Articles

Building a Better Belfast

In Theatre, Words on May 4, 2009 by Miche Tagged: , ,

[Something I wrote a while ago for Kabosh Theatre Co for a Titanic commemoration event. Character is a bored tour guide. Time: 2012]

Spirit of Harmony

Spirit of Harmony

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome on board for our Titanic Centenary tour. On this site just over a hundred years ago the White Star Liner R.M.S. Titanic was launched from Slip number three. She was 882 feet eight inches long and ninety-two feet wide. She had two steam reciprocating engines and one turbine engine, with a total horsepower of 51,000. She had 24 double ended boilers and 5 single ended boilers, for a total of 159 furnaces. The Titanic carried twenty lifeboats plus 3560 life belts and 49 life buoys. She also had a swimming pool, the first on a ship, plus a Turkish bath and a squash court.

The hull shell plating on Titanic was 1″ thick. The anchors weighed 31 tons in total. Over three million rivets were used in the construction of the ship, not counting six that were thrown at an unpopular foreman when his back was turned. The rudder weighed 101 tons and was made from six separate parts.

The ship was built by Harland and Wolff, which had a workforce of 14,000. Three of them were Catholic. All of them wore dunchers. Seventy-three percent ate fried soda farls at least five times a week; thirty-one per cent on any given day had jam in their piece, while only 4.2 per cent had egg and onion. Twelve per cent of those over thirty had their own teeth. They lived in humble and often insanitary conditions but had a strong community spirit. They never locked their doors except when commiting incest.

Belfast cranes

Nowadays, of course, the Titanic Quarter is a dynamic and imaginative, mixed use, city centre quarter for Belfast, providing employment for tour guides, baristas, estate agents and many more. A new dedicated berth for visiting cruise liners provides a highly attractive first impression of Belfast for tourists, delaying for up to an hour the unpleasantness of the second impression. Within the Quarter over six hundred litres of mocha latte are consumed every day. It has been estimated that all the paninis sold in a single week, if laid end to end, would stretch half way to Larne. The density of web developers per square mile is the highest in Ireland outside Rathmines. The Quarter now generates over fifty new logos and thirty-five Flash-based advertisements per week. It is estimated that by 2020, daily production of bullshit will have passed 100 cubic metres.

To celebrate the centenary of the Titanic’s launch, a massive project has been underway and is almost reaching fruition. If you look to your left you will see it just coming into view: what will, when it is complete, be a perfect symbol of the regeneration and rebirth of Belfast… the biggest cappuccino ever made. 882 feet eight inches high and ninety-two feet wide at the top. There is no truth – I repeat, no truth – in the rumour that it has been described as “undrinkable.”

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2 Responses to “Building a Better Belfast”

  1. This is brilliant. I wish I’d seen the Kabosh piece.

  2. Great piece Miche.

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