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John Caruth
Northern Irelnd
Retired journalist with a forever young feeling
Interests: Reading, blogging, walking, talking, music and that means Bob Dylan, John Hiatt, Marshall Crenshaw and all the oldies like Buddy, Elvis, Johnny and talking again ... keep smiling
Recent Activity
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a To explain.... the joke is a pun on the hit recording by Bob Marley and Eric Clapton, I Shot the Sheriff .... Another joke and then just as good we think as the one we used with the two... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2019 at TheCopyboys
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It's been a busy time on the blog with time marching on rapidly for some and others wondering what time it is for them so I thought this image was smart and funny for some anyway. A new Mr Hack... Continue reading
Posted Aug 12, 2019 at TheCopyboys
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EDDIE McILWAINE FUNERAL Eddie McIwaine would have liked his funeral. He would, indeed have loved the attendance at St. Catherine’s Parish Church at Killead near Crumlin. His place there sitting in the church was the back row along with Irene, we heard. It is the first funeral of a journalist that I know where they had to bring in chairs for cope with the crowd of relations, friends and ex-colleague who wanted to say a final goodbye. The service was taken by the Rev. John McClure, a big man and humorous too. He told us when he arrived to be rector at the church he received a phone call. It was from Eddie who was asking for an interview. Why, John asked did he want to interview me? Because you are my rector, he was told and I want to see what you are like and if I will take to you. John replied to Eddie that he didn’t know if he was going to take to him! They did hit it off and became friends. That story was partly the tone of the service....religious and laughter ran together and laughter was loud and frequent as Eddie’s story was told. The Presbyterian minister at Crumlin Rev Derek Weir assisted with his humorous memories of Eddie. Among the journalists present that I could spot was Ivan Little who read one of the lessons that Eddie had requested be read. Also present were John (May McFetridge), Noel McAdam, Eddie Sterling jnr. Colin McMullan, Betty Adair, NewsLetter’s Mervn Pauley sitting beside former Belfast Telegraph photograph Brian McMullam. Also there in the congregation Ivan McMichael, Sammy Hamill, Robert Fenton, Peter Rainey, Don McAleer, Deric Henderson, Alf McCreary and former Telegraph News Editor Paul Connolly. There were also two former editors Roy Lilley and Martin Lindsay and the present editor of the paper, Gail Walker. So many people and we apologise if someone’s name has been left out. Must not forget the man who was invited by Eddie’s wife and family, Zara and young Edward to make the main address, the tribute and ‘biography’ of the man we had all come to say ‘farewell’: Robin Walsh who recalled starting his journalistic career at the Fifties weekly, the Larne Times and he was beside and learning, he said from Roy Lilley and Edward McIlwaine. Robin’s remarks were delivered with panache. We are happy to give it an audience here to: I think it appropriate to start when Eddie first found his name in print. It was, of course, the birth certificate of one EDWARD McILAINE, born above his granny’s shop in Carnmoney on Marh 25, 1936. He was the first of three children to proud parents Jock and Martha whom I was to know uears later as the most delightful of people. It comes as no surprise that Eddie became a journalist. AS a boy in short trousers he was introduced to newspapers – and in particular his beloved Belfast Telegraph – in a rather fanciful wauy. The paper used to store gian rolls of newsprint in a stable at Carnmoney Presbyterian Church where his father was caretaker and one of the drivers used to give him a ride to and from the paper’s headquarters in Royal Avenue. Back at the stable he would perch on one of the rolls, pretend he was a reporter and scribble out stories. And, of course, being Eddie, tjere was an authentic story when a Spitfire just happened to crash out of control in the village. And so to the inevitable: his first job as a reporter in the old Larne Times in the mid-Fifties. I was to join the paper before the decade was out and learn at the feet – or rather the fingers – of two young masters: Eddie McIlwaine and Roy Lilley. They taught me so much – but whose style of writing would I try to replicate. Was it Eddie’s brash, more conversational style which allowed him to frequently split infinitives and use prepositions to end sentences with. I can still hear him read aloud as he tapped the typewriter keys. Or was it Roy’s impeccable prose, his syntax straight from the text book. In truth, neither could be replicated. I