You’re born into a family. A poor family. They struggle to make ends meet, but they get by.

A rich family from another town come along and decide that they want to adopt you. They want you, not your brother or sister, just you. They don’t really care about you or want to help you, it’s about power. They want to show that they’re better than your family. It’s what they do. They go to different towns and do the same to other children. They want to show that they can take what they want because they have the power. Money always has the power.

Your family don’t want to give you up, but the rich family come with lawyers and papers and a legal battle that your family can’t afford to win. They aren’t able to fight them off and keep you.

So, you grow up in the rich family. But you’re never really a part of it. Your adopted parents don’t pay you much attention, and God knows your new brother doesn’t like you. He doesn’t want you in his house, you’re a burden. You should go home. Where you belong. But that’s where you were when they took you. You were home and you were happy. They adopted you but didn’t want you. They treat you with hostility and disdain. You get money, yes. You get clothes, yes. You get things your own family couldn’t give you. But it’s still not “home”. You talk like them, you dress like them. But you’re still not one of them.

When they take you home they rename you, to take away your identity and ties to your real family. They can do this, you see. They have the power to do so. You’re called by this name, but you don’t answer to it. You correct people when they say it. Because it’s not your name. It never will be.

As you grow up, you revisit your old town. You see your family and friends. You’re happy to see them, you missed them, you want to be with them. But for some reason they don’t feel the same. You’re not one of them anymore. You don’t dress like them, or talk like them. You’re an outsider. What are you doing here? You’re a traitor. You’re one of “them” now, so go be with them. But you didn’t choose to be one of “them”. They took you. You had no choice.

Your adopted family couldn’t be bothered with you anymore, all you do is cost them money and you don’t give them much in return. You were a waste of an investment really. Your real family could try to get you back now, it’s been a long time and they have more money. But it seems like they don’t really want you back now. It seems like they’ve moved on. They’ve learned to live without you. They can sustain themselves. Your old town is different than it was, you see. People are no longer poor. They’re wealthier and happier and the rich families don’t come around anymore, thank God. They haven’t been around in a while. The rich families aren’t nice. So you aren’t nice.

So, what do you do? You’re living with a family who don’t like you. They mock people like you, like your real family and from your old town. They make jokes, dress up, they attack people like them. You hate it. You try to stop them, tell them it’s wrong. But, if you don’t like it, go home, you’re told. Go back with these families because it’s where you belong.

But where do you belong? You’re not happy with the rich and they’re not happy with you. But you can’t go back to your real family because you’re not welcome there either. It’s too late now to go back. You tried and tried when you were younger, put up numerous fights. But what’s the point if don’t want you anyway? You spend your whole life trying to make them see that you want to be with them, you never wanted to be taken away, you had no choice.

But one day they’ll see. One day they’ll realise how desperately you fight and have fought to be back with them. The rich have less control now, they can’t own you forever. Maybe in a few years, when you’re 18. There’s a court case then. Your family can decide if they want you back. You’ll always be one of them at heart. You never changed. You dress differently, you talk differently, but you act the same. You’re still the you that was taken away. Your old family may not know who you are, and your new family may not either. But you do. You know where you belong and that’s home. Home is Ireland, and you are the north.

Why Did Azealia Banks Call Me “Ugly”?

Well, I’m sure you all probably know the whole drama surrounding Azealia Banks this week. But if not, here’s wee recap:

Basically Azealia Banks (she’s a “rapper”) was due to perform in Dublin’s Academy, and so was flying over from wherever she was. She got into a dispute with the flight attendant and then left the plane. She was flying meant to be flying with Aer Lingus, so instead of insulting the employee or the Irish air line, Miss Banks had to take it a step further and insult the whole country and its people. How nice.

Miss Banks sporting the native flag of us “ugly” folk

She went on a big rant on Instagram, crying and saying that all Irish women are “ugly”. This is obviously untrue, I mean, have you seen me? My ma says I’m gorgeous. Anyway, she obviously had a bit of making up to do before her concert to avoid being “potatoed” (egged, but, with spuds) on stage as one Instagram user threatened. Way to break stereotypes guys.

After sailing over (she refused to fly), she played to a surprising 800 “fans” – maybe they forgave her, or maybe they just wanted to get their money’s worth – dedicated to “beautiful Irish women”. This girl should really teach a masterclass in PR damage control.

