Thursday, November 26, 2009

One More American Song

A quick scan through the online papers has just provided me with the information that Catholic priests in Ireland have been systematically raping children for years (no shit, Sherlock) and that the Irish police have colluded with the church hierarchy to cover it all up. Then I saw that a daft kid is being deported to America where he will be tried for being a daft kid; albeit a very clever daft kid and then I read (no shit, Sherlock) that there was no real rationale for invading Iraq. Bloody depressing. Not just the acts themselves, but the lies, collusion and moral bankruptcy that has accompanied them. Makes me proud to be a member of the human race. Still, things could be worse, I could be a Bangladeshi in the slave state glittering paradise of Dubai.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Dylans Hard Rain

I seem to be in a minority of one as far as it goes with the Blues; everybody else is delighted with out our defensive tenacity and never say die attitude. They don't mind us sticking 11 men behind the ball, kicking the thing straight back to the opposition and inviting them to find a way around us. The consensus is that it is back to the glory year under Bruce, when we first got promoted. Halycon days. They say, some of them, we aren't a team of billionaires, what do you expect? We don't have a team of Messi's and we must do whatever we can to get every point we can.

They are reasonable points, but I have issues with them. Fans who were calling Mcleish a thick Scottish eejit a few weeks ago have warmed to him, because we have had a couple of half decent results. Some warmed to him when it became evident that he was favouring a passing game, others when it became evident that for all the rhetoric, in the end, points win prizes and if that meant hoofing it, so be it. Now everyone loves him because we snuffed Fulham out in a most prosaic style. The previously naive Eck outhought the old boy Hodgson. He's not naive, he is a tactical genius.

The problem I have with the notion that we must play an ultra defensive game and not even attempt another attack if we go ahead is that it is illogical. If we have been playing a neat passing game, limiting the oppositions chances, and creating one or two of our own........ as we have done regularly, we have proved that we can stand tall, pass the ball and progress to the other end of the pitch, where the chances of the opposition scoring are extremely slim. By what logic do we become incapable of doing that? Sitting back and passing the ball back to the opposition is inviting disaster. It worked against a weak Fulham, it won't work too many other times. If the bloody opposition don't have the ball, they can't score with it, so why give it back to them? Make the buggers work for it.

The other argument, that it is a return to the dogged style that proved so successful with Bruce is just nonsense. In that first season that Bruce got us up, we were pretty woeful until January. The legendary doggedness was getting us nowhere, other than back to where he had come from. It was the January signings that turned that season around and the biggest influence was Dugarry. The qualities that the French chap brought were not primarily defensive. His first thought was to attack, his instinct was to keep the ball and put the opposition on the back foot and keep them thinking. It was not our defensive qualities that took us to unimagined heights that year, it was a maverick Frenchman whose idiosyncratic insistence on taking the game to the opposition led to us scoring plenty of goals and thereby winning plenty of points.

What I am trying to say, in short, is that I am right and every fucker else is wrong!

The banks have won. Again. I want to be a banker, where do I sign up?

We live halfway up a mountain. More acurately we live on a huge estate halfway up a mountain, surrounded by other, huger estates, but there is plenty of green around, there are not many houses higher than us and we can see straight across the Bristol Channel to England on a clear day, so it can be a pleasant vista. This morning driving down, was amazing. The sky was a deep bluey grey, massive hailstones were assailing us mercilessly, and the most vivid, huge and perfect rainbow was straddling the mountain, while further down, a huge and brilliantly white sun broke lustily through the gloom. It was all a bit strange and a bit wonderful. Made for dodgy driving conditions though, I don't know how I got to Abertillery in one piece.

A person at work spoke her mind in front of middle managers. That person is no longer in work and others have been advised to keep their traps shut. I offer no comment.

Not so long ago, in the course of my daily grind, I would come across families who I thought were cheating the system. We all did, but we would hesitate before airing our views as it would be frowned upon, it would be considered that we lacked empathy. We would be advised not to make value judgements, we would be invited to engage in a little self reflection. How things have changed; now, it is assumed that every family who is supporting a disabled person is on the fiddle.

Now, when new charges come in and people like me, dinosaurs like me, point out that many people will not be able to pay and others will refuse to pay, a chorus will come back........"The trouble with people in this area is that they all want something for nothing............they are all getting benefits, so why shouldn't they pay............they should stop using their benefits for wide screen tellies and fancy holidays"

All fair points, but it is a little unfair to brand an entire demographic as scroungers and cheats, moreover, this mantra has been repeated over and over again: when we stopped providing domestic support, when we started charging for personal care and for respite and for day services and when we stopped providing transport. How far do these people think that disability benefits go? I preferred the old days. I am proud to be a dinosaur. I might get a badge made up.

The little video at the top is Ryan Bingham. Recommended.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Charlie Brooker on I'm a Celebrity and X Factor. Very, very astute. Funny as well, obviously.

A win for Blues today, that's us unbeaten in 4. It was fucking dire though. Hodgson has complained about our style of play and he is right to. I now dread us getting an early goal because that is the game dead. Moreover, the audience at The Horrible Historys first world war doodah made more noise than the Blues fans.

There are people who visit here who will really enjoy the following:

Friday, November 20, 2009

Save It For Someone Who Cares

Work is terrible. Terrible, terrible, terrible. I wish I could tell you about it, but I can't. I have learned that particular chuffing lesson.

So what else is there to talk about? Stephen Fry? OK. He is still whinging about some unkind comments on his twitter page. As an habitue of football message boards I have some sympathy for him, but not much. His curly headed pal, whose name I forget, indulged in a festival of swearing and abuse in Fry's defence, which is OK, apparently.

