and the hypnotic harpsichord always mesmerize me to the point I feel as though I’m in a trance and thats the kind of escapism I’m looking for when i want to chill out to some music and sooth my sometimes weary soul.
Golden Brown texture like sun Lays me down with my mind she runs Throughout the night No need to fight Never a frown with Golden Brown
Every time just like the last On her ship tied to the mast To distant lands Takes both my hands Never a frown with Golden Brown
Golden Brown, finer temptress Through the ages she’s heading west From far away Stays for a day Never a frown with Golden Brown
(La la la la la la la la leeeah)
Never a frown With Golden Brown Never a frown With Golden Brown
Originally featured on the group’s album La folie, which was released in November 1981, and later on the USA pressings of Feline, “Golden Brown” was released as a single in December 1981, and was accompanied by a video.
The comparatively conservative BBC Radio 2, at that time a middle-of-the-road (MOR) music radio station, decided to make the record the single of the week, a surprising step considering the band were almost as notorious as Sex Pistols only a few years before.
The band claimed that the song’s lyrics were akin to an aural Rorschach test and that people only heard in it what they wanted to hear, although this did not prevent persistent allegations that the lyrics alluded to heroin.
How does the Rorschach inkblot test work?
The single was a top 10 hit around the world, including Australia. It was also featured in the film Snatch and is included on its soundtrack album.[
There has been much controversy surrounding the lyrics. In his book The Stranglers Song By Song (2001), Hugh Cornwell states “‘Golden Brown’ works on two levels. It’s about heroin and also about a girl.
” Essentially the lyrics describe how “both provided me with pleasurable times.”
The main body of the song has a 6/8 feel and is pitched halfway between the keys of E minor and E-flat minor, possibly to accommodate the tuning of the harpsichord. The instrumental introduction, in (a very flat) B minor, is unconventional. The keyboard and harpsichord vamp in 3/4, and in the head every fourth bar is in 4/4. The music was largely written by keyboardist Dave Greenfield and drummer Jet Black, with lyrics by singer/guitarist Hugh Cornwell.
Burnel responded that the alternating time signatures made “Golden Brown” impossible to dance to; in contrast, a song written entirely in 6/8 is not unusual in waltzing.
Two shots from Golden Brown: the band performing the song in Leighton House and as explorers
The video for “Golden Brown”, directed by Lindsey Clennell, depicts the band members both as explorers in an Arabian country and non-Arab Muslim countries (sequences include images of the Pyramids as well as the explorers studying a map of Egypt) in the 1920s and performers for a fictional “Radio Cairo”.
Golden Brown – The Stranglers (Restored Music Video)
Things I miss ( and some I don’t ) from home – Belfast
Ok so here’s a list of things I love and miss from home , food and drink I grew up with which are still firm favorites and will be known to all Belfast/Northern Ireland folk the world over. And the good news is you can actually order some of these iconic foods online , including Veg Roll ( who knew ) , Dulse and my fav Tayto Cheese and Onion. So if you have a husband or wife originally from Belfast/Norther Ireland you could bring a smile to their face and the taste of childhood memories. See individual listings for order details were available.
Having just returned from a trip home, working on my forthcoming book and taking in the glorious 12th whilst there I’ve feasted on many of these childhood favorites and so I’m not missing them as much as usual, but give it a few weeks/months and I’d sell my granny for a Pastie Supper from Beatties on the Shankill after a few jar in The Royal or Blues.
The list is a work in progress, so if you notice something missing please email me, leave a comment below or send me a Tweet .
And a MASSIVE BIG thank you to all my Twitter friends whom helped me compile the list and offered many comments and suggestion along the way – I couldn’t have done it without you guys helping me – so Thank You All.
Barmbrack is a yeasted bread with added sultanas and raisins and has long been a favorite of Northern Ireland folk.
It is usually sold in flattened rounds and served toasted with butter. The dough is sweeter than sandwich bread, but not as rich as cake, and the sultanas and raisins add flavour and texture to the final product.
I loved this toasted when I was younger , the smell of hot sultanas and raisins was to die for.
Although beef sausages are available all over the UK the ones from Belfast and my childhood remain a firm favorite and no Ulster Fry is complete without one or two in my humble opinion. I do love a sausage now and again , but I’m very fussy and only eat the top brands or those infused with herbs. cheese , onions, peppers or spices etc . But given a choice I would give them all up for one from home.
Big, crusty bread famed throughout Northern Ireland and Belfast the stuff of legends and a firm favorite for generations of Norm Iron folk.
Often split in the middle and stuffed full of any filling you like , a pastie, crisps or some folk like Dulse in them, but that’s just wrong in my book.
Brown Lemonade is a brown coloured lemonade flavoured fizzy soft drink sold in Northern Ireland. It is made by companies such as Cantrell & Cochrane (C&C) and by Maine.
When I first moved to London and went drinking in the bars and clubs I couldn’t believe that none of them sold or had heard of brown Lemonade. Grrrr……..
Brandy Balls, a traditional Irish hard boiled sweet, with a sweet brandy hint about them and a taste that transports me back to 1970’s Belfast.
My granddad always seemed to have an endless supply of these in his “magic ” pockets , which held all sorts of weird and wonderful things he would randomly produce. Looking back I think he sucked them so me Granny wouldn’t smell the smoke on him & as he was supposed to have stopped and he’d get a telling off.
Buckfast Tonic Wine is a caffeinated fortified wine originally made by monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England, now made under a licence granted by the monastery, and distributed by J. Chandler & Company in the United Kingdom and Richmond Marketing Ltd in Ireland.
