Saturday, September 27, 2008

I Don't Want To Go To Chelsea

There is a good piece in today's Independent praising the lower football leagues. There is an emphasis on there seeming to be a greater connection between the clubs and the fans, which, unfortunately, isn't true of the Blues and there is also an insistence that the atmosphere in the grounds is better than in the prem, which again, sadly, isn't the case with the Blues. If only my two local non league teams played in a proper ground, rather than athletics stadiums with only one side of the pitch having a stand, I would go and watch the odd game, but somehow, it just doesn't feel right.

We don't seem to be able to open up a paper without reading about some controversy related to creationism, here's what a Buddhist thinks of it.

Blues play Cardiff this afternoon, in a game that they will win easily. In fact we will moida da bums. Cardiff is about 20 miles from where I sit, yet I am sitting here, not there. This is because the game has been designated a "bubble match". I have no idea what this means, but, in essence, had I wished to attend today's game as a Birmingham fan, I would have been required to purchase a ticket and travel from the club. So I would have had to get up this morning, drive 90 odd miles to Birmingham, only to come straight back again on the coach, even then I would not have been given a ticket, only a voucher, which I would then exchange for a ticket at some mystery location. I think proof of identity would also be required. I would then have to go We hear again and again from Washington that we have turned a corner in Iraq and are on the path to victory. If so, it is a strange Brum on the coach so I could drive myself back to where I started. If had wanted to sample one of the many delights that Cardiff and its environs has to offer I would have been out of luck.

We hear again and again from Washington that we have turned a corner in Iraq and are on the path to victory. If so, it is a strange fun, doesn't it?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Seasons in the Sun

James Crumley has kicked the bucket. He was no spring chicken and he had been poorly for a while, but it's sad, just the same. His books are worth a look, if you like that sort of thing; they won't change your life, but they will take you away from it for a short while.

I know that at least two people who pass this way from time to time like Sam Baker, so it's only fair that I let them know that he performed live and was interviewed on the Iain Anderson show on Thursday. If they don't visit before next Thursday they have had it, because the programme is only archived for a week.

Poverty kills. It's great isn't it? Ever piece of research we see related to poverty and inequality tells us that the poor get the shitty end of the tick, every time, yet still we persist with absurd notion that capitalism works. The increasingly idiotic Nicky Campbell said on the radio this morning that capitalism is the only way, because it is our way. Ye fucking gods. Meanwhile,as Bush squirms and bleats and squeals that the state should intervene to save the banks and his mate Paulsen gets on his knees and begs for help, you can buy a house from some poor skint dreamer for 800 quid. Thats his own fault though, so fuck him. Capitalism. I love it.

Talking of freedom loving peoples: 6 years in Guantamano. It will make you are proud that you are on the right side.

The Quietus on The Wire.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Statue of Liberty

If you go to Chicago Public Radio and have a mooch around you will eventually find the page of This American Life and if you mooch around there you will find this , which includes a short piece by Richard Price on a night spent with some New York cops and you will probably love it. Price, in case you were wondering wrote The Wanderers, Sea of Love, Clockers and loads more brilliant books and screenplays as well as contributing to The it has to be worth a listen.

I can now safely advise you, if you like that sort of thing, to purchase Kittyhawk Down. The plot is complex but, just about, believable but that is secondary to the characters, all of whom are recognisably flawed human beings and all of whom have a hinterland; which made a welcome change from the uncomplicated simplicities of the characters in the last book I read. Very good stuff it is.

The Life and Death of the Football Song

Saturday, September 20, 2008


So, just to spite me, the Blues go and lose at home to Blackpool, however, we can take comfort from the fact that the defeat was thoroughly well deserved.

Have a go at loops of zen, if you find it calming, you are a better man than I.

Charlie Brooker had a hilarious piece in the Guardian the other day all about men shaving their goolies; he also commented upon the the latest trend in scarf tieng, which has been getting my gander up for ages, but every time I have moaned about it, people have given me strange looks, I'm glad to see I'm not alone.

John & Sarah in St. Paul

Friday, September 19, 2008

Editions Of You anybody there? Long time no see. While we are here lets all laugh at dull Americans.

Talking of dull Americans: What kind of person tells a self-aggrandizing lie, gets called on it, admits publicly that the truth is not at all what she originally claimed—and then goes out and starts telling the original lie again without changing a word?

It's the last episode of the Wire next week and it doesn't bear thinking about. It is bound to be an anti climax after this weeks programme, which is possibly the best hours telly there has ever been. David Simons book on life with the Baltimore homicide squad(the basis for the superb "Homicide" cop show, has just been re released so he has been all over our media and he comes across as a good guy. The best piece I have seen was in the Guardian a few weeks ago and was a very thoughtful consideration of two distinct Americas.

