The Tale of the Third City
A Walk on the Wild Side
So let’s rewind a little bit here. Let me take you back to where I believe this story really begins. Even though it may sound as though I am about to contradict everything I’ve have previously said, but believe me this is not the case. Yes, it is true; Belfast had become a ghost town and those “Big Name” bands were no longer willing to come here to play , and sadly; all the clubs did close down but true as this may be. It’s not exactly the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, if you get my drift. Confused………. well prepare yourself “just like our old friend Guy” to be enlightened, in the same way I was, when at first I was made aware of Belfast’s dark side.
Honestly; what I am about to tell you came as much of a surprise to me as it will to you. Stories that can and will be backed with facts and with quotes from some of Belfast most colourful individuals. Those larger than life characters who have all done the walk and, who are all willing to stand up together and confirm what I am about to say is the truth, because this part of the story at the the end of the day is their story.
Stories of such places, of an era, of a side to Belfast that I honestly never knew existed. Stories that could quite easily be mistaken as fantasy; the kind of tall tales which you would think are being exaggerated well out of all proportion but really, they're the truth; the fact’s behind Belfast’s dark and seedy past. I'm not talking about the troubles, I'm talking about the hidden secrets from which a city better known for its violence past; has simply; or should I say more conveniently let slip out of sight and mind as time itself moves on. A piece of our past that was callously ripped from our grasps, of memories brutally erased so to protect the conservative population of this land. Who were simply too afraid to accept or at least; to even attempt to engage in the prospect of change but there was simply no getting away from it. This city in which we live, the city where I grew up; dramtically changed in so many ways during those early years of the troubles, sadly only the scares of war can be seen, whereas the positive changes are only visible to a selected few ……..
It has only been in recent months that I myself have came to learn of this subterranean world and the transformations, which happened not long after those steel gates were erected in 72. Gates “I believed” were put there to protect us and the city in which we lived; but it now seems as though they had yet another purpose, a gateway that lead to a bi-curios world of sexual experimentation, Greenwich Village comes to Belfast!
Well they do say “were there is change, there will be reform”, well……. in a sense that’s what happened in Belfast. Although to be honest; I don’t think that many locals were actually aware of it but those change were happening. As all those famous clubs such as the Boom Boom Rooms, Betty Staffs Ballroom, the Maritime Club, or as Terri Hooley once put it the “list goes on” began to close their doors “one by one” others began to open in their place.
I was born and grew up in the swinging sixties but what do they really mean by swinging. Like I said, all this came pretty much as a surprise to me, because not only did I truly believed but I also like the idea, the stories of the deserted streets which lead me to beleieve that it was us; the Punks of Belfast who brought the life back into the streets, into the city of Belfast. Whereas now we have conflicting tales that can prove that it wasn’t us. Conflicting tales which come with the evidence to back up the fact that there were others out there who actually braved; or should I say “defied” the terrorist threats long before the Harp Bar.
Bars and clubs who offered a subtle hint of diversity, secret locations whose doors were only open to a certain kind of clientele. It's quite simple, if your face wasn’t known or it simply didn’t fit, then you didn’t gain entry and I suppose when you think about it. It was only a natural response to have had these strict rules in place, when you consider the dangerous times in which, and where, we lived.
These extracts have been taken from first dratf chapters, even though 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"! So if you buy the Book, you like it and want to read the Chapters that are not included, they will be available from this site! Remember its 40 years of memories and 5 years of research!
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