This stuff is legendary and splits the crowd big style. I’d drank it when I was younger back in Belfast , but had not had it in ages. So whilst I was home ( working on my book & taking in the 12th 2019 ) I decided to try a bottle, small to be fair. But I’d been on the Shankill drinking all day and by the time I drank it , mid afternoon I was already pissed outta my head. To be fair i had drank about 15 pints of Harp & countless Gin n Tonics. Anyways I lost a few hours of my life and had little memory of what i got up to during this sad period. Ive been informed that I was drinking like there was no tomorrow in the Royal, The Blues and various other pubs in and around the Shankill. How I managed to stay conscious long enough to watch the Bonfires is a mystery, but I did have a monster hangover whilst watching the bands on the 12th
See my Tweet below , posted whilst I could still stand, just .
Club is the brand name for a series of Irish carbonated soft
drinks produced in Ireland by Britvic Ireland and previously by Cantrell &
Cochrane (C&C). It is bottled by the Britvic plant in Dublin. The series
includes Club Orange, Club Lemon, Club Rock Shandy (a mixture of the orange and
lemon flavours) and Club Apple soft drinks.
Club Orange, an orange flavoured carbonated drink, was the first
orange fruit juice to appear on the Irish market. It was launched in the late
1930s, with the formula refined since then to its present state. The name Club
derives from the Kildare Street Club in Dublin, which commissioned C&C to
make an orange-flavoured drink. In 1960, Club Lemon was introduced as a sister
product, and in the 2000s several other flavours were added to the range.
In 2004 C&C relaunched Club Lemon, which now also contains vesicles. Over the years a number of drinks have appeared under the Club label, including Club Orange and Cranberry, Club Berry, and Club Apple. Diet and sugar free versions were also produced.
Not a lot I can say about this apart from it was a childhood favorite and there were always a few bottles lurking about in the cupboard or fridge at home. Its got a unique flavor that I’ve never tasted in an fizzy orange drink elsewhere in the world!
Champ is an Irish dish, made by combining mashed potatoes and
chopped scallions with butter, milk and optionally, salt and pepper. As
recently as the mid-20th century it was sometimes made with stinging nettle
rather than scallions but this is rarely seen now
I never liked this for some reason and when my wee granny use to make it when I was a kid in Glencairn back in the early 70’s I’d wait until she’d left the room and then throw it in the bin or dog, whichever was closer. My wee granny wasn’t the kind of person to take cheek from a nipper like me and i’d have been in trouble if I’d complaint about the food. Plus i loved her and didn’t want to hurt her feelings.
Cowboy supper (plural cowboy suppers). (Northern Ireland ) A meal of sausages, baked beans, and chips or mashed potatoes.
Ok this one’s not strictly traditional Northern Ireland cuisine but once again a firm childhood favorite and a treat on a Friday night when me Da got paid. Once again plastered in HP sauce and a Belfast Bap to make a piece ( Northern Ireland slang for sandwich ) beans and all!
The wife often makes it now, but with posh sausages , caramelized onions , mash and she tries to get me to have it with carrots or some other veg, but sometimes I rebel and much to the amusement of her and the kids I insist on having it with beans ,the taste of my childhood
Dulse (Palmaria Palmata) is a wild seaweed that grows on the North Atlantic coast of Britain. Its Gaelic name is duileasg, and the fronds are long and membranous with a dark reddish-purple translucent hue. It formed part of a regular diet for coastal-dwelling communities in Scotland and Northern Ireland for centuries, as it is highly rich in vitamins and minerals, and a good source of protein. It is a very versatile ingredient; it can be eaten raw, having a salty flavour and chewy texture, like a natural chewing gum. It can also be dried and consumed as a snack or added to broths and stews to enhance the flavour and act as a thickener. It can be boiled for several hours into a pulp which has a porridge-like consistenc
Always loved this as a child growing up in Belfast and it was one of my
favourite childhood snacks. We use to get it in Bangor , Millisle and Donaghadee and it was served in
a small white paper bag and fresh from the sea, covered in dry salt. My mum and
many others would make a sandwich (piece in Northern Ireland slang ) and eat it
like this, but I thought that was gross !
Nowadays it seems harder to come across and it just doesn’t taste as
good as what I remember.
Guinness is a dark Irish dry stout that originated in the
brewery of Arthur Guinness at St. James’s Gate, Dublin, Ireland, in 1759. It is
one of the most successful beer brands worldwide, brewed in almost 50
countries, and available in over 120.
Now I know its controversial, an Irish man not liking the the “ Black Stuff”, but I have a good excuse , trust me!
When I was in my teens my granda use to take me down the Woodvale/Shankill whilst he put a few bets on the horses and watched the results as he supped a few beers in the bars. I was always given a coke and told to be quiet whilst he watched ( and lost on ) the races. As I got a bit older I kept on and on at him to let me have a “real” drink and so one day in order to shut me up he got me a half pint of Guinness . One sip and I hated it, but he insisted I drank the lot and I was sick as dog afterwards.
So that’s why I can’t stand the “Back Stuff “
The perfect pint of Guinness
Harp Lager is an Irish lager created in 1960 by Guinness in
its Great Northern Brewery, Dundalk. It is a major lager brand throughout most
of the North of Ireland, but is a minor lager brand in the rest of the
What can I say apart from the taste of Belfast in a glass. The crowd is split on this one, but I’ve always enjoyed it and any time I’m home it’s my drink of choice , apart from gin off course
A pint of Harp and packet of dates please Harp Lager TV Ad 1992
Irish stew is any variety of meat and root vegetable stew native to Ireland. As in all traditional folk dishes, the exact recipe is not consistent from time to time, or place to place. Common ingredients include lamb, or mutton, as well as potatoes, onions, and parsley. It may sometimes also include carrots.
