Belfast . . Billiards

The years is 1991. I cycle around town, sketch these billiard players and explore the city. The presence of British soldiers reminds me of the "Troubles", which is actually a war between the IRA and Britain. The city is so peaceful, war is hard to believe, until I cycle through tenements on Falls and Lisbourn Roads where brick row houses have been blown to rubble, strident anti-British graffiti abounds, I hear rifle fire and watch a soldier run across a field of debris, chasing someone. In a dingy, smoky pub the patrons sing: "You Brought this reign of terror to my land" ... But on a downtown street, Old men march with their medals, and bang on drums, proudly carrying the flag of Ulster. At Toby's house, I tell him about my visit to the slums, his jaw drops, and he pens a note: "I havent been there in 40 years!"

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