So, what else? Terry Henry. I couldn't give a stuff about Ireland or France to be honest, but this little incident has generated some heat, with the moral high horse dwellers having a field day. I suspect that every single one of them is a hypocrite. The best thing about it was Liam Bradys barely coherent interview on 5 Live the morning after, which prompted Jimmy Armfield, a master of drollery, to comment, " I don't think he's had his breakfast yet".

Another good thing I heard on the radio this week was John Humphries interview with the increasingly odious David Cameron, in which Cameron blithely dismissed his u turn on a referendum over Europe. For a man whose favourite insult against poor old Gordon seems to be ditherer, it was rather funny. Actually, it wasn't funny at all but it was nice to see the chinless bastard put on the spot for a change.

Can't say I have been inspired by much music lately. The Duke and The Kings album is easily the best thing I have heard all year and nothing is coming close to it yet. However. Mumford and Sons are alright and are available on spotify. Their website is pretty good too and isn't just the usual marketing device. It even has a book club, which is alright by me.

Should I mention the Blues? OK then. The previous owners are having a bit of bother letting go. They don't seem able to do it and keep turning up in the press with ill judged and ill mannered comments. Meanwhile the new lot continue to play a cute PR game and have won most fans over. It is all a bit murky though, the truth is we have no fucking idea who owns us.

On the pitch we are doing OK. We have enjoyed two draws in our last two games and now everyone who was calling him a useless Scotch pillock with no tactical nous at all is hailing him as a genius. I urge caution. I have never doubted Eck but it's a bit early to be getting carried away, we are still perilously close to the drop zone, our scoring record is abysmal and we need a few wins. Draws are not enough, lucky or not. Don't tell anyone I said that though.

And Cameron Jerome is still shit. A lucky toe poke does nothing to change that.

I finished the Levien pretty quickly. It was a damn good page turner. He has been involved in some pretty shit films and is apparently involved with the filming of The Winter of Frankie Machine. I'm not sure how I feel about that. He writes good books but makes shit films. I won't hold my breath.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Little Hitler

It's been a long time. Just logging on I came across some comments that needed moderating which were quite rude and insulting. I don't really mind, people are rude to me and insult me all day every day, online and in the real world. Only comments on older posts are moderated and that is to prevent porn spam, but the chap who has taken a dislike to some of the stuff I said about some our neighbours at the Wychwood festival seemed to think that it was because I am some sort of Stalinist.

Well, he's half right. I would have been happy for his alternative view to appear, including the insults, but if he is going to accuse me of being a Stalinist, well, fuck off comrade, the world will have to remain ignorant of your views regarding my emotional well being.

I say chap, it might not have been a chap because, he didn't provide a name, he was an anonymous poster. So he can fuck off for that reason as well. The gist it of was that I had a little moan, in what I recall as an otherwise very positive and cheerful review, about the lack of consideration shown by some of our neighbours, I think I even outed myself as miserable git because of it. He knew the people I was on about and disagreed with my perception of them. There you go, my perception differed from that of some others. One other, at least. His view has now been shared. Minus the abuse.

Mind you, this is not the BBC, it's my chuffing blog, and while I don't
mind anyone disagreeing with me, if you are going to insult and abuse me anonymously, you can get fucked. I am not Ann Robinson and this is not Points of View.

Talking of festivals, I declined the opportunity to take up early bird tickets for next years End of the Road, which was a schoolboy error as the line up is already looking superb, and they have only announced 6 of 'em.

Have I mentioned that I was in a car crash in the summer and had 6 weeks off work? The week I returned I managed to crack a rib, but struggled manfully in then I caught a dose of the flu and was off for 4 days. When I returned I was bollocked for lacking commitment and threatened with disciplinary action. I pray to any God that happens to be out there, don't let my free spirited nippers become wage slaves, with their prospects subject to the whims and fancies of some psychopath in a shiny suit.

All this time off afforded me plenty of book reading time though. I read The Twelve by Stuart Neville, which is every bit as good as Bob Piper said it would be and I read the new Pelecanos, which is everything you would expect from Georgie Boy. I read the utterly, utterly brilliant Lush Life by Richard Price............I was really pissed off when I finished it, and what else, Christ, I can't remember, loads of books.

I read "The World Made Straight" by Ron Rash. It's one of those trailer trash type novels which document the lives of poor white folk in a depressed America; people who live in communities much like the ones I work in, where the major employers have gone and left little but pollution and decay behind. It's a damn fine novel and sits along other, similar and similarly affecting works by the likes of Daniel Woodrell and William Gay. Bleak, but brilliant, and, frequently, beautiful.

So we have this white trash genre and we also have the Irish crime genre. Some of the best crime novels are coming out of Northern Ireland.........the aforementioned Neville, and Brian McGilloway being to the fore, then you have the likes of the incomparable Ken Bruen, as well as Gene Kerrigan Adrian McKinty and a number of others who I can't quite recall.

It's almost as if literature has it's movements or phases, just like the world of popular music, with it's Mersey scene and Madchester, and Two Tone and (don't laugh) Brumbeat. Maybe it's just tied in with economics and momentous social change. Whatever, it all makes the obsession the English media has with reviewing only novels that reflect middle class angst and insecurity look a bit pitiful.

I have just finished The Long Fall by Walter Mosley. I'm not a huge fan of the bloke generally, but I loved this book and fairly whizzed throught it. His earlier work has grated a bit because to my mind it has been, to some extent, overly concerned with documenting the experience of black has all appeared to be a bit worthy. I might have to take another look, because this last one has got it all.

Started a David Leveine this afternoon. Never heard of the bloke before but early signs are promising; so promising that I am having an early night so I can get stuck into it.