Saturday, December 30, 2006

Hussein shuffles of to eternal (Sad)damnation

Well one person who won't be on the lash for New Years Eve is Saddam Hussein after he was hung this morning. Yep Galloway's mate has gone to the gallows. Whether right or wrong or whether justified or not, Saddam is no more. What interested me was to see ex-WCW midcarder, Shanghai Pearce acting as Saddam's executioner.

Update: Apparently, Saddam went to the gallows chanting "God is great, god is great" Funny, but I never had him down as a big Joan Osbourne fan.

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Even later contender for crappest article of the year

After the Daily Express came up with this stinker, the Jewish Chronicle has surpassed it with a whole article entitled: "How Jewish is Monty Panesar". This is supposedly a humourous piece but sadly it is about as funny as mass genocide/Bruce Forsyth. You see Monty has Jewish traits such as a big black beard and that he has his head covered. Yes cos he's Sikh, you stupid, stupid tosser. What a waste of paper. I should get the JC more regularly it is choc-a-bloc of crap, even more so than the Metro on a Friday.

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Thursday, December 28, 2006

When the Saint come marching in (after conceding a last minute goal)

And in all the excitement I nearly forgot to mention that on Christmas Eve, the Mighty Owls salvaged a point thanks to a last-minute equaliser by Mark Crossley, the Wednesday keeper. Here it is, you'll have to wade through some truly horrendous Wednesday defending but there are two more classy, classy strikes form Glenn Whelan.
Another quality headline and many thanks to Big Johnnie and my beloved for toasting Mark Crossley for the rest of the night. And to Hepatitis Boy - just cos he may have shagged your mate's missus, you cannot hate Mark Crossley. A grudging respect perhaps, but you cannot hate that man. It's impossible.

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Potentially exciting times for this blog

Some late-breaking news. In the New Year, I hope to have the opportunity to interview two very different people: John McDonnell and Bobby George. I imagine both will be questions and answers over email, but please feel free to email me suggested questions with your name (or preferred nom de plume), location and age (for the desired tabloid effect) to barry.beef@gmail.com - the interviews will not be too serious/detailed, meaning that I have no aversion to asking McDonnell political questions but please don't bollocks on about boring stuff. Interesting question will naturally receive preferential treatment (and hopefully an answer) I look forward to receiving your emails.

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Late contender for crappest front page headline of the year

With no mention of Lady Diana, the Princess of Hearts for a couple of days the Daily Express was reduced to this turgid offering. Just for the record, of course it bloody doesn't.

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Russell's got a Brand new old bag

This post was to be about Russell Brand and Vanessa Feltz, but has descended into, even if I say so myself, a rather good James Brown pun. So at the age of 73, the Godfather of Soul has passed away. Rumours abound that his last word was "owwwwwwwwwwwwww" - sorry couldn't resist. It's bad though as I shared a birthday with him, a fact of which he remained tragically unaware. I also shared my birthday with 'Sugar' Ray Robinson, one of the greatest boxers off all time. And Machiavelli. Now's it just me, Henry 'get your jab in first' Cooper and Geraint Davies, the former MP for Croydon Central.
So back to Brand. I don't like the guy. I find him pretty unamusing and his whole schitck does my head in to be honest. I did enjoy Rod Stewart publicly shaming him when Brand had falsely claimed to have nobbed his daughter (Stewart's not his own). Anyway, that font of all earthly knowledge the Jewish Chronicle contained an interview with Vanessa Feltz, which I tolerated for about one line before I read her comment on Russell Brand: "I absolutely adored him" waxed the old munt-bag, whose name is Yiddish for bingo wings. That's bad branding, Russell.

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Dib, Dib, Bob, Bob

I can't quite recall who at the moment, but I was told a quite splendid tale of Bob Russell, the Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester - a rather depressing hole of a place especially when the Owls have been humbled 4-0 by Colchester in a stadium closely resembling a rather small , shitty shed. Now I am quite split about Bob Russell. He is a Liberal Democrat, which stands against him; but on the other hand (something Abu Hamza hasn't said for a while) he believes darts should be formally recognized as a sport. Then on the other hand (what has three hands? Ermmm...there's a gag about Gary Glitter somewhere...ermmm...Mr and Mrs Admiral Nelson?) he voted for Nadine Dorries' anti-Abortion Bill. However, Bob has outdone himself by allegedly camping out (in the manner of Milletts rather than Liberace - he may conceivably have been doing Liberace impressions) all night so as to be able to table EDM 1 of the new parliamentary session. Oh way to go Bob, you are like soooo cool. And what could be the subject of this Motion that is so important as to warrant this wholly over the top behaviour? Of course, to celebrate the centenary of scouting. Yes there really aren't enough Motions praising the work of Baden Powell, an alleged pervert or paedophile if you rather - "probably pedastry" as a historian far too interested in the subject for comfort writes. Anyway back to Bob. He actually succeeded in tabling the first 10 EDMs of the parliamentary session. That's just like ice cool.

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Sit back, kick back and get ready to be inspired

It's the 100 Most Inspirational Films. Ever! And if there's one thing the American Film Institute can do it's inspiration. And there's nothing more inspirational than listening to Jessica Alba burble something inane about a film. Or how's about Gary Ross? No he's not related to the Brothers Grim, Jonathan and Paul but he is a film director and screenwriter who can boast such films as Soggybiscuit, sorry Seabiscuit in his repetoire.
I sense something sinister when the Karate Kid comes in at #98. Come on be serious now, it's about as inspirational as a sprout. Ok am I getting deja-vu here or is Sidney Poitier on more than Gary Ross and Jessica Alba combined? Yep, five films from Sidney alone and, believe it or not, no sign of They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! the very-dated sequel to In the Heat of the Night (which was included), other Poitier flicks were: The Defiant Ones; A Raisin in the Sun; Lilies of the Field and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner
But it wasn't all doom and gloom. For one, as the programme was American there was no hint of any Richard Curtis films. There were great quotes galore (Stephen Spielberg commenting on Fiddler on the Roof: "There's not a moment of the film that isn't inspirational" which is fine but begs the quetion that if it is roller-coaster inspiration why wasn't it #1 as opposed to where it actually charted #82?) And Rocky made it to #4 (although no sign of Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV or Rocky V). The problem, at least for me, is are films really inspirational? Something like Braveheart made the list, despite being about as truthful and accurate as a Jeffrey Archer interview. I was inspired by something like Naked Gun - inspired to try and make people laugh. So one man's inspiration (Apollo 13/Soggybiscuit, sorry Seabiscuit) is another man's dross. Each to their own I guess, but in all seriousness, the fucking Karate Kid?

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Ladies and Gentlemen, let's play darts

Wow, wow, wow. The PDC World Championship has been excellent thus far. I have caught a few matches and was quite happy to see Messrs Painter, Mardle and Manley bounced out early doors. Chris Mason's match against John Part was very high quality but the two stand-out matches for me have been Raymond Barneveld storming back from 3-0 down to defeat 'Jaws' Colin Lloyd, the #1 seed, 4-3 and Denis 'the Menace' Priestley coming back from 3-1 down to defeat the Dane, Per Laursen 4-3 with Priestley becoming more and more manic as the match came down to the crunch. Priestley's joy and relief manifesting itself in some quite phenomenal dad dancing. On a sad note, ex-BDO world champion Richie Burnett was thrashed by loudmouth Alex Roy and another ex-BDO champ, Steve Beaton also bit the dust. Beaton is sadly no longer known as 'the Adonis' and the mullet is no more, but the tache remains and his new nickname of 'Magnum' combined with entrance music of the Bee Gees Staying Alive more than makes up for it. For your viewing pleasure I have embedded the following segment of the Adrian Lewis/Wayne Jones tussle with Lewis playing absolutely great darts.

