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Back To The Future 4

I’m willing, with some reluctance, to accept that Northern Ireland is justified in its flogging of all things Titanic-based.

Despite the tragic end the ship and its passengers met, Titanic has now been established as a worldwide family-friendly brand. Considering it was born in Belfast and we sent it out into the world in good shape, it’s only right we should be getting credit where it’s due, and if that means making money at the same time, then so be it.

But while the successful remarketing of the Titanic has guaranteed a boost to the tourist economy for the next five to ten years, we can’t afford to put all our eggs in one basket. We need to look for a new bandwagon to jump on.

For me, the story of the Delorean has massive potential. The timing couldn’t be more perfect as this year marks the 30th anniversary of the closure of Delorean’s production plant in Dunmurry amid all sorts of rumours. As a key requisite, it’s got that element of ‘successful unsuccessfulness’ that we tend to value in this wee country of ours.

In order to fully stake our claim to the Delorean legacy what we need to do is persuade Steven Spielberg to give us his permission to shoot another Back To The Future film with the aim of further boosting Northern Ireland as a tourist destination. You may not be surprised to learn that, in my part-time role as an out-of-work screen writer, I’ve come up with a synopsis for ‘Back To The Future 4: Troubles Ahead’.

Doc Brown tracks down Marty McFly to 1982 and briefs him on a new mission. Doc tells Marty production has ceased at the Delorean plant in Dunmurry and unless Marty can go back in time to 1978 and convince John Delorean to install a flux capacitor as standard in every new model then the Back To The Future franchise is doomed.

Marty arrives in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles and both sides of the religious divide view him with a fair degree of scepticism. However, when paramilitary leaders realise Marty’s Delorean is no ordinary car and can, in fact, travel through time, both sides want a piece of the action.

The republicans come up with the idea of going back to the Boyne in 1690 to warn their comrades to be on the look out for a Dutch man on a horse, while the loyalists hatch a plan to go back to Dublin in 1916 to talk Patrick Pearse into spending a quiet Easter with his family rather than starting a revolution at the General Post Office.

In his own inimitable style Marty not only saves the Delorean plant from closure, but manages to bring about lasting peace in Northern Ireland by persuading the warring factions to exchange their weapons for hoverboards.

Hollywood, here I come! Sorry, I meant Holywood.

Lunchtime in the park

The wea’ was glorious on Monday at lunchtime so I took a walk to the park. Armed with two sandwiches and a Norwegian crime novel I made the short trip parkwards via Windsor Avenue.

In Northern Ireland we take the ‘make hay while the sun shines’ attitude to sunshine. As is always the case when the sun comes out to play, ice cream and beer take priority over sun cream and shade.

There were a fair few lobster people about the park on Monday, and I tried to avoid becoming one of their number by seeking refuge in the shadow of a mighty oak.

As I relaxed with my book I started to take in the sounds around me - dogs barking, skin sizzling, children laughing, children crying, children not knowing whether to laugh or cry, a bottle opening, a mobile phone ringing, school boys being deliberately boisterous to impress impressionable school girls, a football being kicked, the cry of a hungry duck being nourished. And then I heard a voice louder than any other noise in the park. It came from a English bloke. He shouted, “Hey You! Yeah you! Wanna play?”

I looked all round to see where the noise had come from? Nothing. About 10 minutes later he shouted the same thing again, but still I couldn’t see where he was hiding. I was about to phone the police when he shouted for a third time and it finally dawned on me the noise was a recording coming from the i-play zone which sits just in front of the main kids’ play area.

Given the menacing tone of the disembodied voice it’s no surprise the i-play zone was empty.

Weekly teaser

The answer to last week’s teaser was: Benjamin is seven.

Here’s this week’s teaser: What form of transport has eight wheels but can only carry one person?