All posts tagged Belfast

Diary of a druggie

Published December 20, 2012 by crazyinpink

Things have been a bit manic in my pink world as of late.  In keeping with the sitcom that is my life, I’ll provide updates on the various sub-plots going on.  Bear in mind that my pain has been very bad lately so I have been on quite heavy doses of my painkillers.  But, even so, things have certainly been interesting!

The One with Political Unrest

Northern Ireland, as some of you may know, has its fair share of turbulent history.  I grew up during the peace process but still, riots, bomb scares and the like are very much part of life here. Things have been relatively quiet over the last few years.  Then, the council of Belfast voted to remove the Union flag from outside the City Hall.  If you have any idea of ‘the Troubles’ you might know that this was not taken well.  Riots kicked off and disrupted everything, traffic, Christmas shopping, everything.  It has been two weeks since the flag was taken down and there are still protests every day. Some of them are peaceful and there was a wonderful prayer rally in the city on Saturday morning but my wee country still remains troubled.

The One with the Choir Drama

Rehearsals began in earnest for our Christmas concerts last week. Our first rehearsal had to be cancelled at the last minute due to aforementioned riots so we only ended up with two.  My choir buddy Ellie had been extremely anxious about returning to choir after the fiasco of her relationship with that guy from choir who turned out to be advertising on gay dating websites.  We had concocted a plan, codenamed Operation Crazy, that we would stick together and if anyone were to bring up the subject of her ex, I would immediately start acting crazy and distract them. Rehearsal One went well, all of us concentrating on sight-singing.  Rehearsal Two featured my friend not feeling well and as we held up a radiator during the break, she offered up all the dirt on her ex to a fellow choir member, even showing him the photos she still has of all the dating profiles.  The guy is a bigger gossip than most of the women so I for one was not overly surprised when barely a day later, she started getting facebook messages of a not-very-nice nature from her ex’s friends. *sigh*  The culmination of all this drama meant that she spent most of the day of the concerts complaining and saying she was never coming back. Our matinee performance was going well until she whispered to me that she didn’t feel well and was having a hypo. It was a long day of rehearsals, soundchecks and then two concerts and I had stocked up on my meds, made sure I’d eaten and had snacks to get me through and I don’t even have diabetes. Ellie was diagnosed earlier this year but as far as I can see, has not altered her lifestyle at all. She eats more takeaways and junk food than anyone I know and always has a sugary fizzy drink in her bag. She had, for some bizarre reason, not eaten so it was no wonder that at 4pm she felt rotten. As soon as the interval began, I whisked her off-stage and tried to get her to eat some chocolate buttons. She insisted on staying in the corridor and not going into any of the dressing rooms and didn’t go on for the second half. It sounds awful and I don’t mean to be bitchy but part of me thinks she stayed there so that people would see her and give her attention. After the first concert ended, we had time to go get dinner and by this stage, I was knackered and just wanted to sit down and have some hot food. Ellie was adamant that we should go to the Christmas market, outside and crazy busy, but I overruled and stated that I was off to Nandos with the others.  She eventually came round to the idea and was miraculously all better for the evening show.

The One with Graduation

I graduated from my Masters last week.  With decidedly mixed feelings.  I still haven’t quite got over the injustice of my final grade. Because of a silly little sub-rule, I graduated with an average of 71% but only received a commendation instead of a distinction because of the marker of my dissertation. I know in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t matter much but I am a perfectionist when it comes to my studies and this will annoy me for the rest of my life. I was told off by my mum for not being excited about this graduation and being too hard on myself but the excitement didn’t really kick in until the day before. Unlike my last graduation, I did this one on a budget. Did my own hair, got one of my GB girls to paint my nails and got a dress in the sales a few weeks ago, wearing a pair of ridiculously sparkly heels I got last winter.  The day went really well. It stayed dry and, bizarrely, sunny (although still cold, it is December after all). I ended up sitting next to my two friends from class in the ceremony and got a lot of cheesy photos taken after in the reception.  Then my family went out for lunch and the restaurant put  a sparkler in my ice cream sundae and gave me a box of Ferrero Rocher as a graduation gift!! I should wear gowns more often!