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Please don't put your cigarettes out in the toilet

I had to pop into work yesterday as I had to pick up my Australian dollars. So after poodling off to the Travel Office I went down to the Sports and Social and met my soon-to-be-departed chum, Hepatitis Boy for a few bevvies and to watch some darts. All was well until nature took its toll and I needed the conveniences and saw this charming image. Bare in mind that these toilets had previously been out of action after someone left such a fearsome floater that no cleaner tackled it for about three weeks. I can only assume that the cleaners are already off for Christmas already. Someone's taking the piss. You know that cleaners should, I don't know, clean. No butts.

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Childhood revisited

When I was a young Bull I loved that old Vitalite advert with the sunflower boogying away to a slightly tweaked version of Desmond Dekker's Isrealite. However, for many long years I had neither seen nor heard of Vitalite (or Desmond Dekker for that matter) and thought that the it had ceased production. Well, rest assured, Vitalite is still about and my girlfriend had some (not knowing of my fondness and actually quite surprised by my enthusiasm for a margarine spread). Here it is. Yeh! And only 86 pence. Look, the sunflower still has it and still has those funky shades. However, I fear that St. Ivels Gold may be a thing of the past.

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Friday, December 22, 2006

A quick, alternative Christmas message to Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and those who think principles are just what Americans call headmasters

Malcolm Chisholm, the Labour Communities Minister in the Scottish Parliament has resigned over Trident. Jack McDonnell, the First Minister said Labour MSPs must vote with their conscience (I would think it to be kind of refreshing if this was the norm). Be careful what you ask for Jack - like the little lad who asks Santa for a bike and gets a pink girly one with a shopping basket instead of a Harley Davidson.
Politicians who feel people will roll-over on this one are, to my mind, mistaken. This isn't essentially a policy decision, but a moral one and I don't think Labour Party people (or bulls) are going to roll over on this one.

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Getting your rocks off on a pub quiz machine

Last night I had the pleasure of going to Teddington Studios to watch Harry Hill's Christmas TV Burp being filmed. Suffice to say, it's fantastic and you'd be a schmuck to miss it. A complimentary couple of Becks chucked in was also not to be sniffed at. So after the filming me and Dudley Eyebrows (25) went to a local hostelry for a lager and there was a pub quiz machine at the bar. You know the ones that are actually on the bar as opposed to the self-standing standard ones which offer Millionaire et al.
Well, some chap who was inexplicably wearing a bandana (well I say inexplicably, he may have conceivably been a pirate) sauntered up and started playing a game whereby you matched coloured blocks which then disappeared to reveal the form of a woman. A naked woman, no less. Sort of a computerised version of those boards of the page 3 girls with the peanuts on and you ask for salted peanuts in the hope of a glimpse of nipple. I mean someone else asks...
And this guy is no amateur, these 'women' are soon displaying their charms quicker than a stripper on speed. This was all too much for myself and Eyebrows (25) who were guffawing and hooting away like Finbarr Saunders. Quite astounding that any self-respecting person would play this game in anywhere apart from a darkened room. Ah...I see my error, he was wearing a bandana which would lead me to question whether he was actually self-respecting. Very funny, mind.

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Thursday, December 21, 2006

Lovely Jubbly

It's Darts galore with the PDC world tournamnet currently underway on Sky Sports. Meanwhile Auntie will be broadcasting her version of the World Championship in the New Year. Sadly, I'll be missing it as I'll be on holiday.
Anyway, what with all this darts and what with all this time off work coming up; I feel it necessary to recommend this little beauty as recommended to me by Beef Source Big Johnny. Bobby 'the Dazzler' George, the original cockney rebel, well not original that was Steve Harley, is releasing his book; his very own life-story. Given that George did not throw his first dart until he was 30 the book kind of takes the form of a Christmas fairytale. But just don't let the big lad hear you comparing him to a fairy.

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Is Ken Dodd working as a cleaner in Norman Shaw South

I got into my office a few mornings ago and saw a feather duster on my laptop. How? Why? Who? When?

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Wednesday, December 20, 2006

One great idea that never quite made it...yet

It must now be a good couple of years ago that two bloggers: one prominent (not me) and the other not prominent (me) came across an ingenius idea. The War on Terror (tm) was just hotting up and I commented what sweet irony it was that the word fundamentalist contained the word mentalist in it (this, of course, referring to inert strangeness and eccentricities rather than mental health deficiencies). My more established and esteemed Comrade concentred on the Funda part of it, and thus was born Fundamentalist - a website dedicated to voting for your favourite mentalist with proceeds going to charity. However, chronic laziness led to the idea flopping like someone off the top board at one of Michael Barrymore's pool parties.
But one guy I did write up was Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov, President of Turkmenistan and the kind of guy who if he was English would be seen wandering around pedestrianised shopping centres warning of the apocalypse, or standing on Oxford Street with a loud-hailer declaring: "Don't be a sinner, be a winner", yet when transported to a Central Asian nation becomes ideal leadership material. Anyway, here's what was drafted but never published and can now serve as a kind of obituary.

Saparmurat Atayevich Niyazov
President for Life
Turkmenistan

One part authoritarian dictator and one part eccentric, Niyazov is seen as a deity in Turkmenistan giving the cult of personality a real shot in the arm. He is referred to as Turkmenbashi meaning "Great Leader of the Turkmens", so he can also count modesty as one of his traits.
He was appointed by Gorbachev in 1985 and adhering to the adage of one good turn deserves another he was a prominent supporter of the coup against Gorby in 1991. Niyazov survived the post-Communist upheavals in the former Soviet bloc and became the first President of Turkmenistan. He enjoyed the role so much so that as a Christmas present to himself he declared himself President for Life on 29th December 1999.
So far he sounds like your regular despot, the kind you'll find throughout this site, however, it is his eccentricities and, quite frankly, oddness that puts him firmly in the Premier League of mentalists. Niyazov has renamed towns, schools, airports and even a meteorite after himself and his immediate family. He has banned opera and banned men from listening to car radios. There are statues and portraits galore of him, and also of his mother, throughout the country, the most impressive/scary of which is the gold-plated statue atop Ashgabat's largest building, the Neutrality Arch, that rotates so it will always face into the sun and shine light onto the capital city. His writings and speeches are the staple of the Turkmenistani educational system, but he has desisted from calling for City Academies. All watches and clocks bare a depiction of the President on their face (a trick I think he picked up of Colonel Qaddafi or Walt Disney) and Niyazov has also replaced the alphabet and renamed months and days after national heroes, of whom a spookily high percentage are his own kin; or, naturally, him. However, he is keen to dissuade people away from the fact he is a megalomaniac by saying: "I'm personally against seeing my pictures and statues in the streets - but it's what the people want."

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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Who says darts players are fat?

Darts has an unfortunate image, it is seen by long-haired, girlie types as a pursuit, a mere hobby. This image is borne out of prejudice encouraged and massaged by skits such as this infamous one from Not The Nine O'Clock News.



However, this is a fallacy. Players such as myself, the new and ever slimmer the Lord Lucan and the positively stick-like 2Darts are regularly at the oche along with other poor emaciated souls who used to count Recess Monkey amongst their flock.

And to prove the point? Well here is picture of Mitchell Clegg, who at 16 is the youngest ever player in a World Championship. Look at him. What an athlete. Point made and point f*cked up horrendously.

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Ever wondered how popular phrases were conceived?

