Monday, February 23, 2009

Mr Moto

So, I spent the whole of yesterday wiping eggs from my face, large numbers of eggs. Oh God, Blues are shit. Mind you, this comes as no surprise so theres no point getting too upset over it. Some of my fellow fans are getting a bit too emotional, they need to exercise a bit of perspective. There are far greater things in the world to become distraught over. Fair enough, immediately after a game, and long into the night, bad, dark thoughts can endure, but once you have had a sleep and the hangover has started to wear off, it's probably time to grow up a bit.

Actually, I spent most of yesterday at Southerndown beach. I woke up, opened the curtains, saw the sunshine and thought, oh shit, I have absolutely no chance of spending the day lazing about the house, reading the papers and watching the football, and sure enough, her first words on opening her eyes from her beautiful slumber were, "where we going to go then?" Mind you, it was splendiferous, as the many thousands of others who had the same idea will attest, and it really felt as though winter was being blown away.

There's something about Trevor Phillips which I find a bit creepy; he seems just a bit too smooth and bit too self assured, I give him a great big standing ovation for this though:

The biggest things that are driving inequality today are class, place, culture and sometimes structure in institutions. The task today is not to shout for blacks or women, but to break the grip of white men who went to public school.

Southerndown Beach, Glamorgan Heritage Coast Feb 09

Friday, February 20, 2009

Just Like Honey

Call me a naive fool, but I am starting to get excited about the Blues again. It doesn't take much. There is still some disharmony among the fans; I can't remember a manager being as unpopular as McCleish after such a short time in charge. I still think he can do a good job for us and as I keep on saying, all our managers have been shit and I don't know what possesses anyone to think the next one will be any different. Eck has seen where our problems lie and has taken steps to address them. It's still a work in progress, but the signs are encouraging, we are much more positive and it is a good sign for the future. If we go up and he is allowed to sign the type of players he has bought in this season, we should be a pretty fast, fluid side.

I fully expect to have egg all over my face at 5 p.m tomorrow. I should not forget the immutable law: The Bastards Will Always Let You Down.

It's probably a bit late to start recommending Spotify, but I will anyway. If you haven't tried it, or just had a quick look and never went is brilliant. I have listened to all of Alela Dianes oeuvre, loads of Felice Brothers, Rory Gallagher, John Coltrane, Headless Heroes, U Roy and loads more; so you can see the breadth of stuff at your disposal, for free, apart from a very occasional and brief advert. I have currently got the radio set to alternative country, and while it's a bit hit and miss, it's better than Radio 2!

Judging by reactions around the interweb, the English cricket fan has become as puerile and childish as the average football fan: they just cannot tolerate disappointment. The test match just finished was brilliant and the final day was as good as final days get, with every ball being possessed of a profound meaning. England couldn't take the final wicket, so what? It was a magnificent comeback from the previous game and a magnificent sporting occasion. Hats off to the Windies tail.

I read this week that Richie Benaud has retired.We hadn't heard much of him the UK lately anyway, but he is one of the greats and I wish there were a few more like him (and Jimmy Armfield on the football commentaries)...........calm, knowledgeable, wise, astute, not afraid to tell the truth, not given to hyperbole and unafraid of silence. One of the disappointments of the current series is the poor quality of the radio commentary and summarising, specifically, Viv Richards. He may have been a great batsmen but he isn't the most articulate of communicators. He can't say "to", he can only say, "to, to, to", it's the same with "the, the, the"

I wouldn't say it to his face though. I once saw him holding court at Edgbaston after a days play against Somerset. Botham was in the bar, being hugely and impressively gregarious, while Viv held court on the seats outside, on a beautiful Birmingham evening. He was imperious, and there seemed to be an exclusion zone around him, into which no one ventured. His space was his space, and he seemed to need plenty of it.
I recall reading that he offered an Aussie bowler out when he got fed up of his sledging and the sledging stopped immediately. I can't imagine that happening with Ian Bell.

Viv takes on a journalist.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pieces of String

It's half term already and I am spending this latter half of the week carrying out my parental duties: ie; arsing about on the net while the kids look after themselves. It's been a beautiful few days. I got promoted at work, the snowdrops are poking their pert and pretty little heads up and the weather has become springlike. There is a warmth in the air, and while it is raining while I type, the birds are singing and the air is full of a promise of better things to come.