In recent years Ive perfected a recipe that uses lamb on the bone and I gotta say its to die for. But when I was a kid in Belfast my family use to make in with mince meat ( we couldn’t afford real lamb ) , loads of spuds, onion, carrots and thickened it up with gravy. A big bit of bread ( Belfast Bap ) and HP brown sauce made it a winter favourite that would leave me stuffed and needing a wee lay down on the sofa.
Maine Sarsaparilla – For over 65 years The Maine Man has continued the tradition of delivering quality soft drinks to our doorsteps.
Families throughout Northern Ireland have fond memories of
regular weekly orders of their favourite flavours such as Sarsaparilla,
American Cream Soda, Pineappleade and Cloudy Lime in glass returnable bottles.
Practically everyone who grew up in Northern Ireland
remembers the Maine mineral van coming with a crate of goodies every week.
Flavours like Sarsaparilla, Pineappleade and American Cream Soda came in glass
bottles which were returned empty and new ones replaced them.
It all began when the Harkness family established a soft
drinks business, Braid Mineral Water Co., in Ballymena in 1919. The founder’s
son, John Harkness, decided to branch out on his own in 1949 and formed Maine
Soft Drinks. In 1959 the business relocated to its current premises in Ballymoney.
The company is still owned by the Harkness family and is now
into its 4th generation.
It has expanded and branched out in different ways including
supplying to supermarkets and contract bottling. They are also exporting to
various companies on the UK mainland. Regardless of expansion the doorstep
delivery side of the business is still very important, with more than 40,000
homes supplied on a weekly / fortnightly basis.
Maine Soft Drinks employs more than 100 people, half of which are based in Ballymoney and the other half spread throughout Northern Ireland in depots located in Lurgan, Belfast and Derry-Londonderry.
What can I say apart from this is another childhood favorite and I loved all their drinks especially Cream Soda, Pineappleade and Cloudy Lime , which in my book all have a unique flavor I’ve never come across before throughout my 30 years of living in the land of the English. And having it delivered straight to your door was an added bonus.
Nambarrie was launched back in 1860 and for over 150 years
has been our wee country’s beloved bold and hearty tea that can be relied on
for the perfect cuppa at any time of the day.
Nambarrie is the brand name of a tea company based in
Andover, Hampshire, now owned by Twinings. Nambarrie Tea Co. Ltd. now operates
delivery depots in Mallusk, County Antrim and Glasgow, being the third biggest
brand in Scotland
On 10, April 2008 Nambarrie announced its plans to close its
factory in Belfast. The factory is now closed and production currently takes
place in England. The signage at the Belfast Nambarrie factory is still
attached, however the building is now disused and has since fallen into disrepair.
Writer and comedian Will Self is a self-confessed fan of Nambarrie.
This was the only tea served in our house when I was a kid and has a very distinct strong taste that lingers on the palette . great for dipping Rich Tea biscuits in and the odd Hob Nob. The wife doesn’t like it so we have “English” breakfast tea at home, which is ok to be fair, but not the taste of my childhood. When I’m back in Belfast , tucking into an Ulster fry or Pastie Supper I always have a big mug of this on the side, with two sugars , sometimes three if I’m feeling rebellious . Don’t tell the wife though , she’s got me on sweeteners at home !
Nambarrie TV Advert
Pastie Supper/ Pastie Bap
Pastie Supper – A pastie /ˈpæstiː/ is a large to medium-sized round battered pie common to Northern Ireland. Generally served with chips to form a “pastie supper” (“supper” in Northern Irish chip shops meaning something with chips), or in a bread roll as a “pastie bap”, it is a common staple in most fish and chip shops in the country.
Recipes vary, but the most common ingredients are minced pork, onion, potato and seasoning formed into a “round” (just like a burger) which is then covered in a batter mix and deep fried. Traditionally, chip shops coloured the pastie’s filling with a cochineal dye, giving it a bright pink colour, supposedly to make the snack more appetising. Many shops have stopped using this method due to cochineal allergies.
Another taste from home that I yearn for after a beer or six. Although the crowd is split on this I’ve always preferred the pink ones
This is one of the things I miss most about Belfast, the good old Pastie supper, preferably from Beatties on the Shankill. When I first moved to London after a skin full of beer one day I went into the local chippy and tried to order a Pastie Supper. To my absolute horror and continuing disappointment they hadn’t a clue what I was talking about and tried to give me everything from Jamaican Patti to a plastic bag and some very funny looks.
Grrr…… I was gutted
Thrush and Jen challenge. Join us as we make Belfast pastie baps
A pig’s trotter, also known as a pettitoe, is the culinary term used to refer to the
foot of a pig. The cuts are used in various dishes around the world, and
experienced a resurgence in the late 2000s. Before sale, the trotters are
cleaned and typically have the hairs pulled with a hot tank and beaters.
They are often used in cooking to make stocks, as they add
thickness to gravy, although they are also served as a normal cut of meat.
Back in the early
70’s my Da use to bring these home from work every Friday night and I use to
love them, although sometimes they still had hair on them and that was kinda
gross to say the least, but didn’t put me of eating them. These days I wouldn’t touch one with a barge
pole , but they bring back memories of my beloved dad and therefore will always
be special to me.
Plain Bread , preferably O’Hara’s – O’Hara’s Plain Bread is a batch bread made in a large baking tray, which means the loaves only form a crust on the top and bottom. it differs from a pan loaf, which is baked in an individual tray and so forms crust round the whole bread. I know the picture is Sunblest , but I couldn’t find a picture of an O’Hara’s one ! If you have one please send it over.
Another thing I really miss from home is plain bread. Nothing tastes better toasted or fried and the crust is always the best bit. I can’t understand why they don’t sell/make it in England .