I can only assume that this is the very essence of a cock and balls story

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Monday, December 18, 2006

The Cllr will be cross to have missed this one

I am surprised that Watford fan and Darren Day wannabe, Cllr Cross has not blogged this one yet. But all-time Watford hero, Luther Blissett is set to come out of retirement to turn out for Chesham United the team he now manages.
Blisset (48) is a fascinating guy. In a blunder of Bobby Robson proportions*, Blissett was bought for £1 million by A.C Milan who, it is widely thought, signed him after mistaking him for his Watford colleague John Barnes, who subsequently went on to sign for Liverpool, rap for England and manage Celtic (where he signed the wonderfully named Rafael Scheidt). Blissett can also boast two other notable achievements: scoring a hat-trick on his international debut (granted in a 9-0 thumping of Luxembourg and he never scored again in his subsequent 13 appearances for England) and having an international open reputation, multi-use, community named after him.
Blissett, however, still pales into comparison to the legendary Socrates (the footballer...) who improbably turned out for Garforth Town at the ripe old age of 50.

* During his tenure as Toon manager, Bobby Robson infamously splurged £7.5 million on Carl Cort after he told Newcastle United to bid £7.5 million for the black lad who played up front for Wimbledon - the England U-21 international. He was trying to sign Jason Euell.

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One for Alan Partridge fans

I'll blog England's Ashes defeat in more detail when I have more time, but you can have my thoguhts on our wicket-keeper (with the superior batting ability)
This one works better when said with a heavy South African accent:
Geraint Jones putting the 'Can't' into 'Can't bat'

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Holy Leader DVD!

Starting to panic about last minute Christmas shopping? Got a Comrade/Stakeholder in the family and need a present for them? Well allow myself to be of assistance. Amazingly, some DVDs of Tony Blair's Labour Party Conference speech are available on DVD for the bargain basement price of £5. How do I know of this? Well numerous email have winged their way into my in-tray from Fiona Gordon from the PLP.You can almost imagine the scene as Tonyman Blair rings through to Commissioner Gordon (on the Socialist red PLP special phone) to forewarn her of people falling over themselves, near rioting clutching their fivers to get their hand on the must have gift this Yuletide...

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Friday, December 15, 2006

Who's better? Gutbuster or Recess Monkey? There's only one way to decide....FIGHT

The Lord Lucan is a fine upstanding gent. A little hidden fact of the mysterious aristocrat would be that he is a total lush. A drunk. A sorry shadow of a man. I exagerrate, but you get the point. Giving this unrepenting drunk authority over karaoke is, therefore, a stroke of genius. Without wishing to be too pious (hangovers aplenty to go today) the good Lord was absolutely steaming from the very start.
No sadder sight than a drunk Lord (or more disgustingly perverted in the case of one pin-stripe suited unelected Member of the Other Place) trying to sing. But, alas, fair play; he's a game old boy and can hold his head up high (unless, of course, he chucks up).
Less distinguished would be, in the red corner, Gutbuster (28) vs. the perennial contender, Recess Monkey (30). Indeed the waistline vs. the ego. Now Gutbuster brings a lot to the table including an astounding, insatiable appetite, but the one skill of which he is the proudest is his singing capability. Now I suspect that Gutbuster comes from an illustrious family of Welsh Male Choirs. Indeed with his fiercely held Socialist principles you can almost picture the well-upholstered gent being part of a colliery choir, merrily singing to one and all within earshot. Yet on the three (I think) occassions I have heard Gutbuster sing, I would say underwhelmed would be the most applicable word. This time, I felt for the lad, after a distinctly disappointing effort, his head was actually dropping onto his chest. A broken man. But one thing is for sure, he got up, gave it some and is more deserving than yours truly who recognising the limits to his talents does not do karaoke.
Or should that read, does not do karaoke anymore; for one primate who has seen me displaying my singing prowess would be, ironically, Recess Monkey. This sorry, sorry episode, culminated with a very drunken refrain of "Vote Nikki Gavron for Mayor" during the instrumental part of Tom Jones' "Delilah", is documented on video which is somewhere in my bedroom. Hidden quite intentionally.
As time ticks by it becomes apparent that Recess Monkey is not in the House. Where is the hairy, little fellow? Time continues to fly by when I go to sign a chum in and who should be there as well but Recess Monkey with what he would claim to be his girlfriend and girlfriend's father but anyone else, myself included, would interpret as a Beyonce-esque entourage. For a simian, he is such a diva. Monkey, however, is distraught to discover that he is too late to enter the fray and behind his ever-genial manner, is a deep-seated anger.
It is strange, I admit, to compare karaoke to boxing, but when Audley Harrison 'didn't turn up' for his match with Danny Williams (the first fight) he ended up planted on his derriere. In this case, Recess Monkey ends up arguably better off than the now near-suicidal Gutbuster.

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Climbing the ladder to success/eternal condemnation and p*ss-taking

It is with some trepidation that I blog this. Of course, I shall preserve the unfortunate hero's anonymity. He knows who he is, I assume she knows who she is but, frankly, I am none too sure on this one. So why this sudden about turn in deciding to blog? Well that old sage, my mentor, the Mr Myagi to my Daniel-san, Recess Monkey blogged this and concluded with the sorry tale of rutting in disabled toilets. Like all good stories, I'll start at the beginning. Actually the very beginning. A little known fact is that 93% of all conceptions are caused by booze. Family planning, like condoms and common-sense, tend to go out of the window quicker than Wacko Jacko dangling one of his kids. So imagine if a chap had, for instance, been imbibing for a good, few hours and imagine if simultaneously a woman had got into an equally sorry state. Stick with me, but imagine if said man and said woman then got talking to each other. And imagine if said 'couple' continued to drink. Inconceivable as it is, imagine if talk wandered to the more intimate. And imagine if drinks had dulled the senses into thinking that having sex where you work is a good, even desirable, outcome. Of course, it's foolhardy; I can picture my legion of fans poo-pooing the idea. "Sex? At work? No way, Barry. Not me." Well what happens when the unimaginable, the unthinkable, the inconceivable, the ludicrous comes to pass? Everyone has a good laugh and some smart ass (in this case me, in another case Mr Monkey) decides to blog it for all asundry to have a read.
The couple of particpants in this game of drunk love proceeded to attempt intercourse outside a pub, literally out of the door, turn left and it's there. Perhaps a commemorative blue plaque will be issued? So what stopped alcohol's young dream? Perhaps too much inebriation? I would say this is certainly a delaying factor. Also disturbing would be bar manager seeing said man with arse hanging out as he goes to change a barrel (here I should clear up any confusion, it's the bar manager changing the barrel rather than our Romeo). And then the coup de grace would probably be security (probably some fat, doughnut boy) seeing you and telling you to stop. But, of course, alcohol works wonders so it is left to Her Majesty's constabulary to call the sorry episode off and castigate the offending couple for being drunken fools. Said woman's alleged over-sensitive reaction would, of course, be all too predictable. It is with a fitting touch of irony that I can inform anyone reading this who isn't Brian Sewell (a man who evokes a watered-down reaction in me to what Jeremy Clarkson elicits) that the picture in this post is called "The Ladder of Divine Ascent"
. In this case, there existing a small line between divinity and decadence. Just to assuage any fears you may harbour that the poor lady is with child; I would conclude that, unlike some, I do not buy the story of the immaculate conception. Confuscious say: "Too much booze cause brewer's droop".

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Woodn't you believe it?

