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The boke of Belfast

By local soak Marcus Keeley

Posted January 28, 2015
Challenging: The Belfast boke yesterday. © Marcus Keeley

Marcus Keeley reports on the hippest new art craze to sweep the streets.

An impressive amount of boke1 laid untouched, partially on the wall and pavement outside a building in Belfast's Great Victoria Street, for three days until it was tragically water damaged by last night's weather (27/1/15).

The boke itself was left curiously intact by the city's usually obliging pigeons and peckish human passers-by.

Given the city's well-known reputation for preserving the local murals, significance may have been bestowed upon the boke on the wall to such an extent that man and animalkind alike intrinsically knew it was to be revered.

It is yet not understood who the artist was, nor his motivation for the piece, but popular belief dictates it may have been inspired by "a bit of a session" in the nearby Crown Bar, Robinson's Bar or the Translink bus station toilets.

However, unlike man and beast's shared trepidations around altering the piece (or the many individual pieces, as it were), it would appear that God with His all-powerful abilities decided to smite this particular act of self-expression with a bit of light rain, like the 'Big Mawn' He is around these parts.

Some would believe that the boke's content was mainly a notorious 'Gay Cake', hence His dislike of it.

Although others would argue that partially washing away a Gay Cake Boke is largely unimpressive and isn't really going to have people pausing for thought.

Locals await the next piece of "organic street statement" – a term coined by overhearing some man-children queuing up for a locally sourced crisp sandwich in Bedford Street.

It's unknown what the immediate reaction of local graffito Anco is in light of the seminal2 work of the anonymous Bokesy (as the public have taken to calling him), but one can hope it's positive; the more triumphant original work in the streets of Belfast, enhancing our rich cultural heritage of boking in the thoroughfares of our beautiful, darkly vibrant and fundamentally confused city, the better.

See also Is there something in the water?, posted 30/5/14.

Marcus Keeley
is a comedian, improviser and soak. Regularly gigging in Belfast and Paris, he is the host and promoter of the Voicebox Comedy alternative comedy club, a member of the Wonder Frog improv group and an all-round homme fatale. You can follow him, Voicebox Comedy and Wonder Frog on Twitter here, here and here, respectively. Meanwhile, to keep tabs on Marcus via FaceBook, have a click of this.


1) 'Boke', or 'boak', is often referred to in terms of 'having the dry boak/boke', which is the action of heaving before actually vomiting. It is of mainly Scottish origin. However, boke or boak is often used in Northern Ireland as the actual noun for what is vomited. Boke tends to be spelled and used this way more frequently in Northern Ireland. For more information, have a click of this.

2) The boke itself has not yet been tested for seminal fluids, so there goes that possible double-entendre (for fuck's sake).

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