The Tale of the Third City
The autumn of 76
It was in the autumn of 76 when my two trusted friends and I first realized something was about to change. When, where and how those changes were going to affect us was still pretty much a mystery. We were only fifteen year’s old, still at school and still trying to figure out what life was all about, so really what the fuck were we to know. The simple facts are; society in which we lived had robbed us of our innocence, those violent surroundings had practically taken away our childhood and was slowly moulding us into something we obviously didn’t want to be.
That’s right; we too had been drawn in by their bigotry, their hatred and like so many before us, we too were ignorant of our countries past, of our own fucking history and yet we were the lucky ones, apparently. We were told that becasue we got to grow up in the relative safety of suburbia but at the same time, we actually believed that we understood what the armed struggle was all about, for that reason we supported - followed it.
Just goes to show you at the tender age of just fifteen you know no better, topped with the combination that our surrounding plus schooling is what turned us into the typical stereo type Loyalist. Bitter, twisted and always roaming the streets with our auld orange flutes constantly in hand. Then all of a sudden; like a bolt from the sky, we encountered the strangest, yet most dramatic twist that life could ever have throw at us, the aftermath practically turned life as we knew it on it's head.
Seriously, if anyone had've told us back then that this was going to happen, we would have laughed at them for Christ sake. This was Belfast and as far as we were concerned nothing exciting had or could ever happen here but between then and now, well….That’s a whole different story is it not! One that I am happy…. No fuck it; this is a story I will be glad to tell and it's one I will tell with pride!!!
So let's step back in time, to a period when all three of us lived in the quiet leafy suburb of East Belfast known as Belmont. A mixed middle class area of the city, which I have no doubt, to an outsider, would have seemed a million miles away from those troubled hot spots Belfast was famous for but to the three us, it was close enough to have had a big effect on our lives. Although, I have to admit, our suburban life styles would have been somewhat subdued compared to the other parts of the city but nevertheless they were still merely a stone’s throw away from the main flash points in the east of the city. Thus causing our views, our beliefs, our oneway thinking to have been just like anyone else on that side of the river, strictly loyalist without any doubt!
There again, to be honest with you, I think you would’ve been really lucky to have found anyone person at that time, who didn't have some kind of religious issue eating away at them. Although in saying that, I wouldn't want you to think that our parents were at fault, oh no. On that one you can definitely blame society, the churches and the education system. They are the ones who should be held responsible for all this hatred. After all they were the ones who encouraged it, in fact; was it not they who insisted the two sides should be taught in different schools and that our passed, the truth be kept from us……..
Can you honestly believe that in todays modern society, your own history being kept from you and at such a young and influential age? Honestly; I blame this alone, as the sole cause for all those years of apathy, which obviously led to the one sided belief being, of course, what we have all come to commonly know and except here in Northern Ireland, as religious bigotry. As a nation, we have all suffered from that ruling ever since. Their creation; and it was they who allowed this anger to spill out onto the streets of this, a very vulnerable society. Which incidentally was their master plan……They're the reason why this country has been plagued with so much hatred and for so long.
I know…. I have already pointed out the fact that Belfast in the mid-70s was a very dangerous place to be and at the same time I have tried to explain just how that era affected us and why……I thought if you at least knew the background, then obviosly you would understand the reason why. Now I ask you to think about it, you will then realise that the troubles had been raging on our door step for near on seven years. Which is exactly half our entire existence by the time 1976 came knocking on our doors. All we knew were the troubles so…. It’s understandable; is it not, to say we knew no better? For all we knew or even cared about for that matter was, it was normal, how the rest of the world lived and really, it’s not as if our only connection with the outside world, being the television set, was telling us any different.
Remember Vietnam and all the other terrorist atrocities that were happening in and around the world. So once again I say; what the fuck were we to know? The life style we were forced to endure wasn’t exactly designed to stimulate our hearts and minds towards peace and love in anyway, nor was it pointing us in a “perfect direction” that’s for sure.
The bottom line is; we had no interest in the outside world, simply because there was nothing out there - to draw us in and like I said earlier, those on the outside, didn’t exactly want to interact with a society that could put their lives in danger at any given moment but I can assure you, all that was about to change.
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, email@example.com don't forget to leave your details so we can credit you. Thanks