The Tale of the Third City
Whether you had been involved at the very start or maybe you were just like me and my two mates. By that I mean, that you too had stood on the outside looking in. well - if you can honestly put yourself in either of these two categories, then you should be agreeing with me when I say that was one hell of a way end to the year. A little bit of scandal with a shit load of controversy but more to the point. Here in Ulster, although we were totally unaware of it at the time but still. It was to cause yet another split within this, an already ‘bitterly’ divided society, which ironically……would see the two sides being drawn even closer to one another.
When you think about it; that's pretty much what was needed, the crucial ingredient to stem the flow of hatred which the entire population of this country had been nurturing for far too long. As for the three of us, well…… Like I said, our lives had been slowly changing for some time but come December '76'. That’s when we really started to notice the dramatic change taking control of our lives. A change that would see the three of us heading off in a totally new direction and personally, I don’t think we could have asked for a better ending – start….“Call it what you like” to the year!
Picture the scene. Three confused fifteen year’s olds fast approaching the festive season, a time when families get together. We exchange gifts with one another and, of course, it's a time when we celebrate the birth of Christ. Well, if you were to roll back the hands of time just a few weeks earlier, then yes…. I too would have been looking forward to that normal family Christmas but as a result of that explosive start we had at the beginning of December, well….Me, life, fuck listen to what I am saying. Everything as far as I was concerned had changed. So please; don’t take this the wrong way but I really couldn’t have cared less about Christmas that year. I mean; it not as if Santa was about to bring to me the new 'The Ramones' album, like he did for a certain bass player in Londonderry.
To tell you the truth, I didn’t even know the Ramones album had been released in the UK at that time, but I do know, through research. It never appeared in the UK charts any time during 76, which means. If it hadn’t charted, then you weren’t getting it anywhere in Northern Ireland. Again this is a fact and if need be the evidence to confirm this can be produced. You only have to ask the likes Kyle Leitch or Robin Brown both formally of Caroline Music. Both, who I know will gladly back me up on this one, happily proving my point for me!
Ah well….. How does that song go? “Teenage Kicks” are hard to find? Well if you ask me, it all sounds as though there were a few vivid imaginations in play up on the North coast or was it all just show for the TV cameras? Ah boys will be boys, although quite a few of them can turn out to be real wankers but who am I too judge.
The truth is we had struggled and stumbled our way through 76 and that’s with all the obvious signs staring us straight in the face but as we all should know by now, life was never meant to be simple. So even with all the clues lined up in front of us, the only thing we were really sure off at the time, was the fog was slowly starting to lift. Finally a light at the end of a very long tunnel was slowly starting to appear, but you know, after all said and done, there were still quite a few questions that needed to be answered and I dare say many more just like me, like us, were asking those very same questions? with the first up I guess being ……. What secrets did the New Year have in store for us?
Well…. as we entered the year of 77. I am pretty sure the last thing the Great British public wanted or needed, was to be nursing the unwanted hangover from the previous year but as we all know; that’s exactly what they got. As for the three of us; well……1976 quickly drifted back into the mist of yesteryear, it had suddenly become a distant, but never to be forgotten memory. 77 was the year that produced all the fun and games.
Unfortunately, the un-expectant population of Ulster didn't see that way. You could say they were somewhat unprepared for what the future was about to in stow on them, which is understandable after all. A population still enthralled with the religious conflict surrounding them? Meaning, they were going to neither see the sights, nor hear the sounds that this new sub-culture had to offer.
A nation whose inhabitants were still trapped within the mist of their deluded past, locked in time and sadly for us. Still listening to the ghosts of their ancestors as they cried out for a ‘United Ireland’ while their adversaries screamed out, loud and clear those war cries of ‘No Surrender’ and ‘Remember 1690’.
This is what we were faced with, one tiny little Island sadly boasting two enemies who had been cast out from the same mould, meaning both were as equally afraid of change as the other but like I said. Unfortunately for them the year “1977” was the year of change. That was pretty much the beginning of the end for our darkened past, of the bloodshed and of the tears.
That life of misery which had been forced upon the people of Ulster was once again being challenged but for the first time in the history of this tiny little Island, the choice that was being offered in its place, was about to be taken seriously. A choice that would make way for a new generation, a generation full of hope and imagination. Bringing with it, Youth with a vision and with that vision came that much needed expectation, which was essential for this little country of ours to move forward. You can believe it or not but I am talking about a generation who would eventually open up the doors that would one day lead to a much brighter future and by Christmas 1976, it was starting to make sense to me.
These extracts have been taken from first dratf chapters already writen, although they are displayed on this site they may not necessarily appear in the book, but I can assure you without any doubt whatsoever, they most certainly are part and parcel of the "Trilogy Story"!
I would also like point out, that we are in search of photos of the era, so if you can help please send copies of whatever you have to, firstname.lastname@example.org don't forget to leave your details so we can credit you. Thanks