If they do , where please ?
Potato bread is a form of bread in which potato flour or
potato replaces a portion of the regular wheat flour. It is cooked in a variety
of ways, including baking it on a hot griddle or pan, or in an oven. We fry it
in our family as most others in Northern Ireland do.
This is as iconic as its possible to be when talking about food from Belfast / Northern Ireland. A must have in every Ulster Fry , best served fried in a shallow pan with loads of oil , although some folk like them toasted and covered in butter, my wee granny use to love these served that way. Nowadays its readily available in most of the big UK supermarkets, but it’s just not the same as back home and the taste of my childhood O’Hara’s . Although I do buy and eat it in England , its always a bit of a disappointment.
Also known as Tattie Scone to our friends from Caledonia . I ran a poll on Twitter last year and had over 25,000 votes (see below) and surprisingly Tattie Scone came up tops by a vast margin. I can only assume more Scottish folk responded as its clearly “ Potato Bread “ to most folk in Belfast /Northern Ireland .
Shandy Bass is a 0.5% ABV shandy made with Bass beer and
lemonade Introduced in 1972, it is made by Britvic.
When I was 12/13 me and my cousin Wee Sam were given a tin of this each ( or did we steal it ? I can’t remember) on the 11th of July. It was the first time I recall drinking alcohol ( I know ) and we were both pissed as a newt, or acted as if we were anyways and we sang and dance to all night long until me granny came and dragged us of to bed. Innocent days I’ll never forget.
Funny Drunk People Compilation
Soda bread is a variety of quick bread traditionally made in a variety of cuisines in which sodium bicarbonate (otherwise known as “baking soda”, or in Ireland, “bread soda”) is used as a leavening agent instead of the traditional yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. Other ingredients can be added such as butter, egg, raisins, or nuts. An advantage of quick breads is their ability to be prepared quickly and reliably, without requiring the time-consuming skilled labor and temperature control needed for traditional yeast breads.
Another icon of Northern Ireland foods and star of any Ulster Fry. Like the good old potato bread it can be served toasted or fried and like most of my peers I love it well fried with the yoke of a runny fried egg running all over and soaking into it.
A kind of round bun , dense sponge covered in coconut flakes and held together with icing sugar in the middle.
I loved these as a kid and when I started secondary School, Cairnmartin Ballygomartin , after the bell went I would hang about out side the O’Hara’s at the bottom of Glencairn in the hope that there would be some cheap cakes/buns left over before closing, which they always sold at a knockdown price to get rid of them. If I was lucky there would be a few snowballs on offer , which I loved pulling apart and licking the icing suger from the middle and dunking some in my after school cup of Nambarries tea. Heaven ! They are very popular in Scotland also, but there not the same as the Belfast ones of my childhood.
Steakette – Is kind of like a hamburger coated in batter and deep fried in oil.
Not for the faint hearted – These are another favorite of mine and when I’m home and on the beer I head straight for Beatties if I’m on the Shankill and get one. Last time I was home I order a Pastie & Steakette in one sitting and I gotta say they booth went down well. They are normally swimming in fat and grease, but I love them just like that ( don’t tell the wife ) smothered with loads of salt and vinegar. Yum Yum
Tayto Cheese and Onion
Set deep in the heart of the Ulster countryside in Tandragee is Tayto Castle where Tayto crisps and snacks have been made for the past 60 years. A ‘Taste of Home’ our products have been a big part of growing up in Northern Ireland.
Established in 1956 and still owned by the same family – the
Hutchinsons, we pride ourselves in employing local people and using local
ingredients and materials to produce great tasting crisps and snacks for
everyone to enjoy. In our 60th year, we are also proud to support Northern
Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016.
Within the Castle is a closely guarded room where the unique
Tayto Cheese & Onion flavour is made to the same recipe as it has for the
last 60 years. Only a very select few know the secret recipe which has been
carefully passed down to the current day.
Come and visit us at Tayto Castle to see for yourself how
our crisps and snacks are made and meet our very own Mr.Tayto – why not book a
Another of the things I miss most from home and something I always stock up on when visiting Belfast. My daughter orders me a box for Xmas, which was very thoughtful of her. But the problem was they came from the Tayto brand in Ireland (ROI) , in an insulting bluepacket, lol. They just aren’t the same as the ones I still love and crave since childhood.
Tennents is the most popular draught lager beer in Northern
Ireland, according to the latest research. 2007It was piloted in Northern
Ireland before being rolled out across the rest of the UK.
Tennents lager was produced by the Bass Brewery on the Glen
Road in west Belfast until a cutback in 2003.
Now it comes from the Wellpark Brewery in Glasgow, but the company, owned by Belgian group InBev, still has a warehouse and logistics operation in Belfast.
A specific draught is brewed for Northern Ireland with an alcohol volume of 3.7% compared with the 4.1% Scottish drinkers buy as research has shown it to be what local consumers want.
Another iconic Northern Ireland ( and Scotland ) drink from my childhood in Belfast and one which cause much uproar and debate, regarding the sexy ladies on the them. You’d never get away with that now ! I remember my Da and uncles having card schools and drinking vast amounts of this stuff and me and my brothers,cousins always had a good wee look at the ladies on the tin and we all had our favorites. For the record my favorite was Linda
The best known traditional dish in Northern Ireland is the
Ulster fry. An Ulster fry, although not originally particularly associated with
breakfast time, has in recent decades been marketed as Northern Ireland’s
version of a cooked breakfast. It is distinguishable from a full breakfast by
its griddle breads – soda bread and potato bread, fried (or occasionally
grilled) until crisp and golden. Sometimes also including small pancakes.