The One with Doctors

I’ve had several encounters with doctors recently too, on top of everything else.  My silly tummy still only lets me eat plain chicken and mashed potatoes so I returned to the doctor as instructed after trying their waste of space indigestion medication for a month. The doctor I had was barely older than me, didn’t seem to know what endometriosis was and was clearly out of his league with a complex patient like me. It was a complete waste of time. I felt such despair as I had only that morning found out that my pain doctor was so backlogged that it would be February before I could get the drug infusion I was due in September.  How on earth was I meant to get through Christmas unable to eat and spending every day in excruciating pain?!  Then the clouds parted and a crowd of heavenly host (or a nurse from the pain clinic) called out to me with good news of great joy. A cancellation! Before Christmas! So, I got my infusion on Monday!! Hit me hard since I haven’t had one since June and I’m obviously not eating as much but I feel much better already. Truly was a Christmas miracle!!


I have several other tales to tell, mainly about the men in my life, but I really must go wrap some presents and sing along to cheesy Christmas music.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s installment of the sitcom that is my life, tentatively titled ‘Diary of a Druggie’.

Brought to you by Tramadol – it’s awesome!

How should we remember the Titanic?

Published March 27, 2012 by crazyinpink

Last night as I tried to get to sleep I started thinking about commemoration. This is something that we have covered in my MA course but, I must admit, not one of the most memorable topics (ironic). What actually prompted last night’s ponderment was the relentless onslaught of material about the Titanic lately.

If you live in the UK, you will no doubt be aware of the centenary of the fateful ocean liner, maybe you have noticed the range of tv programmes on the topic, including the new mini-series from the makers of Downton Abbey, creatively titled Titanic.

If you live in Northern Ireland and particularly Belfast, the exposure to Titanic is virtually inescapable. The Titanic is everywhere!

Now, I don’t want to be misunderstood as a Titanic hater, I was (and still am) all for the new state-of-the-art Titanic visitor experience centre in Belfast. I once went to the most amazing Titanic Experience in Orlando, Florida that was truly incredible and have since wondered why Belfast, the birthplace of the most famous ship in history, did not offer something similar. As an aspiring historian, I think it’s crucial to remember the past. Northern Ireland is very good at remembering the past but that memory is painfully selective. So the long-awaited Titanic exhibition not only represents a recognition of the cultural value of the most famous ship in the world but also contributes to a shared, collective memory of the past. The centre opens this weekend and, although extortionately priced, I will definitely be going along to see ‘history come alive’ in the near future.

No, it is not commemorating the event that nags me. It is the fact that I can no longer turn on the tv, drive to town, buy a packet of crisps or check Facebook without being visually assaulted by references to the Titanic. It feels like everyone is jumping on the Titanic bandwagon to cash in on the centenary. Do we really want to jump on this particular bandwagon?

Maybe its just the nature of the event we’re remembering that makes me feel so uneasy. There are plenty of commemorations with particular resonances, Remembrance Day for example. Even the 10th anniversary of 9/11 the world respected only last year. But those are different. Yes, lives were still lost but they were lost as a result of aggression, acts of evil and warfare. The tragedy of the Titanic was not a terrorist attack or a political statement, but simply an awful accident. The lives that were lost onboard were not martyrs or soldiers but ordinary men and women. Should we remember them differently?

I can’t help but think, when I consider the money now being made on this event, about the life span of tragedy. When does it transition from personal loss to a lucrative opportunity? When the last survivor passes away? When there is no one alive who was alive at the time?

When does such a loss stop being emotional and become historical?

I wonder when the tragedies of my lifetime will become commercial enterprises for future generations.