was to learn of other things. On my first day Eddie sent me to the shop next door for some goodies for the tea break. I seem to remember there were bars of Bounty and Crunchie and a packet of new biscuits he said were just on the market and which I’d never heard of. Since we are in church, I shall leave it to you to figure out what it was a packet of. They were certainly not biscuits – and remember I was 17! All eyes in the crowded shop bore down on me as the shop assistant said I should try Hall’s the Chemist next door. It was my first experience of a wicked sense of humour that Eddie no doubt inflicted on many people here today. Eddie loved headlines, festooning a wall in the reporters’ office with cutting after cutting. His favourite was of a disaster in Italy. THOUSANDS FLEE AS PO BURSTS. We once had a competition for an imaginary headline which would sell most papers. Eddie won hands down: POPE ELOPES. And, of course, the poker schools. Believe it or not, Eddie had difficulty in mastering the art of bluffing and Royi’s glasses steamed up every time he had a good hand. It was fun. Alas, all good things just come to an end and Eddie was off to Head Office: the Belfast Telegraph. But he left behind one tradition he had started = our bearing of gifts on Christmas Day to an old folks’ home in Islandmagee. He was always a generous man. At the Tele, he was the absolutes all round reporter. He could sniff a story a mile off and write it like a dream. And he was equipped with all the tools of the trade: his shorthand was as the wind, his touc of typing simply stunning. It was why he was given a front row seat at some of the biggest set piece stories of the early Sixties. For example, there was the week-long trial of Robert McGladdery, the last man executed in Northern Ireland for the murder of a young woman in Newry. Eddie was to become the last man to see a judge don the Black Cap. And even more exacting was the highly acrimonious court hearing of the Belfast Telegraph takeover by Lord Thompson with every line of the coverage poured over by his current and prospective management. His reportage was flawless. There was time for relaxation. He rang me in Larne to say he’s bought four tickets for a dress dance and would I mind accompanying an attractive young woman whom I would meet on the evening in question. A chunk of my week’s wages was spent hiring my outfit and I duly presented myself at our meeting place: McGlade’s Theatre Lounge beside the Tele. I was to be greeted with the loudest chorus of laughter I have ever heard led t a very casually dressed Eddie. Everyone was in on the secret: there was no dance. That was Eddie and there was only on thing to do: have a pint and join the laughter. And so to 1965 – and the national scene wth the Daily Mirror. It was ready-made for a man with a sharp sense and an equally sharp pen. Or it seemed so. The so called Troubles were soon upon us and Eddie had his fair share of traumatic experiences, not least with the IRA. It was to take its toll as he watched at close quarters the community he loved dearly tearing itself apart. He found himself in a pretty dark place as he struggled o make sense of the senseless. He was later to admit he was on the verge of a total breakdown. There were two beacons of light that led the way to a new life which was to span over four decades of unbridled happiness. The first – and by far the more important – was the delightful Irene. Their meeting and marriage over 40 years ago changed Eddie’s life completely and he rejoiced in the happiest days of his life. His son Edward nd daughter Zara completed the perfect picture. All that was required now was professional fulfilment. It was to be found, of course, in that building he first visited in short trousers and for which he never lost his love. When old friend Roy Lilley, now the most distinguished editor of the Belfast Telegraph, invited him back to Royal Avenue, Eddie’s new lfe was complete. A new career beckoned and he took it in both hands... on the one hand, the weekly delight of the Ulster Log; on the other, the show business correspondent of the paper. Eddie was to make the Ulster Log the most avidly read column in the paper: his forte was ‘human interest’, unearthing facts about people no one knew; his every sentence willing you to read the next. As Ivan Little put it in his excellent tribute in the Belfast Telegraph: “The role was custom made for Eddie who could make a story out of nothing and frequently did. He could make a witty piece just as impressively as he had done with emotional Trouble stories in the past.” And as the present editor of the paper, Gail Walker wrote:”His Ulster Log captured something about the unique charcter of the city, it environs, its personalities as well as it eccentrics, oddities and memorable tales. His characteristic Ulster sensibility meant that his writing belied the image of a