Bacon, sausages, an egg, and (as a modern development) tomato and sometimes
mushrooms complete the dish It is usually served with tea and toast.
This is a the king of Northern Ireland foods and has been enjoyed for generations of folk from Belfast and throughout the six counties since time began, relatively speaking . It will satisfy any hunger or cure any hangover and is served with an array of tasty N.I things , depending on your preference , including fried eggs, the all important fried potato and soda bread, perfect pork sausages or beef sausages in my house , crispy bacon, black and white pudding ( optional ) and a few slices of Veg Roll (always in my house ) and a mug of strong sweet tea to wash it all down.
With or without Beans?
That is the question – OK I’m going to get slated for this, but I always have beans with an Ulster Fry, blame my English wife for teaching me bad habits. HP sauce is also a must
Ulster Fry Up: Full Northern Irish Breakfast in Belfast, Ireland
Veda bread is a malted bread sold in Northern Ireland and
the Republic of Ireland . It is a small, caramel-coloured loaf with a very soft
consistency when fresh. Allied Bakeries Ireland (ABI) is the market leader with
over 81 per cent value share of the Veda market within Northern Ireland, which
it sells as “Sunblest Veda”.
Stylish Belfast city centre hotel Malmaison has teamed up
with Northern Ireland’s biggest bakery Allied Bakeries Ireland (ABI) to serve
up one of the Province’s best loved bread brands to residents and customers.
Veda bread, while very much a Scottish invention, has become
a Northern Ireland phenomenon since Allied Bakeries Ireland launched its first
Veda loaf back in 1930 and continues to grow from strength to strength.
Sunblest Veda, launched in 1956, is the market leader with
over 81 per cent value share of the Veda market within Northern Ireland and an
established local favourite.
I love this toasted and its smells amazing when covered in butter and eaten whilst still hot. we always had this in the cupboard at home and whenever there was nought else to eat this always filled a hole.
Vegetable Roll is a uniquely Northern Irish delicacy, made
up of cuts of lean beef and seasoned with fresh herbs and vegetables such as
leeks and onions.
Always served with an Ulster Fry in my family and controversially we always kept the plastic cover on whilst cooking, although take it off before eating , if I’m sober at least ! In another of those little Northern Irish things that make my England friend laugh, its as far from being “vegetable “ as can be. I think it just makes us feel we’re getting one of our five a day as it has ” vegetable ” in it. LOL
A traditional soup made by my parents and grandparents and a
traditional winter soup in Northern Ireland and especially popular served as a
starter to Christmas dinner. Pure, simple, wholesome comforting and natural
food. As with all one pot dishes, it always tastes better the following day
when all the ingredients have had time to marinate and got to know each other
so if you want to impress, make it the day before serving.
Another classic I love and miss from home and I have never had this outside Belfast or a soup taht tasted anything like it. It’s common to cook it with a whole chicken (I know ) or shin bone and this is often removed and stripped before being eaten, my family use to leave it in.
Once my veggie sister in law was half way through a bowl before anyone had the heart to tell her it was made with a chicken involved.
An edible sea snail – The common periwinkle or winkle (Littorina littorea) is a species of small edible whelk or sea snail, a marine gastropod mollusc that has gills and an operculum, and is classified within the family Littorinidae, the periwinkles.
This is a robust intertidal species with a dark and
sometimes banded shell. It is native to the rocky shores of the northeastern,
and introduced to the northwestern, Atlantic Ocean.
The common periwinkle is sold by fishmongers at seafood markets in large cities around the world, and is also commonly found in seafood restaurants as an appetizer or as a part of a seafood platter. In some countries, pubs may serve periwinkles as a snack.
Most of the volume fished, is consumed by France, Belgium,
Spain and the Netherlands.
I loved these as a child and we use to go round the coast of Antrim and beyond collecting, cooking and eating. We’d spend ages boiling them and when they were cooked we would all gather round, with a pin in hand, to pick the eyes out and tuck in. A taste and smell that always brings me back to my childhood.
Once I was in a French restaurant with the wife and she ordered snails ( Escargots ) and I had the cheek to turn my nose up. Hee hee , The contradiction was not lost on me, but Willicks are just one of those things that I was raised eating/liking and was way more civilized than eating slimy French snails in my book. LOL
Belfast Granny just won’t let him cook his Willicks in her home.
Other things Northern Ireland folk grew up with and love and know know
It was a beautiful summers day the birds were singing in the trees and I was out walking in Hyde park with a ( rather hot ) lady nurse from Great Ormond Street Hospital and some of her nursy friends.
I’d not long been in London and was delighted when I moved jobs to work in Russell Square , as all the local bars and clubs were full of student nurses and other hospital staff and to my sheer joy they seemed to like my Belfast charm and accent and I felt confident that I may pull me a sexy nurse , if i got lucky!
Hey, I was a young hot blooded male back then.
It was also full of trainee police staff , but to be honest they kind of scared me a little and made me nervous and so I kept my distance. This was obviously a hangup from my days of growing up in Glencairn and in and around the Shankill/Woodvale and my experiences with the police thus far , as a petty criminal. Normally for joy riding ( I know, I’m ashamed of myself now , but I was a product of the time and place ) shop lifting and abusing myself with drugs ect , nothing too serious in the grand scheme of what was going on back then in Glencairn and throughout war torn Belfast. Back in those days we tended to police ourselfs ( well UDA / UVF did ) and whilst we respected the police it would never enter our heads to ask them to settle local disputes or fallouts and so I had a natural apprehension round the old bill that would take me a few years in London to shake off. The fact that the paramilitaries policed us was of little concern to us and we give it little thought, unless we were caught in the act, so to speak and then we knew would be fecked!