In the most tenuous Christmas link I can muster, EDM 132 has been tabled regarding logging. To be more specific illegal logging. To go with such a worthy cause is the de rigeur circular email with the intriguingly curious, if flawed, title "Please make illegal logging illegal: Sign EDM 132."
The obvious question being if something is already illegal, how can it be made illegal? The email goes into more detail: "I believe it is necessary to make it illegal to import illegal timber into the EU. As my MP, please sign EDM 132 which calls on the UK Government to actively support moves in the EU for legislation to combat this illegal trade."
So it is currently legal to import illegal timber into the EU? What constitutes illegal timber? Timber with an ASBO? Hoodie timber?

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

It's the season for contrived and insincere Christmas Cards

Ding, dong merrily on high. Yep, it's coming up for Christmas and it's that time of the year when scarcely thought of acquaintances pop out of the woodwork with a card conveying heartfelt season's greetings. Lovely.
Yet like most things in modern, capitalist society the Christmas Card has become something of a fad, a fashion if you will. And very much en vogue this year is the card from the 'caring' MP whose true altruism shines through by them having a competition in local schools to pick the 'loveliest' Yuletide picture for their card. Ah. Bless. Whatever. It is the most cynical ploy ever: "Hey look at me. I love kids. Aren't they great?" To answer that is easy: no. Firstly, the pictures aren't very good. This should not come as any particular surprise as the winning artist is normally under 10 and barely capable of holding a pencil. Secondly, I am sure this was kind of kitsch and sweet when maybe one MP did it. Now it's a grotesque contest of sickly proportions, with literally dozens of MPs opting for this kind of card. And what could possibly top off this complete lack of taste? How's about a printed signature? Yeh, that's right. Some of these highly considerate, touchy-feely and sensitive MPs care so much about the recipient that they cannot even be arsed to sign it themself. On the record, I can categorically state that my MP (employer rather than my own representative) has gone for a 'classic' design and signs them all in person. One MP said to me: "Tomorrow, I've got to sign about a thousand cards." I bit my tongue (figuratively rather than actually) because my burning thought was: "How the f*ck did you get 1000 friends? Or is this just an insincere, sinister plot to get more votes, brown-nose and keep in good books?"
It's the season to be happy...but not if you're a cynic.

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Ronnie loses the plot...again.

Ronnie O'Sullivan is the best snooker player ever. His brilliance is only matched by his temperament, which is shaky to say the least. It is quite common to hear Ronnie bemoaning this or that in post-match interviews, he is the very essence of a tormented and tortured soul. Quite recently, I have enjoyed his practice of bringing out a mug of hot water (presumably not so piping by the end of the session) to keep his digits...warm.
Yet in today's Quarter Final match of the UK Championship (in which he was pitted against Stephen Hendry), Ronnie was trailing 4-1 but 26-0 up in the sixth frame. Then he missed an easy red and stormed off. Yep, actually gave up, conceded the match and left.
An enigma to be sure.

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Mistake allowed

I don't know much about politics, so when I am unsure about an issue I like to check what the celebs are thinking. So imagine my pleasure upon seeing those giants of the realm of modern political philosophy, Girls Aloud talking about the problem of politicians being cool, or should that be uncool?
'Dave', the very epitath of cool has said that out of all the Girls Aloud girls he fancied Cheryl Cole the most, but Mrs Cashley was none too impressed saying that 'Dave' should stop trying to be so cool and that politicians should concentrate on running the country. What a good concept. Just imagine:

Jeremy Paxman: So 'Dave' your policies are half-baked, what are you going to do?
'Dave': I'll tell you what Jeremy, I don't know about you; but I do like that Cheryl Cole. What about you?
Jeremy: Always been more of a Sarah Harding fan myself, she's fit.
'Dave': Yeh!
Jeremy: Yeh! Anyway, 'Dave' are you going to cut taxes and maintain public services expenditure?
'Dave': Who cares? I like Nicola.

But my favourite part of the story, well let me just cut and paste from the Beeb:

"One of the band thought they had met Chancellor Gordon Brown - but the others assured her it was actually Home Secretary John Reid who had been pictured with them at an awards ceremony."

Yeh, they do look kinda similar. That is my second favourite quote of the week after the Lord Lucan's comparison of 18 Doughty Street to one of his farts.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Movie news

Denzel Washington has a new film out called deja-vu. I don't know about you, but I think I've seen this one already.

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Monty kicks Aussie butt

And then God created Monty. A 5-for on his Ashes debut (incidentally the third best test innings figures by a spinner and the WACA) shows how embarrassingly inept Fletch was in not plumping for the man-child over Giles and his dodgy hip. Just to see England go out and there and play like they can is so great. Ok at 51-2 we're already ostenisbly in the dog house, but I think (or is that blindly hope?) that England will bat well tomorrow and build a first innings lead. And Harmison getting four wickets and bowling with pace, bounce and even control. Oh happy day. Come on England.




Update: So what is the reason for England's good day in the field? Well no less a cricketing aficionado than Ray 'Butch' Wilkins hit the nail on the head by saying England just needed a bit of donald. Donald Duck = luck. God bless you, Butch; God bless cockneys and God bless Monty Panesar.

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Happy Birthday

Today, as you should all by now know, is Super Chrissy Waddle's birthday. Chris is a legend, a truly magnificent player and given that tonight is also the Sports and Social Karaoke night, here's another treat for you. My gosh, are my readers not the luckiest in the whole blogosphere?

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Long post alert, but worth reading. A defence of Zara Phillips (sort of) BBC Sports Personality of the Year winner 2006

