Small is the new big with NI leading the way forward

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I was fortunate to be one of an exclusive number of heavy metal fans who witnessed Slayer play in the Limelight a couple of weeks ago.

Slayer are absolute giants in the metal world and for them to play in such an intimate venue was a real coup for the promoters and an experience I won’t soon forget.

A few days after the Limelight played host to the mighty Slayer, the theme of putting on large scale events in small places continued when the leaders of the most powerful nations in the world convened in a wee huckster of a town where many people still butter their Digestive biscuits.

I’ve got nothing against Enniskillen and County Fermanagh - I’ve many a fond memory of Scout camps at Crom Castle on the shores of Upper Lough Erne and day trips into Enniskillen to buy tat - it’s just I never imagined it would play host to an event of such magnitude as the G8 summit.

Put it this way, a couple of summers ago I turned up for a darts tournament in the top pub in Newtownbutler and I was the only person there. Strangely enough I still finished runner up.

Being the primary location for the filming of extremely popular Sky Atlantic series Game of Thrones is another example of Northern Ireland leading the way in making small the new big.

I refer to Game of Thrones as ‘extremely popular’ largely to please my boss. Alistair is a huge fan of the series and not a day goes by when he doesn’t find some way of bringing the conversation round to Game of Thrones. Perhaps he does it to annoy me because I make no secret of the fact I think it’s a load of overrated nonsense. It’s like someone has given swords to the cast of Eastenders and told them to fight it out to see who gets ownership of the Queen Vic and Bianca’s hand in marriage.

With ‘Our Wee Country’ attracting such big names and big events in recent years it’s hard to know what’s around the corner.

Is it beyond the realms of possibility that Craigavon Golf & Ski Centre could host the Winter Olympics in 2018 or that Lurgan Town Hall could be the venue for an upcoming Academy Awards?

Yes, without hesitation, it is. Much as I’d love to see Ricky Gervais and the Jamaican Bobsleigh Team set foot in the borough, in both cases optimism and good intentions are no match for capacity and infrastructure.

I can however confirm there will be a couple of big names in Fa’ Joe’s this Friday night - Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker.

Training gets underway

I saw a programme entitled ‘Rowing World Cup’ in the TV listings the other day.

“We should enter that,” I said to my wife.

“You’d know more about a big loaf,” she said.

“Look who’s talking,” I said.

“Away and chase your granny round a lamppost,” she said.

“I still think we should enter it,” I said.

“We don’t know the first thing about boats,” she said.

“Who said anything about boats,” I said.

“Oh wait,” she said. “I see what you’re doing - deliberately misreading ‘rowing’ to mean arguing rather than the water-based activity that you know full well it is.”

“No, I’m not,” I said.

“Yes, you are,” she said. “And now you’re being facetious for the sake of it.”

“On the contrary,” I said. “Don’t you realise that we’ve just starting training for the Rowing World Cup.”