Actual footage of Azealia Banks trying to win back her Irish fans

So that’s that then? Oh, honey no.
For literally no reason, Azealia decided to bash us once more online. This time, she stepped up her childish insults by decided branding the Irish as “inbred”, “barbarians”, and said to one Instagram user “don’t you have a famine to go die in?” What a lovely gal, a true delight.

Anyway, why did she do this? Why be racist not once, but twice to a whole nation purely because of one altercation with a flight attendant?
Because she needs help? Likely. But I’m gonna Louis Theroux it and whack another theory in the mix: she needs publicity.

It’s no secret that apart from her banger “212” – which is SUCH a tune by the way, her other songs haven’t exactly topped the charts,
and she doesn’t get much airtime because of the style and language in her music. When all of this was going on, a lot of users were asking who she even was; I – a former fan, didn’t even know she was on tour (in my own country?)

Her Instagram story went viral, with users flocking to her profile to watch her “rant”. People who didn’t even know who she was or forgot about her went on too, thus (what a word) planting her name back in their minds. People went on her profile, Googled her, talked about her, commented on her posts, giving her a stack of bad publicity. Which is still publicity.

Plus, Azealia Banks gets more exposure and is better known for her “beef”s with celebrities like Lana Del Ray on Twitter than her music. She’s a controversial figure, and she doesn’t exactly have a positive image or reputation, so what has she got to lose? The hearts of a nation, yes. But sure, we’re all inbreds and apparently the rest of the world doesn’t care about us or want to associate with us leprechauns anyway.

So, maybe this was just another little PR stunt to keep her in the public eye, or maybe she is just a header. Who knows?

How Coffee Shops Saved My (Social) Life

This morning as I was on my way to get my daily coffee before work, my brother said something so outrageous that shocked me to my very core. “There’s too many coffee shops in Belfast.” It pains me to even type the words.

Once I had a chance to gather myself, I replied “Ammm, ain’t no such thing” (I’m very street like that).

He then went on to list some: Caffe Nero, Hotel Chocolat, Tim Horton’s, Bob & Bert’s, Pearl’s, Clements, Costa, Starbucks (all of which I’ve got loyalty cards for) as if that was too many?

It got me thinking, where would I be without all of these coffee shops? A lot better off financially yes. But also a LOT more tired, and a lot less social.

I’m a placement student, which means that my schedule doesn’t really sync up with any of my friends who are still at uni. They’re free during the day and out at night, I’m in work all day then in bed by 10pm most nights.

But there’s that glimmering, cappuccino coloured window between 5 and 7pm, after I’ve finished work and before they’ve to go home and start preing.

I mean, what can you do at 5pm? No one under the age of around 60 (no offence) has dinner that early, and going for “a drink” isn’t really an option.

Coffee. That’s what you do.

What do you do at 8am, when the shops are all still closed and you can’t exactly sit at your desk for an hour before work?

Coffee. That’s what you do.

After lectures and seminars to procrastinate actually doing uni work?

You guessed it- el caffe. (See how I’m mixing things up?)

Don’t get me wrong, I do love coffee. But for me its not about the drink; I go for coffee because I want to go somewhere nice and sit and catch up with my friends. Even those who hate coffee love going for coffee; there’s steamers, tea, weird flavoured lattes and those ridiculous drinks in Starbucks with a mountain of cream on top and another mountain of sugar inside.

I must admit, Belfast doesn’t have much when it comes to nightlife, everything sort of closes in the city centre at around 7pm (except the glorious night that is Thursday). But there’s always a light on in that Starbucks opposite Europa, or Tim Horton’s (yeah, we’ve got one of those now). Well, until 10pm when they close, but you know what I mean.

All of these coffee shops have actually really shaped my (and Belfast’s) social life.  They don’t just provide us with my daily dose of caffeine and free wifi (yay), they give us a place to sit with our friends and catch up on everything going on each other’s lives.


And it’s not just big multi-national chains, it’s wee small independent coffee shops and chains throughout the north of Ireland like Clements and Bob & Bert’s. I always try to go the local shops and give them a turn instead. If you think about, I’m basically a caffeine-fuelled modern-day Robin Hood.

I’m helping support the local high street -which God knows it needs all the help it can get after the Primark fire reduced footfall by 30%. And with amount of money I spend a week on a coffee, I’m probably single-handedly sustaining the local coffee industry.

Coffee shops are so important to Belfast. We need somewhere to sit have a good chat- and God knows we need caffeine. Coffee’s what we drink, it’s what we do, it’s who we are.

So, I’ll raise my skinny cappuccino and toast to the coffee shops of Belfast, “thank you”.