While we are giving credit to the good guys, the Guardian has a good piece on Elbow and while you read it you coud do worse that listen to Guy Garveys radio show on radio 6.

Or, you could listen to Dean Friedmans "Real American Folk" which might be the best show on the radio at the moment, unfortunately, it is a shorts series and it only archives for one week, so you will have missed most of it. Last week he played a long, long song by the brilliant Steve Forbert, you won't be hearing him in many other places this week.

So, capitalism is covering itself in glory. Again. How come every time the government bails out some incompetent financial colosus, the markets recover? I though that the government was supposed to be the devil? We may as well just nationalise the lot of the them.........the banks, the insurance companies, the pension funds................hand the fuckers over. And stop crying!

The supermarkets insist that they are helping us in this time of crisis, well keeping petrol at a painfully high level even though prices have dropped isn't helping me much. When you walk in Tescos you will see huge signs by the fruit and veg advertising this for 65 p and that for pennies and you will think, "that's a bargain, thank you Tesco for helping me out, what a public spirited and philanthropic organisation". What the big signs don't tell you is that the bargain broccoli, which comes wrapped, is actually about 80p more expensive per kilo than the loose broccoli further down the aisle..............and it is a similar story with all their so called bargains, the evil bastards. No crisis is so great that some capitalist pig won't find a way to fleece the poor.

I read a piece in one of the papers ages ago about readers block. I can't be bothered to find it because it was actually quite boring. It's premise was that we all, from time to time, suffer readers block and need help in overcoming it. It was a typically middle class piece which referenced all the usual suspects. Amis, A.N Wilson, Julian Barnes, Salman Rushdie. Privileged people who write about the concerns of the privileged classes. It's no wonder that aficionados of those types get readers block, they write about and for each other.

Stick to the book reviews of the quality press and you will soon get readers block, but aficionados of the internet need never suffer such an appalling fate. I come across brilliant writers, of whom I would never have heard had it not been for the net, nearly every week, so many of them in fact, that it is impossible to keep up. It is becoming increasingly fashionable to sneer at the amateurs who who populate the internet in the pages of the quality press. Well, they would sneer wouldn't they, as they are being shown up for the narrow minded elitists that they are.

Somewhere or other, weeks ago, I came across a recommendation for Harry Hunsicker and trotted off to the library to see what they had. Nothing. A nice lady asked if I was a member of the Gateway to Learning scheme. Never heard of it. Apparently, there is scheme in this corner of South Wales where you can borrow books from loads of different authorities, for free, and it doesn't contribute to your existing allowance, it's in addition to it. I think it's designed for learning, rather than devouring cheap American detective fiction, but there you go.

Anyway, a couple of days later, not one, but two Hunsickers arrived, and to be honest, I wasn't impressed. "Next Time You Die" was alright, well plotted, with good characters and, in the vernacular, a page turner and it did the job. It seemed a bit derivative though. The hero has has a best pal and minder: a hard as nails nutter who happens to be gay, all very well and all very Joe R Lansdale. He also has a partner, a beautiful and sassy broad, again, all very well, but also all very Dennis Lehane. My biggest quibble with it though is the glorification of violence. As with too many of these books extreme violence is always justified, and it gets on my nerves. Having said all that, it is brilliantly done.

The second one, I read, "Crosshairs" I didn't read, got fed up about 50 pages in.

I'm currently reading Kittyhawk Down, by Gary Disher. I have no idea how I came across this book but so far I am glad I did. It's a bit reminiscent of, but not derivative of Peter Temple, not just because of the Australian setting but because of the milieu. To think, at the star of the year I had no idea what a "ute" was, now it's almost part of my vocabulary. I think I recommend it, but I am only half way in.

It's been a good couple of weeks for football fans. I don't usually take much interest in the affairs of other clubs, but the events of the last few weeks have been absolutely fascinating and we must all give thanks to the comedy club of Newcastle for entertaining us all so royally. Long may it continue.

We might all be wishing for new billionaire owners and I am sure that supporters of QPR are very grateful to to the aging, and oddly grotesque playboys who now own them, but I am also sure that most of them would rather not be paying 40 quid to watch them play Derby. It will all end in tears.

As for the Blues, we are set to make our best start since I don't know when and still we aren't happy. I said all through the summer, and was laughed at all through the summer, for saying that we would piss this league. I based this not on the fact that we are brilliant, but on the clear evidence that this league is shit. And so it is proving. We haven't played well yet, but have dropped only one point all season and if I am not very much mistaken have the best defensive record in the league. On Tuesday we went to Bristol City, one of the stronger sides in the divison and won comfortably. We have nothing to worry about, it will be a stroll in the park.