I have held back from blogging on this for some little time, but it has been the reaction to her winning of the title rather than her actually winning of the title itself, that has finally tipped me over the edge of indifference.
To start with may I categorically state that if I had the casting vote I would do away with the whole sorry programme. It has generally been agreed that this year's shortlist was not the strongest ever. In fact, it was recognised as the weakest. Yet, in other years when the star of British sport has been in the ascent there have been deserving sportspeople not to have won, Colin Jackson, Sally Gunnell, Matthew Pinsent, Steve Backley and Frank Bruno instantly come to mind.
Then comes the problem of what constitutes (a) a deserving sport and (b) a deserving winner. Personally, I must admit that equestrianism would not qualify as a deserving sport in my eyes, yet naturally this view is totally subjective and any number of people could disagree with my assertion and claim that, on the contrary, equestrianism is a worthy pursuit whereas football and cricket are not. Clearly, this person would be deluded, but such people exist.
To answer whether the winner was deserving is, of course, the $64,000 question. Well, in all fairness, she is the individual European and World Champion which would put her above the majority of the other contestants with the obvious exceptions of Ricky Hatton; Joe Calzaghe and Phil Taylor (13 times darts world champion). It is easy to see why Zara Phillips won over these three: Ricky Hatton's fights are broadcast on Sky; Joe Calzaghe's on ITV and Phil Taylor on Sky. I think it is only the dearth of class that saw Taylor make the shortlist in the first place. Here it should be noted that Darren Clarke, a man rightly lauded for his competitiveness and quality in the wake of his wife's death, has never won a major (one of the Open, the US Open, the US PGA or the US Masters) and Jensen Button finished sixth in the Formula 1 table.
So who else is left? Beth Tweddle; Andy Murray; Monty Panesar and Nicola Cooke. Too many Cooke's spoil the broth and in the case of Nicola Cooke I am sorry to say that cycling is so low-profile that I would be surprised if more than 5% of the audience had heard of her nevermind her sporting achievements. Sorry, but them the breaks. The cases of Murray and Monty are more intriguing: both I would hazard a guess are the right kind of person to be qualify under the personality requirement and also what they bring to their respective sports, yet what they have actually achieved is more open to question. Murray has had a great season but has he done enough this year to be judged our nation's greatest sportsman? I don't think so. And Monty? Well, he has the potential and if he was in the Ashes side and was doing his thing I think he would have won it. But he aint so he didn't. Encouragingly, I thought it was refreshing that this Monty doesn't have big tits like his Scottish namesake. And then there's Beth Tweddle. Gymnastics sucks, but she is an individual world champion. I thought her chance of winning was over before it started, honestly having to do that gymnastics routine. Sadly, she didn't fall off and she wore an outfit that was even dafter than normal, including what looked suspiciously like a bow-tie. That outfit was even worse than Fatima Whitbread's. Fatima, ever feminine, went for a sleeveless number that showed her guns off. Scary, scary.
So from these deductions, I cannot comprehend the consternation about Zara Phillips winning it. There appears to be three camps of thought: (1) equestrianism is crap; (2) she only won it because she is a royal and (3) equestrianism relies on a horse so it should be the horse rather than the jockey that wins the award.
Point 1 I find hard to argue against, I don't like horsey stuff, but as argued elsewhere one man's (horse) meat is another man's poison. And is it possible to argue that equestrianism is any crapper a sport than figure skating which produced two previous winners (John Curry in 1976 and Robin Cousins in 1980)? It is point 2 that has got my goat. "She's a royal, that's the only reason she won it" argues some greasy Republican or "Equestrianism is so elitist that only rich people can participate". So what if she accrued more votes because she is a Royal? Darren Clarke, I would argue, got far more votes for his off the course attitude than his actual play on the course (why, for instance, was he any more deserving than say Lee Westwood?) And to answer the point about equestrianism being elitist, well I would say it is elitist because it is so mind-numbingly dull, but a sport such as golf has also been accused of being elitist, a rich man's sport - but I do not recall any specific uproar when Nick Faldo won the Sports Personality.
And last but not the least, the old gem of the horse should win the award rather than the jockey. What a daft argument. Like you can put any old person on a horse and it will romp home. Can you imagine it? Hoist Andy Fordham on to the best horse in the world and I would wager it wouldn't win. The same would apply to Helen Keller. And if a horse is more deserving than the jockey, then surely the car would be more deserving than Nigel Mansell (twice), Damon Hill (twice), John Surtees or Jackie Stewart. Or what about Britain's greatest ever Olympian, Sir Steve Redgrave? Surely his victories were also dependent on first Andy Holmes and later Matthew Pinsent (and those other two...Foster and Cracknell, was it? Sorry but I cannot recall the 1984 foursome - interestingly enough for two reasons (1) rowing is sh*t and (2) I was only 5 at the time)?
So lay off Zara Phillips. Although, I would have plumped for Joe Calzaghe I have already pointed out that as he fights on ITV this was most unlikely from the start. Let's all be thankful that David Walliams wasn't shortlisted.

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Curbs Your Enthusiasm, Rome (and the Boleyn) wasn't built in a day

Never let it be said that Egghead the Biscuitman is a man who doesn't know what he wants. It's a case of one Alan's loss is another Alan's gain. With Alan Pardew quietly bundled out of West Ham, he instantly pounces for ex-Hammer, Alan Curbishley. Well, I hope this signals an about turn in the Hammers' fortunes and I also hope Curbs can bring the best out of Tevez and Mascherano, two players who are far too good to be doing very little of worth.
Not that I am a West Ham fan, but the Premiership will be a better division when clubs like West Ham are safe and teams like the Pigs go down. Will also be interesting to see if Curbs can mastermind a win over Manchester United, as I believe every match in which he has managed against Manchester United has ended up in three points for the Red Devils.
And how's about my prediction of Dowie or Ranieri? Just goes to remind me why I am not a betting man. By the by, the incredibly ugly Dowie seems to be on his way to Hull. A suitable punishment.

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Prezza rules out university move

What will happen to John Prescott when he stands down as an MP? Perhaps he'll go to the Lords, but one move he has certainly ruled out is becoming an university tutor/academic by continually saying during Deputy Prime minister's Questions: "I won't be taking any lectures..." Phew, that's a relief.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yule Log/Special delivery

Here's a Christams tale to warm your cockles. As everyone knows the evil, sinister Government (booooooo...they're behind you) are intent on shutting down all Post Offices and casting pensioners out onto the streets, braving the cold and gales to find the closest bank (which, according to Natwest adverts of years gone by, has probably been changed into a classy wine bar). However, one Post Office that has not been culled* is in Truro, Cornwall and BRAND NEW Beef Souce, Bart Simpson brought my attention to this nugget of a story.
As the Metro reports; disaster struck as the Post Office had to be evacuated after an incontinent man staged a dirty protest in the doorway leading to staff and customers to vacate the premises becuase of the omnipotent smell of sh*t. The perpetrator of this misdemeanour was a homeless man, known only as Colin, who was allegedly remonstrating because he had been refused treatment for gangrene. Why he was seeking treatment for gangrene in a Post Office is anyone's guess.

* Post Offices are only closed when they are not economically viable. This fact falls on deaf ears in the case of pensioners who are...deaf.

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Violent attacks on cash in transit couriers

Attacks on cash in transit couriers is a recurrent problem that the Unions, to their credit, try to lobby MPs to petition the Home Office to make such offences punishable in line with the scale of human damage as opposed to their current status of business crime.
I would support this for obvious reasons. Something must be done and outside of ensuring that all cash in transit couriers are married and that they only deliver to areas where everyone is married, I would advocate this re-classification. So why has the campaign struggled? Perhaps because the Chief Exceucitve of British Security Industry Association (BSIA) is none other than cheap-as-chips, David Dickinson. Really! Does anybody know of any better senior management peeps with famous names? I am aware of Roger Moore, the Chief Executive of the Appointments Commission. Post suggestions in the comments

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IDS makes it oh so clear

Poverty is bad, as are poor people. Poor people should get married, this will stop crime and people, families and communities will be harmonious. A slight problem would probably be that 1 in 3 marriages end in divorce. How will IDS cut down divorce? Cash incentives, of course! Don't love each other? Here have some cash. Get bashed around? No worries, here's a cheque.

What the Social Justice group fails to grip is the role tax credits play in alleviating poverty. Tax credits, in some form or another, remain a necessity until the Minimum Wage is raised to a level whereby the state need not fill the gap between an actual wage and a practical living wage.

Still being in oppostion isn't about finding answers, is it?

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Trains to Northampton

Quite often of a weekend, I will shoot off from work on Friday at 5 on the dot and scurry off to Euston so as to go to Northampton where my girlfriend resides. Being of a romantic inclination, I get quite excited about seeing her and there's only one thing that can temper this excitement. Yes, it's the bloody trains.
There was a massive power failure at, I think, Milton Keynes so there were no trains to Northampton. Being the superstar that she is my girlfriend says to come to Wellingborough and she'll drive across and pick me up.
This mean that I need ot haul my bovine ass off to St. Pancras rather than Euston, but this is no drama. But honestly what a crappy station St. Pancras is. Egad! I know the area of St. Pancras previously used to be full of slums and by the current look of it, I can only assume that St. Pancras is making a conscious effort to return to former glories. Four ticket machines of which four were out of order. Who says you never get 100% on British public transport?
Yet as the train left its pokey starting point, I was happy again as the journey only lasts about 50 minutes. Well, let me say categorically that there is no such sight as deflating as Wellingborough train station on a rainy evening. What a hole!
Still wonderful weekend nevertheless.

