Kerr's Corner

Kerr's Corner is a regular feature in East Antrim and Newtownabbey editions of The Wizard. David Kerr would like to hear your memories of life in your own area. Maybe you'll trigger some thoughts for a future column.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

We Will Rock You

IN ADVANCE of the forthcoming Flash Harry gig in the Clarion Hotel on November 18th 2006, David Kerr spoke to the band’s lead singer and front man, Harry Hamilton.

I MUST BE getting old. It seems only yesterday that the news came through that Freddie Mercury, the flamboyant leader singer of Queen, died. As the papers and the VH1 cable music station reminded us, that was sixteen years ago, in 1990!

Harry Hamilton had often been told that he looked a lot like Freddie and he has a powerful singing voice too. So he and a few friends launched Flash Harry a few months after Freddie’s death, performing in clubs around the country. One early highlight was a triumphant sell-out gig in the Ulster Hall in 1992. Today the band can fill halls the length and breadth of the British Isles – even the Royal Albert Hall in London. I first saw them play in an open air concert in Woodvale Park a few years back.

This year, they commenced with a storming January gig in the Waterfront Hall. On what would have been Freddie’s sixtieth birthday, they had the great honour to travel to Birmingham to perform for the official Queen fan club. Later this month they will take part in the prestigious international Cork Jazz Festival alongside such greats Courtney Pine and Mary Couglin. They also play the song ‘Breakthru’ on a new tribute CD, ‘An Unconventional Tribute to Queen’.
Afetr the heady heights of the Cork Jazz Festival some might think it’s a bit of a comedown to play to a Carrick audience. Not a bit of it, says Harry. “We’ve played at the old Quality Hotel quite a few times and have always had a great audience. We were at the Clarion earlier in the year with the Quay Vipers Motorcycle Club and it was a terrific night. We’re really looking forward to going back again. Carrick fans are great”.

Modestly, Harry attributes Flash Harry’s popularity to the very strong material they have to work with. Queen were not the super band they became for no reason. Their songs and the tunes caught the popular imagination because they were well-written and played faultlessly with matchless style. Of course, Harry’s right but saying that, his band don’t just go through the motions of a Queen act. Flash harry carry off their tribute to Queen with a love and enthusiasm sp plain you can almost touch it. No wonder the Queen Fan Club chose the band to perform at Freddie’s birthday celebrations. Get to the Clarion gig on November 18th and see what I’m on about. You won’t be let down, believe me!

I hear that there are still a few tickets left for the Clarion gig, but you’ll have to hurry if you don’t want to be disappointed. You can’t rely on getting tickets at the door for such a popular act. Tickets are available from the hotel reception at 028 9336 4556. Find out about other future gigs on the band’s website:

Flash Harry will be appearing at The Clarion Hotel, Carrickergus, on Saturday 18th November, 2006. Tickets: £12.00. Tel: 028 9336 4556.

Friday, October 20, 2006

New Appointments at the Lyric Theatre

THE Lyric Theatre in Belfast has announced two new appointments in key roles.

Marcus Cooper has taken on the role of fundraising director. With over ten years’ fundraising experience, including the post of senior fundraiser at the Children’s Hospice, Marcus was responsible for delivering the £5 Million capital appeal to build Northern Ireland’s only Children’s Hospice. He is experienced in working with a range of donors and supporters including statutory agencies, charitable foundations, individuals and community organisations.

The Lyric plans to build a spectacular new theatre on the banks of the River Lagan. Comments Marcus:
“I’m looking forward to raising the funds required to provide another landmark building for Northern Ireland, one which will contribute so much culturally, socially and economically to the community”.

Taking up the reins in the marketing team as manager is Susan Phelan. Susan has seven years’ experience in marketing having worked in various travel and entertainment ticketing companies. She has been involved with marketing a diverse range of productions in the West End and abroad.

“I’m delighted to be here as part of the Lyric team during one of the most exciting and challenging periods of change in its 55 year history. We have a rich and diverse season ahead of us, for example Irish drama with Bernard Shaw’s ‘Arms and the Man’ which is running at the moment, the quality children’s theatre production of ‘Pinocchio’ and our new Christmas comedy with ‘Santa Claus – what the Reindeer saw’. I’m looking forward to helping bring that experience to as wide an audience as possible,” said Susan.

Mark Carruthers, chairman of the Lyric commented:
“These new appointments enhance and strengthen our management team. With the new building project and quality programming the Lyric is looking towards a bright future.”
For donations and booking enquiries, please contact the theatre on 028 9038 1081.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Christmas Country Cracker at Ballyearl

COUNTRY MUSIC fans are in for a real treat at Ballyearl Courtyard Theatre during the festive season. A spectacular 3-day country jamboree will offer something for everyone – and more!
The action kicks off on Wednesday 28th December with Gary Gamble, recently voted Best Country Newcomer, will be on stage with his multi-talented band. Gary will perform tracks from his new album and will also treat the audience to his popular Daniel O'Donnell tribute - something not to be missed! Gary will be joined on stage by the vivacious Barbara Allen, a supurb country singer who’s stunning voice is complimented by her eye-catching looks.

On Friday 29th December 'The Wee Man From Strabane', Hugo Duncan is back at Ballyearl by popular demand with his special guest for the evening Anne Williamson direct from her sell-out mainland tour. Hugo's lively show and Anne's distinctive voice will make for a truly entertaining show.

Winding up the fun on Saturday 30th December, Hugo Duncan once again takes the stage with one of Ireland’s best loved Country stars, the one and only Susan McCann.
Special guest on all three nights will be local legend and master accordionist Fred Hanna who will afford the opportunity for some hand-clapping and foot stompin as he delights the audience with his amazing musical wizardy.

Your hoe-down hostess will be the delectable Dee Dee McCracken who is as easy on the ears as she is on the eyes.

Music, Fun, Entertainment and Glamour... They're all on the Ballyearl menu this Christmas!
Ballyearl Courtyard Theatre Information and Box Office: 028 9084 8287.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Delightful Meal Brightens Dreadful Day

Little Sicilly Restauraunt, Glengormley.

ON A WET dismal day in Glengormley, my sister and I sought a nice little spotfor lunch. We decided to go to Little Sicilly, on the Antrim Road at the site of the former Pizza Hut Restaurant.
The sign in the window boasted a two course lunch for £5.50, which was sufficient to tempt us inside!

We were quite surprised to be the only two diners, as the interior is beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean. In the background a CD of classic Italian music was playing. It was hard to believe we were still in Glengormley!

The lunch time menu had a good choice of starters and main course dishes. I chose the Bruschetta to start and my sister chose Chicken Strips with a dip. We both opted for the Pannini as a main course with Mediterranean Vegetables and Goats Cheese.

The meal was beautifully presented and the waiters were friendly and attentive, however as we were the only customers, we would have expected good service!

As my sister was driving, I took the opportunity to enjoy a glass of the house Chardonnay, and we both finished the meal with coffee.

The portion size was just right for lunchtime, and we left feeling a little happier, despite the pouring rain!

I don’t know if this was an off day for Little Sicilly, maybe the weather put people off going out for lunch. I would certainly go back again, and would recommend you give it a try. I hope you enjoy your lunch as much as we did!

Margaret Field