As you leave Bangor to drive to Belfast, you enter a dual carriageway which snakes through undulating countryside for a couple of miles. On a rise to your right, it's difficult to miss a barn whose entire wall carries the King James text of the most famous verse in scripture, John 3:16 -
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
It's such a familiar feature of the landscape that locals, myself included, no longer notice it.
The barn is owned by local farmer, Alan Graham, a long-serving DUP local Councillor and former Mayor. All part of the natural order of things.
Yet on Monday of last week, 26 September, traffic on the dual carriageway had come to a standstill as onlookers sought a glimpse of pop star Rihanna, who was shooting a music video in one of Alan Graham's fields. How it came to pass that all this happened in full view of the general public on one of the busiest roads in Northern Ireland, on grounds owned by a naturally-conservative pillar of local society, is difficult to judge, but the suspicion must be that all was orchestrated to gain publicity.
It seems that the singer removed her bikini top to expose her breasts. Alan Graham then asked Rihanna to cover up and told the team to stop filming. He's reported as saying -
'I wish no ill will against Rihanna and her friends. Perhaps they could acquaint themselves with a greater God.'
It seems that the story has been covered widely (even if Rihanna wasn't) through the world, and her singing tour of Britain and Ireland, which began in Belfast, has received a lot of free publicity. It has even been mentioned in the "heavy" newspapers.
Rihanna comes from Barbados. Female toplessness is banned on that island's beaches, so I'm told.
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