place which was otherwise making dark headlines across the world.” Eddie’s cast list of showbusiness friends was endless and star-studded, born out of a long and close friendship with the late Jim Aiken, in his day Ireland’s top music promoter by far. That mantle has now been taken over by Jim’s song Peter who tells us that Eddie was indispensable in keeping the music alive here during the Troubles. Eddie was to sign off his Ulster Log in December 2017, thus ending the career of one of our greatest newspapermen. He’d always threatened to write his best story of all: his own. Alas he never did. Finally, a thought from dear Eddie himself which I have never quite forgotten; indeed, so memorable that, heaven forbid, I thought I must have plagiarized it. However, having scoured Google without success I figureit must have been original. We were both bemoaning the death of a close friend when he looked at me and said:”You know, memory is the only true friend that grief can call its own.” I have to tell you that Eddie’s favourite comedian was Bob Hope whose theme tune was, of course, Thanks for the Memory. Thanks for the memory, Eddie
Toggle Commented Aug 3, 2019 on FAREWELL, EDDIE ... FAREWELL at TheCopyboys
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Eddie McIlwaine has died after a long illess in the early hours of Tuesday, July 30, 2019... Eddie McIlwaine. What do we say or know about Eddie McIlwaine? I’ve known him for years. Worked alongside him at the Belfast Telegraph.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 30, 2019 at TheCopyboys
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Another Mr Hack....Number 167 and I think we're still attracting comments from friends and former colleagues ... this latest joke illustration sort of sums up a lot of my skills with new technology ... though I have not got so... Continue reading
Posted Jul 8, 2019 at TheCopyboys
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John Caruth has shared their blog TheCopyboys
Jun 14, 2019
Another comment I'd like to put up is a complaint about the BBC's latest idea to raise money by forcing people over the age of 75 who aren't on some benefit or other to pay a licence fee. I've been paying from the age of 25 and am now over 75 and paid mine bill but then asked for a refund and surprisingly got most of it back. I am hoping to not have to pay it again so here's hoping for a change of mind (they don't have hearts at the BBC, I think). Or maybe the next Prime Minister will interefer in the hope that it will win him votes.
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2019 on Mr HACK 166 at TheCopyboys
We have been having problems with the blog comment section because our master typepad has been having a problem with its system so this is to alert readers that they need to sign in to open the comment box if they wish to leave a message or complaint etc. Hopefully this will help.
Toggle Commented Jun 14, 2019 on Mr HACK 166 at TheCopyboys
I don't have a copy and I'd be surprised if it was mentioned there.
Toggle Commented Feb 20, 2019 on Mr. HACK 164 at TheCopyboys
A man called Colin McClatchie (an employee in the Belfast Telegraph's circulation department in the Seventies) is writing a book about his newspaper experiences - he went on to become a leading media director with Thomsson and Rupert Murdoch. He made contact with Ed Curran, former BT editor, to get information about journalists who worked with Roy Lilley at the time he was editor. He was keen to know names and titles and a list was prepared for him which reads like an all our yesterdays now. Here's the list of editorial management back then: Roy Lilley, Editor Edmund Curran, Deputy Editor Jim Gray, Assistant Editor Desmond McMullen, Assistant/Production Editor Norman Jenkinson, News Editor Martin Lindsay, Deputy News Editor Tom Carson Features Editor Malcolm Brodie Sports Editor. Edward Sterling snr, Photographic Editor Samuel McMurray, Chief Sub-Editor We remember them all and happily three are still with us enjoying life.
Toggle Commented Feb 9, 2019 on MR. HACK 163 at TheCopyboys
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Photographers lunch at The Tannery in Moira.From left to right: Rick Hewitt, Trevor Dickson, David Kinsella, Charles Cockcroft, Fred Hoare, Robert Ingram. Roy Smyth, Paddy McBride and Danny Kerr. Our thanks to Fred for sending us the image and helping... Continue reading
Posted Dec 11, 2018 at TheCopyboys
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The answer is in the final par in the article in the link I put up sent by John Kelly.
Toggle Commented Nov 26, 2018 on MR HACK 162 at TheCopyboys
With this rush of attention I am moved to put up in our copyboys photo album, Journos at Large - 2 a new photo I see of the Belfast Telegraph Teletubbies - ex sports members - out for a pint and lunch at Cutter's Wharf recently. They all look wel.
