Is that fella ever off the radio?

2015-08-27 13.19.48The very wonderful Kim Lenaghan invited me on her show on Sunday morning to shoot the breeze, tell the story of The Dock, and share my love of all things Titanic…

You can listen in (for only another 27 days! hurry!) by clicking the link here – go straight to about 19:20 if you want to find the start of the interview.

Kim also invited me to do a desert-island-discs thing with some of my favourite music – it was an interesting challenge to pick out just three pieces.  Anyone who knows how much I like my life to be underscored by the extremely DRAMATIC and EPIC barnstorming soundtracks of Hans Zimmer won’t be surprised to find that some of his music (Crimson Tide) made it onto the list – as did a fantastic song by Sara Bareilles, ‘Chasing The Sun‘, which has a killer line in the chorus which encapsulates so much of the risk and adventure and wonder of the Dock story:

You said, remember that life is
Not meant to be wasted
We can always be chasing the sun
So fill up your lungs and just run…

And for my last choice – because it’s a truly lovely song, but also because it transports me right back to the early days of Dock Cafe (the music video was filmed in the cafe just a few months after we opened), Robb Murphy’s ‘Love in Abundance’ – give your eardrums a treat and press Play!

So there’s this Honesty Box cafe…

2015-05-25 15.39.05As you’re tootling along in the Wee Tram, you have the unalloyed pleasure of my cheerful face popping up on the video screens to tell you a little bit about all the sights we’re passing as we loop around the Titanic Quarter.

The videos were kindly sponsored by Titanic Foundation, and now that they’re complete, we have a set of 21 little 90-second tasters for all the sights, sounds and stories of Screenshot 2015-08-25 09.29.14the shipyards.  Looking at them as a set, it’s quite amazing to realise just how much good stuff is packed into our beloved TQ – from all the amazing heritage assets like the slipways, the Thompson Dock, the Nomadic and the Drawing Offices, to all the signs of new life and new growth (like the clip of the Titanic Belfast time-lapse I posted last week)

So I thought you’d like to see a one of the videos in its entirety – the one (natch) which tells you all about this amazing little Honesty Box cafe where community thrives, hope lives and the busy world pauses for a golden moment:

This Is The Dock… Life in the Titanic Quarter from The DOCK on Vimeo.

2015-07-17 19.48.59You’ll notice that I thought it was probably best to talk about The Dock as a neutral third party (rather than bursting into sobs in the video and exclaiming “It’s my baby!  I LOVE it!”) and consequently it’s really cool to hear tram passengers’ unedited reactions – many have visited and loved it, many have heard that there was some sort of honesty-cafe-thing in this part of town, and some people, hearing about it for the first time, just can’t get over the concept – which is a good reminder of what a daily miracle it is!

Something New

More transformations in the Titanic Quarter – this has suddenly sprung up beside the Movie Studios over the last few weeks!
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It’s the new Titanic Exhibition Centre and it’s been amazing to watch its progress as we’ve tootled past on the tram each day.  Just last week it looked like this:

And then over the last few days it has started to take shape like this:

And if all goes according to plan, in another few weeks it will look like this – it’s due to be open for a wedding exhibition by mid-September!
titanic page 5 pic

It reminds me of the early days of the Dock, long before cafes and honesty boxes and pop-up markets – back when most conversations took place on foot, walking amongst the constantly changing landscape of the emerging TQ.

I dug out a few old photos of ‘works in progress’ I’ve been able to watch over the years – like the emergence of the ARC apartments:

– or the arrival of Belfast Met:

– or of course the transformation of the rubble-strewn slipways where Titanic was built into the stunning edifice of Titanic Belfast – beauty and awe and hope springing up out of the ground:

Titanic Belfast Appears from The DOCK on Vimeo.

There’s something about being surrounded by creativity and transformation that just makes my spirit soar.  It’s a physical reminder of a bigger truth: that Belfast is not stuck – we are changing and growing, building and trying  new things.

It’s such an inspiring place to go to work every day.