Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights


Jimmy Ellis RIP

Tue 11 March 2014, 6:15pm

Tweet   Is  it nearly a year  since I joined  James Ellis and a bunch of oldies for a London revival of Sam Thompson’s seminal Belfast play Over the Bridge? That night he was in fine form as he congratulated the cast for their performance and reminisced about his own experience as director  in resisting […] more »

John Cole, a personal view

Fri 8 November 2013, 10:31pm

Tweet I was in Tesco this morning when I saw my friend the Guardian veteran Mike White talking on a  Sky screen with the sound turned down low. I read the captions. John Cole had died. I’d heard John was failing. I’d last met him a couple of years ago at a Lords reception for John Laird’s […] more »

The dogmatically honest Northern Irish journalist John Cole dies

Fri 8 November 2013, 12:55pm

Tweet Sad news that the BBC’s former chief reporter John Cole has died after a long illness. A fine decent and fiercely honest man, he once issued an internal paper as a counterblast to his pugnacious editor in chief at the Observer Conor Cruise O’Brien called ‘In praise of honest dealing’. Not long after he […] more »

Malcolm Brodie the magnificent

Fri 1 February 2013, 4:56pm

Tweet To a younger generation the spate of tributes to Malcolm Brodie, for a lifetime the sports editor of the Belfast Telegraph, may be a bit of a  puzzle. “One of the greats,”  a legend “ and so on may not be descriptions that you would easily associate with someone who gloried in the minutiae of […] more »

Did Christopher Hitchens have a Big Idea?

Mon 19 December 2011, 5:55am

Tweet Lunching with an agreeable friend last Friday -and what better way to mark Hitchens’ death? – I was momentarily stumped by my companion’s confession. He didn’t believe Hitchens had left any particular idea that helped illuminate the world in a clearer way and he challenged me to prove otherwise. David Frum’s summary of Hitchens […] more »

Christopher Hitchens, 1949 – 2011

Fri 16 December 2011, 10:22am

Tweet Writer Christopher Hitchens has died aged 62. He was as contrary as he was brilliant. Here is a brief In Memoriam from Vanity Fair (his outlet of choice since 1992) and, here, a longer tribute from his friend Christopher Buckley Stanley in The New Yorker. Better, perhaps, though to post one of Hitchens’ own writings […] more »

So long Garret: A bloggish round up…

Fri 20 May 2011, 2:07pm

Tweet Kicking off with Bock, who rarely has a kind word for any politician… He was naive, he was fussy.  He was occasionally pedantic to the point of idiocy.  He wasn’t always right, but he was sincere and his principles derived from careful thought, not from slogans.  In the 1980s, he articulated the almost unthinkable […] more »

“If Herivel had not been recruited in January 1940, who would have thought of the Herivel tip?”

Mon 14 February 2011, 9:10pm

Tweet There’s a lovely piece of biographical detail in The Guardian‘s obituary of Belfast-born science historian, and former World War II codebreaker at Bletchley Park, John W. Herivel who died on 18 January 2011, aged 92.  From The Guardian obituary Born in Belfast, Herivel had a civil servant father and was educated at Methodist College, from where, […] more »

Obituary: Professor Kevin Boyle

Mon 27 December 2010, 9:36pm
Kevin Boyle

Tweet Many in Northern Ireland and much further afield will be deeply saddened to hear news of the the death of Professor Kevin Boyle, who passed away yesterday. Prof. Boyle was one of the UK and Ireland’s leading human rights academics, as founding director of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway and […] more »

Obituary for Willie Thompson

Wed 15 December 2010, 12:03pm

Tweet William Thompson former MP for West Tyrone died on Sunday. Most of the great and the good of unionism turned out for his funeral. There are tributes to him here and here in the Newsletter. He was a man of firm unionist principles but more than that an utterly decent individual who also had […] more »

More Alex Higgins

Sun 25 July 2010, 1:58pm

Tweet Further to Eamonn’s tribute to Alex Higgins, David Gordon has posted this video on Facebook and I thought it deserved a wider airing here. On a weekend when so many people – bafflingly – are glued to the awful pointlessness of Formula One, this is a reminder of what a decent spectator sport looks […] more »

The other side of Alex Higgins.

Sun 25 July 2010, 12:16am

Tweet I am not claiming to have known Alex Higgins in any meaningful way. That said I had three or four conversations with him in the past decade born out of pure accident. He had returned to Belfast and lived in an apartment in Osborne Park at the back of Arizona cafe. He was a regular presence […] more »

Horseman RIP…

Wed 16 June 2010, 9:35am

Tweet I was very sad to learn yesterday of the death last Monday of Horseman, the blogger behind the brilliantly named Ulster’s Doomed blog… He was tenacious, intelligent, probing and utterly committed to bringing about the end of Northern Ireland by peaceful and largely intellectual means. I never knew him personally, even though he was a […] more »

A young protestant genius with no talent for guff

Sat 26 November 2005, 7:04pm

Tweet Great piece on George Best by Eammon McCann in today’s Irish Times. He mentions two of his cohorts, Alec Higgins and Van Morrison who have also famously wore their celebrity uncomfortably. By Eammon McCann It was Van Morrison who put George Best into proper context, which was apt. “Too long in exile,” sang the […] more »

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