At the risk of sounding like a decrepit old judge, until the other week I had no idea who Jade Goody was. I was familiar with the name, but it meant nothing to me, and I had no interest in her. I am depressingly familiar with her now, even though I don't read tabloids or watch the more popular tabloidesque news programmes. You can't escape her, more's the pity. OK it's sad that she is enduring a premature death, it's sad that she will leave 2 children behind, but, frankly, I'm not interested. Tragedy will befall families all day, every day, her tragedy is no more special than anyone elses.

So she will make some cash for her kids, good. So, more women will go for smear tests, for a couple of weeks, anyway........... good. But bloody hell, enough with the beatification. Death comes to us all, it comes to some of us earlier than others; it has certainly visited my own family with a harsh and premature finality, but so what; it's not as if the world is short of replacements.

Anyway, all this is just a preamble to two Goody articles. The first a very good and thoughtful piece. The second, a spoof............a very tame spoof but one which was considered too outrageous to be posted on a Birmingham City message board which prides itself on its irreverence.

A documentary on Magazine, from 1978, it's in 5 parts. Magazine were one of the best bands I saw at Barbarellas, and I saw lots of bands. Actually, although I went to hundreds of gigs, I can't remember many of them, Magazine is one of the few I do. Joe Jackson was another, he was amazing and there were only about 100 people in there, in fact, they might both have been in the same week.

To continue the cheery theme: Confessions of a Guantamano guard. I have to admit, the bit about the brutal medic actually made me chuckle. A bit.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Mi Pueblo, Mi Casa, La Soledad

Julien Temple has made a film about Dr Feelgood. He says that they are a forgotten band. Not in this house they ain't, my 8 year old loves them and regards Wilco with nothing short of reverence.

Meanwhile, the Billy Bragg lookalike who does the funny sports bits on the back page of the Guardian is on very good form.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Broken Things

I seem to have hit a bit of a hiatus with dear old Cwmbran library. I'm not finding much in there and the books that I do try, just because I can, are not turning out to be quite my cup of tea. So, I picked up a Donald Westlake. I have seen his name and his books all over the place, shelf after groaning shelf of the things, and being a bit of a tit, I thought that anyone that popular and prolific cannot be any good, so I steered clear. But the other day I was desperate, and I took one home and I started reading and I fell in love, straight away. All I need now is quiet beach to sit on for few weeks with a big pile of his stuff and I will be a happy man. It will never happen.

But I Could Be Wrong

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


The banking bosses have said sorry. That's OK then. I like to imagine them just sort of shuffling in, looking a bit shame faced and muttering, "soz". It wasn't quite like that though. A cynic might suggest that they aren't all that sorry at all.

While I feel a bit sorry for Scolari and his mate, I am delighted that it's all going tits up at Chelsea. Abramovich is bad enough, but Peter Kenyon is the most odious man in football, apart from that Brummie scoundrel at Manchester City, and if he and his ilk have to learn a hard, hubristic lesson about arrogance, well, it will be no bad thing. There is a good article on it in the Independent.

Apparently, Scolari had (cack phrase alert) "lost the dressing room". The players didn't like this and they didn't like that. Christ, I wish the same principal applied with social service managers, mind you we would be even more trigger happy than Abramovich.

I heard on the news today that some head teacher in Sheffield has resigned after some people took umbrage at her discontinuing of a Muslim assembly. Well, if we banned all religion from state schools, we wouldn't have that particular problem, would we?

Robert Fisk on the Iranian revolution. I remember some very heated debates going on in variouis Labour Clubs just prior to the revolution, with David Owen being accused of all sorts of bastardy. Being a young militant of course, I was firmly on the side of the Mullahs. I have always been a bright spark!

Monday, February 09, 2009

Supposed to Make You Happy

Robbie Keane was very dignified on Sportsweek yesterday when he was being interviewed by Gary Richardson. I quite like Richardson, but he can be a real scandal monger and seems to want to make the news as much as report it. He asked Keane about his attitude towards Benitez and Keane neatly sidestepped the question, which didn't stop the interviewer persisting and reframing the question in a desperate effort to get Keane to say something untoward, which of course would have made every sports news bulletin for the rest of the day.

Another example of the BBC trying make a story out of nothing has happened today. All the sports bulletins have said that Dwain Chambers has said the he could beat Usain Bolt, but if you listen to the interview, he doesn't say that at all............he talks about the mechanics of sprinting and what he would need to do to be able to beat him, which isn't quite the braggadocio which the beeb has been presenting all day. Christ, it's not as if there isn't enough interesting stuff going on in the world of sport without the BBC trying manufacture stories out of nothing.