Once when I was in a stolen car and the police chased us all the way from the Antrim Rd, through Westland, up to Ballysillian , down Ballysillian rd and all the way up to the middle Glenciarn. I was absolutely shitting myself in the back of the car and was amazed and relieved when some how, I dont know how, we lost the police. The guys I was with were the best car thieves/joy riders in Glencairn and where legends to the many young hoods in the estate whom looked up to them. Maybe the police had been called to a more important job or something , but as we made our way through Glencairn I swear to myself I would never get in a stolen car again. Suddenly in the distance we heard the sound of police sirens coming our way and the driver put the foot down and we were almost flying as he tried to get away from the approaching police. Then he turned a corner and smashed smack bang into the car of a top UDA man in Glencian , whom was a bit of a nutter and not to be crossed. Anyways we all jumped out of the car and ran for our lives and to be honest i was more worried about the UDA guys car, than i was about the police.
Next day we were all summoned up to the community centre and questioned by the UDA about the crash and the top guy whose car we had almost written off is going ballistic and calling for blood. Denial was the only option open to us as we didn’t want to have our kneecaps rearranged , so we all lied through our teeth and stubbornly stuck to our story , despite the fact our interrogators and the mad man knew we were lying and anted to kill us . Thanks to some family connection I wasn’t shot that day, but when the guy brought a new car we had to wash it for him for the next few months and he took great pleasure expecting our work and making us do it over again and again.Lesson learnt, no more joy ridding.
Anyways back to the squirrel and the trainee police staff I certainly wasn’t brave enough at the time to hit on one and possibly be arrested. LOL
The day way going great until I heard the gentle hypnotic calling chimes of the Poke Man ( icecream van in Northern Ireland slang to those who don’t know )and thought I’d treat myself and all the nice girls to a nice big Poke.
I inquired of the ladies present if any of them would like to have a Poke with me and through howls of laughter I took their orders. Of I go and on my way through a grove of trees I look up and pause for a moment, watching as two beautiful squirrels seemed to play tag with each other , jumping and swinging from branch to branch they disappeared in to the tree tops above me. It felt like a special kind of moment in time and I was kind of entranced and touched by it all.
And then one of the little feckers shat on my head!
How feckin rude is that ?
I knew it was squirrel shit immediately because it was the most logical answer and also they were both up there in the trees, starring down at me and I swear I heard them snigger.
Also the one that done the dump on my head must have had a curry the night before because as it ran down the side of my face , hot and sticky it smelt shocking and to make matters worse I could feel lumps cascading through the shit and gagging I realised they were poo covered bits of nuts.
Bending over a tree I start throwing up all over the place and prayed for the ground to open up and swallow me alive. Sadly it didn’t happen.
Then to my utter shame and horror my Lady Nurse friend was beside me, stroking my back and asking if in a mummy voice if I was OK. It wasn’t a pretty sight to be fair and wiping my hair with a tissue I excused myself and proceeded to go get the pokes.
Sadly I wasn’t successfully that day in pulling a sexy nurse ( but more than made up for it over the comings months) and those are stories for any day.
HUNTSVILLE, Texas (AP) — A Texas inmate was executed Thursday evening for the killings nearly 30 years ago of his estranged wife’s parents and her brother, who was a police officer.
Billie Wayne Coble received lethal injection at the state penitentiary in Huntsville for the August 1989 shooting deaths of Robert and Zelda Vicha and their son, Bobby Vicha, at separate homes in Axtell, northeast of Waco.
Coble, 70, once described by a prosecutor as having “a heart full of scorpions,” was the oldest inmate executed by Texas since the state resumed carrying out capital punishment in 1982.
Asked to make a final statement, Coble replied: “That’ll be $5.”
He told the five witnesses he selected to be in attendance that he loved them, then again said: “That’ll be $5.” Coble nodded to the witnesses and added, “take care.”
He gasped several times and began snoring.
As Coble was finishing his statement, his son, a friend and a daughter-in-law became emotional and violent. They were yelling obscenities, throwing fists and kicking at others in the death chamber witness area.
Officers stepped in and the witnesses continued to resist. They were eventually moved to a courtyard and the two men were handcuffed.
“Why are you doing this?” the woman asked. “They just killed his daddy.”
While the witnesses were being subdued outside, the single dose of pentobarbital was being administered to Coble. He was pronounced dead 11 minutes later at 6:24 p.m.
Texas Department of Criminal Justice spokesman Jeremy Desel said the two men were arrested on a charge of resisting arrest and taken to the Walker County Jail.
The U.S. Supreme Court earlier Thursday turned down Coble’s request to delay his execution.
His attorneys had told the high court that Coble’s original trial lawyers were negligent for conceding his guilt by failing to present an insanity defense before a jury convicted him of capital murder.
A state appeals court had previously rejected Coble’s request to delay Thursday’s execution and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles turned down his request for a commutation.
Coble “does not deny that he bears responsibility for the victims’ loss of life, but he nonetheless wanted his lawyers to present a defense on his behalf,” his attorney, A. Richard Ellis, said in his appeal to the Supreme Court.
In Coble’s clemency petition to the Board of Pardons and Paroles, Ellis said his client suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from his time as a Marine during the Vietnam War and was convicted, in part, due to misleading testimony from two prosecution expert witnesses on whether he would be a future danger.
Coble was convicted in 1990 of killing his in-laws, Robert and Zelda Vicha, and their son, Waco police Sgt. Bobby Vicha, at the family’s Axtell home
After shooting the three, Coble kidnapped his estranged wife, Karen Vicha, threatened to sexually assault and kill her, but was injured when he crashed his vehicle during a police chase in Bosque County.
