Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Beautiful Tango




The world has gone football crazy, and my little corner of the world is just about as crazy as everywhere else. My youngest is beside himself with anticipation; when the first ball gets kicked on Friday afternoon he might just pop.

I have carried out a scientific analysis of the likely winners which consisted of diligently trying all the flavours of the Walkers world cup crisps. I can safely predict that the last 4 will consist of France, Holland, Argentina and Germany, with Holland emerging as the victors. America should actually be thrown out, immediately…………their abomination of a crisp is a crime against junk food.

The web and the papers are full of football related stuff, most of it garbage, but one of the huge pleasures of the world cup in the age of the internet is that you do come across some real gems. You may have to wade deep in shit before you find them, but they can be found. It also very good when you get sick of the sycophancy and xenophobia of the British press, to have a browse around the Sacramento Bee or some such, for a bit of balance. You won't actually get football coverage there, but you can see arrest logs………..it seems to be a very pissed up city.

I try to kid myself that I am above nationalism and that I am not much of an England fan. I loftily annnounce that I have no interest in declaring my love for a bunch of overpaid prima donnas and that the only overpaid prima donnas that I have room in my heart for all wear royal blue.  But when their first game kicks off I know I will have that familiar knot tightening in my stomach, and as they progress through the tournament the very act of watching will be almost unbearable.


I am looking forward to watching the referee in Englands first game; this is what the Palmeiros president had to say about him after a game last year: 
"He's a crook, a scoundrel ... just a shameless bastard," Belluzzo said at the time. "He must be in someone's pocket. If I met him in the street, I would slap him. What he did was unbelievable and he was helping Fluminense. He should be driven out of football."
I fully expect him to form a deep and lasting relationship with Wayne Rooney


Gary Younge has written a very good and thoughtful piece on why he is supporting England this time around.

13 ways of looking at Fabio Capello

The Miracle on Grass: an account of the USA beating England 60 years ago.

And here is someone hoping for another miracle

Jimmy Burns, Diego Maradona’s biographer, has written an entertaining, if not particularly revealing piece on the man.

Ever since we sort of elected this coalition government, living in this country has become like living in North Korea; we do not seem to have an opposition. The Labour Party is engaged in a staring contest with its own navel and the media, broadcast and print, seem to have accepted the new situation without demur.


There seems to be a consenus that Labour is damaged beyond repair, having failed so miserably in the election. Now, as anyone who has cast a glance at this blog over the years will realise, I am not a fan of New Labour, but this is nonsense. In the circumstances, and given the relentlessly negative media coverage, Labour did remarkably well, and the Tories did remarkably badly. Also, for all their fine rhetoric, the Liberals finished a pretty dismal 3rd, both in terms of seats and in terms of share of the vote. Yet you barely hear a dissenting voice, it has become accepted that Labour are in the shithouse, well, I don’t buy it, and the Liberals and Tories might do well to remember that they are only there on sufferance.


Alongside this is the notion, as told to us by the multi millionaires in the cabinet, that we all have to swallow bitter medicine, immediately. Excuse me, but why? I recall Alastair Darling being uniformly praised for the skilled and astute way in which he was handling the economy. How come, in a matter of a few short weeks, everyone has changed their minds? What the fuck is going on? Why is big media so meek and compliant?


I keep hearing about the new politics, and the new consensus, but all I see is the same old Tories, bashing the poor, the weak and the vulnerable, and what has happened to the Liberals? It is easy to understand that they are relishing their 15 minutes in the spotlight, but I am surprised that they seem to like wielding the big stick with so much glee. Surely, I am not the only chump that feels like this, why is there no dissent?

Stieg Llarrson. I don’t get it. I read the first book and more or less enjoyed it but thought it was a bit bloated and the plotline a bit ludicrous, you can’t dispute that the man can could write though. Then I read the second and thought the same thing. Now, I am reading the third and think the same again, only with knobs on. He is a brilliant writer, but , all the lengthy digressions and labrythine sub plots are getting on my nerves.

You wouldn’t say the same for Tony Black, who is sharp, concise, punchy, brilliant: he is The Ramones to Larsson’s Yes. Maybe the best way to experience Larsson is through an abridged audio book. An excellent way of experiencing Black is via this short story


There has been a lot of hoo hah about the new Michael Winterbottom film, which is an adaptation of a Jim Thompson novel. I will give the film a swerve, as I don’t think I could sit through the violence, but I would recommend the novels of Jim Thompson, he is the real deal, and I bet you can pick them all up for a single penny at Amazon. In the meantime, you could read this.



From May 30, 2010
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