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Nicholas Mackey's Blog

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Some years ago when living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia I was commissioned to write a piece on Northern Ireland for a local newspaper, the Saudi Gazette – an English language daily published there. The article was prompted by the then recent announcement of an IRA ceasefire (August 1994, I believe it...
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I saw the latest Steve McQueen film ‘12 Years A Slave’ starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita Nyong’O, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Brad Pitt et al. and my verdict: excellent, definitely worth seeing. A cinema classic. This is polemic film-making at its best presenting the horror of slavery...
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And then there was Red Room. And it was good. Bountiful too. It was an opening for the other life. Ah yes, that other life which frustratingly occupies a land far and away verging on the unobtainable reminiscent of a long-distance phone call that never quite makes a decent connection. This other...
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London Faces 1
Some London faces captured on a wet Saturday afternoon, 2nd June 2012 in and around the South Bank, London during the diamond jubilee celebrations for Queen Elizabeth II
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Dateline: January 2010, India Some dear friends of ours from Delhi we have known for many years invited my wife and I to stay with them. During our visit there, I met a retired general from the Indian army  He was an uncle of one of our friends: a distinguished-looking man with a wealth of...
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Diary dateline: July 1996, Johannesburg In South Africa for the first time with my wife and our two children This being the southern hemisphere at this time of year, winter was in full swing and snow in plentiful supply around us – apparently the coldest winter South Africa was experiencing in many...
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I'm Ivan Musto and today was a strange first for me as I celebrated a near-solitary birthday, my 90th - a milestone, I guess. Let me explain the surrounding circumstances which culminated in an unexpected result.  The day started normally enough in my little flat on the 17th floor of a...
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I am born. I am alive. I am loved. I am dead. Between these four burnished milestones Of our presence Like a wicked candle with blackness at either end,  So much and, So many hopeful footsteps in between. Where does it all stem from? Flickering existence Starts immersed in a womb of plenty a-...
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Here's a note from my diary, July 2011: Went to the Afghanistan Exhibition at the British Museum today. Fascinating and if you haven't been it's well worth a visit. Luckily, it's been extended till 17 July. What a pity that the wonderful treasures from past civilsations in this part of the world...
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Dublin, Ireland Early morning, Thursday 4th February 1960   We’re alone together. Mother and I are sitting at the kitchen window. It’s chilly yet sunny No clouds Ever-stretching blueness in the sky. A big brightness bathes my world. My mother says, "I have a surprise for you on your special...
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Note from my diary: May 2011 It was a deft piece of sartorial theatre that attracted my attention at the recent royal wedding. No, not the stunning bridal gown of Catherine Middleton or the variety of priceless elegant fashion on display during a grand spectacle of pomp and intimacy. Rather, as a...
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Tuesday this week was not a good day. While in south London in the early evening the car my wife and I were travelling in was rear-ended as we paused on a congested road to let oncoming traffic go past. Luckily my wife and I are largely intact although we have been suffering the after–effects of...
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In a previous blog, I alluded to the (creative) tension that existed in the family household where learning was concerned in my formative years in Ireland that straddled the 1950s-70s. With this in mind, here is an obituary I penned for my father in 2009 when a former colleague, Professor Bill...
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Today was a strange milestone: a first for me, I celebrated a near-solitary birthday, my 90th.  The day started normally enough in my little flat on the 17th floor of a nondescript tower block where I live alone in west London. I got up shivering and shuffled into the cold kitchen. I didn’t...
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Some notes on: The Doubtful Guest, the Long Room in Trinity College Dublin (TCD), Pearse Street Public Library – a journey in pursuit of reading and the book – a delightful vector of discovery, learning, excitement and so much more. It was some big publishing event in TCD c. late 1950s surrounding...
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