Coble has a list of appeals, the only one successful filed in 2007 with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that resulted in the dismissal of the death sentence and an order for re-trial on punishment after the court’s opinion stated Coble’s jury faced two questions that were unconstitutional.
The punishment re-trial ended with the same result, a death sentence.
A retired police officer who worked on the Coble case and a current district judge who back then was a prosecutor and who took Coble to trial on the capital murder case for the first time were among a few dozen people who crowded into the 54th District Courtroom on Wednesday to watch the hearing.
After a few minutes the judge asked one of the bailiffs why Coble wasn’t in the courtroom and the bailiff said he was refusing to leave the holding cell.
Johnson sent a squad of bailiffs to retrieve Coble, but they reported he refused to come to the courtroom, after which Johnson called the case, read the preliminary documents concerning the appeals Coble has filed since his conviction, and then set the date.
Coble has a list of appeals, the only one successful filed in 2007 with the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals that resulted in the dismissal of the death sentence and an order for re-trial on punishment after the court’s opinion stated Coble’s jury faced two questions that were unconstitutional.
Court grants Muslim death row inmate stay of execution
The U.S. Court of Appeals has granted a stay of execution for a Muslim death row inmate in Alabama as he continues his ongoing bid to have an imam present at his execution.
Domineque Ray maintains the absence of his imam in Alabama’s death chamber would violate his constitutional rights, as the state has an established practice of including a Christian prison chaplain in previous executions. Wednesday’s ruling overturns a Montgomery federal judge’s denial of a stay last week.
Ray was sentenced to death for the 1995 rape and fatal stabbing of 15-year-old Tiffany Harville of Selma. Months before his death penalty trial, he was sentenced to life for a 1994 slaying of two teen brothers, The Associated Press reports.
The Alabama death row inmate, is challenging the state on religious grounds after prison officials denied his Muslim spiritual advisor access to the execution chamber.
Amado Carrillo became known as “El Señor de Los Cielos” (“The Lord of the Skies”), because of the large fleet of jets he used to transport drugs. He was also known for laundering money via Colombia to finance his large fleet of airplanes.
He died in July 1997, in a Mexican hospital, after undergoing extensive plastic surgery to change his appearance.
In his final days Carrillo was being tracked by Mexican and U.S. authorities
Amado Carrillo Fuentes December 17, 1956 Guamuchilito, Sinaloa, Mexico
Carrillo was born to Walter Vicente Carrillo Vega and Aurora Fuentes in Guamuchilito, Navolato, Sinaloa, Mexico. He had eleven siblings. Carillo was the nephew of Ernesto Fonseca Carrillo, also known as “Don Neto”, the Guadalajara Cartel leader. Amado got his start in the drug business under the tutelage of his uncle Ernesto and later brought in his brothers, and eventually his son Vicente José Carrillo Leyva.
Carrillo’s father died in April 1986. Carillo’s brother, Cipriano Carrillo Fuentes, died in 1989 under mysterious circumstances.[
The pressure to capture Carrillo intensified among U.S. and Mexican authorities, and perhaps for this reason, Carrillo underwent facial plastic surgery and abdominal liposuction to change his appearance on July 4, 1997, at Santa Mónica Hospital in Mexico City. However, during the operation, he died of complications apparently caused either by a certain medication or a malfunctioning respirator.
Two of Carrillo’s bodyguards were in the operating room during the procedure. There is also very little paper work regarding the death of Amado Carillo Fuentes. On November 7, 1997, the two physicians who performed the surgery on Fuentes were found dead, encased in concrete inside steel drums, with their bodies showing signs of torture.
Juárez Cartel after Carrillo
On the night of August 3, 1997, at around 9:30 p.m., four drug traffickers walked into a restaurant in Ciudad Juárez, pulled out their guns, and opened fire on five diners, killing them instantly.[
Police estimated that more than 100 bullet casings were found at the crime scene. According to a report issued by the Los Angeles Times, four men went to the restaurant carrying at least two AK-47 automatic rifles while others stood at the doorstep.[
On their way out, the gunmen claimed another victim: Armando Olague, a prison official and off-duty law enforcement officer, who was gunned down outside the restaurant after he had walked from a nearby bar to investigate the shooting. Reportedly, Olague had run into the restaurant from across the street with a gun in his hand to check out the commotion. It was later determined that Olague was also a known lieutenant of the Juarez cartel.[
Mexican authorities declined to comment on the motives behind the killing, stating the shootout was not linked to the death of Amado Carrillo Fuentes. Nonetheless, it was later stated that the perpetrators were gunmen of the Tijuana Cartel.
Underworld Tijuana Cartel Documentary
Although confrontations between narcotraficantes were commonplace in Ciudad Juárez, they rarely occurred in public places. What happened in the restaurant threatened to usher in a new era of border crime in the city.[
In Ciudad Juárez, the PGR seized warehouses they believed the cartel used to store weapons and cocaine; they also seized over 60 properties all over Mexico belonging to Carrillo, and began an investigation into his dealings with police and government officials. Officials also froze bank accounts amounting to $10 billion belonging to Carrillo.[
Enrique S. “Kiki” Camarena Salazar (July 26, 1947 – February 9, 1985) was a Mexican-born American undercover agent for the United StatesDrug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who was abducted on February 7, 1985, and then tortured and murdered, while on assignment in Mexico.
I’ve been reading a lot about Mexican gangs/ cartels recently and their sheer brutality and total disregard for the sanctity of human life has left me sickened and appalled in equal measures. Among the countless acts of indiscriminate and at times very personal , repulsive murders the case of Kiki Camarena struck a chord deep in my soul and I felt physically sick when I researched and learnt more about his abduction, torture and eventual death.