Toggle Commented Nov 19, 2018 on MR HACK 162 at TheCopyboys
It was a sad, solemn occasion but Ronnie Harper's funeral today at Bangor's Lisnabreen Presbyterian Church was also filled with laughter because all the speakers from Ronnie's son to his best and long-time friend to the minister all remembered vividly his sense of humor and smiling personality. And remember they did - with funny stories he told and the Rev Sam Castles even recalled applying to become the church's minister and having to face the rather serious expression of the elder listening to him: that was Ronnie. Mr Castles and Ronnie soon became friends. He got the job. A large number of friends and acquaintances were present from the church itself and various sports bodies and sporting clubs that Ronnie knew from his reporting days and participating in like Pickie Bowls club. The list of old colleagues and friends from the Belfast Telegraph included Robert Fenton, John Campbell, Denis Baxter, Sammy Hammill, Graham Hamilton, Water Macauley, Lyle Jackson, Roy Shephard, David Kelly, Colin McMullan, Trevor Martin, Roy Smyth, Martin Lindsay, Bobby Ingram, Fred Hoare, Stewart McKinlay, Eddie Sterling jnr. and Terry Smith. Again we extend condolences to Ronnie's widow, Helen who was a tower of strength over the ten years that Ronnie suffered from his illness.
Toggle Commented Oct 25, 2018 on MR HACK 162 at TheCopyboys
Well remembered Alistair. I haven't seen what's been written but expected Jim Gracey to write an appreciation which may appear yet. Ronnie was a great character and the skill he had is missed nowadays.
Toggle Commented Oct 22, 2018 on MR HACK 162 at TheCopyboys
Sad news. Ronnie has been ill a long time and looked after by his wife and family. Our condolences to them.
Toggle Commented Oct 21, 2018 on MR HACK 162 at TheCopyboys
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Finding something new to put up to attract viewers and entertain them when they arrive can be difficult some times ... the delay in putting this up explains that. Then, as usual, a conversation with my friend our Chairman draws... Continue reading
Posted Jul 15, 2018 at TheCopyboys
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Always glad to help when I can....Cheers.
Toggle Commented Jun 11, 2018 on Mr. HACK 160 at TheCopyboys
It can't have helped sales, but there was no Belfast Telegraph to purchase today where I live and my newsagent informed me that he wasn't going to ring Cork to find out why because they wouldn't know either and would make him hang on till they found out if the van has crashed (again) into another ditch. Strange way to run a newspaper and running that part of the operation in Cork.
Toggle Commented Jun 8, 2018 on Mr. HACK 160 at TheCopyboys
That might well apply to Mr. Putin's victory.
Toggle Commented May 10, 2018 on MR. HACK 159 at TheCopyboys
Thanks Michael. Meant to put this up but delayed by landline being dead and no internet at home. Hope the law still applies after Brexit.
Toggle Commented May 8, 2018 on MR. HACK 159 at TheCopyboys
Could I remind contributors that the Preview button has a habit of deleting messages rather than allowing you to see and review what you've written.... I have asked Typepad to investigate but every time they do they seem to find it to be working fine. My suggestion again is when you write something, scroll over it and hit Control C. At least, then if you Preview your message and it disappears you can then go back into the message box and hit Control V to have yuour lost message returned. Thanks...
Toggle Commented Mar 31, 2018 on Mr. HACK 158 at TheCopyboys
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Hello there ... this time we celebrate remembering old colleagues and friends and two in particular who were very popular and successful at their trade, reporting the news and editing it for readers to enjoy...The men in question are Jack... Continue reading
Posted Feb 18, 2018 at TheCopyboys
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Yes. Chichester was indeed the old name when it was just a daily column. I'm still searching memory banks for a forgotten name of a fella who also contributed. I only noticed the reverse block announcing the Ulster Log would return in the New Year. Maybe it will be governed by a female journalist now there's one in charge o the shop.
Toggle Commented Jan 11, 2018 on Mr HACK 157 at TheCopyboys
It's almost too good to let it pass unnoticed . . . But this New Year's we have passing over us Storm Dylan. Winds of 80mph are predicted. It's blowin' in the wind, all right!!
Toggle Commented Dec 31, 2017 on Happy Christmas everyone.... at TheCopyboys