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Monday, December 11, 2006

When delays to the Central Line westbound are not detrimental to your mental well-being

Yesterday I get to my tube station and see that there are no delays on the Central Line, but severe delays to the District. Not a worry methinks, I can go to Stratford and get the Jubilee Line. If only, if only. Because in the time it took from me doing my Oyster card to getting to the platform, the Central Line had cocked up. Seriously, that must have been all of 40 seconds. Signal failure of Newbury Park, so I decide to bus it to Ilford and get the overland to Stratford. I hope you all appreciate getting this intimate knowledge of my daily journey.
Being surprisingly awake (I have recently changed my working hours) I go to a bus station at which I actually have an outside chance of getting a seat, as opposed to the guaranteed bundle you normally see exclusively at Indian train stations in old movies. Well I end up within earshot (a conservative estimate would be that said earshot was about 5 miles either way) of a real, old Uncle Albert sea-faring sort. Yes, our Captain Birdseye knows a thing or two about world culture and religion asking a non-white what religion they were and upon hearing the answer said: "Boooodhist? Nah, we don't get too many Boooodhists round here. Course I seen a lot of them temples in Ceylon and places like that. Served in the war, didn't I? Oh but Ceylon and that tsunami. Terrible, just terrible." And the old boy had certainly had his 3 weetabix because he didn't let up for the whole ride; in no uncertain terms making clear his views on being a racist ("Now I aint no racist"), war ("I hate war") and the differences between Islam, Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity ("For me there aint no difference between your Muslims, Indians, Jews and Whites. I don't like religion")
Sadly, no such characters on the overland or the Jubilee Line

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Imminent Press Conference

West Ham United are to hold a Press Conference in 20 minutes with the ominous subject being: "Alan Pardew's future at West Ham." If Pardew gets the boot, which looks increasingly likely he would have to consider himself pretty unlucky; especially given their success last year. Yet, paradoxically, the move would probably give the Hammers a boost. What odds on Ranieri being the next Upton Park supremo?
The situation is a bit like that of Sheffield Wednesday, where popular manager Paul Sturrock was sacked, and whilst many fans, myself included, were upset for Sturrock, Wednesday's recent upturn in fortunes under Sean McAuley and current manager Brian Laws is not to be sneezed at. Incidentally another win for the Owls on Saturday. 2-1 away win at Carrow Road. Kind of apt, what with Alan Partridge hailing from Norwich. A nice link there.

Update: Pardew sacked. Dowie early favourite. I still reckon the Tinker-Man


picture nicked from the Guardian's image gallery here

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Friday, December 08, 2006

England management committee

I do not fully recognise the scope of the England cricket team's management committe. It consists of Freddie (the captain) and Strauss (presumably as senior batsman and vice-captain). However, the other two members are a touch more contentious: Paul Collingwood and...Geraint Jones. Collingwood, despite his magnificent double century in the last test, was scheduled not to be in the team but made the XI after it became apparent Vaughan wouldn't be fit and after Trescothick left the tour early. However, the inclusion of Jones is patently stupid. Jones is not playing well, his keeping is inferior to Chris Read, his batting is hardly setting the world on fire and, basically put, he shouldn't be in the squad nevermind the team. The one thing Jones brings to the team and, to be fair, he brings it in spades; is an incredibly composed and 'crickety' look when trudging back to the pavilion after seeing one his stumps cartwheel down to fine leg. See this YouTube clip to understand what I mean, look at that dignity; you wouldn't have guessed he's just been done like a kipper. With Christmas fast approaching, it makes sense to assess Jones' role on the committee and the team as turkeys not voting for Christmas.

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DJ as bad as DC. Or is that DC as bad as DJ?

Despite never having voted Tory and having no intention of ever breaking this habit, I felt a bit for David Cameron. Even when he's not hanging out with Basher, Squeaker or 14 Pints-a-day he has to do pesky media appearances and last night I listened to Cameron being interviewed on the James Whale show and, well...it probably wasn't as good as he had hoped.
First off TalkSport was advertising the interview as a live interview whereas in reality it was pre-recorded. This instantly made DC look like a gutless tit. Whale, of course, asks no political questions but bases everything in his own ridiculous prejudices. His wildly unbelievable stance on equality and asking Cameron about his smooth complexion probably did not give Cameron the best platform to convert the country. And consequently, Cameron came across like the political vacuum he is.
After the interview Whale, like the gutless, belligerent, bullying bigot he is turned on Cameron, slating him for not doing the interview live and for having his Press Secretary on hand to make sure the interview didn't go on too long.
You can't blame Cameron, you got to think that Whale is pretty low on the totem pole of importance. He is to political philosophy what plancton is to the food chain. I mean he asked Cameron about the NHS and Trident in almost one breath.
Oh well Dave, once bitten twice shy. How's about Jon Gaunt next time?

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Fans gunning for Cashley

Irregardless of Cashley Cole being a fantastic player and a key element of the England national team, I think most neutrals would agree that his transfer from Arsenal to Chelsea reeked of scuminess and greed. Well this weekend, for the first time since leaving Arsenal, Cashley will be part of the Chelsea team going to the Emirate Stadium. Hopefully, the Arsenal fans will lose their Highbury Library reputation and give Cole a grilling. This is certainly the view of the delightfully, insane Arsenal goalkeeper, Jens Lehmann who is quoted as saying: "Of course. He should get it...That's football and it makes it exciting. If not, it would have meant he wasn't an important player for them [the fans]. But he was, he was a vital member of our squad and we had big success with him so of course he has to expect some negative emotions towards him."

* Thanks to Mr Treasury Tag for posting me two treasury tags in the internal post and for emailing me the Cashley note.

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MakeGlobalJusticeHistory

One night in the Sports and Social, there was a group of chums getting merrily tipsy and, for some reason, a quite splendidly raucous few verses of Old McDonald ensued. There was Lord Lucan doing an impressive bull, my goodself doing a very ill chicken, A Source Close To The Bar doing a dolphin and Comrade Hamburger doing a w*nking duck. Quite the farm, I'm sure you'll agree. "But Barry why are you telling me this?", I hear you shout at the monitor. Well it's a long-winded method of introducing a brand-new Beef Source. This Northern gentleman did a mild, growling roar which was sort of half-Lion and half-Bull thus from this day forth he shall be known as LIBEL (geddit?). Anyway Libel has different tastes than me and was surfing the all-singing, all-dancing site of George Galloway MP. Indeed it is the MOTHER AND FATHER of all internet websites. Say what you want about the Gorgeous One but, when it is finished, his website will look pretty smart and anyone who has the MP3 of Edwin Starr's War on the front-page is ok with me. Well only sort of, I really don't care for Galloway that much.
There are some parts of the website which are yet to be completed so there's a message from Galloway instead. A message, which ends with a comment you perhaps wouldn't normally attribute to the Defender of the Oppressed (tm). See if you can spot the anomaly.

I hope you enjoy it this site. Once we've filled it with material, I hope it inspires you to get involved, to campaign against war, privatisation, cutbacks, racism, fascism and global justice.

So I hope you will all join Galloway in campaigning against global justice.