Coincidentally the Netflix Narcos: Mexico series has been screening and watching it I was able to align the story line/s with the brutal real life characters I have been reading about and those involved in Kiki’s savage murder. The shows depiction of his kidnap and torture was nowhere near as brutal as the real event and it is right that Kiki should be remembered as a hero who give his life in what I sometime feel is the pointless War on Drugs.
Like it or not the demand and market for the supply and distribution of drugs is a fact of modern life and thats never going to change. In my humble opinion we should legalise all drugs and remove the drug lords/gangs from the equation. At the end of the day if a consenting adult wishes to get stoned on weed or high on coke thats his/her choice and providing they aren’t breaking the law or hurting anyone (but themselves) then who’s business is it?
Narcos: Mexico | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix
Early life and education
From 1973 to 1975, Camarena served in the United States Marine Corps. After his military service he became a police officer in his hometown. Camarena was also a Special Agent on the original Imperial County Narcotic Task Force (ICNTF) while working in Calexico, California.
In 1984, acting on information from Camarena, 450 Mexican soldiers backed by helicopters destroyed a 1,000-hectare (2,500-acre) marijuana plantation in Allende (Chihuahua) with an estimated annual production of $8 billion known as “Rancho Búfalo”.
Camarena, who had been identified as the source of the leak, was abducted in broad daylight on February 8, 1985, by corrupt police officers working for drug lordMiguel Ángel Félix Gallardo. Camarena was tortured at Gallardo’s ranch over a 30-hour period, then murdered.
The Guadalajara Cartel
His skull, jaw, nose, cheekbones and windpipe were crushed, his ribs were broken, and a hole was drilled into his head with a power drill. He had been injected with amphetamines and other drugs, most likely to ensure that he remained conscious while being tortured.[
Camarena’s body was found in a rural area outside the small town of La Angostura, in the state of Michoacán, on March 5, 1985.
Camarena’s torture and murder prompted a swift reaction from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and launched Operation Leyenda, the largest DEA homicide investigation ever undertaken.
A special unit was dispatched to coordinate the investigation in Mexico, where government officials were implicated—including Manuel Ibarra Herrera, past director of Mexican Federal Judicial Police, and Miguel Aldana Ibarra, the former director of Interpol in Mexico.
Under pressure from the U.S. government, Mexican President Miguel de la Madrid quickly apprehended Fonseca and Caro but Félix Gallardo still enjoyed political protection.
Narco History, El Padrino’s Rise and Fall
The United States government pursued a lengthy investigation of Camarena’s murder. Due to the difficulty of extraditing Mexican citizens, the DEA went as far as to detain two suspects, Humberto Álvarez Machaín, the physician who allegedly prolonged Camarena’s life so the torture could continue, and Javier Vásquez Velasco; both were taken by bounty hunters into the United States.
Despite vigorous protests from the Mexican government, Álvarez was brought to trial in Los Angeles in 1992. After presentation of the government’s case, the judge ruled that there was insufficient evidence to support a guilty verdict, and charges were dropped. Álvarez subsequently initiated a civil suit against the U.S. government, charging that his arrest had breached the U.S.–Mexico extradition treaty.
The case eventually reached the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled that Álvarez was not entitled to relief. The four other defendants, Vásquez Velasco, Juan Ramón Matta-Ballesteros, Juan José Bernabé Ramírez, and Rubén Zuno Arce (a brother-in-law of former President Luis Echeverría), were tried and found guilty of Camarena’s kidnapping.[
Zuno had known ties to corrupt Mexican officials, and Mexican officials were implicated in covering up the murder.[
Mexican police had destroyed evidence on Camarena’s body
In October 2013, two former federal agents and a self-proclaimed ex-CIA contractor told an American television network that CIA operatives were involved in Camarena’s kidnapping and murder, because he was a threat to the agency’s drug operations in Mexico. According to the three men, the CIA was collaborating with drug traffickers moving cocaine and marijuana to the United States, and using its share of the profits to finance NicaraguanContra rebels attempting to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government.
A CIA spokesman responded that:
“it’s ridiculous to suggest that the CIA had anything to do with the murder of a U.S. federal agent or the escape of his killer”.[
In November 1988, TIME magazine featured Camarena on the cover. Camarena received numerous awards while with the DEA, and he posthumously received the Administrator’s Award of Honor, the highest award given by the organization.
In Fresno, the DEA hosts a yearly golf tournament named after him. A school, a library and a street in his home town of Calexico, California, are named after him. The nationwide annual Red Ribbon Week, which teaches school children and youths to avoid drug use, was established in his memory.
In 2004, the Enrique S. Camarena Foundation was established in Camarena’s memory. Camarena’s wife Mika and son Enrique Jr. serve on the all-volunteer Board of Directors together with former DEA agents, law enforcement personnel, family and friends of Camarena’s, and others who share their commitment to alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention. As part of their ongoing Drug Awareness program, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks awards an annual Enrique Camarena Award at local, state and national levels to a member of law enforcement who carries out anti-drugs work.
In 2004, the Calexico Police Department erected a memorial dedicated to Camarena. The memorial is located in the halls of the department, where Camarena served.
Several books have been written on the subject. Camarena is the subject of the book O Plata o Plomo? The abduction and murder of DEA Agent Enrique Camarena (2005), by retired DEA Resident Agent in Charge James H. Kuykendall.[
Roberto Saviano‘s non-fiction book Zero Zero Zero (2015) deals in part with Camarena’s undercover work and his eventual fate.
Camarena was married to Mika and they had three sons.[
In the Netflix drama Narcos, Camarena’s death and its aftermath are recapped in news footage in the first season episode “The Men of Always”. In the spin-off series Narcos: Mexico, Camarena is played by American actor Michael Peña.