Very little of these interesting stories are happening down St Andrews way though, where our team of all the talents continue to play like a bunch of old bastards, has beens and never will be's. Predictably half of our fans won't rest until the head of Mcleish is being paraded around the streets of Small Heath on a stick. They either forget, or don't realise, that all our managers have been shit. Not one of them has a record to be proud of, with the honourable and notable exception of the legendary Bill Coldwell. Leave Eck alone, I say, he seems like a very nice man, is doing no worse than any other manager we have had and he doesn't take the fans for idiots. We may as well let him have the time to either succeed or screw it up royally.

I feel sorry for the increasingly gnomic Tony Adams, following his brutal sacking by Portsmouth. I like the way that he has recognised his faults and changed his life around and I admire his efforts to get himself educated and to increase his football knowledge, but there is something about him that just grates with me, I can't quite put my finger on it, but there you go. Still, I hope he finds another job soon, we could do with a few more iconoclasts in the game. Perhaps he'll come to us.

Andy Flower, the England batting coach and the man responsible for bringing the best out of Ian Bell, Andy Strauss, Paul Collingwood and Alasatair Cook has said we all need to calm down after Saturdays humiliation. Well, if I was him, I wouldn't my role to be scrutinised too carefully either.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Gypsy Rider

Sharon Shoesmith, the former director of social services who was so cravenly sacked by Ed Balls has been interviewed by the Guardian, and she makes some very astute and good's worth a read.


Spend some time with the Taliban

Pakistan in peril

Friday, February 06, 2009

Won't Get Fooled Again

Is it that time already? Not 5 minutes ago I was bragging about my prowess with a bit of dead pig, and now here we are, many weeks later, not so smug, having burnt the turkey. Having burnt the turkey so badly, even the moggies turned their noses up at it. For years I used Delias method, this year I used Jamie Olivers..............disaster. It has taken some getting over.

What else has been happening? Well, the transfer window has opened and closed and Blues,once again,managed to balls up the seemingly simple task of buying a centre half, while at the same time losing two right backs. There are those amongst the Blues brethren who are bit fed up about this. I'm all adds to lifes rich tapestry.

Carol Thatcher and Jeremy Clarkson displayed their wit for all the world to see and there has been uproar. I can't stand Clarkson, but you know, he is what he is and he appeals to a particular,lumpen demographic, which loves his prosaic take on a complex world. He has a way with a turn of phrase, so, well,let him be. If you don't like it, ignore it.

The loudly braying half wit Thatcher is another matter. She is where she is simply because of who she is. She displays all the worst traits of Clarkson without having the saving grace of a witty way with words. If she cannot see that the use of the word golliwog is offensive she is as daft as she is cabbage looking. I was prompted to renew acquaintance with this little blog after reading loads of accounts by black people of how they find the word offensive, and thinking, I must blog that, with appropriate links. But it doesn't need links. If you cannot understand why that word is so offensive, you are in a privileged position, and I urge you to have a little think about others, who may not be in such a comfortable place.

Anything else? Yes. Blues couldn't score in a barrel of fannies.

I went to see Teddy Thompson, son of Richard. What a chip off the old block he is. Look at the picture on his album cover and read of him being part of a brat pack of famous sons and daughters and you might doubt him, but he is good, and, he has a proper band. It was a great night, made better by the presence of Tift Merrit as support. I acquired a Tift album a couple of years ago, it was OK, but nothing special, and I have thought little of her since. As she played the other night, I didn't know who she was, but kept recognising songs, and drove the people around me mad by insisting that I knew the song, but couldn't place it and asking who did the original.

What else? America has a new pres and the world has fallen in love with him. I say HAH! You don't fool me. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

And then? The weather. The motherfucking weather. Here in Wales we have a weatherman.........a personality, no less, much loved by grannies and all those with very little brain. Well, next time I see, I am going to kick his fucking head in. He has ruined my week with his unerring ability to get it completely wrong.

And.......and...............oh, almost forgot, there is my situation at work, but then I don't do that anymore, mores the pity. I'm still trying to be a little Buddhist, still trying to recognise that I am the sole author of my fortunes, mis or otherwise. By Christ it takes a bit of adjusting.

What about the links? I have hundreds, but I can't be arsed. It's late and I'm drunk, plus I am typing this on a tint notebook effort and it's really difficult, so please forgive the typos.

Q: What's the difference between a snow man and a snow woman?

A: Snow balls.