Update: On re-reading this post, I think you'd have to agree that the grammar in the sentence: "I hope you enjoy it this site" is lacking one fundamental necessity: it's wrong.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

A good omen for England as Damien signs off

So far the England cricket team's tour of Australia has not been too much fun. Inbetween getting schmeissed around by Langer, Ponting and Clarke and getting our bails dislodged by Warne, Clark, McGrath and Lee, we have had the dubious joy of contemplating why on God's (or whoever's) green earth Messrs Jones and Giles are in the team.
Well things have progressed slightly with a very odd ECB XI amalgamation consisting of Ashes squad players not to have yet played; three retired internationals (Alec Stewart, Adam Hollioake and Robin Smith) and academy players were beaten comprehensibly by a Cricket Australia XI. Really you would have thought that some of our test players could have done with an extra run out. But then hey, what do I know? I am not managing or picking an England team that is 2 down in the Ashes with 3 to play. Anyway, Monty picked up 2 wickets and Stewart top-scored. Yes, a man who is 43 and retired for, I think, 3 years top-scored.
But don't be put off, heaven forbid, for it is not all doom and gloom. Monty's in the wickets, Freddie has come through a fitness test and Damien Martyn has retired with immediate effect.
Martyn, with Langer and Warne, is my favourite Aussie player and I am over the moon to see him retire. although, he hasn't excelled in this Ashes series and had a dodgy time last time round, Martyn is sheer class. An elegant player with oodles of experience, Martyn had the ability of playing world class bowling like it was a stroll on the beach. Easy Like Sunday Morning could well have been written by Lionel Ritchie after watching a masterful Martyn knock. Suffice to say, I am really happy he's gone. At least, it gives England a bit more of a chance. The situation evokes memories of Nasser Hussain retiring with the prospect of being dropped - for Andrew Strauss - a very real possibility. Martyn was facing pressure from Shane Watson, Andrew Symonds, Michael Clarke and Adam Voges

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The return of the Crazy Frog

Of course I refer not to the Scandanavian frog-like creature with its nob hanging out but rather Paul Adams, the South African spinner. Yep, sorry folks, it's cricket time. Paul Adams emerged on the scene back in about '95 and instantly earned the moniker of 'frog in a blender' for his wholly unique bowling action. Upon entering international cricket he was a hit and in his initial series he totally bamboozled the opposition. Three guesses who South Africa were playing? Ok, one guess. Yep, England. An England with Jason Gallian batting at #3 and Richard Illingworth as our spinner.
After a while, Adams got rumbled for lacking variation and lost his place on and off to Pat Symcox and Nicky Boje before being permanently dropped in favour of Boje and latterly Robin Peterson and Johan Botha. Yet with Botha only recently back after being banned for a dodgy 'chucking' action and Peterson having a test bowling average of over 50 Adams has been recalled and is in the squad with Boje for the upcoming series against India.
Interestingly, Adams' international career had appeared to be...moribund whilst still averaging a decent enough 32.87 in test match cricket. Guess who's test match bowling average is currently 40.60 (i.e. that he concedes almost 10 more runs per wicket taken). Yep, it's Ashley Giles.

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Tornado relief?

Was quite surprised to read of the tornado sweeping through one street in London. It sounds just like Twister but without Pierce Brosnan. One report said a wall was missing off a house. Now where have I recently seen a wall that could be a suitable replacement? Ermmm...how's about the wrapped wall (in either wrapping paper or a silver and red England flag) out of the Debate?

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Name that tune in one

I don't really approve of buskers. Normally, I do not see their boundless enthusiasm being matched by boundless talent. And as much as I appreciate the guy at Tottenham Court Road shaking some noisy ball (probably not the technical term) and singing "Gonna have a party", the Bob Marley guy at Westminster who only knows the words http://barrysbeef.blogspot.com/2006/12/celebrity-big-brother-with-added.html and the quite remarkable violinist (if you get near a note, play it) also at Westminster, you got to think that busking is tantamount to begging.
However, no buskers quite get on my wick as much as the Peruvian Panpipes players. Yesterday, they were on Oxford Street and looking for all the world like Native Americans with head-dresses of feathers and tanned leathers. Anyway, on walking past I picked their tune in about three notes as being one of the instrumentals off the Last of the Mohicans. I was mighty impressed with myself and was left pondering (not for very long at all) very the Peruvians were being frauds and passing it off as their own tune? Honestly, these manufactured boy-bands make me sick.

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Celebrity Big Brother (with added celebrities)

I was having a pint with a chum last night who informed me that Prof Stephen Hawkings, the writer of A Brief History in Time, has been approached to 'star' in the next series of Celebrity Big Brother.
Someone is quoted as saying:"When Stephen heard, a big grin spread across his face. He thought it was very funny"
Poor bloke probably thought someone was taking the p*ss. The source continues: "He gets wacky offers all the time and is always turning stuff down. He has a good sense of humour and might find being in the house amusing for a bit. But he would end up bored rigid" I love that sentence: "He gets wacky offers all the time and is always turning them down. He has a great sense of humour" Sounds like saying he's a great laugh, but tell him a joke and he won't smile.
"But he would end up bored rigid" Wouldn't be on his own there, would he?
Other celebrities tenuously linked to the next Celeb BB include 'the Hoff' David Hasselhoff; the disgrace d/ful Jeffrey Archer and Adam Ant.

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Hug a hoodie, hug a smug git. Hard on crime, hard on.

Never mind hugging a hoody, how's about hugging a squeaky clean (or at least squeaky) smug git? PMQs never tends to be the focal point of my week, but during yesterday's session I was disturbed by my colleague Morag saying: "He's got his arm around him. He's actually got his arm around him" I look up and there was the Shadow Home Secretary and the Shadow Chancellor being everso chummy. The Basher and the Squeaker. Compassionate Conservatism. And why not?

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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

barrysbeef.blogspot.com is 1 today














And being the generous soul that I am here's a present from me to you all. Turn the volume up for full effect. Thanks for reading.

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Merry bloody Christmas

You wake up and feel like sh*t. You've got a runny nose and no energy. Death warmed up doesn't convey the true sentiment because you are not remotely warm. It's freezing outside and you can hear the wind beating against the window. You ponder if it's possible for your house to move from England to Siberia overnight without you noticing. You get buffeted by gale-firce winds on the way to the station, you could imagine feeling better walking through a car wash.
Inevitably, the Central Line has delays and, to jazz it up a bit, the District Line comes out in sympathy with healthy delays too. The man next to you on the platform at Mile End actually starts singing and then making random noises before just wandering off. You can only assume the poor chap has cracked under the pressure.
Yep, it's Christmas time. Isn't that great?

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Things that make you go..."What the bloody hell is that?"

I sort of have a problem with the English flag. Ok, so you have the obvious like its fascist connotations. This has never really carried any water with me. Frankly, I think it is a pretty average looking flag (much like our pretty average national anthem) and also I am quite happy to be British and struggle to understand this breaking up of the British Isles, Great Britain, the UK, Britain or whatever else it's called this week. Also, the British flag is a proper flag, a grand looking fine design.
So with this in mind, it was with the utmost shock that I saw two massive English flags in Portcullis House. One is hung in the Adjournment and the other in the Debate. However, on closer inspection it became obvious that this flag was not white and red but rather silver and red. Very bling bling, I'm sure.
It got worse when my lunchtime chum, the good Count Callithrix pointed out that it wasn't, in fact, an England flag but was actually an effort at displaying a wrapped present. This, in turn, begs the question, who exactly gives a wall as a Christmas gift? And who, for that matter, wraps a wall? I am not exaggerating but it looks truly disgraceful. Still when not paying their staff enough, the House does like to look after their own whether by giving us an exhibition on Pitt and Fox or by wrapping walls in silver and red paper. Merry Christmas to you too.

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And whilst I am at it

To continue from my bile-filled analysis of today's cricket in Adelaide, I would like to humbly submit Jack Bannister for Room 101. What a dreadful presenter. I don't have Sky and annoyingly my radio doesn't get longwave so I rely on TalkSport's very regular updates. Pain me as it does, I do not know how much longer I can tolerate the wholly abject and inaccurate ramblings of Mr. Bannister. It is tempting to say that he is past his best, yet this assessment is also flawed: Old Jack has always been woeful - getting players wrong, attributing scores to different batsmen, confusing the runs with the wickets taken you know those kind of things.

