Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Christina Patterson has a good piece in today Independent, gently mocking Cameron and Osborne. We could do with more of that.

I’m not sure what to make of the labour candidates, they all seem a bit anodyne and lacking in character; lacking hinterland. I confess, I haven’t studied their policies and I base my views solely on my perception of their characters.

Ed Balls knee jerk response to the Baby P case and his appalling jumping on to any passing media bandwagon disgusts me and I could never warm to him. I’m sure Andy Burnham is a magnificently intelligent chap, but he comes across as bit dull and he seems to struggle when it comes to spontaneous repartee. Minds like Cameron, Clegg and Osborne, finely honed in the debating societies of our finest schools and universities, will make mincemeat of him.

All through the life of New Labour, I have disliked the Millibands. They are both distinctly odd looking, for a start. David looks as if you dipped his head in a pot of paint, you could do the garden fence with it, Ed just looks strange. Sounds strange too. But I am hardly an oil painting myself, so I shouldn’t judge them on looks. So I will judge them on background. They represent an element of politics that I really dislike; the apparatchiks. It seems as if they have been groomed for high office since birth; lots of front, but little bottom.

It doesn’t really matter what I think, because I am not a member of the party, so won’t be voting, but for what it’s worth, I am edging towards Ed. He seems to have the intellectual capacity and sharpness of mind to be able to deal with the pantomime of Prime Ministers Questions, and he could make Cameron or Clegg uncomfortable in the pointless exchanges over the despatch box, as well as deal with the hostile interrogations of the likes of John Humphreys . His brother could do that too, but Ed seems to me to be a bit less rigid in his thinking, a bit more open to ideas, and he has said that Labour must re-engage with the working class ………….bloody radical for a Labour man!

I went to see Simone Felice again last night, this time in Bristol. It was a very different experience to last week in Cardiff. Last week he came on quite late, the all standing crowd being pretty well oiled, and up for it, having seen two excellent support acts. They responded to Felice enthusiastically and immediately. I have noticed before that Cardiff crowds, particulary in smaller venues, can be a bit raucous. Felice evidently fed off this energy and played a long and excellent set, involving the crowd at every opportunity. As far as you can tell, he seemed to be really enjoying himself.

Last night was different. The gig was in a social club, for a start, (albeit serving a very nice pint of Doom Bar, or whatever the hell it was called), there was no support act, so he came on early and everyone was sitting down. It was a much more subdued, respectful audience, it felt like being in a folk club, which is OK, I like folk clubs.

As in Cardiff, he started with “Scarecrow”, which some might argue is his best song, he followed that with “The Morning I Get to Hell” “One More American Song” and “If You Ever Get Famous” Possibly his four best songs, certainly four of  his best songs, and you wondered, where is he going to go now? Surely, he should be saving songs as good as that for later on. Well, he played some covers, including a brilliant version of Tom Waits “Old 55” and he played more of his own stuff, such as “Mercy” and “Union Street”, which are as good as any of his other songs, and you realised that this man just writes brilliant song after brilliant song. It is pointless having a favourite, because they are all favourites. He did a couple of new ones, “New York Times” and “ Shaky” ,presumably, off the fortchcoming Duke and the King album and they showed that if anything, he is improving.

The night ended early and fairly abruptly, he left out another of my favourites, “Radio Song” which had been a boisterous and enjoyable singalong in Cardiff. He had tried, manfully, to get the Bristol crowd singing, reminding us at one point that we were in a social club, not a library, and to be fair to the audience, they did respond, but it lacked a bit of oomph . Felice was superb, but he seemed a bit out of sorts; he didn’t really seem to be getting into it. The night was great while it lasted, but the shortness of it was a bit disappointing. Typically, he hung around for ages afterwards, happy to talk with anyone who approached, happy to pose for pics.

The transfer window is near it's end, and day by day, we are told or there are rumours, encouraged by the local press, that Blues are in for this one, or that one, or we are near to deals with 2 or 3, and, day by groundhog day, nothing happens. We went in for Nzogbia, were knocked back, then went in again this week. Apparently we have been knocked back again. No news of other, unnamed players that we were supposed to be close to doing deals with. It was the same in January. I don't mind that much if we don't sign marquee players, I don't mind if we refuse to pay inflated prices, but I am becoming bored shitless by the endless hype and the endless dithering. Eck, either shit, or get off the pot, but don't tell us about it until the deed is done. Bobo Bleeding Balde, Babel, Pavluchenko, Chris Bloody Boyd, now Nzogbia, what do they all have in common?

Roberto Martinez has complained about the window and the unsettling effect it has on players. He has a point, Nzogbia and Mascherano have both missed games because, in the vernacular, their heads weren't right, and Stoke's reserve keeper appears to have gone on strike.My preference would be for them to do away with the window altogether, but, if we must have it, it should close before the start of the season.

I have blipped

Happy birthday, "Deliverance" I confess, I haven't read the book, I must put that right. I hear that like "Cutters Way" (Cutter and Bone) the book is a lot better than the film.
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