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Litvinenko: Some hitherto unknown facts

The death under incredibly suspicious (i.e. murder) circumstances of Alexander Litvinenko is the story that has grabbed the attention of every blogger who has little else to blog about.
However, in all my surfing; I have not found any post actually come down to brass tacks. I read about it in the Jewish Chronicle (JC), a paper that I do not religously (excuse the shocking pun) take. However, page 4 of the JC has a story about Litvinenko. Hmmm, I thought, was he Jewish? No he wasn't, but he did live in Muswell Hill and he did have friends who were members of Muswell Hill Synagogue.
Well, isn't that fantastic journalism? The JC specialises in this form of scoop. I still have fond memories of reading that Edgar Davids can speak hebrew and that David Beckham is a 1/4 Jewish.
Oh well, made me laugh.

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Re-immersing into the flock

For quite some time now, I have neglected local politics. Since an unfortunate shelalaking in May, I decided to opt-out. The meetings do my head in, and the national picture is hardly inspiring, especially to one who could include laziness as a hobby on his CV.
However, things changed on Friday my mobile rang and I departed the pub thinking that the call might be important. It was an invitation to attend the Barkingside branch Christmas social. One thing instantly struck me, I am not a Barkingside member although I stood for selection (and failed) as a fresh-faced, somewhat less cynical candidate back in 2002. But then another thought came into my mind, I am not quite sober. And in a case of, and please excuse my latin, in vino non veritas, I readily accepted.
So I obligingly turned up managing to ponce a lift of a member who is, shock horror, much younger than me. So we stop off and stock up on Mince Pies and show our mugs. We get there and there's a few Labour Councillors present, for the uninitiated amongst you Barkingside has no Labour Cllrs although we once got close...
And there's a raffle...and Barkingside branch reflects its sizeable Jewish and Asian membership by laying on an eclectic racially harmonious mix of fishballs, bhajis and samosas. Not bad. A quick spin around the raffle table shows a bottle of Glenmorangie, a portable TV with FM/AM radio, some 64 games in 1 console and the usual tat of assorted porcelain.
Now from the picture, you are probably assuming that I lucked out, won the raffle, nabbed the Glenmorangie and scurried off to get merrily pie-eyed. Well you would be wrong. After a while, it appeared that the Glenmorangie had gone walkies. Well, somehow the Glenmorangie went from raffle prize to just a drink for whoever is about. Upon seeing this I asked my mate to get me a drink and he obliged by coming back with a healthy triple. Good lad and, unsurprisingly, everything else passed by serenely; although I won nothing on the raffle.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Oh fuck

Have a close look, we might not be seeing them again for a while. Am absolutely gutted. A totally abject England performance has handed the Ozzies the initiative and a 2-0 lead in the Ashes with 3 tests to go.
Things to do:

1) Kick out Jones (forever) and bring in Read
2) Repeat step 1 but replace Jones with Giles and Read with Monty
3) Mahmood in for Anderson for the next time
4) Please note the difference between point 3 with points 1 & 2. Anderson dropped for one test due to form and pitch, Jones and Giles to be booted full-stop (gramatically and emphatically).
5) Win or not, get rid of Fletcher at the end of the Ashes.

Ok so the last point may be a bit harsh, but thinking with clarity; is it really? Cases for the prosecution would point out: the abject form of Steve Harmison; recalling and then keeping GERAINT FUCKING JONES IN THE TEAM; picking a rusty and out of practice Giles over the more economical, wicket-taking Monty Panesar: the best spinning prospect England has produced in decades; taking Trescothick out to Oz when he couldn't have been ready; not giving a wicketkeeper a central contract; our woeful one-day form; not doing more to keep Troy Cooley and getting humiliated in the Champions Trophy in India but still coming back to Blighty for a week or so prior to going out to Australia to acclimatise, practice and maybe play some cricket.
Case made.

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The question we have all pondered but never had the guts to ask

Is Santa Claus a Nazi? Was Blitzen (of Donner und Blitzen fame) named after Blitzkrieg? Was it never actually Nicht schiessen, but rather nicht shoppen, Santa will provide? It sounds like a conspiracy theory and to be fair, it's not even vaguely based on reality; but since when has that put me off blogging something? The argument emerged in Germany (was fuer eine Ueberraschung?!?) as Christmas shoppers were shocked to discover row upon row of Santa Clauses looking to all the world as if they are giving the Hitler salute -- right arm, straight as a Mitchell, raised to the heavens.
I would have thought that the big white beard, the bag of toys and the red appareil would have hinted more to Santa than Hitler. Judge for yourself.

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No Skeltons in (fr)Audley's cupboard

It is the news that no-one could give a monkeys about, Matt Skelton has pulled out of the BIG FIGHT with A-Force Audley Harrison. So who could stand in at such late notice? The one, the only, the not much good Danny Williams. Yep, it's the fight that sucked ass so much last year. It at first you stage a very poor fight, stage it stage it again. Of course, that old adage.
The only good thing about this is at the trawling through the archives I learnt that this blog is very nearly 1 year old.

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Walford? Oh yeh, just outside of Vaudeville

Darling readers, I must admit I have had a lapse. I am only human, albeit in the form of a Bull. I have not been keeping all that up-to-date with Stenders recently. I don't know some things just get in your way, like a social life.
However, I rectified this wrong by watching the omnibus on Sunday and, by criminy, it was excellent. The ongoing plots centred around the perenially glum auntie and nephew combo of Pauline Fowler and Ian Beale. Pauline, fresh from nearly dying in a house fire, has fabricated a brain tumour (not tuba, as I mistakenly heard) to prevent Martin's reconciliation with Sonia, saying that the tears Martin is crying now are nothing compared to what will come if she lets Sonia get back into Martin's life. Please spare a thought for Joe, the man who previously voiced Mr Ben is not being treated too well by his Pauline, but Joe does do that 'put upon' demeanour pretty well.
Meanwhile, Ian is hell-bent on humiliating his would-be bride, Jane. Because Jane had slept with Grant, a man whose romantic leanings suggest what ordinary men would call wind. Not content with this, Ian wants to get one over on arch-rival Phil and Peggy. This instantly spells disaster as Ian Beale never gets one's one over Phil.There are comic turns from Gary and Minty (the Laurel and Hardy of Walford); Dot and Kevin Wicks winning the pools. However, if the great minds of Strictly Come Dancing were judging Eastenders, it would be the star performance of Charlie and Mo that would steal the show. "Fantastic, enchanting and convincing" three adjective Craig Revel-Horwood would crow, whilst Len Goodman would certainly be giving at least a 9.
Anyway, as it transpires Phil rumbles Ian's plan and tips off Jane who no-shows the wedding leading to a confrontation to end all confrontations as Jane and Ian open their hearts in the torrential rain and end up having an improbable mudfight. Mudfighting, or mudwrestling, is an excellent idea which never works if Ian bloody fucking Beale is involved. However, it appears that Ian and Jane sort out their differences and have a heart-warming (if you're a putz) reconciliation in the middle of the square. Pauline walks past mid-scowl and Ian breaks the great news, saying that although things hadn't gone as he had planned, he was so happy blah blah and he wants Paulnie to be involved in this love-in yadda yadda. Pauline asks Ian if he's serious, Ian says he is to which Pauline fires back "Well you can go to hell" In your face Beale. The below clip covers the comedy element.

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